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Disney CEO Bob Iger: “I Take The Blame” For Too Many Star Wars Films, Too Soon

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With Solo: A Star Wars Story cruising towards its home release next week, Disney CEO Bob Iger has finally opened up about the film’s less-than-stellar box office performance, which saw the feature garner just $392 million worldwide.

Now, those aren’t poor numbers by any stretch of the imagination – most indies would kill for just 1% of that – but they’re not even mid-tier Marvel takings (Ant-Man grossed over $500 million, and I defy you to find one person to whom Ant-Man is their favourite film). Furthermore,  compared to other recent efforts from the galaxy far, far away (The Force Awakens – $2bn; Rogue One – $1.05bn; The Last Jedi – $1.3bn), well, they’re not quite in the same league.

When Solo hit to a meek audience reception it seemed that every critic, pundit and even rival studio head had a theory as to why – was it too soon after The Last Jedi (which had released just five months prior)? Was it down to the recasting of one of the most iconic roles in cinema? Was it due to the negative fan backlash from a small vocal minority of Star Wars fans following Rian Johnson’s creative decisions? Was it the one-two punch of Deadpool 2 and Avengers: Infinity War financially-draining audiences in the weeks running up to Solo’s release? Or was it simply bad luck?

Well, despite not mentioning Solo by name, Bob Iger seems to think it was simply a case of Star Wars fatigue – overloading audiences with too many adventures too soon. Considering the usual 3-year gap between instalments, the one-a-year schedule Disney has been adhering to since 2015 does seem a tad much. But here’s what Iger said during an interview with The Hollywood Reporter:

“I made the timing decision, and as I look back, I think the mistake that I made – I take the blame – was a little too much, too fast. You can expect some slowdown, but that doesn’t mean we’re not gonna make films.”

As it stands, the only other Star Wars movie officially slated for release is 2019’s Episode IX, which will reportedly close out the so-called Skywalker Saga that began all the way back in 1977. As for what comes next? According to Bob: “We are just at the point where we’re gonna start making decisions about what comes next … But I think we’re gonna be a little more careful about volume and timing. And the buck stops here on that.”

There’s an 18-month gap between the theatrical releases of Solo and Episode IX, and Bob Iger (with Disney) is clearly hoping that will be enough of a breather to allow audience anticipation to build back up for director JJ Abrams’ closing chapter.

Solo: A Star Wars Story is due for release on DVD, Blu-Ray and 4K this Monday the 24th of September, rated 12A.

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Guillermo del Toro to Direct Stop Motion Pinocchio for Netflix

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Pinocchio Movie Marker

Fresh off his Oscar win for “The Shape of Water,” Guillermo del Toro is set to make his animated feature film directing debut. Del Toro has received the green light from Netflix to film “Pinocchio,” a stop motion musical version of the classic children’s tale about a puppet who wants to be a real live boy. He will write and produce the film in addition to directing it.

According to Variety, The film will be set in Italy during the 1930’s, a particularly fraught historical moment and a time when fascism was on the rise and Benito Mussolini was consolidating control of the country. Production on “Pinocchio” will begin this fall. Del Toro previously set “The Devil’s Backbone” and “Pan’s Labyrinth” against a totalitarian backdrop, although he placed those stories in Franco’s Spain.

“No art form has influenced my life and my work more than animation and no single character in history has had as deep of a personal connection to me as Pinocchio,” said del Toro in a statement. “In our story, Pinocchio is an innocent soul with an uncaring father who gets lost in a world he cannot comprehend. He embarks on an extraordinary journey that leaves him with a deep understanding of his father and the real world. I’ve wanted to make this movie for as long as I can remember.”

Del Toro previously collaborated with Netflix on its Emmy award-winning television series “Trollhunters,” the first installment of the DreamWorks’ Tales of Arcadia trilogy. The next chapter, “3Below,” is set to debut on in December and it will be followed by “Wizards” in 2019. He created the upcoming Netflix horror anthology series, “Guillermo del Toro Presents 10 After Midnight.” Del Toro’s other credits include “Crimson Peak” and “Pan’s Labyrinth.”

The project comes as Netflix is investing heavily in children’s entertainment — a move that will be increasingly important as Disney prepares to launch its own streaming service. To that end, the company has backed the likes of “Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events,” along with upcoming series such as “She-Ra and the Princesses of Power” and “Gabby’s Dollhouse.”

Del Toro will collaborate on “Pinocchio” with the Jim Henson Company, the company behind “The Dark Crystal” and ShadowMachine, the creator of “Bojack Horseman.” Lisa Henson, ShadowMachine’s Alex Bulkley, Corey Campodonico, and Gary Ungar of Exile Entertainment will produce the film. Blanca Lista will co-produce it.

Patrick McHale (“Over The Garden Wall”) will co-write the script, and Mark Gustafson (“Fantastic Mr. Fox”) will co-direct the movie. Guy Davis will serve as co-production designer and the film’s puppets will be built by Mackinnon and Saunders, the team behind “Corpse Bride.”

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Aquaman Director Teases Two Of The Film’s Creatures, And Gosh They Look Silly

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So, Aquaman is a film that’s coming out. It feels like, as a culture, the general cinema-going public still hasn’t quite acclimated to the idea that an Aquaman film is just two months away. Like, y’know, a film about Aquaman. Aquaman.

One person looking to change that general perception is director James Wan, who shared new glimpses at some of the film’s mounted ocean creatures and… oh good lord, just look at them.


Click through to get an even-higher resolution look at what’s to come, but as you can see there’s a saddle-mounted hammerhead shark, and a tylosaurus (a sort-of prehistoric crocodile). Yeah.

Aquaman is due out on the 14th of December, rated 12A, and stars Jason Momoa as the titular rightful ruler of Atlantis. As the film’s PR campaign ramps up, WB released a five-minute extended trailer just a few weeks ago, which you can check out here.

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Halloween Scores Series-Best Opening, As Venom Crosses $450m Worldwide

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Jamie Lee Curtis’ rebootquel Halloween scored a domestic opening of $77.5 million this weekend, after an impressive $27.2M Saturday. Not only does that easily make it the best US opening for John Carpenter’s four-decade old franchise, but it also solidifies it as the second-best opening ever for the month of October behind Sony’s Venom, which netted $80.2M just a few weeks ago.

Speaking of Venom, the critically-derided, audience-adored antihero flick starring Tom Hardy took another $18 million in the US this week, and a further $32 million internationally, taking the film’s global total to a staggering $460.2 million – for perspective, that’s bottom-end MCU money, beating out titles like Thor ($449.3m), Captain America: The First Avenger ($370.6m) and The Incredible Hulk ($263.4m), and gaining on films like Ant-Man ($519.3m) and the original Iron Man ($585.2m). Venom is still yet to open in China and Japan.

Meanwhile, Warner Bros.’ smash-hit musical drama A Star Is Born is still raking in the dough. Star/director Bradley Cooper’s feature, which has garnered a big push in ticket sales from the successful stunt-casting of Lady Gaga as the secondary lead, brought its tally up to $201 million internationally this week, and looks set to continue hanging on at the box office despite fierce October competition.

All three films are in UK cinemas now, with Venom and A Star Is Born both rated 15, and Halloween rather expectedly rated 18.

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