For a while, it looked as if the terrible performance of the actually not awful Book of Henry had scuppered the career of Colin Trevorrow as a blockbuster filmmaker. He was unceremoniously booted from the director’s chair for the ninth Star Wars movie, soon after the release of that film. Now, though, he’s back at the helm of the franchise that made his name.
Elsewhere in movie news, there have been a selection of trailers for films that could either be really great or utterly awful and the surprising news that the troubled Solo: A Star Wars Story is heading for a premiere at the world’s most prestigious film festival. Who saw that one coming?
Here’s your movie news round-up…
Trevorrow to return for Jurassic World 3
We’re still a few months away from the cinema arrival of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, in which director JA Bayona will follow-up the work done by Colin Trevorrow on 2015 franchise reboot Jurassic World. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the franchise is now set to circle back around to Trevorrow for the next sequel, which is due for release in 2021. Trevorrow is currently working with Emily Carmichael, who helped to write the joyous Pacific Rim: Uprising, on a script.
It’s unsurprising to see Trevorrow being brought back into the Jurassic Park fold with open arms. Many expected his reboot to be a run-of-the-mill movie, but it really caught fire at the worldwide box office and ultimately pulled in a remarkable $1.6bn. With those figures on his record, Universal will be rubbing their hands with glee at the opportunity to poach Trevorrow back from Disney. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom will roar into UK cinemas in June 2018.
Solo spin-off gets Cannes Film Festival premiere
In the most unexpected news revelation of the week, we learned that the turbulent Star Wars spin-off adventure Solo: A Star Wars Story is set to have its world premiere at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival. The movie, directed by Ron Howard after the departure of Phil Lord and Chris Miller, will screen out of competition at the festival on May 15, which is 10 days prior to its formal release.
This is a surprise for a number of reasons. Star Wars movies have screened at Cannes before, but Solo has been plagued by rumours that it’s not yet close to ready. It also seems like an odd call to debut a movie that has been so troubled in front of an audience well known to be one of the most vocal and hyper-critical in the world. Cannes audiences have no problem booing a bad film, so it speaks to the confidence Disney has in this film. Solo: A Star Wars Story will get its UK release towards the end of May.
Johnny English is back in trailer for new sequel
The first Johnny English movie is an underrated delight, allowing Rowan Atkinson to amp up his silliness as an utterly useless spy. Belated sequel Johnny English Reborn was a crushing disappointment, so a threequel seemed impossible. However, this week, we were treated to the first trailer for Johnny English Strikes Again, which sees Johnny return, along with sidekick Bough (Ben Miller), as the secret service’s last hope when a hacker exposes every undercover British agent currently in the field.
Unfortunately, this is a pretty dismal trailer that suggests a film more in the vein of the second movie than the lightning in a bottle original. The return of Miller, who was absent from the first sequel, suggests a better comedy dynamic at the centre of the movie and it’s a mistake to ever count out Rowan Atkinson, who has consistently proven himself to be an absolute treasure of British comedy. Johnny English Strikes Again will hit the UK in October 2018.
The Accountant tops streaming league table
In the second weirdest story of the week, after the Solo revelation, the annual report by the MPAA declared that the most popular streaming service title in the USA in 2017 was The Accountant. That’s right. Of all of the movies that Americans could have watched on streaming sites last year, a bland, overlong thriller starring Ben Affleck topped the list, beating out both Wonder Woman and Moana. Elsewhere, the report was the usual old chestnut about theatrical attendance in North America hitting a 22-year low and digital spending replacing physical spending when it comes to home entertainment.
It’s baffling that The Accountant is so popular on streaming platforms. The only possible explanation, I suppose, is that the movie slotted neatly into the sweet spot of being a movie that was interesting enough that people remembered it when it popped up in their VOD catalogue, but not interesting enough that anyone went to see it at the cinema. It’s not that the movie is bad, but it’s so hideously boring that I can’t imagine anyone actually watching it.
Fox Searchlight nabs Del Toro for first-look deal
Fresh from a fantastic awards season and seemingly undaunted by the prospect of an imminent sale to Disney, Fox Searchlight has signed a big deal with Oscar-winning director Guillermo del Toro, according to a report at Deadline. Del Toro said he had found a “real home” for his work at Fox Searchlight, which helped The Shape of Water to an impressive Oscar haul, including Best Picture and Best Director. The first film from the new deal is Antlers, with Del Toro producing for director Scott Cooper.
It’s heartening to see Del Toro given a platform like this. He has always struggled to get his passion projects off the ground, so a partnership like this one with Fox Searchlight suggests he may have the vote of confidence he needs to make the films he wants to make. The Disney question mark, though, looms large over the potential future for this arrangement.
Trailer teases allegory for The First Purge
There are few film franchises that have squandered as much potential as the Purge movies. The first film was an absolute mess, the second a surprisingly efficient horror movie and the third a shockingly offensive nadir, despite its potentially ripe Election Year premise. This week, we got a trailer for The First Purge, which is set to take us back to where it all began and the first night of the experiment where crime – “including murder” as they so awkwardly remind everyone – is annually legal for 12 hours.
It’s a trailer that suggests this is going to be another attempt to shoehorn a political relevance into the franchise. These ideas seldom sit well with the sadistic sensibilities of the movies and the wildly inconsistent filmmaking of series auteur James DeMonaco. The First Purge is due to be released in July 2018. In the US, it’s coming out on Independence Day, because of course it is.
Rock trash talks in Fighting With My Family clip
I have been excited about Fighting With My Family ever since the project was announced, featuring the brilliant British actress Florence Pugh as WWE superstar Paige. It’s also set to feature Dwayne Johnson, who is the star of the movie’s first clip, which debuted online today during WrestleMania weekend. It sees Paige and her brother approach Johnson at a WWE event, asking him how to win over a crowd. His response is savage and quintessentially Rock.
It’s a brilliantly funny first clip from the film, which will hopefully do for the British wrestling world what Walk Like a Panther didn’t even seem to want to pull off. With both WWE and The Rock on board, as well as Stephen Merchant in the director’s chair, this continues to sound like a very exciting project indeed. Fighting With My Family will be released in September 2018.
Are you pleased to see Colin Trevorrow return to Jurassic World? Which of this week’s trailers was your favourite? Let me know in the comments section and come back next Sunday for another news round-up.