It’s been another rather quiet week in the world of movies, with the lull that follows Comic-Con still in full effect. We did, however, get a fun slice of information about the success of the year’s best film so far and also a surprisingly scary first look at a film that could be a major awards season player.
Here’s your movie news round-up…
Get Out is 2017’s most profitable film
It might not have been the biggest blockbuster imaginable but, according to analysts over at The Wrap, the socially-conscious horror movie Get Out is the most profitable film of 2017 to date. Thanks to its tight budget, Jordan Peele‘s movie managed a 630% return on the initial investment, beating fellow Blumhouse production Split into second place, with a 610% return. The year’s highest-grossing film so far – $1.3bn smash Beauty and the Beast – has made a more than 400% return on its significant investment, but is not even close to the profitability of the pair of Blumhouse frontrunners.
Given how brilliant Get Out is, it’s hugely encouraging to see it at the top of this list. The success of Peele’s film makes it very clear that there is a market for original material in Hollywood, away from the constant stream of sequels and remakes. The fact that the best film of the year so far is also the most financially beneficial for its studio can only be a good thing.
Ejiofor could be Scar in Lion King remake
A few weeks ago, rumours coming out of D23 suggested Hugh Jackman was in the frame to voice the evil Scar in Jon Favreau‘s upcoming remake of The Lion King. There could be a new name involved, though, with The Hollywood Reporter writing this week that Chiwetel Ejiofor, star of 12 Years a Slave, could take on the Scar role. Ejiofor could be the villain against Donald Glover‘s take on Simba.
This seems like another potentially great casting choice for a film that thus far hasn’t put a foot wrong with its choices of actors. Both Ejiofor and Jackman could produce stellar takes on Scar, but Ejiofor is perhaps the more interesting choice given his more wide array of recent roles. He showed hints of darkness in Doctor Strange, but it would be even more interesting if he were able to embrace full villainy.
J-Law goes horror in mother! teaser trailer
Unusually for a film starring names as big as Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem, we know very little about mother! – the new horror movie from Darren Aronofsky. We got our first teaser trailer for the film this week, which gave us 30 seconds in the midst of J-Law’s terror as her tranquil life is ruined by the arrival of an uninvited visitor to her home.
This film seems very intriguing, with Aronofsky going full horror following a number of films that flirt with that level of darkness. It’s a change of pace for Lawrence in terms of genre, but there’s enough heavyweight talent involved that mother! is still likely to be a major awards season contender when the Oscars are handed out at the beginning of next year. mother! is due in UK cinemas in September.
Twitter offers glimpse of Deadpool 2’s Domino
Shooting is now firmly underway on superhero sequel Deadpool 2, which means we’re going to start getting plenty of tidbits about the film on social media in the coming months. This week’s big revelation was the first image of Zazie Beetz in costume as Domino. The image, shared by Ryan Reynolds on his Twitter page, shows Beetz lying on Deadpool in a shot reminiscent of one of the most memorable publicity stills released for the first film a couple of years ago.
This is exactly the kind of silly, playful marketing we have come to expect from the Deadpool franchise and, as usual, it’s Reynolds at the heart of it all. Beetz looks great in costume and the fact she’s in a dominant position over Reynolds in this image bodes well for the dynamic between the two of them in the movie. Deadpool 2 is due for release in June 2018.
Cena will be Transformers spin-off male lead
While Michael Bay continues to run the main Transformers franchise into the ground with abject rubbish like The Last Knight, there’s an extended universe being built around the characters people actually seem to like. The first of these spin-offs – Travis Knight-directed Bumblebee – got another major addition to its cast this week. We already knew that Hailee Steinfeld was in place for the lead role, but The Hollywood Reporter revealed this week that WWE wrestler John Cena will also play a major part. The film, set in the 1980s, follows Steinfeld’s youngster, who uncovers Bumblebee in a junkyard.
Cena is a solid addition to this cast. His Hollywood career has been blossoming in recent years with small parts in comedies like Trainwreck and Sisters, but this is certainly the biggest film he has signed up for to date and could catapult his star firmly into the Hollywood firmament. Bumblebee is set for a release date in December 2018.
Jack Thorne boards Star Wars 9 as a writer
The eyes of Star Wars fans are focused firmly on this year’s release of The Last Jedi, but the fine folk at Lucasfilm are hard at work on the ninth entry in the franchise, which will be directed by Colin Trevorrow. There was a big change in personnel for the film this week, with The Hollywood Reporter writing that Jack Thorne has been brought in to work on the script. Thorne is best known for his work on the This is England TV series and the acclaimed play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. We don’t know at this stage how extensive his rewrites will be.
Thorne is a really great writer, as any fan of This is England can attest, but Star Wars seems well outside of his wheelhouse on paper. It’s possible that his role is more of a polish job than a complete script rewrite and it would certainly make sense to bring in a writer with his talents to do a bit of work on a script that is otherwise almost there. However, it’s always hard to shake the feeling with Lucasfilm that there may be trouble in paradise. Star Wars: Episode IX is currently scheduled for a May 2019 release.
Collet-Serra to direct The Rock in Jungle Cruise
A short while ago, it looked like director Jaume Collet-Serra was on the verge of signing up to take the helm of Suicide Squad 2. However, that’s now not going to happen as Collet-Serra has instead opted to direct Dwayne Johnson in Jungle Cruise, which is a Disney film based on a theme park ride. Deadline reported that Collet-Serra chose to make a more original work with the most bankable star in the world rather than continue an existing franchise started by someone else.
On the face of it, this seems like a very good move for Collet-Serra. The theme park adaptation gave Disney the hugely successful Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, so it’s no surprise that they’re going to the well again with a property like Jungle Cruise. However, it does leave the Suicide Squad sequel looking a little creatively vulnerable. That’s a franchise that needs to find a firm hand for the tiller pretty quickly indeed.
How does the socially aware horror of Get Out sit among your favourite films of the year? Do you think Chiwetel Ejiofor will make a good Lion King villain? Let me know in the comments section and come back next Sunday for another news round-up.