How Cher Influenced Lady Gaga In A Star Is Born

Lady Gaga is having a very big moment right now. In addition to starting her Las Vegas residency, the pop singer made her leading lady debut in Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut A Star Is Born. Gaga has taken home a SAG award for her performance, and is even nominated to Best Actress at this year’s Academy Awards.

But Lady Gaga has been open about how nerves affected her on set, especially during the first few days of A Star Is Born’s production. Eric Roth wrote the script for the musical drama alongside Bradley Cooper, and recently revealed a conversation he had with Gaga early in the process, and how Cher helped inspire Ally Maine. As he tells it,

Is anyone else’s mind blown? While moviegoers might not have equated these two movies together, upon examination I can totally see the similarities between Lady Gaga’s Ally and Cher’s Loretta Castorini.

Eric Roth’s comments to Deadline once again shows how nervous Lady Gaga was during the earlier stages of her time playing Ally Maine. While she came from a theater background and has starred in projects like American Horror Story: Coven, playing the lead character in A Star Is Born was quite the departure.

Much like Cher in Moonstruck, Lady Gaga brought a mixture of vulnerability and swagger to Ally Maine that captured moviegoers’ attentions from her first scene in the bathroom. Eli Roth picked a great example of the type of characterization Gaga needed, and it seems it really paid off for the singer/actress.

Of course, the parallels between Ally and Loretta are also obvious in the performers who inhabited those roles. Just like Cher in Moonstruck, Lady Gaga had the pressure of being a popular singer dipping her toes into the acting world. Ultimately both performances were critically acclaimed, with Cher winning the Best Actress Oscar at the 60th Academy Awards.

Lady Gaga would no doubt like to follow suit in this way, and take home a coveted statue for her role in A Star Is Born. But the cards may be stacked against Mother Monster, considering how the rest of the Awards Ceremonies have gone down. While Gaga was honored with tons of nominations, she’s been largely losing to Glenn Close for her outstanding performance in The Wife. She did take home a SAG Award, but that victory was due to being tied with Close

We’ll see if Lady Gaga takes home an Oscar when the Academy Awards air February 24th. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

That Time Will Smith Turned Down The Matrix

Hollywood is full of “the one that got away” stories. Actors turn down roles that end up being massive hits. At the time, the decision clearly seemed right, but in retrospect actors frequently realize they’ve made a mistake. Will Smith has now come clean about how he had the opportunity to take the lead role of Neo in The Matrix, but obviously, that didn’t happen. Although, Smith says the decision really did make sense at the time, as the initial pitch of the Wachowski’s was sort of bonkers. According to Smith…

The pitch, according to Smith on his YouTubechannel, focused on the bullet time effects the pair were planning, and the way Smith portrays the directors’ presentation, it sounds like it came across as less than entirely thought through. It seems that Smith figured that this wasn’t something he wanted to get involved in. If this is true then the Wachowskis didn’t make their best case. While the effects were cool and also ground breaking, they’re not the reason to make a movie.

Of course, since Will Smith didn’t make The Matrix that meant he was free to make Wild Wild West. Smith admits he is not proud of this decision.

While Will Smith clearly has some regrets about turning down The Matrix, he also admits that it was probably the best decision for everybody. Smith thinks the version of The Matrix we got was perfect, and if he had said yes, getting Will Smith as Neo wouldn’t have been the only major change we would have seen. Smith goes on…

Whether or not Will Smith would have ruined The Matrix is a question we’ll never have answer to. It certainly would have been a different movie. Though Kilmer and Smith acre great actors in their own right so maybe it still would have become the franchise we know today. Instead, Neo became one of Keanu Reeves most iconic characters and it’s difficult to envision the film with anybody else in that role.

Still, if Will Smith starring in The Matrix had saved the world from Wild Wild West, maybe it all would have been worth it.

X-Men Producer Really Wanted An All-Female Team Movie

Before shared universes and serialized storytelling became commonplace, the superhero genre had its humble beginnings with Bryan Singer’s 2000 blockbuster X-Men. And in the nearly two decades since that movie arrived in theaters, superhero flicks have risen to dominate the film industry, with certain installments going so far as to get award nominations in the process. And the X-Men franchise is still going strong, although Disney and Fox’s impending merger has the potential to change things forever.

Producer Lauren Shuler Donner has worked on every single installment in the X-Men franchise, although she’s poised to step down once Disney takes control of the property. While she’s had an impressive career within the property, there’s one X-Men movie that Donner never got around to producing: one with an all-female team. As she recently revealed:

Is anybody else’s FOMO going through the roof? It looks like Lauren Shuler Donner had thought out a pitch for an X-Woman movie, but it never actually came to fruition. And in the current climate of the superhero genre, that movie would probably resonate well with audiences. Too bad.

Lauren Shuler Donner’s comments to Decider are sure to get a reaction from the generations of X-Men fans out there who are hoping that the femme fatales of the brand might become a larger role in the universe. While Storm, Jean, and Rogue were part of the original trilogy, they didn’t always get the spotlight the same way that Wolverine, Professor X, or Magneto did. The same can also be said with the current timeline. Jennifer Lawrence has been given some great material as the new Mystique, but the First Class movies haven’t been particularly female-centric.

Of course, that is set to change with Dark Phoenix. The upcoming blockbuster will be largely focused on Sophie Turner’s Jean Grey, as she struggles with a dark power that takes control of her. Jennifer Lawrence is also set to reprise her role as Mystique, with Alexandra Shipp returning as Storm. While that movie’s been pushed back a number of times, Dark Phoenix‘s very title shows how much the upcoming blockbuster will revolve around Jean.

While the X-Woman movie never came to fruition at 20th Century Fox, perhaps it’s possible within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Marvel Studios’ Kevin Feige has maintained that the mysterious Phase Four will feature more women, so a female X-Men movie doesn’t seem out of the question. It could be a great way to bring the mutants into the MCU, while also appealing to calls of more on-screen inclusion.

Dark Phoenix is currently set to arrive in theaters on June 7th, so we have a while to wait before the flick is officially released. In the meantime, check out our full 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

Star Wars: Episode 9 Rumors – Let’s Talk About The Title

For some reason or another, be it the Super Bowl, tweets from C-3PO actor Anthony Daniels or just a feeling that the announcement is overdue, the past few weeks have been a fervor of anticipation and speculation that the title revelation for Star Wars: Episode IX was imminent. And yet as of now, like the rest of Star War: Episode IX, the title remains shrouded in mystery.

The title is apparently so secretive that the Lucasfilm story group does not know it and new cast member Dominic Monaghan has said that director J.J. Abrams alone knows what the final chapter in the Skywalker Saga will be called. And yet, considering how few people supposedly know the title there sure are plenty who think they know.

As is the case with everything regarding this movie, rumors abound about the film’s title. So you know the drill, grab those saltshakers and let’s talk about the title for Star Wars: Episode IX.

First up in the list of contenders is Star Wars: Son of Darkness. When it comes to rumored titles, this is perhaps the most ominous, hearkening to the Dark Side centric titles of The Phantom Menace and Revenge of the Sith. This title would seem to apply to one character in particular and while it could technically work for Luke Skywalker as the son of Darth Vader, it is far more likely that it refers to Kylo Ren (Adam Driver).

As was the case for Avengers 4, some fans are looking to dialogue in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Star Wars: The Last Jedi for potential Star Wars: Episode IX titles. Avengers: Endgame ultimately did pull a piece of dialogue from Avengers: Infinity War for its title and a similar thing could happen here.

In Star Wars: The Last Jedi, in Snoke’s throne room, the Supreme Leader says to Kylo Ren “My worthy apprentice, Son of Darkness, heir apparent to Lord Vader” before commanding him to fulfill his destiny by killing Rey. So if the title is Son of Darkness, it would clearly be pulling from this scene and referring to Kylo Ren.

One reason this seems like a strong contender is that this sequel trilogy is very much a tale of two characters. One of them is Kylo Ren. I think it would come as no surprise if Ben Solo is ultimately redeemed in Episode IX and if he has such an arc, this title, which refers to him, would definitely be applicable. And as Episode IX is the last chapter in the Skywalker Saga, and he’s the last Skywalker (we think), having him in the title would be fitting.

Next up is another title originally surfaced on Reddit in a since deleted post (still have those salt shakers?), Star Wars: The New Order. I personally think this one is pretty solid because it works on several levels. It would maintain the three-word titling scheme, beginning with the word ‘the’ that has been used thus far in the sequel trilogy, providing some symmetry to the whole thing.

Since the First Order is the villain in the sequel trilogy, The New Order would flip that around, referring to the new order in the galaxy that will be established when good (presumably) triumphs over evil. Another meaning one could infer is that this title is about the Jedi Order.

Despite the assumptions after Return of the Jedi, Luke Skywalker was never able to restore the Jedi Order to the prominence it once had in the Republic. This title would imply that the Jedi Order would exist again, but newer and better than before. It’s a hopeful title that also has a bit of poetry to it, especially if it’s A New Order instead of The New Order; the last line of a poem whose first line was A New Hope.

Another title that has been bandied about is Star Wars: The Knights of Ren, which would set up the greatest troll job of all time if the much-hyped Dark Siders still don’t show up. Considering the recent rumors that not only will the Knights of Ren be in the film, they could actually be the final villains, this title or The Order of Ren would be applicable. Despite that, it is a bit on the nose and it would be somewhat strange to reference a group of characters that we haven’t seen before, villains at that, in the final film in the Skywalker Saga.

Most recently, a supposed leak indicated that the title for Episode IX would be Star Wars: Balance of the Force. This leak also showed an image, purportedly meant for the official Star Wars website, of the Star Wars logo in purple with this subtitle. This rumored title made the rounds in a big way when it seemed like the title reveal was imminent. You could assume that if this was the title and it leaked, Lucasfilm would just reveal it, but there are no guarantees of that.

Personally, I don’t love the way Balance of the Force rolls of the tongue. It doesn’t flow great, but I do love the substance of it. This is supposed to be the final chapter in the Skywalker Saga and I’ve argued in the past that in order to bring closure to that Saga, Star Wars: Episode IX has to bring balance to the Force. The Force’s lack of equilibrium has been a driving theme in this Saga so to finally see it achieve balance in the end seems right and necessary.

Rey and Kylo together are probably the key to bringing balance to the Force and this rumored title would be a cool way to send the Saga out on a positive note. We’ve also seen the yellow and red lettering for the first two films in the sequel trilogy respectively, so a purple logo, the blending of the Sith red and the Jedi blue to show balance would be cool.

Alright, now those seem to be the rumored titles that have been the most talked about, but let’s dig into some of the others that have been rumored or suggested, lightning round style.

Star Wars: Ashes of the Empire. The words “Ashes of the Empire” appear in the crawl text for The Force Awakens but it feels a bit late in the game to use this title; it would have been more appropriate for Episode VII.

Also taken from an opening crawl, The Last Jedi’s, is Star Wars: The Rising Tyranny. This title would do a great job at conveying the stakes for Episode IX where tyranny must be overcome or the galaxy is doomed. That said, it does feel like a middle chapter title.

Next up is Broom Kid’s title of choice Star Wars: A Spark of Hope. This is also taken from the crawl of The Last Jedi and the message of that film’s end, where Luke’s display of power and sacrifice gave hope to citizens across the galaxy that all was not lost.

I’ve also seen Star Wars: The Chosen One suggested. It’s a cool title and certainly has relevance to the series, but considering that Anakin Skywalker was the chosen one, it seems unlikely. Unless of course Anakin/Vader is in this movie (he’d have to play a major part right?) as has been rumored or J.J. Abrams decides that now Rey is the chosen one.

Another fun possibility would be Revenge of the Jedi, the original title of Return of the Jedi. This title is both hopeful and badass but I think a bit unlikely.

Legacy of the Force sounds cool and really would work for a film that is the final chapter in a franchise that has a more storied legacy than any in cinema, but Legacy of the Force is already a series of books in Legends and I doubt Lucasfilm would want to use an existing title.

Star Wars: The Rebellion Reborn could also be a possibility because Luke says it in The Last Jedi. It’s hopeful and references the Rebellion of the original trilogy, indicating that the Resistance builds up and becomes a full on Rebellion, achieving the same victory.

It’s a fun guessing game to play, and many people are considering things like how many words each film’s title has, the sequel trilogy movies all start with ‘the’ and are 3 words, the final films in each trilogy have started with the letter ‘R’ and so on and so on.

In some ways it doesn’t matter what the title is. It won’t reveal some huge spoiler and will probably only hint at the film’s plot. Even a lame title or jokey title like the many floating around the internet recently won’t take away from our enjoyment of the film.

But this is Star Wars and this is the last Star Wars movie in the Skywalker Saga. Of course we want the title to sound cool and have meaning and weight and an eternal quality to it. Say what you will about the film itself but Star Wars: The Last Jedi is a banger of a title.

Personally, I want a title that is both hopeful and puts a stamp on things, providing some closure to this Saga as I hope the film itself does. I’d also like it to have some parallels to what came before in both theme and structure. Therefore Balance of the Force or A/The New Order would be my preference of the rumored titles. Some variation of Star Wars: The Last Hope or Star Wars: A Final Hope would also feel right.

Star Wars: Episode IX arrives in theaters with a title (presumably) on December 20. Check out our release guide for all the year’s biggest movies and let us know what you want the title to be in the poll below.

Which Rumored Title For Star Wars: Episode IX Do You Like Best?

Blended From Around The Web


Isn’t It Romantic Reviews Are Up, Here’s What Critics Are Saying

It’s Valentine’s Day and, as is frequently the case, that means it’s time for another big screen romantic comedy. Rebel Wilson’s Isn’t it Romantic is, without question, a rom-com, but one with a unique angle in that it actually is self-aware and also acts of a send up of the genre. How well does it all work? Based on the reviews, it works well enough. The film isn’t the romantic comedy revolution it could have been, but it’s a light and fun movie that at worst is a slightly better than average example of the genre.

I wrote the official CinemaBlend review for Isn’t it Romantic and I largely enjoyed it.I gave the film 3.5 stars because I thought Rebel Wilson did a great job leading the film while poking fun at genre conventions, even if the film falters by ultimately falling victim to all those same genre conventions.

Isn’t it Romantic wants to be both send up and homage to the genre and while it does an admirable job, it ultimately doesn’t commit to either concept enough and thus, the ending especially, gets a little muddy.

For the most part, it seems that a lot of other critics tend to agree. Few are over the moon about Isn’t it Romantic, nobody is going to call the film revolutionary, but several critics seem to have enjoyed it. CNN has one of the most glowing takes, simply saying that the time spent with the film is fun, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Isn’t It Romantic has charm to burn, in a light-hearted send-up of romantic comedies that playfully turns all the familiar tropes into a lively vehicle for Rebel Wilson. The movie owes a thematic debt to Groundhog Day, but mostly — in a film so conscious of conventions that it niftily bleeps its foul language — it’s a heckuva lot of fun.

The Associated Press is slightly more critical of its take, pointing out that Isn’t it Romantic, like so many of the romantic comedies it references, never gets too deep, but in the end, sometimes the fun of stories like this is all we really want.

Isn’t It Romantic stays pretty surface level, which makes for a fine and pleasurable viewing experience, but doesn’t exactly do anything to show that rom-coms would be better if the best friends had more of an inner life, for example. In fact, it just kind of redeems the formula in some ways. It’s fun to join a world with unrealistically glamorous jobs and apartments and wardrobes and cities, especially when there’s a good story to go along with it! And also that you can never go wrong with an upbeat song and dance scene. No guilt necessary.

To be fair, the song and dance numbers (yes, plural) are pure sugar-coated fun. There’s little need for them, but sometimes you just need to enjoy fun pop music and choreography.

Isn’t it Romantic sees Rebel Wilson play a woman who hates the unrealistic portrayal of love and relationships that we’ve all seen in one too many romantic comedy. However, a bump on the head causes her to wake up in a parallel world where everything around her works by the rules of the genre. Men are automatically interested in her. She has a perfect life with an amazing job and a great New York apartment. Of course, since she’s not a fan of these movies, all Wilson’s character wants is to find a way out.

The solution, she figures, is to follow the rules of romantic comedies and make it to the end of the movie. What follows is a collection of self-aware jokes as the movie never quite breaks the fourth wall, but certainly gives it a good kick now and then. Rebel Wilson is unable to drop F-bombs because romantic comedies are all PG-13. Her attempts at actually having sex are all thwarted because the story just cuts away to the next morning.

Of course, while Isn’t it Romantic takes aim at the tropes of the rom-com, it can’t actually do that without including all those same tropes in the plot, which means that for some critics, like The Film Stage, Isn’t it Romantic tries to have it both ways and it just can’t.

Unfortunately, a one-note romantic comedy with all the tropes isn’t exactly the best way to parody the genre, even if it’s wrapped in an empowering story that tackles the gender problems at the core of heteronormative rom-coms.

Of course, in the end, what matters most to any rom-com (even an unconventional one) is that the story is both romantic and funny. If the chemistry between the characters or the humor is especially good, it can successfully elevate “just another romantic comedy” into an acceptable, if not exceptional, addition. However, several reviewers feel that Isn’t it Romantic fails at one or both elements. The Toronto Star puts it succinctly.

A sloppily written story that fails as both romance and comedy.

In the end, the question of whether or not you like Isn’t it Romantic may simply fall to your feelings on romantic comedies in general or Rebel Wilson specifically. While most reviews praise Wilson, I certainly thought she carried the film well, not everybody agrees. Comedy may be the most subjective film genre, not everybody finds the same things funny, and that means that you get a variety of takes from different critics regarding whether or not the film is actually funny.

While the jokes at the expense of the romantic comedy genre will likely be especially fun for those who don’t care for rom-coms, the fact is that, in the final analysis, the movie is still a rom-com. Isn’t it Romantic doesn’t skewer the genre enough to make the haters happy. If what you want is a romantic comedy then the jokes poking fun at your favorite film style won’t be enough to turn you off, or hide the fact that the film doesn’t hate rom-coms as much as it might claim.

And since it’s Valentine’s Day, there will probably be more people looking for a light and funny romance than usual. You could certainly do worse.

Isn’t it Romantic opens in theaters Friday.

Blended From Around The Web


No, Rian Johnson Didn’t Drop His Star Wars Trilogy

The last few years have been very exciting for Star Wars fans. Since Disney acquired Lucasfilm, there’s been a bunch of new and exciting content on both the silver and small screen. The most recent installment of the main franchise came with Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which purposefully subverted fan expectations and challenged what we thought about Luke, Leia, and the rest of the galaxy.

Despite some backlash for The Last Jedi, Lucasfilm seemed pleased with Rian Johson’s work, so much that he was given his own Star Wars trilogy to develop. A recent rumor claimed that Johnson was stepping away from those trio of movies, but now the director has shut them down. When asked on Twitter, he posted:

Well, that’s pretty cut and dry. Star Wars rumors may continue swirling, but it seems that the Last Jedi director is still committed to his own three-movie arc. As for those rumors, it seems there’s no validity to them.

Rian Johnson’s recent tweet will likely elicit a mixture of emotions from the generations of Star Wars fans out there. On one hand, his confirmation of the upcoming trilogy may be a relief. It shows that Lucasfilm has a clear plan for the future of the franchise after Episode IX, which will is set to end the Skywalker Saga forever. It’s currently unclear if/when standalone movies like Solo or Rogue One will be brought back into the property, but at least there’s a trio of new movies by Rian Johnson, as well as another possible trilogy developed by Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. So fear not, the galaxy far, far away is only going to continue to grow.

On the other side, there may be some Star Wars fans who were hoping the reports of Rian Johnson dropping his trilogy were true. Star Wars: The Last Jedi is arguably the most divisive main installment of the franchise, and a ton of hate was thrown at Johnson for his direction, as well as actress Kelly Marie Tran, who played Rose Tico Fans took umbrage with the way he changed characters, the entire Canto Bight sequence, and especially Luke’s fate. Those naysayers might have been happy to know that Johnson dropped out of his three movie series. Alas, that was just a rumor.

It should be fascinating to see exactly what Rian Johnson will bring to the Star Wars franchise with his developing trilogy. In particular, where in the timeline of the franchise they’ll be set. Will they be prequels, sequels, or maybe even movies set within George Lucas’ original trilogy? It’s anyone’s guess at this point, but his work in The Last Jedi proved that he’s willing to take risks and make liberal changes to the canon.

Moviegoers will be able to catch up with their favorite Star Wars characters when J.J. Abrams’ Episode IX arrives in theaters on December 20th. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

Happy Death Day’s Villain Almost Wore A Different Mask

If you’re looking to build a horror movie franchise, there’s little more important than creating an iconic look for your killer. In the case of Happy Death Day and its sequel, that look included a mask that makes the slasher look like a massive baby, something that is sure to be memorable if only for its outrageousness. However, the killer in Happy Death Day could have looked quite different, as franchise director Christopher Landon reveals that he initially had two different concepts for the mask, the baby, and a pig. According to Landon…

I’m not sure what it says about a guy who was about to have his first child, and immediately translated that into an idea for a horror movie. Actually, as a father of a toddler myself, I know exactly what it says, and it makes perfect sense.

While Christopher Landon knew he needed to give his killer an iconic look, he wasn’t initially settled on what that look would be. It seems he was contemplating a pig mask, which certainly could have looked frightening if given the right angle. Based on the way Landon explains the situation to EW, it sounds like the pig idea never even made it to the prototype phase because once the director saw the baby mask idea created by the designer, he knew it was the way to go.

While the baby mask killer may not have reached a slasher movie level of recognition of Michael Myers or Ghost Face yet, it has to be said that you’ll never mistake the Happy Death Day killer for anybody else. It’s a look unlike any other. With two films down and a third seemingly on the horizon, it’s possible the trilogy could very much lead to this mask becoming a major part of pop culture for a generation.

The pig mask idea certainly could have worked. It’s the Groundhog Day-like premise of the film, and not the mask itself, that has made this franchise a success with many, and thus the mask is little more than set dressing.

Happy death Day 2U is in theaters now.

How Walt Disney Animation Aims To Balance Original Movies And Sequels Going Forward

This is a big week for Walt Disney Animation Studios. Not only is Ralph Breaks The Internet now available for Digital Download, but the first trailer for the upcoming Frozen 2 was released earlier today. These are obviously two very different titles released by the same company, but one big thing they share in common is that they are sequels. After all, Walt Disney Animation is a studio definitely not known for theatrically-released follow-ups, and now we’re getting two of them in a row.

Naturally, this raises an important question: how will sequels be approached moving forward? The library of titles in this arena used to be limited to Rescuers Down Under and Fantasia 2000, but that was before our current Hollywood era of franchise and IP dominance. It puts Walt Disney Animation in an interesting position, and one that I got the chance to recently discuss with two members of Disney’s Story Trust: Ralph Breaks The Internet directors Rich Moore and Phil Johnston.

I sat down with the filmmakers earlier this month during the home video press day for their new movie, and it was at the end of the interview that I raised the discussion about the company’s sequel philosophy. In responding to my question, they fully acknowledged the interesting position in which Disney currently finds itself when it comes to demands from the audience. Said Rich Moore,

People want sequels. They want to see their favorite characters again a story that they love – and it’s going to be tough! We have Frozen 2 coming, and people want to see Anna and Elsa on the big screen again, but I don’t think that we ever want to get into a practice where we’re just making sequels. We really doubled down on, ‘We need to create new stories.’ We can’t just get into this rut of just revisiting something that we did five years ago, and giving another chapter of that.

Walt Disney Animation isn’t exactly going sequel overboard right now (per the old saying, two doesn’t make a pattern), but they have released some massive hits in recent years with worlds fans would be eager to revisit – including Zootopia and Big Hero 6. Furthermore, we don’t exactly know a great deal about their upcoming slate right now. Frozen 2, directed by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee and set to be released on November 22nd, is the only officially announced Walt Disney Animation project that we currently know about. And while we’ll surely hear about a lot more at this summer’s D23 Expo, one has to wonder how many of the earmarked release dates in the next three years will feature familiar characters.

This isn’t a specific question that Disney is ready to answer yet, but Rich Moore was definitely happy to share how he feels all sequels need to be developed at Walt Disney Animation – noting his experience with Ralph Breaks The Internet as a prime example. Basically, the decision to make any kind of follow-up should not be motivated by box office earnings, but instead via desire and interest on behalf of the original filmmakers. Moore explained,

Really it was the love of the characters that we had for Ralph and Vanellope, and just the team that made the movie that made us go back to it. No one said to us, ‘We want you to make another Ralph movie.’ It came from us. So if we can keep it honest like that, that no one is saying make sequels, that it comes from the filmmakers, and we’re making just as much original content here, then I think we’re okay. Then it’s healthy.

Taking a wider view, the longevity of the film industry as a whole is dependent on original and diverse storytelling that shows audiences things they’ve never seen before, and within that realm Phil Johnston acknowledged the important role Walt Disney Animation serves. While every studio constantly struggles to get audiences to engage with the unfamiliar, WDAS is one of the few companies that regularly makes it work, and that success creates a certain responsibility.

If Walt Disney Animation is one of the few names in the game that can get people to “take their medicine” in the form of original characters and storytelling (oh the horror), then that’s something that they need to embrace. Said Johnston,

The beauty to me about animation at our studio is that it’s really one of the last places in big budget Hollywood filmmaking where original ideas can thrive and grow and become their own thing. Most of what exists now is existing brands or IP that lives in the world. The fact that we created Ralph and Vanellope those years ago, and we have revisited them, but I love that they live in the world and they didn’t live in the world 10 years ago, and same with Nick and Judy in Zootopia.

Continuing, Phil Johnston further explained that there is also still something incredible about leaving a particular stamp on the world as a result of your own creativity:

I love that you can still make stuff up out of your imagination, and it can become a fun, successful movie whether it’s a brand or a franchise or not. I don’t know, I’m just proud that this place is making stuff that’s original, and coming from the hearts and imaginations of the people who work here.

You can watch Rich Moore and Phil Johnston discuss the future of Walt Disney Animation Studios – and also pitch a super-weird crossover idea – by clicking play on the video below.

The next moves made by Walt Disney Animation Studios are going to be heavily scrutinized by fans and critics alike, and it should go without saying that our curiosity is piqued. We’ll continue to follow developments here at CinemaBlend, and in the meantime you can enjoy the latest hit from the filmmaking giant.

As mentioned above, Ralph Breaks The Internet, starring John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, and Taraji P. Henson, is now available for digital purchase. And for those of you waiting for physical copies, the film will be available on 4K, Blu-ray, and DVD.

Blended From Around The Web


Happy Death Day 2U’s End Credits Hint At A Potential Third Movie

SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains massive spoilers for Happy Death Day 2U. If you have not yet seen the film, continue at your own risk.

Happy Death Day 2U is one of the most bonkers sequels you could ever expect out of a franchise that starts with a slasher killer vibe. Shifting most of its narrative to an 80s-style sci-fi comedy, Tree Gelbhorn’s new adventures involve some extra wrinkles that make solving this brand new time loop all the more difficult, and all the more amusing. But by time the story wraps up at the end of the film, there’s plenty of room for a third entry to take place.

What makes this potential Happy Death Day threequel even more exciting is that it’s teased in an end credits stinger that opens the door wide open for a new and even more insane entry in the series. Should Universal and Blumhouse allow writer/director Christopher Landon the opportunity to follow-up, there’s a brand new way for the series to play around with temporal physics, and a new character at the center of a true horror. Last call for spoiler adverse audiences to turn away, as we’re about to talk about how Happy Death Day 2U ends, and what it might mean for the franchise at large.

What Happens In The Ending

After solving the murder at the center of the alternate dimension time loop – courtesy of a shift triggered by the science experiment that created this whole mess in the first place – Tree finds herself back home in the right reality. With Carter still being her boyfriend, and the science experiment from one dimension successfully sending her back, it’s a pretty happy ending. Of course, that’s not where the story concludes.

During the end credits, we see the stereotypical convoy of black government vehicles storm Bayfield University’s campus. An agent introduces himself to Tree and her friends, with a vague request to come along and get whisked away to somewhere unknown. This location is eventually revealed to be a DARPA lab, where the device that Ryan and his classmates have been working on for their thesis project (codename “Sissy”) has been relocated.

Apparently, not only does DARPA know that the Bayfield students have successfully triggered, navigated, and broken a time loop, but they’re interested in running some experiments in such a scenario. The only thing left to do is figure out who the test subject will be, as the government would like to send in a guinea pig of sorts to run their tests. It’s at that moment that inspiration strikes Tree, as she knows exactly who should be used as the test subject.

This leads to the closing shot of Happy Death Day 2U, which sees Tree’s sorority sister/not so nice person Danielle (Rachel Matthews) waking up in her bed and screaming. Sounds like someone has a case of the recursive Mondays…

Why They Went With That Ending

Happy Death Day 2U has a pretty hysterical ending, with a pretty nasty character finally getting some just deserts (and possibly an opportunity to become a better person). However, it’s not just a one-off joke that we’re seeing there, as writer/director Christopher Landon chose the events in that sequence very specifically – as was recently discovered by our own Eric Eisenberg.

During the Happy Death Day 2U press junket, he spoke with the writer/director, who explained the intent of that end credits tease a little further. He admitted that part of his goal was to take a jab at the superhero trend, which are movies made with way bigger budgets, but he also wanted to lay the groundwork for an idea that he wants to execute in a potential Happy Death Day 3. Said Landon,

I think part of what we did with the end credit sequence was, we thought it was just a fun way to nod and wink to the Marvel trend, you know? Because we’re such a small movie, for me there was a certain irony in us even doing it. It’s typically reserved for much bigger movies. And so to some degree it’s kind of a wink and a nod and a laugh, but it also really is meant to key up a third movie, if we get to do it.

Post-credits scenes are far from a given in the world of small-budget horror movies, and there are surely many Happy Death Day 2U fans who didn’t think to stick around for a coda sequence, but Christopher Landon wanted to go that extra mile. In addition to playing homage to Marvel Studios’ contribution to pop culture moviegoing, however, Landon has also planted a seed for an idea that could blossom into a third film. And we have just an idea of where it might go.

What The Ending Suggests

With the government in control of Sissy, and Danielle planted in the new time loop, Happy Death Day 3 could see the bullying sorority sister becoming the new protagonist that audiences follow. Much like how Happy Death Day 2U starts off with Ryan being the focus, the second sequel could give us a new perspective of May 18th’s events as they happen again, and again – albeit now from a fresh perspective. If Danielle thought she had it rough with the special needs charity project her sorority was working on, she’s about to have a rude awakening.

Seeing as she’s a relative newbie to the time loop lifestyle, and this franchise is centered around Jessica Rothe’s Tree, there’s the potential for the Happy Death Day star to engage in yet another adventure in time, potentially with a whole new bit of genre exploration. Even better, should this third film be the one to close out a complete trilogy, we’d potentially see Danielle not only undergo her own personality changing voyage of self-discovery, but also possibly Tree completing her journey as a sage guide helping end the loop.

Of course, there’s also the possibility that Danielle doubles down on her villainous ways, creating a dark mirror of Tree’s Happy Death Day storyline and ultimately pitting her against her sorority sister in one final time breaking climax. All of this is pretty speculative, as we don’t even know if Happy Death Day 2U will hit big enough to make this third film a thing. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Blended From Around The Web


Ted Bundy Filmmaker Promises He Didn’t Plan To Put So Much Bundy Content On Netflix

Just in time for the recent 30th anniversary of the execution of Ted Bundy, one of the most notorious serial killers in American history, there has been a lot of buzz surrounding his life and story. Netflix recently dropped the chilling docu-series Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes. Then, last week the streaming service picked up the crime drama Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile starring Zac Efron as Bundy. Both projects are helmed by true-crime filmmaker Joe Berlinger. Coincidence? Berlinger says yes. Here’s how he put it:

Speaking of shocking! Considering the filmmaker has a hand in both Ted Bundy films, one would imagine he planned to have them in conversation at the same time. However, per an interview with Deadline, Joe Berlinger said it just kind of happened that way.

He never intended to work on both Ted Bundy movies at once. The exclusive recordings featured in the Netflix docu-series landed on his desk in February 2017 and the script for Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, penned by Michael Werwie “fell into his lap” in April. Berlinger explained the difference between the project with the following:

So while the recent Netflix docu-series release features real interviews with the serial killer while he was on death row, Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile is a dramatic narrative that centers on his longtime girlfriend Elizabeth Kloepfer (played by Lily Collins) as she learns over the years of his criminal activity. Kloepfer ignored the signs of the infamously handsome serial killer’s wrongdoings before playing a part in his arrest.

It’s also interesting that both projects will find a home on Netflix, but this likeness doesn’t seem to be purposeful either. Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January as one of the most talked about new movies that were featured. Of course, the streaming giant had to nab the rights to the movie for $9 million, though it certainly helps for it to own both as a set.

A release date for Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile hasn’t yet been set, but it likely won’t start streaming until the 2019 awards season. Since the streaming service sees awards potential in the project, the studio will also reportedly opt for a theatrical run as Roma had.