Aquaman 2: Producers ignored Johnny Depp fan petition to fire Amber Heard
July 30, 2021 by: Gaius Bolling
Social media and online petitions can carry a certain amount of weight, especially when they go viral. It can show a studio or network that a fanbase is passionate enough to create enough traction to shift a project in the direction they deem necessary. Actress Amber Heard found herself at the center of one of those petitions when Johnny Depp fans campaigned to have her removed from the Aquaman sequel, AQUAMAN AND THE LOST KINGDOM. The actress and Depp have been in a long and contentious battle that has drawn lines in the sand and led to nearly 2 million fans signing a petition on Change.org demanding her firing. Did this petition come under consideration as Warner Bros. headed into the sequel? According to one producer, it didn’t even move the needle.
Leading up to Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom going into production, the hashtag #JusticeForJohnnyDepp began to trend along with the petition as Warner Bros. asked Johnny Depp to resign from Fantastic Beasts 3. Depp’s supporters believed that he was innocent of Heard’s allegations that he abused her and, at the very least, they thought Warner Bros. should’ve removed her from the Aquaman sequel because they felt she was just as much in the wrong as Depp in the situation.
Producer Peter Safran and the entire Aquaman team were fully aware of the controversy surrounding Heard’s involvement in the sequel and Safran confirms that the other producers, nor director James Wan, ever considered firing Amber Heard as an option. Safran says they would never cater to “pure fan pressure” and, while speaking on the Deadline Hero Nation podcast, he also said it was best for the film that Heard returned as Mera:
“I don’t think we’re ever going to react to, honestly, pure fan pressure. You gotta do what’s best for the movie. We felt that if it’s James Wan, and Jason Momoa, it should be Amber Heard. That’s really what it was… One is not unaware of what is going on in the Twitter-verse, but that doesn’t mean you have to react to it or take it as gospel or accede to their wishes. You have to do what’s right for the film, and that’s really where we landed on it.”
Amber Heard herself has previously dismissed the fan efforts to have her fired from the Aquaman sequel. During a chat with “Entertainment Weekly” last November, Heard spoke of the petition by saying, “Paid rumors and paid campaigns on social media don’t dictate [casting decisions] because they have no basis in reality…Only the fans actually made Aquaman and Aquaman 2 happen. I’m excited to get started next year.”
Aquaman and the Long Kingdom see Momoa and Heard’s return, along with Patrick Wilson, Dolph Lundgren, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, and Temuera Morrison. James Wan is back on board to direct while David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick takes on screenwriting duties. The sequel follows Aquaman which blew away expectations at the box office with a final global gross of $1.1 billion.
Do YOU think it was right to keep Amber Heard in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom?
Sweet Tooth renewed for Seaon 2 at Netflix
July 29, 2021 by: Steve Seigh
Well, this is quite a treat! The good word has come down the wire that Netflix's Sweet Tooth will be returning for a second season. The next installment of the series will run for another eight episodes and continue the grand adventure of Gus, Jepperd, and their rag-tag crew of apocalypse wanderers.
Jim Mickle is set to return as showrunner, writer, director, and exec producer. Team Downey will also return as the production team in association with Warner Bros. Television with Team Downey’s Susan Downey, Robert Downey Jr., and Amanda Burrell exec producing alongside Linda Moran. Meanwhile, Beth Schwartz, who acted as co-showrunner and exec producer on the first season, will not return for Season 2. Instead, she'll be showrunning the pilot for Peacock's Red Queen and developing new projects at Warner Bros. TV.
Sweet Tooth follows "the storybook adventures of Gus — part deer, part boy — who leaves his home in the forest to find the outside world ravaged by a cataclysmic event. He joins a ragtag family of humans and animal-children hybrids like himself in search of answers about this new world and the mystery behind his hybrid origins."
“It’s been equally thrilling and heartwarming to experience how people around the world have been falling in love with our deer-boy. We couldn’t be more excited to continue our collaboration with Netflix and keep following Gus and his friends on their extraordinary journey,” Mickle said in a statement.
I could not be more thrilled by this news. In addition to Marvel Studios' WandaVision, Sweet Tooth stands as my favorite series of 2021 so far. It's a fantasy adventure epic that takes Lemire's timeless tale and transforms it into something bold, new, and heartbreaking. If you've not checked it out yet, I highly recommend it. I hope Sweet Tooth gets as many seasons as it needs to tell a complete story without being rushed.
Netflix having conversations with Christopher Nolan about his next movie
July 28, 2021 by: Kevin Fraser
Christopher Nolan is one of the biggest advocates for the theatrical experience out there, so it’s hard to imagine him making a movie for a streaming service, but Netflix’s film chief Scott Stuber is doing everything he can to make it happen. Netflix has only been developing original films for the past six years, but during that time, they’ve managed to ink deals with major filmmakers such as Zack Snyder and Steven Spielberg.
In a recent Variety feature, Netflix’s Scott Stuber reveals his hope to get Christopher Nolan to make his next movie with the streaming service; and that’s not just idle talk either as Stuber has had “ongoing conversations” with Nolan about the possibility.
If and when he comes up with his new movie, it’s about can we be a home for it and what would we need to do to make that happen. He’s an incredible filmmaker. I’m going to do everything I can. In this business I’ve learned you need to have zero ego. I get punched and knocked down and get back up.
Christopher Nolan called Warner Bros. home for close to twenty years, but he may not work with the studio again after Warner Bros. announced that they would be releasing their entire 2021 slate in theaters and on HBO Max on the same day. “Some of our industry’s biggest filmmakers and most important movie stars went to bed the night before thinking they were working for the greatest movie studio and woke up to find out they were working for the worst streaming service,” Nolan said last year. “Warner Bros. had an incredible machine for getting a filmmaker’s work out everywhere, both in theaters and in the home, and they are dismantling it as we speak. They don’t even understand what they’re losing. Their decision makes no economic sense and even the most casual Wall Street investor can see the difference between disruption and dysfunction.” Given how passionate Nolan is about the theatrical experience, I wouldn’t place any bets on him signing a deal with Netflix, but the streaming service was recently able to lure Steven Spielberg to the streaming side last month, which came as a surprise after the director’s previous criticisms of the service.
Although Netflix’s deal with Steven Spielberg and Amblin doesn’t include an option to Spielberg to actually direct a film for the service, that’s something Stuber hopes will change as they work together. “I would love him to make movies like ‘Goonies’ or ‘Indiana Jones’ for us,” Stuber said. “He’s done those kind of great stories better than anyone.” As for Christopher Nolan, his next film is sure to be an event, and I’m sure Netflix isn’t the only studio courting the director after his falling out with Warner Bros,
San Andreas: Alexandra Daddario says sequel probably isn’t happening anymore
July 28, 2021 by: Gaius Bolling
Dwayne Johnson is busy with a plethora of projects at the moment but it looks like he can clear one of them that was in development off his dance card. SAN ANDREAS, an earthquake disaster film that was released in 2015, had a sequel in development soon after the film became a hit at the box office but one of Johnson’s co-stars, Alexandra Daddario, doesn’t think the sequel is happening anymore.
Daddario is currently making the rounds promoting the release of Die In a Gunfight and during a recent interview with Collider, the actress was asked about the San Andreas sequel. While the film was in development at Warner Bros. at one time, Daddario thinks the project likely isn’t moving forward:
“It was mentioned to me several years ago when I went in to New Line. I don’t think that the exec that I was speaking to is there anymore. But they had a draft written. As far as I know, it’s not happening. It’s been a long time. I don’t think so. I think it was in development at one point I should say. But that happens in Hollywood all the time.”
San Andreas was directed by Brad Peyton and starred Dwayne Johnson as a search and rescue helicopter pilot. In the film, the infamous fault line of the same name gives away and it triggers a massive magnitude 9 earthquake in California which results in mass chaos and destruction. Johnson and his estranged wife (Carla Gugino) have to make it in time from Los Angeles to San Francisco to rescue their daughter (Daddario) before it’s too late. San Andreas was a sizable hit globally, grossing $473 million worldwide. Back in 2016, it was revealed that a sequel was in development and it would take place in the Ring of Fire, with volcanoes causing the mass destruction this time. In 2018, director Brad Peyton said he’d love to return to direct but he wasn’t sure about the sequel’s status at that time.
San Andreas was a nice little throwback to disaster films that dominated during the mid-late ’90s but I don’t think a sequel was 100% necessary. I feel like Warner Bros. execs saw those global box office numbers and just greenlit a sequel without really thinking and, since over 6 years have passed since the release of the first film, I don’t think the moviegoing crowd is exactly hungry for another San Andreas installment.
Would YOU want to see a sequel to San Andreas?
Michael B. Jordan reportedly developing Black Superman series for HBO Max
July 23, 2021 by: Kevin Fraser
There have been rumours that Michael B. Jordan might be suiting up as the Man of Steel for some time, but the actor has typically denied them. Although Jordan won't be taking to the skies for the Ta-Nehisi Coates penned Superman movie, it's possible he may be involved in a separate Superman project.
According to Collider, Michael B. Jordan and his production company Outlier Society are "developing their own Black Superman project for HBO Max that centers on the Val-Zod incarnation of the character." Collider's sources say that an unnamed writer is currently working on the script and that the project is being developed as a limited-series for HBO Max. Michael B. Jordan will produce the project and Collider states that he may also star in the series, but hasn't officially committed to that aspect just yet. While the Superman movie written by Ta-Nehisi Coates and produced by J.J. Abrams will be reimagined version of the Clark Kent character, Jordan's project will be centered around Val-Zod, a Kryptonian from Earth-2 whose parents were executed by the Kryptonian court and who took later on the mantle of Superman upon his arrival on Earth.
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According to Jamie Broadnax of Black Girl Nerds, Michael B. Jordan was once involved with Warner Bros. in developing a Superman movie but apparently didn't want to "engage in conversations about racebending Kal-El for the same reasons many of the fans are pushing back on the current Warner Bros. re-imagined version of Clark Kent, but that he would be interested in engaging on a Black Superman project centering on the Val-Zod storyline." Broadnax went on to explain that it was tone-deaf of Warner Bros. to "racebend a white character and erase Black characters that already exist in the DC universe under the Superman banner — Calvin Ellis and Val-Zod."
Man of Steel screenwriter on the bizarre script note he got from the studio
July 23, 2021 by: Kevin Fraser
It doesn’t matter whether you’ve read a single comic in your life, there are just certain things that everyone seems to know, particularly when it comes to the biggest names in the genre. We all know that Bruce Wayne became Batman after the death of his parents; we all know that Peter Parker was bitten by a radioactive spider; and we all know that Superman was sent to Earth as a baby after the destruction of his home planet. Well, turns out that at least one executive at Warner Bros. isn’t up on basic comic knowledge.
One note I got was on Man of Steel, where the ending involves Superman utilizing the pod that he arrived in as a child in order to bring down General Zod’s ship. The note we got from the studio said, “You have to change that.” We asked why. They said, “Because if Superman uses that pod and it’s destroyed while saving the city, how is he ever going to get back home to Krypton?” There was just this long pause and we said, “Krypton blew up. You saw 30 minutes of it!”
I suppose it’s possible to forgive that the studio had forgotten about the destruction of Krypton in the comics, but when the first part of the movie exclusively deals with its destruction… you’ve got to wonder if anyone was really paying attention; Not to mention that Superman doesn’t actually need a ship in order to get around. David S. Goyer’s next project is a series adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series for Apple TV+. The series chronicles “the thousand year saga of The Foundation, a band of exiles who discover that the only way to save the Galactic Empire from destruction is to defy it” and is set to premiere on September 24, 2021.
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Warner Bros. will develop at least 10 movies for HBO Max in 2022
July 22, 2021 by: Kevin Fraser
After the pandemic closed theaters across the globe, we saw studios turning to streaming services to release their movies, but Warner Bros. took things one step further when they announced that they would be releasing their entire 2021 slate in both theaters and on HBO Max on the same day. The choice didn't please everyone, especially the creative talent behind those movies, but it seems to have worked out not too badly. Although the studio will be moving back to a more traditional theatrical release method next year, just with a shortened theatrical window, that doesn't mean that we'll stop seeing big movies released on HBO Max.
During AT&T's second quarter earnings call, WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar revealed that Warner Bros. will develop "10 or more" movies exclusively for HBO Max in 2022, saying, "motion pictures matter and will continue to matter, [but] they also matter at home in terms of the response we’ve gotten from consumers who have signed up for HBO Max." Kilar added that he doesn't see studios going back to the way movies were released just a few years ago with the 90-day theatrical window, and we've already seen a handful of studios making deals with theater chains for a shortened window. The WarnerMedia CEO said that he expects to "see this industry continue to evolve and innovate in ways that work for not only for consumers and fans but also for our business partners." The past year and a half has definitely shaken things up in more ways than one, and although the theatrical experience will always be treasured, I feel that we'll get to see a wider variety of films being developed as studios may be more likely to take a chance on something unproven if it's headed for a streaming service.
One such film that will be released on HBO Max in 2022 or 2023 is the Batgirl movie, which recently tapped In the Heights star Leslie Grace to star. At one time, that film would have been released in theaters, but Warner Bros. clearly wants to step up its production of HBO Max originals.
Batgirl: Leslie Grace will star as Barbara Gordon in HBO Max movie
July 21, 2021 by: Kevin Fraser
Well, that didn't take long. Just two days after it was revealed that Warner Bros. and DC were testing actresses for the title role in Batgirl comes the news that the studio have chosen Leslie Grace to star in the film. According to Deadline, Warner Bros. were already "super high with the rising star following her breakout role in In the Heights, and sources say her audition sealed the deal as the choice." In addition to Grace, Isabela Merced (Sweet Girl) and Zoey Deutch (Zombieland: Double Tap) were also testing for the role. How do you feel about Leslie Grace taking on the role of Batgirl?
It was reported earlier this year that Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, the directors behind Bad Boys for Life, had been tapped to helm the Batgirl movie. Birds of Prey screenwriter Christina Hodson has penned the script, and she has previously teased that she'll be remaining faithful to the character while also giving fans something new.
There’s a little piece of me in every character I write. They start with me, and then they take on a life of their own. [Barbara Gordon's] been through so many iterations. There’s certain characteristics of hers that are always there that I’m excited to develop further. Whenever I’m writing a character who’s based on someone who’s existed in a previous form, whether it’s comics or a movie or anything, I always hope to bring something new to them and bring them to life in their own way, even if they fairly iconic like Harley Quinn or Batgirl. I think fans want the original, to be honest, but they also want to see something they haven’t seen before.
It also seems that the Batgirl movie is being planned as an HBO Max exclusive, which some people aren't thrilled about. "With Batgirl, we hope to take the audience on a fun ride and see a different side of Gotham," said producer Kristin Burr. "Christina’s script is crackling with spirit. Adil and Bilall have an excited and joyous energy which is infectious, making them the perfect filmmakers for this Batproject. And I’m just psyched I get to be part of the DC universe, which is super cool."
Space Jam: A New Legacy Review
Space Jam: A New Legacy Review
July 14, 2021 by: Matt Rooney
PLOT: After being sucked into Warner Bros.’ “Serververse”, basketball star LeBron James must team up with the Looney Tunes to stop a vengeful algorithm and get his son back.
REVIEW: In the sequel to 1996’s Space Jam — SPACE JAM: A NEW LEGACY — the only legacies being lived up to are the original’s shameless self-promotion and the failure to recognize the Looney Tunes shouldn’t be on screen longer than 30 minutes. Whereas the original’s clear attempts were to achieve nothing but selling merchandise linked to star Michael Jordan and theme park tickets, for the new movie starring LeBron James, studio Warner Bros. has decided to push not only merch but their entire slate of owned properties, attempting in no way to cloak its obvious belief that a movie studio is only as strong as the IP it owns and how quickly it can shovel that content down throats of all ages. Oh, and there’s some basketball and a father-son reunion story crammed in there — you know, so all that isn’t as obvious.
But make no mistake; if there is an admittedly stronger core story here than in the first movie, it was likely a conceit given to the filmmakers so as to make them feel like they had control over a movie that was otherwise entirely crafted by a boardroom of Warner Bros. executives plotting out just what among their own properties should get top billing. In fact, the level of corporate self-aggrandizing is so extreme it’s almost admirable as an art form. The ball gets bouncing within the first several minutes, when a young LeBron James (Alex Huerta), is preparing to take the court in school – but instead of getting his head in the ball game – he loses himself in the GameBoy game Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle. His very over-dramatic coach then tells him it was this misguided focus on silly games that stopped him from realizing his potential, leading James to toss away the game and choose greatness over fun.
Fast-forward 20+ years later via a montage of James’ career highlights, he’s now a stubborn, fun-hating father of two who pushes his youngest son – Dom (Cedric Joe) – into practicing ball, even though Dom would rather continuing developing his game, Doom Ball. But in attempting to mend that bond, James takes his son to the magical world of the Warner Bros. lot, littered with posters and banners for all their hit movies and shows. Once there, James is pitched an idea from execs played by Sarah Silverman and Steven Yuen (whose one-line appearance is one of this movie’s many crimes) and a new fancy algorithm who goes by Al G. Rhythm (Don Cheadle), wherein they want to capture James’ likeness so they may place him in any of WB’s shows or movies – a program dubbed Warners 3000. In the smartest move of the movie, James says this is a terrible idea, and as a sentient being inside the digital space, Rhythm feels slighted and is filled with rage. So, he lures James and his son into a server room, where I horrifying orb that’s just sort of there absorbs them into the digital realm, wherein Rhythm tells James he will get his son back if he can beat him in basketball.
Explaining something this stupid is a Herculean effort, having to dodge around the issues that glare even for a movie like this – including how WB is itself the subtextual key villain by having created an A.I. system capable of sucking people and having access to anyone’s data no matter where they are in the first place. Inside, the “Serververse” is illustrated as a series of planets that act as homes to major studio franchises – acting as a sort of amalgam of other IP-centric blockbusters from Warner Bros., The Lego Movie, and Ready Player One. While those movies either had more fun actually poking fun at numerous franchises or acted as commentary about the place pop culture has in the world – Space Jam doesn’t bother to attempt either. Instead, it simply forces viewers to bask in the world that is everything the studio owns, throwing it all at you with such force you might as well be watching the entire Harry Potter series while trapped in a roller coaster.
Soon James arrives in a Looney Tunes area, and recruits the lone inhabitant – Bugs Bunny – to join his team. Whereas the first movie gave solid reason to make the Tunes seek out Jordan to play basketball, this time they’re included simply because Bugs was the first character James ran into, and because the bunny happens to have beef with Rhythm after he whisked the Tunes away with a promise of staying famous by becoming part of other franchises. While this may have been intended to ultimately relate to the main theme of families sticking together, what it really serves in terms of story is giving Bugs and James reason to bounce around the Serververse, looking for the Tunes across various franchises. Of course, the movie nerd in me got a kick out of being whisked away to sequences from Mad Max or The Matrix — only momentarily until I realized what I was watching wasn’t homage but rather some corporate pandering. There was no creative take or skewering of the material – or even loving homage; only Granny doing Trinity’s mid-air kick from the Matrix and Yosemite Sam acting as the Sam of “Play it again, Sam” in Casablanca.
The movie can’t even reasonably claim to be a loving ode to the studio’s legendary history. It’s all about the franchises, and the Tunes are whisked away to “lands” like Mad Max (remember, this is a kids movie), The Matrix (still a kids movie), Harry Potter, the DC universe of superheroes, and Game of Thrones (yep, still a kids movie). All of these series have either sequels, prequels, or new entries on the books to come out in the next year or so, so again, you don’t need a Masters in Marketing to know what this movie’s existence for being is. That’s true even given how the first three on that list aren’t series the young viewers this movie can only understandably entertain may have zero familiarity with. So much of this movie seems directly geared towards the parents who have some kind of nostalgia for the original movie, who then aren’t given a story or consistent sense of humor that acknowledges that they’ve grown up. Between the gags designed for only the youngest of viewers and references for only their parents, there were many times I asked myself a single question: “Who the f**k is this movie for?”
Amidst all this chaos, God-tier product placement a story that desperately wants to retread the past – including the Tunes re-learning how to play ball despite acknowledging they’ve done this before – it’s hard to acknowledge the parts that do work. Even the stuff that seems ripped straight from the pages of the Family Film Cliche Book, those moments are a welcome respite from the colorful nonsense and give the movie some heart. As well, James is a better leading man than Jordan was, having a looser vibe and better comedic timing – in spite of how having to act mostly alongside a slew of CGI characters can leave him a little stiff; Cheadle and Sonequa Martin-Green as James’ wife Kamiyah get most of the laughs by doing their best to not make this seem like a paycheck and; despite not being explored in favor of making room for gag after gag, there is an inkling of a strong story about accepting one another and one that could’ve even given the Tunes some dimension beyond their silliness. Peppered between the obvious marketing, there are these nuggets of a more thoughtful movie that in several ways stands above the original.
Even when basketball does begin, it’s an exercise in broad marketing geared towards two audiences at once. On the one hand, there’s the game that nothing but chaos, noise and CGI delirium that – despite a few classic Tunes gags warranting a chuckle – seems strictly geared towards the young crowd with flickering attention spans. Meanwhile, most of the massive crowd is made up of WB characters, most of whom only adults will recognize. Between every bit of masturbatory references and branding from the beginning that coalesces to the final showdown, even the great James and the Tunes and their stories aren’t the stars of the court; Warner Bros. is the star, and every cut to the crowd is a stark reminder. Pro tip: If you’re pointing out the hooligans from A Clockwork Orange to your young kids, you’re doing a bad job.
And yet, even among some clear improvements over the original, and a few good laughs, everything sweet and playful about this movie is bogged down by everything shamelessly pandering. Answering my question of “Who the f**k is this for?” was, in the end, made simple: It’s for everyone – but not in that idyllic way for parents and kids to enjoy on equal footing. It’s for parents, in that it spoon-feeds nostalgia and beloved content that distracts from the realities of modern life and; it’s for kids, not just because it’s goofy and fast-paced, but because little fans become big fans. Young ones may not watch The Matrix now, but soon they will, and when they do they’ll attribute their earliest memories of it to that one movie where LeBron James dunked on a CGI Don Cheadle – a movie they will look forward to showing their kids, and so keeping the wheel churning.
Fantastic Beasts 3: Mikkelsen wishes he spoke with Depp about Grindelwald
June 28, 2021 by: Kevin Fraser
It was revealed last year that Warner Bros. had asked Johnny Depp to resign as Gellert Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts 3. With production already underway, it didn’t take long before the studio confirmed that Mads Mikkelsen would be stepping into the role.
The whole process took place extremely quickly as Warner Bros. wanted to fill the role as soon as possible, and Mikkelsen told The Sunday Times that he wishes he had had time to speak with Johnny Depp about taking on the role.
I don’t know what happened [in his private life] and I don’t know if it was fair, him losing the job, but I just knew that the show was going on. And I would’ve loved to have talked to him about it if I had the chance, but I just don’t know him in that sense. But they called me and they were obviously in a hurry, and I loved the script and so said yes. And I know it was controversial for many people, but that’s just the way it plays out once in a while.
Johnny Depp briefly appeared as the dark wizard Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, before taking on a much larger role in the sequel, FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD. The actor had already shot one scene in the new film before Warner Bros. asked him to step down. The studio had been waiting to see how Depp’s ongoing legal battle against ex-wife Amber Heard played out, but despite getting the boot, Depp will still be receiving his full salary for the project. As far as Mads Mikkelsen’s portrayal of Grindelwald, the actor said that he “didn’t want to copy what Johnny had done” as mimicking the “masterful actor” would have been “creative suicide.” Mikkelsen continued: “I had to figure out something that was definitely my own, and yet also act as a bridge to what he had done. My take is different, and the look is a little different, but we’ll have to wait for the film’s release [next year] to find out.”
Fantastic Beasts 3 will hit theaters on July 15, 2021.
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Godzilla Vs. Kong is the 2nd film to cross $100M at the pandemic box office
June 21, 2021 by: Gaius Bolling
It took some time but GODZILLA VS. KONG crossed a domestic milestone at the box office that should be celebrated given the fact that the pandemic has truly made moviegoing suffer for over a year. It took 12 weekends, but monster mash-up crossed $100 million at the domestic box office.
Godzilla Vs. Kong is the second film to achieve this feat during the pandemic after A Quiet Place Part II which did it in three weekends. Godzilla Vs. Kong grossed $250,000 over the weekend at 512 theaters which pushed the film over the $100 million milestone. The film was the first release during the pandemic that gave an indication that moviegoing was on its way back. Even though the film was also released on the HBO Max streaming service the Wednesday before Easter, the movie still managed to open to $48.1 million in its first five days. This was before Los Angeles and New York City were at 100% auditorium capacity so the opening was significant given its limitations.
The production budget on Godzilla Vs. Kong is reportedly $155-200 million but worldwide grosses have pushed the movie to $442.5 million globally. The film needed to gross about $330 million worldwide to break even so Warner Bros. has to be happy with its performance during an unprecedented worldwide pandemic. Had the film come out in a healthy box office climate, the numbers would’ve obviously surged higher but we have to call this a win for Warner Bros given the circumstances.
Did YOU catch Godzilla Vs. Kong in the theaters? Are YOU surprised the film crossed $100 million domestically?
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The Hitman’s Bodyguard sequel takes a seat on top!
Some R-rated action was the main attraction at the box office this weekend as THE HITMAN’S WIFE’S BODYGUARD opened in first place with an estimated $11.7 million.
The sequel, which now finds Ryan Reynolds assisting both Samuel L. Jackson’s assassin and his lethal spouse Salma Hayek, has collected $17 million domestic since it opened on Wednesday.
Again directed by Patrick Hughes, the new Lionsgate release cost a reported $70 million. The first THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD in 2017 had a similar budget and finished with $75 million domestic and $183 million worldwide.
The follow-up, which this time also features Morgan Freeman, Frank Grillo, Antonio Banderas and Richard E. Grant, has a worldwide total of $23.7 million.
Skulking back down to second place was the PG-13 horror-thriller A QUIET PLACE: PART II with $9.4 million over its fourth weekend, after slipping into the top spot last week.
The $61 million Paramount sequel with Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe, Cillian Murphy and Djimon Hounsou has a domestic total of $125.2 million and $222 million worldwide.
Still hopping in third place was the PG-rated comedy PETER RABBIT 2: THE RUNAWAY with $6.1 million, shedding 40% of business from its domestic opening last weekend. Sony’s $45 million animated/live-action sequel has a ten-day domestic total of $20.3 million and $90.8 million worldwide.
Also gripping its spot from last week was the R-rated supernatural thriller THE CONJURING: THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT in fourth place with $5.15 million. After three weekends in theaters (and streaming on HBO Max), the Warner Bros. horror sequel has a domestic total of $53.6 million and $142.7 million worldwide, on a reported $39 million cost.
Vamping in fifth place once again was Disney’s live-action prequel CRUELLA with $5.1 million on its fourth weekend in theaters. The PG-13 release (also on Disney+ for a $30 Premier charge) has a domestic total of $64.7 million and $160 million worldwide.
The PG-13 musical IN THE HEIGHTS sang a sad song in sixth place with $4.2 million over its second weekend, stumbling by 63% from last week’s opening.
The $55 million Warner Bros. drama (also simultaneously released on HBO Max) based on the Lin-Manuel Miranda Broadway show has a ten-day domestic total of $20.3 million.
In seventh place was the PG-rated animated DreamWorks movie SPIRIT UNTAMED with $1.6 million. After three weekends, the $30 million Universal release has a domestic total of $13.8 million and $17.3 million worldwide.
Joining the huddle in eighth place was the PG-13 football drama 12 MIGHTY ORPHANS with $870,000 as it expanded from limited release to 1000 locations. Sony’s inspirational fact-based sports story with Luke Wilson, Robert Duvall and Martin Sheen has a ten-day domestic total of $1.25 million.
Keeping its position in ninth place was the R-rated horror-comedy THE HOUSE NEXT DOOR: MEET THE BLACKS 2 with $604,000, giving the sequel a ten-day domestic total of $2.01 million.
Closing out the list was director Guy Ritchie’s R-rated action-thriller WRATH OF MAN with $447,000 on its seventh weekend for a domestic total of $26.3 million and a worldwide total of $92 million.
Outside the chart, SHAUN OF THE DEAD director Edgar Wright’s music documentary THE SPARKS BROTHERS was released on 534 screens for $265,000 for the weekend.
Next week has F9: THE FAST SAGA zooming in to domestic theaters, already carrying $292 million from its international release. The latest Liam Neeson geriaction movie THE ICE ROAD will compete for attention.
Who is your favorite Samuel L. Jackson performance? VOTE HERE!
The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard
A Quiet Place Part II
Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway
The Conjuring 3
In the Heights
12 Mighty Orphans
The House Next Door: Meet the Blacks 2
Wrath of Man
The Flash: Supergirl’s new suit unveiled in first look image
June 18, 2021 by: Steve Seigh
When Sasha Calle makes her DCEU debut as Supergirl for Andy Muschietti’s THE FLASH, she’ll be stepping onto the scene in some brand new threads.
Muschietti revealed a close-up look at Supergirl’s suit on Instagram on Friday, giving us a detailed view of its intricate design. As you can see from the photo posted below, the suit has a bit of flair while still maintaining a classic look. By flair, I mean that there’s some gold etching across the chest. The etching itself looks a bit floral to me, but, for all I know, it could be Kryptonian symbols. It’s worth noting that The Flash’s suit also includes an interesting new pattern. Perhaps these are markings left by a corrupted timeline or Speedforce?
Warner Bros. and DC Films have tried and failed to get a Flash movie up and running for quite some time. Of course, now that Andy Muschietti is on board, things seem to finally be moving at a steady clip. The project finds Ben Affleck reprising his role as Batman, for what we assume will be the last time, and Michael Keaton returning as Bruce Wayne/Batman. Ezra Miller is once again playing the title character, with Sasha Calle, Kiersey Clemons, Maribel Verdu, and Ron Livingston also set to star. Filming began in April 2021 at Warner Bros. Studios in Leavesden, England, with the film sprinting toward a November 4, 2022, theatrical release.
In The Heights: Samba TV reports film had a slow start on HBO Max
June 17, 2021 by: Gaius Bolling
It looks like HBO Max isn’t to blame for IN THE HEIGHTS underperforming at the box office, at least according to Samba TV. The company reports that 693,000 U.S. households watched the Lin-Manuel Miranda movie musical adaptation in their live+3 day window.
The viewership total trails in comparison to other Warner Bros. movies that hit HBO Max and theaters simultaneously. Mortal Kombat did 3.8 million households in 3 days, Godzilla Vs. Kong pulled in 3.6 million households in 3 days, Wonder Woman 1984 did 2.6 million households in 3 days while The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It scared up 1.6 million households in 3 days. All of those films also had better opening weekends at the box office as In The Heights debuted to a soft $11.5 million while all of those films cleared $20 million during their weekends.
Samba TV measures those who tuned in for at least five minutes in 3 million households that have terrestrial smart TVs. They do not include mobile viewers, but they are the best measurement in the market since streamers stay quiet on their numbers. Warner Bros. President of domestic theatrical distribution Jeff Goldstein told the “Associated Press” that whenever these Warner Bros. movies hit at the box office, they often equally translate as well in viewers on HBO Max. He also stated that when they don’t, they hit low levels on HBO Max. According to him, they’re very comparable.
While 40% of Latin audiences showed up for the film over the weekend, it’s also interesting that it didn’t over-index in Hispanic theaters in Southern California or Texas like the third Conjuring film did. That would’ve helped a lot in those markets in terms of the film’s box office and it is an indicator that the film simply didn’t expand beyond the hardcore fanbase of the musical.
Samba TV also observes that In The Heights’ HBO Max audience skewed pretty affluent ($100K and above). The film also over-indexed on the service in San Francisco at 107% and was followed by NYC at 72%, where the subject of the film takes place.
Are YOU surprised In The Heights had a slow start on HBO Max?
Nightwing movie, The Tomorrow War sequel & more teased by Chris McKay
June 14, 2021 by: Kevin Fraser
Shortly after the debut of The LEGO Batman Movie in 2017, director Chris McKay was tapped by Warner Bros. to helm a movie centered around the Dick Grayson version of Nightwing. Since that announcement, the DCEU has shifted and changed over the years, so despite McKay’s desire to do so, it’s not clear if the Nightwing movie is still moving forward. While speaking on The Beard and the Bald podcast — which happens to be hosted by our own Chris Bumbray and former JoBlo Editor-in-Chief Paul Shirey — Mckay reiterated that the Nightwing movie is still something he really wants to make.
I still want to make a Nightwing movie. I’m still very passionate about Nightwing. Warner Bros. has some really great recent successes, especially in the DC Stuff. I think some of the plans that they have now for opening up the universe and the multiverse stuff and things like that, I think there’s an opportunity now – and the success of Joker – and everything else. This is the time to make this movie. People are curious about these characters. There’s a huge interest in Nightwing as a character. So, that’s a movie I really want to do. It’s an action-packed movie and it’s also a very emotional movie. It’s a movie that’s near and dear to my heart. It’s the same kind of thing as [THE TOMORROW WAR], where it’s a hybrid; there’s a family story in the middle of it, but it’s also like a big, badass action movie.
It remains to be seen whether Nightwing will see the light of day, but it is promising that Warner Bros. haven’t officially shelved the project like they did Ava DuVernay’s New Gods and James Wan’s Aquaman spin-off The Trench earlier this year.
Even without Nightwing, Chris McKay has plenty of other projects up his sleeves, including The Tomorrow War, which will debut on Amazon Prime next month. The sci-fi action film stars Chris Pratt as high school teacher and family man Dan Forester as he’s recruited by time travelers from the future to fight a war against a deadly alien species. Determined to save the world for his young daughter, Dan teams up with a brilliant scientist (Yvonne Strahovski) and his estranged father (J.K. Simmons) in a desperate quest to rewrite the fate of the planet. It remains to be seen if Amazon will move forward with a sequel, but McKay certainly hopes they will.
I hope that Amazon wants to make a sequel to this movie, because I think it’ll be a lot of fun. I think there’s a lot of story on the table from a time travel perspective, from a world-building perspective from the White Spikes. So, there’s a lot of things that I think we can mess with and have a lot fun. It’s like what they did with The Purge or something like that, where it’s like they start with a really interesting concept and now the next movie and the next movie get to sort of play with those things and explore those things and blow them out. To me, there’s a lot more to this world, even from a design standpoint, from the stuff we designed and stuff like that. So, I’m hoping that that’s something they’ll [Amazon] will want to do.
McKay is also set to direct a live-action adaptation of the classic Hanna-Barbera cartoon Jonny Quest and he told The Beard and the Bald that the script was recently turned in to Warner Bros. “It’s a little bit like Raiders of the Lost Ark, a little Indiana Jones,” McKay said, “but it’s a family movie-about a family, not just for families, it’s gonna be a PG-13 movie. You talk about pushing the envelope for PG-13, sometimes with kid’s movies they play it safe. If you’re gonna do an Indiana Jones movie where the family is going out on these adventures, the kids are gonna have to get in trouble and have to be sort of be over their head. And the very first scene is a very visceral scene. I don’t want to spoil anything, but the opening of the Johnny Quest movie is like Scream, as in – Oh, that’s what this movie is about and that’s where this movie is going to go.” Despite what sounds like a rather ominous opening, McKay says that Jonny Quest will be a “fun, funny movie” that also happens to be about overcoming grief. “The one thing we’ve never explored in the Johnny Quest stuff is the stuff about his mom and what happened to his mom,” McKay said. “So, there’s a grief story here at its center and it’s about a kid who sort of has a family that he sort of put together. Yes, it’s his biological dad, but everyone else is-it’s a mixed family and he’s put all these people together and it’s about kind of overcoming grief in the middle of this big adventure. So, I’m really looking forward to that.”
In addition to Nightwing and Jonny Quest, Chris McKay is also working on a Renfield movie written by Ryan Ridley (Rick & Morty) based on a story by Robert Kirkman (Invincible). The film revolves around Dracula’s henchman and how shitty a job that is, and has previously been described by Kirkman as a “fun, extremely violent comedy.” In order to prepare for the film, McKay has been watching a lot of Dracula movies, ranging from the classic Bela Legosi film to the Hammer Horror movies starring Christopher Lee. To close things out, McKay commented on whether The LEGO Batman Movie would receive a sequel, but owing to Universal acquiring the rights to the LEGO Movie franchise, McKay said that “there probably won’t be a LEGO Batman sequel, unfortunately.”
Chris McKay’s The Tomorrow War will debut on Amazon Prime on July 2, 2021.
The Beard and the Bald
Zack Snyder says Warner Bros. radio silent after Snyder Cut release
June 13, 2021 by: Gaius Bolling
Zack Snyder had a year of redemption this year after the positive reception of both Zack Snyder’s Justice League and Army of the Dead. The former was a long time coming and after its launch on HBO Max, it was met with enthusiastic responses from fans and it was reportedly successful for the streamer. You would think some kind of congratulations would be in order from Warner Bros. but Zack Snyder says he has heard nothing from the studio since the film was released.
Zack Snyder discussed the situation during a recent interview with Tyrone Magnus on YouTube. The director was asked if he’d heard anything else from Warner Bros. about the Snyder Cut, specifically any additional opportunities to do more work for them, and not necessarily just continuing his DC universe. Here is what Snyder had to say:
“Well, um…no. I haven’t heard from them at all! After I released the movie, I haven’t gotten a phone call. It’s been radio silence. I don’t…the only communication was [Warner Bros. CEO] Ann [Sarnoff]’s article after the movie was released, but that wasn’t directly to me, that was to the people. So I don’t know. As far as I’m concerned, let’s see what happens with Discovery, and that’s cool. Who knows? All I know is that as of yesterday, Justice League was #1 in the UK again, so…”
Ann Sarnoff did address the release of the Snyder Cut during a March 2021 interview. She expressed that the studio was “happy” that they had HBO Max as a platform to allow Snyder the opportunity to “complete his vision in a four-hour movie, which is impossible to do in theaters.” Despite saying she was happy that the director could complete his vision, she was quick to say there were no plans for Snyder to #RestoreTheSnyderVerse because the studio wanted to focus on the future and expanding the DCEU. At the time Sarnoff said “I appreciate that they love Zack’s work and we are very thankful for his many contributions to DC. We’re just so happy that he could bring his cut of the Justice League to life because that wasn’t in the plan until about a year ago. With that comes the completion of his trilogy. We’re very happy we’ve done this, but we’re very excited about the plans we have for all the multi-dimensional DC characters that are being developed right now.”
I guess the lack of communication from Warner Bros. shows there is still some kind of tension between the studio and Zack Snyder. The director hasn’t been shy about discussing his issues with the studio, particularly when it came to Justice League, and it seems like Warner Bros. just wanted to get the Snyder Cut out to quiet down the fan pressure and appease Zack Snyder on some level. After that, it appears their decision is to merely distance themselves from it.
What are YOUR thoughts on Warner Bros. not contacting Zack Snyder after the release of the Snyder Cut?
Batman Forever: Fans planning a #ReleaseTheSchumacherCut event for next week
June 11, 2021 by: Gaius Bolling
#ReleaseTheSchumacherCut! That is the hashtag that began to spread when it was revealed that there is an extended director’s cut of BATMAN FOREVER, helmed by the late Joel Schumacher. Depending on who you ask, Batman Forever is either pure nostalgic fun or one of the less significant entires of the Batman franchise but the idea that Schumacher’s cut is more serious and complex has intrigued fans enough to want to see it. Fans are so intrigued by what this film could be that they are taking to Twitter next week to start a social media event in order to grab the attention of Warner Bros. to release this definitive cute of the film.
The event is taking place on Wednesday, June 16th, and they want the fans to let it be known on that day that they want Warner Bros. to #ReleaseTheSchumacherCut! The Twitter post caption reads “It exists! On June 16th 10 AM EST, we fight for Joel Schumacher.” The hashtag will need to be used on your posts that are rallying for the film’s release and it can’t hurt to tag Warner Bros. and HBO Max in your tweets. You can check out the Twitter post for the event below:
— RTSchumacherCut (@CutSchumacher) June 1, 2021
News of the extended cut, which is reportedly 170 minutes long, was first revealed by writer and podcaster Marc Bernardin back in July of last year when he said that the cut existed somewhere in the Warner Bros. vault. At the time Bernardin said “I have it on pretty good authority that there exists in the Warner Bros. vault a 170-minute cut of Batman Forever. I think that it went much deeper into his childhood psychosis and his mental blocks and that it was a more serious, darker version of that movie that was one of the first assemblies that Joel filed with the studio and they eventually cut it down because they were like ‘it’s too dark for kids. We gotta sell these Happy Meals, so maybe let’s not invest ourselves in the trauma of childhood murder. ‘We’ve got Jim Carrey, let him do some sh*t.”
This wasn’t exactly the first time that there were hints about a darker and more extended cut of Batman Forever. It is known that about 38 minutes of extra scenes never made it into the theatrical release that we received and some of these deleted scenes have been addressed by Schumacher in the past. A lot of what was cut really isn’t all that important to change much of the film but there are some moments that were removed that could’ve taken the film in a different direction. For instance, a whole subplot about ‘the red book’ ended up on the cutting room floor. In the finished film’s version of Bruce’s flashback, the young Bruce picks up Thomas Wayne’s diary during his parents’ wake. Lamenting that his father will never write in it again, Bruce grabs the book and runs into the night. He falls down a hole, sees a huge bat, and begins his plans to become Batman. In the longer cut of the film, there was more to it than that and in an extended version of the flashback, young Bruce finds a passage in his father’s diary written shortly before his death that reads “Bruce insists on seeing a movie tonight…” As we all know, it was that fateful trip to the movies that ended with Bruce’s parents being gunned down and discovering this passage in the diary would’ve consumed Bruce with guilt and he would’ve felt personally responsible for the death of his parents.
There is another scene that was cut where Bruce wakes up with temporary amnesia after being shot by Two-Face and taking a fall. In his incoherent state, he remembers his life as Bruce, but not his time as Batman so Alfred decides to bring Bruce down to “the cave beneath the [main Bat]cave”, where he first came up with the idea to become Batman.
If there are more moments like this to make up the 170-minute cut, it would show that Warner Bros. did go out of their way to cut some of the darker material from the film after feeling like things went too dark with Tim Burton’s first sequel, Batman Returns. That film made it very difficult for Warner Bros. to sell toys and Happy Meals as parents complained about the highly sexualized relationship between Batman and Catwoman and the outright disgustingness of Danny DeVito’s Penguin. No matter how people may feel about the overall quality of Batman Forever, the film did what Warner Bros. needed it to do and it proved to be more successful financially than its predecessor.
That being said, I’d love to see what other directions the film could’ve gone in. We could end up getting more silliness for all we know but it would be interesting to see these more adult themes cut back into the film to see if it gives the movie a bit more emotional weight. In the film, Val Kilmer dons the cape and cowl and he must battle former district attorney Harvey Dent, who is now Two-Face and Edward Nygma, The Riddler with the help from an amorous psychologist and a young circus acrobat who becomes his sidekick, Robin, after Two-Face murders his parents. The film also stars Tommy Lee Jones, Nicole Kidman, Jim Carrey, and Chris O’Donnell.
Will You be taking part in the #ReleaseTheSchumacherCut event next week?
The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim anime film announced
June 10, 2021 by: Steve Seigh
New Line is gearing up to present one anime to rule them all with The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim. Now, before you destroy your Lembas bread after clenching your fists in excitement, you should know that Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh are not currently involved with this project. That could change, though, as it’s still early days for this ambitious endeavor. I do have a silver lining to report, though. Oscar-winning Lord of the Rings: Return of the King scribe Philippa Boyens will be a consultant on the new project, which is set to be directed by Kenji Kamiyama (Eden of the East, Cyborg 009: Call of Justice, Ghost in the Shell S.A.C. Solid State Society). This animated LOTR adventure is currently being fast-tracked with Sola Entertainment in charge of the animation.
Per Deadline, The War of the Rohirrim focuses on a character from the book’s appendix, the mighty King of Rohan, Helm Hammerhand, and a legendary battle that helped shaped Middle-earth heading into LOTR. The anime pic will expand the untold story behind the fortress of Helm’s Deep, delving into the life and bloodsoaked times of Hammerhand. Overall, the movie is a companion piece to New Line’s LOTR trilogy and is set roughly 250 years before that movie during the third age.
“All of us at New Line feel a deep affinity for the extraordinary world J.R.R. Tolkien created, so the opportunity to dive back into Middle-earth with the team at Warner Bros. Animation is a dream come true,” Carolyn Blackwood, Warner Bros. Pictures Group chief operating officer, and Richard Brener, New Line Cinema president and chief creative officer, said in a statement. “Fans know Helm’s Deep as the stage for one of the greatest battles ever put to film and, with many of the same creative visionaries involved and the brilliant Kenji Kamiyama at the helm, we couldn’t be more excited to deliver a fresh vision of its history that will invite global audiences to experience the rich, complex saga of Middle-earth in a thrilling new way.”
“This will be yet another epic portrayal of J.R.R. Tolkien’s world that has never been told before,” said Sam Register, President of Warner Bros. Animation. “We’re honored to partner with much of the incredible talent behind both film trilogies, along with new creative luminaries to tell this story.”
Voice casting for The War of the Rohirrim is currently underway. I suspect that New Line will want some big names attached to this one. Especially with this being such a left-field project for the Tolkien franchise. I’ll tell you what, though. Hearing that Kenji Kamiyama is directing this beast has me very excited. I’m a big fan of his Eden of the East series, and it’s worth noting that he worked in the animation department for the original Akira. Those are some mighty fine credits, my friends. Let’s do this!
Blue Beetle movie reportedly scuttling over to HBO Max
June 9, 2021 by: Steve Seigh
I hope you're hanging onto your HBO Max subscriptions, superhero fans, because Warner Bros. and DC Films' Blue Beetle will reportedly release on the celebrated streaming service. According to a new report from the L.A. Times, HBO Max's future is in flux following the merger between Warner Bros. and Discovery. Like DC Films' Batgirl – which is also set to debut on HBO Max – Blue Beetle is being approached as a middle-budget affair. This makes it a perfect fit for HBO Max as the studio plans to pack the streamer with more attractive and exclusive content. As of the moment, Blue Beetle does not have a release date.
Blue Beetle, which will be DC's first film to center on a Latino superhero, is written by Miss Bala and the upcoming Scarface reboot scribe, Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer. Angel Manuel Soto (Charm City Kings) is set to direct.
According to DC's ever-changing continuity, Jaime Reyes is the third character to assume the mantle of the Blue Beetle after Dan Garret and Ted Kord. Created by Keith Giffen, John Rogers, and Cully Hamner, Jaime Reyes happened upon the Blue Beetle scarab while walking home from school with two of his best friends, Paco and Brenda. After bringing the strange object home for further inspection, the mysterious item sprang to life and attached itself to the base of Reyes' spine. As a result, Reyes gained control of a temperamental suit of extraterrestrial armor that has the ability to grant its wearer enhanced speed and strength. As a bonus to the unique suit, the Blue Beetle armor can create weapons, shields, and wings out of its otherworldly materials.
Also on the horizon for HBO Max is a film revolving around the fan-favorite DC superhero Static Shock. Warner Bros. is reportedly developing the film with producer Michael B. Jordan. "I'm proud to be a part of building a new universe centered around black superheroes; our community deserves that," said Jordan in a statement. "Outlier Society is committed to bringing to life diverse comic book content across all platforms and we are excited to partner with Reggie and Warner Bros on this initial step."
First appearing in Static #1 via the now-defunct Milestone Comics, Virgil Hawkins was an ordinary teenager who gained the ability to harness electromagnetism after contact with a dangerous chemical. Static also took the lead in a very popular animated series that aired from 2000 to 2004 and went on to appear in episodes of Justice League Unlimited and Young Justice.
Blue Beetle would certainly be a major boon to HBO Max's lineup, though I must admit that I was looking forward to seeing this one on the big screen. Who knows? Maybe the film will perform like gangbusters and Reyes will get bumped to a bigger venue in the future. Either way, I wish this project nothing but the best. After all, DC is made up of much more than bats, jokers, and aliens with x-ray vision.
The Best American Martial Arts Films To Get You Pumped For Shang-Chi
May 31, 2021 by: Bryan Wolford
With the new Shang-Chi movie coming up from Marvel (on September 3rd), martial arts is going to be on all of our minds. While most would look to Asia for martial arts-related films, there have been plenty of American-made films that would top any list. There are a lot of martial arts masters that made their way to Hollywood to show their stuff on the big screen.
While the martial arts film is not inherently an American-centric genre, lots of directors love to homage their favorite films from the West. For every Seven Samurai, there is a Magnificent Seven. And for every Kill Bill, there is a ton of films you can see pulled from to complete that tale. Some of the best stand out for showcasing what we all love about the genre.
A sequel to a Wesley Snipes film from 2002. This film takes the antagonist from the first film played by Ving Rhames and replaces him with Michael Jai White and turns him into this film’s protagonist. George “Iceman” Chambers goes to Russia for some boxing matches and ends up getting framed for possessing cocaine. After he enters the Russian prison system he learns that the guards set up illegal martial arts matches between the inmates. He refuses at first but eventually ends up agreeing to fight for his freedom.
The onscreen match-up of Michael Jai White and Scott Adkins is a master class in on-screen martial arts fighting. Each actor brings their best to their fighting styles and what they give us is some amazing matches and moves that leave modern audiences in awe. Scott Adkins went on to appear in the next two sequels as the lead character.
Ok, hear me out. While you could look at this movie and see it as a cheesy 80s film that relies more on teenage angst than a display of amazing martial arts I say it shows the intended use of martial arts in its purest form. The martial arts film has become a spectacle where audiences are blown away by the crazy moves and choreography on display. This film shows that good martial arts teachers show that these moves are only to be used for self-defense as a last resort. While this purity is not what most people are looking for it does help temper people just going around kicking random people.
Daniel is new to California by way of New Jersey. When he meets a new girl her ex-boyfriend isn’t too happy and torments Daniel. This leads to him taking martial arts from the janitor of his building and facing his bullies in a local tournament. Even if you wouldn’t think of this film in a list like this you have to admire how much this movie influenced. Thirty seven years later the franchise is bigger than ever with Cobra Kai.
Quentin Tarantino is not shy about what his cinematic influences are. This film specifically borrows from all his favorite old kung-fu films. There are lots of homages to old Shaw Brothers and Sonny Chiba films. So much so that Chiba himself shows up as the legendary sword maker Hattori Hanzo.
The Bride is an assassin that works for the titular Bill. When she tries to leave his organization he hunts her down at her wedding and leaves her for dead after shooting her in the head. She wakes up four years later and seeks revenge against her former teammates and Bill himself. This film takes her to Tokyo, Japan where she battles scores of henchmen and Yakuza members to get to O-Ren Ishii. What follows is an all-out battle with some of the craziest on-screen fighting cinema fans had seen in a while. With everything a martial arts lover could want, drenched in a blood-soaked Tarantino sheen.
We can’t talk about American martial arts films without including a Jean Claude Van Damme film and nothing is better than the one that helped launch his career. Love him or hate him, in the 90s he put martial arts films on the map. The box office loved him and fans seemed to as well. Van Damme along with Steven Segal seemed to put out a movie every other month.
This tells the purportedly true story of soldier Frank Dux who entered an underground tournament to try and become the first American to win. While there he is constantly hunted down by federal agents for going AWOL to enter the tournament and trying to avoid getting into brawls with his other competitors. When his fellow American friend is taken out in the tournament in a very violent match with the reigning champion Dux has to dig deeper to make it to the final. His goal is to not only win but also to survive.
Could it be any other film? The legendary Bruce Lee had to be on this list. His fame was getting so big by this point that he made this film with Warner Bros. with his Hong Kong production company Concord Production Inc. This film is credited as one of the most influential martial arts films of all time. Its storyline and choreography are constantly referenced to this day. It launched the film career of Jim Kelly who was actually a last-minute replacement for an actor that dropped out. He accepted the role and after the film’s success, he signed a three-picture deal with Warner Bros. Plus everyone gets to see how badass John Saxon is. He legit had a black belt in both Judo and Shotokan Karate.
Bruce Lee is sent undercover to enter a martial arts tournament run by a super-rich businessman who is thought to be a big-time drug dealer. While trying to find evidence he runs afoul of his henchmen and has to fight to stay alive. This film also has uncredited cameos by Jackie Chan and Sammo Hung as fighters in the film.
Kevin Smith isn’t thrilled Batgirl won’t play in theaters
May 29, 2021 by: Gaius Bolling
The news that Bad Boys For Life helmers, Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, would be taking on a Batgirl movie for Warner Bros. was met with a mostly positive reception but there is one person who isn't too pleased about the film's method of release. Director and all-around comic book nerd, Kevin Smith, is happy that a Batgirl movie is coming but he thinks the property is far too big for a streaming-only release via HBO Max.
In the latest episode of his podcast Fatman Beyond, Smith made it abundantly clear that he thinks the decision to skip theaters for an HBO Max release is idiotic. While speaking to his co-host Marc Bernadin, Smith goes off on an expletive-filled rant that shows how passionate he is about his position:
“I have to call the mayor of Hollywood… What are you nuts! How is this just a streaming series and not a f***ing… Like, they got Wonder Woman. But I’m like, take Wonder, throw in Bat, take Woman off, put Girl, make the same amount of money. Like they could be printing big f*cking dollars. It’s a billion-dollar franchise if handled correctly. And you cast it right, oh sh*t… Look, there are wonderful streaming series. I’ll fight anybody who says Hacks isn’t one of the greatest f***ing series of all-time, now airing on HBO—and I’m not even a paid f***ing advocate. I’m just a big fan. But I would not have thought they would take Batgirl in this direction. Maybe a spinoff animated series sure, but that smells like a movie to me.”
Once Smith calmed down, he did cut his billion-dollar estimate for the franchise in half but his opinion remained the same. He thinks it's rather silly that the Batgirl movie is skipping theaters for streaming. The character, who made her first appearance 60 years ago, is described by Smith as "one of the most iconic female superheroes from the DC universe." This could very well be true. The character is at least known by people that don't even follow comic books and it is a property that has some box office potential. Warner Bros. had previously announced that some of their DC properties would get film releases that were suited for theatrical while others would go straight to streaming. The straight-to-streaming properties were meant for the "lesser-tier" characters that may not be as well known but still worthy of the live-action adaptation treatment. I'm not sure I would consider Batgirl a "lesser-tier" character so I can see Smith's point a bit.
Do YOU think a Batgirl movie is worthy of a theatrical release or is streaming the right way to go?
Fatman Beyond Podcast
Portal movie is still in the works, J.J. Abrams says
May 25, 2021 by: Kevin Fraser
It was announced eight years ago that J.J. Abrams' Bad Robot and Warner Bros. were developing an adaptation of Valve's Portal video-game, which is something I had completely forgotten about. It's been several years since we last heard anything about the project, but while speaking with IGN about the 4K Ultra HD release of Super 8, Abrams did offer an update.
It's not much, but J.J. Abrams said, "We actually do have a script that’s being written for the Portal movie now at [Warner Bros.]. We’re really excited about the take and the pitch, so it feels like that thing’s finally on the rails." Although Abrams wouldn't reveal just who is working on the Portal script, he does seem rather excited by the potential of the project.
It’s got enormous potential for a lot of reasons, one of which is because of the limited narrative of the game, as ingeniously told as it is, the potential of it is so huge. It’s gonna be super fun.
When the Portal project was first announced, it was also revealed that Bad Robot would be involved in an adapation of the Half-Life games, but J.J. Abrams told IGN that Bad Robot is "not actively involved" with the project at the moment. Sorry, Gordon. As for Portal, although Abrams seems to think that the project is now moving forward, I'm not about to hold my breath.
DC’s Beebo and Scooby-Doo Christmas specials coming to The CW
May 25, 2021 by: Steve Seigh
You'll never guess who's coming to save Christmas later this year! Well, I suppose the headline and image for this article gave away most of the goods, but it's a holly jolly occasion nonetheless. The CW has ordered three new TV specials: The Scooby-Doo Reunion Special, The Waltons: Homecoming, and Beebo Saves Christmas.
To find out what manner of magic each special has to offer, you can check out the official synopsis below:
After 52 years of solving mysteries, THE SCOOBY-DOO REUNION SPECIAL sees the Scooby gang reunite at Warner Bros. Studios to reminisce about their favorite cases and how they were filmed. But it turns out that the backlot may have its OWN monster problem! Fred, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy and Scooby-Doo investigate this mystery while celebrating the legacy of the franchise during this one-hour special. Jonathan Stern will executive produce THE SCOOBY-DOO REUNION SPECIAL from Warner Bros. Animation and Warner Bros. Unscripted Television in association with Warner Horizon and Abominable Pictures.
In the all-new animated one-hour special BEEBO SAVES CHRISTMAS, everyone’s favorite fuzzy toy turned furry god will once again be a hero as he hopes to save Christmas. When Sprinkles, an efficiency-obsessed elf, decides that Christmas would run better without Santa Claus, Beebo and his friends travel to the North Pole to help discover what truly makes Christmas meaningful. Starring Ben Diskin as the voice of Beebo, Kimiko Glenn as the voice of Tweebo, Yvette Nicole Brown as the voice of Turbo, Keith Ferguson as the voice of Fleabo, Chris Kattan as the voice of Sprinkles, Ernie Hudson as the voice of Santa and Victor Garber as the narrator. BEEBO SAVES CHRISTMAS is produced by Warner Bros. Animation and is written by Matt Maala and Kevin Shinick and executive produced by Sam Register, Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schechter, David Madden, Phil Klemmer, Grainne Godfree, Marc Guggenheim and Keto Shimizu.
THE WALTONS’ HOMECOMING is set in the 1933 Depression Era and told through the eyes of John Boy, the 17-year-old eldest child of John and Olivia Walton. His mother expects John Boy to help her raise his sisters and brothers, and his father expects him to follow in his footsteps to help support the family, but secretly, John Boy wants to be a writer. Times are hard enough in 1933, but to make matters worse, it looked to be the Waltons’ first Christmas without John Sr. When Olivia receives a letter that John Sr. is planning to make it home for Christmas after all, the family is thrilled and races to prepare for his homecoming. But when a storm threatens his arrival on Christmas Eve, and John Sr. is nowhere to be found, Olivia sends John Boy out into the night to find his daddy – a journey that will change John Boy’s life forever.
Wow! Who would have guessed that Beebo would join the holiday-saving ranks of such beloved characters like Jack Skellington, Ernest P. Worrell, Patch, The Grinch, Frank Cross, Air Bud, and of course, the fat man himself, Santa Claus? I know the little guy runs with superheroes but c'mon!
What specials do you like to watch around the holidays? Personally, I'm a big fan of Christmas at Pee-wee's Playhouse, Bob's Burgers – Christmas in The Car, Doctor Who – The Snowmen, and of course, The Muppet Christmas Carol. I know that's technically a movie, but dammit, I'm counting it.
Zack Snyder’s Justice League Sequels: The Movie That Almost Was
May 18, 2021 by: Chris Bumbray
In the lead-up to Zack Snyder’s Army of the Dead hitting Netflix later this week, the director’s been openly describing his continuing, fraught relationship with Warner Bros. With WarnerMedia now being under a new owner, could #RestoreTheSnyderverse still one day become a reality, or is the relationship between Snyder and WB too damaged? Whatever the case, join us as we take a look at what the proposed Justice League sequels would have been! Restore the Snyderverse!
Zack Snyder wrote another 300 sequel but Warner Bros. turned it down
May 17, 2021 by: Kevin Fraser
Zack Snyder first dipped his toe into the realm of comic-book movies with 300, a highly stylized retelling of the Battle of Thermopylae adapted from the comic by Frank Miller. Snyder co-wrote the film and returned nearly a decade later to co-write 300: Rise of an Empire, and while speaking on The Playlist’s The Fourth Wall podcast, Snyder revealed that he wrote what could have been the final chapter of the franchise during the pandemic, but unfortunately, Warner Bros. shot the idea down.
If you’ve been following the news, you’ll know that the relationship between Zack Snyder and Warner Bros. isn’t exactly in the best place, but as Snyder tells it, even he wasn’t convinced that his idea would have been a fitting third installment of the 300 franchise.
I just couldn’t really get my teeth into it. Over the pandemic, I had a deal with Warner Brothers and I wrote what was essentially going to be the final chapter in ‘300.’ But when I sat down to write it I actually wrote a different movie. I was writing this thing about Alexander the Great, and it just turned into a movie about the relationship between Hephaestion and Alexander. It turned out to be a love story. So it really didn’t fit in as the third movie.
“But there was that concept, and it came out really great,” Snyder continued. “It’s called ‘Blood and Ashes,’ and it’s a beautiful love story, really, with warfare. I would love to do it, [WB] said no… you know, they’re not huge fans of mine. It is what it is.” While we still don’t know which project Zack Snyder will be tackling next, he has spoken about putting his spin on the legend of King Arthur. “I’m writing a kind of retelling of the Arthurian legend, that’s sort of set in a different place,” Snyder told The Fourth Wall. “It’s like in the Gold Rush era of America. Kinda weird, but it’s cool and I’m really into it.”
Zack Snyder’s Army of the Dead is now playing in select theaters and will hit Netflix on May 21st. You can check out a review of the film from our own Chris Bumbray right here. Additionally, you can also check out Bumbray’s interview with Snyder below!
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Black Superman movie is long overdue says Zack Snyder
May 12, 2021 by: Kevin Fraser
It was announced earlier this year that Ta-Nehisi Coates would be penning a new Superman movie that would be produced by J.J. Abrams. "To be invited into the DC Extended Universe by Warner Bros., DC Films and Bad Robot is an honor," said Coates. "I look forward to meaningfully adding to the legacy of America's most iconic mythic hero." Abrams added, "There is a new, powerful, and moving Superman story yet to be told. We couldn’t be more thrilled to be working with the brilliant Mr. Coates to help bring that story to the big screen, and we’re beyond thankful to the team at Warner Bros. for the opportunity." It was later revealed that Warner Bros. and DC were also committed to hiring a Black actor to play the Man of Steel as well as signing a Black director to helm the movie, and it's a move that Zack Snyder thinks it long overdue.
While speaking with the Radio Times, Zack Snyder commented on the new Superman movie and Warner Bros.' choice to cast a Black actor in the role.
My feeling is that I love JJ [Abrams], I love what he’s done in the past. I’m interested to see what happens, it’s a bold and cool and probably long overdue move. But I love Henry [Cavill] as Superman, of course I do. He’s my Superman.
With Zack Snyder's Justice League now behind him, Snyder doesn't really have much to do with Warner Bros. — he even recently called the studio "aggressively anti-Snyder" — but he's still interested in the stories of these iconic characters. "I'm not really involved in any of the decision-making at Warner Brothers in any way," Snyder said, "so I guess for me it’s just wait and see what they do with this and how it manifests itself. But on the surface, it seems interesting." Although no director or leading actor are attached to the project yet, I'm still very curious to see how this new take on the Man of Steel is handled. Zack Snyder's next project is Army of the Dead, which will be hitting Netflix on May 14th. You can check out a review of the film from our own Chris Bumbray right here.
The Ellen DeGeneres Show to end after 19 seasons
May 12, 2021 by: Gaius Bolling
Ellen DeGeneres has made the decision to end her popular talk show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, after 19 seasons. The upcoming season, its nineteenth, will be its last.
According to "The Hollywood Reporter", the decision fell solely on DeGeneres and it has been in the making for several years. The staff of her show was informed on May 11, 2021, and DeGeneres will sit down with her friend and daytime predecessor, Oprah Winfrey, to discuss her reasons for ending the show's run on May 13, 2021. DeGeneres had this to say about making the decision to bring her talk show to an end:
"When you’re a creative person, you constantly need to be challenged – and as great as this show is, and as fun as it is, it’s just not a challenge anymore."
DeGeneres has struggled in the past about when she should bring her talk show to an end. The decision has to be a difficult one. During its long run, the talk show has been a true ratings winner and has won a staggering 61 Daytime Emmy Awards, including four for Outstanding Talk Show and seven for Outstand Talk Show Entertainment, surpassing the record held by The Oprah Winfrey Show, which won nine. DeGeneres herself has also won the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Talk Show Host four times. With all of this success, it has to be a struggle to determine when to call it quits and, back in 2018 in a "New York Times" profile, DeGeneres revealed that her wife Portia de Rossi had been encouraging to move on from the show, which produces 180 shows. a year on average. Conflicting this decision was that her comedian brother and executives at Warner Bros. pushed her to continue. By the end of it, DeGeneres signed a new three-season contract but it was made clear to herself and her team that by the end of this contract, the show would definitely be coming to an end.
The Ellen DeGeneres Show has been widely praised for being one of the best of its kind. The show has made nearly $70 million in charitable donations during its run and has given out more than $300 million in audience giveaways. The show reportedly earns DeGeneres about $84 million in annual income and she has always seemed to genuinely enjoy the job. In fact, DeGeneres had the rep for being the nicest person working on daytime TV.
The show has not been without controversy, in fact, some of the recent controversies likely made it a bit easier for DeGeneres to walk away. In July of 2020, "BuzzFeed News" wrote an expose that detailed allegations of a toxic workplace environment. The expose prompted an internal investigation and the dismissal of key executives. DeGeneres took a hit after the expose because many believed that since she's the name of the brand, she should've been aware of these issues and done what was necessary to fix the problems before they escalated. When season 18 opened in September of last year, DeGeneres began with a lengthy apology and told viewers "I learned that things happen here that never should have happened. I take that very seriously. And I want to say I am sorry to the people who were affected." The opener was Ellen's highest-rated premiere in years but, despite her apology, viewership quickly dwindled, signaling that much of the shine may have come off of The Ellen DeGeneres Show due to the controversy.
It should be pointed out that a lot of Hollywood's A-list remained loyal guests to her show, even after the BuzzFeed News expose. There were some that took swipes at DeGeneres for not being as nice as she seems but, for the most part, many celebrities continued to have her back and have made several appearances throughout its current 18th season. DeGeneres will also continue to be a big part of Warner Bros. as she has built a plethora of unscripted shows that have proven to be successful including Fox's The Masked Singer, NBC's Ellen's Game of Games, and HBO Max's Ellen's Next Great Designer. The studio also plans on continuing to work with her Ellen Digital Ventures footprint as well. which is responsible for more than 60 original series.
What are YOUR thoughts on The Ellen DeGeneres Show coming to an end?
Zack Snyder talks #RestoreTheSnyderVerse, calls WB aggressively anti-Snyder
May 11, 2021 by: Gaius Bolling
Zack Snyder may be making the rounds promoting his latest film Army of the Dead but that hasn’t stopped the press from asking him about the film he released this year: Zack Snyder’s Justice League. His definitive cut was well-received by critics and fans and the latter almost immediately started a social media movement with the hashtag #RestoreTheSnyderVerse which demanded the continuation of Snyder’s vision for the DCEU. A lot of time has passed since all of this started and now Snyder is addressing the movement.
During a talk with “Jake’s Takes“, the director was asked about what he could tell those who are still holding out hope that the SnyderVerse can be restored. Snyder does have hopes that despite Warner Bros. being “aggressively anti-Snyder”, the studio will realize that’s a huge demand for his vision of the DCEU to continue:
“Warner Bros. has been aggressively anti-Snyder if you will. What can I say? Clearly, they’re not interested in my take. But I would also say that they certainly weren’t interested in — I would have said originally — in my take on Justice League. They certainly made decisions about that. I love the characters, and I love the worlds, and I think it’s an amazing place to make a movie. It’s glorious IP. So there’s that. I don’t know what could be done as you go forward other than I think the fan movement is so strong, and the fan community, [their] intention is so pure, and I really have this huge respect for it. I would hope that cooler heads would prevail with [the studio] and they would see that there’s this massive fandom that wants more of that. But who knows what they’ll do?”
Snyder has downplayed hopes for the SnyderVerse being restored in the past. In fact, before the release of the film on HBO Max, he made it clear that he had no plans to continue the arc, but this always seemed like a studio choice rather than a decision made by Snyder. The fact that Zack Snyder’s Justice League leaves things very open-ended and sets up a sequel, it’s not surprising that fans want to see his vision continue and come to its original planned conclusion. Warner Bros. seems determined to stick to their guns and not restore the SnyderVerse because, as they’ve said before, “they’re looking towards the future.” It seems silly to ignore how significant the fanbase is, especially considering they’re the reason we have the Snyder Cut in the first place. With all this talk about multiple cinematic universes that can co-exist, I don’t see the harm in letting Snyder finish his vision.
Do YOU think there is any hope to restore the SnyderVerse?
Prodigal Son cancelled after two seasons
May 10, 2021 by: Kevin Fraser
Unfortunate news if you're a fan of Fox's Prodigal Son, as it has been announced that the network has cancelled the series after two seasons. Created by Chris Fedak & Sam Sklaver, Prodigal Son followed Malcolm Bright (Tom Payne), a "criminal profiler with a rare talent for getting inside the minds of killers. He learned how they think because his father, Martin Whitly (Michael Sheen), was a notorious serial killer known as 'The Surgeon.' Now he’s using his twisted genius to help the NYPD solve their most puzzling murders."
According to THR, the network was a big fan of Prodigal Son, but unfortunately, the series didn't seem to catch on with viewers and ratings have been slowly dwindling since its debut in 2019. In addition to Tom Payne and Michael Sheen, Prodigal Son also starred Bellamy Young, Lou Diamond Phillips, Halston Sage, and Aurora Perrineau. Catherine Zeta Jones also joined the cast this past season as Dr. Vivian Capsaw, the resident MD at the Claremont Psychiatric Hospital where Dr. Martin Whitly aka The Surgeon resides. The series was a co-production between Warner Bros. Television and Fox Entertainment, and it's possible that Warner Bros. could shop the show elsewhere.
Any Prodigal Son fans out there saddened to see the series come to a close?
Golden Globes cancelled on NBC; Tom Cruise returns awards
May 10, 2021 by: Steve Seigh
UPDATE: The Golden Globes fallout is hitting hard this afternoon, with none other than Tom Cruise reportedly returning his Golden Globes for Born on the Fourth of July, Jerry Maguire and Magnolia. More on this to come, but it seems highly unlikely the Hollywood Foreign Press Association will ever bounce back from this. I expect many past winners to follow suit.
More on this to come…
NBC has announced that it will not be airing the 2022 Golden Globe Awards.
“We continue to believe that the HFPA is committed to meaningful reform. However, change of this magnitude takes time and work, and we feel strongly that the HFPA needs time to do it right,” the company said in a statement. “As such, NBC will not air the 2022 Golden Globes. Assuming the organization executes on its plan, we are hopeful we will be in a position to air the show in January 2023.”
NBC's refusal to air the 2022 Golden Globes comes not long after WarnerMedia announced it's joining Netflix and Amazon in boycotting the event, or any events related to the Hollywood Foreign Press, for that matter. The reason for each studio bowing out stems from a demand for the HFPA to make lasting changes to its organization.
Executives at WarnerMedia recently sent a letter to HFPA president Ali Sar, which they then shared online for all to read. While the letter brings many of the conglomerate's concerns to the table, WarnerMedia insists that the HFPA's plans for change do not "go far enough in addressing the breadth of our concerns, nor does your timeline capture the immediate need by which these issues should be addressed. WarnerMedia Studios and Networks will continue to refrain from direct engagement with the HFPA, including sanctioned press conferences and invitations to cover other industry events with talent, until these changes are implemented.”
The letter also points out that the 18-month timeline for change will result in “the same voting body impacting the next two nomination and voting cycles,” through 2023. WarnerMedia also calls attention to a lack of diversity in the HFPA's diversity, nomination, and awards process. They also say that they've found questions at past conferences and events to be sexist and homophobic. “For far too long, demands for perks, special favors and unprofessional requests have been made to our teams and to others across the industry,” WarnerMedia said. “We regret that as an industry, we have complained, but largely tolerated this behavior until now.”
Here is the WarnerMedia letter to Sar:
As an organization, WarnerMedia is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion as moral and business imperatives, and we strive to be a force for good in our communities. As an industry, together with other production companies, studios, networks, guilds, unions, and talent agencies, we all have a responsibility to ensure that our workforce, content, and creative partners reflect the diversity of our society and the world around us. This also extends to the organizations with which we do business.
While we commend the HFPA membership’s approval of the plan to move towards radical reform, we don’t believe the plan goes far enough in addressing the breadth of our concerns, nor does your timeline capture the immediate need by which these issues should be addressed. WarnerMedia Studios and Networks will continue to refrain from direct engagement with the HFPA, including sanctioned press conferences and invitations to cover other industry events with talent, until these changes are implemented. This includes work with HBO, HBO Max, Warner Bros. Pictures Group, Warner Bros. Television, TNT, and TBS.
The work of ensuring equity and inclusion is never finished and something we all must work together to achieve. We understand the challenges ahead for you, as we work towards diversifying our own executive and employee ranks. However, we call upon you to move with greater urgency. The currently planned 18-month timeline runs through the 2023 Golden Globes, which means the same voting body will be impacting the next two nomination and voting cycles. The HFPA has a membership of less than 90 journalists. Lasting and meaningful change to your membership goals could be achieved in under 18 months. The HFPA cannot accurately reflect the best of our industry until your membership expands to reflect more of the social, cultural and ethnic diversity that exists in the stories we tell and the creators with whom we work.
We’re also asking for a strong commitment to significant change in talent press conferences. We are keenly aware of how much harder we’ve had to lobby to secure press conferences for a number of Black performers and creators, representing unquestionably worthy content. This same work has often then gone unrecognized in your nomination and awards process. In addition, our teams have endured press conferences where our talent were asked racially insensitive, sexist and homophobic questions. For far too long, demands for perks, special favors and unprofessional requests have been made to our teams and to others across the industry. We regret that as an industry, we have complained, but largely tolerated this behavior until now.
Our talent and our staff deserve a professional environment while doing their jobs promoting our series and films. Therefore, we would also like to see the HFPA implement a specific and enforced code of conduct that includes zero tolerance for unwanted physical contact of all talent and staff. We recognize that this conduct is not representative of your full membership, but we need assurances that there will be timely, actionable next steps to discipline members who exhibit inappropriate behavior.
These matters deserve urgency, and the timeline you have proposed thus far does not inspire confidence that meaningful change will happen before two more seasons of voting are impacted. We welcome a discussion to address these issues with you and look forward to your response.
Ann Sarnoff, Chair and CEO, WarnerMedia Studios and Networks
Casey Bloys, Chief Content Officer, HBO and HBO Max
Toby Emmerich, Chairman, Warner Bros. Pictures Group
Channing Dungey, Chairman, Warner Bros. Television Group
Brett Weitz, General Manager, TBS, TNT and truTV
Johanna Fuentes, Head of Global Communications, WarnerMedia Studios and Networks
Christy Haubegger, Chief Inclusion Officer, WarnerMedia
More to come…