June is charging along to its end, and that means big movie news is dropping almost every day as the summer blockbuster movie season gets into full swing. This week brings some big casting news for an anticipated sequel, updates on the MCU’s future, good news for Tom Cruise, and more.

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

We Could Be Getting A New ‘Planet Of The Apes’ Trilogy

It was announced a while back that Maze Runner trilogy director Wes Ball would tackle 20th Century and Disney’s Planet of the Apes 4. Interestingly, however, that may very well be expanding to another new trilogy. Deadline reports that Ball is stepping back from directing duties on Paramount’s Harbinger and Paul Downs Colaizzo (Brittany Runs a Marathon) is taking his place as director. The reason for the director switch is that Ball simply could not juggle the Paramount pic with all his attention being taken up by the upcoming Planet of the Apes movie, which is currently smack in the middle of pre-production.

But his current intense focus on the movie may also be that there is more planned than just a fourth Apes film. In a follow-up tweet, Justin Kroll, the Deadline reporter who broke the news of the Harbinger switch, said that 20th Century and Disney are reportedly extremely pleased with the script for Planet of the Apes 4. So pleased, in fact, that they are reportedly searching high and low for the star who will lead what will hopefully be a new trilogy of films. Whether or not that happens remains to be seen, but Ball certainly deserves another crack at a franchise after his smart work with Maze Runner.

MCU’s Next Saga Will Be Revealed Shortly Says Kevin Feige

Now that the Infinity Saga is over after the events of Avengers: Endgame, the MCU has been in something of a rebuilding season, introducing new characters, launching the Marvel Disney+ TV shows, and wrapping up the stories of some original Avengers. Still, it’s inevitable that Marvel will eventually build to another huge crossover event, and recently, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige confirmed as much. In an interview with Total Film magazine (via Games Radar), he said, “As we’re nearing the end of Phase 4, I think people will start to see where this next saga is going.” For those audiences familiar with the comics, they likely already know what’s being set up, and Feige echoed that sentiment: “I think there have been many clues already, that are at least apparent to me, of where this whole saga is going. But we’ll be a little more direct about that in the coming months, to set a plan, so audiences who want to see the bigger picture can see a tiny, tiny, tiny bit more of the roadmap.”

At the moment, the going speculation among fans is that Phase 4 is building up to a Secret Wars storyline and eventual crossover event. There have been multiple Secret Wars events in the comics, but the likeliest storyline to be adapted into live-action is when multiple universes all started colliding with one another in incursion events, leading to battles between various universes. With the multiverse being the MCU’s ongoing focus in Phase 4, Secret Wars would be the most obvious and convenient way to tie up all these plot threads into one overarching narrative. It’s also a convenient way to bring the Fantastic Four and X-Men properly into the MCU after the events of Doctor Strange 2. It seems we’ll find out, whether at San Diego Comic-Con next month or at D23 in September.

Audience Comfort With Moviegoing Hits Highest Point Since Covid

It’s been increasingly clear that audiences are willing to return to theaters for highly-anticipated movies, and this week, that was confirmed. A new poll from National Research Group (NRG) and released by the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) shows that 88% of potential moviegoers are “very or somewhat comfortable” about going to the movies, the highest percentage since the COVID-19 pandemic started. This is considerably up from January’s 65% in the same category during the height of the Omicron variant wave. Even better, the 35+ demographic, which has been the slowest to return to theaters, responded with 86% being comfortable with returning to movie theaters. That’s also a high point for that group. This poll is one that NATO and NRG have been running three times a week with moviegoing audiences since the COVID-19 pandemic started, sampling regular and frequent moviegoers, the driving force behind the box office.

‘Top Gun: Maverick’ On Its Way To A Billion At The Box Office

Top Gun: Maverick

Tom Cruise feels the need, the need for speed–all the way to the top of the box office, as it turns out. Top Gun: Maverick crossed the $900 million threshold at the global box office after the 3-day weekend; as of Monday, it had garnered $901.9 million total. In the past few days, that total has jumped to $907.8 million. With its current trajectory of passing $900 million after less than a month in theaters, it’s entirely possible, even likely, that it will cross a billion dollars. It could even be as soon as next week, seeing as how Maverick opens in Korea this week and it’s always a huge market for Cruise. Just last week, it crossed $800 million at the global box office, becoming Cruise’s biggest movie ever, as well as the fastest-grossing movie he’s ever had. Also promising for hitting that $1 billion mark next week is that its week to week dropoff has been remarkably small, even facing competition from other big movies like Jurassic World Dominion. With Dominion also doing well at the box office and Thor: Love and Thunder set to release in two weeks, it will be interesting to see where Top Gun: Maverick lands by the end of its run.

Léa Seydoux Joins ‘Dune: Part Two’ As Lady Margot

The first part of Dune already had a stacked cast, but Dune: Part Two is set to get a new injection of talent in the form of Léa Seydoux. Deadline has reported that the French actress, who is coming off her buzzy and acclaimed performance of Cannes debut One Fine Morning, has been tapped to play Lady Margot in the upcoming Legendary and Warner Bros. two-parter. In Frank Herbert’s novel, Lady Margot Fenring was the wife of the Mentat Count Hasimir Fenring and a member of the Bene Gesserit who was devoted to serving the Sisterhood. If she signs, Seydoux will join a powerhouse cast from the first movie led by Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Josh Brolin, Javier Bardem, Dave Bautista, Stellan Skarsgård, and more. Along with Seydoux, Dune: Part Two has also added newcomers Florence Pugh, Austin Butler, and Christopher Walken. Once again, Denis Villeneuve will be directing the second part off a script he co-wrote with Jon Spaihts. Production is expected to start in the fall with an expected release date of October 20, 2023.

Guy Ritchie Tapped To Direct Live-Action ‘Hercules’

After the success of his live-action adaptation of Aladdin, it seems director Guy Ritchie is heading back to the Disney well. This time, he’s taking the reins on Disney’s live-action remake of Hercules, with Joe and Anthony Russo’s AGBO Productions set as producers. Dave Callaham (Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings) took a first crack at the script and Disney is reportedly in the process of looking for writers to do a second pass. Disney is clearly hoping their second partnership with Ritchie will be as successful as their first; Aladdin closed out its theatrical run with $1.05 billion, Ritchie’s first movie to ever cross the billion-dolalr mark. With Hercules, it’s unclear if the live-action adaptation will stick exactly to the original animated story like The Lion King or Beauty and the Beast, or if it will take a few liberties as Ritchie’s Aladdin did. Considering it’s Ritchie at the helm, however, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the story got an upgrade.

Trailers & Clips of the Week

Not Okay – Official Trailer

Okay, that looks cute.

Stranger Things Season 4, Volume 2 – Teaser Trailer

Is it July already??

NOPE – ‘It Takes a Village’ Featurette

It takes a village to scare the pants off an audience.

Smile – Official Trailer

Well, that’s unsettling as hell.

Thor: Love and Thunder – ‘Speech’ Trailer

  • News