This week, the Weekly Ketchup departed from our regular Friday schedule, because of San Diego Comic-Con and all of the extra big news that it brought forth throughout the weekend. First, we ran a special pre-SDCC Weekly Ketchup on Wednesday, and today, you get a bonus post-SDCC Weekly Ketchup! This edition brings you another ten headlines from the world of film development news (those stories about what movies Hollywood is working on for you next). Included in the mix this time around are stories about such titles as Blair Witch, Captain Marvel, Detective Pikachu, My Little Pony: The Movie, and Pepe Le Pew.
DC and Marvel both had big panels this year (after Marvel took last year off), but neither made any big announcements about new movies (that we didn’t already know about). The biggest news actually came on Wednesday afternoon, just before the doors opened to the San Diego Comic-Con preview night, from Legendary Entertainment, the company behind Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, Watchmen, Godzilla, and Warcraft. The latter’s disappointing U.S. box office may have derailed its franchise potential, so Legendary was on the “hunt” for another videogame franchise, and they appear to have found it just as Pokemon Go is gripping the world in a “gotta catch ’em all” frenzy. Legendary Entertainment has announced that they are partnering with The Pokémon Company to produce the first-ever live action Pokemon movie, an adaptation of the character Detective Pikachu. Rather than centering on Ash, Team Rocket, or other Pokemon hunters, this movie will adapt the 2016 Nintendo 3DS game about a Pikachu who puts on a Sherlock Holmes-style Deerstalker hat, holds a magnifying glass, and solves mysteries like a little yellow Encyclopedia Brown. Although they’re calling this movie “live action,” Detective Pikachu will almost certainly be a CGI character. Legendary is putting Detective Pikachu on the fast track, aiming to start filming in 2017, but as yet, they haven’t announced a director, cast, or even a screenwriter. Speaking of which, at SDCC this week, screenwriter Max Landis (Chronicle, American Ultra) revealed to Collider that he had made a “cute, sweet” Pokemon pitch about a family of hunters, and a Koffing that they find in the woods. As for Detective Pikachu, it’s possible we could see it in theaters as soon as 2018, but there’s no confirmed release date yet.
Back in February, 2015, it was announced that director Adam Wingard (You’re Next, The Guest) had signed with Lionsgate to direct a movie called The Woods. The past 17 months since then went pretty much as expected, with Lionsgate scheduling the movie for September 16, 2016. The first trailer was to be revealed at San Diego Comic-Con around the time that the movie would be screened for Adam Wingard enthusiasts on Friday night, and that did indeed happen, except that fans discovered the movie wasn’t called The Woods at all. Nope, the movie that Adam Wingard made turned out to be Blair Witch, the third movie in the franchise started in 1999 by The Blair Witch Project. We’re calling this the #1 “Fresh Development” of the week because the film already has a Tomatometer score, and it’s 100 percent Fresh (based, admittedly, on 7 reviews). The craziest thing is, a clue was out there all along for anyone who wanted to look for it: the poster for The Woods, which has been around for months, says, “There’s something evil hiding,” and in the trees above that, you can trace out the five points of the “Blair Witch” symbol.
There are so many different events going on at San Diego Comic-Con (with most press all attending the same panels) that invariably a few interesting stories go relatively unreported. One example was the screening for the new R-rated comedy Sausage Party (8/12/16), where star/producer/cowriter Seth Rogen said the following: “This was the first time we ended a movie with the intention of making another one. We want to make sausage-talking movies for the rest of our lives.” Although it’s probably obvious that lots of stars and filmmakers would love to make sequels to their films, this was the first time we’ve heard much about the possibility of a Sausage Party 2. Of course, there are a lot of factors at play, but we at least know that Seth Rogen is indeed interested in making it potentially his next sequel project after this year’s Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising. We’re calling this one of the top Fresh Developments of this Ketchup because Sausage Party already has a Fresh Tomatometer score of 100 percent.
Movie trailers are, generally, not so much part of the “film development” cycle as they are part of “film marketing.” However, if this is a special Weekly Ketchup devoted to the news that came out of San Diego Comic-Con, the column couldn’t very well ignore the new trailers. There are several to cover, so let’s just get started. Stacked up against each other, based on what was actually shown at SDCC, DC and Marvel might have come out even, but judging just based on what you can actually watch right now, DC Comics might have the win. That’s because they revealed nearly three minutes of Justice League (11/17/17), focusing on the sequences where Batman (Ben Affleck) tries to recruit both Aquaman (Jason Momoa) and The Flash (Ezra Miller). Wonder Woman is seen less in that package (though more than Cyborg), but that might be because Warner Bros also dropped the second trailer for next summer’s Wonder Woman (6/2/17). Warner Bros also released the latest trailer for The LEGO Batman Movie (2/10/17) at SDCC this weekend. On the other side of the comics world, Marvel did show a Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 package at SDCC, but it’s not online yet. So, instead, the only new Marvel movie trailer is the second one for this fall’s Doctor Strange (11/4/16), but they also showcased teasers for their upcoming Netflix series Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and The Defenders. As for non-superhero movies, this weekend also gave us our first trailers for Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (3/24/17), xXx: The Return of Xander Cage (1/20/17), the Harry Potter spinoff Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and Kong: Skull Island (3/10/17), among many others.
If you’re trying to stay completely unspoiled about Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (5/5/17) — or Thor: Ragnarok, for that matter — you might to avoid reading the rest of this story. The obvious “biggest” mystery left unresolved in Guardians of the Galaxy was the identity of Star-Lord’s (Chris Pratt) father, and in the last two years, director James Gunn has tiptoed around revealing any hard details. This has also led to a lot of fun speculation, including such potential Star-Daddies as Thanos, Yondu, The Collector, Adam Warlock, Starfox, and Starhawk. As this was the last SDCC before the movie comes out next May, it was the right time for a few big reveals. Probably the biggest of them was confirmation that the character Kurt Russell was brought on board to play is Star-Lord’s dad — and also, Ego the Living Planet. The Lee/Kirby years gave us a lot of crazy Marvel characters, but one of the craziest was Ego, who, like his subtitle suggests, was literally a huge living planet, complete with a gigantic purple talking face. Having said that, the movie version of Ego won’t be exactly the same, since Ego obviously took some sort of human form and met Star-Lord’s mother. Director James Gunn made a rather lengthy Facebook post about Ego, including lots of other details to explain some of this. Marvel also offered more information on another “cosmic” movie this weekend, namely Thor: Ragnarok (11/3/17), which the studio all but confirmed will touch upon the Planet Hulk storyline. How do we know that? Because the studio showed off the “gladiator” armor that Hulk wore during that story, and it’s directly from the set of Thor: Ragnarok. So, yes, someday you’re going to see Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk in a red mohawk helmet, wielding a huge battle axe. This is the crazy movie world we live in now. Thor: Ragnarok is being directed by Taika Waititi (codirector of What We Do in the Shadows).
Nearly two months ago, the top story in the Weekly Ketchup was the news that Brie Larson was in talks with Marvel Studios to be their Captain Marvel (Marvel’s Carol Danvers, not DC’s Shazam). Even so, anticipating their big event at SDCC this past weekend, Marvel took the opportunity to officially confirm what many fans thought they already knew. (And frankly, the SDCC bump probably made this bigger news for most people who hadn’t heard about it in early June). Nothing else new was really announced, such as who will be directing Captain Marvel, though it’s possible that the studio might have thought they would be ready to make the announcement as they were preparing for SDCC. What we do know is that Marvel has scheduled Captain Marvel for release on March 8, 2019. However, it’s possible/likely that Brie Larson will make her debut as Captain Marvel in an earlier film, with Avengers: Infinity War Part I (5/4/18) being the most likely candidate.
Marvel Studios still has one more movie this year (Doctor Strange, 11/4/16), and then three next year: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (5/5/17), Spider-Man: Homecoming (7/7/17), and Thor: Ragnarok (11/3/17). Those first two recently wrapped filming, and the the other two are currently filming, but Marvel is a non-stop movie magic machine, so that means there’s a fifth film they’re currently preparing. That honor this weekend went to Black Panther (2/16/18), which was able to make a big cast announcement at SDCC, plus offer details about two of the actors who had already been cast. The newest Black Panther cast member is Danai Gurira, who most people know as Michonne from TV’s The Walking Dead. Gurira will be playing Okoye, the leader of the Dora Milaje, who in the fictional kingdom of Wakanda serve as both T’Challa’s personal bodyguards and potential future queens. Gurira joins Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia, described as T’Challa’s romantic interest (though her story might be a bit more complicated than that). Also, we now know that Michael B. Jordan will be playing Erik Killmonger, who will be the film’s main villain (though not necessarily the only one, as Klaw, played by Andy Serkis, will probably be in the movie as well). T’Challa, AKA Black Panther himself, will of course be played by Chadwick Boseman, who made the news this week for another, completely unrelated movie, when he sold a pitch to Paramount Pictures based on the life of Reverend Jeffrey Brown, who worked to fight gang violence in Boston. Boseman, who is producing and cowriting the film, will play Reverend Brown.
One of the oldest “movie deal” schemes in the books is the idea of making your stars their next big deal just before their next movie comes out (just in case the presumed hit isn’t so much a hit). Having said that, Suicide Squad (8/5/16) is probably as close to a sure thing this year as most filmmakers are likely to get, with some pundits predicting a new August box office record in the $125 million range (!). Margot Robbie, who caught her big break in Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street, headlined this month’s The Legend of Tarzan, and co-stars in Suicide Squad as Joker’s sassy gal pal Harley Quinn, is arguably already a big deal, but that didn’t stop her from announcing a new project two weeks ahead of Suicide Squad‘s release. Robbie has made a deal with Universal Pictures to produce and star in an adaptation of the 2007 Matt Ruff novel Bad Monkeys. Much like her Harley Quinn character (who is also expected to get a solo spinoff movie from Warner Bros), Robbie will be playing a woman held in a prison’s psychiatric wing, where she is regularly questioned about the murder she was arrested for, despite her claims that she belongs to a secret organization called the “Department for the Final Disposition of Irredeemable Persons” (aka the “Bad Monkeys”).
Pop singer Sia, who’s famous for always wearing masks or wigs that obscure her face, has landed another new gig where people won’t see her face. Sia signed with Lionsgate and Hasbro to provide the voice of a pony pop star named Songbird Serenade in next year’s My Little Pony: The Movie (10/6/17). Sia will also provide the movie with two new original songs. And like Sia herself, the face of Songbird Serenade will be obscured by long pony bangs. Sia is the latest to join a voice cast that also includes Emily Blunt, Kristin Chenoweth, Taye Diggs, Michael Pena, and Liev Schreiber.
There are just some pop culture icons from decades ago that have not aged well at all. Take the Looney Tunes character Pepe Le Pew, for example: his entire raison d’etre (to use some actual French) was to chase female cats around, attempting to, at best, sexually harass them, and at worst, well, let’s not go there. In the 1940s and 1950s, that sort of behavior might have seemed cute to (then) contemporary audiences, but today, it’s straight up creepy. Even so, someone at Warner Bros apparently thinks a new Pepe Le Pew movie is still a great idea, so, here we are with this week’s Rotten Idea. Screenwriter Max Landis revealed that he is currently working on said film at the same SDCC where he revealed that he had once pitched an idea for a Pokemon movie (which wasn’t picked up, as we also mentioned up above). Warner Bros is also actively developing a movie based on Speedy Gonzales.