Universal Cancels The Hunt

So this news has been pretty predominant in the filmscape over the last couple of days, so I thought we would discuss it here today. Universal Pictures cancelled the marketing strategy for their new Blumhouse film The Hunt in light of the mass shootings which have taken place in the US over the past week. Then, they announced that they were cancelling their release for the film. A spokesperson for Universal stated that “now is not the right time to release this film.”

Some have seen this film as being targeted by President Trump in the past few days when he stated that movies were “very dangerous for our country.” He didn’t elaborate on which films in particular, so some can assume that he was speaking about The Hunt. Personally, I don’t think he pays any real attention to the current release slate, but this was seen as maybe an inciting incident into the cancellation.

So here’s the thing. I don’t want to get overly political on this site. I have my thoughts that plenty can read on my twitter feed and I don’t want to alienate any of my readers and their viewpoints, but I will say this: Trump should worry more about what comes out of his own mouth than what movies come out of Hollywood.

I respect the difficult choice placed on Universal and Blumhouse in cancelling the release, but I think a smarter announcement would be to shift the release date for the film instead of outright cancellation. Now, it is fair to say that there’s no specific reason to believe that we will never see this movie, but I think that by not giving a new release date shows that this was a snap decision that carries poor connotations for the studio. Making a snap decision is a bad idea because it shows no artistic integrity by the studio. There’s been a lot of discussion about the cause of gun violence, with the White House blaming movies and video games for it instead of poor gun laws (and I’m not talking about taking your guns away). By cancelling this film’s release without announcing a new date, it makes it look like Universal agrees with the notion that films cause violence. Now, I don’t think that’s true, but it comes down to how it looks, and it doesn’t look good for the studio.

 

So what do you think? Should The Hunt have been cancelled the way it was? Let me know/Drop a comment below!

 

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

PS. Don’t forget to be respectful when discussing these kinds of things. Remember that only a Sith deals in absolutes and it is important to have thoughtful discussions in our society instead of name-calling and rudeness. Thanks for coming to my TED talk.

[Box Office Report] Hobbs & Shaw Kick Everyone’s Asses Again, Because They’re Hobbs & Shaw

Okay, so the weekend wasn’t all Hobbs & Shaw, but I’m surprised at the staying power of that film.

For the domestic box office, the Fast & Furious spinoff led the pack with $25.4 million, offering close to a 50% dropoff, which will continue to serve it well. Worldwide, the film has taken in a total of $332 million in its two weekends of release, with several markets still yet to open.

There were quite a few new releases this past weekend, with Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark coming in second at the domestic box office with $20.8 million, coming in above projects even while scoring a C Cinemascore. I think this was a film where the marketing didn’t do a great enough job to accurately sell the film, and it’s a tough sell in general as it doesn’t really have a specific audience. It’s pretty dark for a kids scary movie but it doesn’t really aim for adults either, but scary movies, especially leading into September and October, are always winners.

The Lion King is holding on strong in third place with $20 million. I knew this was would have some staying power and audiences are enjoying it even with its mixed critical reception. The Disney remake is now the second-highest grossing film of the year at the worldwide box office, coming in behind the behemoth Avengers: Endgame.

In fourth place is Dora and the Lost City of Gold, another new release, with $17 million. I was mixed on the film but overall felt like it would do pretty well, and it landed an A Cinemascore, so audiences are definitely taking to it. I’m expecting this was to drop off quicker than expected, though.

Fifth place belongs to Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood with $11.6 million. The film has garnered positive reviews and lots of Oscar buzz, but I wish it were performing better. It’s just a film that isn’t really for everybody but I was hoping the film would explode more than it has. It’s doing alright at the box office, but I know the cost was somewhere around $90 million and it currently has collectively hit around $100 million so I would expect the film to end up losing some money for the studio.

The other new releases at the box office this weekend included The Art of Racing in the Rain ($8.1 million), The Kitchen ($5.5 million), Bring the Soul: The Movie ($2.29 million), and Brian Banks ($2.1 million).

What did you see this weekend? Let me know/Drop a comment below!

 

-Kyle A. Goethe

Coming 2 America Adds John Amos

John Amos is now Coming 2 America again! The actor is returning to the role of Cleo McDowell in the upcoming Eddie Murphy/Arsenio Hall sequel directed by Craig Brewer.

The original film saw Murphy’s Prince Akeem go to Queens in order to find a suitable wife for him to bring home to Zamunda to rule at his side. Amos played the father of Akeem’s love interested in the film. The sequel will see Akeem return to America when he discovers a son he never knew about.

I can only hope that this news means we will see McDowell’s again, the fictional McDonald’s wannabe headed up by Amos’s Cleo McDowell. I’ve spoken of my love for the original Coming to America and it does indeed make me nervous to see this follow-up, especially with Murphy’s many recent flops. I just want this one to be really good. Is that so wrong? I find the original film to be Eddie Murphy’s best film in his career. News of John Amos returning is always a welcome sight, though.

It also doesn’t mean that the sequel will be great. Amos has been seen TV’s The Ranch and Bad Asses 3: Bad Asses on the Bayou, so I will say that he isn’t particularly picky on the screenplay or film projects he attaches to.

Coming 2 America hits theaters December 18, 2020.

So what do you think? Is this a good sign for the upcoming sequel? Let me know/Drop a comment below!

 

-Kyle A. Goethe

Schitt’s Creek Star Cast in Horror Film Home

Schitt’s Creek is wrapping up soon, and one of the stars of the comedy series, Emily Hampshire, will be heading Home. Variety is reporting that Hampshire signed on for the lead role in the psychological horror film which is set to begin production this week.

The film is being directed by Adam O’Brien from a script by Philip Kalin-Hajdu. The story concerns a recently separated woman who is suffering from grief after the death of her newborn but comes to believe that the child is still alive.

The story here could be something rather interesting if done right. It’s a tough tightrope to walk with a film that hits so many personal tragedies, but having seen some of Schitt’s Creek, I was impressed with the layered performance of Emily Hampshire as Stevie, the motel clerk and owner. I think she has the capabilities to really turn this role into something special.

Emily Hampshire’s recently appeared in Mother! and TV’s 12 Monkeys. As of now, Home does not have a release date.

So what do you think? Is Emily Hampshire right at home in Home? Let me know/Drop a comment below!

 

-Kyle A. Goethe

Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley Move to D&D Film

The directing duo of Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley have moved from the Flash film over at DC to negotiations for the Paramount Dungeons & Dragons film, replacing director Chris McKay, who left the D&D film to work on Ghost Draft, starring Chris Pratt.

The script for D&D is currently being penned by Michael Gillio, but one can only assume that the directing pair will take a stab at a rewrite before they step behind the camera (they wrote Spider-Man: Homecoming and Horrible Bosses, among many other projects).

Little is still known about Paramount’s AllSpark Pictures, of which Dungeons & Dragons will be a part of, and people keep referring to the collective as a cinematic universe, but I think that is an incorrect categorization.

This does spark a little excitement in me, as I really enjoyed last year’s Game Night from this duo as well as their work on Spider-Man: Homecoming and some of their other projects. I do worry that the film’s tone might be questionably more campy than I would have thought, but that’s purely because I haven’t seen any work by Goldstein and Daley that skews to the serious. Sure, there are elements, but I think this D&D film needs to take itself more seriously and less comedic. That’s just me. It’s just what I want.

So what do you think? Is this the writing directing team for Dungeons & Dragons? Let me know/Drop a comment below!

 

-Kyle A. Goethe

Sony Searches for a Venom 2 Director

Hey, I’ll throw my hat in the mix too, why not?

Sony is meeting with several possible directors for Venom 2. Variety is reporting that Andy Serkis, Travis Knight, and Rupert Wyatt are all in talks for the upcoming sequel, which will see Tom Hardy returning as the vigilante anti-hero. Currently, there is no front-runner, but Sony will want to move fast as they hope to begin shooting this fall.

The director of the original Venom, Ruben Fleischer, will not be able to return as he is deep into post-production of the zombie sequel Zombieland: Double Tap (he also directed the original).

Venom 2 is a big-ticket win for Sony, which has struggled in the past to find viable franchises, and Venom, although not a winner with critics, certainly appealed to fans as it grossed over $800 million at the worldwide box office. Assumptions are that the film is aiming for an October 2020 release.

I’ll be the guy that says it. I still haven’t seen Venom yet, but given the box office, this is a good move for Sony, who, as I said, needs more franchises than just Spider-Man, even if they are trying to  merge the two.

Looking at these filmmakers, I would say the best bet would be on Rupert Wyatt. As of yet, I haven’t caught Andy Serkis’s Mowgli, and as far as serious dark films, I’m not sure Travis Knight is the best pic, having only helmed Laika films and last year’s Bumblebee, a noticeably poppy and bright film. Wyatt, however, brought the Planet of the Apes franchise back to life, a very difficult task to complete.

So what do you think? Who should helm Venom 2? Let me know/Drop a comment below!

 

-Kyle A. Goethe

David Gordon Green is Done with Halloween After Next Two Sequels

The Halloween franchise has survived more potential deaths than most of its cast of characters, most recently being resurrected by David Gordon Green and writing partner Danny McBride for Halloween 2018 last year, but with the announcement last week of two more sequels with Green at the helm, the director spoke to Collider about finishing the story he began between Michael Myers and Laurie Strode.

The two sequels, Halloween Kills and Halloween Ends, are set to release in 2020 and 2021, and will be a continuation of his Halloween 2018 reboot, which ignored all previous sequels to the 1978 original film.

Green told Collider, “They’re never done telling the Frankenstein story, and at this point, Michael Myers is a classic movie monster. But our Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode/Michael Myers saga will be done. The fun of it is also seeing it end, and knowing that it can. If you just keep trying to elongate it and milk it for all of the money, then that’s boring.”

Further on in the discussion, he discussed Halloween Ends as being his last contribution to the franchise, promising that the film will end in a satisfying finale.

Danny McBride recently spoke about their intent to do three films which tell a singular story following the original Halloween, so this is in line with what Green has stated.

For me, I happen to agree with this idea. I was never big on retconning the previous incarnations of Halloween in favor of a new timeline, but that’s the way it went, and I think if that’s the plan, make it a singular story that has an ending. The title Halloween Ends seems to confirm that, but what I will say is that if Green wants to ensure that his film is an ending, he had to do something none of the other Halloween films have ever been able to accomplish, which is a tall order going into these sequels.

What do you think? Is having a true ending the right way to go here, and do you think it can actually ever be a true ending without another sequel? Let me know/Drop a comment below!

 

-Kyle A. Goethe

Far From Home Becomes First Spider-Man Film to Hit Billion-Dollar Club

Spider-Man: Far From Home is officially the first and only Spider-Man film to earn a billion dollars at the worldwide box office. This is a major achievement for Sony, as Spider-Man is really its biggest franchise, and it’s also further proof of the power of this cinematic friendship between Sony and Marvel.

If I’m correct, Far From Home marks the end of the Sony/Marvel deal that started a few years ago, and renegotiations are probably underway already or have been discussed. I’m guessing that once a deal is struck (and I would assume a deal will be struck after the successes of Far From Home and Avengers: Endgame), we will likely see a Spider-Man 3 in Phase 4. Sony will not want to sit on this, and it would make sense not to see anything of a third Spider-Man film mentioned at the Comic-Con panel until all the signatures are in place.

There’s a couple reasons this Spider-Man was finally the one to do it. First, the Tom Holland Spider-Man has been very popular, and Far From Home is his fifth appearance in the MCU, so we’ve been with him awhile. The reviews for Far From Home have been quite good, and are coming off a successful Homecoming and a Best Animated Feature Oscar for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, so the brand name is strong.

Then there’s the Avengers: Endgame hanging over it all. A film like Endgame left us wanting to know what comes next, and it was handled quite well in Far From Home.

So yes, here’s hoping that we will see more Spider-Man in the MCU after this major achievement. So what do you think? Have you seen Spider-Man: Far From Home? What did you think? Let me know/Drop a comment below!

 

-Kyle A. Goethe

Lord of the Rings TV Series Begins Casting

Little is still known about the Lord of the Rings series over at Amazon, but casting has officially begun, something that should shine light on the upcoming project.

Variety is reporting that Markella Kavenagh is being looked at for a role in the fantasy series as a character named Tyra, though that it all the information given and it isn’t know if Tyra is a human of one of the many other creatures in the vast world of Middle Earth.

JD Payne and Patrick McKay are developing the series with Bryan Cogman of Game of Thrones as a consultant. J.A. Bayona will be several episodes.

For me, I know very little about Markella Kavenagh, but I like that they are searching out people who may not be household names for two reasons. This show will be very expensive, and this will be great at keeping costs down. Also, this will help ease audiences back into Middle Earth because they won’t keep seeing big names everywhere. Still, Tyra may not be the lead, so who knows?

All the same, I think this is a good sign, and I’m hoping for the best. I loved The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, so I am quite excited to revisit this world.

So what do you think? Is this a smart casting choice for The Lord of the Rings series? Let me know/Drop a comment below!

 

-Kyle A. Goethe

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