Toronto-based indie filmmakers Jonathan and Justin Gajewski are reportedly developing “Ring King,” a biopic about Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s father and Canadian wrestling superstar Rocky Johnson.
Born and raised in Nova Scotia as Wade Douglas Bowles, the elder Johnson started wrestling in 1964. He went on to make his name in the professional wrestling game as a journeyman while fending off racial prejudice as he was among the first black wrestlers to demand and receive a contract.
He retired in 1991 and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. The Gajewski twins have optioned his life rights and will produce. The pair has assistant director credits on numerous films shot in Toronto ranging from “Suicide Squad” to “Scott Pilgrim”.
Reviews were terrible, but that didn’t stop people turning out for “The Conjuring” spin-off “The Nun” which easily took the top spot at the weekend box-office with a franchise-best $53.5 million opening over the three day weekend.
The story is even better worldwide, where “The Nun” launched simultaneously with the domestic release – something the franchise has never really done before. As a result, it pulled in an incredible $77.5 million just overseas – combined it took in a whopping $131 million worldwide debut for a film done on a tight $22 million budget.
It’s especially impressive considering that not only was the film savaged by critics, it nabbed a not so impressive C Cinemascore from audiences. The Jennifer Garner-led action film “Peppermint” also opened over the weekend to even worse reviews, but a decent $13 million in third place. The only other new wide opener was faith-based “God Bless the Broken Road” which bombed with just $1.6 million.
“Crazy Rich Asians” continues its strong reign in second place with a further $13.6 million and a domestic total of $136 million after four weeks. “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” is going from strength-to-strength with a worldwide total of $726 million so far and looks ready to soon surpass “Mission: Impossible II” domestically to become the biggest film in the franchise. The microbudget John Cho mystery thriller “Searching” held strong, falling just 25% and taking in a further $4.5 million.
Reshoots have just kicked off on the untitled fourth “Avengers” movie and Jeremy Renner, the most notable absentee in “Avengers: Infinity War,” has taken to Instagram to tease his return to the role Clint Barton, a.k.a. Hawkeye (or Ronin?).
What brings the master marksman back into the fight is unclear, but it’s rumored the seemingly retired ex-Avenger will rejoin the team after at least some his family falls victim to Thanos’ snap.
Also today, the directors have also posted a photo of a superfan visiting the film’s set this week. At present we’re not sure how long the additional photography is going on for, but Joe and Anthony Russo have plenty of breathing room with the film currently set to hit theaters on May 3rd 2019.
North American Theater Owners president and CEO John Fithian, representing exhibitors at the Toronto Film Festival this week, has urged Netflix to follow the lead of rival Amazon and show their movies at the local multiplex.
Talking with THR, Fithian says: “Our model can work for their movies too. But if you want to play theatrically, come play theatrically. There’s a model that works, and it works for Fox, Amazon and all these companies, because a theatrical movie is different.”
Then Fithian stipulates a condition on that invitation: “It has to be a substantive commitment to theatrical, not just a marketing play. It’s not just a little dip into theatrical. You have to give [a movie] a chance to work.”
Netflix is aggressively embracing A-list directors to make movies for its streaming service at the moment and has previously expressed a desire to have their films released in cinemas.
However, to date, they have only screened their potential awards films such as “Mudbound” on a handful of screens mostly due to exhibitors being rigid about the theatrical movie window of at least three months between films screening at the multiplex and arriving on a home video platform.
On the one hand a theatrical release offers the advantage of perceived prestige, awards consideration and potential box-office success should a film go theatrical. On the other, there’s the disadvantage of suddenly more additional costs of millions in marketing and distribution, far more complicated deal making when it comes to doing anything with their films, and potentially bad word of mouth during the theatrical run.
There’s also the fact that their user base is worldwide, meaning films would be delayed by many months so that one or a handful of countries can get a theatrical run which could very well flop.
Alfonso Cuaron’s “Roma,” which Netflix is releasing both in a small handful of cinemas and on its streaming service, was the toast of the recent Venice Film Festival and won its top honor. It and Bradly Cooper’s “A Star is Born” have seemingly emerged as the two early favorites to nab a Best Picture Oscar.
At the start of the year, 20th Century Fox did something unexpected with its “X-Men” spin-off film “The New Mutants” film. Having already begun marketing the film with a trailer and key art, they ended up delaying it from its planned April release – pushing the movie back first to February 2019 and then later that year in August.
A delay of well over a year for a relatively small film suggested serious problems, and/or more likely massive reshoots – the latter confirmed with the film undergoing a major overhaul and introducing an entirely new character to what was an already completed narrative.
The delays are understandably frustrating for fans, and more so for those who worked on the film including “Split” actress Anya Taylor-Joy who plays Magik in the movie. Back in March, the actress said the delay was “disappointing, frustrating in fact” but added: “it’s more important to make sure that we get it right than rushing to make a date.”
Now, half a year on, she’s spoken to Collider and seems more upbeat about the project and the reshoots helping the movie find its real tone:
“It’s crazy exciting! I love my character. I have such a connection to Illyana. I absolutely adore her, and getting to play her is super fun because she’s sassy and Russian and a little bit psycho. She’s just so much fun to play.
I don’t find [the delay] frustrating because when the film comes out, we want it to be something that will make the fans truly happy.
Taking the time to do it, whilst people might find it a little bit frustrating to wait for it, when we deliver it, it’s going to be fantastic. That’s the most important thing. And getting the opportunity to play the character again is just great.
I think we’re making the movie that we set out to make, in the beginning. That’s what we’re going to end up delivering to people. It feels like the movie we all signed up to do, which is good.”
Alice Braga, Maisie Williams, Charlie Heaton, Blu Hunt, and Henry Zaga co-star in the film about five young mutants, just discovering their abilities while held in a secret facility against their will, fighting to escape their past sins and save themselves.