Weekly Round Up: Hereditary, Maleficent, Dora


New horror Hereditary is being heralded as a masterpiece of the genre, with star Toni Collette being singled out for her performance. It seems horror is currently on the up again, and genre giants Blumhouse have been busy of late. A sequel to Happy Death Day has been announced, which will see the return of Jessica Rothe and Israel Broussard, as well as a sequel to Annabelle: Creation, currently going under the working title of Annabelle 3, which has been fast-tracked for a release next summer. Along with Annabelle 3, the horror studio also has Conjuring 2 spin-offs The Nun and The Crooked Man schedule at some point. But, not content simply taking on Marvel with a cinematic universe the studio also has plans to enter the superhero genre with their very own Spawn movie!

Remember Spawn? Anyone…? Bueller…? Created by Todd McFarlane for Image Comics Spawn was already adapted for the big screen once in 1997 and that movie was… fun? Anyway, Blumhouse, the production company behind modern classics The Purge, Get Out and the criminally underrated Happy Death Day have plans to adapt the character for modern audiences. They’ve cast Jamie Foxx as the titular superhero, which I suppose is at least interesting, if you’re interested in that kind of thing. McFarlane himself is writing and directing this one, which does offer an air of authenticity. Another superhero movie though… yay, I guess?

As I’m sure you know, superheroes are all the rage these days, and the biggest players in town, Marvel Studios, are reportedly speaking with over 60 directors for the long-rumoured Black Widow solo outing. The film is rumoured to be a prequel featuring Bucky Barnes, aka The Winter Soldier, because if there’s one thing everyone can agree on when it comes to the MCU it’s that there’s not enough of that guy with the metal arm who was Captain America’s friend.

And if that wasn’t enough superhero news for you, former Khal Drogo (and soon to be former Aquaman if DC’s recent trajectory is anything to go by) Jason Momoa has dropped out of The Crow remake. Alex Proyas’ 1994 adaptation of James O’Barr’s 1989 comic of the same name starred Brandon Lee, son of martial arts superstar Bruce Lee, and was his final film appearance. The reboot (another one of those, yes) has been sat in development hell for years, but Sony had a planned release date of October 2019. With the exiting of Momoa and director Corin Hardy (The Hallow) rumour has it that Sony may also be dropping the project, meaning it’s likely we won’t be seeing this come to fruition anytime soon. The studio obviously has too much on their plate at the moment, what with the recently announced Sonic The Hedgehog movie, a live-action/animation adaptation of the popular SEGA game. The film will feature James Marsden (that guy who used to be Cyclops) as a human sidekick to the animated hedgehog and his pals, which all sounds suspiciously like The Smurfs or Alvin and the Chipmunks to me, but what do I know…?

Amongst the slew of remakes, reboots and reimaginings Disney have announced that production is currently underway on the sequel to 2014’s hit Maleficent, inventively titled Maleficent II. The film sees Angelina Jolie returning to the title role, along with Elle Fanning as Princess Aurora. Joining the cast are Michelle Pfieffer, Chewitel Ejiofor and Ed Skrein. While the first was a retelling (see, not a reboot or remake!) of Sleeping Beauty, the sequel will go in bold new directions, but likely feature many of the same characters, ideas and story.

Meanwhile Keanu Reeves (as in John Wick, as in Neo, as in Ted “Theodore” Logan) is going to be appearing in a supporting role in the Netflix produced Always Be My Maybe, which, despite sounding like it, is not a re-cut season of Arrested Development as told by George Michael Bluth. Instead this Maybe is an original production (say whaaaaat?) about two childhood sweethearts who have a falling out but reconnect as adults. Sounds like it could be the synopsis for Bill and Ted 3, but, disappointingly, it is not.

Speaking of disappointments, Solo is currently “bombing” at the box office. Only the studio behind Star Wars, Marvel and Pixar could consider a $103 million box office weekend haul a bomb, but there you have it. What will this mean for the future of the franchise? Well, nobody seems too sure, but it does appear that Disney won’t be calling upon Alden Ehrenreich to stay true to his contract, in which he was signed for two more films. However, it is possible that he may appear in the Boba Fett movie, which was announced as being in development last week with Logan director James Mangold at the helm, and there’s always room for Lando: A Star Wars Story, so maybe we haven’t see the last of him just yet. Besides, anyone who suggests a single flop will have Disney worried obviously didn’t see the box office takings for The Last Jedi.

But perhaps the most important movie news recently (…) is the casting of sixteen-year-old Isabela Moner as the titular star of Paramount/Nickelodeon’s live-action adaptation of Dora the Explorer. If there’s one thing we all hoped to be getting among Hollywood’s recent output it was a Dora the Explorer movie, and now we finally have it! It’s about time someone showed those pesky Avengers how it’s really done.

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Alex Secker is a writer/director/editor. His debut feature film, the micro-budget thriller Follow the Crows, won Best Independent Film at the Global Film Festival Awards, while his stage-play, The Door, won the People’s Choice Award at the 2017 Swinge Festival.


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