The Santa Clause Opening Was Originally Way Darker But Disney’s Chairman Said No

If you’re a person of a certain age, you’re probably seen The Santa Clause, and if you’re a person with reasonably good taste, you probably love it. It’s got just the right balance of wholesome holiday fun and David Krumholtz. Turns out, however, that the original movie was apparently supposed to be much darker. Like at the beginning when Santa falls off the roof and dies? Well, in the original script, Scott Calvin was supposed to mistake him for a burglar and shoot him.

Take it from lead actor Tim Allen, who recently told the story during a visit to The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon…

OK. So, let’s start off by addressing that Mufasa-sized accusation at the end. Yeah, a few Disney parents have left us too early. Is it really enough to establish a pattern though? Let’s try to put a real number around this hypothesis. Googling… Well, Mental Floss says 27 key Disney characters have dead mothers. Fine. That’s definitely a lot. Tim Allen clearly has a point here, but it’s definitely worth noting that most, if not all, of these characters weren’t shot during a misunderstanding by another main character. So, I get where Jeffrey Katzenberg was coming from there.

That being said, I think we would all like an alternative universe to exist in which The Santa Clause was a really dark movie. Maybe all the light teasing of Neil goes to a really dangerous place? Maybe Scott Calvin gets a little too into being Santa and starts abusing his power at the North Pole? I’m talking in the same vein as a project like Very Bad Things. Hard R-Rating. At least several deaths. Nudity. Maybe a scene where someone intentionally gets the reindeer drunk. I’m just spitballing here, but honestly, all of it is gold.

If you’d like to check out more from Tim Allen’s interview with Jim Fallon in which he touches on Toy Story 4, you can check out the video below…

This is the part of the story where we’d normally tell you when The Santa Clause is coming to theaters and say something like, “Get excited!”, but The Santa Clause came to theaters twenty-four years ago. Even its less exciting sequels came and went. Yup. We all got old. Deal with it.

Queenie’s’ Crimes Of Grindelwald Twist Was Hard For The Actress To Grasp

Massive spoilers ahead for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. Turn away if you haven’t seen it!

David Yates’ Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them franchise recently returned to theaters with The Crimes of Grindelwald, telling a story decidedly more dark and connected to the world of Hogwarts. Johnny Depp’s Grindelwald was a terrifying force in the movie, and gained a ton of power during the film’s third act. He was able to get a ton of followers for his campaign against muggles, including one of the main characters.

Alison Sudol’s Queenie was a quirky supporting character in the first movie, but had a rough go in The Crimes of Grindelwald. After being shamed for her psychic abilities and a breakup with Jacob, Queenie walks through Grindelwald’s fire and joins his army. Sudol recently spoke to her original confusion for this choice, saying:

Per her conversation with EW, it looks like Alison Sudol was just as confused as the fans when Queenie left her no-maj lover and joined Grindelwald’s forces. While seemingly ignorant of the insidious nature of the dark wizard, it’s clear that Queenie and her sister Tina are going to be on different sides when a threequel eventually arrives in theaters.

While Queenie was originally introduced as a quirky and sultry witch, her psychic abilities plagued her more than audiences were originally privy to. It seems reading minds has always made her an outcast, and can overwhelm Queenie in moments of emotional distress. We saw this in Crimes of Grindelwald, where she was incapacitated by the thoughts of others after she and Jacob have an argument.

It’s this outsider identity that Grindelwald was able to tap into, and convince Queenie to leave the Ministry and her family for another cause. Johnny Depp’s villain also used terrifying images of World War II to scare the Wizarding Community, convincing others to join his cause. It’s currently unclear how much Grindelwald was targeting Queenie specifically, but her psychic abilities will no doubt be of interest in Fantastic Beasts 3.

In many ways, The Crimes of Grindelwald provided a ton of exposition and set up for the next three movies. The film’s heroes barely had any contact with the titular villain, and Jude Law’s Dumbledore remained largely on the sidelines. And given the shocking news about Credence’s parentage, it’s clear that J.K. Rowling has big plans for the next set of films.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is in theaters now. Be sure to check our 2019 release list to plan your trips to the movies in the New Year.

The Main Difference Between Taraji P. Henson’s What Men Want And Mel Gibson’s Version

In case you hadn’t heard, the rampant Hollywood trend of remakes isn’t going anywhere. One of which being a new take on 2000’s What Women Want starring Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt. That rom-com followed a misogynist advertising executive who one day gains the ability to hear the thoughts of women. It now serves as an inspiration for the upcoming film What Men What starring Taraji P. Henson, who will be listening in to inner workings of men’s minds this time around.

In anticipation for the film’s release this February, I spoke with What Men What‘s director Adam Shankman about the project. Now I’m no mind reader, but amidst news of films based on another, we often wonder how much will be recycled from what we’ve already seen. Here’s what Shankman said:

Whew! As charming as What Women Want was back in its day, seeing it again, just with the genders flipped isn’t enough to make it worth the revisit. What Men What is using the same “curse” set-up as the Mel Gibson version, with some completely different circumstances surrounding it.

This time Taraji P. Henson will play a sports agent trying to break the glass ceiling in her male dominated office, where she believes she’s earned a promotion. In the comedy, Henson’s character drinks a questionable brew of tea from a psychic and bumps her head at a nightclub, waking up with the thoughts of the men all around inside her head.

Director Adam Shankman did notice a distinct difference between the set ups of What Men Want in comparison to the Mel Gibson movie with the film’s main characters in his interview with CinemaBlend. In his words:

In an age when female actresses are taking roles previously held by men in movies, this example is an interesting one because it shows that the replacement of gender held an importance in how the lead’s story plays out.

While in What Women Want, Mel Gibson’s chauvinistic behaviors were put under the microscope due to his new ability, Taraji P. Henson will learn a common misconception between the two genders: they’re more alike than we think. What Men Want will perhaps combat the cultural construct of the opposite sex being literal opposites, aside from being an entertaining comedy. Not a bad way to do a remake.

What Men Want comes to theaters on February 9, 2019 and stars Aldis Hodge, Tracy Morgan, Pete Davidson and Max Greenfield alongside star Taraji P. Henson.

Connie Britton Open To 9-1-1 Or American Horror Story Return

Connie Britton has starred in some of the best shows on television in the past decade or so. So it’s understandable any series that formerly had her would want her back, given the opportunity. Fortunately, it appears that may actually happen with two shows. Britton indicated she might return to 9-1-1 or American Horror Story at some point in the future.

When it comes to Ryan Murphy, Connie Britton will apparently never shut the door on a return. That much was evident when she reprised her role as Vivien Harmon in Season 8 of American Horror Story. Britton admitted to The Wrap she had yet to see her return to the anthology horror series, mostly due to her busy schedule as of late. Britton also confessed she has trouble watching American Horror Story even when she is free because it’s scary.

Unlike American Horror Story, Connie Britton hasn’t been seen on 9-1-1 since Season 1. Britton exited the first responder drama at the end of the inaugural season. Her exit came after her character Abby was set up for a romance with Buck, but her mother’s death inspired her to take a trip to Ireland. The two parted ways, and Britton’s character was ultimately replaced with a new character played by Jennifer Love Hewitt.

Though Abby is gone from 9-1-1, the story was written in such a way that she could return to the story for an episode or two. Britton has confirmed in the past that she’d be willing to return to Abby at some point in the future, which appears to mean she’s ready to hop back on board for a short run should the stars align in the future.

Connie Britton may be up for a return to 9-1-1, or another run on American Horror Story, but it’d have to be a deal that accounts for her busy schedule. The world is about to see Britton’s next television adventure in the upcoming Bravo miniseries Dirty John, which premieres Sunday, November 25. Britton will play divorcée Debra Newell in a true crime drama based on a popular podcast.

9-1-1 airs on Fox Mondays at 9 p.m. ET. American Horror Story: Apocalypse Season 8 has already ended, but episodes of FX’s Seasons 1-7 can be binged on Netflix. For a look at what else is coming to television in the near future, be sure to visit our fall and midseason premiere guides.

Rita Ora Addresses Lip Sync Fail From Thanksgiving Parade

What a nightmare this has to be for Rita Ora. Her name was trending Thanksgiving morning, but for all the wrong reasons. The singer was featured in the 2018 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and clearly missed her cue to start lip syncing. Fans cringed as she “sang” something very different from what was heard playing at home. Well, both Ora and fellow parade performer John Legend explained why it’s normal for stars to lip sync during the parade:

As John Legend explained, it comes down to technical issues for the moving floats. Parade stars are asked to lip sync in those cases, as opposed to it being some kind of gotcha that they were “caught” lip syncing. It’s standard.

The fact that Rita Ora was lip syncing wasn’t the issue. The issue was a technical mishap, leading her to start lip syncing away from the pre-recorded track. Macy’s apologized for the issues, without specifically naming Ora:

The day before the parade, Macy’s had tweeted a photo of Rita Ora, in honor of Night 2 of rehearsals:

All in all, as much as fans were quick to roast Rita Ora over Thanksgiving, 1) most performers lip sync at this parade, and 2) it wasn’t really her fault there were technical issues. Also, cold weather is rough for singers, especially the bitter cold of this Thanksgiving in New York City.

That said, Kelly Clarkson got props from viewers for appearing to sing live during the frigid parade. She did appear to be on a different kind of float, though:

In addition to Rita Ora’s mishap, the parade featured many other performances and parade floats — including Dragon Ball series hero Goku’s first float. Also, the Macy’s parade showcased its first-ever same-sex kiss when the cast of the Broadway musical The Prom ended their performance with a kiss between leads Caitlin Kinnunen and Isabelle McCalla.

The 2018 parade was up a bit in the ratings for NBC, although only rising 2 percent from 2017. Rita Ora probably wishes fewer people watched, but at least it was an opportunity to educate fans on how parade performances usually work.

Keyforge Fixes The Biggest Problem With Magic: The Gathering

Keyforge is all the rage in tabletop gaming these days due in no small part to the fact that it completely eliminates some of the most intimidating factors seen in almost every other card game. If the idea of buying tons of cards and constructing a deck in games like Magic: The Gathering has you breaking into stress sweats, then you might want to give Keyforge a gander.

It’s worth pointing out right off the bat that both Keyforge and Magic were created by the same guy, Richard Garfield. In fact, Keyforge spawned out of Garfield’s fond memories of playing Magic with friends back in the day, only in a much more limited format.

What sets Keyforge apart from the pack is that it is a “unique deck game.” In short, that means no two decks in the game will ever be the same and, on top of that, the cards in a given deck are set in stone. That means that there is no deckbuilding in Keyforge, so you won’t be buying booster packs of cards in the hopes of pulling something useful or, more likely, spending more money online to get the specific cards you want. Instead, you spend 10 bucks on a deck and you’re ready to play; your deck can’t be altered in any way.

The Problem With Deckbuilding

I fully appreciate the draw of deckbuilding in other card games. I’ve had several multi-year stints in my life where I’ve been pretty dedicated to collectable card games like Magic or living card games like Netrunner (also, oddly enough, designed by Richard Garfield).

In case that terminology is a bit confusing, a trading card game is what most people think of when they envision a couple of players sitting on opposite sides of a table, dueling with decks of cards. These games include Yu-Gi-Oh, Magic, Pokemon and more recent popular titles based on Transformers and Dragon Ball. Expansions for those games come out every few months with constructed decks available, as well as lots and lots of booster packs. A living card game has expansions come out at about the same pace but, instead of your traditional booster packs, those games are augmented with single large packs of cards that have everything you need to keep the action going.

But whether you’re talking about a trading card game or a living card game, the one thing those types of games typically have in common is deckbuilding. The model relies on players experimenting with the cards, buying more cards, experimenting further and constructing a deck of their own. It can be a heck of a lot of fun, but it’s also why I eventually bounce off of more traditional card games.

Using Magic as an example, I would frequently buy a starter deck for a new expansion and start playing games with it. After a while, I’d learn the deck’s weaknesses and start paying more attention to the other cards available in the expansion to see which ones might make my own deck better. If I couldn’t find the cards I wanted available for purchase on their own, my only option was to turn to booster packs and hope that I got the cards that I wanted. Then I’d typically buy more booster packs. Then more. Then more.

After a while, I’d be sitting on a mountain of cards I never even use, all in order to have a decent enough deck to compete at local tournaments. In the end, though, I’d almost always lose to the guy who looked up the most successful deck from recent major tournaments and then went out and spent hundreds of dollars to build that optimized deck. I’m totally comfortable with taking a loss, but it always leaves a sour taste in my mouth when I lose to a deck that someone found online and then spent an insane amount of money to “build” themselves.

But, again, I get the draw of that type of card game. Tinkering with a deck is a lot of fun and can be very rewarding, but it frequently comes with a high cost and an insane stack of extra cards I have no intention of ever using.

And those are frequently the factors that keep people from even giving traditional card games a shot. The cost is high, building a deck can be intimidating and there’s nothing fun about losing to one of those alpha decks that your opponent didn’t even build themselves.

A Totally Unique Experience

And that is precisely why I, and many others, have fallen head-over-heels in love with Keyforge. When you buy a deck of cards, you’re literally ready to roll and will never need to, or be able to, alter that deck. Every single deck in Keyforge is created by an algorithm to be unique and feature plenty of synergy between the cards. What’s really cool is that, in order to guarantee this uniqueness, all of the decks are given a distinct name and every single card in that deck has the name printed on it. Again, that means there is no deckbuilding in the game.

Sure, you can go out and drop another $10 on another deck if you like, but there’s no reason to assume that new deck is going to be “better” than the one you already have. When you sit down across the table from another player, you know for a fact that their deck was created the same way that yours was and that they didn’t go out and spend a bunch of extra money on cards or simply look up the “best deck” online. Keyforge is a game that pits skill against skill alone, and it’s a breath of fresh air for the genre.

Since I primarily write about video games, this model is especially disorienting to me because it seems to put an emphasis on the game itself rather than “making all of the money in the world.” Deckbuilding games like Magic could probably be considered the first loot boxes, as players spend a few bucks on small packs of cards and never know what they’re actually buying until they open the pack. That sort of gachapon model has been huge in video games in recent years because it has proven to be a massively successful way for developers to keep getting more money out of the same customer for the same game.

By comparison, Keyforge feels like it was designed to be a fun game that cannot keep milking players through a constant stream of booster packs. Sure, some players will go out there and buy a whole bunch of decks, but the average player can simply buy a couple of decks and call it a day. More importantly, those one or two decks they buy are just as viable as any of the decks Gary Moneybags spent hundreds of dollars to pick up.

Richard Garfield himself summed up these differences perfectly. Garfield used to play Magic with his friends in leagues that saw them pulling cards from a limited supply. As Magic moved away from that style of play, he started to miss the days when players had to rely on a more limited set of resources. In Magic, if a card does not help a deck run like a well-oiled machine, it’s quickly tossed into the reject pile.

Garfield compared traditional card games to an amusement park, where players are being told by professionals how to play the game, what the best strategies are and what decks they should be using. Keyforge, by comparison, is the jungle. In Keyforge, you are handed a bag of tools that’s completely unlike any bag of tools being handed to the other players. Your job is to learn how to best use those tools, including the ones that might initially seem less beneficial. Whoever learns to use their tools the best is likely to be the winner.

Keyforge is probably the most consumer friendly card game I’ve ever come across. The game itself is a hell of a lot of fun to play, and I’m seeing more and more people who would not traditionally play these types of card games pick up a deck and give it a try. All of the intimidation factors tied to games like Magic have been thrown out the window, and I’m looking forward to seeing how that resonates with players over time.

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No, Ryan Reynolds Didn’t Steal The Idea For Once Upon A Deadpool

The idea behind Once Upon A Deadpool seems mildly insane on its face. Let’s take Deadpool 2, edit out all the material that makes it an R-rated film so that it can achieve a PG-13 rating, then add a framing device where Deadpool tells the story to an adult Fred Savage a la The Princess Bride. How does anybody even have an idea like that? Well, it turns out that somebody had the idea before Deadpool 2 ever came out. A writer and artist recently pointed out that he suggested exactly such an idea last year.

Michael Vincent Bramley posted the idea of using The Princess Bride framing device, complete with an adult Fred Savage, last December when the first rumors of Disney buying Fox began to circulate. At the time, while the idea of Disney getting a hold of some of its Fox licensed IP was an exciting idea for many, the one exception was Deadpool. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is a pretty strictly PG-13 world, as so much of Disney’s material is. That could have theoretically meant an end to R-rated Deadpool movies if Disney was in charge and Bramley thought this idea would work for making PG-13 versions of future Deadpool movies for Disney.

However, before Disney even takes ownership of Fox, and by association, Deadpool, exactly that idea has become a reality. Instead of a future sequel, Once Upon a Deadpool is a recut version of Deadpool 2 complete with kidnapped Fred Savage in a Chicago Bears jersey.

On first glance, this looks like the idea sent directly to Ryan Reynolds on Twitter may have been stolen by somebody without the original source being given any credit or compensation. The idea is certainly floated by some on Twitter, including Michael Vincent Bramley himself. However, Bramley has apparently had the opportunity to speak directly with Ryan Reynolds on the topic, and it doesn’t appear that any theft has actually taken place.

One assumes that Ryan Reynolds gets a lot of stuff sent to him via Twitter, so it’s entirely possible he never actually saw the tweet in question. That seems to be what the actor told Bramley. It’s also not entirely insane to believe that two people had the same idea independently. It’s clearly happened before. Hell, if calculus can be invented by two people independently, then a movie plot can certainly be devised separately.

It doesn’t look like anybody was planning to sue anybody over this issue either way, but it looks like everything was on the up and up regardless. Now everybody can go check out Once Upon A Deadpool with a clear conscience.

Deadpool Writers’ New Show Wayne Looks As Brutal As Expected In First Trailer

YouTube struck gold with its original offering Cobra Kai earlier this year, and it looks like the site is set to introduce another action-packed adventure in 2019. The first trailer for Wayne is exceptionally brutal, but that’s to be expected from the writers of Deadpool, who have switched gears to tell the story of two tough kids from Massachusetts.

As expected, Wayne doesn’t pull punches on the violence. Granted, we aren’t seeing limbs severed or people getting killed left and right, but there’s quite a bit of blood that flows in this coming-of-age road trip adventure. Wayne definitely looks to be the hero audiences can get behind, at least until he ends up getting killed for stepping up one too many times.

The stories are way different, but there are definitely some similarities between the trailer for Wayne, and the Netflix series The End Of The F*ing World. The comparison really feels spot on during the diner scene, which features Del insulting an older waitress trying to give them a hard time. There’s also some comparison to be made in the sense that this is a gritty story about two rough and tumble teens going on an adventure.

As seen in the trailer, Wayne is the story of a boy from Brockton, Massachusetts on a mission to steal a car back on his father’s behalf. The trip will send him and his girlfriend Del on a road trip to Florida to confront the man that ran off with his mother all those years ago. It’s clear the journey won’t be easy, but both Wayne and Del seem to be conditioned to face any challenge that requires a fight.

Wayne is a new series from the same folks behind Deadpool, but was created by Shawn Simmons. Simmons has had a run in Hollywood as a writer on a few shows, including the twisted Adult Swim animated adventure Mr. Pickles. Simmons has also worked on the Disney XD show Kirby Buckets. Wayne will be his latest project, with all episodes scheduled to hit YouTube on Wednesday, January 16.

Wayne is one of the first YouTube originals to lead off 2019, in a year that should see quite a few original offerings from YouTube Premium. The action comedy is among a few other original comedies that will premiere on the streaming service in 2019, such as Becoming A God In Central Florida and the anthology Weird City. YouTube Premium will also be bringing back its acclaimed series Cobra Kai in 2019 and premiere its anticipated Season 2.

As mentioned, Wayne is scheduled to premiere Season 1 on YouTube Premium Wednesday, January 16. For a look at what else is coming to television before and after its premiere, head on over to our fall and midseason premiere guide.

Yes, Mary Poppins Returns Has Lin-Manuel Miranda Rapping

Disney has been hitting nostalgic notes in the past few years, with its live-action remakes of animated features. The House of Mouse will go into full sequel territory this holiday season with Mary Poppins Returns, picking up the narrative from the 1964 original. Cherry Tree Lane will be getting some modern touches, including talent like Emily Blunt and Hamilton writer Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Mary Poppins Returns is another star-making moment for Lin-Manuel Miranda, who will be playing Jack the lamplighter in the upcoming sequel. The first trailers have teased Miranda’s musical numbers, but it looks like he’ll once again be spitting rhymes, and doing some form of rapping in Mary Poppins Returns. As producer Marc Platt revealed:

After going to Washington Heights and revolutionary America, it looks like Lin-Manuel Miranda will be taking his hip hop influence to Mary Poppins Returns. And while he’s got big shoes to fill after Dick Van Dyke‘s Bert, it’s clear that Miranda will bring something totally new to the franchise.

Marc Platt’s comments come from the set visit of Mary Poppins Returns, which CinemBlend was apart of. They’re sure to excite Lin-Manuel Miranda’s fans, many of which have their roots in his theater work. The writer/actor brought hip hop to Broadway with his Tony award winning musical In The Heights, which is eventually going to made into a movie of its own. From there, he brought Hamilton to the world, and became a Broadway success story for the books.

Hamilton also focused on hip hop and rap, bringing an ethnically diverse cast together to educate audiences about the founding fathers. It became a national sensation, and gave Lin-Manuel Miranda the platform to work on projects like Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Mary Poppins Returns, becoming a good friend of Disney in the process.

The new music of Mary Poppins Returns wasn’t written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, but Hairspray duo Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman. The pressure is on to deliver musical numbers as satisfying as the original, and the answers will be revealed shortly.

Mary Poppins Returns will arrive in theaters on December 19th. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.