Beyond the Screen #5 Dune Sequel, Last Night in Soho Bombs, Marvel Misfire and Ice Cube Quits

We take a look back at news of note in the world of film.

Dune Sequel Greenlit

After a modestly successful first two weeks at the American box office, good holds elsewhere, and strong word of mouth, Legendary and Warner Brothers have acceded to the requests of director Denis Villeneuve’s team, and now audiences, giving the go-ahead to start production on Dune: Part Two. “This is only the beginning…”, as Legendary’s announcement read, calling back to a line in the film *insisting* that the story is not done yet. Villeneuve had envisioned a simultaneous production of Parts One and Two, but the studio, concerned with audience reception, held back to survey both box office and HBO-Max viewership. Villeneuve has expressed interest in extending his services to a third installment, Dune Messiah, to conclude the Paul Atreides story. Release for Part Two is set for October 2023.

Last Night in Soho Bombs

Many expected Edgar Wright’s latest film, a giallo-esque period-set ’60s psychological-horror, to benefit from a Halloweekend boost in ticket sales, but despite a continued strong showing of $8.5 million from competition Halloween Kills in its third week, Last Night in Soho flopped, taking in only $4.2 million, well below its modest estimate of $8 million. Mixed reviews (well below expected for an Edgar Wright film) may have contributed to audience hesitation, though this was never going to be a smash-hit, considering the limited appeal of this sort of stylish horror at the box office today (begging the question why Focus Features opened the film to wide release rather than allowing its reputation to grow through limited release). With a $43 million budget, the ghost story has a steep hill to climb in order to reach profitability. Elsewhere at the box office, No Time To Die opened to over $20 million in China, bringing it’s international total to an excellent $600 million worldwide, close to overtaking F9 as the highest grossing non-Chinese release of 2021 (China’s theatres remain largely unfazed by the pandemic, with two monster hits over $800 million this year so far).

Ice Cube Refuses Vaccination, Quits Latest Film

Ice Cube has left the upcoming comedy Oh Hell No, directed by Kitao Sakurai, co-starring Jack Black and set to film in Hawaii later this year, following a request from producers that all cast and crew be vaccinated before production begins. This means Mr. Cube has left a $9 million paycheck on the table, and Sony Pictures is looking for a new lead.

John Woo Directing Dialogue-free Action Film

John Woo, master of action-filmmaking and progenitor of gun-fu (as seen in Hard Boiled, The Killer and recently cribbed for the John Wick films), is set to make his first American film in 14 years. “Silent Night“, as it is being appropriately labelled, will star Joel Kinnaman, and feature zero spoken lines of dialogue. Producers from the John Wick series are on board for the production, which follows a father as he descends into an underworld to avenge his son. International audiences best know Woo’s work from Face/Off starring Nicolas Cage and John Travolta.

Eternals Becomes Worst Reviewed Marvel Movie

Hot off of an Oscar win for Best Picture *and* Best Director, Chloe Zhao seemed destined to take the Marvel brand in new, and refreshingly artful directions, but alas, despite the studio heavily pushing the narrative that this is the “prestige” Marvel film (going so far as to lift the critical embargo early), Eternals has been met with a hugely mixed reception. Members of the stacked cast had expressed an expectation of some backlash, considering the film broaches new ground for the series socially (LGBTQ representation and *gasp* one sex scene), but Eternals has landed squarely as the worst received Marvel film to date, netting a 58% Rotten Tomatoes Score, below even the maligned Thor: The Dark World and a two percentage dip into Rotten territory. This is unlikely to sway box office takings much, since die-hard Marvel fans are critic-phobic as it is, and general audiences are unfamiliar with the Eternals as characters. We can expect to wait for Spider-man: No Way Home before we see an opening above $100 million in America for Marvel studios again. With one week before release, some hovering between Rotten and Fresh for the score is likely.

Ryan Gosling Cast in New Wolfman Reboot

Universal has had trouble with the Wolfman in the years following the golden-age of Universal Monsters, but things are looking up as Oscar-nominated writer-director Derek Cianfrance has come on board to helm, a fine pair for star Ryan Gosling, since the two have collaborated previously on the well-received films Blue Valentine and A Place Beyond the Pines. Gosling is reported to have pitched the film himself, with producer-extraordinaire Jason Blum financing Universal’s first new attempt at a monster movie since 2017’s disastrous The Mummy with Tom Cruise.

Another Chris Pratt Casting Raises Eyebrows

The incredulous hot takes are once again in full swing, since just as the ire over star Chris Pratt’s casting as Mario in the upcoming animated Super Mario Bros. film seems to have died down, Sony and Alcon have announced plans for a new Garfield animated feature, with Pratt providing the voicework for the pro-Lasagna, anti-Mondays cat. Reactions have been less unanimously disdainful, though, as many fans express that Pratt may be a good fit for this particular role. As for the film itself, it will be written by David Reynolds of Finding Nemo, which is certainly a good sign, although it’ll be tough for Chris to measure up to Bill Murray’s pitch-perfect Garfield voicing.

The Incal Feature Film in the Works

‘The Incal’, the epic space-opera-graphic-novel-series made by Alejandro Jodorowsky and Moebius in the wake of their aborted Dune adaptation, will be adapted into a feature film. Little is known about the project, whether it will be live-action or animated for instance, but Jodorowsky took to Instagram to tease a director announcement coming the 4th of November. The ‘Incal’ covers the typical Jodorowsky obsession with personal transformation, this time on a cosmic scale, as “John DiFool, a (low) class “R” private detective from City Shaft… comes into contact with the Luminous Incal, a mysterious object that grants him powers, and which different factions -such as the Bergs and the Techno-technos- are after”.

Quentin Tarantino To Auction Off Pulp Fiction Materials as NFTs

The latest celebrity to capitalize on the craze of non-fungible tokens, Tarantino will auction off 7 NFTs, made up of commentary and, most tantalizingly, original hand-written drafts of the Pulp Fiction script. These materials, which have never seen the light of day, will remain the exclusive property of the buyer, in digital form.