Ezra Miller Responds To Rumors Of Ben Affleck Quitting Batman

While the DC Extended Universe is continuing ahead with movies like Shazam!, Birds of Prey and Wonder Woman 1984, one mystery still looming over the franchise is the future of Ben Affleck’s Batman. Though Warner Bros hasn’t officially announced that Affleck is leaving the Caped Crusader behind, reports continue to come out claiming that Affleck is done as Batman, and that a new actor will don the cape and cowl for Matt Reeves’ Batman movie. When asked about these rumors, Affleck’s DCEU costar, Ezra Miller, the man bringing The Flash to life on the big screen, responded:

Ezra Miller’s comment was also in reference to the rumors that Henry Cavill is hanging up his Superman cape, which Warner Bros denied. The DCEU is getting pieces in order for some of its other heroes, but as far as Batman and Superman are concerned, it’s hard to tell where we stand with those two. Miller’s cagey comment to Playboy suggests maybe we should take Bruce Wayne’s advice to Clark Kent in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice to heart: “Don’t believe everything you hear, son.”

No doubt Ezra Miller can’t say anything more than that, otherwise he’d get yelled at by DC and Warner Bros executives. Still, it does make one wonder if Miller actually knows something we don’t, and that there are indeed plans for Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill to return to the DCEU, or if this is just a form of damage control.

Looking specifically at Ben Affleck, rumors about him retiring as Batman have been circulating about for over a year, and have gained steam following the release of Justice League. It’s been reported that Matt Reeves’ Batman movie will feature a younger actor playing the Gotham City vigilante, rather than pick back up with Affleck’s version. When we last left off with Affleck’s version of Batman, he was getting ready to turn the abandoned Wayne Manor into the Justice League’s headquarters, so it seemed like he had a bright future ahead of him. Well, as bright as one can be who looms in the shadows and broods a lot.

As for Ezra Miller, his future with the DCEU is slightly more cemented. Following his cameos in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad, and his full debut in Justice League, Miller has been attached to lead a standalone Flash movie. However, Miller is also busy playing Credence Barebone in the Fantastic Beasts film series, and last month it was reported that in order to accommodate Miller shooting Fantastic Beasts 3, Warner Bros has pushed production on The Flash back to late 2019, which means it probably won’t hit theaters until 2021 at the earliest.

Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for all the latest updates concerning the DCEU, but for now, you can find out what else the superhero franchise has in development by looking through out DC movies guide.

John Krasinski Didn’t Originally Like The Ending To A Quiet Place

Walking out of A Quiet Place was a unique experience because it’s a horror movie with a touching theme about family. Not many films of the genre can balance frightening their viewers and warming their hearts in just under two hours. The film’s director, co-writer and star John Krasinski recently revealed that the ending was a lot more horror-like, but one of the film’s producer pitched the idea that made it into the final cut, which Krasinski wasn’t always fond of. In his words:

It looks like you can thank Steven Spielberg‘s inspiration for another classic movie ending! When filmmakers are caught up in the film development process, sometimes they can get caught up in their “art” and forget to service the moviegoers who are going to buy tickets. Spielberg’s perspective on popcorn moments contributing to the art of a film was great advice for Krasinski to hear, and Hollywood knows the director has seen a few hits in his day.

In John Krasinski’s interview with The Hollywood Reporter, he spoke about how through the process of fleshing out the film’s story, he kept wanted to push this idea of family. He has previously described the film as a love letter to his daughter at its core and the ending contributes to bringing this point home. Krasinski cast his wife, Emily Blunt as a lead in the film and he shared four different roles in the filmmaking process of A Quiet Place, including walking around in a motion-capture suit and sneakers as the monster.

A Quiet Place could have been your typical horror flick: gorier, less gratifying and bleak. But John Krasinski and his filmmaking team decided to tell a unique story, with a shocking ending. One would not expect the male lead to die, the disabled daughter to find the monster’s weakness or the nurturing mother of three to shoot and kill it, but that’s what happens in A Quiet Place. In addition to the star power of the Hollywood couple’s first collaboration on screen, its terrifying premise of the fear of silence as a main device and its critical success each raised up the film to become one of the unexpected movie successes of 2018.

John Krasinski’s passion project is also getting a sequel on May 15, 2020, which the multi-talent has also started working on.

Gears Of War Creator Cliff Bleszinski Is Apparently Done Making Games

Cliff Bleszinski is best known for helping Microsoft dominate over Sony during the seventh generation of gaming with the Gears of War trilogy while he was working at Epic Games. The evolution of the Unreal Engine had direct synergy with the gameplay and tech advancements featured in Gears of War, which made it both popular as a game and as a showcase for evolutionary software tech. It quickly made Bleszinski a millionaire since it attracted a very targeted demographic who loved the series. Well, that’s all coming to an end since he’s apparently done making games, as he revealed in the below post:

In a tweet reply on his official Twitter account, Bleszinski, best known in the gaming world as Cliffy B., responded to a gamer who was asking for a refund of Lawbreakers since the game is no longer supported following the closure of Boss Key Productions, Bleszinski’s production company. The game originally came out in 2017 and shut down a year later in 2018.

The long-time developer responded by saying that he had to pay for everyone’s salary, 401K and health care first, even after the studio folded, and that he hadn’t taken a salary for himself for two years.

In the tweet, Bleszinski states that he’s done with making games and never making another game. This was further reiterated and confirmed by GamesIndustry.biz, who reached out to Bleszinski to confirm if the claims were true, and he responded by stating “I’m done.”

This wouldn’t be the first time that Bleszinski called it quits on gaming. Following his tenure at Epic Games working on the Gears of War trilogy, Bleszinski also called it quits after shipping the Xbox 360 exclusives in 2012. However, just three years later in 2015, Bleszinski was back at it and he decided to scratch that itch to create something new. That something new turned out to be Lawbreakers for PC and PlayStation 4. The first-person shooter was an anti-gravity PvP game with a theme based around the hero-shooter gimmick where each character had their own personality, abilities and weapons.

However, the market had already had its champions cornering the hero-shooter gimmick, with Team Fortress 2 leading the charge and Overwatch not being far behind. Much like Gearbox Software’s Battleborn, which was another hero-shooter that came out around the same time as Overwatch.

None of the other hero-shooters seemed to fare all that well either other than Overwatch in recent times. Sadly Lawbreakers was one of those games that just did not do well on the market.

Boss Key Productions attempted one final outing before closing up shop and tried its hand at Radical Heights, but even though the game managed to capture a solid audience in the Battle Royale genre, it was too little too late.

After having to shut down Boss Key Productions and closing up Radical Heights and Lawbreakers, and having to deal with the backlash from the community, Bleszinski decided to finally hang up the gloves and step out of the ring of gaming.

HeroBlend #31: Thank You, Stan Lee

Then, we’ll get to the bulk of the podcast and devote the rest of the time to a lengthy discussion of Stan Lee. This will include his life, work, legacy as a comic creator and pop culture icon, how he changed the comic book business and the entertainment business, as well as how his work, especially, changed Eric’s life. We will also be going through some of the reactions to his death that were posted to social media this week, including one that led to some controversy. And, of course, no conversation about Stan Lee is complete without a chat about his Marvel Cinematic Universe movie cameos, so we’ll get into those as well. Sit back and relax, folks, because this is one chat you’re not going to want to miss. Ready to dive in? Great! Listen for yourself above!

How Legacies Pulled Off Those Crossovers With The Flash And Scream

Legacies just connected itself to fellow The CW show The Flash. The November 15 episode also tied-in Scream‘s Ghostface. Both Legacies references came through MG’s (Quincy Fouse) nightmares, but really through Executive Producer Julie Plec’s behind-the-scenes efforts. She first explained how The Flash‘s Gorilla Grodd appeared on the vampire spinoff:

Yes, as Julie Plec tweeted, since Legacies is part of The Vampire Diaries Universe, and The Flash is in the DC universe, this is technically the first “TVDU-DCU crossover.” Is it too soon to ask for more?

Gorilla Grodd first showed up to terrorize Team Flash in The Flash Season 1, and he got his own two-parter in The Flash Season 3. And last night he returned to scare Legacies character MG.

But that wasn’t enough for Legacies Season 1, Episode 4. “Hope Is Not the Goal” also added a Scream connection, and Julie Plec explained how that one came about:

As Julie Plec noted, Scream was her first film experience, and where she started developing her horror cred. She’s credited as a co-producer on both Scream 2 and Scream 3, as well as Wes Craven’s Cursed.

Now Julie Plec is the queen of The Vampire Diaries Universe. The Vampire Diaries and its first spinoff The Originals are both off the air, but they gave birth to the joint baby Legacies. So far, Legacies has brought back several TVD characters — except for one major character we’re all waiting on. Since the new series is embracing a monster-of-the-week format, there’s always room for more horror-crossover nightmares. (Maybe Swamp Thing? That’s what the dude at the end looked like.)

What Instant Family Gets Right About Adoption, According To The Director

Adoption is something that we’ve seen come up in numerous films. Sure enough, in almost every case, the subject is tackled with more or less the same attitude. But what they tend to leave out are the more positive sides of the adoption story. This is something co-writer/director Sean Anders set out to correct when he created the story for this weekend’s big release Instant Family, as you can see in his remarks below:

Talking with CinemaBlend during the Instant Family press day, Sean Anders was asked about how he felt the subject of adoption was handled in the past, as well as how he approached it from a more personal, corrective attitude. Just mention the subject of adoption to a moviegoer, and they’d probably recall films like Losing Isaiah or, more recently, Philomena, where the process of adoption is something that feels more like a fearsome/family breaking practice.

As an adoptive father to three foster children himself, Sean Anders obviously wouldn’t let the subject continue to be treated in such a stark manner. So he started to put together the story for the film in-between making the Daddy’s Home films, with his co-writer from that series, John Morris, providing an assist.

While Instant Family isn’t a candy-coated fantasy that paints the foster care experience as a concretely uplifting process, it does add a level of heartfelt comedy into the mix. Throughout the film, we see not only the adjustment process of the children that Mark Wahlberg’s Pete and Rose Byrne’s Ellie are fostering with the intentions to adopt, we also see the would-be parents attending group sessions to acclimatize themselves to the situation as well.

Instant Family could be seen as, in a sense, a step in the right direction when it comes to films handling adoption. But there’s obviously more work to be done, and Sean Anders provided the following advice to whomever decides to step into the ring next:

From the best place one can come from, square at the center of their own heartfelt experience, Sean Anders set out to change how adoption is shown in films. You can feel the success in the resulting film, Instant Family, as the laughs aren’t forced and the dramatic components are handled with similar commitment to realism.

Instant Family is in theaters now, offering another family friendly option to partake in during this year’s Thanksgiving season.

Creed II Reviews Are In, Here’s What The Critics Are Saying

The Rocky film series proper officially wrapped up in 2006 with Rocky Balboa, but the mythology continues through the Creed spinoffs. In 2015, we met Adonis Creed, the son of the late Apollo Creed, and with Rocky Balboa in his corner, Adonis’ journey to the big leagues echoed Rocky’s own journey four decades earlier. Now we’re reuniting with him in Creed II, where he’s facing off against Viktor Drago, son of Ivan Drago, the man who killed Apollo in Rocky IV. Creed II is less than a week away from theaters, but reviews are now coming in, and it sounds like this movie is a decent follow-up to the first Creed movie, even if it doesn’t do quite enough to stand on its own.

Starting off, CinemaBlend’s own Mike Reyes awarded Creed II 4 out of 5 stars in his review, saying it did just as good of a job as Creed “when it comes to pumping an audience up.” The sequel asks the question, ‘What are you fighting for?’, and while Adonis is the main character having to answer this, resulting in both his body and heart being challenged, but the other important characters also deal with that question, allowing the cast to be used to their full potential. There are issues with pacing and not exploring the Drago family’s post-Rocky IV history enough, but these don’t detract from the movie being “totally inspiring.”

Creed II is absolutely exhilarating, touching gloves with the audience & knocking out expectations.

Uproxx‘s Mike Ryan echoed these sentiments, highlighting how Creed II works well as a sequel of sorts to Rocky IV. With Adonis being Apollo Creed’s son, it stands to reason that eventually Ivan Drago would have to be directly addressed in the Creed movies. But rather than tease out a confrontation with the Drago family over several movies like this is the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Creed II jumps straight into the action, and as a result, the movie “feels pleasantly refreshing with its retro-ness.”

…At its core, Creed II is about family. It’s about Adonis Creed’s relationship with Bianca and his continuing reconciliation with Apollo. It’s about Ivan Drago and his son, and where the line is drawn when it comes to personal redemption. And it’s about Rocky, struggling with the very few people he has left who he considers “family.” For a movie that features a dramatic fight between people with the last name Creed and Drago, it’s strangely sad and reflective.

Variety‘s Owen Gleiberman complimented Creed II for being a “rousing and effective sequel,” and even though much of its content feels familiar, there are a “couple of surprise punches” thrown in to keep us on our toes. However, compared to Creed or some of the earlier Rocky movies, the sequel feels “less exhilarating and more programmatic,” though there’s still enough to appreciate from it. Michael B. Jordan in particular delvers a great performance.

Creed II has been made with heart and skill, and Jordan invests each moment with such fierce conviction that he makes it all seem like it matters. Even if it all mattered a notable notch more in Creed.

Tom Jorgensen from IGN saw Creed II in a more mixed light, giving it a 6 out of 10. Despite the movie’s lesson being that the only way to live up to a legacy is to create your own, Tom felt that Creed II doesn’t have much of an identity on its own, as it’s so heavily entrenched in what went down in Rocky IV. Subsequently, both of the Drago men fail to make much of an impression. However, Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone and Tessa Thompson’s respective characters help carry the movie through its “shakier parts.”

Adonis’ story continues in Creed II, but the lackluster Dragos nearly break him and his budding franchise.

Angie Han from Mashable felt similarly, noting that in some ways Creed II feels like a “regression” from its predecessor. However, the sequel still works for the most part, whether it’s “finding personality” in everyday events to the “odd sympathy” it engenders for Ivan and Viktor Drago. However, assuming this film series moves forward, Angie mentioned that it could learn a lesson from Adonis and “start making a name on its own” rather than keep looking back to the past.

It’s not quite as smart as Creed, or quite as beautiful, and it doesn’t have as much depth or nuance or texture. But it’s got enough to deliver something satisfying and sweet.

Finally, Entertainment Weekly‘s Chris Nashawaty gave Creed II a B+. In his review, he said that while it may have seemed desperate for Creed II to follow up on the events of Rocky IV, it actually worked for this movie. In the end, it serves as an “effective” sequel, though it’s probably not a good idea for a hypothetical Creed III to not follow suit and do something like bring in Clubber Lang and his son as adversaries.

The Land director Steven J. Caple Jr. has made a rousing tale about fathers and sons, guilt and redemption, loneliness and family — just the sort of big, sledgehammer-subtle themes that have always propelled the series.

Overall, it sounds like Creed II will be enjoyable enough for fans of the Rocky franchise, even it relies a little too much on the past and doesn’t to enough to build something special for itself. We’ll have to wait and see whether the Creed franchise continues after this particular movie, but if it does, whoever helms the next installment will probably want to take measures to make it feel more unique.

You can judge Creed II for yourself when it opens in theaters on November 21, the same day as Ralph Breaks the Internet, Robin Hood, Green Book and Roma. As for what else there is to look forward to in the final weeks of 2018, head to our holiday premiere guide for that information, or you can get a head start on next year by looking through our 2019 release schedule.

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Another Game Studio Has Shut Down

It hasn’t been a rosy year in the world of video games. In fact, it’s been rather difficult for some development studios given how harsh the financial times have been. This has become ever-so-present with the news that yet another sizable development outlet had to shut its doors recently.

Landon Nguyen, the mobile game director for Tekken and the senior vice president at Bandai Namco, announced via his official Twitter account that Bandai Namco Studios Vancouver was shutting down.

The British Columbia-based outfit was responsible for the aforementioned mobile version of Tekken, which came out back in 2017. The game managed to get downloaded by millions of gamers across both iOS and Android devices. The Vancouver outfit was also responsible for Tap My Katamari, which is another mobile spin-off based on Bandai Namco’s popular Katamari Damacy series, and there were a couple of Pac-Man games that the studio made for mobile devices as well.

As you can tell, Bandai Namco Vancouver was responsible for mostly making mobile games. While this is usually the direction most big studios go in to chase down easy dollars, the mobile market hasn’t been kind enough to keep Bandai’s British Columbia offices open. This is basically to outline that just because a company is making mobile games, and just because millions of people are downloading those games, doesn’t always mean that those games are turning big profits.

The mobile market is an extremely over-saturated marketplace where everyone is competing not just to get millions (or billions) of downloads, but to also land enough of the consumer market that are referred to as “whales”. These are a small pool of dedicated consumers who spend big bucks on games. If you don’t have enough whales for your free-to-play title or cash-shop driven app, then it begins to lose money and potential profits.

That doesn’t mean things are any safer in the standard core market of gaming. We recently saw Telltale Games go bust after a deal fell through with Smilegate and AMC, which resulted in only two episodes for The Walking Dead: The Final Season being completed and released. Other games from the company have also been pulled from digital distribution outlets as the liquidation process continues.

In the case of Bandai Namco Vancouver, Nguyen confirmed that the mobile version of Tekken will still be available for download, and that there is a skeleton crew left on board to maintain the game, for now. However, Nguyen also states that any future updates are up in the air at this point.

Some studios reached out in support of staff looking to get hired, including Relic Entertainment, another Vancouver-based studio that has been responsible for classics like Homeworld, the World War II RTS series Company of Heroes, and the Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War trilogy.

Nguyen, meanwhile, has shown a lot of positivity online and noted that many of the job opportunities would be passed on to the team for those looking for extra work. So it at least sounds as if various members of the team will definitely have a soft landing.

Why Station 19’s Midseason Finale Set Up That Crazy Cliffhanger

Station 19 Season 2 ended its winter finale on a literal hanging-off-a-cliff cliffhanger. The Grey’s Anatomy spinoff set its final episode of 2018 during the same wind storm as Grey’s Season 15. In this case, Andy Herrera (Jaina Lee Ortiz) and Captain Robert Sullivan (Boris Kodjoe) have actually fallen off a cliff, since the ambulance they were in went off the road. That’s pretty intense, to say the least. Showrunner Stacy McKee explained why they ended the midseason finale on that low note:

It was definitely a punch of sorts for Andy and Sullivan. Boris Kodjoe just joined Station 19 this season as the new captain. We only just got to learn more about Sullivan’s past, with his wife dying on the same street as the accident. So it’s especially horrible that he’s now over the side of that cliff with Andy. Showrunner Stacy McKee told ET what’s ahead for that twosome, first confirming that the finale didn’t include some kind of last-minute cheat:

“If and who gets out” is rather ominous. If they survive this experience, it should bring Andy and Sullivan closer together. But if only one of them gets out, it would have to be Andy, right, as the main character of the spinoff?

One of the people who will be hit hardest by this literal cliffhanger is Andy’s best friend, Maya Bishop (Danielle Savre). The episode showed Maya trying to reach Andy, not knowing her friend was in this terrible accident. As Stacy McKee noted, this will not only be awful for Maya because her BFF is in danger, there’s also the added guilt factor:

“Weather the Storm” was Episode 7 of Station 19 Season 2, which will run for a full 22 episodes. Season 1 only aired 10 episodes, so the ABC series really does have time to stretch out its storytelling legs in 2019. So far, ratings have been pretty steady, with the November 8 episode picking up 5.10 million viewers and a 1.0 rating in the 18-49 demo. It helps to directly follow Grey’s Anatomy, which is still hugely popular, with 6.60 million viewers and a 1.6 rating for its own episode last week.

ABC has yet to announce exact 2019 midseason return dates, but Grey’s Anatomy always returns in January, so it would make sense for Station 19 to continue its own wind storm story right behind it. On that note, keep up with the whole 2019 midseason tv schedule in our handy guide. But before 2018 says goodbye, check out everything that’s still ahead in our fall TV roundup.