Beyond the Screen #19: Elvis is Box Office King, Furiosa Down Under, Deadpool 3, Guy Ritchie’s Hercules and More

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

Elvis Is Box Office King

Last weekend saw an extremely tight race for first place at the box office between the opening week of Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis, and the fifth week of Top Gun: Maverick, pulling in an astonishing $29,614,139, sending it just over the edge for a worldwide total of $1 billion. Elvis got the top spot with $31,211,579 over the weekend, including previews, for a worldwide total of $51.2 million. Elsewhere at the domestic box office, The Black Phone has turned out to be a surprise mid-budget horror hit with a $23,633,220 opening and worldwide total of $36,613,220. Not a killing, but an excellent showing for an original horror property these days. Lightyear suffered a 64% drop in its second weekend for $18,158,565, while Jurassic World: Dominion netted $26,729,510 over the weekend in its third week of release.

Blonde Teaser Trailer

Andrew Dominik’s hotly anticipated Marilyn Monroe biopic, recently awarded (misawarded?) an NC-17 certification by the MPAA, has seen the release of its first teaser trailer. The dramatic and dreamy collection of iconographic Marilyn-moments (public and private) gives little in the way of plot, but everything you need to know about the tone, star Ana de Armas’ likeness, and the flashy visual sensibility the film has to offer is abundantly clear. Stark, grand, depressing.

Guy Ritchie to Direct Live-action Hercules

Ritchie previously directed the smash hit 2019 live-action Aladdin, a member of the billion-dollar club of Disney’s recent remakes. Hiring Ritchie for that gig was an act of complete lunacy, though having proven himself capable of playing along with the studio’s cellophane-vision, Ritchie may be better suited for Hercules, a Disney film that is beloved, but certainly has room for improvement. Dave Callaham (Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings) has written the film’s screenplay.

Hunter Schafer Cast in Hunger Games Prequel

Hunter Schafer, best known for her leading role on HBO’s Euphoria, has joined the Hunger Games prequel film The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. Schafer will be playing young Coriolanus Snow’s cousin and principal advisor, Tigris Snow, shaping the future dictator of Panem’s moral compass and mentorship of tribute Lucy Gray (Rachel Zegler).

Deadpool 3 May Be “Fish-Out-of-Water” Story

Writers Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese have disclosed a bit about the anticipated follow-up; there’s a good chance it’ll be a fish-out-of-water tale. Considering the merc with a mouth hasn’t fit in terribly well anywhere before, it’ll be something to see what alien environment Wernick and Reese plop the character into for this third installment. Reese is quoted as saying; “Deadpool is a lunatic at the center of a movie. To drop a lunatic in a very sane world, it’s straight butter. It’s going to be really fun.” That sane world is the MCU, a playground recently made available by Disney’s acquisition of Fox and all its intellectual property.

Brad Pitt Labels Career as “On (It’s) Last Leg”

“I consider myself on my last leg,” said Pitt, despite starring in the upcoming summer-action-blockbuster-hopeful Bullet Train. Concerning himself with mapping out an appropriate final chapter in his career, the actor surmised: “This last semester or trimester. What is this section gonna be? And how do I wanna design that?” Pitt may well shift focus to his efficacious work as producer, but we can only trust that the actor will have trouble moving on from starring roles. Here’s hoping Bullet Train reconfirms Pitt’s audience appeal. He’s often compared to Robert Redford, not in the least because Redford served as his role model, but with any luck Pitt will see fit to mirror Redford’s longevity as well, putting out excellent work well into his 80s and beyond.

Léa Seydoux Up for Role in Dune 2

Another addition to the stellar lineup of Dune Part Two may be on the way, as actress Léa Seydoux (best known for her work as Madeleine Swann in the Bond films and her unprecedented 2013 Palme d’Or victory as co-star of Blue is the Warmest Colour) is in the process of negotiating for the role of Lady Margot. Without getting into spoilers, the character is a close friend of the Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV and a member of the Bene Gesserit.

First Look at Ryan Gosling as Ken in Barbie Film

We’ve seen Margot Robbie made up as the iconic Barbie, photographed for the upcoming film by Greta Gerwig, now comes Ken, played by Ryan Gosling, in a profile shot that’s raised a few eyebrows. Rather than ascots and beach-shorts, Gosling is decked out in a sleeveless denim jacket (unbuttoned for maximal ab-observation), and Ken-brand underwear poking out above denim jeans, with a tuft of bleached blonde hair hovering above a pair of suitably smarmy eyebrows.

John Williams Teases Retirement

In conversation with the Associated Press, cinema’s most accomplished composer had this to say: “At the moment I’m working on Indiana Jones 5, which Harrison Ford – who’s quite a bit younger than I am – I think has announced will be his last film. So, I thought: If Harrison can do it, then perhaps I can, also.” Williams did, however, clarify that he would never shut the door to film scoring completely and has no plans to put a halt to his orchestral work. For clarification, despite Williams’ statement concerning Harrison Ford’s retirement, Ford has not made any public announcement to that effect.

Furiosa Now Filming

Production is underway on George Miller’s Mad Max spinoff Furiosa, filming in, where else, Australia, specifically New South Wales. A recent press release details a brief synopsis: “As the world fell, young Furiosa is snatched from the Green Place of Many Mothers and falls into the hands of a great Biker Horde led by the Warlord Dementus. Sweeping through the Wasteland they come across the Citadel presided over by The Immortan Joe. While the two Tyrants war for dominance, Furiosa must survive many trials as she puts together the means to find her way home.” Anya Taylor-Joy stars as the young Furiosa, alongside co-stars Chris Hemsworth and Tom Burke.

Mario Movie Producer on Chris Pratt’s Performance

Chris Meledandri, producer of the upcoming Super Mario movie, has assured pundits, critics and fans that Chris Pratt’s Italian accent, adopted for his starring role as Mario, won’t offend Italians, nor Italian-Americans. “I’m not sure this is the smartest defense, but as a person who has Italian-American heritage, I feel I can make that decision without worrying about offending Italians or Italian-Americans…I think we’re going to be just fine”, continuing, “When people hear Chris Pratt’s performance, the criticism will evaporate, maybe not entirely – people love to voice opinions, as they should.” Of much more interest are his claims that the Super Mario movie will be “unlike any film Illumination has made to date.” If this can be believed, there may be a faint glimmer of hope yet.