In recent years, Hollywood has been surrounded with casting controversies and Johansson has been no stranger to them. After the poorly received Ghost in the Shell, it was a surprise when the in demand actor revealed that she would take on the role of trans massage parlor manager in Rub and Tug. It was no surprise that the news would be received negatively, especially following the mulitple films in recent years which found themselves in hot water including Matt Damons Great wall, Tilda Swinton's Role in Doctor Strange, Netflix's adaptation of acclaimed horror manga Death Note, and even Johansson herself, being cast in Ghost in the Shell, that even went so far as to test technology to make her appear "more asian." News spread of the controversial casting, with trans actresses Trace Lysette and Jamie Clayton, speaking out against the decision. It is important to note that the person attached to directing this film, Rupert Sanders, also worked with Johansson on Ghost in the Shell. When the controversy became a major talking point, Johansson's tone deaf response of, “Tell them that they can be directed to Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto, and Felicity Huffman’s reps for comment,” did not go over well, and was meant to allude to several actors who had played trans roles and received acclaim. While they did at the time, the political climate as well as the conversation around the trans community is continuing to change rapidly, and taking roles from an already small community is keeping them from having the opportunities cisgender actors, like Johansson, have always had. This is also a historic year for trans actors, with the first trans actor Daniela Vega, winning an award for her role in A Fantastic Woman. After several weeks of controversy, Johansson announced today that she will be withdrawing from the film, a rare move for any actor. The last high profile withdraw was Ed Serkin, known for his role as the villain in the first Deadpool film, leaving the new Hellboy reboot after finding out he was playing a role originally meant to be cast by a Japanese-American actor. We also saw a casting controversy with Natalie Portman's sci-fi film, Annihilation, as well as Cocaine Godmother with Catherine Zeta-Jones as recent as earlier this year. Scarlett Johansson is part of a long Hollywood trend of picking valuable actors to boost ticket sales, and while that isn't surprising, the power of social media and the backlash from these marginalized communities, most certainly had an effect on the box office revenue of all the films listed above. Hopefully, not only Johansson, but other actors and actress will be careful choosing their roles in the future.
It's no secret that the D.C. film universe is not charting the most straight and narrow path, so this story shouldn't be all that surprising to those who have been playing close attention. After months of speculation, it looks like D.C. is moving ahead with a solo film for their iconic Joker villain, played none other than by Jaoquin Pheonix. Jared Leto is set to reprise his role in Suicide Squad 2. What makes this all the more confusing is it looks like (as of now), Leto is still set to star in his own solo Joker film. Todd Phillips, director of the Hangover series, is set to direct the Pheonix led solo film, which will stand apart from the current Joker. As previously reported at the end of 2017, D.C. started the year with quite the shake up, with the exit of Jon Berg after a lackluster Justice League performance. His replacement, Walter Hamada, along with D.C., is looking to move in a different direction. With 2018' Aquaman as well as Shazam in 2019, a lot of the future depends on how successful some of these upcoming films will be. While it safe to say that fans will more than likely turn out, critics have had a massive impact on D.C.'s struggling expansion and its safe to say that that's the reason why Phillip's Joker film will have a reportedly low budget of around 55 million. All in all, I would not be shocked if some of the upcoming films D.C. has been talking about for years never see the light, like the Cyborg standalone film, a second Man of Steel, or anything involving the Dark Universe.
Ahead of this years San Diego Comic Con, DC has given us a look at its fall subscription service and there's some definite pros and cons. While the service is looking to launch a handful of new titles, including the live action Teen Titan series, it seems like it might be light in some other areas. Dc has promised to provide members with access to their extensive library, but it appears that certain fan favorite series including the animated Justice League as well as the DC series that live on the CW network might not appear on the service. It's also no secret that Netflix has acquired a deal with the CW to release these comic book series just 8 days after the airing of their final episodes. It also appears that the comic book feature included in the service will be limited to a "curated" selection, rotating out comics periodically and thus not allowing full access to the massive DC catalog. The other big concern is the price. With Disney looking to launch their own streaming service in the fall and DC having most, but not all, of their series and advertising a comic book feature (which would most likely make less sense to view on the television versus viewing on your phone), it wouldn't be surprising if the price was closer to HBOGo's tag of around $15 dollars or more. The other issue is that this is for dedicated fan boys of the comic giant. With new series like an animated cartoon for Harley Quinn, Swamp Thing, as well as the return of Young Justice, you're less likely to pick up a subscription for something with a hefty price tag if you aren't solely looking for movies and content based on DC franchises. With that being said, there is a lot here to see, including many of the popular DC animated films, the Batman film series, and even the original Superman TV series. The other big issue is that if you are going to pick up a subscription because of one these new series you might want to hold out because the only one launching this year is the live action Teen Titans, while the Swamp Thing, Harley Queen, Young Justice, and Doom Patrol series won't debut until sometime in 2019. We will have to see if DC's can stand up against Disney's streaming service, which is said to be home to not just their films, but the Marvel and Star Wars catalog as well. If you're interested, the website is now live and you can sign up for the possibility to be part of the early access beta later this year here. Read a bit more about what's missing here.
During my second consecutive year at E3, one of the biggest announcements came from gaming studio Bethesda with their lately Fallout title. And while it drew immediate fan excitement, as more details came out during the week, a cloud of worry set in over the hardcore fanbase. Fallout 76 looks to depart from a number of the classic elements from the series and instead, head towards an always online/multiplayer experience, combining the settlement aspects from with the series fourth game with online play. While that doesn't sounds like a completely unenjoyable experience, the loss of progression is what has many fans, myself included, the most worried. Bethesda was pretty open about the possibility of some hostile players in the servers, also making note of the nuke feature, which would allow you to destroy someones base all together. Even still, Bethesda has a plan in order to prevent harassment in game, which is good but how far will that lean into the PvP aspect of the title itself? If you have a handful of players who happen to have more time to dedicate on the title, will it be a never ending upwards crawl to even stay alive in the server with them? Can you go about it solo or will the only worthwhile experience come from playing with a group? It also did not help that the title had no physical demo at E3 and as of now, our knowledge is still pretty limited. While I was a huge fan of the highly criticized Fallout 4, 76 is definitely the biggest departure from the series, and it will be interesting to see how the community will interact when this title launches November 14th, 2018.
After an intense bidding war it looks like we finally know where the Fox assets are heading and it gives the fans a lot to be excited about. After Comcast tried to outbid Disney's original 52.4 billion offer with their own 65 billion dollar offer, Disney struck back with a 71.3 billion offer that proved too lucrative for Fox to pass up. Disney fighting for this deal makes a lot of sense considering all of the Marvel characters Fox had under its belt including the massively successful Deadpool franchise and X men. This also makes a lot of sense as Marvel has been very quite about where they are heading past Avengers 4 with their expanding universe and this has given them a lot more to play with. On top of that, Disney now owns the cable channels FX, and FXX, as well as everything excluding local Fox channels, Fox sports, and Fox news. This landmark franchise deal adds to the already impressive power under Disney's belt but we will have to wait and see how that will effect their release schedule, which is the under-performing Solo in theaters. All in all, this is great news for comic book fans so hopefully we will see some Xmen characters as well as a possibly well done version of Fantastic Four in the future.
Not even Lando and a series of fur coats could save this film. After months of behind the scene controversy, the latest Star Wars opened to a lack luster debut weekend and it is now being reported that the film will lose Disney as much as 50 million in revenue. The movie was polarizing for long time fans of the Star Wars series and the early reviews were fairly lukewarm. It also did not help the fact that Avengers: Infinity War and Deadpool 2 were released both within a month of Solo: A Star Wars Story and are still in theaters. While Star Wars will be absent from our Christmas box office this year, it looks like Disney is betting on Emily Blunt's Mary Poppins Returns film, to make up their loses. This can not be a large shock to anyone given fan reception as well as the many, many blockbusters released in such a short span of time. While star Alden Ehrenreich allegedly slipped up and revealed that he was committed to a three picture deal in the past but that sounds up in the air given the current box office run. The movie, however, knods at a series of famous Star Wars events and villains and could certainly do so. Plus, Disney has more than enough money to continue to spin off their anthology series for the time being. There have been heavy rumors as of late that the next anthology film will might star the possible surprise cameo and return villain (SPOILER) Darth Maul and Obi Wan Kenobi. While this crew might have had its one kessel run, we will have to wait and see where Disney heads next.
Bad news for Solo as it looks like the poor reviews and behind the scenes drama had quite the effect on the box office for this film. The latest Star Wars film was projected to gross between 130-150 million in it's opening weekend during the Memorial Day holiday, with the latter actually becoming a record breaking number. Instead, Solo opened number one at the box office with a weak 84 million, a massive amount lower than what was expected. The film famous featured the firing of Lego Movie Duo Phil Lord and Chris Miller in place of veteran Ron Howard, leaving the film quite the mixed bag. This is a shame because if Solo's run is less than stellar, the chances of us seeing the cast return for a sequel are less than likely. It also doesn't help that Deadpool 2 made half of Solo's debut this past weekend and Avengers: Infinity War is still showing in theaters. Solo's summer release leaves us without a holiday Star Wars film for 2018, the first time in three consecutive years, and probably also played into its lackluster opening weekend. We will have to see if Solo can make up the loss before the big summer films in June begin to roll out.
While Solo has been getting some lukewarm reviews from critics (sitting at a 71% on RT, twenty points lower than The Last Jedi's 91%) the movie is tracking for a huge Memorial Day weekend. While the films behind the scenes definitely lead to this mish-mash of differing directorial directions, the audience score sits at a current A-. For those that need a refresher, Solo: A Star Wars Story famously saw the former Lego Movie directing duoe, Phil Lord and Chris Miller, fired before Ron Howard stepped in. Recently, Donald Glover who stars as Lando in the Solo film, opened up about the firing and the "creative differences" between the former duo and Kathleen Kennedy. To no one's surprise, Lord and Miller's comedic approach clashed with the film and you can still see what scenes of their made it to the final cut as opposed to the much more serious take form Ron Howard. Regardless, the movie was a mixed bag but featured one amazingly surprising cameo that has managed to shock movie goers this holiday weekend. During a hologram conversation with Qi'ra, it is revealed that she is now working for none other than Darth Maul himself, the fan favorite character who was split in half at the waist in the Phantom Menace by Obi-Wan Kenobi. The reveal was a real shocker but not so much so if you look at some of the non-film cannon, especially the Clone Wars, in which the villain is featured quite prominently with a new pair of android legs. It also appears that his signature double sided red saber borrowed a feature from the Clone Wars as well (you can read more about that here). This could be a great move for the films, which have already rumored a three picture deal for the Solo story or the possibility to see a Obi-Wan stand alone film. Hopefully we will get a serious light-saber wielding villain back on screen. Make sure to check out Solo: A Star Wars Story, in theaters everywhere.
After some rock weeks and the surprise announcement of a new online arena game, it looks like former Epic Games design director Cliff Bleszinski's Boss Key studios is no more. After numerous reports of trouble for last years online shooter Lawbreakers, Boss Key was looking to cash in on the Fortnite and PUBG formula with Radical Height but it looks like that title will not be coming to fruition. Cliff (Known popularly as Cliffy B.) released a statement on twitter earlier today stating that he is "going to take some time off and reflect" on the unfortunate news. This is was just shy of a month from accusations that Cliff's former studio was attempting to poach his employees from his new found studio. All in all, the creator behind the massively successful Gears of War franchise remained optimistic and has reassured gamers that the servers for Radical Height's beta will remain playable for the time being. The statement below can also be found on Cliffy B's personal twitter page.
If you're absolutely exhausted and still reeling from the dramatic ending of Avengers: Infinity War then fear not, Marvel is ready to bring you some laughs this summer with their next installment. Ant-man and the Wasp dropped a full length trailer showing off not just the new duo but some of our favorite side characters including fan favorite Luis played by Michael Peña. We also get some amazing shots of villain Ghost and some more stylish action sequences. This is also a relatively light year for Marvel, giving us just two films instead of the normal three so this will be the last one for awhile until Captain Marvel's release next March, 2019. Take a look at the new trailer below and get ready for the film when it launches July 6th, 2018.