This Week’s Ketchup brings you another eight headlines from the world of film development news (those stories about what movies Hollywood is working on for you next), covering up-and-coming titles like Black Widow, Paranormal Activity 7, and the Hunger Games prequel.
Although John Carpenter’s original 1978 slasher film, Halloween (Certified Fresh at 95%) is considered a horror classic, the franchise then received a steady stream of Rotten Tomatometer scores until the soft reboot last year starring Jamie Lee Curtis came back Certified Fresh at 79%. That film was also a box office smash with a $76 million opening weekend that led to the film earning $255 million globally from a production budget of just $10 million. Like most studios right now, Universal Pictures is looking for any toehold they can find in an effort to stay relevant up against Walt Disney Pictures, so it’s super unsurprising to report that Paramount is moving forward with plans for (another) Halloween 2. Jamie Lee Curtis is expected to return for Halloween 2, as are Judy Greer and Andi Matichak as her daughter and granddaughter. Universal Pictures has an “untitled” horror film scheduled for October 16, 2020, which most sources are interpreting as being Halloween 2. (That release date has also been claimed for Robert Zemeckis’ remake of The Witches, and for the G.I. Joe spinoff Snake Eyes.)
Since releasing Inside Out (Certified Fresh at 98%) in 2015, Pixar has released one or two films a year for a total of seven films in five calendar years. Of the last five films, all were sequels except Coco (Certified Fresh at 97%). After releasing just one film a year in 2017 (The Incredibles 2) and 2018 (Toy Story 4), Pixar is going to return to releasing two films in 2020, and they’re both going to be non-sequels. Pixar released the first trailer for the fantasy comedy Onward (3/6/2020), and this week, they revealed the title and theme of their second 2020 film. The reveal still leaves a lot unsaid (like cast and premise), but Soul teases a story written and directed by Pete Docter (Up, Inside Out) that asks, “Ever wonder where your passion, your dreams and your interests come from? What is it that makes you… YOU?” Disney and Pixar will release Soul on June 19, 2020, up against an untitled Pete Davidson comedy, and the week before Top Gun: Maverick and Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical In the Heights.
This week’s news about The Hunger Games sort of deserves some mathematical assistance. You may not remember how many Hunger Games had taken place prior to the first film’s narrative, but it’s much easier to recall that The Hunger Games: Catching Fire depicted the 75th competition, and that’s made easier by remembering that every 25th iteration of the Hunger Games (called “Quarter Quells”) follow special rules. It was announced this week that author Suzanne Collins will publish an “untitled Panem novel” on May 19, 2020 that will be set 64 years before the events of The Hunger Games (in other words, 10 years after the games started, in world). Lionsgate was likewise quick to move forward with plans for a prequel based on that forthcoming novel. Online sources also quickly produced articles about the film, such as this one asking if The Hunger Games is still revelant in 2020, and this one listing other possible prequel ideas.
Some weeks, Marvel Studios could swallow half of The Weekly Ketchup if we let them, so it helps to just bunch their stories together. Let’s start with the story that you’ve probably already seen crawl across your social media, which is that Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige remarked that they frequently talk to Keanu Reeves about joining almost every new project, and they’re still looking for a role for him. This begs a few questions, like what past roles might have gone to Reeves (Ant-Man? Doctor Strange? Thanos?), and whether Feige might be getting ahead of an upcoming announcement for a film like The Eternals or Shang-Chi (Keanu Reeves is partially of Chinese descent). In other Marvel news, Feige also revealed that Avengers: Endgame will return to theaters next week (6/28/2019) with new scenes as part of an effort to pass current box office record holder Avatar. As for Marvel’s plans for 2020, British actor Ray Winstone (Noah, Sexy Beast) joined the cast of the Black Widow prequel this week in an unspecified role.
We may still have to wait for a while yet for the inevitable Hamilton movie, but 2020 is still going to be a big year for its creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda. The long-in-development adaptation of his musical In the Heights will be released on June 26, 2020, and Sony Pictures Animation also has Vivo, featuring eleven new songs by Miranda, scheduled for release on November 6, 2020. A third project (which doesn’t have a release date yet) is called Tick, Tick… Boom!, and this week it was picked up by Netflix. Lin-Manuel Miranda will make his feature film directorial debut with Tick, Tick… Boom!, which will be an adaptation of a stage musical by the late creator of Rent, Jonathan Larson. Andrew Garfield (The Amazing Spider-Man) is reportedly the choice to star in the musical as an “aspiring theater composer” and waiter living in New York City in 1990.
Some movies manage to get developed, produced, and released in just a few years, but there are others that date back decades. One such example is Spinning Gold, the biopic of 1970s record company executive Neil Bogart, whose Casablanca Records was the home of acts like the Village People, Donna Summer, Parliament, the Isley Brothers, and KISS. Following the box office successes of Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocketman, Spinning Gold is finally going to start filming on July 16, and this week, the film’s large ensemble cast was announced. Parliament will be represented by Samuel L. Jackson (as George Clinton) and D.L. Hughley (as Bootsy Collins), Jason Derulo will portray Ron Isley, Neil Patrick Harris will play KISS manager Bill Aucoin, and Kenan Thompson will portray Motown’s Berry Gordy. Neil Bogart himself will be played by relative-unknown Jeremy Jordan, who’s best known for stage musicals like Newsies, Bonnie & Clyde, and Waitress.
Starting with Jitney in 1982, playwright August Wilson wrote a series of ten films set in Pittsburgh during each of the 20th Century’s decades, including the 1950s-set Fences. Denzel Washington directed and starred in the film adaptation (Certified Fresh at 92%), which received four Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, and a win for Viola Davis for Best Supporting Actress. Now, Davis has signed on with Netflix to star as the famous titular blues singer in their adaptation of the 1920s entry in Wilson’s Pittsburgh Cycle, the jazz era drama Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, and she’ll be joined by Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom will be produced for Netflix by Denzel Washington, who has stated a commitment to eventually getting all ten plays in August Wilson’s Pittsburgh Cycle adapted as feature films.
Although British director David Lean eventually became famous for epics like Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago, and The Bridge on the River Kwai, earlier in his career, he produced more intimate films like Brief Encounter and 1945’s Blithe Spirit. The latter was a comedy about a ghost based on a play by British actor and playwright Noël Coward, a new version of which started production this week in England. Dan Stevens (of TV’s Downton Abbey and Legion) will star as a struggling writer who becomes haunted by the ghost of his first wife (Leslie Mann). Isla Fisher will play his second (still living) wife, and Dame Judi Dench will play the medium whose seance accidentally summons the ghost.
Rapper-turned-actor Ice Cube has starred or co-starred in a few different successful franchises, including Friday, Ride Along, Barbershop, and 21 Jump Street, but future sequels either aren’t planned (21 Jump Street, Barbershop) or are delayed (Friday, Ride Along). For 2020 and 2021, Ice Cube is instead looking at two new projects. The first is a comedy called Covers set in the music industry, with Dakota Johnson and black-ish star Tracee Ellis Ross already attached to star. Ice Cube is also in negotiations to star in an adaptation of the hitman novel The Killer’s Game, along with Dave Bautista, who has two different action movies out this summer (Stuber and My Spy).
It’s now been four years since 2015’s Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension earned the franchise’s lowest box office to date. The Paranormal Activity movies were relatively affordable to produce, though, so it was probably inevitable that Paramount Pictures would want to start making them again. Producer Jason Blum (of Blumhouse Productions) is now developing Paranormal Activity 7 for Paramount, although the premise isn’t yet known (though it seems obvious that it will probably be another “found footage” horror film). We’re calling Paranormal Activity 7 this week’s Rotten Idea based on the Rotten Tomatometer scores for the last three films (24%, 39%, and 15%, respectively).