Archive for January, 2018
Real Heroes. Not Actual Size.
In theaters July 6th
The third movie in the Maze Runner trilogy, Maze Runner: The Death Cure, had a strong opening weekend, taking in $23.5M domestically and $62.6M internationally, and $105.5M overall including some openings a week earlier. The movie appears to have retained the fans, after a lackluster Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials and a long delay in production due to star Dylan O’Brien’s injuries sustained on set.
Still going strong is the deserved Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, taking in another $16.1M and totaling $338M domestically, making it one of Sony’s biggest movies ever.
Another movie that has emerged out from the shadow of Star Wars: The Last Jedi is The Greatest Showman, a catchy musical (and very fictional) account of how master showman P.T. Barnum got his start. Facing tough competition through its run, it still gained $9.5M this weekend and $126M total. If you like musicals, give this movie a shot.
SYFY announced today a second season pickup of the network’s original series Happy!, starring Christopher Meloni and featuring the voice of Patton Oswalt. From Universal Cable Productions, this twisted graphic novel adaptation has been hailed as “one of the craziest, most utterly off-the-wall TV series ever produced” by The New York Times Syndicate and launched as the network’s best series premiere since January 2016 across all key demos. The shocking Season 1 finale is set to air this Wednesday, January 31 at 10/9c on SYFY.
“Happy! struck a chord with our SYFY audience and disrupted the TV landscape with its unique storytelling and outrageous performances led by Christopher Meloni,” said Chris McCumber, President, Entertainment Networks, NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment. “If people thought this season was crazy – I can’t wait for fans to see what Grant Morrison, Brian Taylor and the entire cast and crew have in store for Sax and Happy!”
Based on the New York Times best-selling author Grant Morrison and Darick Robertson’s graphic novel of the same name, Happy! follows Nick Sax (Meloni) – an intoxicated, corrupt ex-cop turned hit man – who is adrift in a world of casual murder, soulless sex and betrayal. After a hit gone wrong, his inebriated life is forever changed by a tiny, relentlessly positive, imaginary blue winged horse named Happy (Oswalt). In the must-see finale, Sax and Happy are locked in a climatic confrontation to rescue Hailey (Bryce Lorenzo) from Very Bad Santa’s (Joseph Reitman) lair, as Merry (Lili Mirojnick) sets out to save Amanda (Medina Senghore) from a far more powerful foe. The series also stars Ritchie Coster (Blue) and Patrick Fischler (Smoothie).
Tidbits: Daredevil and Krypton cast; Ready Player One date; The Greatest American Hero pilot; Nightflyers boost
I am once again trying to play catch up, so here is a rundown of the last several days worth of news…
On the casting side, Syfy’s Superman prequel Krypton has signed Hannah Waddingham (How to Lose Friends & Alienate People) as Jax-Ur, once one of Kypton’s eminent scientists turned leader of the terrorist group Black Zero. An interesting choice, as the character has traditionally been portrayed as a male.
On the opposite side of the comic world, Marvel and Netflix’s Daredevil added Joanne Whalley (Willow), in an unspecified role. However, the finale of The Defenders made mention of a “Maggie” who is believed to be Sister Maggie, a character in the comic series who is in fact Matt Murdock’s mother who left her family to become a nun, and return to nurse her son back to health.
The much anticipated Ready Player One will open a day earlier than originally scheduled. Instead of opening on Good Friday, March 30th, of the Easter weekend it will now open on the Thursday, March 29th. Thursday openings for big movies is becoming more common…based on the 2011 SF novel, the story is set in a near-future dystopian society, in which teenager Wade Watts enters a virtual reality game to look for the game’s “easter egg” which could net him wealth – but there are those willing to kill to stop him.
ABC has ordered a pilot for the remake of The Greatest American Hero with a put commitment (ABC will at a minimum air the pilot as a special/TV movie, or pay a penalty). This version centers around a tequila and karaoke-loving 30-year-old Indian-American woman who becomes entrusted with a suit that gives her the power to protect the planet – but it doesn’t work out so well. Cast has yet to be named. This is the first collaboration between 20th Century Fox Studios and ABC, who are set to become siblings. Fox and ABC studios are co-producing with Fresh Off the Boat‘s Rachna Fruchbom and Nahnatchka Khan’s Fierce Baby.
Lastly, the Irish Film Board just gave a huge boost to the production of George R.R. Martin’s Nightflyers, which will be filming at Troy Studios in Limerick, Ireland. The board granted €850,000 (about $1.1 million) to the production, which is the largest such award in the current funding cycle. Syfy ordered the 10-episode series earlier this month from Universal Cable Productions, with Netflix on board for international distribution.
Highly recognized fantasy and speculative fiction author Ursula K. Le Guin passed away yesterday at the age of 88, her son confirmed to the New York Times.
Le Guin, whose fiction spans multiple subgenres over 20+ novels and 100+ short stories, was full of rich visuals and anti-stereotyping, shying away from white male-led stories and being all inclusive. This earned her many accolades over the years, including being named the sixth Gandalf Award Grand Master by the World Science Fiction Society in 1979, the 20th Grand Master of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America in 2003, and a Living Legend by the Library of Congress in 2003.
Cable network Spike, which re-brands itself as the Paramount Network tomorrow night, announced that it has dropped scripted series The Shannara Chronicles, which aired its second season on the channel after shifting from its sibling channel MTV.
Sonar Entertainment is reportedly shopping the show to other networks.
It previously announced that it canceled its first original drama, The Mist.
Parent company Viacom announced last February that it is re-organizing its portfolio of cable networks to focus on six “core” networks – BET, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., and Paramount. Paramount will become the flagship “general entertainment” brand. It remains to be seen what happens to some of its smaller channels, such as TV Land and CMT, but two planned series for TV Land, Heathers and American Woman, will be taken over by Paramount.
It’s about time…several years after 2014’s Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey starring chief science nerd Neil deGrasse Tyson and produced by Seth MacFarlane, itself a sequel of 1980’s seminal science series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage by Carl Sagan, will get its own sequel.
Cosmos: Possible Worlds – the title of which is perhaps a nod to the theme of this series – has been ordered from Fox and National Geographic, with a planned Spring 2019 release. The same creative team will be back as well; MacFarlane will be joined by executive producers Brannon Braga and Jason Clark, as well as executive producer, writer and director Ann Druyan who won an Emmy for writing the 2014 series. Tyson will return as host. The 2014 series was watched by 135 million people worldwide and was the most watched series on National Geographic’s international channels.
Also, this time the series will receive a companion book, much like Sagan’s original series did.
Fox and National Geographic will remain partners for the series despite the impending sale of National Geographic Channel to Disney as part of the giant acquisition.
It appears that director Gore Verbinski has quit the Gambit starring Channing Tatum. The split is amicable however – Verbinski just had too many scheduling conflicts. The movie will now look for yet another director – Doug Liman (Edge Of Tomorrow) and Rupert Wyatt (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) were previously attached.
With the need to find a new director, Fox has already pushed back the movie on the planned release schedule, moving to June 7th, 2019 from February 14th.
Another lost to the stars…Canadian actor Donnelly Rhodes, best known in these parts as Dr. Cottle in the updated Battlestar Galactica but also for his role of Dutch Leitner on the late 70s ABC comedy Soap, passed away yesterday at the age of 80 due to cancer while in hospice care according to talent agency Northern Exposure.
Rhodes most recently made an appearance in the 2016 “Invasion!” Arrowverse crossover as Agent Smith, and he also starred as Det. Leo Shannon in the Canadian series DaVinci’s Inquest. He had many small roles as well, such as the grandfather in TRON: Legacy and a couple of appearances in The Outer Limits anthology series. In all he had appeared in more than 160 series and movies over a 60 year career.
Just released today at the Television Critics Association…
What if Superman never existed? Set two generations before the destruction of Superman’s home planet, KRYPTON follows Seg-El (Cameron Cuffe), the legendary Man of Steel’s grandfather, as a young man who is faced with a life and death conflict – save his home planet or let it be destroyed in order to restore the fate of his future grandson. With Krypton’s leadership in disarray and the House of El ostracized, Seg finds himself in a difficult position. He must redeem his family’s honor and protect the ones he loves while being challenged by familiar DC characters Brainiac (Blake Ritson) and Earthly time-traveler Adam Strange (Shaun Sipos).
Krypton is from Warner Horizon Scripted Television and is executive produced by David S. Goyer (Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, The Dark Knight Trilogy) through his Phantom Four banner, alongside Cameron Welsh, who serves as showrunner. In addition to Cuffe, Sipos and Ritson, the show also stars Georgina Campbell (Broadchurch), Elliot Cowan (Da Vinci’s Demons), Ann Ogbomo (World War Z), Rasmus Hardiker (Your Highness), Wallis Day (Will), Aaron Pierre (Tennison) and Ian McElhinney (Game of Thrones). Based on the DC characters created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.