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  • Andrew Lynch


This week; two historic moments for cinema as Disney will release Mulan on Disney+ and a 70-year decree has been revoked; Rocksteady announce a Suicide Squad game; Captain Marvel 2's director is confirmed; images from upcoming Netflix films; the Star Trek franchise is setting a new course and much more.

Joe Wright’s Thriller Sold from Disney to Netflix

Darkest Hour and Atonement director, Joe Wright’s latest movie has been sold by Disney to Netflix.

The Woman in the Window, stars Amy Adams as an agoraphobe (fear of outdoors) who lives alone in her apartment and spies on her neighbours only to witness a violent crime.

This Rear Window-inspired film was developed by Fox 2000 studios, before the Fox-Disney merger was announced and as a result was shelved in late 2019.

Clearly Disney don’t see this film working for their ‘brand’ and have hand-balled it off to Netflix, based on an article via Deadline.

There is still no release date for the film, but a film about a woman trapped inside all day, watching the world from her window and questioning her sanity and mental health is a relevant film to be released right now.

Spider-Man in Marvel’s Avengers

Sony have revealed that the Wall-Crawler will be a playable character in Marvel’s Avengers, exclusively to the PlayStation.

Spidey will be available following an in-game event in early 2021, at no additional cost to the game.

Jeff Adams, Associate Art Director at Crystal Dynamics, one of the studios behind the game, said, “The event is comprised of a series of unique challenges for the hero to take on, testing his abilities, and yielding some exciting results”

Credit: Sony

Spider-Man will be as customisable as the other main characters in the game, with various skill and gear upgrades that are tied, narratively, to his partnering with Tony Stark and Hank Pym.

Spidey’s look is going to be inspired by Steve Ditko’s and John Romita Sr.’s seminal works on the character, with the iconic webbed wings on the suit.

Adams also said, “When he’s arcing through the air on his web line, we want you to feel graceful and light, and be able to utilize a variety of web configurations and gadgets to enhance your traversal”.

There is no conformation as to whether this Spidey will be the same as the Insomniac Spider-Man game, which itself had references to the Avengers, or a take unique to this game.

Marvel’s Avengers beta is available for all platforms August 21st-August 23rd, with the game released September 4th.

Netflix’s All-Star The Devil All the Time Images

Netflix have unveiled images from their latest, all-star film The Devil All the Time, directed by Antonio Campos.

The film stars, (*deep breath*), Tom Holland, Haley Bennett, Bill Skarsgård, Jason Clarke, Riley Keough, Sebastian Stan, Harry Melling, Mia Wasikowska, Eliza Scanlen and Robert Pattinson.

The Devil All The Time is set in 1960s Southern Ohio as people suffer from the psychological harm of World War II, and is based on a novel of the same name by Donald Ray Pollock.

The images, released exclusivley via Entertainment Weekly, do not give anything away narrativley besides the Americana setting and the physical and psychological damage the film will explore.

Campos’ last film was Christine in 2016, which starred Rebecca Hall as Christine Chubbuck, a 70s TV reporter who committed suicide on a live TV news broadcast.

The Devil All The Time will be available on Netflix, 16th September 2020.

Mulan on Disney+

In a shocking move, Disney have announced that their live-action Mulan film will be released on Disney+ instead of theatres, at a premium price.

Mulan will be available for Disney+ users, for $29.99 (let’s be lenient and round up to $30) USD on September 4th.

The film will be released in countries where Disney+ is available, and either simultaneously or only in theatres in countries where theatres are open or Disney+ is not accessible.

Mulan has a production budget of $200 million USD, which is why it was unlikely that Disney would never release the film anywhere but theatres, where they can see a higher return on profits.

Instead of charging $20 per ticket, a $30 price tag could mean that a family of 4 could watch the film for $50 less than seeing it in theatres and Disney would likely see less money.

However, China, which is one country which does not have Disney+, and whose theatres are open, may be a market that Disney are relying on delivering massive profits.

Mulan is not a remake of the animated 1998 film but based on the Chinese legend of Hua Mulan, which would be more appealing to the Chinese market, typically, the biggest market for Hollywood films outside the US.

For perspective on the financial importance of the Chinese market, Avengers: Endgame, the highest box office movie of all time, made over $800 million in the US and over $600 million in China.

Disney CEO Bob Chapek said during the company’s earnings call, “We’re looking at Mulan as a one-off as opposed to saying there’s a new business windowing model”.

So don’t expect Black Widow to come out on Disney+ anytime soon, no matter how many times places like Screen Rant “predict” it will.

Tom Hanks in Disney’s Pinocchio

America’s Dad, Tom Hanks is in talks to play Geppetto in Disney’s live-action take on the puppet who wants to be a ‘real boy’.

Disney’s Pinocchio has Robert Zemeckis (Back to the Future, Cast Away) set to direct, and with Hanks in negotiations, this would be the 4th collaboration between the actor and director.

Pinocchio is another of Disney’s live-action “remasters” of their back catalogue of animated films with the animated Pinocchio released in 1940.

This project has some competition with Guillermo del Toro developing his own take on Pinocchio.

Del Toro’s version is a suitably darker, animated take on the classic fairy tale for the director behind Pan’s Labyrinth and Hellboy, and stars Ewan McGregor, Tilda Swinton, Ron Perlman and Christoph Waltz.

Hanks is in early talks with Zemeckis in pre-production on the film, and Del Toro’s version set for release in 2021.

Judas and the Black Messiah Trailer

The first trailer for a potential awards contender, Judas and the Black Messiah has been released.

The film is based on the true story of Fred Hampton, Chairman of the Illinois Black Panther Party in the 1970s who is betrayed by William O’Neal to the FBI.

Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out, Black Panther) stars as Fred Hampton, LaKeith Stanfield (Sorry to Bother You, Knives Out) as O’Neal, Jesse Plemons, Ashton Sanders and Martin Sheen as J. Edgar Hoover.

Shaka King is directing with Ryan Coogler producing the film which, based on the tense trailer, holds potential as an awards contender, especially for Kaluuya.

Captain Marvel 2 Director

Captain Marvel 2’s director has been announced by Deadline and, when confirmed, will be a landmark decision.

Nia DaCosta will direct the sequel and also have the honour of being the first African-American woman to direct a Marvel film.

DaCosta takes over from Anne Boden and Ryan Fleck, who directed the first film which earned over $1 billion USD.

The sequel will be written by Megan McDonnell, who worked as story editor on the upcoming Disney+ WandaVision series.

DaCosta’s potential hiring is another signal of at least Marvel and DC’s effort to move away from white male directors, with Chloe Zhao and Cathy Yan directing The Eternals and Birds of Prey.

Nia DaCosta recently directed the reboot of Candyman, which is set to be released 16th October 2020.

A League of Their Own TV Remake

Amazon Studios have announced a reboot of the 90s baseball comedy, A League of Their Own.

Abbi Jacobson (Broad City) will star and co-run the show along with Will Graham (Mozart in the Jungle).

The movie, and likely the series, is a fictional account about the formation of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League that formed as a result of men fighting in World War II.

Credit: Amazon Prime

The film starred Geena Davis, Rosie O’Donnell, Lori Petty, Madonna and Tom Hanks and was directed by the late Penny Marshall.

The TV series will star Jacobson, D’Arcy Carden (The Good Place), Roberta Colindrez (Vida), Kate Berlant, Kelly McCormack and Michael Cyrill Creighton.

The film is a beloved cult film with memorable lines like “There’s no crying in baseball!” and explored female friendship and comradery in a male driven world.

In a joint statement, Jacobson and Graham said, “It took grit, fire, authenticity, wild imagination and a crackling sense of humour for these players to achieve their dreams. We’re hoping to bring audiences a story with all of those qualities.”

John Wick 5 Confirmed

Yeah, I’m thinkin’ he’s back!

Even before John Wick 4 has started filming, Lionsgate have already confirmed that John Wick 5 is in development.

The fifth instalment in the fast-growing, action franchise will be shot back-to-back with the fourth film.

Lionsgate CEO, John Feltheimer, said, “We’re also busy preparing scripts for the next two instalments of our John Wick action franchise”

Starting in 2014, the Keanu Reeves-led franchise has blown up with its masterful action choreography and an action hero who harkens back to 80s action heroes like Schwarzenegger in Commando.

Along with the (now) 5 entries in the film franchise, there are also comic books, video games and a spin-off TV series about the mysterious hotel, The Continental.

John Wick 4 was planned to be released early in 2021, but with filming put on hold now has a release date of May 27th, 2022.

Antebellum New Release Schedule

Janelle Monae starring upcoming horror-thriller film, Antebellum, has suffered the fate of most upcoming movies.

Antebellum will be available for premium on-demand, at a cost of $19.99, and in theatres in countries where theatres are open or will be by the film’s release date.

The Jordan Peele-produced film looks to be a time-bending horror film of a black woman in the 21st century who is attacked and wakes up a slave worker in 18th century America, before the Civil War.

The film joins the ranks of Trolls: World Tour, Scoob!, Bill & Ted Face the Music, and now Mulan, as films that have forgone theatrical releases for at home purchases, at least in the US.

Antebellum is directed by Gerard Bush and Christopher Renz and will be released September 18th.

Rocksteady Suicide Squad Game

Rocksteady, the game studio behind the Batman: Arkham series has announced their next project in the DC universe.

Rocksteady’s next game will be Suicide Squad, announced via their Twitter with a teaser poster that hints towards the campaign for the game.

The teaser poster shows the Suicide Squad logo targeting in on the Last Son of Krypton’s head…if it is Superman at all.

The Suicide Squad hunting down Superman is not unlikely, since in the movie, Amanda Waller uses the example of a rogue Superman as a motive for the formation of the Squad.

However, there are villains that mimic Superman, such as Bizzaro, the Eradicator or Cyborg Superman who could all pose a threat to the world that only a group like Task Force X could eliminate.

A Suicide Squad game has been teased since the end of the prequel Arkham Origins, which sees Amanda Waller approaching Slade Wilson/Deathstroke to join the Task Force.

More details about the game will be revealed at the upcoming DC FanDome online event on August 22nd-23rd.

Star Trek Film Reassessment

Paramount Studios are revaluating the Star Trek franchise with the latest entry being put on hold.

Noah Hawley, creator of Legion and Fargo series, was writing and directing a new film before the new President of Motion Pictures at Paramount, halted the project.

Emma Watts, Paramount’s new President, worked at 20th Century Fox and produced films like The Martian, Bohemian Rhapsody, Logan, Deadpool, Kingsman: The Secret Service, Night at the Museum, the Planet of the Apes reboot, the Avatar franchise and Steven Spielberg’s upcoming West Side Story.

She left Fox January this year, before being hired by Paramount in late June.

According to Deadline, Watts’ top priority is the franchise that boldly goes where no one has gone before, and which has not had a new film entry since 2016’s Star Trek Beyond.

Along with Hawley’s film, there was another entry that Quentin Tarantino was circling before pulling out, and a fourth Chris Pine-led film that would have included Chris Hemsworth in a time-travel story, which was also shelved.

The Trek series has been booming on streaming services, with Star Trek: Discovery, Picard, Strange New Worlds and the recent animated Lower Decks.

Star Trek is a lucrative franchise for Paramount, with the last 3 films making a combined box office gross of over $1 billion USD.

Netflix’s Rebecca First Look Images

Netflix have released the first images of Ben Wheatley’s adaptation of the classic mystery novel, Rebecca.

The film stars Lily James, Armie Hammer, Kristin Scott Thomas and Sam Riley and is based on Daphne du Maurier’s novel of the same that was famously adapted by the Master of Suspense, Alfred Hitchcock.

Rebecca is about a young woman (James) who marries a widower (Hammer) and struggles with the legacy of the widower’s first wife, Rebecca, and sinister house servants in what Netflix describe as “a mesmerizing and gorgeously rendered psychological thriller”.

The gothic horror novel was released in 1938 and adapted by Hitchcock in 1940, with Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine as the leads.

Ben Wheatley is no stranger to thriller, directing the warehouse shoot-out Free Fire and class inequality thriller High Rise.

Rebecca is available on Netflix, October 21st.

Ben Affleck Directing Film About A Film

Ben Affleck has found his next directorial project, and he’ll be exploring a turning point in Hollywood’s history, Deadline report.

Affleck will be making a film based on Sam Wasson’s book The Big Goodbye: Chinatown and the Last Years of Hollywood, which recounts the tumultuous making of Chinatown.

The film is a revered noir film with a final line that is put among the best endings in cinematic history (‘Forget it Jake. It’s Chinatown’) and career best performance from Jack Nicholson.

The Big Goodbye looks at how the film is one of the last made in the old Hollywood film system that was replaced with the corporatized model in the 80s, and is used today.

Affleck has explored the history of Hollywood before, playing George Reeves in Hollywoodland and directing the Oscar winning Argo.

Paramount Decree Removed

Finally, in a historic moment, a US federal judge has allowed for the US Justice Department to overturn the Paramount decree, which has controlled how theatres are operated for over 70 years.

The Paramount Decree was formed in 1948 when the Justice Department sued the major film studios at the time for monopolising the film industry.

During the 30s and 40s, major film studios were in charge of not only the production of film but distribution and either outright owned movie theatres or used techniques like ‘resale price maintenance’, which allowed studios to set a minimum ticket price and ‘block booking’.

‘Block Booking’ is when studios forced theatres to show multiple films from the studio.

For a modern example, if Disney were distributing a Marvel movie, but they also had a smaller movie they thought was going to flop, they would sell the Marvel movie to the theatres with the proviso that the theatre also purchases the perceived flop.

This resulted in theatres relying on showing movies from studios that they were ‘loyal’ to and putting themselves in greater financial risk, if say no audiences were interested or if the studio pulled movies at their wish.

District Judge Analisa Torres wrote in her ruling that, “Changes in the motion picture industry over the last 70 years have made it unlikely that the remaining [studios] could or would reinsteate their cartel to monopolize the motion picture distribution and theatre markets”

There will be a two-year transition period for the restrictions to be eased before studios are able to engage in those practices, which the US Department of Justice assure will be controlled by “existing antitrust laws”.

With this and the impact of COVID-19 forcing studios to consider shifting away from theatrical releases, the cinema may have finally reached an opponent it cannot overcome.

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