Remember those vast dark rooms with super-huge screens that lit up in silver and sparkled with movie stars? Remember those vats of puffed-up corn kernels covered in salt and warm butter sauce? Remember the Big Gulps that held so much Coca-Cola your bladder would be at bursting point just as the action happened? I do. With theaters around the world closed, the reporting of box office numbers has ceased, and movie theater releases have been variously rescheduled or cancelled completely. Here, a select few that we might still get to see.
So many movies have been jostled backwards in the studio shuffle. Disney’s acquisition of Marvel, followed by what was 20th Century Fox, means half the blockbusters scheduled for release in summer – Black Widow and sequels to Captain Marvel, Thor, Black Panther, Doctor Strange – are all bumped. Mulan was almost out in theaters, even screened for members of the press in March. The upside is great reviews, despite the cutting of iconic comic relief in the form of Eddie Murphy as pint-sized Chinese dragon Mushu. Also cut: Mulan’s love interest, Captain Li Shang, dropped in the wake of #MeToo (he’s Mulan’s commanding officer). The LGBTQ community were incensed, deeming Shang’s relationship with Mulan’s male alter ego Ping to be bisexual, at which producer Jason T. Reed made assurances that bisexual subtexts will still remain. Yaas.
A Quiet Place: Part II
Following the slam-dunk success of 2018’s apocalypse horror movie A Quiet Place – it took over $340 million at the box office against a production budget of around $20m – A-list leads Emily Blunt and John Krasinski are back for more battles with blind monsters from another planet. If you haven’t seen the first installment, *spoiler alert* – in a truly tear-jerking moment, director and star Krasinski’s character is dispatched in short shrift – but he will be back in flashback form, so there’s that. And, making more than enough amends, let’s be honest, both Cillian Murphy and Djimon Hounsou have joined the cast, which seems like a decent trade- off. Although the movie is made, and was scheduled for release in March – indeed the premiere took place in New York on the 8th, the film should now be released on September 4th. Shh.
Watching the 1992 version of Candyman at 10 years old was straight up terrifying. Friends at school dared one another to look into the mirror and say his name five times. “Candyman, Candyman, Candyman, Candyman, Candy… haaaa no way, man!” Nearly 30 yrs later, images of bees swarming out of the killer’s rib cage and out of his mouth as he kisses the protagonist are still surely seared into the minds of anyone who saw it. Well, director Nia DaCosta has created a ‘spiritual sequel’ written by Get Out and Us writer/director Jordan Peele, set in Chicago where the old Cabrini Green housing projects used to be, now gentrified beyond recognition and occupied by upwardly mobile millennials. The horror was originally set for a June release, but has been pushed back to September 25th, kind of in time for Halloween. Boo!
Hot on the remake trail of Spider- Man, which was recast (Tony Maguire, Andrew Garfield, and currently Tom Holland) and rehashed so many times it shorted our spidey sense entirely, Batman is about to be blessed by a Rob Pattinson reboot. Christian Bale took Batman to a space so far from the camp antics of Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney, and Adam West before them, that when Ben Affleck was announced to replace him, the cynics among us bet it wouldn’t end well. And it didn’t. The DC Extended Universe gave us Joker last year, and Joaquin Phoenix’s Oscar-winning turn as the titular anti-hero was an unexpected triumph. Can Pattinson do the same for Batman? Zoë Kravitz as Catwoman and Colin Farrell as the penguin certainly sweeten the deal. The movie was meant to hit theaters in June, but will now be released October 1st. Good thinking, Batman.
The French Dispatch
As ensemble casts come, Wes Anderson’s arthousery draws some of the best. Regulars include Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, Jason Schwartzman, Liev Schreiber, Edward Norton, Willem Dafoe, Saoirse Ronan, and Anjelica Huston. In his upcoming movie, The French Dispatch, all of the aforementioned return, plus man of the moment, Timothée Chalamet, who must be among the most sought-after actors today. Christoph Waltz is in it. Kate Winslet’s in it. Léa Seydoux, Frances McDormand, Benicio del Toro, Henry ‘The Fonz’-flipping-Winkler, and Sorbet alumna Lyna Khoudri – she’s Timothée’s girlfriend, gosh- dammit – literally everyone is in it. Alas, we won’t get to see it until October 16th, pushed from its original July. But good things come to those who wait. Also, keep your hands off my lobby boy.
James Bond: No Time to Die
Since the tragic and deeply unpopular demise of Dame Judy Dench’s M, we’ve been graciously waiting for the Bond franchise to make amends. Okay, fine, Spectre; Ralph Fiennes wasn’t the worst, and Christoph Waltz as Blofeld was… okay, that was genius. M’s posthumous video message wasn’t nothing, either. And the opening sequence in Mexico was a heart- pounding adrenaline fest. But still. And although our forging of theories on who would replace Daniel Craig after Spectre was premature, we were happy when we heard he would reprise the role one more time. As its April release date approached, the actor graced covers in varying states of undress and appeared on morning shows with fellow cast members Rami Malek (villain) and Léa Seydoux (Bond girl). The release is now scheduled for November. Another press junket too, please.
Top Gun: Maverick
Thirty-four years ago, Tom Cruise soared into the hearts of men and women everywhere. Following his rather bizarre/brilliant turn as forest sprite Jack O’Greene in Ridley Scott’s epic dark fantasy film, Legend, the year before, it was his role in Top Gun, directed by Scott’s brother Tony, that established Cruise as an adult leading man and a fully fledged heartthrob. While his antics on Oprah’s sofa and in the Church of Scientology would have certainly ended a lesser career, Cruise’s seems impervious, and, nearing 60 years old, he’s still one of the highest-paid actors in the world. He continues to make blockbuster movies, including the upcoming Mission: Impossible 7 and 8, whose release dates have also been nudged. But this Top Gun sequel is without a ghost protocol of a doubt, his most anticipated film in years. Now set for a December 23rd release, what’s a few more months?
Paul Feig’s all-woman reboot of the franchise in 2016 was a box-office bomb. Grossing a paltry $229 million against a budget of over $350 million, plans for a sequel were shelved – shame, because stars Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones, and particularly Kate McKinnon, did a very good job. Whoever wrangled original cast members for cameo parts did a very good job too – Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Sigourney Weaver and Annie Potts all had parts. Lucky for us – and much better to be fair – all those actors will reprise their original roles in the upcoming sequel, along with franchise newbies Paul Rudd, Carrie Coon, and Stranger Things star/scene-stealer, Finn Wolfhard. Originally slated for release in July, the film has been bumped into an entirely other year – we can expect busting of ghosts to resume March 5th 2021.
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