Let’s talk about the top stories in Hollywood this week!
Wonder Woman 1984 is finally here! Tentpole-starved fans will find much to dig into with the sequel, which takes place decades after the first Wonder Woman. It’s now the 1980s, and Gal Gadot’s superheroine must tangle with Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal), a grasping tycoon who encourages the world’s avarice, and Barbara Minerva (Kristen Wiig), a nerdy nobody who eventually becomes Cheetah, Wonder Woman’s comic-book rival. Warner Bros. has booked the Gal Gadot-Chris Pine feature in as many open cinemas as possible on December 25 – 2,150+ vs. 4,165 theaters when the first movie opened on June 2, 2017. Gadot hopes people will see it in theaters if they can, telling fans, “I know the cinemas are doing all they can in order to keep you safe and in order to give you the full movie experience. So, if you have a cinema-safe theater around you, please go get your tickets, watch this movie, watch Wonder Woman 1984 and enjoy a special cinema night.” As to the question of whether fans can look forward to a Wonder Woman 3, director Patty Jenkins said her future with the franchise will depend on whether the studio commits to a big screen release, noting, “I know that I’d love to do the third one if the circumstances were right and there was still a theatrical model possible. I don’t know that I would if there wasn’t.” (Deadline, MovieWeb, The New York Times)
But it’s not all about Wonder Woman this week – there are several great new movies hitting the big screen on December 25. Focus Features’ dramatic thriller Promising Young Woman has been a buzzy awards season title before its Christmas Day theatrical release, and serves a different flavor of revenge from Cassie, who works as a barista after her future in medicine was derailed. She leads a double life as a woman who makes toxic men pay for their horrific behavior against women, when an unexpected encounter gives her a chance to right the wrongs of the past. Tom Hanks is back on the big screen in News of the World, playing a Civil War veteran who agrees to deliver a girl, taken by the Kiowa people years ago, to her aunt and uncle, against her will. Also premiering on Christmas Day in Miami on December 25 and hit theaters nationwide on January 8, 2021 is One Night In Miami based on the award-winning play by the same name from Kemp Powers, who also adapted it for screen. The film follows one historic night in 1964 when underdog Cassius Clay, soon to be called Muhammad Ali, (Eli Goree), defeats heavyweight champion Sonny Liston at the Miami Convention Hall. Clay memorialized the event with three of his friends: Malcolm X (Kingsley Ben-Adir), Sam Cooke (Leslie Odom Jr.) and Jim Brown (Aldis Hodge), and the film creates a fictional account of their conversation, spotlighting the struggles these men faced and the vital role they each played in the civil rights movement and cultural upheaval of the era. Other Christmas premieres in select theaters include The Dissident, which dives deep into the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and the classic fairytale Pinocchio. (Deadline)
George Clooney’s latest movie, The Midnight Sky, may be premiering on Netflix due to the pandemic, but he firmly believes movie theaters are here to stay. “Let’s be clear that in 1950 everybody panicked that the movie industry would be done because of television, and then it was VHS, and then it was DVDs. The truth of the matter is there’s always going to be a great space for cinema. People have to get out of the house. I can’t keep saying to my wife, ‘Let’s watch TV tonight.’” The star added, “The movie industry is going to continue to carry on. Has it created some different viewing habits? A little bit. But you know the film industry survives these things; it always does. And part of it is because we need a collective experience and it’s still a great date night. Dinner and a movie is still pretty great. And kids still like to get in the dark with whoever they’re seeing. They want to get away from their parents. So young people are still going to go to the movies.” (Variety)
Christmas came early for Beatles fans this week! At long last, Peter Jackson has given a glimpse at his upcoming documentary, The Beatles: Get Back, due out in theaters on August 27th, 2021. Paul McCartney dropped a five-minute clip from the doc via his Twitter Monday morning that features Jackson introducing the snippet and sharing the news that the film is just about half done. Jackson stressed that this not a trailer for the doc, but rather a sampling of the 56 hours of never-before-seen footage it will feature. Scored by the titular song, the sneak peek features all manner of Fab Four studio antics. Featuring footage shot in early 1969, Get Back will build on 1970’s Let It Be — also shot during those sessions — but will present a much sunnier vision of the Beatles’ breakup. As Ringo Starr said in a release: “There were hours and hours of us just laughing and playing music, not at all like the version that came out. There was a lot of joy and I think Peter will show that. I think this version will be a lot more peace and loving, like we really were.” (Rolling Stone)
Bono, Letitia Wright and Pharrell Williams are all lending their pipes to Universal and Illumination’s animated comedy Sing 2! The sequel also introduces new characters voiced by Bobby Cannavale, Chelsea Peretti, Halsey and Eric Andre. They join the returning voice cast of Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Scarlett Johansson, Taron Egerton and Nick Kroll. Sing followed a group of animals in a singing competition, and the sequel sees Buster Moon (a koala voiced by McConaughey) and his cast of underdogs push their talents beyond local theater with the hopes of performing at the most prestigious venue in the entertainment world. Bono, in his animated film debut, portrays lion Clay Calloway, who became the world’s most reclusive rock legend after the death of his wife. Before Buster Moon and crew can impress an intimidating music mogul — wolf Jimmy Crystal (Canavale) — enough to grace the biggest stage, they must persuade Clay Calloway to perform in the show. Sing 2 is set to open in theaters on Dec. 22, 2021. (Variety)
Halloween filmmaker David Gordon Green is ready to take on another horror classic. Green is in talks to direct a sequel to The Exorcist for Blumhouse and Morgan Creek Productions. William Friedkin directed the original The Exorcist, which became a sensation in 1973 and went on to earn $193 million globally, making it the highest-grossing, R-rated horror movie of all time until it was dethroned by 2017’s It. The film told the tale of a 12-year-old girl possessed by a mysterious entity and the lengths her mother and two Catholic priests go to in an attempt to save her. It was adapted from William Peter Blatty’s 1971 novel, and earned the author an adapted screenplay Oscar. The original film was nominated for ten Oscars in all, including best picture and best director, as well as acting nominations for Ellen Burstyn, Jason Miller and Linda Blair. The Exorcist remains a cultural touchstone and has spawned numerous sequels, and in 1983, Blatty published Legion, a book sequel to his first novel. As for Friedkin, he has been vocal that he will not be involved in any sequel. (The Hollywood Reporter)
Is Die Hard a Christmas movie? Fans have been arguing over it for years, and while Bruce Willis may say no, now director John McTiernan has said yes, it is! In a video posted to YouTube by the American Film Institute, a long-haired McTiernan talks about his 1988 action movie set on Christmas Eve and lays out the case for categorizing the franchise-launching hit as a holiday classic, including explaining how he and producer Joel Silver ultimately snuck in a narrative that he likened to the famous Pottersville sequence from the 1946 drama It’s a Wonderful Life. “We hadn’t intended it to be a Christmas movie. But the joy that came from it is what turned it into a Christmas movie,” said McTiernan. (The Hollywood Reporter, Complex)
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We’re off for the holidays next week, so we’ll see you in 2021! Best wishes for a much Happier New Year at the movies!