This week’s biggest slice of movie news came from an unlikely source, in the shape of a Disney movie just about everyone had forgotten about. Beauty and the Beast rose from obscurity this week to smash a major trailer milestone.
Elsewhere, there was some intriguing casting for an upcoming spy blockbuster, more bad news for fans of the Maze Runner franchise and the promising return of a horror icon to the slasher franchise that helped cement him as an all-time filmmaking legend.
Here’s your movie news round-up.
Beauty and the Beast breaks the internet
It’s fair to say that very few people had given Disney’s live action Beauty and the Beast, starring Emma Watson, a second thought before this week. The first teaser trailer for the movie, a remake of the 90s animated version, arrived online on Monday and promptly shot up the trending lists on social media. It amassed more than 91.8m views in its first 24 hours online, smashing a record set by Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
The trailer is delightfully elegant, evoking the classic spirit of Disney with its music. It’s got a pleasingly traditional feel that is reminiscent of the handsome Cinderella remake that showed up last year. Disney has wisely avoided showing too many of the characters and only gives us a brief glimpse of Watson as Belle. Consider our appetites well and truly whetted.
Beauty and the Beast will be released in March 2017.
Halloween franchise sets up Carpenter return
Horror titans Blumhouse have signed on to produce a new movie in the Halloween franchise. And they’ve pulled off a major coup in attracting original director John Carpenter to produce the movie, as reported over at Empire Online. Carpenter has said that, almost 40 years after the first Halloween movie, he is on board to make this sequel “the scariest of them all”.
It’s a real thrill to see Carpenter back with the franchise that helped to make his name as a maestro of the macabre. It remains to be seen how closely involved he will be with this new project, but a Halloween movie with John Carpenter on board is a tantalising prospect and one that could prove just how good a horror reboot or sequel can be when done in the spirit of the original.
Jeff Bridges suits up for Kingsman 2
Kingsman: The Golden Circle has added another impressive name to its swelling cast, in the shape of Jeff Bridges. The actor announced his involvement in the spy spoof sequel with a tweet bearing a cryptic, whiskey-themed slogan. Similarly teasing posters have announced the casting of several other performers, as well as teasing the return of Colin Firth‘s deceased Harry Hart.
This is another intriguing casting choice for the Kingsman sequel. The first movie was not a film that I loved as much as others, but there was a definite sense of anarchic invention to it that will hopefully continue into the sequel. Kingsman: The Golden Circle is eyeing a June 2017 release date.
Campaigners protest “disability snuff movie” Me Before You
There are set to be tears aplenty when romantic drama Me Before You hits UK cinemas on June 3. However, the film has been met with controversy at its premiere, when anti-euthanasia campaigners staged a protest at what they dubbed a “disability snuff movie”, according to The Guardian. Campaign group Not Dead Yet picketed the event in protest at the film’s assisted dying plot, with star Emilia Clarke saying it was “never our intention” for the film to devalue disabilities.
This controversy has dominated what should have been the film’s big publicity push ahead of its release into cinemas. It is unclear whether the film does portray the assisted dying debate in a realistic and sensitive fashion, but this will certainly put a question mark over the film for some audiences.
Dwayne Johnson set for “Die Hard in China”
Dwayne Johnson‘s latest action movie project ignited a major multi-studio bidding war this week. Deadline reported that Skyscraper, from Dodgeball director Rawson Marshall Thurber, was picked up by Legendary after numerous seven figure offers from studios including Sony and Paramount.
Skyscraper is being described as “Die Hard in China” and looks to be a solid star vehicle for The Rock. China is now a hugely lucrative market for the major studios, reflected by the enormous bidding war over this project. With a fun director at the helm and a lead actor who can seemingly do no wrong at the moment, this could be the next great actioner.
Gyllenhaal and Villeneuve reteam for Nesbo tale
Jake Gyllenhaal and Denis Villeneuve are set to collaborate once again after working together on Enemy and Prisoners. The Hollywood Reporter has revealed that the duo will complete their trilogy together with an adaptation of Jo Nesbo’s crime thriller The Son. The story follows a wrestler who finds his promising career in trouble after his cop father commits suicide. He eventually learns the truth of his father’s death and attempts to hunt down those responsible.
The story sounds like a compelling one and Villeneuve has been shepherding some of the best works in Gyllenhaal’s recent run of good form. It seems likely that it will be a while until we see The Son, given that Villeneuve is about to start production on the Blade Runner reboot. Hopefully, it will be worth the wait.
Maze Runner finale delayed again
Young adult finale Maze Runner: The Death Cure has been delayed a second time, Variety reports. Production was shut down in March when star Dylan O’Brien was hit by a car on set and subsequently delayed to allow him more time to recover. Fox has now announced that the film’s release will be delayed until January 2018, almost a year after its original date of February 2017.
This is yet more unfortunate news for the Maze Runner franchise, which has struggled to capture the hearts and minds of audiences even without delays. Hopefully, when The Death Cure finally arrives, it will be considerably better than last year’s disappointing middle entry The Scorch Trials.
Live action Little Mermaid a possibility
Disney is reportedly considering adding The Little Mermaid to its growing roster of live action remakes of its animated classics. The news comes after last year’s Cinderella and the stunning success of this year’s box office smash The Jungle Book.
The Little Mermaid, released in 1989, started a new golden age of animation at Disney that gave the studio some of its most enduring successes like The Lion King and the aforementioned Beauty and the Beast. I’m a little sceptical as to whether it will work as a live action movie, but Disney is working with such a swagger right now that it would be foolish to ever bet against them.
Are you excited for Beauty and the Beast? Does John Carpenter’s return bode well for the Halloween franchise? Are you keen to see Gyllenhaal and Villeneuve work together again? Let me know in the comments section and come back next Sunday for another news round-up.