This was a week of surprises in the movie world, with cynical remake haters swiftly turned around on the It movie and a Marvel loyalist crossing the floor to join the dark side and make a movie for rival studio DC. The terrifying teaser caught the imagination of the internet almost as much as the news of Joss Whedon‘s shocking new directorial decision.
Elsewhere, we finally got a title for the sequel to Wreck-it Ralph and got a glimpse of Alicia Vikander in her Lara Croft gear. There was also the bizarre, if inevitable, news that Colin Firth will be back for the new Kingsman movie, despite the fact that he quite clearly died in the first film.
Here’s your movie news round-up for this week.
It trailer terrifies a whole new generation
A fair bit of cynicism has greeted the new remake of Stephen King’s classic clown-based horror story It, since it was announced. The first trailer for the movie landed online this week, giving us a full and terrifying look at Bill Skarsgård‘s version of Pennywise. It’s a trailer that works through the pretty traditional beats of the story, including the iconic shot of Pennywise in the sewer from the 1990 film, and throws in the kind of jump scares that are an important part of modern scary movies. There’s a distinct Stranger Things vibe to the whole thing too, which has perhaps helped it to capture people’s imaginations.
The trailer proved to be so popular online that it smashed YouTube viewing records. The It teaser was viewed 197 million times within its first 24 hours online, topping the formidable previous record set by The Fate of the Furious back in December last year, according to Variety. There’s now a real buzz behind It after the teaser, which caused Mama director Andres Muschietti‘s film to trend on Twitter. It now ranks as one of the most discussed movies on the internet. It will land in British cinemas in September 2017.
Whedon makes Marvel to DC move for Batgirl
It’s very rare for filmmakers and stars to cross the floor between the two big superhero universes of Marvel and DC. However, Variety reported this week that Joss Whedon, director of the two Avengers movies, is making the move to DC in order to make a Batgirl solo movie. The filmmaker has made no secret of his love for DC’s female superheroes and has spoken in the past about his desire to make a Wonder Woman film. He is now close to making a deal that will see him write, direct and produce the story of Barbara Gordon, daughter of Gotham police commissioner Jim, who becomes the eponymous superhero.
It’s strange to see Whedon back in the world of superheroes so soon given how burned out he appeared to be after Avengers: Age of Ultron came out in 2015. It’s certainly the case that Batgirl will be a lot less of a balancing act than a film with an ensemble as ridiculously huge as Ultron. Whedon also has real quality credentials, which is something that the DC Extended Universe desperately needs and will certainly need if Justice League proves to be as bad as Batman v Superman was.
Wreck-it Ralph sequel to break the internet
It feels like we’ve been waiting a long time for a sequel to the brilliant Disney animation Wreck-it Ralph. However, this week, attendees at CinemaCon in Las Vegas heard from Disney that the sequel now has a title and the company later confirmed on Twitter that the follow-up will go by the horrendously clunky title Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-it Ralph 2. John C Reilly and Sarah Silverman are set to return as the central duo and this time they’re leaving the nostalgic world of the arcade to venture into the wide world of the internet, presumably gently swerving past all of the porn and Pepe the Frog memes.
Clunky title aside, it’s really exciting that we’re getting a sequel to one of Disney’s best recent films. Wreck-it Ralph was great and it was a concept that seemed to have plenty of potential for a second movie, so it was almost a no-brainer that we would eventually get one. There’s not long to go until we’ll get to see this one on the big screen. Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-it Ralph 2 is due to arrive in the UK in March 2018.
First look at Vikander in Tomb Raider gear
Alicia Vikander is running an ongoing campaign to take over Hollywood, to the point that she will almost certainly soon be in every single film. Her latest big role is as video game heroine Lara Croft in a new take on Tomb Raider. This week, Vanity Fair shared the first photos of Vikander in full costume as the action hero. The new film sees Croft travel to a secluded island off Japan to investigate the tomb that was the last known location of her father before his disappearance.
The pictures don’t really tell us anything we did already know about the new Tomb Raider, but it does suggest that this take on the character is going to be less overtly sexualised than when Angelina Jolie played the role in the two previous Tomb Raider films. The movie is due to arrive in the UK in March 2018.
Colin Firth is back for Kingsman sequel
Everyone knew Colin Firth would be back for the Kingsman sequel. And yet, there was the sense that it surely couldn’t happen. Firth’s character, Harry Hart, was definitively killed in the first film, so there didn’t seem to be any way for him to return for sequel The Golden Circle. A new poster for the film landed this week online, though, and Firth’s name is defiantly listed alongside the likes of Taron Egerton, Channing Tatum, Halle Berry… and Elton John. One of those things doesn’t belong here.
It will be intriguing to see what tricks the filmmakers have pulled off to justify Firth’s return and hopefully they will nail the tone this time around. The first Kingsman was a tough one for me as I struggled with how joyfully it seemed to treat the notion of hideous violence against innocent people. My concern with this one is that the desire to top the church scene from the first movie might drag them in troubling directions. Kingsman: The Golden Circle will be released in September 2017.
Tatum gets presidential for Netflix film
When he’s not appearing in the Kingsman sequel, it seems Channing Tatum is taking up a position as the original Commander in Chief when he plays George Washington. Tatum will voice an animated version of the inaugural President in America: The Motion Picture. Deadline revealed the details of the film this week. The tale, which will mark the first major animated feature for Netflix, is an R-rated revisionist take on the founding of the United States that promises to be packed with irreverent humour.
We’ve seen Tatum do brilliant animated work already with his role as the hilariously arrogant Superman in The Lego Movie and The Lego Batman Movie. The scope of the entire early history of the USA suggests that there’s going to be a very broad canvas for the filmmakers and actors to play around with on this one, and the Netflix involvement often leads to a considerably less shackled work. If it’s even half as funny as Sausage Party, we could have yet another brilliant R-rated animated comedy.
Brit comic to helm Hathaway/Wilson comedy
In perhaps the most bizarre news of the week, British comedian and actor Chris Addison has been handed the directorial reigns for the Hollywood remake of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, which is going by the title Nasty Women and will star Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson. Addison, best known for his role in The Thick of It and as a regular panellist on Mock the Week, has previously directed an episode of The Thick of It and took the helm for 13 episodes of its US counterpart Veep. He will now take on a Hollywood A-list heist movie, according to Variety.
This is an interesting move for Addison, who has been known primarily as an actor up until now. It’s a big movie to be thrown into as a feature debut, but the double act of Hathaway and Wilson should give Addison plenty to work with in producing a great comedy film. Given the success that Jordan Peele has recently had with Get Out, though, the path from TV to film may be a worthwhile one to walk.
Were you suitably terrified by the trailer for It? What do you think of Joss Whedon’s decision to move across to DC? Let me know in the comments section and come back next Sunday for another news round-up.