To 3D Or Not To 3D: Buy The Right Alita: Battle Angel Ticket

3D SCORE:
28 /35

After a quiet beginning to 2019, the 3D front is firing up throughout the month of February. And among the movies attempting to blow our minds in these early months is Alita: Battle Angel, a movie that’s taken the long way around to the box office, but looks ready to play. So naturally, with both Robert Rodriguez and James Cameron involved in the film’s production, there was no doubt that the 3D experience was going to come into play at some point.

Obvious to a fault, the time has come to ask one major question of Alita: Battle Angel: To 3D, or Not To 3D? If you’re wondering what we thought about the film, you can read our official review and find out. But if you’re ready to learn if you should spend some extra ticket money on the 3D version, or save that version for some wagers on a friendly game of Motorball, you’ve come to the right place.

3D Fit Score

5/5

One look at the world of Alita: Battle Angel is all that any audience would need to be convinced this was a 3D film in the making. The futuristic sci-fi feel of Robert Rodriguez and James Cameron putting their heads together, as well as their support of the medium since its earliest days, almost ensured that this film would be a 3D stunner. It’s a practical hand in glove match to provide Alita with a 3D upgrade.

Planning & Effort Score

3/5

As fit for 3D fighting as Alita: Battle Angel is, it doesn’t take full advantage of its format. In particular, there are some pieces of the film that feel rather flat in the 3D space, as well as a distinct lack of assets jumping off the screen for most of the film. Considering how this film took the time to overcome the Brightness problem, as well as provide some serious depth to its Beyond The Window factor, the lack of flinch worthy thrills set things back a bit.

Before the Window Score

3/5

When Alita: Battle Angel turns on the 3D charm, there are some spectacular shots of items flying at the audience. Cyborg parts and enhancements make the best use of this portion of the film’s 3D presentation, and the ensuing battles that require them have some nice bits that jump out at the audience. Which is why the majority of the film’s lack of big 3D pop-outs knocks this score down a couple points.

Beyond the Window Score

5/5

Thankfully, the depth of the world that Alita: Battle Angel represents in the 3D space is quite impressive. Characters are properly spaced so that they don’t simply melt into their co-stars or their environments, so that’s the perfect foundation right there. But the depth of picture beyond said characters is absolutely spectacular. The distance between Iron City and Zalam, or even Alita and the buildings and alleys she strolls about, are conveyed with clear and beautiful dimensions that draw the heights and lengths of the action involved in sharp contrast.

Brightness Score

5/5

3D presentations like Alita: Battle Angel have a natural enemy, and its name is darkness. Putting a pair of polarized glasses on one’s face and staring at a lit screen can be a daunting task, as the maintenance of the projector being used can have an effect on how brightly the movie you’re watching is projected. Your mileage may vary depending on the theater you’re seeing the film in, but in the screening observed for this evaluation, the picture was as bright and clear as one could have hoped for. Even with the typical dimming effect of the 3D glasses, there’s no part of this film that is too dark to be seen in full clarity.

Glasses Off Score

3/5

With the blur shown on the screen typically serving as a good indication of how much 3D manipulation has taken place, Alita: Battle Angel should not have as many sequences looking like a 2D presentation as this film does. And yet, there’s a liberal amount of recurring scenes that looks as if they haven’t been converted. This goes beyond the standard anchor points that see characters rendered in 2D, while their background is fleshed out in full 3D – though there’s plenty of that action going on as well. It’s not a totally 2D experience though, as there’s definitely a good amount of blurring in the environments and a majority of character moments.

Audience Health Score

4/5

It’s been a while since a 3D movie triggered the old eye-strain in the way some action sequences in Alita: Battle Angel do. With elements of fast paced action that zoom across the screen, there are moments where your eyes are going to get a little confused and unfocused. This will lead to a little bit of strain, which might take you out of the action for brief moments of time. Thankfully, these moments are pretty isolated, with the rest of the film operating extremely smooth.

3D Fit Score 5
Planning & Effort Score 3
Before the Window Score 3
Beyond the Window Score 5
Brightness Score 5
Glasses Off Score 3
Audience Health Score 4

Alita: Battle Angel is still pretty decent in its 3D presentation. But it could have been one of the greats if some of the basics were tightened up to the standards we’d expect from both Rodriguez and Cameron’s involvement. If you’re going to see this film in 3D, it’s best to do so in a format like IMAX where the expanded picture ratio adds some large format thrills to the 3D conversion. But if you’re still interested in just a standard 3D presentation, it’s still worth the time. It’s not a must-see in 3D, but it’s nontheless pretty fun.

How Will You See Alita: Battle Angel?

Be sure to visit our full To 3D Or Not To 3D Archive.

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Sterling K Brown Really Wants To Work With Patty Jenkins

Actor Sterling K. Brown was pretty much a relatively unknown TV actor before his roles on American Crime Story and This Is Us launched him into the public consciousness. He’s now a recognizable face on the big screen that is working with talented directors like Shane Black in last year’s The Predator and Ryan Coogler in the Best Picture nominated Black Panther. When asked if there was a female filmmaker he wanted to work with, he had a name in mind. He responded:

Sterling K. Brown, who was talking about the need for more diversity behind the camera, is a big fan of Patty Jenkins and what she did with Wonder Woman–even calling it one of his favorite films of the year. So, as he told ET, having loved Wonder Woman so much, Patty Jenkins is the name that comes to mind as far as female directors he would like to work with.

Any combination of talented actor and director is worth hoping for and it certainly would be exciting to see an actor of Sterling K. Brown’s caliber team up with Patty Jenkins for a project. Who knows, Brown has already left his mark in the MCU in Black Panther as N’Jobu, brother of T’Chaka and father of Killmonger, maybe he could join the DCEU next in Wonder Woman 3.

Patty Jenkins isn’t sure that she’ll direct Wonder Woman 3 yet, but she already has plans for the film and intends to set it in more contemporary times. Perhaps there will be an opportunity for Sterling K. Brown to join, now that he’s made his desires known about wanting to work with Patty Jenkins. Plus we know that Patty Jenkins was happy for Black Panther‘s Best Picture nom, so she’s seen Sterling K. Brown’s work

The acclaim and the opportunities for Sterling K. Brown certainly have increased in recent years and he wasn’t just paying lip service to wanting more diversity behind the camera and for a female perspective onscreen when he was talking with ET. The busy actor has multiple projects from female filmmakers hitting theaters in 2019.

In the fall, Sterling K. Brown will lend his voice to the sure-fire hit Frozen 2. Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee direct the animated sequel. And ironically opening on the same day in November, he will be in the thriller The Rhythm Section from director Reed Morano. Since he’s now put it out in to the world, maybe he can one day add Patty Jenkins to the list of exciting filmmakers he has worked with.

Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman 1984 has been delayed until 2020, but there are still plenty of movies to look forward to this year. Check them out in our 2019 Release Schedule and stay tuned to CinemaBlend for all your movie news.

Looks Like Walking Dead’s Tom Payne Wants In On The Suicide Squad

Earlier this week, Warner Bros announced official summer 2021 release dates for Matt Reeves’ The Batman and James Gunn’s Suicide Squad follow-up. Simply titled The Suicide Squad, the DCEU universe installment will not be a direct sequel to the 2016 film. It will instead be a “relaunch” allowing the Guardians of the Galaxy filmmaker to phase his own vision into the franchise.

The Suicide Squad will reportedly feature a mostly new cast ­– leaving some upcoming casting news on the horizon. Who will join the franchise? The Walking Dead’s Tom Payne is certainly interested in this question. Here’s what he recently posted to his Twitter:

Hmm… an emoji is worth a thousand words. Either the actor is curious about the new Suicide Squad cast and is softly throwing his name in the ring, or he knows something we don’t! Maybe James Gunn is a Walking Dead fan and will answer the actor’s call or keep him in mind while developing his project.

Tom Payne has been playing Paul ‘Jesus’ Povia in AMC’s zombie-packed drama since season six. SPOILER ALERT: The actor recently exited the television series in the Season 9 mid-season finale when his character was murdered by the Whisperers in a surprising conclusion to his character. Jesus’ death didn’t really bother Payne, because he was growing unhappy with the direction of his character.

The actor also starred in Netflix’s recent sci-fi release Io alongside Margaret Qualley and Anthony Mackie. It looks like his schedule might be otherwise wide open to nab a role in The Suicide Squad if Warner Bros is listening.

Payne has made a case for himself to star in another comic book role: he thinks he’d make a great Wolverine! He pointed out that Hugh Jackman was a little taller than the character is supposed to be, and since he stands at 5-foot-7 and usually dons some scruff, he could be a good contender if Marvel is ever looking for a replacement.

The Suicide Squad could be a great opportunity for the actor to really show his chops as a dramatic actor and action star, and would certainly propel his career way past fans of Walking Dead. The actor has primarily starred in shorts, television shows and television films.

When James Gunn was putting together Guardians of the Galaxy, he enlisted a mix of huge stars, including Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper and Benicio Del Toro,along with Doctor Who actress Karen Gillian and WWE wrestler Dave Bautista. Who knows how this team will come together!

David Ayer’s Suicide Squad received mixed reviews but made $746.8 million worldwide. The Suicide Squad is poised to be released just about five years after the first film when it hits theaters on August 6, 2021.

Will Harley Quinn Get Her Hyenas In Birds Of Prey?

Having made her live action theatrical debut in 2016’s Suicide Squad, Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn is finally returning to the big screen next year in Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn). The end of Suicide Squad showed Harley reuniting with The Joker, but she’ll be adventuring without the Clown Prince of Crime in the eighth DC Extended Universe movie. That said, it looks like another element from Harley’s early days on Batman: The Animated Series might be incorporated into Birds of Prey: her pet hyenas, Bud and Lou.

Birds of Prey has officially begun principal photography, and a leaked behind-the-scenes photo, shared by Harley Quinn Updates, shows Margot Robbie (wearing a different costume than the one in the preview video released at the beginning of the week) inside a store called Murray’s Exotic Animals. Aside from seeing a bird cage, it’s hard to tell what critters are being sold in this shop, but hyenas would certainly qualify as “exotic” animals. Of course, then there’s the question of how hyenas can be legally sold, but I’m assuming Murray’s Exotic Animals is located in Gotham City, where folks can get away with a lot of illegal activities that would swiftly be dealt with in other DC cities.

Named after iconic comedy duo Bud Abbott and Lou Costello, the hyenas Bud and Lou first appeared in the Batman: The Animated Series episode “The Man Who Killed Batman,” although they weren’t named until The New Batman Adventures episode “Joker’s Millions.” Naturally the hyenas frequently laugh, makes them excellent companions for Harley, who’s almost as obsessed with mirth and humor as The Joker. Eventually, just like Harley Quinn herself, Bud and Lou were introduced to the comics, with Harley freeing them from the Gotham City Zoo in the debut issue of her first comic book series.

Although Joker and Harley Quinn were very much an item during Suicide Squad, Birds of Prey sees Harley Quinn striking out on her own, and I can imagine acquiring those hyenas being one of the ways she commemorates the start of this new chapter in her life. And, knowing Harley, she probably persuaded Murray himself to allow her to part with the hyenas for the bargain price of $0. For now, though, it remains to be seen if Bud and Lou will actually appear in Birds of Prey, let alone how much screen time they’ll get.

As for Harley Quinn, Birds of Prey will see her teaming up with Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell) and Detective Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez) to protect a young girl named Cassandra Cain, who’s being targeted by Gotham City crime lord Roman Sionis, a.k.a. Black Mask (Ewan McGregor), because she has a diamond that belongs to him. Cathy Yan is directing and Christina Hodson, who is also writing the Batgirl movie, penned the script.

Birds of Prey opens in theaters on February 7, 2020, so stay tuned to CinemaBlend for continuing coverage. If you’re curious about what else is in development for the DCEU, look through our handy guide.

The David Bowie Biopic Has Found Its Star

One notable omission from the smash hit Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody was David Bowie, whom Queen collaborated with on the incredible 1981 song “Under Pressure.” The song does play in the film, but the iconic singer does not appear. But fear not, because a David Bowie biopic is on the way. The film has now found its star in the form of actor Johnny Flynn.

Johnny Flynn will have the difficult task of playing the man behind Ziggy Stardust in Salon Pictures’ David Bowie biopic that is appropriately titled Stardust. The actor is perhaps best known for his work in the Netflix series Lovesick or for playing a young Albert Einstein in NatGeo’s Genius. Johnny Flynn also starred in last year’s dark indie Beast.

In addition to being a screen actor, Johnny Flynn also has stage experience and is currently starring in True West on London’s West End, opposite Game of Thrones’ Kit Harington. Beyond his acting experience, Johnny Flynn also brings musical chops to the role of the legendary singer who passed away in 2016. Flynn is the lead singer and songwriter of the band Johnny Flynn & The Sussex Wit.

In Stardust, Johnny Flynn will be joining a cast that includes The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’s Jena Malone, as well as comedian Marc Maron, whose acting career has really taken off lately with his role on Netflix’s GLOW and the upcoming Joker. Stardust will be directed by Gabriel Range, whose previous feature work includes I Am Slave and Death of A President. He will direct based on a script from Christopher Bell.

Stardust will chronicle David Bowie’s rise to superstardom and the eventual creation of his Ziggy Stardust persona, starting with his first visit to America in 1971. Principal photography for Stardust is set to begin in June of this year according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Johnny Flynn isn’t exactly a household name, so most fans won’t see his work until the upcoming biopic is released. Rami Malek perhaps wasn’t peoples’ first choice for Freddie Mercury, and he might end up winning an Oscar for it. Given David Bowie’s talents as a singer, songwriter and actor, it is encouraging that Stardust has cast someone with musical chops who is also an artist in multiple mediums.

In Beast, Johnny Flynn played a quiet and brooding character whose intense magnetism was in part due to the impermeable darkness beneath the surface. He played it well but David Bowie will give Johnny Flynn to an opportunity to showcase his range and other talents.

Now certainly seems like the right time for a David Bowie biopic (Sarah called it). Last year was a banner one for music films with A Star is Born and the phenomenon Bohemian Rhapsody and this year brings the Elton John biopic Rocketman. A David Bowie biopic can certainly capitalize on the singer’s popularity and his catalog of hits.

We’ll keep you updated about Stardust as we hear more. In the meantime check out our 2019 Release Schedule for the movies heading to theaters this year and stay tuned to CinemaBlend for all your movie news.

Suicide Squad 2: What We Know So Far

David Ayer’s Suicide Squad is a film with a complicated history. The film was famously rushed through development, had to undergo many mid-production changes, and ultimately received some vicious reviews from professional critics when it came out in the summer of 2016. Despite all of this, however, the movie wound up being a massive hit all around the world — bringing in nearly $750 million worldwide — so it’s not really a huge surprise that Warner Bros. and DC Comics are currently developing a Suicide Squad 2.

The status of the sequel was up in the air for several months, but we know have more crucial details about things like who’ll be writing and potentially directing the film that’s now known as The Suicide Squad. We also finally have a release date and some information on how this long-gestating sequel is being viewed by the studio, and many of these new tidbits are sure to get you excited for the film! We plan to address all of those things and more with this new edition of our What We Know So Far guides. So read on, and find out absolutely everything we’ve learned about the development of The Suicide Squad!

What Is The Suicide Squad Release Date?

It’s become customary for major movie franchises to announce full slates of projects that look as many as five years into the future — but that route hasn’t worked out so well for the DC Extended Universe so far. As a result, until recently, the only developing blockbuster with actual release dates were James Wan’s Aquaman, which dominated the box office when it came out on December 21, 2018, and Shazam!, which is heading for release on April 5, 2019. Recently, though, we actually got the specifics of when we will be seeing Warner Bros. release The Suicide Squad into theaters: August 6, 2021. And, the movie is coming along with an intriguing slate of other DC films now due out in the same year.

As we know, DC and Warner Bros. have been very good at announcing new projects that are in development, without giving so much as a hint as to when they plan for those projects to begin filming or even when we should expect to see them on the big screen. But, this changed in late January 2019, when the release date for The Suicide Squad was revealed along with another long developing and hotly anticipated project, Matt Reeves’ The Batman, which is due in theaters on June 25, 2021, and something that hadn’t been announced previously, DC Super Pets, which is looking at a May 21, 2021 debut. While it originally seemed as though Suicide Squad 2 could hit a 2019 release, and the wait may seem excruciating, there are reasons to be happy for the delay, which we’ll get into in just a bit.

What Is The Suicide Squad Rating?

Films like Deadpool, Deadpool 2 and Logan have done a radical job completely changing the comic book movie game where ratings are concerned. While it was once believed that the blockbusters had to be PG-13 in order to bring in key teenager demographics, it has been shown multiple times that it’s very possible to make a crazy amount of money while only appealing to adults. It’s not an industry development that Warner Bros. has yet to take advantage of with their DC Extended Universe franchise just yet, and as a result there’s every possibility that Suicide Squad 2 will have the same rating as its predecessor — but it remains a question that doesn’t actually have a firm answer.

Prior to the release of Suicide Squad in the summer of 2016, writer/director David Ayer told a reporter that the thought of an R-rated Suicide Squad 2 was an idea “worth lobbying for” — so with the right minds at work, one could see the approach as still being on the table. That being said, Ayer is not actually making the sequel himself anymore, and the man who is handling The Suicide Squad might wind up thinking that an R-rated approach is stupid. We won’t know more on this front until the project moves further into development, which makes for a perfect segue into our next point of discussion…

Who Is The Suicide Squad Writer And Director?

Until recently, the subject of who Suicide Squad 2‘s director would be was a fluid one, as the project existed without a mind to guide it for a while. Given the financial success that the first movie experienced, you’d expect that Warner Bros. would bring David Ayer back for the follow-up, but he’s actually unavailable because of his work on another DC Comics property. In early September 2017, the studio finally filled the vacancy, with The Accountant’s Gavin O’Connor being hired to direct and write the upcoming blockbuster.

But! That was not the end of the writer / director saga that will eventually bring The Suicide Squad to theaters. In early October 2018 it was announced that James Gunn had been hired to write the film, with word coming in late January 2019 that he was also now set to direct the newest villain team up. Both these bits of news came as a pleasant surprise to superhero movie fans everywhere, as Gunn had been fired from Marvel in the summer of 2018 (after completing the script for Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3) when old, offensive tweets of his were dredged up online. As of this writing, Guardians 3 is in serious limbo with no director and pre-production having been shut down months ago, but Suicide Squad 2 has netted itself a fine creative mind.

What Is The Suicide Squad Story?

It’s early days yet for The Suicide Squad, so we don’t know much about the story or who will be included in it. But, when word came down about the new title and release date, there was also a tidbit on information that tells us that this film might be significantly different from its predecessor. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the studio see this movie as more of a relaunch than a direct sequel, with Gunn being free to take the property in a new direction and use a mostly new cast of characters, if he so chooses.

Of course, the whole “rag tag band” concept behind The Suicide Squad already fits with Gunn’s aesthetic. Plus, at one time he was interested in writing and directing a Thunderbolts movie for Marvel, but, because that comic book team is so similar to DC’s Suicide Squad, the idea for that movie was abandoned once Suicide Squad got off the ground. No matter what he decides to do with the story, though, it’s sure to be intriguing and likely a lot more fun than what we saw in the original.

Deadshot

Given the star power of Will Smith, talk about a possible Deadshot spin-off began almost immediately after Suicide Squad‘s release in the summer of 2016. However, when Warner Bros. and DC announced their upcoming slate at San Diego Comic-Con in 2017, that particular project wasn’t revealed as part of their plans. As such, we are basically led to believe that the next time we see the sharpshooter antihero will be in Suicide Squad 2 — which may ultimately be for the best.

When we last left Deadshot a.k.a. Floyd Lawton at the end of the first Suicide Squad, his life had definitely improved dramatically. While he once found himself regularly trapped in solitary confinement, his work fighting the Enchantress now allows him to have legitimate visitation with his daughter. Given this benefit, one could see him hoping to get even more perks in prison by doing another Suicide Squad mission, which makes him a genuinely perfect candidate for the sequel. The project is also probably going to need Will Smith’s star power, as the most popular character from the first movie might not wind up coming back for Round Two.

Harley Quinn

The first Suicide Squad was as divisive as big blockbusters really get, but if most movie-goers and critics could agree on anything, it was appreciation for Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn. Sure, her involvement in the story didn’t make a lot of sense (given that she was primarily being used for her connections with the Joker, and the Joker wasn’t a part of the actual mission), but, still, it was easy to enjoy Robbie’s take on the vivid personality, and it satisfied years of anticipating the character’s big screen debut. As entertaining as the performance was, however, right now there doesn’t seem to be an absolute guarantee that Harley will be coming back for Suicide Squad 2.

We’ve heard rumblings that Warner Bros. is interested in creating a trilogy of new films that star the mallet-obsessed former psychologist, and while The Suicide Squad could certainly end up being one of those, there are several other movies in the works set to star Harley Quinn. Part of the reason why writer/director David Ayer isn’t coming back for the sequel is because he’s been actively developing Gotham City Sirens — and should that fully move forward, it may see the DC Extended Universe prefer to pair Harley Quinn with Poison Ivy and Catwoman instead of reuniting her with the Suicide Squad. The character will next be seen in Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn), which began filming in mid-January 2019, and there have also been rumors of a Harley / Joker film. Nothing is set in stone yet, and it’s very possible that Harley will ultimately be back for Suicide Squad 2, but right now it’s a situation that’s very much up in the air.

The Joker

There is no future more unclear in the DC Extended Universe than that of Jared Leto’s The Joker. The Oscar-winner notoriously acted like a total (admittedly in-character) nutcase while filming the original Suicide Squad, and not only was his performance ultimately derided by critics, but Leto himself was also very outspoken about the final cut of the blockbuster. As a result, we really have no idea when we can next expect him to appear in the franchise, whether it be in Suicide Squad 2, or possibly never again.

Certainly one major factor in all of this will be whether or not the sequel winds up seeing the return of Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn, as we just discussed. If it’s decided that she should be used in Birds of Prey, then saved for Gotham City Sirens and left out of Suicide Squad 2, the studio may also not bring back the Clown Prince of Crime either. Another thing potentially standing in the way of Leto’s version of The Joker coming back for the sequel? He’s currently attached to star in Sony’s Spider-Verse film Morbius The Living Vampire, which has been adding to its cast and seems to be moving right along through production. So, where will The Joker show up next? We’ll just have to wait and see.

Killer Croc

Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje’s Killer Croc was one of the main characters in the first Suicide Squad, but we didn’t exactly get to know too much about him. We know he prefers living underwater, eats raw meat/flesh, has tough lizard-like skin, and enjoys watching BET, but that’s really all the backstory that the DC Extended Universe provides for the anti-hero. As such, we hope that he will wind up getting more opportunities to shine in Suicide Squad 2 — should he return.

From an effects standpoint it was very cool to see a strange comic book character like Killer Croc come to life in Suicide Squad, but it also wasn’t hard to be disappointed by the lack of characterization he was provided. He has a very long history in DC Comics, primarily going up against Batman under the streets of Gotham City, and, hopefully, if James Gunn decides to use him he can figure out a proper way to utilize Croc beyond “he can swim really well.”

Captain Boomerang

While both Deadshot and Killer Croc walked away from their first Suicide Squad mission with a few perks, Jai Courtney’s Captain Boomerang really got screwed. Thanks to his perpetual escape attempts, the Australian thief doesn’t get a TV in his room or even an espresso machine — but instead is rewarded with what looks like a permanent stay in solitary confinement where he is monitored constantly by an armed guard. Basically, Karma is a bitch.

Captain Boomerang has long been a mainstay in Suicide Squad comics, and considering he was one of the actual highlights of the first movie, one would like to assume that we will see him return in Suicide Squad 2, but there are no guarantees right now. Another thing don’t know is, if he does show up, what kind of shape will he be in? When we first met him he was constantly cracking jokes and being generally offensive, but maybe time in his tiny, tiny cell will help adjust his attitude a bit.

Katana

Provided that she actually comes back, Katana would need some serious redemption in the storyline of Suicide Squad 2. While Karen Fukuhara certainly looked badass in the role, she was given nothing to do in the first movie other than swing her special sword and be the target of other character’s exposition, and it’s hard to even recall if she had any lines. The character’s legacy from DC Comics deserves much more than that, and we’ll see if the sequel actually delivers.

In the DC Extended Universe, Katana isn’t a rehabilitating prisoner, but instead is an associate of Rick Flag’s who was apparently asked to be a part of the first Suicide Squad mission. Given the flimsiness of that set-up, properly fitting her into The Suicide Squad might actually be a tricky endeavor for Gunn, but it’s not an impossible job. That being said, she could ultimately be left out of the sequel entirely.

Rick Flag

Last time around, Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman) was supposed to be the true leader of the Suicide Squad — the moral soldier who could control the supervillains — but that didn’t exactly work out as planned. Instead, the guy pretty much screwed up his entire job by getting super emotional about Dr. June Moone (Cara Delevingne), and letting the Enchantress go wild. As far as overall job performance goes, the guy basically got a “D-” … which is why we’re not entirely sure if he’ll be coming back as part of the Suicide Squad 2 ensemble.

Being a team that is technically representative of the government, the Suicide Squad makes a bit more sense as a unit when it’s led by someone who isn’t criminally insane, but that job doesn’t have to belong to Rick Flag — and in the world of the DC Extended Universe it would probably make sense if it doesn’t going forward. Even if the character doesn’t come back with a key role to play, however, we can at least hope that The Suicide Squad gives us an idea of what happened to him. Joel Kinnaman seems confident that the project will find a role for him to play, so we’ll have to wait and see how it all shakes out.

Amanda Waller

Amanda Waller is one of the toughest tough cookies in all of DC Comics lore, and that definitely came across in Viola Davis’ first Suicide Squad performance. The woman not only has an extremely clear idea of what she wants in this life, but is also willing to go to some pretty extreme personal lengths in order to get the job done. Most importantly, though, she rules the titular team with an iron thumb, and it’s why we definitely expect her to be back in action in Suicide Squad 2.

Admittedly things didn’t exactly go as planned the first time that Amanda Waller worked to assemble a team of supervillains, but if there’s anyone out there who can convince her higher ups of giving her another shot, it’s Waller. One can assume she will once again be put in the position of not only assembling the eponymous unit in The Suicide Squad, but will also be the one to assign them whatever mission they need to accomplish.

Be sure to keep checking back with this guide to get updated information on The Suicide Squad prior to its release. In the meantime, you can check out a wide array of our What We Know So Far Guides right here!

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Anne Hathaway Says Her Les Miserables Weight Loss Made Her Sick

Anne Hathaway’s heart-wrenching rendition of Fantine in Les Misérables in 2012 may have earned her an Oscar win, but it was not without sacrifice on her part. The actress recently reflected back her 25-pound weight drop to play the French seamstress turned desperate prostitute, and how it negatively affected her health. In her words:

Looks like Anne Hathaway’s behind-the-scenes prep for the big screen musical was no glitzier than her somber role. Her intense transformation certainly added to the believability to Fantine’s incredibly difficult life as a French woman who is abandoned by the man who impregnates her, forcing her to sell her hair, teeth and body to support her daughter, Cosette. But the toll it took on her physical and mental health ended up to be more taxing than she probably expected.

When Anne Hathaway opened up about her role in Les Misérables during an interview with PEOPLE’s Editor-in-chief Jess Cagle (via Entertainment Weekly), she also spoke about how this took some joy away from her Oscar win in 2013. The actress said she was still coming back from the intense weight loss when she appeared on the award show, along with dealing with a bit of an identity crisis following her recent 30th birthday and marriage to her current husband.

She explained that sometimes the most positive accomplishments can create emotional upheavals, which she felt on Oscar night. Anne Hathaway told Jess Cagle that at the time she was on display for the world, as she won her Best Supporting Actress gold trophy, she didn’t know who she was and felt uncomfortable on that stage and in her win.

The actress joined the likes of Christian Bale, Jake Gyllenhaal, Natalie Portman, Chris Hemsworth and her Serenity co-star Matthew McConaughey, who have each lost an incredible amount of weight to fill a role. Luckily for Hathaway, her hard work didn’t go unnoticed and she will go down in history as an Oscar winner and Les Misérables’ Fantine.

After working with one another in 2014’s Interstellar, Hathaway and McConaughey have returned to the big screen in crazy thriller Serenity, which is in theaters now. The actress will also star alongside Rebel Wilson in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels remake The Hustle in May and crime drama The Last Thing He Wanted with Ben Affleck and Willem Dafoe later this year.

PETA Wants Toy Story 4 To Abandon Bo Peep’s Accessory

Disney has always known how to tug at the heart strings of its fans, and the Toy Story franchise has certainly been no exception. Toy Story 3 was a devastating emotional journey, as the group of toys nearly perished, before being passed on to a new kid. That threequel was originally set to be the final installment for the property, but Toy Story 4 will arrive in June.

Information about Toy Story 4 has been slowly trickling out, with the latest update revealing that Annie Potts’ Bo Peep would be returning, and rocking a brand new look. The generations of fans are eager to catch up with Bo after her she was written out of Toy Story 3, but PETA is taking umbrage with the character. More specifically, the group is urging Toy Story 4 to ditch Bo Peep’s signature crook from the film.

PETA just sent the request to the folks working on Toy Story 4, hoping that the tool used to gather sheep would end up cut. The advocacy group finds the use of crooks cruel, and therefore hopes the imagery won’t make it into the upcoming sequel. Peta wrote a letter to Toy Story 4 director Josh Cooley, with it’s call to remove the crook reading:

Not much is known about Bo Peep in Toy Story 4, considering her long break from the public eye. The first glance simply revealed the character’s new costume, and the return of her teal colored crook. While this will likely be her main weapon and tool for surviving in the world, PETA is hoping that it would be removed, due to the message it sends to audiences.

While Toy Story 4 isn’t working with any actual animals due to being completely animated, The House of Mouse likely thought it was free from any PETA-related concerns. But the group is just as worried about imagery in the media as advocating for actual animals, which is why the letter to Toy Story 4 director Josh Cooley was made public. At the time of writing, Cooley and Disney haven’t responded to the calls against Bo Peep’s crook.

Timing wise, it may be too late for take the crook out of Toy Story 4. Since the animated blockbuster is only a few months away, the animation may be at least partly completed. And if Bo Peep was planned to use her accessory heavily in the film, there just might not be a way to write it out at this point.

Toy Story 4 will arrive in theaters on June 21st, 2019. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

Thanks To Spider-Man And Venom, Sony Had A Great End Of Year At The Movies

Last year was perhaps the biggest year yet for superhero movies, with titles from Fox, Disney, Warner Bros. and Sony all dropping and making a huge splash at the box office. Perhaps the most surprising and impressive performance came from Sony. Thanks to the one-two punch of Venom and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, the studio had an especially great end of the year at the movies, with revenue up 76%.

For the third-quarter of the fiscal year, which ended on December 31, 2018, Sony Pictures Entertainment reported theatrical revenue of $532 million, according to Media Play News. That’s up 76% from the $302 million in revenue Sony pulled in theatrically during Q3 of 2017. The film unit also increased its operating income from $93 million in Q3 2017 to $102 million last year.

The overall revenue for the October-December quarter at Sony’s film division, which includes motion pictures as well as TV productions, licensing and media networks, jumped over $2.45 billion, up from 2017’s $2.3 billion.

In Q3 of 2017, Blade Runner 2049 and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle drove the revenue for Sony Pictures theatrically, with $163 million and $329 million, respectively. In 2018, Sony had the Web-Slingers to thank for the studio’s increased success.

Venom broke records on the way to an $855 million worldwide box office, helped along the way by a phenomenal performance in China that pushed Sony’s international box office to over $2 billion for the year. Venom didn’t do all the work though, because the acclaimed Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse racked up $255 million.

Thanks to the Marvel characters, Sony Pictures had a great third-quarter that showed growth over the year before. Beyond that though, it also set Sony up for success moving forward and made it quite clear that the Spider-Man characters should be an integral part of the studio’s box office strategy. After the success of Venom, Sony inked a multi-picture deal with IMAX that will ensure the studio’s major 2019 releases play in the pricier large-screen format.

Venom’s performance also validated Sony’s desire to create a shared cinematic universe around the character. Morbius probably won’t be the next Venom, and the only real guaranteed success is likely Venom 2, but Ruben Fleischer’s film’s incredible box office puts Sony in a much better place than it was after The Amazing Spider-Man 2.

While Venom was the all-star for Sony, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse did its part as well. The film is still continuing to bring in audiences and is now over $340 million worldwide, according to Box Office Mojo, with a March release in Japan, before Sony’s fiscal year is over, still to come. It is also the deserving favorite to collect the Oscar for Best Animated Film at this month’s Oscars and now has a spinoff and sequel in the works.

All in all, Venom and Spider-Man helped Sony to a great end of the year at the movies, but their success could also portend more great years to come.

Check out our 2019 release schedule to see all the biggest movies to come this year (including more Spider-Man!), and stay tuned to CinemaBlend for all your movie news.

Why It’s A Good Thing DC Isn’t Focused On A Shared Universe Anymore

Back in 2011, one year prior to the final film in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, Warner Bros. released Green Lantern. That film was intended to launch a DC cinematic universe akin to what Marvel was doing with its MCU. That failed, forcing Warner Bros. to start over and try again with 2013’s Man of Steel. That was the beginning of the DCEU, a shared cinematic universe of DC’s comic book characters.

Needless to say that the DCEU has proven more successful than Warner Bros’ first shared universe attempt, but not to the degree that many might have expected or hoped for. Now, six years later with six films (soon to be seven) out, DC seems to be moving away from the Marvel model. Warner Bros. Pictures Group Chairman Toby Emmerich recently said that DC is now playing by its own playbook and is less focused on a shared universe.

This is obviously a huge shift from a company that jumped to a team-up film prior to launching all of the starring characters in their own solo movies. We also don’t know yet what this less emphasis on a shared universe means. Will these characters just exist in their own pocket universes now with their own franchises (a Gotham shared universe, for instance) or is there still the possibility that there will be more interconnectivity and team-ups down the line? We’re left to wait and speculate for now, but at the moment this seems like the right move. Here’s why.

The Shared Universe Isn’t Working

While many might disagree, this isn’t really a matter of opinion. If everything were going great, DC wouldn’t have had to make so many course corrections over these past few years to the point that the focus is no longer on a shared universe.

Last year, we heard that Henry Cavill had exited his role as Superman, the leader of the Justice League and the face of the DCEU. Coupled with the suspicion that Ben Affleck would no longer be Batman, that meant that the DCEU as we briefly knew it was essentially done. While Henry Cavill’s status is still unconfirmed, we now know for sure that Ben Affleck will not be reprising his role as Batman in Matt Reeves’ 2021 film. This breaks the DCEU.

The only way to forge ahead with a shared cinematic universe is to recast the roles or reboot entirely, losing Gal Gadot and Jason Momoa in the process. That’s an untenable position. But it doesn’t matter if the focus is no longer on a shared universe. We don’t have to worry about Gal Gadot acting opposite a new actor portraying Bruce Wayne if these films will no longer have that level of interconnectivity. The shared universe wasn’t working; it’s time to try something else.

The Solo Films Are Succeeding

While the ‘shared’ part of Warner Bros.’ DCEU isn’t working so well, the solo films have actually been huge successes. It’s almost like WB should have led with them. The three solo DCEU films, Man of Steel, Wonder Woman and Aquaman, are also the three best-reviewed DCEU films, according to Rotten Tomatoes.

Not only are the solo films well reviewed, they are succeeding financially too, whereas the DCEU team-up movies have largely been an either/or proposition. Wonder Woman is the most successful DCEU movie at the box office domestically and Aquaman is the worldwide box office champ for DC movies period, even eclipsing The Dark Knight Rises.

These characters, when given the opportunity to really shine on their own in solo films, are working and connecting with people. As a character, Aquaman used to be a punchline, but upon being given a chance to spread his fins under the care of a filmmaker allowed to execute vision, he’s become an unqualified success. The solo films are what is working in the DCEU, and less of a focus on interconnectivity allows for more films like that and, ideally, similar success.

Different Expectations & Fewer Comparisons

Ever since Marvel popularized the model, seemingly every studio has been searching for its own shared cinematic universe. While the financial benefits of that model are the incentive, it also carries with it the burden of great expectations and the unflattering exercise of comparison.

Every misstep of the DCEU, financially, critically or both, has raised alarm bells about the future of the rest of the universe. For the entire time the DCEU has existed, it’s been compared to the MCU, which is entirely fair because Warner Bros. was trying to duplicate that universe’s success. By not focusing and emphasizing the shared nature of this cinematic universe, the expectations are different and there are fewer unflattering comparisons.

Any movies that disappoint won’t weigh down excitement for movies that come after. Superman Returns didn’t make anyone less excited for The Dark Knight. By not focusing on a cinematic universe, each new DC film can stand on its own and be judged on its own merits. Moreover, there will not be the need or expectation for each film to build connective tissue towards spinoffs and team-up movies at the cost of the film itself. That should result in better movies.

It’s Worked Before

The struggles of the DCEU have made DC movies look like they were getting lapped by Marvel, but that wasn’t always the case. The Christopher Reeve Superman movies were succeeding for DC back in the late ’70s and ’80s, and when 1989’s Batman was taking the world by storm, Marvel was releasing direct-to-video movies like The Punisher and Captain America. DC’s characters have succeeded long before ‘cinematic universe’ was part of the lexicon.

Granted, DC’s successes came from Superman and Batman, but that’s to be expected. Those two are heavy hitters could each support their own franchise, series of films or a smaller cinematic universe. We are also now in a time where audiences have a more refined superhero palette and are more adventurous in the characters they will accept, so Batman and Superman aren’t DC’s only keys to success.

To that end, while it’s true that both Wonder Woman and Aquaman were introduced in team-up films, their DCEU solo movies largely stood on their own, even contradicting the other in-universe films in some instances. The point is that a shared cinematic universe isn’t the only way for DC comic book movies to succeed.

Different Talent

Once upon a time, Joaquin Phoenix was reportedly in the running to play the Master of the Mystic Arts, Doctor Strange, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He ultimately turned down the role that eventually went to Benedict Cumberbatch. While we may never know the exact reason, perhaps Joaquin Phoenix did not want to commit to the amount of films that a main role in the MCU requires. These are multi-picture deals that take up years of an actor’s life, and not everyone wants to do that.

Sure, the MCU has no problem getting major, esteemed talent in to its movies, but it is entirely possible that there are other actors forgoing such opportunities because of the commitment these roles require. Now Joaquin Phoenix will join the comic book movie world in Todd Phillips’ Joker, which we presume is a one-off film.

These kinds of projects that attract this kind of talent are possible when the focus isn’t entirely on building a shared universe. I wouldn’t expect Daniel Day-Lewis to come out of retirement to play Lobo in a standalone movie or anything, but maybe a reduced focus on a shared universe will allow more fun things like Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker.

Filmmakers Can Realize Their Vision

There’s a reason that people will be shouting into the void for the Snyder Cut of Justice League forever; it’s because Zack Snyder had a vision for the film and that vision never made its way to the screen. Due to his own family tragedy and the critical failures of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Zack Snyder was excised out of the cinematic universe he started.

That’s because Zack Snyder’s vision wasn’t working and it wasn’t just his own film that was at stake, but an entire cinematic universe. Without the burden of propping up a whole shared universe, maybe Zack Snyder could have completed a standalone trilogy of films that fully expressed his vision, and that could be the benefit of DC films that aren’t focused on universe-building.

Toby Emmerich has said that it is about the directors and WB is going to take things one movie at a time. That should allow filmmakers to really put their vision onscreen, unencumbered by the need for their film to match those that came before and will come after. Wildly different tones and visual styles can be played with when everything doesn’t have to fit together.

More Flexibility Story-Wise

It sounded weird when Todd Phillips’ Joker was coming together. It’s a movie that exists outside of the DCEU and features a Joker that is not Jared Leto’s. But the project is endlessly intriguing in part because it doesn’t exist in the DCEU. The film’s very existence and the story within the film will be testament to the flexibility that comes from a movie that doesn’t have to adhere to the rules and canon of an established universe.

There are endless opportunities with comic book movies, and more of those opportunities can be exercised when there isn’t a focus on a cinematic universe. This should theoretically allow Warner Bros. to take more chances and try weirder stuff and experiment a bit, like doing Elseworlds stories.

When you combine the flexibility that comes with movies not bound to a cinematic universe with the freedom for filmmakers to put an auteurist vision onscreen, you could get some interesting stuff. Give me a 3+ hour highly stylized version of Kingdom Come or Superman: Red Son. Reducing the focus on a cinematic universe and making movies like Joker in theory allows DC to take these kind of exciting risks.

It’s odd to argue for a less shared and interconnected universe in the DC realm when I deeply want the X-Men in the MCU, but that’s what makes sense for the DC films as they are presently constituted. If Warner Bros. was scrapping everything and starting over from scratch, the answer would be different. So while many (including myself) may lament the opportunity for more Super Friends-type action, less focus on a shared universe and more on individual films and characters seems like the best play for Warner Bros. and DC.

Is It A Smart Move For DC To Focus Less On A Shared Universe?

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