Box Office: BLACK PANTHER’s reign continues with a $108M second weekend!

There’s no way to underplay just how much money Marvel’s latest blockbuster is making at this moment. By the end of today, BLACK PANTHER will likely cross the $400 million mark domestically and take in some $304 million internationally, adding up to $704 million globally. To put that in perspective, CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR made $408 million from its total domestic run, which lasted most of the 2016 summer season. It will have taken a little over two weeks for BLACK PANTHER to make that up. By the time next weekend ends, it’s entirely possible that Ryan Coogler‘s smash hit will be the second most lucrative Marvel movie domestically in the history of the MCU behind THE AVENGERS, the only other MCU title to break the $100 million barrier in its second weekend.

That such a high-grossing movie is also one of the most substantial movies that will likely be released this year is worth celebrating. In fact, the only downside to BLACK PANTHER‘s boundless ascension is that it has rendered all other new releases moot. The biggest new release of the weekend, GAME NIGHT, brought in $16.6 million to land at second whereas ANNIHILATION, Alex Garland‘s follow-up to EX MACHINA, took fourth with $11 million flat. Both movies are worth seeing and Garland’s movie is uniquely terrifying and enveloping in its rambunctious world-building. Still, ANNIHILATION wasn’t able to get enough audiences to beat out the oddly controversial PEYER RABBIY, which came in at third with $12.5 million.

That just leaves FIFTY SHADES FREED in fifth with $6.9 million, pushing the domestic gross toward $90 million in its third frame. The arrival of the spy film RED SPARROW and Eli Roth‘s DEATH WISH remake next weekend suggests that this will likely be the last weekend that FIFTY SHADES is in the top five. The same can essentially be said for ANNIHILATION. It’s sad to see a worthwhile movie essentially plowed over by either diversion or disinterest but such is the way of the beast that is the box office. And when stacked up against a groundbreaker like BLACK PANTHER making essentially every other MCU and DCEU title look like a messy child’s painting, the loss in popularity for Garland’s film feels miniscule.

Here’s your estimated top five for the weekend:

1. ‘Black Panther’ $108.04M
2. ’Game Night’ $16.6M
3. ‘Peter Rabbit’ $12.54M
4. ‘Annihilation’ $11M
5. ‘Fifty Shades Freed’ $6.91M


Latest DCEU Problem: Joss Whedon drops out of his own BATGIRL film!

The Joss Whedon BATGIRL movie is over before it begins. News broke last spring that Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment had wooed Marvel’s THE AVENGERS and AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON filmmaker to write and direct a BATGIRL movie for DC, which was greeted with glee and anticipation from fans. The other shoe dropped when it was revealed, a couple months later, that Whedon was taking over for director Zack Snyder on JUSTICE LEAGUE, which occupied his time for much of 2017 as he oversaw reshoots and post-production on the disappointing DCEU team-up film.

Now, with JUSTICE LEAGUE in the rearview, Whedon is departing BATGIRL altogether. Speaking with THR, Whedon says he had trouble cracking what the story for a Batgirl movie could be and threw in the towel:

“Batgirl is such an exciting project, and Warners/DC such collaborative and supportive partners, that it took me months to realize I really didn’t have a story. I’m grateful to [DC president] Geoff [Johns] and [Warner Bros. Picture Group President] Toby [Emmerich] and everyone who was so welcoming when I arrived, and so understanding when I… uh, is there a sexier word for ‘failed’?”

Sources tell THR that after a year of working on the script, Whedon “couldn’t crack the code” for what a BATGIRL movie should be. Moreover, in the wake of WONDER WOMAN, other industry sources note that Whedon and WB may have faced scrutiny if BATGIRL was brought to the screen by a male filmmaker rather than giving that opportunity to a woman. Which is probably true, and while I still would’ve been interested to see what Whedon would do with this character on the big screen, it’s clear he worked hard to no avail.

Reports swirled earlier this week that BATGIRL is likely on the immediate docket for the next round of DCEU movies, so either that report was wrong or Warner Bros. intends to forge ahead and keep BATGIRL a priority as they search for a new filmmaker. The latter would seem to be a better option, and given how positive WB’s relationship with Patty Jenkins seems to have been on WONDER WOMAN, to such stellar results, one hopes they’ll focus on finding a female filmmaker to bring a unique creative vision for BAGIRL to the screen.

As for Whedon, it’s unclear if he’ll remain in the DC fold or if he’ll move on to other projects. He was toiling away on his own original scripts when WB put up the JUSTICE LEAGUE batsignal for Whedon, so perhaps he’ll indeed be taking that superhero movie break that he intended post-AGE OF ULTRON after all.

DOPE’s Kiersey Clemons cast as Zorro in Jonas Cuaron’s sci-fi adaptation, titled Z!

Jonás Cuarón‘s plans for a ZORRO movie got some much-needed attention today with the news that Kiersey Clemons (DOPE) will be starring in the picture opposite Gael Garcia Bernal (‘Mozart in the Jungle’) in the title role. Titled simply Z, this reimagining of the classic swashbuckler in black finds him carving up a futuristic landscape–maybe a post-apocalyptic one–but few other details are available.

ScreenDaily originally reported that Clemons has joined as the female lead, along with the news that Z is supposed to start filming this June. However, this project has been stop-and-start for a while; it previously planned to start shooting in both the summer and the fall of 2016, but clearly that hasn’t happened. When it does get going, Z will be produced by Sobini Films and Lantica Media, with Anne-Marie Ross of Pantelion International shopping the pic in Berlin and UTA Independent Film Group representing domestic rights.

Here’s what producer Mark Amin had to say about Clemons coming aboard:

“Kiersey is an extraordinary young talent and we are delighted to have her join a growing list of unique actors who will inhabit the imaginative world of Jonás’ Z.”

As for Clemons’ other projects, she just appeared in co-writer/director Brett Haley‘s HEARTS BEAT LOUD, which landed a deal with Sony Pictures Classics; she’s expected to appear in the Blumhouse Productions’ thriller SWETTHEART this year and, of course, in John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein‘s FLASHPOINT movie, whenever that gets going.

JJ Abrams on STAR WARS EPISODE IX: The script is finshed, filming begins this July!

Any interest in some STAR WARS news? How about the fact that director J.J. Abrams actually has a script in hand ahead of shooting and that the temporarily titled STAR WARS EPISODE IX is due to start filming this summer? Abrams confirmed as much during a recent episode of ‘The Late Show with Stephen Colbert’. Written along with Derek Connolly, Chris Terrio, and Colin Trevorrow, STAR WARS EPISODE IX aims to continue–and possibly tie up–the character arcs for Rey, Finn, Kylo Ren, and other Tumblr-breaking heroes and villains.

Abrams will return to the helm for the next major STAR WARS film that’s set to arrive in theaters on December 20, 2019. Expect Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac and more to return. Will the Skywalker Saga truly come to a close in EPISODE IX, or will we get more open ends that will allow Disney’s new story to continue ad infinitum? We’ll find out in a little less than two years. If you missed it, here’s what Abrams had to say about the status of STAR WARS EPISODE IX:

“We have a script, which is a big deal for me. It starts shooting end of July … Sometimes having the script in advance is something I haven’t always been lucky enough to have … But I’m writing this with Chris Terrio, who’s a genius, and I’m having a great time.”

There you have it. And that’s about all we’ll hear about the concluding trilogy of the new STAR WARS films until this summer, most likely. In the meantime, we have the release of Ron Howard‘s SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY to look forward to this May 25th.

JURASSIC WORLD 3 in development at Universal, set for June 11, 2021 release!

Universal Pictures’ JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM is set to arrive in theaters on June 22nd of this year, but the studio is already looking a few years into the future for yet another installment in the revamped franchise. That’s right, JURASSIC WORLD 3 is in the works and it will be here in just a little over three years. Contemporary franchise architect Colin Trevorrow, who wrote and directed the first film back in 2015 and acts as a co-writer/executive producer on this year’s sequel, will complete his trifecta as co-writer/EP on JW3. This time, however, he’ll be co-writing with Emily Carmichael (PACIFIC RIM: UPRISING).

THR reports that Trevorrow and Carmichael will be picking up where J.A. Bayona‘s film leaves audiences this summer. Steven Spielberg will, of course, be back as executive producer as well, along with Frank Marshall and Pat Crowley returning in their roles as producers. JURASSIC WORLD and its $1.67B box office take has laid out a dino-sized banquet for everyone involved, so unless the sequel lays an unlikely egg, expect the trend to continue. And when will it continue? June 11, 2021.

As for the plot of JW3, don’t expect to hear much about it until well after FALLEN KINGDOM has had its opening frame. However, the third installment doesn’t come as much of a surprise since Trevorrow and Universal Pictures had previously talked about this new bevy of films as a planned trilogy. While FALLEN KINGDOM is supposed to dabble in explorations of greed and mankind’s responsibility to animal-kind, here’s what audiences can expect from that film as it leads into JURASSIC WORLD 3:

“Yes, absolutely … I knew where I wanted it to go. I remember telling Steven [Spielberg] even while we were still making the first movie, “This is the beginning. Here is the middle. And here’s the end of the end. This is where we want to go. I feel like that kind of design is crucial to a franchise like this if you really want to bring people along with you and make sure they stay interested. It needs to be thought through on that level. It can’t be arbitrary, especially if we want to turn this into a character-based franchise with people who you lean in to follow what they’re going to do.

“At the end of this movie, it’s not a cliffhanger, but it’s designed for people who want to know what’s going to happen next, whereas the earlier Jurassic Park movies had pretty clear definitive endings. They were pretty much episodic. In working with Derek Connolly, my co-writer, we were also thinking about where it was going to go in the future.”

As for newcomer Carmichael, in addition to PACIFIC RIM: UPRISING, she most recently rewrote Disney’s THE BLACK HOLE, which has director Joseph Kosinski attached, and had previously set up POWERHOUSE at Amblin, getting Spielberg’s attention with the family-friendly action-adventure pic. Here’s what Trevorrow had to say about the new blood:

“It’s important to this franchise that we welcome new creative voices to keep our storytelling fresh and alive. I’m thrilled with the tension and beauty J.A. has brought to Fallen Kingdom, and I know Emily will add another layer of emotion to the concluding chapter of our trilogy.”

As promised, here’s the release date confirmation for JURASSIC WORLD 3:

Disney’s live-action PINOCCHIO gets a director in PADDINGTON 2’s Paul King

Here’s a sentence you never thought you’d see five years ago: The director of those PADDINGTON movies is so hot right now. But as it turns out, he really, really is. Paul King first came to prominence as the director of the British series ‘The Mighty Boosh’, and he marked an intriguing choice to helm a PADDINGTON movie based on the lovable bear. But that 2014 film warmed hearts the world over, critics and audiences alike, and King’s sequel PADDINGTON 2 has earned similarly rave reviews. Now, King is being courted for big studio projects all over Hollywood, and he’s lined up to bring his compassionate family film POV to the Disney catalogue.

Variety reports that King is now in talks to direct Disney’s live-action PINOCCHIO movie, which has been in the works for quite some time. SKYFALL filmmaker Sam Mendes was previously attached to direct this new take on PINOCCHIO, which he signed on to after departing Disney’s live-action JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH, but Mendes departed PINOCCHIO last November. Chris Weitz and Andrew Miano are producing, and while Weitz (CINDERELLA) and Peter Hedges (ABOUT A BOY) previously penned a draft, WONDER and ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’ writer Jack Thorne is currently rewriting the script.

This comes on the heels of the news that King has also signed on to direct Warner Bros.’ new adaptation of CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY…that they’re making for some reason. Titled WILLY WONKA, that movie has MAN SEEKING WOMAN creator Simon Rich writing the screenplay and King’s PADDINGTON producer David Heyman onboard to produce. But if King finalizes his deal for PINOCCHIO, it sounds like he’ll make the Disney movie first as the Mouse House is looking to begin production this fall.

PINOCCHIO is one of several live-action updates in the works at Disney, which found massive success with THE JUNGLE BOOK and BEAUTY AND THE BEAST recently. The studio has CHRISTOPHER ROBIN hitting theaters this November, a new update of the WINNIE THE POOH story, and a trio of heavy hitters on deck for release in 2019: Jon Favreau’s THE LION KING, Guy Ritchie’s ALADDIN, and Tim Burton’s DUMBO. If PINOCCHIO really is going into production this fall, it seems likely Disney is eyeing a 2020 release date for this one.


While Warner Bros. and DC Comics fans are waiting to see if Chris McKay‘s NIGHTWING picture gets off the ground, the director of THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE is rolling the dice on another project. Hasbro’s production wing AllSpark Pictures and their partner Paramount Pictures recently doubled down on release dates for their upcoming franchise features, like a new G.I. JOE installment and the first MICRONAUTS picture. Another title among those announced is DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS, a beleaguered picture that may have found some firmer footing now that McKay is in negotiations to direct it.

Variety reports that McKay may end up as the Dungeon Master who will help bring Michael Gilio‘s script to life. Once we hear more about the the script and the project overall solidifying, I’ll be sure to share it with you here. For now, Hasbro’s Brian Goldner and Stephen Davis are producing the film, which is aimed to be one of the first projects to go into production for the newly repartnered AllSpark Pictures. DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS is currently on the calendar for a July 23, 2021 release.

In the meantime, McKay is also an executive producer on the THE LEGO MOVIE 2 which is currently filming for a February 8, 2019 release.