People going to see movies in movie theaters is back, and so is movie hype! This week an in-person CinemaCon returned to Las Vegas with all the remaining studios putting on semi-star studded presentations to get theater owners excited about upcoming releases. It wasn’t quite the extravaganzas of the Before Times, but streaming is looking pretty low powered these days, and traditional film studios are feeling pretty chipper.
So far Sony and WBD have put on their announcements, and if you guessed that superheroes are playing a central part in the news, you came to the right place!
Sony’s presentation took place on Monday and revealed quite a bit of news:
• Producers Phil Lord and Chris Miller showed up along with 15 minutes – 15 minutes!!! – of Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, the first part of the sequel to the beloved animated classic Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Across has been pushed back to June of 2023, so we’ll have to wait quite a while. The third film in the series will now be called Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse. (I was hoping for Beneath the Spider-Verse myself.)
Perhaps most astonishingly, Across will include no less than 240 characters, perhaps helping explain the delay in release…but also presenting a mind boggling array of potential toys, comics, video games and Forever 21 underwear collaborations. It’s the ultimate in toyetic!
As for those 15 minutes, we weren’t on the scene so we’ll let THR do the reporting:
It once again voice stars Shameik Moore as Miles Morales, a teenage Spider-Man who is transported to another universe, where he comes in contact with Miguel O’Hara, aka Spider-Man 2099, voiced by Oscar Isaac. Miles Morales will also reteam with Gwen Stacy/Spider-Gwen (Hailee Steinfeld) as well as a new roster of Spider characters including Spider-Woman/Jessica Drew, voiced by Issa Rae.
The clip begins in Gwen Stacy’s dimension, with Gwen and her father, the police chief, as he gets a call. Gwen follows and meets Vulture. O’Hara’s Spider-Man and Spider-woman/Jessica Drew are introduced from another dimension. In the scene, Gwen’s father arrives and tries to arrest her for the murder of Peter Parker, and she removes the mask and reveals her identity. Next we cut to Miles Morales’ world, which introduces Miles in a parent-teacher meeting at his school.
• But this was not the only news of Sony’s Cinematic Universe of Marvel – or SCUM as we like to call it. The inevitable Venom III was teased with a logo card. Nothing more was revealed of the contents but given the success of the Tom Hardy led romantic franchise, this was a symbiotic no-brainer.
• In the most shocking and unexpected news, Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio, aka Bad Bunny, will star as El Muerto, a Marvel character so obscure that he does not even have his own Wikipedia page (yet.) Bad Bunny will be the first Latino actor to lead a Marvel movie, so that part is cool. (He’s making his movie debut in Sony’s thriller Bullet Train, which was also teased at the presentation.)
Called on stage, Bunny referred to his time in the WWE as the perfect preparation for the role. Indeed, last year, Bad Bunny trained mightily at the WWE’s performance center, and even won the 24/7 Championship belt, and laid down a Canadian Destroyer in a bout at Wrestlemania. Bunny acquitted himself well at the Grandest Stage of All, and, perhaps more importantly, has a vast following as one of the world’s most popular Latin singers.
As for El Muerto, the comics character, his comics history can give the multiverse some competition as something we know frighteningly little about. According to a Marvel character page, he’s (what else?) a masked wrestler who carries on a long legacy of masked wrestlers. His mask gives him superstrength – and at one point he fought Spider-Man. And he appeared in two stories. According to Deadline, it was Bad Bunny’s camp that unearthed the character, and presented the idea to Sony, so pretty impressive research job there!
The Bad Bunny/El Muerto movie will hit theaters Jan. 12, 2024 – not the most auspicious date for a movie to be released but it is what it is. Sony is actually releasing Kraven the Hunter on January 13, 2023, so think of it as a post-Epiphany tradition to see an obscure Spider-Man character in a somewhat major motion picture.
A few other notes from Sony’s presentation:
• There will be another Ghostbusters movie because it’s legacy IP and you can’t let that go.
• Viola Davis hyped The Woman King, a film based on the historical female rulers and warriors of Dahomey, which studio head Nicole Brown called “Real world Amazons, a real life Black Panther.” The movie will be directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood (The Old Guard).
• Bullet Train is directed by David Leitch and features Brad Pitt, Sandra Bullock, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Bryan Tyree Henry in an action packed caper that involves a very fast train.