Beyond the Screen #26 – Halloween Ends, Super Mario Bros, Naked Gun Reboot, Harrison Ford to Join MCU and DC Shake Up

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

Halloween’s Box Office Slashed by Streaming?

Halloween Ends premiered to $40 million in its opening weekend at the domestic box office, marginally lower than the previous entry into the franchise, Halloween Kills, but still a strong showing for a film with a purported budget of $20 million, especially when accounting for what may have been a deflated showing as a result of the film’s simultaneous release on streaming service Peacock. Coming in just under predictions, this performance reflects the film’s franchise low Cinemascore of C+. Amsterdam continues to flounder, suffering a drop north of 50%. Worldwide, Halloween Ends didn’t add much, with a $57,224,355 weekend, followed by another horror breakout in Smile, with $28,864,356. Third at the global box office was China’s Home Coming with $11 885 000, next up the underwhelming $10,952,340 opening of Lyle, Lyle Crocodile, rounded out by Ticket to Paradise, still going strong ahead of its U.S. release, bringing in $7 823 000 between October 14th and 16th. Black Adam is looking to open in the range of $60 million this weekend, recent anticipation having been somewhat stunted by mixed word of mouth.

Naked Gun to be Rebooted

Liam Neeson is in talks to star as bumbling detective Lieutenant Frank Drebin in a reboot of the Zucker Brothers surreal slapstick classic. The film will be directed by Akiva Schaffer, of Chip ‘N Dale: Rescue Rangers, though his work with The Lonely Island may give us a better insight into the ‘anything-for-a-laugh’ stylings Schaffer should be able to apply to the reboot. Per Deadline, the movie will receive a greenlight once Neeson’s involvement is secured. It’ll be a tough role to fill the shoes of Leslie Nielsen, once described as the ‘Olivier of spoof movies’, there is speculation that Neeson will instead portray Drebin’s son.

Super Mario Bros Teaser Reveals Chris Pratt’s Vocal Performance

Upon the first announcement of Chris Pratt’s casting as Mario in the upcoming Super Mario Bros movie, many audience members were mortified. Pratt is not typically encouraged to explore the range of his accent work, though the actor went on to promise that he would deliver a performance “unlike anything you’ve heard in the Mario world before”. With the release of the first teaser trailer for Nintendo and Illumination’s major franchise play, we have the opportunity to glimpse just what this uncanny voicework Pratt has been hard at work on comes to. The most common assessment seems to be that Mario’s new voice most resembles that of… Chris Pratt. The trailer also features a brief appearance by a suitably petrified Luigi, and a surprisingly tough-to-place Jack Black snarling as Bowser. At the very least, it seems Illumination has made significant improvements to their animation.

Harrison Ford Joins Captain America 4

Ford will take up the role of General Ross from the late William Hurt. General ‘Thunderbolt’ Ross previously appeared at length in MCU films like The Incredible Hulk and is slated to appear in the upcoming Captain America: New World Order, and Thunderbolts thereafter. It seems reports of Ford’s retirement have been greatly exaggerated.

DC Undergoing Shake Up

Several behind the scenes shake ups seem to be underway at DC films. For one, James Gunn, who previously directed The Suicide Squad for Warner Bros. and Peacemaker for HBO, is said to have pitched a ‘secret movie’ to the studio. Meanwhile, ahead of the release of tentpole Black Adam, the head of DC films Walter Hamada has opted to step down. Per the Hollywood Reporter, the studio’s current focus is on reprising the character of Superman. Dwayne Johnson, star of the upcoming Black Adam, has taken to teasing a Black Adam v. Superman vehicle throughout his press tour (and though the studio would need to coerce Cavill into returning to the role, Johnson has all but confirmed a Superman cameo in Black Adam). All the while director Matt Reeves has continued to press forward with a potential sequel to The Batman and a television series based around the character of the Penguin, as played by Colin Farrell.

U.K.’s Farsi International Feature Submission

Hassan Nazer’s Winners, having won the audience award at the Edinburgh International Film Festival, has been officially selected by the British Academy as the United Kingdom’s submission for the International Feature category at the 2023 Oscars. All of Winners’ dialogue is in Farsi, and the film was shot entirely in Iran. “In a small provincial Iranian town, the children work hard to support their families. One day nine-year-old Yahya and his friend Leyla find a precious statue. Sharing a passion for cinema, Yahya’s boss Naser Khan (Reza Naji) decides to help them find the owner.” Competition in the International Feature category is sure to be stiff, but Winners has a helpful theme the academy can’t get enough of… movies about how great movies are. The poster for Winners features the tagline: For the love of cinema.

Anna May Wong to Appear on American Quarters

Anna May Wong is set to become the first Asian American to appear on a piece of United States currency, specifically the quarter. Wong, an icon of silent cinema, was America’s first Asian film star, often settled for demeaning roles built around stereotypes, but maintained her dedication to craft, and in so doing played a part in Hollywood’s slow shift from the practice of ‘yellowface’. Wong’s sidelined work shines in films like 1924’s The Thief of Bagdad and Shanghai Express, while her starring roles in The Toll of the Sea and Piccadilly give a sense of the talent Hollywood neglected. Per U.S. Mint director Ventris C. Gibson: “The fifth coin in our American Women Quarters Program honors Anna May Wong, a courageous advocate who championed for increased representation and more multi-dimensional roles for Asian American actors. This quarter is designed to reflect the breadth and depth of accomplishments by Anna May Wong, who overcame challenges and obstacles she faced during her lifetime.”