Movie News After Dark
The day’s top headlines in bite-size portions.
There are some franchises that can fail and still succeed, and Fox’s X-Men Universe is one of them. Critically the films have been on a downslope since the brief peak of First Class, but they’re still raking in oodles of money at the box office. The latest installment, Apocalypse, cost $178 million to make but made $544 million globally despite largely negative reviews. However this is down $204 million for the global box office of the previous installment, Days of Future Past. Normally this plunge in profit would cause a franchise to start taking on water, but we’re still talking about half a billion dollars here, so while the ship under director Bryan Singer’s steerage might have gone off course, there’s no plan to scuttle the franchise, though Fox might be about to jettison some talent.
According to THR the X-Universe is likely getting a soft reboot in moving forward, and it’s up in the air just who will be sticking around and who will be replaced. What’s known for sure is that Singer is leaving but Simon Kinberg, who has been overseeing things from a writing and producing vista, will remain architect of the future of the franchise and is already working on the next script. It’s said that this script has stars Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, and James McAvoy “optimistically in mind,” but as all three of their contracts were up after Apocalypse, resigning them could be egregiously expensive, especially Fassbender, who has multiple Oscar nominations, and especially-especially Lawrence, who has multiple Oscar nominations and a little gold man at home.
As of right now there’s one X-movie in the immediate pipeline, Logan, which marks Hugh Jackman’s exit from the franchise. In development is Deadpool 2 (which just lost its director and composer), Gambit (which has been delayed multiple times as star Channing Tatum completes other projects), and Josh Boone’s New Mutants flick (which reportedly starts shooting early next year). Of these three, I think the best bet for revitalizing the franchise comes from the latter project, and not just because it’s a team flick but because like First Class, it offers a new perspective on the X-Universe that allows for recasting without disrupting the continuity of what came before. Fassbender and Lawrence are good, but they aren’t necessary, and if you’re already down in profits, throwing bad money after good isn’t the best option for revitalization. It might be a moot point, though, if you believe rumors that both actors aren’t interested in returning no matter how much cash is shoved their way. So soft reboot or hard, some kind of change is coming, and I for one hope it’s as fresh a start as possible. This is a developing story, so keep your eyes and ears open for future developments…
John Boyega, star of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens and the upcoming Pacific Rim sequel revealed the full name of that latter film via an Instagram pic of his script. Ready for it? Pacific Rim: Maelstrom. That sounds violently dramatic, don’t you think? Guillermo del Toro is only producing this time around, as directing duties have been passed off to Steven S. DeKnight, who with Starz’ Spartacus and Netflix’s Daredevil already on his CV would seem to know his way around highly-choreographed and stylized fight scenes. The film is written by a host of folks including Derek Connolly (Jurassic World), Zak Penn (The Avengers), John Spaihts (Passengers), and rounding out the cast are Scott Eastwood, Ron Perlman, and Chinese actress Tian Jing. Pacific Rim: Maelstrom opens February 23rd, 2018.
And lastly, the Easter Egg of the week courtesy of the latest Westworld episode. Now, if you have not yet caught up with the series, you might not want to read or scroll any further, as this is something of a SPOILER, though to be honest it isn’t a narrative one, so you won’t really spoil anything if you’re not up to speed, it’s really just a nice nod to the original movie. Still, no one likes to have film sites make these kinds of decisions for them, so I’ll give you a second to move on.
Okay. So, Bernard (Geoffrey Wright) for reasons I won’t spoil needs to study some of the parks older host models, which takes him to a sub-sub-basement that looks like a leftover set from Mad Men or WKRP in Cincinnati, very 70s-esque. While he’s walking around, he passes a certain model in the corner.
Yep, that’s pretty much the original man in black, Yul Brynner’s Gunslinger robot from the Westworld movie. See?
We’ve all been wondering, especially with the multiple timelines, if the show was ever going to wink at its inspiration, and now they have in the smartest, slyest way possible. Catch new episodes Sunday nights on HBO.