Welcome back to the Friday edition of Studio Coffee Run! We’re not as young or cool and hip as Josh Hilgenberg’s Tuesday Studio Coffee Run, but we do our best to take a nap in the afternoon to make up for it.
It’s a big weekend with a couple movie sequels and the debut of HBO’s Watchmen series. There’s a great interview with showrunner Damon Lindelof about the latter over at Vulture where apparently The Beat’s own Chloe Maveal gets a shout-out! It’s a pretty great interview if you’re interested in that series and how it diverges from the Alan Moore-Dave Gibbons comics.
I haven’t had much to say as far as introductory stuff in a while, but I’ve frequently used this space to talk about the “Streaming Service Wars,” which kids in 2060 will be taught about in their American History classes.
All of the current and future services are trying to up their game to get ready for the launch of Disney+ in less than a month, but Disney+ decided to just throw it all out there on Monday when it unleashed an insanely long thread on Twitter, showing everything that was coming to the service on November 14, beginning with the 1937 classic Snow White and the Seven Dwarvesall the way up to the new “Star Wars” series The Mandalorian. It’s a hugely impressive list for sure, but it also led to all sorts of pranksters making fun of some of Disney’s… let’s just call them “Not Classics.” Much of those came from the Disney Channel and/or not-so-impressive mid-00s releases, but hey, they can’t all be winners.
Even more interesting is that a day or two later, The Hollywood Reporter posted a cover story about Disney head Robert Iger and the investment that the company is putting into the Disney+ service with a few interesting revelations including that the company is projecting to have 60 to 90 million global subscribers by 2021. That’s 28 million more than Hulu has currently but also in line with what Netflix had in its five years after separating from the DVD part of the company. Even more shocking is that the upcoming “Star Wars” series led by Jon Favreau is being produced at a cost of $15 million an episode. Just for some perspective, Blumhouse could make somewhere between three to five feature films for that kind of money. If that doesn’t sound crazy enough, those Marvel Studios series everyone is waiting for? You know, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, WandaVisionand Hawkeye being just three. Those are rumored to cost somewhere closer to $25 million an episode. Clearly, Disney are thinking that the demand by subscribers to see these series will pay for the huge cost to make these series people will want to see.
Like I said, all of the streaming services are playing this incredible game of “chicken” right now, and the yet-released HBO Max service responded to Disney+ by announcing that all 21 Studio Ghibli movies would be streaming exclusively on their service when it debuts in the spring, including Ponyo, which was previously released by Disney. Sure, a lot of these movies have been on the repertory circuit for years and are regularly screened theatrically by Fathom Events as part of their annual Ghibli Fest, but it’s a pretty impressive list of movies that can be seen at any time, so you can read more about them here.
A short while after that was announced, the New Line comedy SuperIntelligence, starring Melissa McCarthy and directed by husband Ben Falcone, was pulled from its planned holiday theatrical release and dumped to HBO Max, which seems to be the way a lot of planned theatrical releases have been going. Obviously, HBO Max is working hard to pump up the amount of original content before its launch on top of having a library of old movies and shows.
In case you missed it…
- Just a few weeks after it was announced that Kevin Feige would be given the keys to make at least one “Star Wars” movie and will produce one more Tom Holland “Spider-Man” movie, it was announced that Disney is going to be giving the Marvel Studios President even MORE power. Feige is now Marvel’s Chief Creative Officer – a role once similarly held by Geoff Johns at DC Entertainment – with Marvel Entertainment President Dan Buckleyreporting directly to Feige. This is huge news because it puts all of Marvel’s efforts in comics, movies, the various television series all under Feige’s thumb. It makes absolute sense considering his success with Marvel Studios and many of its movies making one even two billion worldwide. It’s just another part of the enormous money-making skills that Disney has proven to have over the past couple years, which is quite a departure from Disney in the mid-00’s (as mentioned above.) Hopefully, this power won’t go to Feige’s head, and he’ll start tweeting stupid things, but I have confidence that Feige has gotten to where he is by being smart and practical, and not by fixing an election. (Our beloved leader Heidi MacDonald wrote a fairly comprehensive take on what this mens, so make sure you read that.)
- This is only one of the stranger news stories because we’ve gotten so used to actors and filmmakers who are “in talks” actually talking their way into making an actual deal. This is especially true with actors who become attached to projects, so it was very odd that the news broke a few days ago that Jonah Hill was NOT going to be in Matt Reeves’ The Batman. He isn’t playing the Penguin. He isn’t playing the Riddler. He isn’t playing Harvey Bullock, nor is he playing one half of Tweedledee and Tweedledum with Seth Rogen (although I’d pay to see that). To say he “dropped out” isn’t exactly accurate, because he probably was never actually “in” i.e. he hadn’t signed a contract and then decided to leave the project as has happened many times in Hollywood history.
That said, less than a day after this was announced, Paul Dano was cast as The Riddler, so that’s an interesting twist.
More MATRIX 4 Casting!
Normally, I’d save this for Casting Tidbits below but there was so much chatter about who may be joining Lana Wachowski’s planned The Matrix relaunch/sequel/reboot, or whatever it’s going to be called. First of all, Jessica Henwick, who played Colleen Wing on Netflix’s Iron Fist show, has been cast in one of the film’s leading roles. That
was announced less than a day after the beloved Neil Patrick Harris was also cast in an undisclosed role for the movie. Last week, it was announced that Yahya Abdul-Mateen II is joining Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss in one of the other leading roles. (Abdul-Mateen is rumored to be playing a younger Morpheus.) If those two aren’t enough to get you excited for the return of the futuristic action franchise, then how about the fact that Jada Pinkett Smith is in talks to return to the series in the role of Niobe, which she played in The Matrix Reloaded and the conclusion of that first trilogy. So far, Wachowski seems to be taking a similar approach to Colin Trevorrow with his approach to Jurassic World 3, mixing it up with old faces and characters with new ones.
THE WITCH director Robert Eggers’ next project has Vikings!
Robert Eggers’ The Lighthouse is out in select cities today, which seems like a good time for him to announce his next project, even though he wasn’t quite ready to say anything about it when I spoke to him a few weeks back. The movie is called The Northman, and it’s a “Viking revenge saga set in Iceland at the turn of the 10thcentury.” In other words, a third period piece! Eggers wrote the screenplay with Sjón, who is an Icelandic poet and novelist, and it’s already been set up at New Regency, who co-produced and co-financed The Lighthouse. Eggers is putting together an amazing cast for the project having talks with ACTUAL Viking Alexander Skarsgard, his brother and It’s Pennywise Bill Skarsgard, reuniting Alex with his Big Little Lieswife Nicole Kidman, along with The Witchstar Anya Taylor-Joy, The Lighthouse star Willem Dafoe. That’s a pretty amazing cast and seeing what Eggers was able to do with just two actors on The Lighthouse,
X-Files star David Duchovny hasn’t been seen on the big-screen for quite some time, but he just signed on to the Blumhouse-Sony revamp of the ‘90s classic The Craft, written and directed by Zoe Lister-Jones (Band Aid). He joins the already announced young female cast of Cailee Spaeny, Gideon Adlon, Lovie Simone, Zoey Lunaand Nicholas Galitzine. Spaeny is also in Alex Garland’s upcoming FX series DEVS, which released a new promo this week (see below).
- There’s been quite a bit of excitement about the casting for Colin Trevorrow’s 2021 Jurassic World 3, and this week, another actor who I’m not as familiar with was added, one Mamoudou Athie, who apparently appears in the Facebook Watch series Sorry for Your Loss, will play one of the lead roles opposite returning Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, and Sam Neill.
Also another bit of writer casting…
- Marvel Studios has hired Jada Bartlett to write Doctor Strange in the Multitude of Madness, the Scott Derickson sequel that’s scheduled for release on May 7, 2021. Bartlett has written a few scripts that haven’t been produced including the Black List script Miller’s Girl and is adapting Chloé Esposito‘s debut novel, Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know.
Trailers! Trailers! Trailers!
- Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story is pretty far removed from the movies we normally cover here on The Beat, but I have to say that it’s one of the New York filmmaker’s most impressive endeavors, and a nice bookend to his earlier film The Squid and the Whale. It stars Adam Driver, Scarlett Johansson, Laura Dern, Alan Alda and Ray Liotta, most of them doing some of their career-best work in terms of playing out a really difficult divorce in a way we haven’t seen
- Maybe not as exciting compared to a messy divorce is Sony Pictures’ first trailer for Peter Rabbit 2: The Runawaybased on Beatrix Potter’s classic children’s book character. Peter is once again voiced by James Corden, and this one is directed by Will Gluck (Easy A), but I never got around to seeing the first movie so not sure I’ll be seeing this one despite it being timed well for Easter.
- I mentioned Alex Garland’s series DEVS above, and one of the reason I’m really excited about it is that I attended the New York Comic-Con panel for the series, and I have a lot to share about it including some interviews. For now, here’s another mysterious teaser for the series, which will debut next spring:
- Yeah, yeah, I know that I’m becoming a bit of an Honest Trailers stan, but I love these things, especially for movies that I enjoyed or even loved, cause they find new ways into these movies that are funny and entertaining. This week’s offering is the original Zombieland, and if you’ve read my recent coverage, you know that I’m a fan of the sequel as well.
That’s it for the Friday edition of Studio Coffee Run. Josh will be back on Tuesday, and I’m going to take my afternoon nap.