Kevin Smith Starts Production On Jay And Silent Bob Reboot One Year After Near Fatal Heart Attack

One year ago yesterday, writer and director Kevin Smith very nearly died. He had a heart attack while performing a pair of live shows in Southern California. Luckily, Smith survived the event, but at the time it was far from clear what the future would hold for him. One year later, Smith celebrated not being dead by starting production on the long anticipated Jay and Silent Bob Reboot. Smith took to Instagram to reflect on how far things have come…

Kevin Smith says they specifically picked February 25 as the start date for the new film as a nod to the event that took place 12 months earlier. If things had gone slightly differently on that day, if Smith and the people around him hadn’t realized there was something wrong in between stand up sets, then he might not have been there to make the new film.

Jay and Silent Bob Reboot will see the titular characters returning to Hollywood after learning that the comic book characters they inspired, Bluntman and Chronic, who got their own movie adaptation in 2001’s Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, are, like every other popular property in reality, getting rebooted. The pair tried to stop the movie being made the first time around, or at least get paid for it, and it sounds like they’ll be back at it in the sequel.

Kevin Smith shares his return with his perpetual partner in crime Jason Mewes, who plays Jay, and Jason Lee. According to Smith here, Lee is portraying his Mallrats character Brodie Bruce in the scene they shot on the first day, not to be confused with Banky Edwards, Lee’s character from another Kevin Smith film, Chasing Amy. The Jay and Silent Bob “cinematic universe” is a somewhat confusing place, as all the films Smith made between Clerks and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back take place within the same continuity, but Smith tended to use an ensemble cast, so the same actors tend to play multiple roles within that universe.

Smith has been openly working on the Jay and Silent Bob Reboot for a couple of years, so this is literally a movie that would have never happened if Smith hadn’t survived one year ago.

Smith calls the experience of being back with his old friends ‘heavenly” and 24 years after Mallrats being able to go back and do it all again certainly sounds like fun. For the generation that was of a certain age that followed the career and films of Smith, the nostalgia of returning to that world as a fan is probably equally exciting.

With cameras now rolling we can expect Jay and Silent Bob Reboot to probably hit screens within the next 12 months. No release date has been set, but February 25th (or the 21st or 28th since they’re actually Fridays) wouldn’t be the worst choice, it would make the two-year anniversary of Smith’s brush with death that much more important.

Finding Steve McQueen Trailer Is Quirky And Wild

Steve McQueen is a Hollywood legend and a pop culture icon. An enduring symbol of coolness, he became the biggest movie star in the world, starring in films such as Bullitt, The Great Escape and The Getaway. Finding Steve McQueen is not about the late actor, but you take one of his crime thrillers or heist films and add in a double serving of quirky and wild, and you come close to what this movie appears to be. Check it out:

With the combination of the romance element, the heist and the ‘cat and mouse’ game with law enforcement, I imagine the elevator pitch for this film could be True Romance meets Ocean’s Eleven meets Catch Me If You Can. Finding Steve McQueen looks like a positively weird and wild ride.

It’s always fun when you’re watching a trailer that feels absurd and is populated with ridiculous characters only to find out that this isn’t entirely the product of a deranged mind, but actually has some basis in fact. Such is the case with this trailer, because the film is based on the 1972 United California Bank Robbery, which is one of the largest bank robberies in U.S. history.

That knowledge adds a delightful level of incredulity to this trailer that is full of quirky characters in a stranger than fiction-type tale. The film seems to focus on Harry Barber, the heist’s getaway driver who escaped and eluded capture by law enforcement for some time. In Finding Steve McQueen he fancies himself a real life version of the kinds of characters Steve McQueen played on film.

Travis Fimmel looks positively hilarious in the role too, as someone smiling and bumbling his way through things. As we saw with his role as Ragnar Lothbrok on Vikings, he can really nail the trickster with a twinkle in his eye-type character. Although Travis Fimmel’s Harry Barber appears to have a bit less self-assurance than Ragnar Lothbrok.

For any heist film to be successful, you need to have a great cast of characters, and Finding Steve McQueen on paper looks promising in that regard. Alongside Travis Fimmel is Jessica Jones’s Rachael Taylor, the great Forest Whitaker and the under-appreciated William Fichtner, among others. It’s a great cast playing a wide range of eccentric characters, from the capable and serious to the inept and amusing.

The trailer is a sign that this heist film could be an entertaining romp so hopefully it can live up to the strength of its cast and the incredible true story upon which it is based.

Finding Steve McQueen comes from director Mark Steven Johnson, whose previous work includes the superhero flicks Daredevil and Ghost Rider. Finding Steve McQueen opens on March 15. Check out our release schedule to keep track of all the biggest movies heading to theaters this year.

Michael B. Jordan’s Superman Movie Idea Could Actually Be A Cool DC Project

It’s a weird time for Superman on film right now. Following his resurrection in Justice League, there are no plans to bring the Man of Steel back to the DC Extended Universe anytime soon, and last year it was reported that Henry Cavill was leaving the role behind. Warner Bros has stayed cagey about what’s in store for Superman, and shortly after this Cavill rumor broke, it was also said that Michael B. Jordan was being looked at to fill the Kryptonian hero’s shoes. Cut to earlier this month, Jordan said that if he were to play Superman, he would rather be the Calvin Ellis version rather than Clark Kent. That could actually make for an interesting project, because not only would make for a much different kind of Superman movie than we’re used to seeing, but there’s already a precedent for delivering an Elseworlds-like story to moviegoers.

Before going further, for those of you who don’t know who Calvin Ellis is, he is the Superman of Earth-23, one of the many alternate realities that populate the DC Comics multiverse. Created by writer Grant Morrison and artist Doug Mahnke, the first chunk of Calvin’s life basically plays out the same way as Clark Kent’s. Born Kalel on the planet Krypton, he was sent to Earth by his parents as an infant before his homeworld exploded. Kalel was found by the Ellis couple and named Calvin. Just like Clark Kent, he gains incredible powers from Earth’s yellow sun and was raised to use these powers to protect the innocent both on our world and around the universe. But the main thing that separates Calvin Ellis from Clark Kent is as an adult, Calvin is also the president of the United States. So along with helping people as a superhero, Calvin also works on the political front to do that, using a reprogrammed Brainiac to cover for him when he has to put on the cape.

Thus far, Calvin Ellis has appeared in comic books stories like Final Crisis and The Multiversity, but he has yet to lead his own series. Nevertheless, there’s enough interesting material available to build the skeleton of a cinematic story, allowing for a screenwriter and filmmaker to then come in and leave their own creative stamps. The result: a standalone Superman movie quite different than what we’ve gotten the last six times, plus Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League.

As great as it would be to see Henry Cavill return for Man of Steel 2, we have no idea when, or even if, that will happen. In the meantime, Michael B. Jordan, who’s already a huge star thanks to the Creed movies, Fruitvale Station, Black Panther and more, has a first-look deal with Warner Bros, which will see him starring in features like Just Mercy. Clearly he has a good relationship with the studio, so Warner Bros would have an easier time signing him onto such a major blockbuster (when he’s not busy playing John Clark at Paramount). After all, Jordan has plenty of experience in the comic book realm and has clearly proven he can lead a franchise. Being the Calvin Ellis Superman could be his most impactful genre role yet.

Plus, as I mentioned earlier, Warner Bros has already expressed an interest in making ‘outside the box’ DC movies. Look at the upcoming Joker starring Joaquin Phoenix. Not only is it set outside of the DC Extended Universe (hence why we’re not seeing Jared Leto playing the Clown Prince of Crime), but it’s also clearly quite comfortable with not following the established source material closely. Rather than transforming into The Joker during a confrontation with Batman, Phoenix’s Arthur Fleck will adopt his sinister clown persona in 1981, when Bruce Wayne is still a boy and both his parents are still alive. Behind the scenes, Joker reportedly had a budget of around $55 million, as this movie is intended to be more of a character study rather than a major spectacle like what we normally get from comic book movies. Director Todd Phillips and writer Scott Silver, while taking some cues from the comics, are telling a Joker story that is free from the need to stay faithful to traditional depictions.

This is the same approach a Calvin Ellis Superman movie would take, although obviously the budget would need to be bigger than $55 million. Instead of exploring the story of Clark Kent fighting crime, reporting for The Daily Planet and building a relationship with Lois Lane that we’ve seen numerous times already, Michael B. Jordan’s Superman movie would show Calvin Ellis balancing his superhero duties with his responsibilities as U.S. President. Even with his powers and an alien A.I. helping him out, it’s safe to say that’s stressful, and who knows if Calvin even has time to have a social life on the side. Maybe Calvin also struggles with what job of his does the more good, and if dedicating too much time doing one of them hampers the effectiveness of the other. That’s an incredibly compelling narrative to delve into.

And just because this would be a Superman movie doesn’t mean other superheroes couldn’t appear. Earth-23 has its own Justice League, so why not bring them into the fold as well? It’s extremely unlikely that an entire Earth-23 franchise would ever be made, so while Superman would be the star of the show, it would be great to see him fighting alongside his frequent allies, many of whom are black versions of traditionally white DC heroes.

For right now, Calvin Ellis making his big screen debut is just an idea that Michael B. Jordan thought up, but it’s an idea that DC and Warner Bros should seriously considering hashing out. Just like Joker and a Batman Beyond movie, a Earth-23 Superman movie would be a good way to give audiences a different kind of superhero movie that doesn’t interfere with what’s happening in the DCEU. Michael B. Jordan and Superman can both bring in the big bucks individually, so even though such a Superman movie would be quite different from what we’ve gotten before, that’s also the key to making it unique. If there’s one thing that moviegoers crave, it’s stories they’ve never seen before told well. And explosions. Those don’t hurt either.

Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for all the latest updates concerning Superman on film, whether it’s Clark Kent, Calvin Ellis or one of the many other heroes in the DC multiverse wearing the ’S’ shield. For now, you can see what’s coming down the DCEU pipeline by browsing through our handy guide.

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Walt Disney World’s Hollywood Studios Has One Big Problem Galaxy’s Edge Won’t Fix

Disney’s Hollywood Studios is a theme park that has had difficulty finding its grove pretty much since day one. Originally designed as a working movie studio with a backlot tour and other attractions about movie making, the park has since evolved into a more traditional Disney theme park focusing on more traditional attractions. In recent years, that has meant adding in major Disney IP such as the recently opened Toy Story Land and the upcoming Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. While these new lands may help draw in more excited guests than the park usually sees, they don’t fix the park’s biggest issue, because Hollywood Studios is only getting more interesting if you’re a guest of a certain size.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios, originally Disney/MGM Studios, was Walt Disney World‘s third gate. While then-CEO Michael Eisner always denied it, many believe the park was rushed into construction to beat Universal Orlando to the punch, as it was also working on its own Orlando theme park that would be largely modeled after Universal Studios Hollywood.

Only one attraction that was around on opening day, the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular, which is still in operation now, and nearly the entire park has been rethought and redesigned since then. Changing what already existed only got them so far, and so of the three newest lands built from scratch at Walt Disney World, two have been built at Hollywood Studios. The biggest expansion in the history of the resort, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, will be opening this fall with two E-ticket attractions.

This expansion is desperately needed, Attendance at Disney’s Hollywood Studios has never been great compared to the other three parks, and that means overcrowding is more likely elsewhere. An even balance of guests at all four locations is the optimum set up, and Galaxy’s Edge will certainly help that. If anything, it may skew crowds toward Hollywood Studios too much.

Recently, WDWNT reported that one of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge’s two new attractions, Rise of the Resistance, will have a height requirement of 40,” meaning anybody shorter than that will not be able to ride it. While no height requirement has yet been revealed for the other attraction in the new land, Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run, odds are it will have a similar requirement if not a larger one. In addition to the motion simulator movement the attraction will include, it will also require guests to use a control console, which means you’ll have to be tall enough to reach the buttons and switches.

That means that of the four newest attractions from the two brand new lands that will be in Disney’s Hollywood Studios when Galaxy’s Edge opens, all four of them will have some sort of height requirement keeping small riders away.

Now a 40″ height requirement isn’t necessarily all that great a barrier. We’re talking about four and five-year-old kids who will still be able to experience Rise of the Resistance. I’m talking about those kids even younger than that and the parents that go to the park with them.

Only one current ride, the Alien Swirling Saucers, really works for the youngest kids. That attraction still has a 32″ height requirement, though that means that most children around two or even younger will still be able to ride. Toy Story Mania technically has no height requirement, though that feels like a cheat. Since the ride requires wearing 3D glasses and properly using a pull string pop-gun device, many small children who might technically be able to ride it won’t actually be able to enjoy it.

Hollywood Studios already doesn’t have nearly as many rides as the other Disney theme parks, though it tries to make up for that with an increased number of shows. The problem is, getting a two or three-year-old to sit still for a 20-minute show isn’t necessarily all that easy. When you then remove all the rides those kids are too small to go on, there just isn’t that much left for them to do.

Disney has been making efforts to draw in more adults and older kids for years. Even just a couple of decades ago, only families with children really visited the theme parks and a lot has been done to change that, but it now feels like we’ve seen a significant over-correction. Nearly everything seems to be geared toward the older set, and the smallest children, the ones who will eventually grow up to be those older kids, are being left out.

While this is an issue at pretty much every Disney theme park, it’s particularly bad at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Epcot has a number of boat rides, including Frozen Ever After, that can be enjoyed by anybody. While Disney’s Animal Kingdom is also lacking rides, it does have the Kilimanjaro Safari and the Na’vi River Journey. When those rides are over, there is plenty for kids to still see as families wander the park and check out all the animal enclosures on display. Magic Kingdom, of course, has Fantasyland, which is largely full of simple dark rides, but you can also take any kid on Pirates of the Caribbean or the Peoplemover.

There is some hope at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, a new attraction replacing The Great Movie Ride is currently under construction and likely will be the sort of thing mom and dad can ride with all the kids.

Rides for little kids aren’t sexy, and the announcement of a whole new attraction designed for two and three-year-olds to enjoy isn’t going to set a lot of people on fire. Still, Disney theme parks are supposed to be for everybody, and that includes the little ones as well. I would love to see the time and effort (and money) spent to make some of these more recent Disney attractions get spent on something that the whole family can enjoy, not simply a re-skinning of Maelstrom into a Frozen themed attraction.

Of course, two-year-olds don’t even pay for theme park admission, but if you make something for them, you’ll get their parents and potentially siblings too, so there’s certainly money to be made.

The more that Disney’s Hollywood Studios becomes a more traditional theme park, the more it needs to have the things that traditional theme parks have, and that includes attractions for even the youngest guests.

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How Kevin Hart Spent His Oscars After Stepping Down As Host

Last night’s Oscars ceremony came and went without a host, and for the most part it went off so smoothly, you would think that going hostless was the plan all along. That isn’t the case though, because comedian and actor Kevin Hart was briefly attached to host before dropping out due to a backlash over his old tweets. With his Oscars night freed up, the star was able to enjoy a quiet evening with family.

While all of Hollywood was a hustle and bustle at the Academy Awards, ET notes that Kevin Hart appeared to be spending time with his one-year-old son Kenzo and the family dog based on posts to his Instagram story. The actor wasn’t at the ceremony he almost hosted and he didn’t appear to have much interest in watching it either.

It wasn’t all quiet lounging though for Kevin Hart on Oscar night; the comedian also got a workout and possibly a little stress relief in. He can be seen on his Instagram hitting a heavy bag with boxing gloves under the tutelage of his trainer Hino Ehikhamenor. He captioned the post with an inspiring quote that you could probably read into if you want. He said:

If he did feel not hosting the Oscars was a setback, this sentiment makes it clear that he is going to still keep working as hard as he can to continue his success and bounce back from this public controversy. If he felt a pang of frustration on Oscars night at how things went down, you can certainly understand how hitting something could help.

Ignoring the fact that this post came on Oscars night, it is a great mindset and message for Kevin Hart to put out there. It’s clearly something he lives by too, because given the amount of projects he finds himself in, his work ethic is pretty unassailable.

Although Oscars Host won’t be part of his 2019, Kevin Hart still has plenty on his plate this year. He already appeared in January’s The Upside opposite Bryan Cranston and he returns as Snowball in The Secret Life of Pets 2 this summer. Kevin Hart will also be on hand for all the jungle shenanigans in the sequel to the wildly successful Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle this December.

And as far as the Oscars were concerned, while the road to get there was less than ideal and I imagine Kevin Hart would have been a riot, the end result actually turned out pretty well. Ratings appear to have gone up and there is an argument that the ceremony actually worked better without a host, it was certainly quicker.

Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for all the Academy Awards fallout and check out our 2019 release schedule to keep track of the biggest movies coming this year.

When Marvel’s Eternals Movie Could Be Set, According To Kevin Feige

We’ve known for a while that the cosmic corners of the Marvel Cinematic Universe will be explored more going forward, and one of the ways this will be accomplished is through The Eternals. Like most of the Phase 4 slate that’s been announced so far, we don’t know much about what the MCU has in store for these characters, but according to Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige, The Eternals could differentiate itself by the other Marvel movies by unfolding across thousands of years. After noting how Marvel plans on introducing more characters the general public isn’t familiar with, such as the Guardians of the Galaxy and many of the Avengers once were, Feige said:

We’ve seen flashbacks in previous Marvel movies that have been thousands of years before the present day narrative, but the prospect of having The Eternals’ main story stretching over tens of thousands of years is intriguing. This is one of the superhero properties that it’s possible to take such a creative approach with, as the Eternals, while not full-on gods and immortal, are incredibly powerful and have lived for millions of years. To them, a couple thousand years passing probably just feels like a year or two passing for us. In any case, while Feige didn’t confirm that The Eternals will indeed stretch over tens of thousands of years like in the comics, his comment to Collider indicates it’s on the proverbial table.

Assuming that The Eternals does end up stretching across millennia and that it won’t be set in the future, then that means the movie would be looking to the past, long before any of the current Marvel heroes were around. Even Thor, the oldest of the Avengers, is only a little over a thousand years old, but I digress. For those who don’t know about the Eternals, in the comics, when the entities known as The Celestials visited Earth millions of years ago and experimented on porto-humanity, two divergent races were created: the Eternals and the Deviants. Using their incredible powers, the Eternals have protected humanity from the Deviants and other threats, but there are also very few of them due to low birth rates.

Setting The Eternals across thousands of years in the past would definitely help with not needing to connect to any of the other Marvel movies, though it would still be great if there were a few teases/Easter eggs sprinkled in to elements we knows or have hard about. Let’s also not forget that we’ve already met an Eternal in the MCU: Thanos. It remains to be seen if the Mad Titans will die or not during Avengers: Endgame, but either way, The Eternals would be a good way to shed light on his past and how he became the warmonger we know well. That said, I don’t imagine Thanos would be a major player in The Eternals since Kevin Feige and the Marvel braintrust are looking to spotlight more obscure characters.

Directed by Chloe Zhao, The Eternals doesn’t have an assigned release date yet, but filming is expected to begin later this year. Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for continuing coverage on its development, and in the meantime, look through our Marvel movies guide to learn what other projects are in development for Phase 4.

Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse Is Getting A Special Alt-Universe Cut

While there were definitely some controversial winners at last night’s Academy Awards, one victory went over as universally well as you can get. Audiences around the world celebrated as Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature, as many fans felt elated to see such a great movie earn such a well-earned trophy. The film is one that people will surely watch time and time again once its release on home video – but what you may not know is that the upcoming release will come will come with an extended version of the animated blockbuster.

Last week I attended a press day for the upcoming digital and physical media release of Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, and it was during a three-on-one interview with directors Rodney Rothman, Bob Persichetti, and Peter Ramsey that I got the skinny on the soon-to-be-released “extra” version of the hit movie. Getting into it, Rothman explained that’s it’s essentially an assembly cut of material that just never seemed to fit properly into the theatrical cut that folks know and love:

[Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse] had an unusual amount of material at every stage of production. So, an insane amount of storyboard material, like insane, like break your high end edit systems insane. An insane amount of layout, an insane amount of finished animation that didn’t make it into the movie… an unusual amount. So the Alt-Universe Cut contains a bunch of that stuff that we chose not to put in the movie, but that in an alternate universe easily could have ended up in the movie. So, uh, that’s kind of the premise behind it.

Being in production for far longer than your average live-action film, animated features tend to change a lot as they are being made, and it seems that Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse was an extreme version of that. As things continued to develop, good ideas were replaced by better ones, and while that meant putting some completed elements aside after many hours of work, each move was always made for the betterment for the finished product (which, again, just won an Academy Award).

Both Rodney Rothman and Bob Persichetti openly admitted that the Alt-Universe Cut isn’t on the same quality level as the theatrical version (otherwise it’s what they would have released) but there definitely is some great stuff that audiences will be excited to see. For example, it will have the brand new Spider-Ham short spliced in at the beginning, but Persichetti also noted that Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse at one point was going to be a bit closer to the comics and create a stronger bond between Miles Morales and his new roommate, Ganke Lee. As the co-director noted, however, that idea kind of went away when they got to see the development of a very similar relationship in Jon Watts’ Spider-Man: Homecoming – which beat it to theaters by about 18 months. Said Persichetti,

The alt version is more beholden to the idea that Miles and Ganke were buddies and roommates, and there’s a lot more of roommate stuff happening. And what we ended up running into was just to two things. It was just like, ‘Oh, wow. Homecoming, Ned – very similar to Ganke.’ Really. And then, ‘Well, maybe it’s actually better if Miles experiences these things without a really well-educated Sherpa holding his hand through all the powers coming on and everything, and it ended up helping us out for that place where Peter comes into the movie.

Sadly, the directors didn’t reveal who provides the voice of Ganke Lee in Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, but they heavily suggested that his material opposite Shameik Moore’s Miles Morales was so good that the story could have entirely been a buddy comedy with the two characters and zero web-slinging action:

Bob Persichetti: And I will say this, though, there was a version that’s not exactly the Alt-Universe version, but we had a version of the first act a long, long time ago with Ganke in it fully, and the relationship between those two guys was amazing.

Peter Ramsey: You could’ve watched a whole movie that never and had a Spider-Man.

Bob Persichetti: It would just been like no multiverse. That would have been a very different thing.

Peter Ramsey: They were very entertaining.

In the same way that it’s fun to peruse the deleted scenes from any movie and wonder how they would have fit into the cut you know, it will be a fun experience for fans to see a different version of Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse than the one familiar – even if its pacing is probably off and there are perhaps a few bits that don’t land quite right.

For the directors, though, that isn’t the entire point of the Alt-Universe Cut’s presence on the Blu-ray. In addition to squeezing in a few extra gags and laughs, they also want to have the opportunity to show fans how a movie like Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse comes together. There is a hope that audiences will be able to watch the material and see it through their eyes, understanding why it perhaps was best left for a special home video release instead of the big screen experience. Rodney Rothman explained,

One of the cool things about this movie, and especially since it’s been released, is that we do actually like to share a lot about the process of making it, and the different iterations we went through because so many people worked for so long in this movie, and we did really try a lot of different things. So that version of the movie is like a great window into how the movie evolved, and different things that we were working on. And for any filmmakers out there, anyone interested in our movie or movies generally it will be interesting. I know I love that stuff when I see it.

Following up, Bob Persichetti and Peter Ramsey added that there is one particular sequence that is incredibly beautiful, and was a part of the film forever, but just never found a place to properly fit in the finished version of Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse. For better or for worse is a decision that audiences will be able to make for themselves soon.

Bob Persichetti: You’re going to see, there’s one scene, the billboard scene, where it’s Miles and Peter talking, and it’s like 90% animated, and it’s beautiful animation.

Peter Ramsey: And that was probably in the movie for like two years, right?

Bob Persichetti: Totally, totally. And at the end it was like we have to cut it out. And we were all so in love with it. And we we’re just like, ‘The movie is better without it.’ And so I think everybody will get to see that, and they’ll get to understand sort of the weird process that we go through where we make movies as if it’s just a script. But we’re actually making it, and then we just throw the pages away, except there’s a little more than pages.

Spidey fans excited to leap back into the multiverse will have their opportunity to do so this week, as Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse comes out on digital tomorrow, February 26th, and those of you looking to pick up physical copies will find 4K, Blu-ray and DVD versions in stores on March 19th.

I would also add that you should do yourself a favor and listen to this week’s episode of our HeroBlend podcast this Friday, as it will feature my entire interview with Rodney Rothman, Bob Persichetti, and Peter Ramsey!

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How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World’s Opening Weekend Broke Records For The Franchise

Heading in to this past weekend, it was obvious that How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World was flying towards a solid opening and an easy first place finish at the box office. However, based on the tracking, it did seem like the threequel would fall short of the impressive marks set by its predecessors. And yet, like Toothless and Hiccup themselves, the film was underestimated because it wound up breaking records for the How to Train Your Dragon franchise.

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World soared above the competition in its domestic opening weekend. Dean DeBlois’ film opened to $55.5 million from 4,259 locations, according to Entertainment Weekly. That number was good enough to easily outdo the dragons of Berk’s previous efforts, besting How to Train Your Dragon’s $43.7 million and How to Train Your Dragon 2’s $49.5 million, and setting a new record for the franchise.

Based on the success of the first two films, we knew that How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World would do well, but indicators pointed to it failing to match the 2010 and 2014 film’s opening weekends. The tracking on The Hidden World had it coming in between $40 million and $45 million. On the higher end of that, it would have beat the original, but How to Train Your Dragon 2’s opening weekend seemed out of reach.

Not only did The Hidden World best that mark, it did so with over $5 million to spare, torching expectations with fire and well, no blood. It is PG after all. Trilogy-cappers don’t usually outperform the first two films in a series, much less to this degree, so this record-breaking performance is quite remarkable.

The film didn’t just do well for the How to Train Your Dragon franchise either; it also had the biggest opening of 2019 period, coming well ahead of Glass, which performed far below expectations. With The Hidden World being the final film in this franchise (at least for now), this is a heck of a way to go out on a high note.

Domestic audiences aren’t the only ones who have showed up in droves to say goodbye to Toothless and Hiccup. How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World has also killed it internationally and set records for the franchise in overseas territories as well. Paired with its domestic opening, The Hidden World now sits at $274.9 million worldwide. It’s not done either, with more markets opening in March, including China.

In addition to its box office performance, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World has also excelled on the critical front. The film continued the trend set by its predecessors, racking up critical acclaim and it has even garnered talk of being a possible Best Animated Film contender at next year’s Oscars. Audiences have loved it to, with The Hidden World earning an “A” CinemaScore.

Watch Ryan Reynolds Get Ultra Serious About Detective Pikachu Role In Bonkers New Video

One of the more bizarre films set to come to screens later this year is the live-action Pokemon movie Detective Pikachu. The movie looks to be quite ridiculous (but in a good way) based on the trailers, but in a new video Ryan Reynolds, who voices the title character, says he took the role very seriously, though as you’ll see, the somber tone is actually part of the joke. Check it out.

According to the video, Ryan Reynolds went full “method” for his performance as Detective Pikachu, doing everything he could to live as the character from the point he learned he had been cast as the lightning throwing Pokemon. Reynolds promises that the fans who expect a perfect and proper performance from him will get just that.

Of course, the entire thing is a joke published to Ryan Reynolds YouTube channel. The perfectly straight delivery in which he reveals that he left his kids stranded because Pikachu doesn’t have kids is awesome, though only because we know it’s not true. God, I hope it’s not true.

Although, it has to be said, the highlight of all this isn’t Ryan Reynolds, but his wife, Blake Lively, who occasionally chimes in during the video to throw shade at her husband. She chastises him for ditching their kids, gives him shit for just using his own natural voice to voice Pikachu, and promises that she and the kids will not be going to see this movie.

Nobody knew what to really expect when it was announced that the popular Pokemon franchise was getting a live-action movie in the form of Detective Pikachu. The fact that the character in question was being voiced by Ryan Reynolds made the entire thing that much stranger, as the actor is best known for comedy, especially now following the success of the two Deadpool movies.

Of course, what we got when we saw the new Detective Pikachu trailer was…pretty much exactly what you’d expect from the guy who plays Deadpool voicing a Pokemon. This film isn’t any less weird right now than it was when it was first announced. If anything, having seen it, it’s all that much weirder.

Along with this new video came news that a new trailer for Detective Pikachu will drop sometime tomorrow. We can be fairly certain that we’ll get more of the same from the last trailer. Of course, while there’s a comedic tone to the story, every indication is that, much like this video, a great deal of the comedy will come from the way the story is otherwise largely played straight.

This means that we’re still going to get some of the Pokemon fighting action that most fans are probably looking for from the film. The Pokemon themselves, it has to be said, look pretty impressive and realistic and should be entertaining to look at if nothing else.

Hopefully it was all worth it since Ryan Reynolds alienated his family to get here.

To 3D Or Not To 3D: Buy The Right How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World Ticket

3D SCORE: 33 /35

Almost 10 years have passed since How To Train Your Dragon flew into theaters, kicking off a beautiful franchise of spectacle and whimsy. And right from the beginning, it did so with the help of one of our favorite enhancements when it comes to the theatrical experience: the 3D conversion! As one of the early stand-outs in the realm of the third-dimensional enhancement, that first film set a tone for a series that’s always seemed to understand how to use 3D properly. So here we are, in 2019, with How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World asking us to take one last ride and ask that important question: to 3D, or not to 3D?

If you’re looking to see how How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World stacks up as a film, that can be found by reading our official review. But if you’re wondering whether the 3D content in said film soars high, or flies low and toothless, you’ve come to the right place. Prepare for tears and technical detail, as we’re about to dive into just what the final How To Train Your Dragon film does with its final 3D showdown.

3D Fit Score

5/5

How To Train Your Dragon is another franchise that was born into the 3D lifestyle, as it took off in the early salad days of the medium. So on that front, the 3D conversion was a no-brainer. But considering the action and adventure these films have always brought to the table, How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World is even more of a fit for the sort of eye popping storytelling you’d come to expect from Dreamworks Animation’s big gun property.

Planning & Effort Score

5/5

3D as good as the conversion we saw for How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World doesn’t happen by accident. Any animated film can throw things at the screen and pan the camera in all sorts of wild directions to attempt a 3D thrill, but this series has always been deliberate in how it uses the language of enhanced visual storytelling. Every aspect of this film shines in its execution, and you can tell that the team behind such an effort put a lot of hard work into making every piece of the How To Train Your Dragon finale’s 3D.

Before the Window Score

5/5

If you wanted to single out one specific aspect that sums up how well How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World breaks out of the screen, it’d have to be the dragons themselves. One dragon in particular, belonging to the film’s villain Grimmel, spits acid at whatever it’s attacking; and whenever this effect goes off, it is one of the most impressive projectile 3D effects in quite some time. Fire, acid, and other weapons fly through the screen, and right into the audience’s theoretical laps, and it never gets old. That basically sums up the rest of the film, as there’s a lot of consistent window-breaking by objects and characters, without being excessive or forgetting about the other key component to using 3D visuals in a film – those that draw depth in the world of the picture.

Beyond the Window Score

5/5

Depth usually seems like the easier field for a 3D film to manipulate, simply because you can separate characters and their environments to a degree that the world inside the frame makes sense. That being said, How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World has some really impressive shots that show the depth of the images on screen, as they break from the typical displays of endless backgrounds and crowds. Both of those are still present, however there are shots where the camera moves through objects, such as Grimmel’s open airship and the Hidden World of dragons itself, which give the audience a feast for their eyes. The depth is not only drawn through pure distance between characters and their environments, there are also actual scenes where the camera moves through interiors, only to wind up back in the exterior world.

Brightness Score

3/5

Ok, here’s an interesting lesson learned during How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World. The showing observed for this evaluation took place at a theater that does dine-in service, offering various foods that are prepared in the kitchen of the theater, and brought out to audience members in the theater. This detail is mentioned because, in addition to the usual “mileage may vary” warning about how a theater maintains its projector’s brightness, you must also take into account that in a dine-in theater, there are small lights that remain on during the duration of the film. While this helps look at your menu at any point in a film’s run, it also really screws with a 3D film’s brightness factor, as you’ve got multiple mini light sources polluting the purity of the experience. So if you’re planning on seeing a 3D movie, and your theater of choice is a dine-in experience, you may want to find a different venue.

Glasses Off Score

5/5

With the level of 3D manipulation on display in How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, there’s clearly got to be some similarly impressive blur to confirm the level of effort expended on such a sight, right? That’s absolutely correct in the this example, as the entirety of the final How To Train Your Dragon film is blurred to various degrees. From the backgrounds taking a huge amount of the blur onto themselves, to the more subtle levels used for close ups and character driven moments, there are no awkward 2D segments, save for the usual points that anchor the rest of the 3D palette.

Audience Health Score

5/5

There’s an insane amount of action that is presented in How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, as no good finale would be complete without a showstopping conclusion. What’s also insane is the fact that there’s no disruptive effects that would threaten to do a number on your eyes and stomach. Start to finish, it’s a smooth ride into the 3D world of Hiccup and Toothless with their exploits tumbling through the sort of adventurous path one would expect from How To Train Your Dragon’s universe. And thankfully, this final ride is just as effortless as the last two trips.

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

How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World is a gold standard 3D conversion, which is pretty essential viewing in this premium format. The pedigree this series has followed since day one is upheld to the highest degree, providing the audience that chooses to take advantage of its existence with a truly impressive experience. But, as per usual, find a theater that you trust to maintain its projecting equipment in order to get the full effect of what the folks who worked tirelessly on this film have achieved.

How will you see How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World?

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

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