We’re going to jump right into some casting news this week, as there were a few anticipated movies that cast their primary leads. Amber Midthunder seems to have been cast as the Native-American lead in Dan (10 Cloverfield Lane) Tractenberg‘s new Predator series for 20th Century Studios, according to the stealthy sleuth-work of DiscussingFilm.com. Tractenberg made a post to his Instagram with a reel labeled “Skulls Blood Test,” the first part of that referring to the working title of the movie that hopes to expand on the franchise began in 1987 with the original Predator. Midthunder herself responded to the post with a few blood droplets that were liked by Tractenberg and 20th Century Studios President. Steve Asbell. No actual announcement has been made about Midthunder’s casting, but maybe they just need to get all the contracts signed. If you’re wondering, “Who is she?” then stay tuned until later in today’s column.
According to Deadline, a better-known actor has been cast in one of the lead roles in a new version of Highlander. It’s former (?) Superman himself, Henry Cavill, who has been flagged to join the movie directed by Chad Stahelski (John Wick), and the latest attempt to continue the franchise based in the world of the 1986 movie. This has been long in development with a number of directors trying to get it going since the last two films in 2007. With a script written by Kerry Williamson, this one is being produced by Neal H. Moritz (The Fast and the Furious) and Josh Davis with Amanda Lewis, Patrick Wachsberger and Gregory Widen exec. producing, original producer Peter Davis was also involved until his death in February.
It seems like this one has been in the rumor mill for a while, but Oscar-nominated actor Timothée Chalamet (Little Women) has been confirmed as Willy Wonka in Warner Bros‘ planned prequel movie, Wonka, based on the Roald Dahl-created character.
On top of that, Dwayne Johnson has signed on to provide his voice for Krypto the Super-Dog in Warner Bros. Pictures‘ animated DC League of Super-Pets, and his company Seven Bucks will be producing.
Need we mention that you can keep track of all these projects and more at our Production Listings?
Last week, American Cinematheque announced that it would be reopening its Aero Theatre on June 10, just in time for Jon M. Chu‘s In the Heights and Edgar Wright‘s The Sparks Brothers. Repertory films to be shown at the Aero will include 2001: A Space Odyssey, Vertigo, Lawrence of Arabia, and it will also show more recent big-screen films like Tenet and The Master.
The Egyptian Theatre remains closed for renovations until late 2022, but it will be selling some of its original chairs as keepsakes. American Cinemateque has also partnered with the Los Feliz 3 Theaters, which just installed a 35mm projector, in order to show films 7 days a week, as well as to have Q&As and special events.
There has been lots of bad news in L.A. theatrical due to COVID, such as the closure of the Arclight Cinema theaters, but here’s more positive news that things are slowly coming back, if in a slightly modified form.
There isn’t a ton to say about this past weekend’s box office, at least not in North America, where Bleecker Street‘s real-life horse racing comedy, Dream Horse, starring Toni Collette, was the only wide release into less than 1,300 theaters. It was little surprise that it barely made a mark at the box office as Lionsgate‘s Spiral remained at #1 with $4.5 million, a 48% drop from its opening weekend. Even though Spiral had the lowest opening for a movie in the Saw franchise, that was also a much smaller drop than those movies tend to have in their second weekend. Guy Ritchie and Jason Statham‘s action-thriller, Wrath of Man, remained in second place with $2.9 million. In fact, Dream Horse barely made it into the top 10, making just $844,000 to open in ninth place below the first U.S. theatrical release of Warner Bros animated SCOOB!, which has been playing On Demand for a year.
Overseas, it was a different story as Universal Pictures released F9, the ninth movie in the Fast & Furious franchise, which had a huge opening day of $59.1 million on Friday (including Thursday previews) in China before expanding into eight territories over the weekend. That’s the second-biggest opening day in the Middle Kingdom since the pandemic hit early in 2020, showing that the box office is definitely back in China. By Sunday, the action movie had grossed $162.4 million in those eight territories with China accounting for $135.6 million by itself. In Korea, where the theatrical hasn’t recovered completely, F9 grossed $9.9 million, which is promising. If you live in North America, you’ll have to wait a full month to see F9, but we hope to have a review of Vin Diesel-starrer quite soon.
Speaking of Dream Horse, SETDECOR, the official magazine of the Set Decorators Society of America (SDSA), did a pretty nice feature about the movie with Director Euros Lyn speaking to Set Decorator Charlotte Dirickx SDSA, and Production Designer Daniel Taylor. As with most of SETDECOR’s features, it shows off the brilliant set decorating work by Dirickx, working with Lyn and Taylor. You can see a lot more pictures and learn a lot more about the movie’s production design over at SETDECOR.
Just this morning, Walt Disney Pictures released the first teaser trailer for Marvel Studios‘ Eternals, directed by Oscar-winner Chloé Zhao (Nomadland), which stars Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Richard Madden, Gemma Chan, Kumail Nanjiani and many more. It will be released in theaters on November 5th as the third film in the MCU Phase 4.
If you go back to today’s top story about an actor named Amber Midthunder joining the new Predator movie, you might wonder who she was. She’s a regular on Legion and Roswell, but she also appears in the upcoming Netflix action-thriller, The Ice Road, starring Liam Neeson. The new trailer for that dropped last week, which you can watch below, and the movie will hit Netflix on June 25, although there’s no word whether it will get some sort of theatrical release as of yet. (Thanks to TH from HSXMovies for the tip!)