4 More Anticipated Movies That Are In Serious Trouble
I've spent most of my life waiting for movies to come out, either champing at the bit over bonanzas like John Wick 3, or patiently standing by to simply get something over with, like I am with Avengers: Endgame. But there is a third feeling -- one of dread, because everything that I've read about a movie seems to indicate that something has gone terribly wrong.
What follows are not predictions about the eventual quality of these movies. I am not magically able to see the future (and if I could, I would probably use those powers for something else). But given everything we know, there's cause to be worried about how ...
Dark Phoenix Is Apparently Hilariously Bad
With Disney set to acquire 20th Century Fox, the future of the X-Men franchise has been thrown into limbo. The CEO of Disney has said that they'll continue making films like Deadpool, but he talks about it like he's trying not to dry heave at the idea of nasty ol' Ryan Reynolds being invited to his big Marvel party. They've also now got the long-suffering New Mutants film which is rumored to be heading to Hulu instead of getting a theatrical release. And then you have Dark Phoenix, which has been called an "embarrassment to all involved" by some who've seen a cut.
Oh. That's not great.
The X-Men films haven't exactly had a history of sustained quality. They've lacked a strong sense of creative leadership, and that's what's probably led to the series being softly rebooted roughly four times over the course of ten movies. However, you usually have to wait for them to come out before you can shit all over them. But in Dark Phoenix's case, we're getting a head start.
The cast members who had all stuck around since First Class had to sign all-new contracts to appear in this, and Jennifer Lawrence has stated that she "... kind of fucked [herself]" by doing so. That's what you want to hear when you're desperately trying to fit your franchise into the Disney mold! Then there's how even the writer/director admits that it's a loose remake of an X-Men plot from a film that came out 13 years ago, which he'd already messed up.
And then came the delays, as the movie had its release pushed back over a year to get a bunch of reshoots done and to rework the third act. Then it got pushed back five more months because the trailer did really well in China and they want it to have a better shot there. Meanwhile, all we have to go on is this trailer, aka a montage of scenes that seem to have been collected from better X-Men films:
The Kingsman Franchise Is Continuing ... Without Its Star
The first Kingsman movie was kind of a delightful surprise. And it didn't hurt that they set an extended graphic fight scene to "Free Bird," which is like a cheat code to immediately get me on your side.
Then we got Kingsman: The Golden Circle, which was OK. I didn't dislike it, but by the end, I was ready for a break from the Kingsman cocktail of self-aware spy tropes. And apparently, I wasn't the only one, as Kingsman 2 didn't make back its budget in the U.S., which is usually a signal that a blockbuster franchise needs to pump the brakes. You know, maybe take a step back, try to get a sense of what made the original work.
Or they could go full steam ahead and launch an expanded universe of spinoffs that no one is asking for.
A third movie is coming early next year, and hey, at least we're getting Colin Firth and Taron Egerton back, as they have great chemistry together and this would give them the opportunity to cap off the "Harry Hart-Eggsy relationship." Only we're not. Egerton said that he would not be returning as the lead for this one. It turns out it's a prequel set in the 1910s.
They are apparently planning to then immediately turn around and shoot a Kingsman 3, maybe, if Fox doesn't pull the plug. Will Egerton be in that one? Who knows. There's no indication he's signed for it. There's also talk of an eight-hour Kingsman TV show and a Statesmen spinoff based around the American team in the second movie -- which, again, wasn't exactly a hit. They seem convinced audiences are starving for any content served under the Kingsman label. If nothing else, I guess you have to admire their optimism?
The World War Z Sequel May Never Get Made
Remember World War Z? For the most part, it failed to live up to its acclaimed source material, but it got decent reviews. Also, it's the highest-grossing zombie film of all time, and if you ranked it beside other horror movies, it would be the third-highest worldwide, and the fifth-highest domestically. It was also the biggest hit of Brad Pitt's career by far, so it was bound to get a sequel.
And that sequel was gonna be RAD. Originally it was supposed to be directed by JA Bayona, who made the awesome The Orphanage and the significantly less-than-awesome Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. But after he dropped out, it became attached to David fucking Fincher. Getting him to direct your zombie sequel is like getting Mozart to drop a single that features Pitbull. It's supernatural good luck, and it doesn't even matter now if the sequel is more like the original book.
But then filming was put off for a while, and then it got put off again. And then in February, it got canceled altogether, despite the fact that Fincher and co. planned to make it for less money than it cost Paramount to make the original. Paramount simply couldn't decide if they wanted it, and suddenly it's been six years since the original and everyone is still dicking around. Even if the project gets resurrected, will Fincher still be attached? Or Pitt? How about everybody just redirect their efforts toward making, say, a Netflix miniseries that follows the novel?
The Joaquin Phoenix Joker Movie Is Being Rewritten On The Fly
For years, I'd heard rumors about a solo Joker movie being made, after The Dark Knight solidified the character as a Serious Actor Role. But I never thought that Hollywood would actually go through with it. Didn't everyone praise the fact that Dark Knight's Joker didn't have an established origin? Isn't that the main thing we liked?
Now we've somehow wound up with two Joker movies. There's one based around Jared Leto's portrayal -- nobody is sure what's going on with that at the moment -- and the other starring Joaquin Phoenix. And get this: That one is being produced by Martin Scorsese! Well, it was, until Scorsese quietly dropped out, which was announced on the day the movie was greenlit. Regardless of what his actual contributions would've been, "We lost Martin Scorsese. Yes, THAT Martin Scorsese" is never good news.
But much more alarming is that the script was apparently entirely rewritten during shooting. Rewriting a script on-set isn't new in Hollywood, and even classics like Jaws went through copious rewrites during production. It's the kind of thing you can pull off when, say, your director is Steven Spielberg. This Joker movie is being directed by Todd Phillips, of The Hangover fame. Can he pull it off? It's possible!
Another complicating factor: They couldn't do any reshoots because Joaquin Phoenix lost so much weight. This wouldn't be so huge if the modern blockbuster industry didn't live and die based on the quality of its reshoots, but again, maybe everything will be fine? Better hope test audiences love it!
Then there was the weird news about Alec Baldwin playing Bruce Wayne's father as a Donald-Trump-like character, meaning we'd be subjected to yet another toothless, sterile parody of our dumb president, only this time in the middle of a Batman film? And then he dropped out two days later? And finally, we got to hear a delightful tale about extras being locked inside of a subway car and being forced to pee on the tracks, in gross violation of union rules and human decency. What the hell was going on over there?
So you're adding all of that to the fact that it's arguably a misguided premise in the first place. Remember, classic villains have the advantage of showing up, chewing scenery, then disappearing. The Joker is only in The Dark Knight for 30 minutes or so of the runtime, he's only talking for about 10 of those. It seems like common sense that this wouldn't be a "more is better" situation, but I guess we're all going to find out, whether we want to or not.
Daniel Dockery is a writer/editor for Cracked. He truly loves movies, especially the ones that have John Wick in them. Check out his Twitter if you have a spare second.
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