TRANSFORMERS’ spinoff featuring BUMBLEBEE set for December 21, 2018 release date, John Cena joins cast

The TRANSFORMERS franchise is finally headed in a new direction. After five mindless installments helmed by Michael Bay, the series will see its first spinoff next year. Paramount has announced that the upcoming spinoff, BUMBLEBEE, is set for release on December 21, 2018.

LAIKA head Travis Knight (KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS) is set to make his live-action feature directing debut on the picture, which will star Hailee Steinfeld, John Cena, Pamela Aldon, Stephen Schenider, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., Jason Drucker, Kenneth Choi, Ricardo Hoyos, Abby Quinn, Rachel Crow, and Grace Dzienny.

Here’s the first official synopsis:

On the run in the year 1987, Bumblebee finds refuge in a junkyard in a small Californian beach town. Charlie (Steinfeld), on the cusp of turning 18 and trying to find her place in the world, discovers Bumblebee, battle-scarred and broken. When Charlie revives him, she quickly learns this is no ordinary, yellow VW bug.

I’m actually somewhat interested in this movie. I’m not inherently against TRANSFORMERS; I’m just against the oppressive spectacle Bay has insisted upon for these movies, and there’s plenty of room for a good movie about a young kid and her robot-alien-car. Also, while Optimus Prime is a chore, Bumblebee is cute, fun character, so I’m interested to see where this movie will go. Principal photography on the film begins today, and the entire movie will shoot in California.

December 21, 2018 will be a tough day at the box office. Warner Bros. is releasing AQUAMAN, and four days later Disney will have MARY POPPINS RETURNS. That’s not to say that BUMBLEBEE doesn’t have a shot, but TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT has only pulled $128 million domestic and $568 million worldwide. Compare that to the previous film in the series, TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION, which earned $245 million domestic and $1.1 billion worldwide.


DEADPOOL 2: First image of Zazie Beetz as Domino arrives, film due June 1, 2018!

With filming on DEADPOOL 2 underway, star and producer Ryan Reynolds has been sharing a steady stream of images from the movie. There’s nothing spoilery, but Reynolds (and 20th Century Fox) know that part of the success of DEADPOOL came from the willingness to be open during production and not shroud everything in secrecy. There were still fun surprises when the movie opened, and fans got to be excited about the film throughout production.

Now Reynolds has shared the first image of Zazie Beetz (‘Atlanta’) as Domino. In the comics, Domino (real name Neena Thurman) is a mutant who’s an exceptional markswoman, skilled at hand-to-hand combat, and also can alter probability. She’s been a big member of X-Force throughout its history, and it’s presumed that her role here in DEADPOOL 2 is a stepping stone for an eventual X-FORCE movie that will also feature Cable (Josh Brolin).

As for the image itself, it’s not what I was expecting, but it looks pretty great. Beetz is rocking that look, and she definitely looks threatening enough to make Deadpool’s life miserable (as if her lounging on a Deadpool rug didn’t already clue you in). While non-comics readers will definitely want to learn more about her, this is a nice way to show off her look and get people talking.

Also, take notes other studios: nothing was ruined by showing us a nice photo of what this character looks like rather than having it leaked from a cell phone camera and posted on Twitter. Presumably if this is how they’re handling the debut of Domino, we should get an official look at Cable at some point in the not-too-distant future.

DEADPOOL 2 opens June 1, 2018, and also stars Monica Baccarin, T.J. Miller, Brianna Hildebrand, Jack Kesy, Stefan Kapicic, Julian Dennison, and Leslie Uggams.

Jaume Collet-Serra to direct The Rock in JUNGLE CRUISE; passes on SUICIDE SQUAD 2!

In a curious albeit understandable move, NON-STOP and THE SHALLOWS filmmaker Jaume Collet-Serra has opted not to direct Warner Bros.’ DCEU sequel SUICIDE SQUAD 2. The director has been eyed by many studios for a number of projects as of late, but when he emerged as the frontrunner to helm SUICIDE SQUAD 2 it seemed likely he was going to join the DCEU as Warner Bros. works to course-correct (somewhat) in the wake of WONDER WOMAN’s success.

However, per Deadline, Collet-Serra has now signed on to direct JUNGLE CRUISE for Disney, an adaptation of the popular theme park ride that Dwayne Johnson has been developing as a star-vehicle since 2015. In making JUNGLE CRUISE his next project, Collet-Serra now withdraws from the running to helm SUICIDE SQUAD 2, leaving Warner Bros. still on the hunt for a filmmaker for the DCEU movie.

David Ayer has been confirmed as not returning to direct SUICIDE SQUAD 2, and Warner Bros. initially approached Mel Gibson for the gig before moving on to Collet-Serra. Other names previously in the mix were Jonathan Levine (WARM BODIES) and Daniel Espinosa (LIFE), who may resurface, as well as Ruben Fleischer (ZOMBIELAND) who has since moved on to directing VENOM for Sony.

Deadline says that the allure of crafting an action-adventure franchise from the ground up, in the vein of INDIANA JONES, was more appealing than stepping into an already established franchise, so Collet-Serra settled on JUNGLE CRUISE over SUICIDE SQUAD 2. The Disney film will be set in the 1920s, using THE AFRICAN QUEEN as inspiration, and the idea is to emulate the success of PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN. Adam Cozad wrote an early draft of the script but it’s unclear who’s been working on it since then.

Johnson was aiming high for JUNGLE CRUSIE, revealing recently he wanted Patty Jenkins (WONDER WOMAN) to direct. This now firms the movie up as one of Johnson’s next projects after he completes the original blockbuster SKYSCRAPER, which is shooting now, and Disney is no doubt happy to firm up a film on Johnson’s incredibly busy development slate. You can now add JUNGLE CRUISE to Disney’s growing slate of live-action films based on existing IP. With Dwayne Johnson firmly in the fold, the Mouse House is yet another step closer to ruling the world.

First MOTHER tease arrives ahead of trailer next week, film due September 15, 2017!

Paramount has released a new teaser trailer for MOTHER. Details on the plot for Darren Aronofsky’s new film have been scarce, but we know that it’s a horror film starring Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem, and the story involves a couple that is sent into some sort of tizzy following the introduction of uninvited guests at their home.

This new teaser gives us our first look at footage from the film, albeit briefly. Indeed, the full trailer for MOTHER won’t be released online until August 8th, but Paramount is doing a great job of building interest in this thing, from the gorgeously gory poster to the initial dialogue-only teaser. I’m extremely curious to see what Aronofsky has cooked up here. He’s a unique filmmaker, and while he’s done twists on the horror genre before with BLACK SWAN and even REQUIEM FOR A DREAM, this seems to be a more straightforward genre film—or so we think. He’s also coming off his most ambitious film yet, NOAH, which was crafted on a blockbuster-sized budget, so to see him return to a much smaller scale here is another reason to be excited for MOTHER.

MOTHER opens in theaters on September 15th and also stars Ed Harris, Michelle Pfeiffer, Domhnall Gleeson, Brian Gleeson, and Kristen Wiig.

Box Office: DUNKIRK to beat EMOJIs, ATOMIC BLONDE on final July weekend!

Things were looking bleak at the box office yesterday. THE EMOJI MOVIE, easily one of the worst films of 2017, had a strong showing on Friday, to the point that it looked like the animated fiasco might very well take the weekend. DUNKIRK, Christopher Nolan‘s potent war film, was right behind Sony Animation’s latest while ATOMIC BLONDE, the other major release of the weekend, seemed to be holding strong in the third spot. Prognostications had EMOJI MOVIE and DUNKIRK in a dogfight for the weekend, but Nolan’s film still looked to be far enough behind to give EMOJI the edge.

Thankfully, that sinking feeling in my stomach was somewhat misguided. Weekend estimates now have DUNKIRK in the number one spot for its second frame with $28.1 million, while THE EMOJI MOVIE looks to take in $26.5 million in the second spot. DUNKIRK absolutely sings on the big screen and includes some solid performances from Mark Rylance, Cillian Murphy, and Fionn Whitehead. THE EMOJI MOVIE, in contrast, offers nothing but bright colors and a truly toxic perspective on the draw and popularity of life on the internet in the age of the iPhone.

Meanwhile, ATOMIC BLONDE, a gorgeous, fast and deliberate action movie, will bring in some $18.5 million by tomorrow morning but will not be in third place. Instead it will be coming in at fourth behind GIRLS TRIP, which showed real legs in its second frame, bringing in $20 million. SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING, which comes in at number five with $13.4 million.

1. ‘Dunkirk’ $28.13M
2. ‘The Emoji Movie’ $25.65M
3. ‘Girls Trip’ $20.08M
4. ‘Atomic Blonde’ $18.55M
5. ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ $13.45M

Terrifying new IT trailer floats online, film due September 8, 2017!

A brand new trailer for New Line Cinema’s horror film IT is now online. In the trailer, the Losers appear to be the sole force of good in the town of Derry, ME. They’re beset on all sides by evil, be it the local school bullies-turned-psychopaths, the apathetic adult townsfolk who turned blind eyes to said bullies’ behavior, or the terrifying clown that’s been lurking in the town’s sewers, abandoned homes, and around every shadowy corner.

This trailer’s a knockout. If you weren’t sold on IT before, this should do the trick. There are some creepy new shots of the creature itself, and we also get to hear Pennywise speak for the first time as he offers a balloon to poor Georgie. I’m interested to see how this film address a few necessary changes and how it approaches the Loser’s Club as adults in the sequel.

Andrés Muschietti’s adaptation of Stephen King’s horror novel stars Bill Skarsgaard, Jaeden Lieberher, Wyatt Oleff, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Jack Dylan Grazer, Chosen Jacobs, and Nicholas Hamilton. IT opens September 8th.

IMAX shifting to more 2D showings; “Clear preference” with domestic audience!

Following the success of AVATAR, studios were tripping over themselves to release their movies in 3D. The technology was new, James Cameron had shown that it could be used effectively, and, more importantly, theaters could charge more for it. Unfortunately, the product rarely lived up to the tech. Even when studios finally figured out how to do solid 3D post-conversions, the appeal was wearing off. Every tentpole was in 3D, but audiences were losing interest because for every GRAVITY or HUGO, there were 20 other movies where the 3D didn’t improve the experience. While tentpole movies are still getting 3D post-conversions, it’s clear that at least American audiences think that 2D is just fine.

And IMAX is listening. According to THR, IMAX CEO Richard Gelfond says they “will play more digital 2D versions of Hollywood movies domestically, given a ‘clear preference’ from consumers for 2D in North America.” Currently, DUNKIRK is only playing in IMAX 2D, and it did quite well this weekend. While you could argue that’s Christopher Nolan using his power to make sure his movie isn’t forced into 3D, IMAX also revealed that when it shows BLADE RUNNER 2049 this October, those screenings will be in 2D only.

IMAX will also be showing preference to movies that use their cameras. Movies that have been converted into IMAX will be getting one-week only showings in order for IMAX to show more movies, but films that were shot in IMAX like DUNKIRK and the upcoming AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR will receive longer runs.

Personally, I think this is the smart way to go. It’s clear across the board that 3D hasn’t really taken off. When you go to buy a new TV, the selling point isn’t that they’re in 3D (most new models aren’t), but rather that they’re 4K. People would rather have a better-quality image than stuff coming out the screen. While I don’t think 3D is totally dead, especially since it continues to do well overseas, I’m glad that we’re returning more to 2D. If there are filmmakers who want to actually use 3D rather that studios looking to make a quick buck, the technology will still be there.