Rise of Skywalker already has a lot going on, with the return of Rey, Finn, Poe, Rose Tico, Chewbacca, C-3PO, R2-D2, BB8 and Maz Kanata from the resistance and Kylo Ren and General Hux from the First Order. Carrie Fisher’s Leia Organa will also make an appearance, along with Billy Dee Williams’ Lando and the addition of new characters played by Keri Russell, Richard E. Grant, Dominic Monaghan and Naomi Ackie.
For a brief moment, the world’s eyes lit up when Marvel Comics looked to be teasing a comic adaptation of the abandoned script to what would have been director Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 4. Alas, that turned out to be false, as the tease was for a new Spidey comic book limited series written by J.J. Abrams and his son.
But in that hope came great inspiration. What if Hollywood opened its script vaults to the comic companies it so frequently works with, and instead let them adapt the movies?! What if Marvel or DC Comics took the scripts for abandoned films from their canons and turned them into comic runs? If that were to happen, fans might be utterly delighted by the prospect.
So for the moment, let’s pretend this scenario is very much in play, and the comic movies we’d always wanted to happen are being given a second chance at life. Here’s the list of discarded films we’d love to see rise again, in full color art, on a comic shop shelf near us:
Sam Raimi’s Unfinished Spider-Man Franchise
You kind of have to start with Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man franchise, because not only is it the inspiration for this whole exercise, it’s also one of the greatest ‘what ifs’ in the comic film world. This film series could have stretched as far as six movies and introduced Peter Parker to each of the Sinister Six, resulting in him eventually being pitted against the entire group of supervillains in one knock-down, drag-out affair.
While Spider-Man 3 was definitely far from perfect, it’d still be an interesting concept to at least see the script for Spider-Man 4 adapted for comic audiences. Should the book sell well enough, then there could be a potential to finish out that entire alternate canon of films to the specifications that Sam Raimi and a trusted team of writers could complete. At the very least, seeing John Malkovich’s Vulture and Anne Hathaway’s Black Cat in the comic flesh would be something for the folks at home to enjoy.
Justice League: Part One and Two
We aren’t too far removed from that moment in time when Justice League was originally staked out as a two-part tentpole film to hold the DCEU together at the box office. While that plan eventually did change, and the story to Justice League: Part One and Two changed drastically enough that you can see easter eggs to where things could have gone in the films, there’s still a whole two-installment idea sitting on the page.
So rather than badger Warner Bros, its executives and anyone on staff who will listen with a demand to release the Snyder Cut, why not bring that original vision to live through a limited-run comic series? Zack Snyder and Chris Terrio’s original scripted work would be a perfect peace offering that could quell fan’s demands for that fabled alternate cut. Plus, should it be a runaway hit, you could very easily port over the scripts to various spin-offs like Cyborg and The Flash, which have been in limbo for so long that we’re not sure they’re even happening.
X-Men Origins: Magneto
The good news in the case of X-Men Origins: Magneto is the fact that we did see Michael Fassbender play out some of the events that would have transpired in that film through the story of X-Men: First Class. But the bad news doesn’t lie to far behind that point, as seeing Fassbender basically turn Magneto into a James Bond-esque character who hunts Nazis is something we’re always down for more of.
True, the film would also cover Magneto’s origins, which we’ve definitely seen before on film. But taking young Erik Lehnsherr’s early days of mutant ability and revenge, and finally committing them to a book that’d give audiences more Michael Fassbender action than they could ever hope for, would be more than an apology for some of the later, more lackluster films that have come to exist in the X-Men saga.
Ryan Reynolds’ Green Lantern Sequel
Believe it or not, the Ryan Reynolds variant of the Green Lantern did indeed have a sequel written for it. And part of that second film’s big journey was going to include, as we saw in the first film’s post-credits scene, Mark Strong’s Sinestro becoming a force for evil in the universe. If that isn’t a strong enough potential pivot point to reclaim a series on, we don’t know what is.
Seeing Sinestro wield the power of the Yellow Lantern would have made this Green Lantern sequel a potentially dark affair, as his power feeds off of fear. Acting as a perfect bookend to the first film’s more jovial, but still threatening tone, watching Sinestro and Hal Jordan square off might be a big enough draw that folks would read Reynolds and Strong’s pair go at it for the fate of the universe. Just don’t tell Deadpool, or he might get some ideas.
Let’s get real for a brief moment in comic book land: Gambit probably isn’t going to happen. It has too many albatrosses around its neck, what with a constant stream of directors leaving the project and numerous delays taking place before a frame of film is even shot. With The New Mutants’ fate unsure after Dark Phoenix took a bath at the box office, it doesn’t look like we’ll see Channing Tatum in the role any time soon.
But what if the script that was supposed to become a movie turned into a comic book? You could totally sell audiences on the prospect of Tatum’s Gambit for a fraction of the cost. And if it was popular enough, you could turn the sequel to the first stand-alone adventure of Remy LeBeau into a film that might start a franchise. At the bare minimum, Marvel would be able to recoup some of those costs spent on having the film written and almost made with such an enterprise.
Tim Burton is a figure that reigns supreme in the DC Comics environment, as he delivered Batman and Batman Returns as two of the most memorable successes in early comic movie history. And the possibilities for his third film, Batman Continues, were so great that not being able to see them on screen or in print is something that needs to be corrected at once.
Everything from Marlon Wayans’ being cast as Robin to Robin Williams allegedly being offered the role of The Riddler has colored Batman Continues as a film that would have been an absolute delight to watch. But if there’s any reason to bring this film to life in comic book form, it’s that fans could always ask for seconds with the Michelle Pfieffer Catwoman spinoff it apparently set up.
The Hank McCoy/Beast Spinoff
When reading that recent story about how X-Men franchise editor/composer John Ottman championed a script that would have seen Hank McCoy’s Beast engage in his own solo X-Men adventure, it felt like a truly good idea for the franchise had been passed on. Yes, it would have required Wolverine and Professor X to tell this Beast story, but considering his tenure in the films and his popularity, seeing Hank go wild is a story totally worth telling.
Nicholas Hoult’s portrayal of the character in the recent films certainly ups the ante, and his performance, as well as Kelsey Grammar’s in X-Men: The Last Stand, have given audiences someone they like seeing in a library as well as in the battlefield. A dark, R-rated adventure that finally pays off the Mr. Sinister plotline the X-Men films looked to be building towards would be quite the palette cleanser leading up to whatever plans the MCU has in store for the future of mutant-kind.
Justice League: Mortal
Once upon a time, director George Miller almost brought the world his own vision of what the DCEU could look like, as he was set to direct the film that would eventually become known as Justice League: Mortal. Another in a long line of projects that never got off the ground in the wake of DC Comics trying to jump start its comic movie operation, this film went as far as bringing the cast down to Australia before shuttering production.
For those who’d want to see Armie Hammer’s Batman, D.J. Catrona’s Superman or even Adam Brody and Anton Yelchin as dual Flashes on the Justice League team, Justice League: Mortal has to be one of the most sought after hypotheticals of comic movie history. And all it would take is the right team at DC to turn the page on this concept, bringing it to life once and for all.
Drew Goddard’s Sinister Six
The Amazing Spider-Man duology, for all of its flaws, seemed to have a clear direction as to where it was headed. You don’t just drop a Sinister Six tease at the end of your movie, especially one that lays out which members are going to be involved, without an idea behind it. Writer/director Drew Goddard had that idea in play, and if Sony would rather play it safe than keep people’s hopes up, it can always send this story over to Marvel Comics for the full five-star treatment.
Described as a “much more commercial version” of The Cabin In The Woods’ off-the-wall antics, Sinister Six hasn’t been completely written off by Sony as a going concern. But should a movie not be in the cards in the near future, that description of Goddard’s concept alone is why this comic book needs to happen. And maybe, Drew Goddard can go a little anti-commercial and up the ante on the crazy in his sinister spinoff.
Joss Whedon’s Wonder Woman
While he saw great success over at Marvel Studios, The Avengers’ Joss Whedon hasn’t seemed to have caught a break over at DC. Most recently, his Batgirl project with the studio failed to take flight, but before that he had a more infamous project that never saw the light of day: an infamously panned draft to what could have been the first Wonder Woman movie.
Apparently, Whedon’s ideas were a bit behind the times, and there was more of a focus on Steve Trevor than Diana of Themyscira herself. But considering how the author not only still backs the script, but also has been known for some insanely good character work in his career, it’s hard not to want to see what the good and the bad of Joss Whedon’s Wonder Woman would look like as a fully realized story.
Out of all the Superman concepts that never came to pass, Superman Lives has to be the holy grail of failed sequels. Director Tim Burton almost gave the world a film where not only was Nicolas Cage going to play Superman, but he was going to fight Lex Luthor, Braniac and Doomsday in the process. It’s an idea that’s obsessed comic movie fans with its possibilities, and it’s just too legendary to pass up.
With a concept that took “The Death of Superman” as part of its influences, and saw Lex Luthor and Braniac fuse together into a crazy cyborg hybrid, Superman Lives has captured imaginations with the story it could have told for decades. And even one of its screenwriters laments how it brought a new angle to the Superman mythos that would have made him even more identifiable. If the internet is obsessed enough with a story that it funds a documentary investigating how it never happened, you’re leaving money on the table by not turning that story into an actual comic book.
Joel Schumacher’s run as director in the Batman series may not have been memorable for all the right reasons, but the man’s stamp on films like Batman Forever and Batman & Robin is a hard one to forget. Good or bad, he lent a manic energy that fused Tim Burton’s gothic tendencies with the 1966 show’s colorful camp. So when discussing the biggest missed opportunities, his presumed third Batman film, Batman Unchained, would be a hell of a candidate for a comic of its own.
Were this film to have moved forward, we would have seen Harley Quinn and The Scarecrow enter the franchise for the first time, and Batman and Robin would have split up for a time. So there could have been a potential for dark, soul examining content mixed in with the reds and blues of the Schumacher world; and that’s a possibility we’d love to see examined on the page.
Green Arrow: Escape From Super Max
If a story about how Oliver Queen’s Green Arrow partners with members of DC Comics rogue’s gallery in a bid to break out of prison doesn’t excite you, then how the hell did you make it this far in the list? Green Arrow: Escape From Super Max would have seen just that story adapted for the screen, as Oliver was framed for an assassination he didn’t commit and was sent to the infamous Super Max prison as punishment.
Setting up the Green Arrow as already on his infamous crime stopping beat, the film ultimately never panned out and still sits on the DC Comics’ heap of unproduced film scripts. But seeing as Arrow is coming to an end, and this script is just waiting for a Oliver to call its own, merging this film script with Stephen Amell’s version of the character could give fans the pathway to further adventures with the beloved archer.
The world of comic movies is crazy, as one day a concept can be well hyped, with the next crushing its dreams of ever being seen by the public. But through the medium of comic books, sets don’t need to be built, special effects don’t need to be created, and if you can secure the likeness of your cast, you can have Michael Keaton playing Batman again in a heartbeat.
While the sun may have set on most of these films’ cinematic prospects, reviving them through the comic world could be a fantastic venture for comic companies looking to boost sales, as well as fans who want to see what these films may have been like were they ever made. If DC Comics can create further adventures of Batman ’66 in the printed word, the sky is indeed the limit.
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In 1995, Elton John, along with lyricist Tim Rice, won an Academy Award for Best Original Song for “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” from The Lion King. For the live-action remake from director Jon Favreau, Elton John and Tim Rice teamed up once again for a new song that could put Sir Elton in contention to win his second Oscar. Should that happen thanks to The Lion King, Elton John may be facing fierce competition in the form of himself and his biopic Rocketman.
Elton John was already expected to be in the running to win Best Original Song at the 2020 Oscar ceremony thanks to his “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” from his fantastical biopic Rocketman. That song plays over the closing credits of the Dexter Fletcher film in a retro music video-esque sequence. It was written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin and performed by Sir Elton and his onscreen counterpart Taron Egerton.
“(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” will have some competition from the Rocketman himself though. The recently announced track listing for The Lion King soundtrack revealed that Elton John and Tim Rice re-teamed to make magic once more. The two collaborated on an end-titles song called “Never Too Late”, which Elton John performs with an African choir.
So as noted by Variety, this means that Elton John will be competing against himself in the Best Original Song race as he looks to win his second Oscar statue. This wouldn’t be the first time the music legend has faced such tough competition though. Back in 1995, The Lion King dominated the category, earning three out of five nominations for the Elton John/Tim Rice collaborations “Hakuna Matata”, “Circle of Life” and the Oscar-winning “Can You Feel the Love Tonight.”
It worked out for Elton John then so we’ll have to see if these songs are both nominated and he again goes home with a statue. His competition has yet to come into focus for the moment. The feature film adaptation of the musical Cats is still to come as is Frozen II. The first Frozen won the award for the song with the highest play count in the history of music “Let It Go.” Also “Speechless” from Aladdin was pretty great.
There is also the question mark of Beyoncé. Beyoncé only appears on the soundtrack listing for the new rendition of “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” alongside Donald Glover. The Lion King soundtrack does have a mystery song on it though for which the title and the artist has not been revealed.
Beyoncé apparently did do a song for The Lion King soundtrack, which would presumably be this mystery song, but it seems it was on her own and not the collaboration with Elton John that he had expressed interest in doing. It would be a shame if Beyoncé and Elton John didn’t collaborate for the soundtrack but either way, Elton John should probably start planning his outfit for next year’s Academy Awards ceremony.
The Lion King opens in theaters on July 19. Check out our 2019 Release Schedule to prep for all of this summer’s biggest movies.
Warning: Toy Story 4 SPOILERS ahead!
This past weekend, nearly a decade after we thought this series had said its last goodbye, the latest Toy Story movie opened in theaters and proceeded to dominate at the box office. It is the fourth entry in Pixar’s first and most illustrious franchise, and like the three films before it, Toy Story 4 has enjoyed plenty of audience excitement, positive buzz and near universal critical acclaim.
Toy Story 4 is, by most accounts, a great film. The fourthquel, from Pixar vet and first time feature director Josh Cooley, boasts a fantastic 98% on Rotten Tomatoes from 321 critics and an 84 on Metacritic, where it earned the site’s Must-See designation. Audiences too have recognized how good Toy Story 4 is, netting the film an “A” CinemaScore to go along with its franchise best $118 million opening weekend.
Toy Story 4 will almost certainly find itself in the Best Animated Feature race next year, ironically opposite How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, another film that features the bittersweet end of a cherished cinematic friendship and a beloved franchise.
It’s not hard to see why critics and audiences responded to Toy Story 4 in this way. It is a gorgeously animated, hilarious and heartfelt film that appeals to both kids and adults alike and stays true to what the Toy Story franchise is, while reminding us of why we fell in love with these characters in the first place.
More than that, Toy Story 4 succeeds in perhaps the most crucial area of all: it justifies its own existence. Although those at Pixar may have always known there would be more adventures with Woody and Buzz Lightyear, many of us thought that the franchise was complete after 2010’s Toy Story 3. There was even a hope that Toy Story 4 wouldn’t happen, lest it risk ruining what was already considered a beautiful and perfect ending to an excellent trilogy.
But Toy Story 4 did happen and despite the weight of those expectations, it still managed to be a worthy entry in this saga, and one that does not diminish Toy Story 3 nor make this series feel like it has overstayed its welcome.
Yet for these accomplishments and the near universally recognized greatness of Toy Story 4, the most remarkable thing is how completely unremarkable it all is. That is to say, a Toy Story movie being great is not at all surprising.
That’s because time in and time out, Toy Story has delivered greatness to the point that the whole exercise now seems matter-of-fact, a foregone conclusion where the perfection is predicted. After the first film changed animation in 1995, Toy Story 2 proved a worthy sequel in 1999, back when Disney was still going the straight-to-DVD route with subpar sequels. Then in 2010, Pixar completed the trilogy with the beloved and bittersweet Toy Story 3.
Pixar’s track record may no longer be as unimpeachable as it once was, but Toy Story’s remains pristine. That’s why despite our qualms and worries about this franchise continuing past Toy Story 3, we still expected Toy Story 4 to be great, because Toy Story has never once disappointed.
If Toy Story 4 is indeed the last film in this franchise, as its ending would seem to indicate (but then again so did Toy Story 3’s), Toy Story will go down as perhaps the best four-film series of all time. But regardless of whether this is the end or not, for Toy Story to have maintained its high level of quality over the course of four consecutive films is an achievement that needs to be recognized.
As easy as Pixar made it look, making a series with four consecutive great movies is no simple thing. In fact, it is extremely difficult, as evidenced by how rare it is to see. Many franchises don’t make it to four films, either by design or because they sputter out before they get there, and not all of those that do make it to that amount manage to stay good throughout.
The common thinking is that sequels aren’t as good as the original; that’s why we have lists about sequels that are actually better than the original movies, because it is not the norm. The rule of thumb is that franchises/series get worse over time, that there is a law of diminishing returns where a franchise’s quality goes before the franchise itself. The sponge is often already wrung dry before a franchise dies off, as we are seeing now with Dark Phoenix.
There are plenty of examples of this. As good as the Daniel Craig James Bond films may be compared to some of their predecessors, they have still alternated greatness and mediocrity. Casino Royale and Skyfall are great; Quantum of Solace and Spectre are not. That’s not to say that they are terrible, but it shows how hard it is to deliver greatness again and again.
Pirates of the Caribbean couldn’t manage four consecutive great movies, nor could Shrek, Indiana Jones, Star Trek and Lethal Weapon. There are great trilogies like The Lord of the Rings, the modern Planet of the Apes, The Before Trilogy and the original Star Wars trilogy, but even that is difficult. Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man movies delivered 2 out of 3, and the same goes for Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy and The Godfather.
This is no way an indictment of these films and franchises, it is merely meant to illustrate how hard it is to deliver the kind of consistency that Pixar has with Toy Story. With all the variables that go into moviemaking, even when great filmmakers shepherd an entire trilogy it can still stumble. Making four great movies in a row is tremendously hard and perhaps as much alchemy and luck as preparation and execution.
This is not to say that making four great films in a row is impossible or that Toy Story is definitively the first franchise to do it. The recent run of Mission: Impossible films from Mission: Impossible 3 to Mission: Impossible Fallout has been pretty darn good. The same is true for four-film runs in the Harry Potter series and the four-film Hunger Games franchise.
Some might even argue the Fast & Furious franchise has delivered four in a row from Fast Five to Fate of the Furious. And while it’s not a 1:1 comparison given its unique cinematic universe model, the MCU’s run of Spider-Man: Homecoming, Thor: Ragnarok, Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War is fairly great.
However, even these examples don’t enjoy the kind of overwhelming praise and universal acclaim for each entry that the Toy Story films have had, each of which has earned at least an “A” CinemaScore and no lower than 98% Certified Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. Toy Story may truly stand alone for having such consistency at this level of greatness.
Toy Story has spanned four films over 25 years and the time between films undoubtedly gave filmmakers time to get things right, but it also could have worked against the movies if the characters fell out of favor or the franchise’s storytelling no longer resonated the same way they did in 1995. And sometimes no matter how much time a film has to be perfected, it still can’t reach the bar Toy Story consistently hit.
That greatness, though, was not a foregone conclusion, no matter how expected it may have been. Toy Story 4 was not an entirely smooth production. The fourth entry in Pixar’s crown jewel franchise endured director changes, script rewrites and delays, as well as a major shakeup behind-the-scenes at Pixar. Any of those factors might have felled another movie, and it’s entirely possible that Toy Story could have stumbled in heartbreaking fashion at the finish line, but Toy Story 4 still came out smelling like roses.
If Toy Story 4 is the end, it leaves a legacy of consistent greatness that will not be easily matched and that is truly remarkable.
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The new James Bond movie has had a hell of a time of it, and considering the movie is still in the middle of active production, it’s going to be a long time before we see any sort of finished scenes in a trailer. However, the 25th James Bond movie doesn’t want fans to go entirely without a look at the new film, and a so a new behind the scenes video has been released.
In addition to giving us a few shots of Daniel Craig himself, as well as director Cary Fukunaga, we also get our first look at the return of Felix Leiter to the James Bond franchise, as Jeffrey Wright is back in the role he debuted in Casino Royale. Check out the full video below.
The video covers the filming of Bond 25 that has been taking place in Jamaica. The movie has already announced that this is where the new film will open. James Bond has retired from his life as a super spy, but he comes out of retirement when his old friend, CIA agent Felix Leiter shows up and asks for help.
We see a cool shot of James Bond moving past a window with his gun drawn, but the video spends most of its time focusing on the streets of Jamaica. We also go inside a club, which is where we see Lyshana Lynch as the new character Naoimi. We also see Jeffrey Wright as Felix Leiter. He’s got a pretty serious look on his face, but beyond that, he doesn’t look much like a government agent, with an open shirt and a cold beer.
Since the new video stays away from giving us any real action it doesn’t answer any of the many questions that we have about Bond 25. Beyond the initial setup, no plot details have been revealed so we don’t really know what the movie will be about. It’s also missing a title, though it’s far from obvious if a title would actually tell us anything useful. What the hell is a Quantum of Solace anyway?
The video, from the official 007 YouTube page, looks great, and based on it it would look like everything on the set has been going smoothly. That’s not entirely accurate. The movie has already seen its release date pushed back, possibly due to reported script issues. While Daniel Craig looks fine here, he actually injured his ankle on the set, causing a minor delay in the production.
Director Cary Fukunaga has also been accused of causing delays of his own, though he has very humorously clapped back at those rumors. These real and alleged delays were being blamed for problems getting Craig and Rami Malek, who will play the movie’s villain, on set at the same time, but appears those issues, to whatever they were real, have been handled.
Hopefully from here on out Bond 25 will avoid any serious problems. The movie is set for release in April 2020.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is a well-oiled machine at this point, with a decade of filmmaking behind its methodical moneymaking process. But there have been a few bumps in the MCU’s tenure, with some actors being recast and schedule changes occurring. Perhaps the biggest blemish in recent memory was the firing of Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn.
Disney fired James Gunn from his position within the Guardians franchise last July, after controversial tweets from a decade ago resurfaced. He’s recently been reinstated, after the Guardians threequel was put on indefinite hold for a series of months. Drax actor Dave Bautista was one of the most vocal defenders the filmmaker, and actually believes the studio quickly realized that Gunn’s departure was a misstep. While discussing that there was no bad blood between himself and Disney, Bautista said:
Dave Bautista isn’t typically one to hold his tongue, especially when it comes to the firing and reinstatement of his friend/colleague James Gunn. And while he was a vocal critic of Gunn’s original exit from the franchise, the 50 year-old wrestler/actor seems to have made peace with the situation. Now that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 can continue on as planned (albeit quite delayed), he’s buried the hatchet and let the feud die down.
The decision to rehire James Gunn did come fairly quickly, even if the uncertainty felt long and excruciating for the months were the House of Mouse offered no updates. It’s this timing that makes Dave Bautista think the studio quickly realized the error of its ways. Because while other Marvel movies have changed directors and made it out unscathed, the Guardians of the Galaxy movies are deeply connected to the director’s humor, point of view, taste in music, etc. Ergo, the cause to rehire.
James Gunn’s departure last July came alongside a wave of famous celebrities being fired for making controversial comments. Gunn’s came in the form of decade-old tweets, which the director quickly apologized for. But he was swiftly canned, putting one of the MCU’s most beloved franchises in jeopardy in the process. After all, there’s really no one who could replicate Gunn’s perspective within the property.
Following the cast’s letter in solidarity with James Gunn and the months of radio silence, Disney announced that the director had been reinstated to direct Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, based on his original draft of the script. In his same conversation with THR, Dave Bautista explained how he was just trying to stay on his friend’s side. Even if that meant possibly quitting his role if Gunn’s script wasn’t used.
Dave Bautista’s career has been steadily building over the past few years, in no smart part due to this role as Drax in the Guardians movies. Bautista is a consistent scene stealer within the MCU, and has also had roles in high profile blockbusters like Blade Runner 2049 and Spectre. But he was willing to risk it all and go back to wrestling if that meant sticking by James Gunn, regardless of its cost.
Ultimately it all worked out, and James Gunn will be able to complete the Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy as planned. Dave Baustista will once again reprising his role as Drax The Destroyer. He’s got a few projects ahead of him, so it doesn’t look like Bautista ruined his career by being such a staunch defender of Gunn.
Dave Bautista’s Drax is in Avengers: Endgame— being re-released in theaters. In the meantime check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.
Yesterday was the first day that Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge was open the general public without a reservation. As one might have expected, the crowds trying to get into the brand new land were pretty intense. The land filled to capacity very early, forcing Disneyland to open up its virtual queue system and create boarding groups for later entry. However, it sounds like this system worked pretty well, and by mid-afternoon, the queue system wasn’t even necessary and guests were able to walk in and out of Galaxy’s Edge freely just like any other place in the park.
Early reports from Batuu yesterday were pretty much what you’d expect on the first day of any grand opening at a Disney park. Galaxy’s Edge reportedly opened early, about 7:30 AM rather than the scheduled 8:00 AM, and before 8:30 AM, the land had hit capacity and no more people were allowed in.
At that point the remaining guests turned to the virtual queue system. By going to a FastPass location or using the Disneyland app, guests could reserve a spot in line without having to actually spend the day waiting in line. Guests would receive a phone notification via the app as their boarding group was called, and they’d have two hours to return to Galaxy’s Edge and enter the land.
From all reports, the system worked pretty well, even better was that by 4:45 PM, the boarding group system was no longer needed, and so it was turned off. At that point guests could walk freely between Galaxy’s Edge and the rest of the park just like any other land.
The new land’s one major attraction, Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run saw significant wait times early on, with waits being listed at three hours when the land was at capacity early, but the average wait time was closer to an hour, which made it the longest line at Disneyland Park, but nowhere near as long as lines for some attractions can get.
Viewing the Disneyland app myself at various points, I saw wait times listed as low as 35 minutes, which is practically a walk-on for an E-ticket attraction. I’m not sure Radiator Springs Racers has had a wait time that low since it opened.
Part of the reason that Smuggler’s Run may not have had a seriously long wait is because it’s not actually the hottest ticket inside Galaxy’s Edge. That honor instead goes to Oga’s Cantina and Savi’s Workshop. Both the cantina and the lightsaber building experience require reservations and those reservations reportedly went quickly on day one.
There are a number of reasons why Galaxy’s Edge’s first day might not have quite the level of insanity that many people were expecting. First and foremost, Batuu is huge. It’s the single largest land ever built at a Disney park from a square footage perspective, two acres larger than Disney California Adventure’s Cars Land. This means that the land can simply hold more people than any place else at Disneyland Resort.
In addition, while anybody with a Disneyland ticket could enter Galaxy’s Edge, most Disneyland Annual Passports are still blacked out, meaning that a lot of the parks regular guests would have to buy a regular ticket to visit the land now, one would guess that most of them are not doing that.
While an Annual Passport holder would likely go racing for Galaxy’s Edge upon entry, because they’ve seen the rest of the park dozens of times, your average guest, while likely still very interested in Galaxy’s Edge, is still a tourist on vacation. If you’ve never been to Disneyland in your life, then the Casey Jr. Circus Train, which has been around since 1955, is just as new to you as Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run.
Disneyland Resort still has two parks and Downtown Disney and many if not most of the people there now want to see all of it equally.
It’s also possible that, because yesterday was the first day that Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge was open to all guests, there was an expectation that it would be too crowded. If enough people assumed it would be too crowded to deal with, it’s possible that the opposite could have happened, and the area became less crowded.
Some seem to be calling Galaxy’s Edge’s lack of insane crowds a problem. While certainly there was an expectation that masses of humanity would swarm Batuu to the point that it would be out of control, the fact that this didn’t happen doesn’t mean that the land didn’t still see a massive number of guests, it simply means those guests were managed well.
The reservation period that went on for three weeks was essentially a soft opening. Crowds were limited so that the park could get up to speed, cast members could figure out how best to handle everything, and any bugs in the system could be discovered and fixed early. The fact that the boarding groups were needed at all shows that there was no lack of guest interest.
Overall, it appears that crowd management went really well for day one, and that’s key. While lines and crowds are always to be expected, they’re never fun, and if things get out of control, that’s when guests stop having fun and the experience becomes negative.
It looks like guests for the most part had a great time at Galaxy’s Edge. The biggest issues may have been that some merchandise sold out, so if you were looking for something specific, it may not have been available.
Crowds were looking unseasonably low based on attraction wait times in the weeks during the Galaxy’s Edge reservation period. That hasn’t changed now that the land is open to the public. Even during the times the boarding groups were in effect and people were, one assumes, visiting other parts of the park waiting for their entry time, the rest of the park wasn’t overly crowded.
We’ll have to wait and see how wait times change over the next few days and weeks. As Annual Passport holders begin to gain access to Batuu things may begin to get crowded again. It’s also possible that simply by adding this new large land, crowds at Disneyland have fundamentally changed for the better. It likely won’t last forever, but if this is a new standard, then the parks may have become a lot more fun.
Images courtesy Disneylandnews.com/Disney
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It’s no secret that Alita: Battle Angel had an interesting run at the box office, but has inspired a loyal fanbase who is still out there hoping for a sequel to the film. While we don’t have news of that ilk just yet, the movie is finally making its way onto Blu-ray, DVD and Digital in July and for fans who really loved the movie, the studio is going all out with the home entertainment sets.
In addition to the regular releases of Alita: Battle Angel, a bunch of different sets will be available to up the ante for those fans who really loved the film. The major set that was recently announced can be found for pre-order on Amazon and will be a gigantic collection with a 3D Blu-ray, a 4K copy, and a Blu-ray and Digital code, meaning it should literally meet any movie need you might have.
The official Collector’s Set also comes with a bunch of additional extras. If you really liked the film enough for it to adorn your walls, concept art will be included, as well as a 64-page book. Lots of cool stuff, if you really enjoyed Alita.
That, of course, will also not be the cheapest of the options. It is currently running at $199.99, which is quite a bit of money to spend on a movie set, unless you’re a superfan. But just look at what you’ll get!
Luckily, if you’re just hoping for a little something special with your copy of Alita: Battle Angel, there are options. For example, the Target-specific Blu-ray for Alita: Battle Angel will come with a cool wristband, which you can see below.
In addition, Walmart has another gift set available and Best Buy is doing a pretty cool Steelbook release, which is both outside the norm and will be much lighter on your wallet. It also includes the 4K look at the film, if you have that capacity on your home TV.
So, there is honestly lots to choose from. The only thing I can’t help you with is the fact none of these sets will be available until July 23, although you can pre-order many of them now. It’s actually quite a while for fans to still be waiting, as the movie officially hit theaters way back in February. The Digital release is just around the corner, however, and is expected to be available starting on July 9.
Luckily, it looks as if the wait should be worth it, particularly for major fans of the film. And solid sales can only mean positive things for the future of the franchise – or I guess theoretical franchise at this point – as well. Particularly given that Robert Rodriguez would be happy to make a sequel to the movie, should the opportunity arise.
Spoilers ahead for Avengers: Endgame.
Phase Three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been on a serious roll. With the exception of BTS drama like James Gunn’s firing, the current slate of movies has gone on without a hitch. Avengers: Endgame is very close to becoming the most profitable movie of all time, but it’s surprisingly not the final installment in Phase Three. That honor goes to Spider-Man: Far From Home, which is mere days away from arriving in theaters– including some new suits.
Spider-Man: Far From Home is Tom Holland’s second solo movie, after appearing in a variety of movies throughout the recent phase of movies. While the public originally anticipated the movie being the first installment in Phase Four, it turns out it will be the conclusion to the Infinity Saga. Kevin Feige recently explained this decision, saying:
It looks like Avengers: Endgame‘s final battle is what affected the decision to include Spider-Man: Far From Home as Phase Three’s final movie. Tony Stark heroically sacrificed himself to destroy Thanos forever, and its a plot point that is sure to be felt throughout the entire MCU. Especially for Peter Parker, given his father/son dynamic with Iron Man.
Peter Parker and Tony Stark’s mentor relationship was one of the new additions to Phase Three, beginning with Captain America: Civil War. It was really fleshed out in Spider-Man: Homecoming, as well as Avengers: Infinity War. Tony’s true affection for Peter became relevant once he was faded away to dust, and the five years that followed before the Time Heist.
Kevin Feige’s comments to Comic Book make total sense, given the marketing of Spider-Man: Far From Home. Peter’s grief over Tony Stark’s Endgame death seems to be at the front of the sequel’s narrative. In addition to speaking with Happy Hogan and Jake Gyllenhaal’s Mysterio about his loss, the imagery of Iron Man is shown literally looming above his head. Add in the use of the Iron Spider armor, and Iron Man is very much part of the fabric of the upcoming sequel.
Stephen King is one of the most prolific, well-known, and best storytellers of a generation – or multiple generations. Over his now 50+ year career, Hollywood has been cranking out movies adapted from his books almost as fast as he can write them. Most recently a second movie adaptation of his book Pet Sematary was released earlier this year.
We’ve also seen another book adaptation made for a second time with 2017’s IT. Though this is a second go at Pet Sematary, neither it or the first one from 1989 100% did justice for the very scary book they are based on, but at least the first one was responsible for the awesome theme song by The Ramones. IT, on the other hand, is a masterpiece of adaptation and despite Tim Curry’s excellent performance in the 1990 miniseries, there is no question the big screen movie adaption is superior.
An astonishing 45 novels, novellas and short stories by Stephen King have been made into feature films and that doesn’t include three more that are set for release later this year, IT Chapter Two, Doctor Sleep in theaters and In The Tall Grass coming to Netflix. It also doesn’t include another couple dozen plus projects that have been made into TV shows and TV miniseries!
Because there’s so much to work through, we’ve kept it to theatrical releases, so excellent shows like Under The Dome and Hulu’s 11.22.63 aren’t included, but are certainly recommended!
10. The Running Man (1987)
The Running Man is the kind of movie that is never going to win any awards. It’s not going to change the world or launch a new era in filmmaking. It’s just a really, really fun movie. The Running Man is a great watch for a lot reasons; for one, it has great supporting actors, like the original host of The Family Feud, Richard Dawson, WWE Hall Of Famer Jesse Ventura, and all-time football superstar Jim Brown, not to mention two awesome cameos from musicians Mick Fleetwood and Dweezil Zappa.
The main reason The Running Man is so fun though, is that it comes from that creative mind of Stephen King, as it’s based on his book of the same title and written under his pseudonym Richard Bachman. The movie changes quite a bit, but it keeps the basic idea that a man must survive a gauntlet of killers to win money and/or his freedom. It’s one of the most fun adaptations of any of King’s works.
9. The Dead Zone (1983)
Director David Cronenberg’s adaption of Stephen King’s novel The Dead Zone was one of the first times a King novel was ever adapted. It stars Christopher Walken as a regular guy who finds himself with the ability to see into people’s pasts and presents simply by touching them after he awakens from a years-long coma after a car accident.
David Cronenberg is a master of directing weird, scary, and suspenseful stories and teaming up with Stephen King was a wonderful combination of two first-rate talents. Casting the weird and wonderful Christopher Walken as the protagonist, John Smith, was another stroke of genius. The Dead Zone isn’t the best known of King’s work but it is definitely one of the best.
8. Children Of The Corn (1984)
Children Of The Corn is one of the scariest movies from the 1980s. It was released in the midst of the slasher film craze in the ’80s, among the huge horror franchises like Friday The 13th, Nightmare On Elm Street, and Halloween, but Children Of The Corn isn’t like those. It is way freakier and way scarier.
Like a lot of Stephen King’s best stories, this one is super creepy. It’s about a cult of religious kids that murder all the adults in a small town and are lead by the terrifying Malachi, played Courtney Gains as they terrify a couple on a road trip that happen upon the town they crash into an-already dead boy, forcing them to stop in the middle of the corn fields. Children Of The Corn is King at his weird and scary best.
7. The Green Mile (1999)
Director Frank Darabont has collaborated with Stephen King three times, with The Green Mile, starring Tom Hanks and Michael Clarke Duncan (in his breakout performance), being the second of those movies. The first is one we’ll actually get to a little later in these rankings.
The Green Mile, is less of a horror story as it is a pure supernatural story about a death row inmate, played by Michael Clarke Duncan, who has magical healing powers and goes on to form a bond with his prison guard, Tom Hanks, after curing Hanks’ character of a bladder infection. The Green Mile is a morality tale filled with twists and surprises and is one of the best examples of Stephen King’s versatile storytelling abilities. It’s not always about horror.
6. Carrie (1976)
Carrie is all about horror, however. It is one terrifying film and the first time a Stephen King novel was adapted into a movie. Directed by the great Brian De Palma and starring Sissy Spacek as the titular character, a high school teenager with terrifying telekinetic abilities who goes on the rampage after finally hitting her breaking point from being bullied by her classmates, teachers, and family.
Sissy Spacek’s performance is amazing and completely frightening. The story, like all the best of King, is disturbing and uncomfortable. In the beginning, you are rooting for Carrie, but by the end, you are horrifying and appalled, although perhaps still a little sympathetic. It’s honestly a work of genius.
5. IT (2017)
Stephen Kings novel IT, first published in 1986, has long been a fan-favorite work. It was made into a miniseries in 1990 with Tim Curry as Pennywise the clown and it was, really, just alright I think, though people praise Curry. In fact, Curry’s performance was good, but it also felt very much like a made-for-TV special of the day.
However, 2017’s feature film, is every bit a big budget film that is spectacularly honed and was an enormous hit in the fall of ’17 when the film was released. The critical response was just as good, as it received glowing reviews from critics and fans alike. I personally feel Bill Skargard’s performance as Pennywise even outshines the great Tim Curry performance. There is nothing about IT that isn’t classic Stephen King.
4. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
The Shawshank Redemption is the second fruitful collaboration between Stephen King and director Frank Derabont but it was not a hit when it was released in 1994. It’s hard to believe that know because after years of heavy rotation on cable TV, it’s hard to find anyone in the country who didn’t grow up watching it dozens of times. It’s become an indelible part of the American zeitgeist and for good reason, it’s a really great movie, starring a really great cast, based on a really great story.
The Shawshank Redemption is based the Stephen King novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption and tells the story of two unlikely friends that form a bond while incarcerated for murder in a Maine prison. Shawshank is one of the most amazing examples of a Stephen King story that has no ghost or ghouls or evil spirits or rampaging murders. It has none of that, although again, it’s a spectacularly great example of King’s versatility.
3. The Shining (1980)
Stephen King hates it, but movie fans love it. Director Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining is without question one of the most polarizing adaptations of one of King’s stories. King seems to go out his way to take cheap shots at the movie, and Kubrick certainly changed the story quite a bit, but it is also one fantastic movie.
The story, about the inner (and outer) demons of a struggling writer hired to be the caretaker of an isolated mountain hotel that closes for the winter is terrifying, both in the pages of King’s original novel and on the screen in Kubrick’s movie. They are both masterpieces of their genre and even if Stephen King doesn’t like it, it’s still an amazing movie worth seeing.
James Caan was the biggest star of Misery when it was released, but Kathy Bates absolutely steals the show as the psychotic Annie Wilkes, a superfan of novelist Paul Sheldon who happens to rescue him after a car crash in a remote part of Colorado and helps to nurse him back to health, for a little while.
Kathy Bates’ performance, for which she won an Oscar, is astoundingly scary. Her Annie Wilkes is one of the best movie villains of all-time and the “hobbling” scene is one of the scariest, and most nauseating scenes ever. It is certainly unforgettable, as is the rest of the movie as Caan’s character tries to escape and time after time has his attempts thwarted by the completely insane Annie Wilkes. You can’t help but wonder what kind of misery Stephen King, as an author himself, put himself through to come up with this terrifying story.
1. Stand By Me
If you need further proof that Stephen King is much more than a horror story writer, look no further than Stand By Me. It’s not scary, or freaky, or anything else that he is most known for. It is a really just a simple coming-of-age story about four friends who go on a hike and see the dead body of a child about their age who have been hit by a train, but had not been found yet. It’s directed by the great Rob Reiner and based on a story called The Body.
With an all-star cast of adolescent and young actors led by River Phoenix and Wil Wheaton that also includes Cory Feldman, Jerry O’Connell, and Keifer Sutherland, with John Cusack in flashback scenes as Wil Wheaton’s deceased brother, everything about Stand By Me is perfect. There are no jump scares or violent attacks, but it’s a wonderful, timeless, bittersweet story about growing up. It’s not what anyone expected from Stephen King, especially when it was released in 1986, but it is still the best adaptation of one of his stories, even 30-plus years later.
Of course, they haven’t all been hits. Some of the author’s adaptions have been seriously disappointing, most notably 2017’s The Dark Tower, based on the first book of what might be Stephen King’s best and most loved work, The Dark Tower series. It’s also hard not to mention the epically bad, but somehow still awesome in a teenage boy-staying-up-too-late-on-a-Friday-night-kind of way, Maximum Overdrive, which was King’s first and (probably for good reason) only foray into directing.
The hits far outweigh the flops though, and this looks like another great year for fans of America’s scariest storyteller.