CinemaCon week arrived, and that meant a huge dump of big entertainment industry news as studios headed to Las Vegas to trot out their upcoming projects and tantalize theater chains and exhibitors. This week has brought a bunch of first looks, sequel confirmations, surprise project announcments and more.

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

‘The Batman 2’ Is Officially Happening

This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, but it was announced at CinemaCon this week that The Batman 2 is officially happening. Equally unsurprising is that Robert Pattinson is returning to the role of the Dark Knight with Matt Reeves once again at the helm as director. The Batman, which is WB’s first theatrical window-only release since Tenet, has been an unquestionable success. It’s grossed almost $760 million globally so far, and racked up 4.1 million households that watched it in its first weekend of release on HBO Max. Even with it having a theatrical window, those HBO Max first weekend numbers topped Warner Bros.’ day-and-date releases of Dune, The Matrix Resurrections, Wonder Woman 1984 and The Suicide Squad.

During the presentation, Reeves took the stage and spoke to the room full of exhibitors, marketing people, and critics, saying, “Thank you all for your tremendous support for The Batman. We couldn’t have gotten here without the faith and enthusiasm of all your teams around the world. I’m excited to jump back into this world for the next chapter.” There’s no word yet on which villains Batman will be facing this time around but considering his deep rogues’ gallery, there are plenty to choose from.

Bad Bunny To Play Spider-Man Ally El Muerto In Pic For Sony

Sony’s universe of Spider-Man characters has been steadily growing, with additions like Kraven the Hunter, Madame Web, and more. At CinemaCon, one more movie was announced and it may be the strangest one yet. Grammy winner and platinum artist Bad Bunny is attached to star in an El Muerto movie for the studio, meant to be a standalone pic. Reportedly, Bad Bunny has been looking for a franchise vehicle for himself and after seeing early footage of his turn in Bullet Train, in which he’s making his first major studio acting debut, Sony was impressed and worked with him to get something into development. Reportedly, it was Bad Bunny’s idea to do an El Muerto movie after he pored over Spider-Man comics to find a Latino character he thought would suit him.

El Muerto, also known as Juan-Carlos Estrada Sanchez, is a Mexican wrestler who meets Spider-Man first as his opponent. When the villain El Dorado comes to kill him, however, Spider-Man saves El Muerto and the two team up to defeat El Dorado. El Muerto’s powers are granted to him through the magical lucha libre mask passed down from generation to generation. As he’s a Spanish-speaking character, it will be interesting to see if this is Sony’s first Spanish-language superhero film.

‘Venom 3’ Is A Go

Also announced during the Sony presentation, a third Venom movie is officially in development. While not a major part of Sony’s CinemaCon panel, it was briefly teased at the end of the presentation, with the logo being flashed during the studio’s sizzle reel that closed out its night. So far, no new talent has been attached and no details released, but it’s not surprising that a third movie is a go. The first two movies have grossed a combined $1.4 billion at the global box office on a reported combined $210 million budget. With Tom Hardy taking control of the character, clearly, Sony recognizes what a success this franchise has been and is eager to get another one going, particularly with the underwhelming performance of its most recent Spider-Man villain movie, the Jared Leto-led Morbius. No release date is yet attached to Venom 3, but Sony will likely be moving on this pretty quickly.

‘The Gray Man’ Gets First-Look Images & Release Date

The Russo brothers next movie has all the makings of a huge blockbuster, and now it’s finally gotten a release date and first-look pics. The Gray Man will hit theaters on July 15th for a brief theatrical window, then start streaming on Netflix a week later. The globetrotting spy thriller stars Chris Evans, Ryan Gosling, Ana de Armas, Regé-Jean Page, Jessica Henwick, Wagner Moura, Dhanush, Billy Bob Thornton, Alfre Woodard, Julia Butters, Eme Ikwuakor and Scott Haze.

Gosling stars as Court Gentry, the eponymous Gray Man, an ex-CIA agent and assassin who has gone rogue. He’s now hunted by Evans’ Lloyd Hansen, his former colleague at the CIA. It released a batch of images today, including the one of Gosling above, as well as of Evans, de Armas, and Page below.

At $200 million, The Gray Man is Netflix’s most expensive movie to date. Clearly, this will be one to watch when it hits that early theatrical release window.

First Look At Margot Robbie In ‘Barbie’ Movie

Another movie that got a first look and release date is Margot Robbie’s Barbie movie based on the iconic Mattel character. Warner Bros. confirmed that it will hit theaters on July 21, 2023, the summer release date seemingly indicating that the studio is high up on the movie. It’s now taking over the date previously held by the studio’s live-action/animated hybrid Coyote vs. Acme. It also released a first look as Robbie in the titular role.

Ryan Gosling, who is apparently busy in this news roundup, will play Barbie’s longtime boyfriend, Ken. The movie also stars Simu Liu, Will Ferrell, America Ferrera, Kate McKinnon, Michael Cera, and Issa Rae. Greta Gerwig, who is directing the film, also wrote it with her partner, Noah Baumbach. The plot is being kept under wraps. However, a previous script (when Amy Schumer was attached to it) was about Barbie being kicked out of “Barbieville” for not being perfect enough, so she sets off on an adventure in the real world. It’s unclear if any of that concept was kept for Robbie’s new iteration.

Justin Lin Exits ‘Fast X’ A Week Into Filming

In the most surprising news of the week, Fast X director Justin Lin announced he’s stepping back from the project, which was already a week into filming. It’s unclear what exactly led to his departure, but the ubiquitous “creative differences” were cited, and he’ll remain on board as producer. Lin released a statement with the announcement of his departure:

With the support of Universal, I have made the difficult decision to step back as director of FAST X, while remaining with the project as a producer. Over 10 years and five films, we have been able to shoot the best actors, the best stunts, and the best damn car chases. On a personal note, as the child of Asian immigrants, I am proud of helping to build the most diverse franchise in movie history. I will forever be grateful to the amazing cast, crew and studio for their support, and for welcoming me into the FAST family.

Universal is reportedly hustling to find a new director to replace Lin. While some second unit footage will continue to be shot, production on the main shoot will be put on hold until the studio can find a suitable replacement. It shouldn’t take long as talks are already underway with a few candidates, but it will be hard to fill Lin’s shoes. As the director of five out of nine thus-far released Fast and Furious movies, there are few people who know the story and characters, or how to work with the cast, as well as Lin. The good news is that even with the production hiatus, insiders don’t expect the film to move from its planned May 19, 2023 release date.

Trailers & Clips of the Week

And now, some trailers and clips to entertain you.

Crimes of the Future – Official Teaser Trailer

That is about as David Cronenberg as you can get.

Bodies Bodies Bodies – Official Trailer

Is this the most Gen Z horror movie ever? Bring it on.

Jurassic World Dominion – Trailer #2

Man, it’s good to see the entire original gang back together.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness – ‘Time’ TV Spot

Inject this directly into my veins.

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