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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Movies

Disney Pushes 'Indiana Jones 5' a Year to 2021; Dates 'Maleficent,' 'Jungle Cruise'. Dwayne Johnson's 'Jungle Cruise' will swim into theaters in fall 2019, while Angelina Jolie's 'Maleficent 2' will open in summer 2020. Disney has pushed back the release of Indiana Jones 5 release a year to July 9, 2021, the studio said Tuesday. The move was widely expected. The movie was originally set to open on July 10, 2019, but production has been delayed because of script issues. Steven Spielberg is set to direct the fifth outing in the classic adventure series. The studio made a slew of other changes to its calendar, including announcing that Dwayne Johnson-starrer Jungle Cruise will open in theaters on Oct. 11, 2019, while Angelina Jolie's Maleficent 2 will hit theaters on May 29, 2020. More immediately, Disney Animation Studios is tweaking the title of its next film from Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck It Ralph 2 to Ralph Breaks the Internet. The animated film's release date of Nov. 21, 2018 remains the same. And 2018 Christmas event film Mary Poppins Returns is moving up a week, from Dec. 25 to Dec. 19 (that's going to pose even more competition for a slew of movies opening on Dec. 21, including Bumblebee and Aquaman.) Indiana Jones 5, from Lucasfilm and Disney, will see the return of star Harrison Ford. This mean that the actor, now 75 years old, will be 78 when the movie hits theaters (and just days away from turning 79). Jonathan Kasdan, the son of Raiders of the Lost Ark scripter Lawrence Kasdan, is being brought on to write a new draft of the feature. A previous version was written by David Koepp, who is no longer available to work on the film because he is focused on directing his Blumhouse feature You Should Have Left. When Indiana Jones 5 was first announced by Disney and Lucasfilm in March 2016, it was given a release date of July 19, 2019, but last year, it was pushed back to July 10, 2020. Finally, Marvel fans will get to see at least one superhero film earlier than expected. Disney is moving up the release of an untitled Marvel title from July 30, 2021 to Feb. 12, 2021. Instead, an untitled live-action Disney movie will open on the July 30 date. (Hollywood Reporter)

Warner Bros. Plans to Build Tramway Linking Burbank Lot to Hollywood Sign. The studio, now owned by innovation-focused AT&T, told Los Angeles officials Monday that it will pay the estimated $100 million for the so-called Hollywood Skyway. Move over Elon Musk. Warner Bros. has a bold vision for an aerial tramway to transport visitors to and from its Burbank lot to the Hollywood sign. Like a plan that Musk has for a high-tech hyperloop that would shuttle riders between Los Angeles and San Francisco, the Warners' tramway would alleviate traffic and parking problems that plague the famed landmark. The studio, now owned by innovation-focused AT&T, told Los Angeles officials Monday that it will pay the estimated $100 million for the so-called Hollywood Skyway. "The Hollywood sign is an important historic and globally recognized landmark for the city of Los Angeles. The sign's fame, however, has created unintended negative effects such as heavy traffic in adjacent residential areas and related safety concerns," a Warners spokesperson said in a statement. "The concept of an aerial tram as a solution is one that been suggested in the past and was most recently highlighted as a potential solution in the comprehensive strategies report by Dixon Resources Unlimited. Warners decided to step up given its close proximity to the north side of the Hollywood sign and wanted to be part of a solution that has the least impact possible on the environment so that Griffith Park and the surrounding residential neighborhoods are left largely undisrupted. "We understand there are a number of possible solutions being considered, but we are confident the city's feasibility study will show our proposal to be the best option -- an option that can be built and operated at no cost to the taxpayer and that will provide public benefit to the city of Los Angeles and its residents," the spokesperson added. The length of the route would be more than 1 mile and last roughly 6 minutes -- a far cry from current driving estimates even under the best conditions -- traveling up the back of Mt. Lee to a planned visitors center near the sign. It is unclear how Warners would carry out construction without impacting the ecologically fragile Griffith Park, home to mountain lions and the gray fox. The studio's plan would have to pass muster with environmental impact studies and neighborhood organizations. A source says the tramway would take about three years to be built. It's not the first time the private sector proposed a transportation project linking the Hollywood sign. In December, media mogul Barry Diller spearheaded a $25 million to $30million gondola project that would transport tourists from the Los Angeles Zoo to the sign, but it has been met with fierce resistance. If the Warner Bros. plan is realized, it would be a boon to Warners' own tourism business, with a certain increase to the studio's daily visitors for its various movie- and TV-related attractions. The Los Angeles Times first reported the tramway plan. (Hollywood Reporter)

Chlo Grace Moretz fights gay conversion therapy in stunning Miseducation of Cameron Post trailer. Chlo Grace Moretz is offering a few lessons on morality and acceptance in the new trailer for her stunning Sundance drama The Miseducation of Cameron Post. The first full-length trailer for the festival hit debuted Tuesday, previewing the Desiree Akhavan-directed film's emotionally wrought story revolving around a young lesbian's (Moretz in the titular role) road to self-acceptance amid her journey through the evils of religiously-backed gay conversion therapy in 1993 America. After her boyfriend catches her having sex with her high school's prom queen, Cameron's mother exiles her to a rural treatment center. Though she struggles to cope with her new environment at first, Cameron doesn't face the conflict alone: American Honey breakout Sasha Lane plays another gay teen who quickly bonds with Moretz's character at the facility, which is run by the domineering Dr. Marsh (Jennifer Ehle) and her docile brother, Reverend Rick (John Gallagher Jr.). But things don't go according to plan, and Cameron's bout with conversion therapy instead affirms her identity as opposed to erasing it. "Cameron, your sin is with the struggle of same-sex attraction. You're facing the consequences of your actions, and it's ugly... The first step is for you to stop thinking of yourself as a homosexual," Dr. Marsh tells Cameron, who responds: "I don't think of myself as a homosexual. I don't really think of myself as anything... F -- this place." Following the success of Appropriate Behavior -- Akhavan's debut feature as a writer-director -- Cameron Post marked the filmmaker's second consecutive feature to premiere at Sundance, where the film ultimately won the annual event's 2018 Grand Jury Prize in January. It has since traveled to festivals around the world (including the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival), where it has been met with positive reviews from movie critics. The Miseducation of Cameron Post enters limited release on Aug. 3. (Entertainment Weekly)

Clint Eastwood film about Mexican cartel set to begin production. Production on a Clint Eastwood-directed film about a Mexican cartel is scheduled to begin in New Mexico. New Mexico Film Office Director Nick Maniatis announced Monday that Eastwood's upcoming feature "The Mule," from Warner Bros. Pictures and Imperative Pictures, will film later this month in Las Cruces. Starring Clint Eastwood, Bradley Cooper, Laurence Fishburn and Michael Pena, "The Mule" is the story of Earl Stone, a man in his 80s who is broke, alone and facing foreclosure of his business. He is offered a job that simply requires him to drive. However, unbeknownst to Earl, he signs on as a drug courier for a Mexican cartel. The New Mexico File Office says the production will employ around 85 New Mexico crew members and about 200 New Mexico background talent. (PageSix)

Restorer of Beatles Film 'Yellow Submarine' Talks 'State of the Art' Version Coming to Big Screen For 50th Anniversary. The animated film Yellow Submarine has been shown a lot of love from both The Beatles and the public in its 50 years since its release in 1968. Starting Monday (July 9), to celebrate the movie's 50th anniversary, fans in the U.S. will be treated to theater screenings of the best-looking version of the film they've ever seen. That's according to Paul Rutan Jr. at Triage Motion Picture Services and Eque Inc. who led the team that re-scanned the film to the 4k resolution used on the Blu-ray and DVD release in 2012, as well as the theatrical cut to be debuted this week. "It's fully restored and it looks great," Rutan tells Billboard in a phone interview. "The restoration that I did is state-of-the-art, the best that it can be," he said. Although most of the work was used for the release of the Blu-ray and DVD, there have been other improvements that theater viewers will notice, too. "The changes that were made were made basically was replacing scenes that had been shortened, correcting sequences that had been changed for the United States market, and also inserting the 'Hey Bulldog' sequence," Rutan details. "And Apple did a new 5.1 stereo track." (The "Hey Bulldog" sequence was not seen in the version of the film originally shown in the U.S.) The 2012 restoration was not done digitally, but painstakingly by hand, one frame at a time. "The reason we did that," Rutan explains, "is that when we tried to apply automated restoration, it would eliminate the basic palette of the original hand-painted artwork. Little tiny nuances of brush strokes and just minute details, small details that were indicative of the artwork from the era -- which I thought was extremely important to maintain." The results on the big screen will be an experience, says Rutan: "To be able to see it on the big screen is going to blow people's mind compared to seeing it on a big TV because the screens are calibrated. The projectors are calibrated. I made it look like film." And he has seen the results: "I've seen the digital cinema projection, the packages that are supplied to theaters. It looked incredible. It's quite spectacular." When the film was originally released a half-century ago, the expectations weren't high for it, according to Beatles historian and author Bruce Spizer. "No one really expected much from the Yellow Submarine feature-length cartoon," he offers. "The Beatles were not enthusiastic about the film, perhaps concerned over how they were depicted in the [U.S. Saturday morning] cartoon series. United Artists refused to count the cartoon as the third Beatles film under its contract with the group, agreeing only to serve as the distributor for the movie. But when it came out, the film exceeded all expectations. It was psychedelic, hip and funny. Visually it was like a Peter Max painting come to life. It was full of countless puns. Its message was the power of music and love." "When Yellow Submarine was first released back in 1968, it was understood as a kind of 'head movie,' the sort of film you go to see after dosing yourself in advance with hallucinogens," Dr. Kenneth Womack, Dean of Social Studies and Humanities at Monmouth University and author of several Beatles books, tells Billboard. His books on the Fab Four include a two-volume biography of the group's producer Sir George Martin of which the second volume, Sound Pictures, will be published in September. "But at the same time, it presaged today's animated masterworks, where fun-loving characters and their colorful environs delight children, while the screenplay is laden with just enough sophisticated humor and punning wordplay to capture adult imaginations," he continues. "The upgrades to the film, including the digital treatment of the music and the animation, have rendered Yellow Submarine into a much sharper and more engrossing experience. For viewers who have seen the movie in its various incarnations since its premiere, each new version has breathed fresh life into the film, making for an evolving experience that pays dividends with each subsequent viewing." "Yellow Submarine serves as the perfect way for fans to introduce The Beatles to their children and grandchildren, or just to share the experience with them," Spizer says. "The film is as fresh, clever and exciting 50 years on as it was in 1968. It's all in the mind, you know." Spizer will be introducing the film at several screenings July 13 through 15 at the Prytania Theatre in New Orleans. (Billboard)

'Star Wars': Billy Dee Williams Reprising Role as Lando Calrissian. The actor is returning for 'Episode IX.' Billy Dee Williams is returning to a galaxy far, far away. The actor, who famously played the galactic gambler Lando Calrissian, will reprise the role for Star Wars: Episode IX, the next Star Wars installment from Lucasfilm. Chatter about Williams joining the production, which is set to begin later this summer, increased in recent days when the actor bowed out of an upcoming sci-fi and pop culture convention citing a conflict with a movie schedule. Sources confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that Williams will indeed be returning to the Star Wars film franchise for the first time since 1983's Return of the Jedi. The Lando Calrissian character made his suave debut in 1980's Empire Strikes Back. Williams has in recent years returned to the role that fuels his appearances on the convention circuit, voicing Calrissian in various cartoon series and video games. The character is one of the more popular personages in the Star Wars universe and appeared in a major way in this year's Solo: A Star Wars Story. Donald Glover slipped on the cape to play a younger Calrissian. Episode IX is being directed by J.J. Abrams and will reunite Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac and Adam Driver, among others. Keri Russell is one of the new additions to the cast. The film is set to open Dec. 20, 2019. (Hollywood Reporter)

Quentin Tarantino reportedly trying to block sale of Weinstein Co. Quentin Tarantino is blocking the sale of the Weinstein Co., according to the Blast. The beleaguered studio is trying to finalize a deal with Lantern Entertainment, but the site reports that the "Kill Bill" director has filed papers demanding that the sale be halted until he receives over $4 million in unpaid royalties from the Weinstein Co. Tarantino claims he's due the cash for "Django Unchained," "Inglourious Basterds," "Hateful Eight" and "Grindhouse: Death Proof." The original sale of the bankrupt company was set at $310 million, then reduced to $287 million. It has yet to be approved by the bankruptcy judge. Page Six reported in June that staff at the company are still being paid but remain in a painful limbo. Speaking to the New York Times about the sexual misconduct allegations against company boss Harvey Weinstein, in October, Tarantino said, "I knew enough to do more than I did. There was more to it than just the normal rumors, the normal gossip. It wasn't secondhand. I knew he did a couple of these things." (PageSix)

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