Friday, April 28, 2017
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Movie News

Deadpool 2 Deadpool 2 Lands June 2018 Release Date

Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox
‘Deadpool’

20th Century Fox stakes out a slew of other release dates, including for Steven Spielberg’s Pentagon Papers film, two more superhero movies and Steve McQueen’s ‘Widows.’

Deadpool 2 — one of Hollywood’s most anticipated sequels — has booked a release date in theaters.

The followup to the groundbreaking and irreverent superhero 2016 film will hit the big screen on June 1, 2018, Fox said early Saturday.

It was a busy morning for the studio, between Deadpool and dating four Avatar sequels alongside a slew of other films, including an upcoming Steven Spielberg film, Bryan Singer’s Bohemian Rhapsody, two more Fox/Marvel movies, X-Men spinoff New Mutants and sequel Dark Phoenix, and Steve McQueen’s female-heist pic, Widows.

Ryan Reynolds once again stars as the titular superhero in Deadpool 2. The film series is a passion project for the actor, who spent years trying to get the first Deadpool made.

Reynolds, a producer on the films, also played a key role in the award-winning marketing campaign for Deadpool. The movie, released in February 2016, was a sleeper hit, earning $783 million worldwide to become the top-grossing R-rated film of all time.

Deadpool 2 reunites Reynolds with Deadpool scribes Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, with Drew Goddard assisting on the script as well. This time, David Leitch is in the director’s chair instead of Tim Miller.

Newcomers to Deadpool 2 include Zazie Beetz as Domino and Josh Brolin as Cable. Shooting is set to begin in June.

Next year is going to be jam-packed in terms of Fox superhero titles: New Mutants will open April 13, 2018, while Dark Phoenix hits cinemas on Nov. 2. New Mutants, directed by Josh Boone, follows a young team of superheroes, while Dark Phoenix will revisit a classic comic book storyline that saw Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) become the host for the Phoenix Force, a cosmic entity that eventually drives her to becoming a destructive force that ultimately leads to her death. Longtime X-Men writer and producer Simon Kinberg is a top contender to direct the project, which is a followup to 2016’s X-Men Apocalypse.

In terms of awards contenders, Fox has dated Steven Spielberg’s Washington Post/Pentagon Papers film, starring Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks, for limited release on Dec. 22, 2017. The untitled film will expand nationwide on Jan. 12, 2018.

Looking to next year, McQueen’s Widows is also a potential awards contender, and will open in theaters on Nov. 16, 2018.

Also in the fourth quarter of 2018, Singer’s Bohemian Rhapsody has been given the high-profile release date of Dec. 25.

Fox also made a number of tweaks to its release calendar, including moving up Murder on the Orient Express from Nov. 22 of this year to Nov .10, and pushing back the release of Jennifer Lawrence’s The Red Sparrow from Nov. 10 to March 2, 2018 and The Predator from Feb. 9, 2018 to Aug. 3.

avatar Avatar sequels get official release dates

WETA

The wait to return to Pandora is over. Well, sort of…

The long-awaited Avatar sequels have begun concurrent production and have official release dates. Announced on the movie’s official Facebook page, the post, accompanied by a photo of Avatar writer and director James Cameron and “the best team in the business,” revealed the dates for four sequels: “The journey continues December 18, 2020, December 17, 2021, December 20, 2024 and December 19, 2025!”

Cameron announced plans for a sequel in the wake of the 2009 film’s success, but potential release dates have continually been pushed back. A little over a year ago at CinemaCon, Cameron revealed there will be four sequels instead of three. “Each one of which stands alone,” he promised, “but which together form a complete saga.”

At the time, the Oscar winner also outlined a release date calendar that would’ve welcomed each of the sequels around Christmas, starting with Avatar 2 in Dec. 2018 (then 2020, 2022, and 2023). Just last month, though, Cameron told The Toronto Star that was no longer the plan. “What people have to understand is that this is a cadence of releases. So we’re not making Avatar 2, we’re making Avatar 2, 3, 4, and 5,” he said. “It’s an epic undertaking. It’s not unlike building the Three Gorges dam.”

This latest announcement that pinpoints actual dates, as opposed to a vague time of year, is reassuring. If this timeline holds, we’ll be back with the Na’vi in 2020.

summer 2017 The Summer Movies 2017: Every Sequel, Reboot and Remake Hitting Theaters

Courtesy Photos
All the trailers and premiere dates for sharper swords, faster cars and many more superheroes on the big screen.

  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

    May 5

    Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillen and Michael Rooker, along with the voices of Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper, return as misfit superheroes in the Marvel sequel. James Gunn again directs the retro-minded follow-up, with additions Kurt Russell, Chris Sullivan and Elizabeth Debicki, and Sylvester Stallone cameo.

  • King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

    May 12


    Charlie Hunnam stars as the titular monarch in Guy Ritchie’s gritty take on the medieval legend’s reign. The Warner Bros. reimagining also stars Jude Law, David Beckham and Djimon Hounsou.

  • Alien: Covenant

    May 19


    Ridley Scott once again returns to helm the franchise he began with 1979’s Alien. It is described as a second chapter in an Alien prequel trilogy (following 2012’s Prometheus), with the colony ship Covenant discovering a paradise world on the far side of the galaxy, only to learn it’s actually a dangerous world whose only inhabitant is the synthetic David. Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride and Carmen Ejogo star in the Fox film, with Prometheus’  Michael Fassbender returning as the android David and Noomi Rapace appearing as Dr. Elizabeth Shaw.

  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul

    May 19


    Jason Drucker stars as Greg this time around, as he and his parents (played by Alicia Silverstone and Tom Everett Scott) head off on a road trip to attend his grandma’s 90th birthday party. Things go off the tracks in this next installment of the Wimpy Kid franchise when Greg decides he’d rather go to a video game convention.

  • Baywatch

    May 26


    Dwayne Johnson stars in the action-comedy inspired by the long-running TV show, playing a leader of an elite group of lifeguards who is forced to team up with a hotshot former Olympian (Zac Efron) to save the beloved bay. Seth Gordon directs the Paramount reboot, also featuring Priyanka Chopra, Alexandra Daddario and Hannibal Buress, plus a cameo by the series’ star, David Hasselhoff.

  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

    May 26


    Johnny Depp is back as Captain Jack Sparrow in the fifth installment of the hit Disney franchise — this time, attempting to escape the haunts of a ghostly villain played by Javier Bardem and seeking out a legendary artifact that grants its possessor total control over the seas. Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg co-direct the fantasy film, also starring Orlando Bloom, Geoffrey Rush, Kaya Scodelario and Brenton Thwaites, and featuring a cameo by Paul McCartney.

  • Wonder Woman

    June 2


    Gal Gadot plays the titular heroine in the origin story of how Diana Prince, an Amazon princess, leaves her island home to become the DC warrior. Also starring Chris Pine and Robin Wright, the Warner Bros. title is helmed by Patty Jenkins, making her the first woman to direct a studio superhero film.

  • The Mummy

    June 9


    Tom Cruise leads the Universal reboot of the zombie-filled adventure, also starring Russell Crowe, Courtney B. Vance, Sofia Boutella, Annabelle Wallis and Jake Johnson. Directed by Alex Kurtzman, the fantasy-action flick is set to launch a monster-filled cinematic universe (Javier Bardem is on board for a future Frankenstein film, while Johnny Depp has signed on for The Invisible Man).

  • Cars 3

    June 16


    Owen Wilson reprises his voice role as Lightning McQueen in Pixar’s automotive threequel. Brian Fee directs the animated film, which sees the spiffy red hot-rod attempting to prove to a new generation of racers that he’s still the best racecar in the world.

  • Transformers: The Last Knight

    June 23


    Mark Wahlberg returns to star in the fifth installment of the Paramount action franchise, which sees Optimus Prime facing off against the villain Megatron. Michael Bay again directs the film, which also features Anthony Hopkins, Stanley Tucci, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson and John Turturro.

  • Despicable Me 3

    June 30

     This is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.Starring Kristen Wiig, Steve Carell and Miranda Cosgrove. Directed by Kyle Balda and Pierre Coffin.


    Steve Carell and Kristen Wiig reprise their voice roles in Universal’s animated, minion-filled threequel, directed by Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda, and co-directed by Eric Guillon. Trey Parker — the co-creator of South Park and the Broadway hit The Book of Mormon — voices Gru’s newest nemesis: a former child star who has grown up to become obsessed with the character he played in the ‘80s.

  • Amityville: The Awakening

    June 30


    Bella Thorne and Jennifer Jason Leigh are among those in the 14th installment of the classic horror franchise. Directed by Franck Khalfoun, the latest entry from Dimension and Blumhouse follows a young girl who moves into a new home with her single mother and comatose young brother, who makes a miraculous recovery as other strange phenomena occurs.

  • Spider-Man: Homecoming

    July 7


    Tom Holland steps into the suit of Peter Parker for the character’s first solo film set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Jon Watts directs the Sony movie, also starring Zendaya, Robert Downey Jr., Marisa Tomei, Michael Keaton, Donald Glover and Jon Favreau.

  • War for the Planet of the Apes

    July 14


    Andy Serkis return as the reluctant leader of the genetically-evolved apes in the follow-up to 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes and the 2014 sequel Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Matt Reeves again directs the Fox film, also starring Judy Greer, Steve Zahn and Woody Harrelson.

  • An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power

    July 28


    Al Gore’s documentary follow-up to An Inconvenient Truth comes a decade after the original, this time with a slightly more hopeful tone, though it does focus on some concerns about President Trump’s stance on the environment.

  • Annabelle: Creation

    Aug. 11


    Miranda Otto is featured in the New Line sequel to the doll-centric 2014 hit. David Sandberg directs the spinoff of the Conjuring franchise, which follows a dollmaker and his wife who, 20 years after the tragic death of their little girl, welcome a nun and several orphans into their home, only to see them targeted by the possessed titular creation.

  • The Nut Job 2

    Aug. 18


    Will Arnett returns as Surly Squirell in the Open Road sequel to the 2014 film, alongside Katherine Heigl, Maya Rudolph, Gabriel Iglesias, Jackie Chan, Bobby Cannavale, Bobby Moynihan and Jeff Dunham. The Cal Brunker sequel sees the animals joining to save their home from an evil mayor who decides to bulldoze Liberty Park to build a dangerous amusement park.

  • It

    Sept. 8


    Stephen King’s frightening tale of Pennywise the Clown has become a cult horror classic. The evil taking the form of the clown terrorizes a group of children and follows them into adulthood. Newcomer Bill Skarsgard will portray the evil clown in the feature film adaption.

  • The Lego Ninjago Movie

    Sept. 22


    Jackie Chan, Dave Franco, Justin Theroux, Fred Armisen, Abbi Jacobson, Michael Pena, Olivia Munn, Kumail Nanjiani and Zach Woods make up the voice cast of the Lego Movie spinoff. Directed by Charlie Bean, the Warner Bros. animated action-comedy sees a ninja teaming with fellow toys to fight an evil warlord, who also happens to be his father.

1 Fast and the Furious Movies, Ranked
Fast & Furious (2009)
VIN DIESEL

8. Fast and Furious (2009)

2 Fast and the Furious Movies, Ranked
2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)
Tyrese Gibson

7. 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)

3 Fast and the Furious Movies, Ranked
Los Bandoleros

6.5. Los Bandoleros (2009)

4 Fast and the Furious Movies, Ranked
CHARLIZE THERON and VIN DIESEL in “The Fate of the Furious.” On the heels of 2015’s “Furious 7,” one of the fastest movies to reach $1 billion worldwide in box-office history and the sixth-biggest global title of all time, comes the newest chapter in one of the most popular and enduring motion-picture serials of all time.

6. The Fate of the Furious (2017)

5 Fast and the Furious Movies, Ranked
MICHELLE RODRIGUEZ returns as Letty in “Fast & Furious 6â€ù, the next installment of the global blockbuster franchise built on speed.

5. Furious 6 (2013)

6 Fast and the Furious Movies, Ranked
FAST AND THE FURIOUS franchise (screencap)… fast and furious franchise… fast & furious franchise… fast & the furious franchise…

4. Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006)

7 Fast and the Furious Movies, Ranked
THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS, Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, 2001

3. The Fast and the Furious(2001)

8 Fast and the Furious Movies, Ranked
Brian (PAUL WALKER) makes his move in ?Furious 7?. Continuing the global exploits in the unstoppable franchise built on speed, James Wan directs this chapter of the hugely successful series.

2. Furious 7 (2015)

9 Fast and the Furious Movies, Ranked
Fast Five (2011)
(L to R) Dom Toretto (VIN DIESEL) and Luke Hobbs (DWAYNE JOHNSON)

Fate of the Furious Fast 9: Where the Franchise Must Go After Fate of the Furious

courtesy of Universal Pictures
[Warning: this story contains spoilers for The Fate of the Furious]

One of the great joys of the Fast and the Furious franchise has been watching filmmakers top themselves in each entry with car-driven action. The Fate of the Furious goes as far as having the good guys take on a Russian submarine so they can stop World War III.

With two more films already announced, the question now can only be: what on Earth will Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, and the rest of the cast do in the ninth film?

Now that you’ve seen The Fate of the Furious, you know a couple of big new developments: first, Dominic Toretto is a father, from his now-ill-fated relationship with DSS agent Elena Neves (Elsa Pataky). Second, and perhaps more importantly: Charlize Theron’s nefarious hacker Cipher avoided capture or death at the end of the eighth film. It’s hard to imagine Theron not returning in a future entry to cause some kind of trouble for Dom and his family.

The easy joke is to say, “Well, now they have to go to outer space.” Even series screenwriter Chris Morgan acknowledged the suggestion, replying that if he “had something so good,” he’d consider sending Dom and friends to the stars. He hinted at an unexpected crossover there, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, with the Riddick series, but here’s another idea. For the ninth film, have Dom, Luke Hobbs, Letty, and the others go to space in an Armageddon-style situation.

Imagine it: Cipher has holed up somewhere secret and broken into the mainframe of various nations’ and corporations’ satellites. Unless she gets as much power and money as she desires, she’ll make the world go dark. Maybe, even worse, she could figure out a way to draw debris floating in space towards Earth, utilizing the satellites as a series of magnets. (The Neil DeGrasse Tysons of the world would quibble with the hard science of this storyline.)

Only Dom and his family have fought Cipher and survived to tell the tale, so who better to stop an asteroid, or a series of asteroids, from decimating the planet? Here, the motivating factor to stop Cipher wouldn’t need any further explanation; in Fate, it’s established that Dom is only working for Cipher to ensure the safety of his infant son, but if the entire world is at stake, that should be good enough for our heroes. And since Cipher spent most of Fate of the Furious in a plane, it only makes sense she’ll be in some sort of space station in Fast 9.

Of course, should the filmmakers and cast pursue this line of thinking, it leads to another inevitable question: what do you possibly do for Fast and Furious X? (You have to assume they’ll start employing Roman numerals in the titles soon.) Where could Dom and the family go after space? The best answer may be to expand the genre the Fast and the Furious series occupies. What was once a car-driven take on Point Break morphed into heist movies by the time of 2009’s Fast and Furious, and has since morphed into a James Bond-esque franchise. Taking the family into space pushes them into science-fiction, but in bringing them back to Earth, Universal Pictures could push them into another genre: action-horror.

Later this summer, Universal is going to begin building out its monster-movie universe with a reboot of The Mummy, in which Tom Cruise will not only tangle with an Egyptian mummy but Dr. Jekyll (Russell Crowe) himself. The intent is clear: Universal wants to turn characters like Dracula, Jekyll and Hyde, the Mummy, and the Wolfman into the equivalent of the Marvel or DC cinematic universes. Should that experiment be successful, why not go a step further, and cross over with the Fast and the Furious franchise?

Of course this idea is ridiculous: squaring off with criminal masterminds is one thing, but doing so with the Wolfman and the Mummy is entirely different. But even in the eight Fast and the Furious films, the action is rarely less than insane, not to mention the operatic twists and turns of the character dynamics. These people have gone from rogue drivers stealing electronics to government agents working to stop a nuclear war. In 2001, when Vin Diesel and Paul Walker were racing each other so the former could evade arrest from the LAPD, facing off against Universal’s monsters would have seemed insane. In 2017, it’s a lot closer to reality. (The series’ longtime producer, Neal H. Moritz, also produces the 21 Jump Street films, which at one time was going to cross over with Men in Black. Anything can happen.)

Think of it: this could sate Diesel’s clear desire to indulge in genre fare in films like The Chronicles of Riddick and Guardians of the Galaxy. Plus, it would be a hoot to see Dom and Luke and Letty battle the Wolfman. The logistics of how it all goes down might seem shaky, but a world where a hacker can take control of cars, missiles, and submarines could easily be a world where monsters lurk beneath the surface.

The challenge is set for F&F writer Chris Morgan, the rest of the crew, and cast members like Diesel. Topping the action in The Fate of the Furious will be difficult, and bringing them into a shared universe the right way would be even more challenging, as Dominic Toretto and his family must be more than pawns in a larger universe. It won’t be easy,  but these movies thrive on the impossible. Truly thinking outside the box is the only way to top what’s come before.

The Fate Of The Furious In Theaters This Weekend: Reviews of Fate of the Furious, Lost City of Z and More

Read what critics are saying about the Richard Gere indie drama ‘Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer’ and the jazz doc ‘Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Story’ which includes commentary from Denzel Washington, Bill Clinton and others.

The Fast crew, a 20th century British explorer and a so-called “fixer” are all headed to theaters this weekend. In addition to The Fate of the Furious and Lost City of Z, also hitting the big screen are Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer and the jazz doc Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Story, which includes commentary from Denzel Washington, Bill Clinton and others.

Read on to find out what The Hollywood Reporter‘s critics are saying about the weekend’s new offerings (as well as which film will likely top the weekend box office).

The Fate of the Furious

The Fast crew is back together again. F. Gary Gray’s take on the eighth installment continues the high-speed mayhem of the franchise, but this time in a way that challenges the loyalty of the crew when Vin Diesel’s Dominic Toretto crosses over and teams up with supervillain Charlize Theron, leaving Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese and Ludacris to go on another car chase-and-explosion-filled adventure to try and stop him. THR film critic John DeFore writes in his review that the franchise “delivers exactly what fans have come to expect, for better and for worse.” When it comes to the bottom line he says the film gives a “more familiar feeling than expected” after series star Paul Walker’s death.

Lost City of Z

Charlie Hunnam, Robert Pattinson, Tom Holland and Sienna Miller star in the film based on a 20th century British explorer who disappeared while searching for a mysterious city in the Amazon. The adaptation of David Grann’s best-selling book of the same name was originally set to star Brad Pitt, whose company Plan B produced the film. THR’s chief film critic Todd McCarthy writes that the bottom line of the film is that it’s “traditional, in a very good way.”

Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer

Richard Gere plays an unusual but well connected “fixer” Norman Oppenheimer, who uses his relationships and skills to pull off financial schemes and political deals but starts to get in trouble when he gets connected to a Israeli politician who is elected prime minister (Lior Ashkenazi). McCarthy says that Gere “remains fascinating onscreen from beginning to end,” making his his hustler character “distinctive and different.”

Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Story

Denzel Washington, Bill Clinton, Cornel West, Common, along with family and friends of jazz great and alto sax player John Coltrane give insight into his short but significant career, which was cut short as Coltrane died of liver cancer at 40. McCarthy writes that “Director John Scheinfeld’s doc is a comprehensive, engrossing and, it’s tempting to say, worshipful account” of the life of the music titan whom “aficionados would agree deserves a spot on the jazz equivalent of Mount Rushmore.”

Fast Furious 1 Vin Diesel says alleged feud with Dwayne The Rock Johnson on Fast & Furious set was blown out of proportionDiesel and Johnson star in Fast & Furious franchise (Photo: REX/Shutterstock)

The actor has his say after Dwayne Johnson lashed out at unnamed male co-stars in August

Vin Diesel has broken his silence on rumours he feuded with Fast & Furious co-star Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson while filming the latest movie in the action franchise.

The speculation began when Johnson took to Facebook last summer and posting an angry message accusing some of his unnamed male co-stars of poor conduct on set.

Of course, given Diesel, 49, is arguably the biggest male star in the series, that started the whole saga that Johnson and Diesel had been at loggerheads last year.

Fast Furious 2 Vin Diesel says alleged feud with Dwayne The Rock Johnson on Fast & Furious set was blown out of proportion

Diesel as Dom Toretto (Photo: Universal Studios)

But Diesel’s now come out to say Johnson’s words have been “blown out of proportion” and while he hinted at a disagreement on set last year, he insisted everything is fine between them now.

“I don’t think the world really realises how close we are, in a weird way,” Diesel told USA Today .

“I think some things may be blown out of proportion. I don’t think that was his intention. I know he appreciates how much I work this franchise. In my house, he’s Uncle Dwayne.”

Fast Furious 3 Vin Diesel says alleged feud with Dwayne The Rock Johnson on Fast & Furious set was blown out of proportionDiesel insisted things are cool with The Rock (Photo: Getty) Fast Furious 4 Vin Diesel says alleged feud with Dwayne The Rock Johnson on Fast & Furious set was blown out of proportion

Vin said he’ll always have Dwayne’s back (Photo: AFP)

Diesel added: “I protect the franchise. I protect everybody including Dwayne. I protected Dwayne more than he’ll ever know. And it doesn’t matter. He doesn’t have to know. But he appreciates it. He knows it.

“Dwayne has only got one Vin in his life. Dwayne Johnson only has one big brother in this film world and that’s me.”

It’s the first time Diesel has fully addressed Johnson’s Facebook rant back in August 2016, which shocked fans.

Fast Furious 5 Vin Diesel says alleged feud with Dwayne The Rock Johnson on Fast & Furious set was blown out of proportionIn a scene from Fast & Furious (Photo: REX/Shutterstock) Fast Furious 6 Vin Diesel says alleged feud with Dwayne The Rock Johnson on Fast & Furious set was blown out of proportion

Johnson’s Facebook rant confused fans (Photo: Getty)

Johnson, 44, had said: “This is my final week of shooting Fast & Furious 8. There’s no other franchise that gets my blood boiling more than this one.

“An incredible hard working crew. Universal Studios Entertainment has been great partners as well. My female co-stars are always amazing and I love ’em.

“My male co-stars however are a different story. Some conduct themselves as stand up men and true professionals, while others don’t.

“The ones that don’t are too chicken s**t to do anything about it anyway. Candy a**es.

“When you watch this movie next April and it seems like I’m not acting in some of these scenes and my blood is legit boiling – you’re right.

“Bottom line is it’ll play great for the movie and fits this Hobbs character that’s embedded in my DNA extremely well. The producer in me is happy about this part.

“Final week on FAST 8 and I will finish strong.”

Fast& Furious 8 hits UK cinemas on April 12.

oscars7 Oscars: How the Academys Rule Changes Will Impact the Next Race

By Kristian Dowling/Getty Images.

smurfs going in style and the case for christ In Theaters This Weekend: Reviews of Smurfs: The Lost Village, Going in Style and More

Courtesy of Sony Pictures, Warner Bros. Pictures, and Pure Flix Entertainment
From left: ‘Smurfs: The Lost Village,’ ‘Going in Style,’ ‘The Case for Christ’

Read what critics are saying about the faith-based film ‘The Case for Christ’ and the Chris Evans starrer ‘Gifted.’

Beloved blue Smurfs and elderly bank robbers are among what’s headed to theaters this weekend in Smurfs: The Lost Village and Going in Style. Also in theaters are star-studded titles, including Chris Evans in Gifted and Anne Hathaway in monster film Colossal, along with the release of the faith-based film The Case for Christ. Read on to find out what The Hollywood Reporter‘s critics are saying about the weekend’s new offerings — as well as which film will likely top the weekend box office.

Smurfs: The Lost Village

The Smurfs are back and with an all-star cast including Julia Roberts, Ariel Winter, Joe Manganiello, Ellie Kemper, Demi Lovato and Meghan Trainor. The family feature, directed by Kelly Asbury, delivers a feminist angle along with entertainment that  film critic Frank Scheck wrote should “please its target audience” of young children.

Going in Style

Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and Alan Arkin play struggling retirees who turn to larceny after their pensions are dissolved. Helmer Zach Braff’s comedy is an updated version of the 1979 film starring George Burns, Art Carney and Lee Strasberg. Film critic Sheri Linden writes in her review that although the film revolves around a bank heist, “the real crime in Going in Style is its waste of acting talent.”

The Case for Christ

An investigative reporter and atheist sets out to disprove his wife’s newfound faith in the indie film, which is based on Lee Strobel’s best-selling book. Mike Vogel, Erika Christensen, Faye Dunaway and Robert Forster star.

Gifted

Chris Evans takes a break from playing Captain America to star in Marc Webb’s comedy-drama about a single father fighting for custody of his 7-year-old child genius niece. McKenna Grace, Jenny Slate and Octavia Spencer also star. Scheck writes, “despite its recycled tropes, the comedy-drama manages to be both funny and moving even if its emotional manipulations are fully apparent.”

Colossal

Anne Hathaway can now cross making a monster film off her list. The actress stars in Neon’s film about an out-of-work girl who leaves her New York partying lifestyle to battle a giant Godzilla-like creature in South Korea. Film critic John DeFore writes in his review, “The cast’s likability keeps us on board, watching the sometimes baffling behavior onscreen just like those on the streets of Seoul, who gape up at a monster in horror but can’t make themselves flee to the suburbs.”

 

arnold schwarzenegger and danny devito in twins Arnold Schwarzenegger hoping to film Triplets this year: Its going to be terrific!
TWINS, from left, Danny DeVito, Arnold Schwarzenegger, 1988, ©Universal Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection
UNIVERSAL PICTURES/EVERETT COLLECTION
Wednesday, we revealed Arnold Schwarzenegger will only appear in The Expendables 4 if Sylvester Stallone is involved in the project and that he still won’t take part unless his character is more developed than it was in the franchise’s previous entry.

But when the Terminator star spoke to your writer earlier his week, he was far more positive about the prospect of filming Triplets, the long-in-the-works sequel to the 1988 comedy Twins — it would reunite Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito, and welcome Eddie Murphy to the franchise — which the actor hoped to start shooting before the end of the year.

“We are just now working on Triplets,” Schwarzenegger said. “That is on top of the list, for me. Because I’ve been trying to do that for 20 years. Ivan Reitman (the director of Twins) believes in it. Danny DeVito believes in it — who always believed in it — and Eddie Murphy believes in it. It’s going to be terrific! So, we are looking forward to that.”

Schwarzenegger’s new film, Aftermath, is released in theaters and on VOD this Friday. Watch the film’s trailer above.aftermath Arnold Schwarzenegger hoping to film Triplets this year: Its going to be terrific!

first blood First Blood original ending: Dead Rambo and Kirk Douglas
FIRST BLOOD (1982) (screen grab) CR: CAROLCO PICTURES

In David Morrell’s 1972 novel First Blood, a Vietnam veteran named Rambo runs afoul of a small-town Sheriff. A manhunt ensues, and the nihilistically vindictive bloodshed: By the end of the novel, Rambo and the Sheriff are both dead. Almost a decade later, director Ted Kotcheff signed on to direct an adaptation of First Blood, and he had his own vision for the movie: The character of Rambo would be on a suicide mission. The film was originally going to end with Sylvester Stallone’s brutalized veteran dying by suicide… with a little help from Kirk Douglas, who was originally cast to play Colonel Trautman.

Kotcheff just released his memoir, Director’s Cut: My Life in Film. Here, he explains the story behind the First Blood ending that wasn’t.

How were you originally planning to end the movie?
TED KOTCHEFF:
I did a lot of research with Vietnam veterans. They were treated so badly, terribly. I think it was a very stupid war to begin with, based on a very stupid idea called the Domino Theory. The Domino Theory was: If Vietnam became Communist, then the whole Southeast would fall like dominoes, and they would all become communist as well. Fifty-eight thousand American troops, and a million Vietnamese – a million! – died for this stupid idea. A lot of the veterans felt horrible, guilty, they felt they’d dirtied their souls for absolutely nothing.

Then, of course, the veterans were treated so badly. In previous wars, like World War II – I remember, because I’m that old! – they had marching bands. They were treated like heroes! Vietnam veterans were vilified, and rejected. The right wing thought the Vietnam veterans were a bunch of losers, and lost the war – the first time America had lost a major war like that. The left wing thought they were a bunch of babykillers. A lot of veterans came home to find there was no place for them.

This is what happens to Rambo. That’s why I conceived of First Blood as Rambo’s suicide mission. The film was basically conceived as Rambo’s tragedy, that mirrored the tragedy of so many of the veterans that I talked to. I met guys that actually later on killed themselves. His tragedy mirrored their tragedy, and how they came to this sad conclusion to kill themselves.

My first choice for the picture was Sylvester Stallone. Usually, you submit a script to a star, you’d be lucky if you get an answer within two or three months. In his case, I sent it to him on a Thursday night. On a Friday morning he phones me: “I love this script! I want to do it!” I couldn’t believe my luck! Money always revolves around getting a big star name.

He said, “I only have one request: I hear that you’re going to do some rewriting on the film. I’d like to participate in the rewrite with you.”

I said, “I’d love that, Sylvester. You’re a terrific writer. Rocky is wonderfully written. Yeah, sure!”

One thing about Sylvester: He has a populist sense. He knows what audiences like to see, and what they don’t like to see. I’ve never had that. [Laughs] We came around to do the ending. He’s surrounded by the army, and by the police. He’s in the police station. The Colonel comes in there to put him out of his misery. [Rambo] says, “I know you have a gun underneath your jacket there. You created me. Now, you have to kill me.” And he pulls out the gun. But he can’t do it, of course. But Rambo reaches out, presses the trigger, and blows himself away. The whole scene was awfully moving. He kills himself!

We shot it. It was incredibly moving, after all we’d been through. Sylvester got up and said, “Ted, can I talk to you for a second?” He said, “You know, Ted, we put this character through so much. The police abuse him. He’s pursued endlessly. Dogs are sent after him. He jumps off cliffs. He runs through freezing water. He’s shot in the arm and he has to sew it up himself. All this, and now we’re gonna kill him?”

 What he said had been simmering in my mind slightly for some time, really. The quintessential American town Rambo finds himself in was emblematic of the whole United States. He’s being treated by an enemy, so he returns the failure and wrecks the whole town. I thought, to then have him kill himself means the enemy would have won, that town would have killed him. By this time, the audience had gotten the message. Did they need me to excessively pile it on?

I said, “Sylvester has a point.” Something popped into my head right away. I said, “I know exactly how to do it.” We cut away from this scene, just before [the Colonel] pulls the gun out. They come out of the police station. They start to walk down the steps. I’ll pan over to the ambulance, and see the Sheriff being loaded into the ambulance. He’s been shot, but not killed. We go back to Sylvester – all one shot! – he’s so happy he didn’t kill him. The camera pans over, follows them as they go onto the street. The whole townspeople are there. They’ll look at him, he’ll look at them. They’ll end up on a jeep and drive off. All one long camera shot. And Sylvester loved it! So, I said, “Okay, guys!” I lined it all up.

So you filmed the new ending on the same day you filmed the original ending?
Right afterwards! The two producers, Mario Kassar and Andrew Vajna, they came running over to me, and said, “What the f— are you doing, Kotcheff? We were supposed to be wrapping for the day!” I told them about my alternate ending, and they went bloody nuts. “Kotcheff! We agreed this film was Rambo’s suicide mission, and now you’re altering it? Plus, you’re over budget and over schedule! You’re not gonna do it! We’re done for the day!”

I said, “Listen, you a–holes, I don’t take any s— from producers. I’m only gonna take two hours, I promise you. And then, when the American distributor wants a happy ending, which I’m sure they will, you won’t have to spend a ton of money bringing the whole cast and crew back — in March, in bad weather — at that time, you’ll be kissing my ass in gratitude!”

The film was picked up by Orion Films, whose head was Mike Medavoy, who I knew very well. The producers and the Orion executives made an agreement: Let’s have a test screening, with the original hara-kiri ending where he shoots himself, and see what the audience would respond. [The test audience] were all unanimous. They all said, in different words: “This is the best action film I’ve ever seen. But the ending is horrible!” In the face of this universal disapproval, they agreed to change the ending.

 Unhappy endings are intellectual endings. But happy endings are popular endings. To which I might add, for Andy Vajna and Mario Kassar, who produced three Rambo sequels: Profitable endings, too!

Was it mentally jarring to film that different ending, after you had conceived of the movie as Rambo’s suicide mission?
You have to go with your intuitions in making a film sometimes. That thing had been niggling at me in the back of my head: The town killed him. The evil Sheriff killed him. All those people that symbolized America had killed him. They were the evil people who did this.

Initially, Kirk Douglas was cast as Colonel Trautman. Why didn’t he ultimately appear in the movie?
He came in at the very beginning, towards the beginning of the shooting of the film. Had he stayed, he would have been involved in the scene where Rambo dies by suicide. He was a strange man, Kirk. He always had an unsettling manner of always talking about himself in the third person. For example, he would say, “This is a great line, but Kirk Douglas should say this line.”

I said, “But Kirk, that sentiment is appropriate for that nasty Sheriff, not for you.”

 “I don’t care. It’s a good line. Kirk Douglas says it.”

Later on, I heard from other producers that worked with him that he was habitually stealing good lines from other actors, even though they were not quite right for his character.

He was a big star. We wanted to bend over backwards. I sent him the script when he was performing in a play in San Francisco. He loved the script and said he wanted to do it. Then when he got up there, he started quarreling, before he even started to shoot. “This line’s gotta be changed.” “I don’t like this scene.” The dialogue he was suggesting was like a B-film, circa 1940.

Finally, I said to the producers, “I can’t please this guy! I’ve rewritten this damn scene four times trying to incorporate the things he tells me, then when he sees it in front of the page he doesn’t like it.” Finally they allowed me to go to him and say, “Kirk, you read the script three months ago. You liked it, and you agreed to do it. This is the script that we want to make, and this is the script I want you to be in. But if you don’t want to do this script, then you can go back to Los Angeles.” He said, “Okay, Kirk Douglas goes back to Los Angeles.” [Laughs]

What did you think of the direction that the sequels took Rambo in?
In my film, he’s against killing, he won’t kill anybody. In the sequel, he’s turned into a killing machine. He kills about 75 people! I said, “That’s not the character I created. If you’re gonna do that, good luck, have a good time.”

Forgetting about the sequels for a moment, where do you think Rambo goes after the end of First Blood?
The Colonel’s gonna take him back to the army cabin, maybe give him psychiatric assistance! He would find himself in a better place. I thought maybe even the Colonel gives him a job on the army field, or makes him an officer, because he’s so experienced. I thought that maybe the Colonel could see what had gone wrong. He’d help Rambo to get back to a more fulfilling life.