Hollywood was on temporary pause but productions are gearing back up, release dates continue to be tweaked in preparation for theaters reopening, and things are slowly starting to return to normal – or at least, our temporary new normal. Movie news is once again starting to flow, with us bringing you a few hand-picked stories we think you’ll like.

Let’s hop to it.

Early Fan Reactions For ‘Venom: Let There Be Carnage’ Are Positive

After the surprise smash hit that was the first Venom, anticipation has been high for the sequel, Venom: Let There Be Carnage. It appears that anticipation will soon be rewarded, too, as Sony held an early “Fans First” screening in London on Tuesday and the very first reactions have been positive. Those reactions have praised it for “exhilaration action,” “kinetic energy,” and “frenzied” – in a good way – while also taking care to point out the movie does focus on Eddie Brock’s character and heart. The sequel, directed by Andy Serkis, picks up at least a year after the events of the first movie. Tom Hardy’s Eddie Brock and the Venom symbiote have found a sort of balance in life – though they do drive each other crazy – at least until a vicious serial killer, Woody Harrelson’s Cletus Kasady, is infected with a different, far more malevolent symbiote by the name of Carnage and it’s up to Eddie and Venom to stop it. While it’s important to know these are reactions from fans, not critics, that’s not likely to matter either way. The first movie wasn’t exactly critically praised but ended up making $856 million at the box office, a monster hit. The sequel hits theaters on Friday, October 1.

Penguin Spinoff Of ‘The Batman’ Coming

The Batman doesn’t even hit theaters until March of next year and already, its multimedia universe is expanding yet again. Via THR, Warner Bros. has reportedly approached Colin Farrell about reprising his role as the Penguin in the upcoming film for a spinoff series for HBO Max. It is extremely early in the development process, but The Batman director Matt Reeves and producer Dylan Clark will serve as executive producers on the series with Lauren LeFranc (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) set to pen the script for the series. Reportedly, the story will be a “Scarface-like” tone with a focus on Farrell’s Oswald Cobblepot, who rises through the ranks of Gotham’s seedy underbelly to become the Gotham crime lord known as the Penguin. Should it get the green light and move ahead, it will be the second spinoff series for HBO Max stemming from The Batman; a Gotham PD spinoff was given the go-ahead last July.

Keegan-Michael Key Joining The Cast Of ‘Wonka’

The cast of Wonka, the prequel movie to Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, has just grown by one. Variety reports that Keegan-Michael Key has joined the cast alongside Timothée Chalamet, who signed on for the lead role. Plot details and Key’s role are both being kept under wraps, but, like the original 1971 movie based on the Roald Dahl book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Wonka will reportedly be a musical. It will follow the early years of Willy Wonka, who later grows to become the world’s most enigmatic and famed confectioner and chocolatier in the world. Paddington movies director Paul King will direct with Harry Potter‘s David Heyman producing. King also co-wrote the latest version of the script with Simon Farnaby. Previous versions of the script have been penned by Simon Rich, Simon Stephenson, Jeff Nathanson, and Steven Levenson. Wonka will hit theaters in March 2023.

‘Shang-Chi’ Continues Its Box Office Dominance

After absolutely crushing the Labor Day weekend box office a week ago, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings continues its box office dominance. After earning $94 million over the four-day Labor Day weekend, Shang-Chi is showing another positive signal that the U.S. movie business might slowly be bouncing back: it has legs. It only saw a second-weekend drop of 52.5%, which is far lower than other comparable movies this year of Black Widow and F9, which each saw precipitous second-weekend drops of over 67%. This is a good sign for theaters. While movies have been showing some signs of life in their first weekends, the fact so many have dropped off by their second weekends seemed to suggest there’s still a very limited ceiling on how many people are willing to go to the movies right now and that they’ll all go in week one, a bad development for big-budget blockbusters that rely on second- and third-weekend audiences to pad out their box office totals. It’s not necessarily a sign to start cheering yet – after all, this is a theatrical-release-only Marvel movie we’re talking about – but it’s a really positive development. So far, Shang-Chi has earned $262 million worldwide, though growing that total much further could be hindered by it currently being in danger of not opening in China. Still, it’s great to see that Shang-Chi continues to perform.

Andrew Garfield Shares The Incredible Way He Stayed Sane On The ‘Amazing Spider-Man’ Press Tour

Andrew Garfield’s miserable time with the Amazing Spider-Man franchise has been well-documented, with the actor’s childhood dream quickly being crushed when it ran up against studio interference. Since leaving the role, he’s been quite outspoken about his experience, good parts and bad–especially the bad. As such, it was reportedly hard for him to do the press tours for the movies, being unable to speak out with his real thoughts but knowing that the movies that were being released weren’t the movies he and director Marc Webb had set out to make. Still, he revealed he had one incredible way he made the grueling press tours worthwhile while getting something out of it and giving something back. In a recent interview with Collider, Garfield explained he had a hard time with the nakedly corporate aspect of doing the ASM movies, so he negotiated something great:

“So it’s on the second press tour, we created – me and my friend, my publicist at the time – we created with Sony this splinter press tour. So that every city we’d go to we would go and visit a small, local philanthropic organization and bring all of the energy and attention that we had from this character in this story, and the predominantly wanting to sell cinema tickets, but actually there was a way of redirecting it towards those more underdog Peter Parker organizations around the world. So that was the kind of remedy for me.”

Christopher Nolan Leaves Warner Bros. For Universal For His Next Film

For the first time in 16 years, Christopher Nolan is leaving his longtime studio partner of Warner Bros. and charting new waters with Universal for his next film, according to Deadline. Nolan has tackled weighty historical stories with 2017’s Dunkirk and he’s set to return to that well again for this project, which is reportedly about theoretical physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer and his creation of the atom bomb. Oppenheimer, as in the man who watched the first test of his nuclear weapon on July 16, 1945, and thought, “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds,” a line from the Bhagavad Gita. So, you know, extremely heavy stuff. The director of the famed Los Alamos Laboratory, Oppenheimer oversaw the research and development of Project Manhattan, the top-secret project to develop the nuclear bombs that devastated Hiroshima and Nagasaki to end World War II. It’s not confirmed, but sources say Nolan’s regular collaborator Cillian Murphy is potentially in the mix for a major role. The project is aiming to begin production early next year.

Trailers & Clips of the Week

The Matrix Resurrections – Official Trailer

Neo and Trinity still look so damn good together.

Hawkeye – First Official Trailer

Die Hard meets Home Alone? Sign me up!

Red Notice – Official Teaser Trailer

Oh yeah, these three are going to be fun to watch together.

Dune – ‘Desert Visions’ Featurette

There are few filmmakers working on Hollywood today who craft such big stories as meticulously as Denis Villeneuve.

West Side Story – First Official Trailer

Get your pipes warmed up, musical fans.

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