December is in full swing and we’re charging into the holiday movie season full steam ahead. Spider-Man is about to knock it out of the park, followed by Neo as the two titan heavyweights battle it out at the box office. In between those two are family-friendly fare, awards contenders, and one slick Guillermo del Toro crowd-pleaser. It all means news continues to flow. As always, Atom Insider is bringing you a few hand-picked stories we think you’ll like. Ready? Let’s dive in.

Denis Villeneuve Tackling Sci-Fi Classic ‘Rendezvous With Rama’

Hot off his hit remake of the iconic sci-fi story, Dune, director Denis Villeneuve is set to take on an adaptation of another sci-fi classic. THR reports that he’s on board to helm an adaptation of Arthur C. Clarke’s Rendezvous with Rama for Alcon Entertainment. Clarke’s 1973 novel follows a group of human astronaunts and explorers who are tasked with the mission of intercepting an alien spacecraft as it moves through the solar system in the hopes it will bring about the first contact between humans and alien life. Said Alcon co-CEOs Broderick Johnson and Andrew Kosove, “This is one of the most intelligent works of fiction in the genre; it poses as many questions as it does answers, and is a work for our time. It’s perfectly fitted to our friend and collaborator Denis’ brilliant sensibilities and specifically to his love and passion for science fiction.

It’s a great fit for Villeneuve, who, with Arrival, Blade Runner 2049, and Dune, has shown he’s our modern master at grappling big, thematic sci-fi with themes of identity and existentialism. Currently, Dune is nearing the $400 million mark at the global box office, despite a day-and-date release on HBO Max and theaters. Dune 2 has already been greenlit, and Villeneuve is also executive producing and set to direct a few episodes of the prequel spinoff series Dune: The Sisterhood.

‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ Poised For Minimum $290 Million Global Opening

After over a year and a half of fears that the theater business was over and no one goes to movies anymore, Spider-Man: No Way Home is about to swing into theaters and lay those fears to rest. The multiverse-breaking pic bringing together the MCU’s version of Spider-Man in Tom Holland with previous Sony Spidey villains in Doc Ock, Green Goblin, Electro and more is also projected to bring audiences together. Sony, which is known for lowballing its tracking numbers, is setting domestic projections for opening weekend at $130 million, with overseas projections putting it around $160-180 million. At the lowest total, that puts Spider-Man: No Way Home at $290 million for its global opening weekend.

However, numbers from Sony rivals and neutral third parties put the domestic figures closer to anywhere from $175-200 million. If it does indeed climb closer to those numbers than Sony’s conservative estimate, it will be hitting pre-pandemic numbers for a tentpole release. And if it does hit that highest end, it could be looking at a $380 million global opening weekend. Depending on repeat viewings – and with the story, repeat viewings are almost certain – it’s entirely possible it will come close to hitting a billion dollars even without China. The reason for optimism isn’t coming out of nowhere, either. Presales have been through the roof; as Deadline notes, advance tickets sales for No Way Home are running 20% ahead of Rise of Skywalker and 35% behind Avengers: Endgame, and that was the largest domestic opening of all time. Either way, it would appear everything’s coming up Spidey.

Read our spoiler-free Spider-Man: No Way Home review.

National Film Registry Adds A Bunch Of Familiar Names

Here’s something neat. The Library of Congress has revealed its list of 25 movies that made the cut this year to be added to the National Film Registry. The National Film Registry is a list of films deemed “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant” that are marked for preservation in the official Library of Congress archives. It’s an honor to be selected for the registry, and this year’s class sees a number of familiar and beloved titles. Here’s the full list of films selected to be added to the 2021 National Film Registry (in chronological order):

  • Ringling Brothers Parade Film (1902)
  • Jubilo (1919)
  • The Flying Ace (1926)
  • Hellbound Train (1930)
  • Flowers and Trees (1932)
  • Strangers on a Train (1951)
  • What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)
  • Evergreen (1965)
  • Requiem-29 (1970)
  • The Murder of Fred Hampton (1971)
  • Pink Flamingos (1972)
  • Sounder (1972)
  • The Long Goodbye (1973)
  • Cooley High (1975)
  • Richard Pryor: Live in Concert (1979)
  • Chicana (1979)
  • The Wobblies (1979)
  • Star Wars Episode VI — Return of the Jedi (1983)
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
  • Stop Making Sense (1984)
  • Who Killed Vincent Chin? (1987)
  • The Watermelon Woman (1996)
  • Selena (1997)
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
  • WALL-E (2008)

How many on the list have you seen?

Christopher Nolan’s ‘Oppenheimer’ Adds To Its Stacked Cast

Christopher Nolan apparently watched the cast Guillermo del Toro assembled for this weekend’s Nightmare Alley and said, “Hold my beer,” because his cast for Oppenheimer is getting, in a word, ridiculous. It just added Florence Pugh, Rami Malek and Benny Safdie in key roles. They join a cast that already includes Cillian Murphy in the titular role, Robert Downey Jr., Emily Blunt, and Matt Damon. The biopic is set to tell the story of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the lead scientist on the Manhattan Project that developed the atomic bomb. Pugh will play Jean Tatlock, a member of the Communist Party of the United States who had an affair with Oppenheimer, and Safdie will play the Manhattan Project’s Hungarian physicist Edward Teller, the father of the hydrogen bomb. Malek will be playing another scientist, though his role is not yet confirmed. Blunt is reportedly playing Katherine Oppenheimer Vissering, the wife of J. Robert Oppenheimer, though Downey Jr.’s and Damon’s roles are as-yet-undisclosed. The script is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book from Kai Bird and the late Martin J. Sherwin, American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer. Universal has already locked in a release date of July 21, 2023 for the project.

Seth Rogen & Elle Fanning Set To Join Dev Patel’s ‘Chippendales’ Movie

New Regency’s Chippendales movie is apparently gaining steam and adding new cast members to the project. Deadline reports Seth Rogen and Elle Fanning are in talks to join the cast, which has Dev Patel set for the lead role. Craig Gillespie (Cruella; I, Tonya) is set to direct. Lauren Blum and Rebecca Angelo are rewriting the script based on previous drafts by Craig Williams and Isaac Adamson. The story will follow Patel’s Steve Banerjee, who emigrates from India to Playa del Rey, California, to chase his dreams of fame. He soon grows bored of pumping gas at the station he owns and acquires a struggling L.A. rock club named Destiny II. Soon, Banerjee transforms it with themed nights including female mud wrestling and ladies-only nights of male exotic dancing, the latter of which took off like wildfire, eventually growing it into the Chippendales male exotic dance empire that included clubs, calendars, live tours and merchandise. Unsurprisingly, the seedier side of things led to lots of drama, legal troubles, and violence. While roles aren’t confirmed, it’s believed Rogen will be playing Nick De Noia, the dance choreographer who came up with the Chippendales’ signature routine, while Fanning will play Dorothy Stratten, a Playboy bunny and early contributor to the Chippendales’ idea who came up with their signature cuffs and collars uniform.

Universal Planning ‘Phantom of the Opera’ Adaptation Set In The French Quarter

Musicals are all the rage right now, and a unique twist is coming on an old classic. Universal is set to make Phantom of a spec script by John Fusco with John Legend, Mike Jackson, and Harvey Mason, Jr. as producers. It’s said to be an adaptation of Gaston Leroux’s classic novel The Phantom of the Opera but set in contemporary New Orleans, and, yes, it will be a musical. The idea came to Fusco when he was in the French Quarter shooting the Bonnie and Clyde drama The Highwaymen, and he realized that not only had he fallen back in love with the music, but its gothic atmosphere also lent itself to a modern adaptation of the musical. As he said

“I was in New Orleans with Costner, Woody and John Lee Hancock and found myself reconnecting with my old musical haunts, and the next generation of my music cronies. I began playing with them again, writing music and recorded two albums and during the pandemic I reflected on that journey and wanted to bring the screenwriting together with the songwriting and that music with a full out movie musical…This is set it in the sultry nightlife scene of modern day New Orleans, the world of jazz, R&B, neo-Soul, and funk. The French Quarter, where New Orleans is not only known as America’s most haunted city, but the music, French Creole culture, the voodoo mystique, masquerade pageantry of Mardi Gras, just lent itself to a natural adaptation of the Paris setting, and a story that has revenge, unrequited love and mystery.”

In Fusco’s version, the story will revolve around a neo-Soul singer ingenue working in a once famed club trying to regain its former glory, who is mentored by a mysterious man. As it’s only in pre-development, it’s not yet clear if Universal already has a release date in mind.

Trailers & Clips Of The Week

And now, trailers and clips of the week.

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets Of Dumbledore – Official Trailer

Hey, good ol’ Hufflepuff finally getting some recognition.

The Unbearable Weight Of Massive Talent – Official Red Band Teaser Trailer

This is the most Nic Cage movie to ever have Nic Caged and I’m into it.

Everything Everywhere All At Once – Official Trailer

Michelle Yeoh is a gift. We seriously don’t deserve her.

The Batman – Japanese Trailer

That sure looks like it’s teasing the Joker, no?

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 – Official Trailer

Will this be just as much fun as the first movie? Sure looks like it!

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