|THE WEEK IN MOVIE NEWSDOCTOR STRANGE 2DOCTOR STRANGEIN THEATERSMOVIE NEWSSAM RAIMIHAMILTONDISNEY|
Need a quick recap of the past week in movie news? Here are the highlights:
Dracula retold: Following the success of Leigh Whannell's fresh take on The Invisible Man, another classic Universal monster is being trusted to Blumhouse Productions. According to The Hollywood Reporter, director Karyn Kusama Destroyer has been tapped for a new version of the iconic vampire story Dracula, which will be set in modern times.
Disney finds its Peter Pan: Another fresh take on a familiar story, Disney's live-action reimagining of Peter Pan has found its young leads. Variety reports Alexander Molony will play Peter in the upcoming movie, titled Peter Pan & Wendy, while Ever Anderson, the daughter of Milla Jovovich and Paul W.S. Anderson who can be seen soon in Black Widow, has been cast as Wendy.
Woody Harrelson joins The Man from Toronto: Following the departure of Jason Statham from the Patrick Hughes-helmed action-comedy, Woody Harrelson is filling the void for The Man from Toronto. Variety reports the Oscar-nominated actor will co-star opposite Kevin Hart in a story of mistaken identity involving the world's greatest assassin.
Florian Munteanu to fight Shang-Chi: Marvel's Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings may have a secondary villain in the form of professional boxer Florian Munteanu, who played Viktor Drago in Creed II. Australian movie site Dark Horizons reports the heavyweight will face off against the titular superhero and kung-fu master, played by Simu Liu.
Virtually every major Hollywood production has shut down or been delayed in the wake of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. But some productions are finding a way to forge ahead through virtual means. Two Marvel productions still going are Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and The Eternals, which are getting pre-production and VFX work done, respectively, through remote means.
Buried in a report from Variety on the multiple productions delayed by the coronavirus crisis, it’s revealed that Doctor Strange 2 is still on track to begin filming in June. How did they achieve this? They’re in the midst of pre-production being conducted remotely, presumably over Skype or the popular video-chatting app Zoom.
The pre-production work on Doctor Strange 2 suggests that Sam Raimi is on board to direct the sequel, after being courted by Marvel following the exit of the first film’s director Scott Derrickson. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is being rewritten by Michael Waldron the head writer for Disney+’s Loki, and will star Benedict Cumberbatch as the Sorcerer Supreme as well as Elizabeth Olsen as the Scarlet Witch in a reported tie-in to WandaVision.
Doctor Strange 2 is not the only Marvel production still grinding away. The Eternals is currently getting its VFX work done by Scanline VFX Studios, which confirmed in a statement on Twitter that its artists are working remotely on the project despite the coronavirus outbreak. The statement clarifies that the studio will remain remote for the foreseeable future to curb the spread of the virus, and that they remain open to new work and collaborations. See the full statement is below.
— Scanline VFX @Scanline_VFX March 24, 2020
The Eternals wrapped production in February of this year, right before the coronavirus threat started to register in the U.S. While filming is done for the highly anticipated Marvel film, the lengthy pre-production for an effects-heavy blockbuster like The Eternals put into question whether the film could make its November 2020 release date. But with its VFX artists chugging away, it seems that The Eternals will be able to finish pre-production on a relatively uninterrupted schedule.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is scheduled to hit theaters on May 7, 2021, while The Eternals is slated for November 6, 2020.
Comic book movies, which were once sidelined to the domain of campy filmmaking, have morphed into a mainstream pop-culture juggernaut, especially the MCU. The most well-respected actors are now also eager to feature in these movies and play superheroes, whether male or female. Jessica Chastain is one such critically acclaimed actress who has had a previous brush with the MCU. Writer C. Robert Cargill revealed that Jessica Chastain was offered the love interest in Doctor Strange.'This is the interesting thing that Hollywood's starting to find out, is that a lot of the actresses out there want to be superheroes as much as the actors do. I know this happened with Scott [Derrickson]. He went to Jessica Chastain to get her on Doctor Strange, because we were considering her.'
But according to C. Robert Cargill, even though the role of Doctor Christine Palmer was hers for the taking, Chastain passed on the opportunity. Not because she was uninterested in being a part of the MCU, but because she wanted to have a more substantial role in it.'And she's like, 'Hey, look, this project sounds awesome, and I would love to do it. But I'm only going to get one shot at being in a Marvel film and becoming a Marvel character; and I trained in ballet, and I really want to wear a cape.' And that was the coolest rejection ever. She wanted to be in a Marvel movie, but she wanted to be the superhero, not the badass doctor Night Nurse.'
The role of Doctor Palmer eventually went to Rachel McAdams. She played Dr. Strange's medical colleague and love interest who saves his life after a deathly injury. Even though Doctor Palmer becomes a superhero in the comics later on, that is apparently not the trajectory that her character will take in the MCU, since she is not slated to return in the Dcotor Strange sequel.
Chastain, meanwhile, appeared in X Men: Dark Phoenix as the leader of a group of aliens who manipulate Jean Grey after she becomes one with the Phoenix Force. It was not the meatiest of roles, but since it took place in a separate superhero franchise, the door is still open for Chastain to come to the MCU. She is already a fan favorite for the role of Jean Grey, who, along with a new incarnation of the X-Men, are scheduled to join the MCU soon.
Whether or not Chastain becomes a part of the MCU, the franchise is making a conscious effort to be more inclusive, and not have a roster comprising entirely of male superheroes. To that end, the Black Widow standalone movie, the Captain Marvel sequel, and the show WandaVision all feature female heroes in the lead role. There are also rumors of Riri Williams aka Iron Heart joining the MCU, and Shuri possibly taking over the mantle of Black Panther from her brother. This comes from the Stitcher Podcast Junfood Cinema.
As Hollywood studios push back their major releases and movie theater chains close their locations across the country, it seems like it would be a long time before we can go back to the old American tradition of watching movies on the big screen.
But as the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic spreads, an older American moviegoing tradition may be seeing a surprising resurgence: drive-in movie theaters, baby! But instead of the poodle skirts and leather jackets, the remaining drive-in movie theaters are being populated by families who are itching to get out of the house.
Once a common staple of American suburban life or at least, the ones we’ve seen in movies, drive-in theaters are mostly seen as a novelty experience now. There are only 305 drive-in theaters remaining across the country and until now, they were treated as an “anachronistic diversion,” according to the LA Times. But now, they’ve become a boon for self-quarantined families trying to fight off the cabin fever.
The LA Times reports that drive-in theaters are seeing an unexpected surge in popularity, as traditional movie theaters are forced to close in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Owners of drive-ins in California, Kansas, Oklahoma and Missouri tell the times that they have seen increases in business in recent days. The outlet reports:
Ticket sales Tuesday at the two-screen Paramount Drive-In were “at least double” what they typically would be, said Beau Bianchi, whose family has owned the facility in Paramount since 1946. In all, the drive-in — which offered a double feature on both of its screens — welcomed 136 cars and sold 320 tickets. The family’s neighboring 11-screen indoor cineplex closed Sunday, but Bianchi said he expects business to continue to grow at the drive-in.
But some operators have temporarily closed their drive-ins to comply with government ordinances or in their own business’ interests. There is uncertainty with whether drive-in theaters would fall under the designation of gatherings of 50 people or more, because of the relative isolation that all the guests enjoy, in the privacy of their own cars. Doug Mercille, owner of the Starlite Drive-In in Cadet, Mo., told the LA Times it’s a “gray area.” Some operators “have taken steps to minimize interaction among people, including shutting down or limiting their concessions,” according to the Times. Operators who spoke to The Times they they remain open, but are mindful of restrictions on large gatherings and would close if required to do so. In addition to the CDC’s recommendation against events including 50-plus people, in situations where high-risk populations are involved, the CDC has been cracking down on gatherings of 10 or more people.
But drive-in theaters could still be hit hard if...