We’re well into August, and summer blockbuster movie season is heading into its home stretch. Even with the writers’ and the actors’ strikes, Hollywood news isn’t slowing down. This week finds Barbie continuing to dominate the box office (with a nod to Oppenheimer’s success), Seth Rogen being a great guy, promising updates on the Ayer Cut, and more.

As always, Atom Insider brings you a few hand-picked stories we think you’ll like. Ready? Let’s dive in.

Seth Rogen Treated His TMNT: Mutant Mayhem Animators Like They Should All Be Treated

This week, VFX artists for Marvel voted to unionize, continuing the summer of labor action across Hollywood. Writers and actors have already been on the picket lines for a while, and it was only a matter of time before animators and VFX crew followed suit. Stories of VFX workers burning out, being underpaid, and putting in massively unhealthy hours for big, CG-heavy tentpole films have been rife for the past few years, and it’s long past time that studio and streaming execs address the industry burnout.

To that end, it’s nice to hear stories of animators being treated well. Thanks to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem director Jeff Rowe and producers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, we have one of those stories. In an interview with Insider, Rowe revealed that Rogen and Goldberg pride themselves on maintaining a good work-life balance, and it extended to the animated Mutant Mayhem production:

“That was the thing that was really important to us on this film, and I learned it from Seth and Evan because in getting to know Seth, I’m like, he has a really good work-life balance and everyone at Point Gray does. And I asked him about that and he is like, ‘Well, we’re like when you’re doing live-action, sometimes you’re on a set for 40 days in a row and it is exhausting and tiring. And we want to make sure that our people have time away from that and that it doesn’t become their entire lives.’ I really took that to heart and wanted to make sure that when we made this film, we did it ethically.

I never want the team to be suffering more than I am. And I also hopefully am suffering more than the team because I’m the captain and I’m paid to absorb that, and they’re not. It’s important to preserve that. People just do better work when they’re rested and have home lives.”

To that end, the staff and crew worked 3 days a week, with some of the animators choosing to work from home in their native Scotland. It’s a nice change of pace from the horror stories that normally come out of Hollywood involving how overworked animators and others on a VFX crew are. Considering the excellent reviews it’s been getting, Rogen & Co. may be on to something. Mutant Mayhem is showing that when a movie crew is happy and cared for, they do great work.

Get tickets for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem.

Talk 2 Me Already In The Works From A24 And Danny & Michael Philippou

With the summer’s cult horror movie, Talk To Me, being a hit in just a few weeks in theaters, it’s no surprise A24 is already in talks with directors Danny and Michael Philippou for a sequel. The Australian horror about a group of friends who accidentally unleash a horrific entity when they start playing conjuring games with an embalmed hand was made for an estimated $4.5 million. Considering it’s already made back its budget more than 6x over (it currently stands at $27.3 million at the global box office), it’s a no-brainer that Talk 2 Me is on the way. Currently, it’s one of A24’s best-performing horror movies of all time, beating out Midsommar, Bodies Bodies Bodies, and The Witch. The sequel will once again be directed by the Philippou brothers and co-written by Danny Philippou and Bill Hinzman, who also helped draft the script of Talk to Me.

Insidious: The Red Door Has Become 2023’s Biggest Horror Film So Far

Talk to Me may be A24’s biggest horror movie this year, but Sony/Screen Gems/Stage 6 Films/Blumhouse’s Insidious: The Red Door is the biggest horror movie of 2023 so far, period. The movie sits at a current worldwide total of almost $183 million, with a great domestic opening weekend of $33 million. The Red Door is the fifth movie in the Insidious series, and the first to be directed by Patrick Wilson. Not only is it the biggest horror grosser of the year, but it’s also the highest-grossing Insidious movie to date. It has edged out Blumhouse’s previous 2023 hit, M3GAN, which capped at $180.8 million.

David Ayer Teases That His Suicide Squad Director’s Cut Will See The Light Of Day

When Zack Snyder’s director’s cut of Justice League hit HBO Max (or…Max, as they’re calling it now), it was a unique situation in Hollywood, born of a rabid if small fan base and a global pandemic necessitating some outside-the-box thinking. It also revved up fans with the hope that another director’s cut of a DC theatrical bomb would be greenlit in the form of David Ayer’s cut of Suicide Squad. That has yet to happen, but Ayer himself teased that he recently had a promising conversation with no DC Studios co-head James Gunn. He took to Twitter, a.k.a. X, to share that Gunn promised him his cut of the film “would have its time to be shared”:

Ayer’s 2016 Suicide Squad was infamously hindered by an insanely truncated timeline, rampant studio meddling, and a theatrical cut that was chopped to pieces from the cut he’d actually envisioned as the director. Ayer has been quite vocal on social media about the theatrical release being incredibly different, and his deep disappointment with the finished cut of the film and the poor reception it received.

Hopefully, Ayer will get the same opportunity Snyder did.

Billionaire Barbie Crosses The Billion-Dollar Threshold

It was inevitable, but Barbie has officially crossed the billion-dollar mark at the box office, making Greta Gerwig the first solo woman director with a film to hit that impressive milestone. Even more impressive is the fact it accomplished this feat in just its third weekend, showing that audiences around the globe have an appetite for the candy-colored, quirky and heartfelt story and great performances. As of the last count, Barbie has earned almost $1.1 billion globally. It’s now the second-biggest movie of the year, behind only The Super Mario Bros. Movie, which bowed with almost $1.4 billion in theaters. With Barbie yet to open in a few markets, such as Japan, it may very well have the chance to catch up to Super Mario Bros., or at least get close – August is generally a wide-open month, and there’s nothing on the upcoming release calendar that will compete with Barbie in terms of tone or buzz.

James Wan Is On The Mend After Scary Hospital Trip

Director James Wan (Aquaman, The Conjuring, Malignant) had a scary night recently, revealing on his Instagram that he had been rushed to the hospital for an overnight trip. The Instagram story has since disappeared off his page, but it was screenshot by a number of fan accounts such as the following:

“It has been an extremely rough and scary couple of days and nights. You never want to rush to ER in the middle of the night and then have to stay in the hospital. Cedars Sinai is truly the best!! The best doctors, nurses, technicians, just the most wonderful people. James is safe now and on the mend.” read the caption on the story, which was posted by his wife, Ingrid Bisu.

Details of his exact medical emergency were not shared, but it’s good to see the director is on the mend. His next project, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, is due in theaters the week of Christmas.

Trailers & Clips of the Week

And now, your trailers and clips of the week!

All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt – Official Trailer

A24 just can’t miss.

The Kill Room – Official Trailer

It’s good to see Uma Thurman back in the game.

The Good Mother – Official Trailer

It’s also good to see Hillary Swank back on screen, too.

And just in case you missed it…

Loki Season 2 – Official Trailer

Loki & Mobius are reunited and it feels so good.

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