Odds are good that a few of you read this headline and thought, “Wait, there’s a Mortal Kombat reboot in production?” It’s true! Despite mixed success as a feature film and a web-series, Warner Bros. has decided to once again chase that sweet video game industry money with a big screen remake of the popular video game franchise. James Wan — who joined the project all the way back in 2015 as the executive producer — recently described the film as the fantasy version of Enter the Dragon, expressing a great deal of enthusiasm for the universe that he and the Mortal Kombat screenwriters had created.
One of the peculiarities of the modern studio system is that we often know the date a movie will be released long before we know the date when a movie will actually go into production. For example, we’ve known since last year that Jurassic World 2 would be released in June of 2018, but here it is, the end of 2016, and we’re just now learning the timeline to actually make the darn thing. Production schedules, like box office gross, sometimes have a logic all their own.
This hasn’t been a great month for Ryan Reynolds and Deadpool 2. Between the departure of director Tim Miller and the loss of composer Junkie XL, the sequel to the breakout superhero hit has been losing momentum at a time where it should be locking in the moving parts for the next iteration of the film. That still hasn’t stopped 20th Century Fox from pushing forward with the sequel, which apparently will begin shooting as early as January 2017, production problems be darned.
Childhood gives you rose-tinted glasses about a lot of things, not least of which is the role toys played on your purchase decisions growing up. I can remember having a large collection of action figures from movies like Aliens and Batman and using them to recreate some of my favorite moments from the movie; if you had asked me then, I would have said that toys were only for playing, never imagining that the toy commercials on TV were probably what spiked my interest in the movies to begin with
If there’s one thing that Joe Carnahan excels at, it’s overshooting our expectations. I promise that isn’t just faint praise: Carnahan has rebooted The A-Team as a summer movie; shot a feature-length film where Liam Neeson punches wolves; released an ensemble action film about the mob trying to kill a magician. Each of these films could have been a disaster in the wrong hands, but Carnahan has consistently delivered fun and thoughtful action movies where audiences least expect it. For my money, that makes him one of the most underrated writer-directors working in the action genre today.
Man, it must be nice to be Josh Trank. OK, so you’ve only ever directed two feature films before. Fine, Fantastic Four was such a bust that it caused studio executives to publicly attack you in the media. And yeah, your short tenure as a Star Wars director ended with you walking away from the franchise in favor of more personal projects. For many filmmakers, any of those three things would be enough to cross your name off the financing shortlist for future projects. But Josh Trank just takes a lickin’ and keeps on tickin’.
Hey, remember when they released a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie this past summer? Crazy, right? No hard feelings if you forgot: the second movie in the franchise hit theaters the first weekend in June and promptly tanking, making less than $100 million at the domestic box office despite a nine-figure budget. It’s the sort of showing that could stop a franchise in its tracks; and according to the film’s producers, that might be exactly what happened.
While there are no shortage of talented action stars working today, I’d be hard-pressed to name two American actors I like more than Tom Cruise and Keanu Reeves. Both Cruise and Reeves are often called upon to learn elaborate fight choreography in lieu of snappy editing or misleading camera work. We’ve come to appreciate each actor’s hard work with the training reels for movies like John Wick and Collateral, and speaking frankly, watching someone like Keanu Reeves practice his quick draw for hours on end is the perfect cure for whatever bad CGI ails you.
When an actor expresses interest in returning to an iconic role, I always wonder whether the actor needs the movie more than the studio needs the actor. Ron Perlman, for example, has spent years talking up his interest in another Hellboy movie, despite it being fairly obvious that the studio had no real interest in getting that project off the ground. So when Ewan McGregor told reporters last year that he would come back for an Obi-Wan Kenobi standalone movie, I wondered: does this make sense for everyone involved? Or was McGregor just doing the Hollywood equivalent of jumping on a trending hashtag?
About this time last year, rumors were flying that Marvel was trying to get some version of Blade off the ground. There were reports that Marvel had met with actor Wesley Snipes to discuss the possibility of a Blade 4; there were also reports that Marvel wanted to move forward with a Blade movie focusing on the vampire hunter’s daughter. Whatever the final product might be, Marvel clearly had some vague notion that Blade would be a factor in the future of the franchises.
For a while there, it seemed like the only sure things in life were death, taxes, and Ron Perlman talking up the possibility of a Hellboy 3. Even just scrolling back through our own archives, you can find multiple attempts by Perlman to either talk up the chances of a sequel or get fans to pitch in on the project. Even after Guillermo Del Toro went dark on the subject, Perlman continued to hold out hope that another film would get made.
Listen, we’re all only human. Even the most ardent fans of the Hollywood rumor mill can still hit their limit for television spots and blurry set photos. When it seems like every other post at a news site is of some upcoming comic book movie you don’t care about, take a moment and remember that there are films out there that play the marketing game better than anyone else. For me, movies like John Wick Chapter 2 are what make the rumor beat all worthwhile.
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