A slight delay to this weeks Movie Shots due to work commitments, but there has been some big stuff going down. New trailers for 2017s biggest (and in Kong’s case literally so) films landed, and Fantastic Beasts struck gold at the box office! Let’s take a look at the stories that matter, no Trump misery here:
- Beauty and the Beast finally dropped its first trailer and it looks pretty damn beautiful. Gorgeous set-design, an amazing cast, and the prospect of hearing some of Disney’s finest songs sung by Hollywood greats. I’m pretty pumped to see Luke Evans’s version of Gaston. I do find it odd that none of the songs are featured here, as I’m sure it might lead some to believe this is a straight adaptation rather than a full on musical. Plus I think we should all take some time to cheer on the return of Kevin Kline to our screens, here playing Belle’s father. We must also add that the trailer debut broke the viewing record, being viewed 127 million times in 24hrs, besting the likes of Star Wars and Fifty Shades. Suffice to say, this film is going to be HUGE! Out March 17th 2017!
- The trailer onslaught continues with Ghost in the Shell. An adaptation of the hugely popular Japanese manga, about future cyborgs in Neo-Tokyo, it has faced a tide of negativity surrounding the casting of distinctly non-asian Scarlett Johansson. Moving on from the truly awful trailer teases back in the summer, this first full look puts to rest any concerns. Offering up an almost shot for shot live action remake of the manga film, it looks unique, thrilling and epic. Johansson also brings to mind the cold nuance of her Under the Skin performance and should put to bed the whitewashing remarks, featuring as it does a truly diverse cast and authentic setting. Not entirely sure the more distinctive and somewhat odd visuals will bring in the punters, but I’m pretty sure having Johansson wearing a tight flesh coloured body suit will appeal to the more hormonal audience members. From director Rupert Sanders (Snow White and the Huntsman) Ghost in the Shell arrives March 2017!
- The final big trailer of the week is literally the BIGGEST! Kong: Skull Island is set in the 70s and features one of next years best casts. The Kings of Summer director Jordan Vogt-Roberts is very much tapping into the Vietnam/Apocalypse Now vibes, with scenes of tropical warfare, fiery helicopter attacks and Sam Jackson going all Colonel Kurtz on us. It certainly looks epic, with massive beasties and of course the titular giant ape. This iteration doesn’t look overly any different than Peter Jackson’s 2005 version, but the difference here is the context of the shots. Scenes of him bathed in fire, or stomping through a lake are very effective in gauging his scale. Not to mention Roberts seems to have taken to big budget filmmaking with aplomb. How this Kong winds up facing off Godzilla in 2020’s Vs film I don’t know but I for one cannot wait to see the carnage!
- Prolific British filmmaking auteur Ben Wheatley, responsible for this years mental High-Rise adaptation and next years already well reviewed Free-Fire, has set his sights on his next film. Hard Boiled will be an adaptation of Frank Miller’s graphic novel, and rumour abounds that his High-Rise star Tom Hiddleston will feature. Telling the tale of 3 disparate individuals, a robot, a murderous tax collector and a decent family man, it is crazy, violent and unique. So well in Wheatley’s wheelhouse.
- As a precursor to 4 more films all eyes were on Fantastic Beasts and its box office performance to see whether there was the required audience, and it appears there is! Although its $75 million US opening weekend is not as stellar as some at WB were hoping for, it’s nowhere near any of the opening tallys for the Potter films, it’s still a decent sum for a hard to advertise movie. Coincidentally audiences members were predominately over 25, meaning the film only really appealed to those fans who grew up with the HP films, whereas younger viewers were not attracted to it. Overseas however is a different story. $218 million worldwide is a very good figure. Record openings in 11 markets, notably in our blessed country where it romped to a $18.3 million total, more than all the Potters bar the last two. Proving that Harry Potter will forever be a British institution, the trick now is whether it has legs.
- Legendary, the production company behind Godzilla and Chris Nolan’s Bat films, have secured the rights to Frank Herbert’s Dune novels. Looking to create a massive media universe that encompasses films and TV, akin to what Ron Howard is producing with next years The Dark Tower adaptation, it will require that to be able to fully capture Herbert’s massive world. David Lynch attempted his version in 1993 but we all know how that turned out. Stay tuned for talent to be attached, which may still be a way off.
- The sequel no one asked for, Cars 3, released its first trailer this week. Pixar delivered a solid effort in the first film with its yearning for the past and its championing of slowing down, but followed it up with a kiddie focused and therefore overly childish sequel. It has always been a film universe with a somewhat silly central logic (who the hell builds these cars anyway?) and subsequently part of Pixar’s lesser canon. Next year though, and thanks to MASSIVE merchandise sales, we are getting a third and final instalment. I must admit that I am intrigued by this teaser, eschewing the colour and brightness of the first two for a greyer palate, not to mention a more downbeat tone. If the whole film follows this path count me as a wary fan. Cars 3 opens next summer.
- Marvel continue their brilliant track record of great casting choices. This time it is Angela Bassett. Cast in the role of Ramonda, the mother of Black Panther, 2018’s African set solo tale for Civil War’s standout character. Joining the likes of Chadwick Boseman, Michael B Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o and Forest Whitaker, in what is shaping up to be one of their best casts, which is saying a lot. Directed by Creed’s Ryan Coogler it arrives March 2018.
- We are edging ever closer to Martin Scorsese’s new historical epic Silence. Releasing in Jan but with no footage revealed as of yet. It seems Scorsese has been tweaking the film a lot in the last year, but from those in the know the footage is incredible. A passion project for the director, it is set in 13th Century Feudal Japan, and tells the tale of two Jesuit priests travelling through the country. It doesn’t strike me as a potential B.O hit, but with a prime Oscar release date, expect this one to be well talked about, even though no one has seen it (a rarity for an award contender at this point of the year). Here is the first poster, and it is certainly evocative. Expect a trailer next week!
- Finally, the Queen of Dragons is going to a Galaxy Far Far Away.. Emilia Clarke will play the female lead in the Han Solo spin off film. Nothing is known about her character as of yet, but let’s hope its a better written part than her failed big screen breakout Terminator Genisys. Joining Donald Glover as Lando (the best casting in recent film history) and Alden Ehrenrich as Mr Solo, the film Kathleen Kennedy recently described as a ‘Western space epic’ (Firefly comparisons come to mind here) is being written and directed by Lego Movie’s Phil Lord and Chris Miller, and opens in 2018!
Til the next hangover….