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.
A ‘Dune’ Sequel Has Already Been Greenlit
It’s been a bit tense for fans of Dune who knew Denis Villeneuve’s just-released movie was only the first part of Frank Herbert’s sprawling sci-fi novel. They can now breathe easy, as Legendary has already officially greenlit Dune: Part Two after seeing the opening weekend box office and performance on HBO Max. The news was announced by both Legendary and Warner Bros. on their social media platforms today:
Director Denis Villeneuve, whose passion for Frank Herbert’s novel has carried the project, also gave a short statement about the news, saying, “I just received news from Legendary that we are officially moving forward with Dune: Part Two. It was a dream of mine to adapt Frank Herbert’s Dune, and I have the fans, the cast, and crew, Legendary and Warner Bros. to thank for supporting this dream. This is only the beginning.”
This past weekend, Dune overperformed its domestic projections, earning $41 million even with a simultaneous opening on HBO Max. $12 million of that went to advance ticket sales, the most of any movie released during the pandemic. Currently, Dune‘s global box office total sits at $223 million, a strong showing in the pandemic era and with, again, that day-and-date HBO Max release. Clearly, Legendary and Warner Bros. want to get a hustle on the sequel: Dune: Part Two is slated for an October 20, 2023 release date, just two years away.
Ryan Gosling & Universal’s ‘Wolfman’ Movie Finds Director
It’s been quiet on the news front regarding Universal’s large slate of movies centered on its classic movie monsters currently in development. That changed with the news reported by Deadline that the Ryan Gosling-led Wolfman movie has found its director. Derek Cianfrance is currently in final negotiations to helm the pic. If he does sign on the dotted line, it would reteam him with Gosling, who has worked with Cianfrance on Blue Valentine and Place Beyond the Pines. Cianfrance replaces Invisible Man director Leigh Whannell, who had to step away from the project earlier this year due to scheduling conflicts with his upcoming projects. Cianfrance will also be penning the latest version of the script, which is based on an idea pitched to Universal by Gosling. Nothing is known of the story at this time, but it’s expected to be set in the modern era and not a period piece. Cianfrance isn’t necessarily known for horror or big studio movies, but the allure of working with Gosling again and the genre got him on board. Cianfrance had this to say in a statement:
“Horror movies were my first love — my entry into what cinema was capable of narratively, psychologically and aesthetically. Coupled with the opportunity to collaborate with Ryan again, this is truly a dream come true. I’m thrilled and inspired to work with the good folks at Blumhouse and Universal to bring this monster back to life in our collective unconscious.”
Wolfman does not yet have a release date.
Liam Neeson To Star In Thriller ‘In The Land of Saints & Sinners’
Back in January, Liam Neeson announced he was retiring from doing action films after finishing up a few projects he already had in the works. One of those projects appears to be the Ireland-set thriller In the Land of Saints and Sinners; Deadline reports he’s officially boarded the project along with co-star Ciarán Hinds. Neeson plays a retired assassin who moves to a small, remote Irish village to leave his life behind. But a trio of terrorists soon draws him back into a dangerous game. Principal photography is set to begin next March in Ireland Neeson’s The Marksman director Robert Lorenz is set to direct off a script by Mark Michael McNally and Terry Loane, with Matthew Feitshans providing revisions.
For someone who is set to retire, Neeson sure is busy. He currently has three different action movies in various stages of post-production: Blacklight, Memory and Retribution.
‘Thunderbolts’ & ‘Nova’ Movies Potentially In Development At Marvel
Recently, Marvel dated a few untitled movies a few years down the road on its slate, and now we apparently know what they might be. This one comes from an unusual source so take it with a healthy dose of skepticism, but The GWW reports that Marvel will start production on a number of new projects in 2023. Those include the previously announced Fantastic Four movie, and wholly new projects that include a Thunderbolts movie, Nova, a Shang-Chi sequel, and a Black Panther: Wakanda Forever spinoff based on Okoye that is likely to be a Disney+ series. Last week, The GWW also reported that a World War Hulk movie was in the works. Most of those characters should be familiar save for the Thunderbolts and Nova.
The Thunderbolts are a team that is essentially Marvel’s version of the Suicide Squad, antiheroes and villains who gradually become heroes. In the comics, the Thunderbolts are really Baron Zemo’s Masters of Evil in disguise, with Zemo seeing an opening after the Avengers are killed. His plan is for them to act like heroes while taking down S.H.I.E.L.D. and superheroes from the inside. However, his Thunderbolts members eventually turn on him when they realize they like being seen as heroes and actually reform themselves to do good. In the MCU, the seeds have been long planted for the Thunderbolts, particularly in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. A number of Thunderbolts characters from the comics have already been introduced in the movies and TV shows, including Zemo, Winter Soldier, Hawkeye, Ghost, Taskmaster, Luke Cage, and Venom, among others. In particular, it’s an opportunity for Marvel to finally spotlight the criminally underused Bucky Barnes, a.k.a. Winter Soldier.
Nova, meanwhile, will focus on the galactic end of the MCU. Richard Rider, a.k.a. Nova, is a superhero who is a member of the Nova Corps, the intergalactic police force that was presumably all but destroyed by Thanos during his attack on Xandar. Infinity War and Endgame writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely have said in the past that their original intention was for Richard Rider to be the only survivor of that attack, but it’s unclear whether the new project will follow that storyline. As a Nova Corps. Centurion, Rider wields his powers by drawing on energy from the Nova Force. It gives him a nice array of powers including flight and energy pulses and beams, as well as superhuman speed, strength, and durability. His Nova suit also has a bunch of nifty capabilities from nullifying gravity to allowing him to move at speeds approaching light speed. Clearly, Marvel has big plans for the next few years.
Bill Murray Lets Slip He’s In ‘Ant-Man & the Wasp: Quantumania’
Speaking of Marvel, here’s a fun bit of “oops” news: the legendary Bill Murray accidentally let it slip that he has a role in Ant-Man & the Wasp: Quantumania. He revealed the news when giving an interview with the German paper Frankfurter Allgemeine while promoting his new movie The French Dispatch. The answer came when Murray was asked about working with certain directors numerous times and what it’s been like working with so many different directors across his career; Murray used Marvel to illustrate what he looks for in working with certain directors. The full quote lets slip the confession about being in the Marvel movie and gives enough clues to figure out which one:
“You know, recently I made a Marvel movie. I probably won’t tell you, but never mind. In any case, some people were quite surprised why I decided on such a project. But for me the thing was quite clear: I got to know the director – and really liked him very much. He was funny, humble, everything you want from a director. And with the cheerleader story Bring It On he made a movie years ago which I think is damn good. So I agreed, although I’m not interested in these huge comic book adaptations as an actor otherwise…Let’s put it this way: the director is a good guy, and now I’ve at least tried out what it’s like to shoot a Marvel movie. But I don’t think I need that experience a second time. And to come back to your previous question: I have mostly had a pretty good knack for avoiding the nasties of this industry. Fortunately, most good artists are also good people. At least that’s how I experience it with my friends.”
It’s the Bring It On reference that was the giveaway as Peyton Reed directed the cult classic in 2000. So now we know Bill Murray will be in Quantumania and even though his statement seems to indicate he’s one-and-done with Marvel, it’s still Bill Murray in a Marvel movie. What a time to be alive.
Keanu Reeves Continues To Be The Best, Buys ‘John Wick 4’ Stunt Team Amazing Wrap Gift
In terms of genuinely good humans in Hollywood, it’s really hard to think of a better one than Keanu Reeves. His latest act of kindness did nothing to dispel that notion, either, as it was revealed he gave his stunt team for John Wick 4 an amazing wrap gift: personalized Rolex Submariner watches inscribed with “The John Wick Five” and a personal note from Reeves. Check it out:
Just in case you’re wondering, Rolex Submariners go for about $10,000. What a good dude.
Trailers & Clips of the Week
Lightyear – Teaser Trailer
Who thought I’d be crying at the trailer to a spinoff prequel Pixar movie I had forgotten about until this morning today? Not me!
Cowboy Bebop – Official Trailer
This looks amazing. Honestly amazing.
Uncharted – Official Trailer
It doesn’t resemble the Sony video games whatsoever, but it sure does look like a lot of fun.
The Wheel of Time – Official Trailer
We are truly living in the golden age of incredible adaptations of books previously thought to be unadaptable.
Ambulance – Official Trailer
Michael Bay is back, baby!
King Richard – Official Trailer #2
Is there anything Will Smith can’t do?
Black Friday – Official Trailer
Is there anything Bruce Campbell doesn’t make better? I submit not.
Red Notice – Official Trailer
Talk about an all-star cast.