The veteran Beijing-based studio will executive produce and distribute the sci-fi disaster epic in China.
Veteran Chinese film studio Huayi Brothers Media has boarded Roland Emmerich's sci-fi action epic, Moonfall, CEO James Wang announced Friday. The company will executive produce the film and take all China distribution rights in the deal.
The project has all the makings of a classic Emmerich Independence Day, 2012 action-disaster vehicle. As it title implies, the film begins when a mysterious force knocks the Moon from its orbit and sends it hurtling towards Earth. Against all odds, a ragtag team then launches an impossible last-ditch mission into space to land on the lunar surface and save Earth from annihilation.
Emmerich will direct from a spec script he co-wrote with Harald Kloser co-writer of 2012 and Spenser Cohen. Casting is currently underway and production is scheduled to begin this spring.
Moonfall was the presales hit of Cannes last year, where it quickly sold out for most of the world. China, a key anchor in the film's financing model, proved a tougher territory to land, however. Complicating matters was the then-raging trade war between Washington and Beijing.
Emmerich will be looking to bounce back from his 2019 World War II film Midway, which cost $100 million to make but received middling reviews and earned just $123 million at the worldwide box office. Huayi Brothers also is in recovery mode after a series of setbacks last year, including the Chinese government's surprise censorship of its costly and much anticipated war epic The Eight Hundred, which was set to premiere in the summer but has yet to see release.
Working in Moonfall and Huayi Brothers' favor is the enduring popularity of the sci-fi genre in China. Last year's domestically produced sci-fi breakthrough The Wandering Earth earned a whopping $700 million, and Hollywood imports in the genre over the years — The Martian $95 million, Interstellar $123 million and Emmerich's own Independence Day: Resurgence $75 million — have consistently performed well.
“Roland Emmerich is a cinematic master, and his films — 2012, The Day after Tomorrow and Independence Day — are so deeply loved by Chinese audiences that Huayi Brothers is proud to partner with his latest science fiction saga, Moonfall, in both its production and distribution,” said Wang. “We believe that the most effective way to facilitate worldwide cultural exchange is in collaboration with top artists, and this project marks a milestone for us as a solid content creator in the international film business."
As it did with Midway, Centropolis is independently producing and financing Moonfall, overseeing all aspects of production, financing and delivery. Stuart Ford's AGC Studios is co-financing and handled worldwide sales, along with CAA Media Finance; Lionsgate...
In response to the COVID-19 crisis, Vice TV has ordered Shelter in Place with Shane Smith, a new half-hour weekly interview show hosted by the Vice Media Group founder. It’s set to premiere Thursday, April 9 at 10 PM with two back-to-back episodes.
In the series, produced through remote video interviews from Smith’s home in Santa Monica, Smith will tackle the biggest questions of the moment with experts from the fields of science, journalism, entertainment, food and economics.Vice Media
“I'm at home, you're at home and our news cycle is changing by the minute,” said Smith. “So, I decided to dial up some of the world's foremost thinkers to offer us some much needed perspective and get to some truth on what we should be doing in this time like none other.” You can watch a preview clip below.
Smith’s first guest will be whistleblower Edward Snowden, who delves into the world of surveillance, privacy and our future civil liberties as international governments and autocratic regimes enact bold, new policies to curb the virus.
“When any of us look at where this is heading, we need to think about where we’ve been,” said Snowden. “And sadly, these kind of emergency powers that are born out of crises, have a perfect history of abuse”.
The second episode will feature California Governor Gavin Newsom who speaks to Smith about how his state has braced for the pandemic, where the federal government has stumbled, and what is coming next. Dr. Anne Rimoin, a world-leading epidemiologist, is also featured and will speak to how the virus has spread and what we can do about it.
Produced by Vice TV, Shane Smith, Alex Chitty, Maral Usefi are the Executive Producers for Shelter in Place. Jonah Kaplan is Supervising Producer.
Shelter in Place will be available on Vice TV via all major satellite and cable providers; ViceTV.com; and the Vice TV app via iOS, Android, Apple TV, Roku, and Chromecast. The first two episodes will be available for free on Vice & Munchies YouTube page.
Shelter in Place with Shane Smith is the latest programming from Vice TV produced in response to COVID-19. Vice Quarantine Hour is a limited variety series airing weekdays at 8 AM ET/PT. Vice TV's Emmy-winning nightly newscast is airing dedicated COVID-19 episodes with Vice News Tonight: Remote.
This past weekend saw the release of Roland Emmerich's Midway, a movie that seemed to pose the question, “what if Pearl Harbor, but directed by the guy from White House Down and The Day After Tomorrow?”
To add additional comedic context, the trailer promised the movie would help us “discover the untold story of the real heroes of World War II.”
Ah yes, that famously untold story, of THE BATTLE OF MIDWAY. Midway's marketing may have attempted to whitewash a John Ford documentary, a 1976 Charlton Heston movie of the same name, and at least ten years of History Channel programming, but it did add Luke Evans and a Jonas brother. Jingoism, schlock, and teenybopper heartthrobs are three great tastes that go great together. The film actually won the weekend box office, though $17 million still seems low for a special effects-driven war movie blockbuster.
Roland Emmerich is one of our greatest bad filmmakers, and while experiencing the majesty and tastelessness of one of his films normally requires twelve bucks and two and a half hours of spare time, I've attempted to recreate the experience here. I've done it using a method I devised years ago, of reading every review of the film online, saving the expository sections, and reassembling the plot in chronological order. There's something oddly entertaining about having a bad movie explained to us by bored critics.
If there's one filmmaker who has proudly carried on the tradition of cornball spectacles full of rising nobodies and fading stars — movies like the 1976 Midway, directed by World War II veteran Jack Smight and starring World War II veterans Charlton Heston, Henry Fonda, Glenn Ford, and Cliff Robertson — it's Roland Emmerich. NPR
“Midway” begins matter of factly with blunt statements on a black screen: Midway is the most important Naval battle ever fought and it showed how one battle turned the tide of World War II from Japan taking control of the West Coast to being defeated. Boston Herald
The film opens with an alarmingly synthetic visualisation of the Pearl Harbor attack clunky computer effects, stick figures on fake-looking ships then essentially traps us for two hours in the company of cardboard characters. The Guardian
British actor Ed Skrein stars as the most reckless of all the flyboys, Dick Best The Guardian
a man known to fly like “he doesn't care if he comes home,” Chicago Tribune
the flashy young hotshot with the beautiful wife Mandy Moore and adorable kid, whose picture he prominently displays in the cockpit of his rickety two-seat TBD Devastator, Patriot Ledger
...whose gifts as an aviator are overshadowed by a hot-headed desire to throw caution to the winds and “put a 500-pound bomb down their smokestack.” LA Times
Dakota and Elle Fanning have acted in the same movies before, lending their voices to the English dubs of My Neighbor Totoro and appearing in I Am Sam when they were very young. But now actress/director Mélanie Laurent will bring the sisters together in a major way in her newest film, The Nightingale, an adaptation of author Kristin Hannah’s bestselling World War II novel from 2015. Get the details below.
Originally set to be the theatrical feature film debut of Michelle MacLaren Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, and tons of other TV shows, The Nightingale was once slotted to hit theaters in August 2018 before getting bumped to January 2019. That obviously didn’t happen – MacLaren left the project for unknown reasons but Laurent has swooped in instead to keep the project alive, and Deadline now reports that her film will receive a theatrical release on December 25, 2020.
The book’s official synopsis says The Nightingale tells the stories of “two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France,” and Deadline says the story was “inspired by the courageous women of the French Resistance who helped downed Allied airmen escape Nazi-occupied territory and hid Jewish children.”
Laurent has some cinematic history with this time period: she’s still perhaps best known for her starring role in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds. And she also has some history with one of the Fanning sisters. She directed Elle Fanning in the 2018 movie Galveston, which was written by True Detective creator Nic Pizzolatto. Dana Stevens City of Angels, For the Love of the Game, Life or Something Like It, Safe Haven wrote The Nightingale‘s screenplay.
A Christmas release puts The Nightingale up against some tough competition. It’ll be going head to head against Steven Spielberg’s highly-anticipated remake of West Side Story, Denis Villeneuve’s take on the sci-fi classic Dune, a Paul Greengrass-directed film called News of the World starring Tom Hanks, Ridley Scott’s historical thriller The Last Duel which has Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Adam Driver, and Jodie Comer in the cast, DreamWorks Animation’s cavemen follow-up The Croods 2, and the Chris Pratt-starring sci-fi film The Tomorrow War. But Sony found success with this same slot last year with Little Women, another female-led period piece, so clearly the hope is to replicate that once again.
I wonder if Sony will bother changing the title since The Babadook director Jennifer Kent just directed an acclaimed thriller of the same name that was released last year. Stay tuned....