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IT Trailer Breaks All Viewing Records

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Anyone who doubted the potential box office success of the updated version of Stephen King’s IT now has less of a reason to doubt. The teaser trailer was released online and quickly smashed all records. The number of views tallied by the end of the first 24-hour period logged in at 197 million views. That number absolutely and totally crushes the numbers held by previous record holders. Star Wars: The Force Awakens “only” drew 127 million views.

 

IT may need a title change to HIT. The film has the potential to be one of the biggest horror hits of all-time.

 

IT is a remake of the classic TV movie version of Stephen King’s outstanding novel. The lengthy TV movie was critically acclaimed, faithful to the source material, and quite scary for a TV outing. The cinematic version is also going to be faithful to the original novel. This time, however, the project comes with an R-Rating. The visceral horror of the novel will be presented on the silver screen and without any censorship filters.

 

The horror genre has been slumping the past few years. Get Out was a massive box office success showing that fears the genre was on the way out were overstated. A project that is not a useless sequel or a rehash of cliches always has the potential to connect with audiences.

 

IT is something a bit more intriguing than the traditional horror movie. Yes, creepy clowns are all the rage these days. A newfound interest in insane clowns positively played a role in stirring up similar interest in IT. IT is also one of those rare films that may draw in old and new fans. Like Star Wars: The Force Awakens, IT can attract audiences who sat in front of the TV and watches the classic miniseries 25 years ago while also drawing in young ones who want to learn what all the hubbub is about Pennywise the Clown.

 

All will unravel when the first film is released in the coming months. In a year or so, the second chapter of IT is slated for a debut.

 

 

Better Call Saul to Experience A Change in Tone

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Better Call Saul is a great title for a television series. The title for the AMC series pretty much tells the viewers people call on Saul when things get really bad. Maybe the next time someone calls Saul they will need to do so to cheer the poor guy up. The upcoming third season of the series is going to take on a more ominous and darker tone. Reportedly, the lighthearted series will venture into thematic and tonal territory similar to Breaking Bad.

 

In a way, this is a logical progression. At some point, the timelines of Better Call Saul and Breaking Bad do need to connect. The descent of Better Call Saul into foreboding territory definitely would craft the perfect connection to the strange world of Breaking Bad.

 

Cable television shows do take a lot more chances with their characters and storylines than most network shows. Network shows nefariously like to keep programs going from season to season. A program may enter its 11th season even after being stale since the seventh season. As long as there is a segment of viewers willing to tune in and watch a show, the networks are going to keep it alive.

 

Cable television is a bit different. The strategy with pay and basic cable channels is to craft a solid narrative, develop it over time, and bring a series to a logical conclusion. If audience interest remains, plans for spinoffs are put in motion. Breaking Bad probably could have survived several more seasons and experienced dwindling numbers. What would be the point of that if a new and fresh series such as Better Call Saul can be made instead?

 

Ironically, AMC is experiencing ratings troubles with The Walking Dead. The series is trudging onwards with declining ratings and boring plots. AMC might see the value in ending a series at the right time, but ending a series that is a cash cow isn’t exactly a high priority.

 

Better Call Saul, like Breaking Bad, is a way different program than The Walking Dead. Better Call Saul is also far from stale and can thrive for many more seasons. Changing the tone of the series could help it maintain interest for a number of additional years.

 

Westworld Season Two Won’t Jump Timelines

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The HBO series Westworld is definitely developing a strong cult following among fans of science-fiction television programs. The inaugural season of Westworld employed a number of alternate timelines in order to weave the timelines seamlessly together. All this lead to a shocking twist at the end of the season.

 

Season two of Westworld is not going to incorporate the concept of various timelines. Fans might be unhappy to hear that one of the “cooler” aspects of season one is being dropped. Honestly, fans should see the decision to stick with a singular timeline a good thing.

 

The official reason for dropping the multiple timelines makes sense. In the first season, weaving back and forth from the past to the future better helped establish the characters. Plus, the revelation of the surprise twist allowed all the different timelines to connect together.

 

Repeating the same conventions in the second season probably would not work very good. For one, the whole element of surprise would be gone. Reusing multiple timelines could also be deemed lazy writing and planning. The concept runs the risk of slipping into the cliche of overused flashbacks. Too many flashbacks can ruin a movie or TV show.

 

Another thing worth noting is not everyone gave a thumbs up to the multiple timelines. Complaints levied at Westworld season one often focused on the convoluted nature of the various storylines. Not every viewer was thrilled about the storylines being revealed as hidden timeline flashbacks.

 

The various criticisms about the first season have been heard loud and clear by the producers and showrunners. The HBO executives likely heard the criticisms clearly as well. Westworld received some initial bad press due to production problems. The series definitely is a complicated one to produce. Troubles are expected on genre projects with large budgets. Still, no cable network wants to read anything controversial in the trades. Streamlining the narrative could improve perceptions about the program.

 

The debut of season two of Westworld is still up in the air. A lot of preproduction work seems to be going into crafting the sophomore more. Hopefully, the extra work will pay dividends in the form of a continually awesome series.

 

Darth Vader’s Castle Likely to Appear in ‘Star Wars’ Sequels

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Prior to the events of “Rogue One,” fans had no idea where Darth Vader chose to live in his off-time. While the reveal of his castle on Mustafar, positioned close to the site where Anakin died and Vader properly began in “Episode III,” gave us plenty of information on its exterior, details of the castle’s interior remain sketchy at best.

 

Since Rogue One’s release, Lucasfilm’s story division has worked to unite the franchise’s multi-faceted approach to media. Some of this clarification has included that Vader’s castle has a lava dam that originates from a conceptual art piece by Ralph McQuarrie for “Episode IV.” The various designers and storytellers have gone to great lengths to solidify the details surrounding Vader’s unnamed castle, likely because it will play a part in future Star Wars films.

 

In an Uproxx interview, Doug Chiang, a VP and creative director for Lucasfilm, shared some of the consistent ideas and themes surrounding Vader’s castle and Vader’s uses for it. The discussion included brainstorming on why Vader chose Mustafar, why the castle looks as it does, and so on, and giving feedback like how Vader chooses to use it to center and calm himself, complete with a rejuvenating “bacta tank” to heal his body. That last point was featured in one of the few internal shots Rogue One viewers got to see. Director Gareth Edwards’ own take on the castle was that it serves as a focusing point for Dark Side energies.

 

As for how Vader’s unnamed castle might play some role in future movies, Episode VIII’s current narrative includes an antagonist character, Kylo Ren, who is fixated on anything even remotely connected to Darth Vader. This would be more than enough to justify an extended sequence of Kylo Ren navigating the decrepit stronghold to learn more about his grandfather and possibly even more on the ways of the Sith and the Dark Side.

 

The de-canonized Expanded Universe also gave Vader a castle, Cast Bast, on an acid rain-soaked planet. This site served not only as a stronghold for Vader but also for the seven “Dark Side Elite.”

 

Harry Potter Universe Wins First Oscar

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Children’s movies are not known as Oscar bait. Animated movies have their own category and are rarely, if ever, even in the discussion for outright Best Picture nominations. Live-action movies meant for a younger audience are often sillier and contain simpler themes than their adult counterparts. This doesn’t make them bad, but they are often not the type of product that garners Oscar recognition.

 

That didn’t make it any less surprising to hear that 2017 was the first ever Oscar win for a movie in the Harry Potter universe.

 

For the uninformed, there have now been nine Harry Potter movies: the eight in the original series and 2016’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The first eight films grew darker and more adult as the series wore on, but none ever grabbed an Oscar win.

 

The movies were collectively nominated a number of times in previous years for Academy Awards in varying categories: Best Original Score, Best Production Design, Best Costume Design, Best Cinematography, etc. None had ever won though, until now. Fantastic Beasts was nominated for Costume Design thanks to Colleen Atwood, herself a past Oscar nominee for other films. Atwood and the Harry Potter world took home the win. It was Atwood’s fourth gold statue but Harry’s first.

 

As the Harry Potter series continues on with more sequels and offshoots, it remains to be seen if it will ever win another Oscar. However, it was nice to see a beautifully depicted film like Fantastic Beasts rewarded for its hard work. And it was nice to hear that this J.K. Rowling lady finally caught a break for once!

 

The Batman Gets A New — And Approved — Director

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The troubled world of the DC Comics Extended Universe has been on the receiving end of some consistently worrisome news. Patty Jenkins, the director of Wonder Woman, has delivered some positive news. She has given her stamp of approval to the selection of Matt Reeves as the new director of The Batman. Reeves is also receiving creative control over the project, a move that allows Reeves the ability to bring forth his creative vision to the screen.

 

Jenkin’s opinion carries a lot of weight with fans. Wonder Woman is shaping up to be the best of the DCEU movies. After a series of disappointments, DC fans want to see a critical hit. Wonder Woman may be that big hit.

 

The Batman, however, had many people worried. Star Ben Affleck was supposed to direct, but he bowed out for mysterious reasons. The filming of The Justice League films is rumored to be troubled. The script has not received positive marks. Reshoots are supposedly taking place.

 

A disastrous Batman film would be catastrophic for DC Comics and Warner Bros. Batman is the top franchise character as evidenced by the success of the three Dark Knight films. Ruining Batman with another bad film — Batman v. Superman was a dud — could undermine the entire future for movies based on D.C. Comics.

 

The right creative talent with the right vision is needed for a film to succeed. Hopefully, Reeves will bring this to The Batman. As many have stated before, D.C. Comics and Warner Bros. positively must get their extended universe franchise on the right track.

 

Iron Fist Star Ponders Spinoff Series

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Iron Fist is coming to Netflix. The martial arts hero debuts in his own series and then returns in the forthcoming Defenders series. Speculation among long-time comic book fans swirls around whether or not Netflix will launch a Heroes for Hire series with Iron Fist and Luke Cage. Finn Jones, the star and title character of Iron Fist, has noted he would really enjoy teaming with Luke Cage on Netflix. He would even like to see a Daughters of Dragon spinoff series, another wing of the Marvel Comics martial arts canon.

 

The original reason Luke Cage and Iron Fist teamed up in the comic books was neither was able to maintain decent sales figures in solo titles. Back in the 1970’s, Marvel Comics was always trying to debut new characters that would sell solid amounts — well over 100,000 copies — monthly. Teaming Luke Cage and Iron Fist up in a single book was a formula for success. Netflix does not need to team them, but doing so could create a very interesting 10-episode series.

 

Netflix may be part of the overall Marvel Cinematic Universe, but the world of Netflix heroes seems to be turning into its own entity. The gritty nature of the Netflix programs definitely has created a unique identity. Expanding the world of Netflix programs to hero team ups and martial arts programs could be the logical progression of this world. The one stumbling block here is Netflix does not want to produce too many Marvel programs per year. Time will tell how far the Netflix universe expands.

 

Doctor Doom Actor Wants Marvel “Fantastic Four” Movie

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Toby Kebbell, who played Fanastic Four arch-villain Doctor Doom in the 2015 remake, hopes that the rights for the franchise will return to Marvel Studios.

 

This came after an interviewer broached the idea of that movie getting a sequel. Kebbell’s quick, humorous response: “I won’t be in it!”

 

His reasons for wanting the transfer were somewhat odd. He seemed notably more interested in his own character, the mad scientist/sorcerer/dictator Victor von Doom, getting to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe than the titular superhero team.

 

“Listen, Doom is an incredible bad guy, they just keep trying to force him into the Fantastic Four, you know?” he said. “They just need to move it out, ’cause he smashes up Thor and Iron Man, all them. They get wasted.”

 

While Doom does battle other heroes in the comics, he is forever tied to the Fantastic Four as their arch-nemesis. In particular he has an intense rivalry with Richard Reed, the team’s leader and one of the few people who can rival Doom’s own intelligence.

 

The 2015 Fanastic Four was a famously awful movie; created mostly so that Fox would not have to return the rights to Marvel, it changed numerous elements from the comics. Many feel it was trying to be more of a sci-fi/horror film than a superhero movie. The result was panned as boring and nonsensical. (Kebbell’s costume as Doctor Doom was also notably awful.)

 

Marvel Studio’s Kevin Feige recently noted that Fox was unlikely to sell their other major Marvel property, X-Men, back to Marvel Studios. Fans still hope that Fantastic Four, having been less profitable for Fox, may have a chance, though Feige also noted that Marvel has a very detailed plan in place even without such franchises.

 

Warren Beatty Doesn’t Deserve This

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Warren Beatty seemed to be the only one who knew something was wrong.

 

When it took Beatty too long to read out the winner of the Oscar’s ultimate award, Best Picture, the crowd grew restless. They assumed it was some kind of shtick. Even Faye Dunaway, his co-presenter, thought he was being a kook. When Beatty turned to Dunaway for help in his moment of need, instead of conversing on what should be done, she blurted out exactly what he was afraid to say.

 

In the aftermath of reading out the wrong winner for Best Picture, instead of the brunt of the criticism falling on Dunaway, or even more accurately, the accountants responsible for the distribution of the award envelopes, it was Beatty who was forced to weather the storm.

 

It was Beatty who remained on stage to attempt to explain the snafu while Dunaway scampered away, never to be heard from again. It was Beatty who wanted to tell the audience what had happened, while the envelope masters never ventured onto the stage or toward a microphone. And in a blatant case of killing the messenger, it was Beatty who was blamed for the wrong movie crew coming on stage as the winner of Best Picture.

 

We have since been told of everything that supposedly happened, but Beatty seems to remain in the cross hairs of critics, and it makes no sense. He is now calling for an official word to be released by the academy of motion pictures to settle this incident once and for all. It’s not for the public as much as himself. This wasn’t on Beatty; he was the only one who felt something was afoot in the first place.

 

Black Bolt Cast for “Inhumans” Series

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Marvel Television has cast Black Bolt for their upcoming Inhumans series.

 

Anson Mount, most famous for his role in Hell on Wheels, will be taking the part of Blackagar Boltagon, more commonly known as Black Bolt. The character is king of the Inhumans and leads a superhero team made up of members of his family.

 

Black Bolt’s power? His voice is so powerful that it can destroy entire cities with a whisper. Naturally, he tries to avoid speaking, leading his people though gestures and actions.

 

“Anson loves the challenge of playing a character who will only communicate silently,” said Jeph Loeb, head of Marvel Television. “His enthusiasm mixed with his imposing, almost regal persona made it easy to see why he is our Black Bolt.”

 

Iwan Rheon has already been cast as Maximus, Black Bolt’s villainous brother. There are rumors that Elysia Rotaru will play Black Bolt’s wife, Medusa the Queen.

 

Originally slated as a movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Inhumans will instead join the franchise’s burgeoning television line. Inhuman characters have already been foreshadowed on the series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

 

In the comics, an alien race called the Kree experimented on some early humans back in the Stone Age, giving some of them enhanced abilities. These enhanced humans in turn experimented with something called the Terrigen Mists, which gives them superpowers. They live sequestered in a hidden city called Attilan, where different powers result in a rigid caste system. Stories generally revolve around the political and cultural changes within the city as well as the Inhumans’ increased involvement in the world outside.

 

In an unusual move, Inhumans will be available in IMAX theaters starting on Labor Day before its television premiere on ABC two weeks later (September 26, 2017).