Hopefully, you’ve already checked out Josh Hilinger’s fantastic SCR entry this past Tuesday, but as we go into the weekend, there’s a lot of stuff to talk about, and unfortunately, most of it involves Disney.  Maybe that’s apropos since today begins the bi-annual D23 Expo in Anaheim from which we hope to get even more news. Is it a coincidence? Probably not.

In this SCR, you can also read about the cast for Robert Rodriguez’s new Netflix movie, some honorary Saturn Awards winners, a new role for an old Doctor Who and much more!

Hopefully, you’ve already read what’s coming to Disney+ when it launches on November 12, but there are still a few question marks, and one big one is:  What Disney movies will remain on Netflix?

Although Pixar’s Oscar-winning Coco is still on Netflix, we have to assume it won’t be for long, as we already know that it, along with Lilo and Stitch, Hercules and a few others will be available on Day 1 of Disney+ so will probably be off Netflix by then.

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There are other lesser Disney animated movies that they don’t seem to be in a rush to take back like Chicken Little (2005) and Bolt (2008), neither which are considered classics. No sign of Mars Needs Momseither. Surely, Tangled will be on the new service from Day 1, right? Nope.

Granted, things weren’t always great for Disney before they bought Marvel and then Lucasfilm and had so much easy-sell IP on its slate. Anyone remember the 2013 The Lone Ranger? That’s not on Netflix but also not among Disney’s launch titles. Disney doesn’t seem to be in too big a hurry to get 2012’s John Carter onto its streaming service either, as it’s still on Netflix.  What about any of the Pirates of the Caribbean titles beyond the first one? (Let’s face it, that’s the only good one.) No word on when they might show up on Disney+.

It’s almost as if Disney is using Disney+ to rewrite its history as to never have had any bad movies or outright bombs. So no Old Dogs, no G-Force, not even a Hannah Montana: the Movie! Those are all movies from 2009 when Disney could not figure out what they were doing and before they used their money and clout to buy sure-thing easy-sells like Marvel and Star Wars.

Just bear that in mind the next time you’re hearing about how much money Disney is making at the box office this year and how the Disney+ streaming service is going to be the ultimate Disney experience with a kajiillion subscribers, because it certainly sounds like Disney is trying to make people forget about all the movies that weren’t hits and classics… and there were a LOT of them. I remember, because I did many of the junkets. (But yeah, not even putting the first National Treasure on the service from Day One? That’s just wrong.)

  • In related news, Apple announced that its own service Apple+ will debut in November at $9.99 a month and even released a trailer for its first series The Morning Show, starring Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Steve Carell, Billy Crudup and Mark Duplass. It looks far more dramatic than I was expecting, since like many, I was assuming it was going to be a straight-up sitcom. Not so.

In Case You Missed It….

Lots of big news this week, which is odd, since it’s August… I hate being proven wrong about August being slow for news, but I’m also used to being proven wrong.

Probably the most shocking and divisive news of the week  — and I’m not going to go too much further into it, because it’s already been discussed to death — but there are plenty of hot takes about how Sony doesn’t need Marvel… or that Marvel doesn’t need Spider-Man… but what I want to know is: what happens with Miles Morales? Brian Bendis created the character long after Sony made its deal with Marvel in the ‘90s, so does that mean that Marvel Studios can introduce a new actor as the Miles Morales Spider-Man from Into the Spider-Verse, not actually call him Spider-Man and have him appear in the Avengers? I guess we’ll see how Marvel Studios gets around this with Spider-Man being the only original Marvel character not in its wheelhouse. Maybe Marvel Comics will put less focus on the character as they did with the Fantastic Four while it was still at Fox just to prove a point.

Not too much more to say about this either, but you have to give Warner Bros. credit for realizing that a Matrix movie without one of the Wachowskis (in this case, Lana) or the super-hot Keanu Reeves just wouldn’t be a Matrix movie. While people might still be divided about the two sequels, the idea of Lana Wachowski doing more in this world is still pretty exciting, as she’s had time to figure out what story or stories needed to be told next.

James Bond 25 gets a title!

I’m not sure why it’s always such a big deal when EON releases the title for a Bond movie, but they’ve long ago run out of Ian Fleming titles, so I guess it is a big deal. It’s called No Time to Die, it’s out in April, and there’s a suitably vague synopsis. Now as a lifelong Bond fan, I’m going to see any James Bond movie that comes out, but I also have seen a pattern where every other Bond movie is better than the last one. So you have, Casino Royale and Skyfall being great, and Quantum of Solace and Spectre being not so great, so No Time to Die will have to be great, also because it’s Daniel Craig‘s last movie.

Lots of Labor Day re-releases! 

Spider-Man
Sony Pictures

I’ll probably be taking off from my usual Box Office Preview next week, just because there isn’t much to write about, but you should probably know about a few movies returning to theaters for Labor Day, since there isn’t much in terms of new movies. Two of next week’s planned rereleases are shockingly apt, though.

First of all, the Wachowskis’ original The Matrix will be released in a special 20thAnniversary theater in Dolby theaters next Thursday, probably for one week only? Sony’s also bringing Spider-Man: Far from Home back into theaters with an added action scene next Friday AND A24 is bringing Ari Aster’s extended director’s cut of Midsommar back to theaters for those who felt it just wasn’t long enough the first time. The first two of these three are somewhat ironic considering the news above, no?

Feige, Favreau and Loeb to receive Saturn honors…

Kevin Feige Jon Favreau
Photos by Gage Skidmore and Eva Rinaldi

Yesterday, it was announced that the 45thAnnual Saturn Awards will include honorary awards for two hugely-successful filmmakers, Marvel Studios’ Kevin Feige and Jon Favreau, as well as one for Jeph Loeb, who has been running Marvel Television for the last few years. Feige will receive the first-ever “Stan Lee World Builder Award,”The Lion King director will get the Saturn Visionary Award, while Loeb will receive the “Dan Curtis Legacy Award.”

According to the press release, Feige’s award will be “given annually to the creative force who has, over an extended period of time, created a world with multiple stories and characters that have amazed and engaged fans worldwide at the most galactic level.” Really? They’re going to be able to find a SECOND person who has been able to do this on the level of Feige for next year? Okay, maybe James Cameron… or George Lucas… I guess there are other possibilities there.

They even have a quote from Gil Champion, President of Stan Lee’s Pow! Entertainment: “As the safeguard of Stan’s iconic legacy, we’re thrilled to be associated with such an honorable award. Kevin played a significant part in Stan’s life – he had a lot of admiration for him. I know he would be proud to know this has been awarded to Kevin and we look forward to celebrating with him!”

Fair enough on Favreau’s Visionary Award as that is definitely deserved, while Loeb has been involved in so much popular genre television over the years on top of his comic book writing.

Casting Tidbits…

Robert Rodriguez• It might not be too surprising that director Robert Rodriguez is doing a superhero movie for Netflix, because EVERY FILMMAKER seems to be doing a movie at Netflix right now.

Rodriguez’s flick is called We Can Be Heroes, and it’s one of his kid-friendly movies ala Spy Kidsand unlike Sin City and the “Machete” movies starring Danny Trejo (who just voiced Boots in the kid-friendly Dora and the Lost City of Gold, oddly enough). In a single day, Deadline reported that Priyanka Chopra Jonas from Quantico – yeah, sorry, fellas, those Jonas Brothers keep taking the actresses you love off the market!—Mr. Robot and ‘80s icon Christian Slater, YaYa Gosselin (The Purge), Akira Akbar (Captain Marvel) and Pedro Pascal (Wonder Woman) have joined the already-lofty cast. You can just click on the Deadline link if you want to find out who else is in this movie, because it’s a BIG CAST. I don’t know about you, but I’m probably the most excited to see Akbar in this movie if she indeed plays a superhero, since we all loved her as the young Monica Rambeau in the Captain Marvel movie, right? We Can Be Heroes will be Rodriguez’s return to kid-friendly superhero movies after the absolutely abysmal The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl, but you know I’ll still watch it, because I’m a complete masochist.

Chris Pratt
Marvel Studios

• Chris Pratt aka Starlord is starring in a new non-Marvel movie for Paramount Pictures called Ghost Draft (a working title!), directed by Chris McKay, best known for The LEGO Batman Movie. The tagline is that Pratt plays a solider in a “future war against aliens” where the outcome “depends on his ability to confront his past.” I just love strange and trippy sci-fi, and the cast has really been coming together in the past week, and it’s looking pretty, pretty good.

JK Simmons
Sony Pictures Classics

Yvonne Strahovski  from Dexter had already been cast as the film’s love interest, and It: Chapter Two actress Ryan Kiera Armstrong  was already on board. This week, it was announced that none other than J. Jonah Jameson himself, Oscar-winner J.K. Simmons, and GLOW star Betty Gilpin were in talks to join the cast. Simmons would play Pratt’s father, apparently. A day or two later, stand-up comedian Theo Von joined the cast.  The movie is set to start shooting next month in Atlanta and Iceland.

• Former Doctor Who, Mr. Peter Capaldi, has a new gig at BBC, starring in a 30-minute adaptation of M.R. James’ ghost story Martin’s Close, playing a barrister in the murder trial of John Martin, who in 1864 was accused of murdering a young woman named Ann Clark, with whom he had a one-sided romance. The case was broken when Martin was approached by the girl’s ghost. It’s written by Doctor Who and Sherlock writer Mark Gatiss, so it’s likely to be a very BBC show.

Trailers! Trailers! Trailers!

• There’s a lot of excitement over here at The Beat for James Gray’s upcoming sci-fi thriller Ad Astra, starring Brad Pitt. Just a month before release, 20thCentury Fox released an IMAX-specific trailer, which you can see below… although really, you should be seeing it in front of a movie that you’re watching in IMAX, cause THAT’S THE WHOLE POINT!!

• Last week, I saw an amazing thriller called Villains, starring Maika Monroe from It Follows and It‘s Pennywise Bill Skarsgard as two petty criminals who break into a home, only to find a dark secret and the owners (Kyra Sedgwick and Jeffrey Donovan) not exactly wanting them to leave with that information. It’s a pretty great comedic thriller very much in line with this week’s Ready or Not and Gunpowder and Sky’s Alter label has just released the trailer, which you can watch below. It will be released — and fairly wide from what I understand — on September 20. I’ll have an interview with Monroe and filmmakers Robert Olsen and Dan Burk around then, too.

• I’m not so sure what to think about Edward Norton’s upcoming crime-thriller Motherless Brooklyn, in which he plays a detective with Tourette’s Syndrome, but it was picked as the Closing Night Gala of this year’s New York Film Festival, and that’s pretty big.  Warner Bros. just released the first trailer, which looks better than what was shown at CinemaCon in April. The trailer shows off a fantastic cast with what sounds like Thom Yorke singing over it and more of the plot on display.

• Also not really in The Beat wheelhouse but significant in the fact that the movie was one of the most highly-praised films at Sundance is Scott Z. Burns’ political thriller The Report, which received its first trailer from Amazon Studios this week. It stars Star Wars baddie Adam Driver who could be well on his way to a second Oscar nomination playing Daniel Jones, whose boss Senator Dianne Feinstein (played by Annette Bening) tasks to uncover the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program, which led to all sorts of wrong-doings at Abu-Grab and Gitmo. So yeah, this one is truly putting the POLITICS into the political thriller genre. Burns previous wrote movies like Contagion and Side Effects for Steven Soderbergh, but The Report is the first movie he’s directed in 13 years and it looks pretty good.

That’s it for this week. Josh Hilgenberg will be back on Tuesday and then we’ll see whether I’m back next Friday, because it’s the weekend before Labor Day and there might not be as much news to share. If not, then I’ll definitely be back the Friday after Labor Day, as I hope will you.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Can’t believe how dorks are throwing tantrums about Sony taking back Spider-Man. Nerds are starting petitions to “force” Sony to give up the character, and are urging Disney to buy Sony.

    Disney is already a monopoly that should be broken up by the U.S. government (which won’t happen).

    As for the comments about Disney’s flops a decade ago:

    When Iger became CEO, one of the first thing he asked was: “Why are we still making original movies that don’t always make money? Why not JUST make franchise films?” The strategy became: Make fewer movies, but make them bigger and more spectacular, and base virtually all of them on familiar brands (Marvel, Lucasfilm, Pixar, Disney animation).

    And that has come to pass, in the process basically killing movies as an art form.

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