The Lego Movie continues to be a real trailblazer at the domestic box office, doing extremely well for not only a February release, but a February animated release. That old "oh but kids are in school" saw doesn't apply anymore, because adults are flocking to this feature. That $69 million opening wasn't just because of kids and their parents, same applies to any other animated film that does this well. The pic has now grossed $183 million in North America, and $275 million worldwide. It only cost $60 million to make, so I bet Warner Bros. is really, really happy.
Anyways, The Lego Movie's sequel has a release date but they also want to make a theatrical Lego Ninjago (based on the hit line/Cartoon Network series) movie. Warner Bros. Animation might as well have two animation slates: Their main one and a slate for Lego-based movies, if they plan on going all out with this Lego movie franchise thing.
In response to the film's success, Paramount is getting a little more excited about Monster Trucks. The Chris Wedge-directed live action/animation is hybrid is set to be Paramount Animation's second film, which will hit theaters on May 29, 2015. There's now some casting info; Lucas Till and Jane Levy are reportedly being considered for the lead roles. Till's character is described as a "bad boy with a good heart" and Levy's character is "what one might imagine if Tina Fey was like in high school"… Hmmmm, bland descriptions there, but Paramount is intentionally being very secretive about their projects.
I'm sure we'll get a good idea of what the plot will be like when a trailer shows up at the end of the year. In short, I'm on the fence about this one. From the get-go, it was supposed to be franchise-starter so that makes me a little skeptical, but Chris Wedge is directing and Jonathan Aibel & Glen Berger (Kung Fu Panda) are penning the screenplay. It has some potential.
In addition to yesterday's news regarding the directors considered for Doctor Strange, reports are now saying that Mads Mikkelsen will be the one to play the titular character... Or maybe someone else in the film.
This implies that the film really is moving forward, and might even arrive in 2016. Many are wondering right now what Marvel will give us in 2016, as two films are scheduled for May 6th and July 8th of that year. (I think the July one will be pushed to November, because Warner Bros. will probably end up moving their still-untitled Batman vs. Superman film to the July spot. No way they open it on May 6th against whatever Marvel has.)
Anyways, Doctor Strange may be one of those films. Joblo had rumored a few weeks back that Guardians of the Galaxy 2 may be a 2016 release, if not the film to follow Ant-Man, Phase 3's kick-off film. So will Marvel give Doctor Strange and Guardians of the Galaxy 2 in 2016? I think it could happen, it'll be a double whammy of Marvel's cosmic and weird side. The Guardians of the Galaxy trailer got very positive reception, as audiences are ready for something different and something that goes against the grain from Marvel. Marvel is probably pushing for these two because of this.
What do you think?
Speaking of Marvel, Fox is moving forward with their Fantastic Four reboot. I have no excitement for the project whatsoever, because the only reason it's being made is because Fox wants to keep the characters away from Disney in a silly attempt to make their own little shared universe (Just the X-Men and the FF?) when Marvel's first family should be part of the MCU, as we can get villains like Galactus into the mix.
Everyone else is bending over backwards, complaining about the casting when a bigger issue is at stake here. This reboot shouldn't be happening, period. Given some insider information that I have gotten, it's a disaster waiting to happen. The film is still set to open on June 19, 2015, but given how toxic the reception was for the two FF films from last decade, it may not do very well and the rights will end up reverting to Disney/Marvel. By that time, it won't be too late to bring the Fantastic Four, Silver Surfer and Galactus into the MCU…
It's not right to wish failure on a film, but given how Fox has been lately towards the mouse, they don't deserve a hit out of this. The Fantastic Four needs to be part of the MCU, Fox can't really do much with it and overall it's just unnecessary. I mean, a little shared universe with X-Men and the Fantastic Four? It just seems like an attempt to compete with Marvel more so than anything, and the X-Men franchise should wane by the end of the decade. That bubble will have to burst soon, no? At least Sony is trying to do something interesting with Spider-Man rather than doing some shared universe thing, but the web slinger should really go back to Disney/Marvel as well…
Ron Howard also has an adaptation of The Jungle Book in the works at Warner Bros., regardless of the fact that Disney is moving forward with a live action Jungle Book film of their own that's going to be directed by Jon Favreau. Speaking of which, Disney said the film is slated for October 9, 2015, I highly doubt it'll make that release date. No cast has been announced, and there's hardly been any talk of it. If anything, it'll come out in mid-to-late 2016.
Also, crazy coincidence: Ron Howard's brother, Clint Howard, was the voice of the young elephant in the Walt film.
Speaking of recent live action adaptations of stories Disney adapted into animated features...
Warner Bros. has a live action Tarzan film in the works, which will be directed by Harry Potter director David Yates and released on July 1, 2016. It'll be interesting to see how this one turns out, we're in need another good adaptation of the Burroughs story. Strangely enough, I think this trend of revisiting fairy tales/classic children's literature is now becoming a "retell stories Disney already told and make them gritty/closer to the original source material" trend. Ya know, because Disneyification is so so bad. Then again, Yates had planned on doing a Tarzan film for a while.
I mean, The Jungle Book and now this? What's next? The Hunchback of Notre Dame? Mulan? I appreciate that some people want to tell the story Disney didn't/couldn't, but ehhhh. I guess it's just my fear of people my age gushing over these versions of the stories and pissing on the Disney ones for being too watered down, because doing that is so easy to do that. Then again, Snow White and the Huntsman seems to be fading away while Walt's film will always be cherished and watched.
Anyways, another odd thing I've noticed is that almost every time a studio tries to do a live action tentpole film based on a story Disney already told, someone else adapts the same story around the same time!
- In 2012, we got Snow White and the Huntsman and another Snow White film, Tarsem Singh's Mirror Mirror. One was violent, darker and loaded with action, the other was lighthearted and comedic.
- A new movie based on Tarzan is coming out in 2016, a German studio made a motion capture film based on the Tarzan stories a year ago.
- Jon Favreau is making a Jungle Book film for Disney, Ron Howard is making a Jungle Book film for Warner Bros.
- Disney released Oz The Great and Powerful last year, a small animation studio made Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return, which comes out this spring. (saw the trailer before The Lego Movie, looked so bad.)
- Warner Bros. is moving forward with a Joe Wright-directed Peter Pan movie (set to come out on July 17, 2015), Disney has a film based on Peter and the Starcatchers in development.
Some more box office bits...
Frozen is now at $980 million. It has beaten Despicable Me 2 and is 2013's biggest animated film. $1 billion is right around corner!
Mr. Peabody & Sherman is doing alright overseas, as it has made $22 million so far. Boxoffice.com predicts that'll underperform here in the states, I don't think so. The European reviews are saying it's very good, and some I know who have seen it told me it lives up to those good reviews. The marketing, I think, has sold it as a generic comedy. Hopefully it opens well and holds well before Rio 2 comes out.