Well, we’ve made it to another Friday, and it was another busy week full of all sorts of industry news, but most of Hollywood is actually in Park City, Utah right now as the 40th Annual Sundance Film Festival kicks off with a number of high-profile premieres, including a couple of movies that may have already found distribution, including Captain Marvel directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck‘s Freaky Tales, one of the hot premieres at the fest, which is rumored to have already been picked up by Lionsgate.
Those not going to Sundance will only have one new wide release in theaters as Bleecker Street releases Gabriela Cowperthwaite‘s outer-space thriller, I.S.S., starring Oscar-winner Adriana DeBose (West Side Story) into 2,420 theaters, although NEON is giving Ava DuVernay‘s Origin, starring Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor, a smaller release into 130 theaters this weekend, too.
We’ll start off the actual news with a couple bits from horror filmmakers, beginning with some news about one of Jordan Peele‘s untitled projects through his Monkey Paw Productions. It’s now officially been titled as a movie called GOAT, a psychological thriller that will be directed by Kicks filmmaker Justin Tipping, who has also directed episodes of Black Monday, Dear Chi, and Dear White People. Shortly after that was announced, it was reported that Marlon Wayans from the Scary Movie franchise, would be the lead in said movie.
After making a tangent into superheroes with Shazam! and its 2023 sequel, filmmaker David F. Sandberg will be returning to horror with a movie based on Supermassive‘s popular Playstation horror video game, Until Dawn. The game debuted in 2015, following a group of teenagers that spend the weekend in a ski lodge on the anniversary of some of their friends’ disappearing… and they are not alone. The game came from the mind of another horror icon, Larry Fessenden and his long-time collaborator Graham Reznik, and it had a star-studded cast that included Hayden Panettiere, Peter Stormare, and Rami Malek. Sandberg got his star in horror with the short and feature, Lights Out, as well as the horror prequel, Annabelle: Creation — still the best movie in that franchise not directed by James Wan.
Lionsgate announced that it has cast 9-year-old Juliano Krue Valdi to play the young Michael Jackson in the Antoine Fuqua-directed biopic, Michael. Previously, Lionsgate and Universal Pictures International (which will be handling distribution outside North America) announced that the film, which will star Jackson’s actual nephew Jaafar Jackson as the pop icon as an adult, will receive a worldwide release on April 18, 2025.
If there’s any question that Warner Bros. wants its 2025 Minecraft movies, to be its next Barbie, then the ongoing casting of comedy stars, including Barbie‘s Kate McKinnon, recently announced as joining the cast, as well as multiple Emmy winner, Jennifer Coolidge (The White Lotus) and ten-time Emmy nominee Jemaine Clement.
Netflix announced three series regulars cast in its Texas-set series, Ransom Canyon, a romance-fueled hour-long family drama that charts the lives of three ranching families in Texas Hill Country. Josh Duhamel and Minka Kelly were already announced among the cast for the series created, written, and exec. produced by April Blair (Wednesday) with Amanda Marsalis (Ozark, Umbrella Academy) directing the first two episodes. They will now be joined by two-time Golden Globe and Emmy winner James Brolin as “Cap,” an “ex-Army captain, and the brash, bullheaded owner of Fuller Ranch.” Eoin Macken (La Brea) will play Davis Collins, “the charming, ivy-educated owner of the modern Bar W Ranch,” while Lizzy Greene (A Million Little Things), plays Lauren Brigman, “Ransom Canyon’s ambitious head cheerleader. The daughter of the town Sheriff and girlfriend of cocky quarterback, Reid Collins.” If you’re like me, you read about this series and think, “Boy, this sounds a lot like something out of Paramount+’s hugely successful ‘Taylor Sheridan-verse,'” because in Hollywood, imitation isn’t just flattery, but ripping-off something that is successful is the best path to success.
Our eagle-eyed pal at World of Reel noted that Production Weekly had Ari Aster‘s Western comedy, Eddington, set to begin filming in March with Aster’s Beau is Afraid star, Joaquin Phoenix, as the lead. Aster and Phoenix were spotted in Albuquerque, New Mexico location scouting for the film Others rumored to be a part of the cast include Oscar-winner Emma Stone, Pedro Pascal, and Candice Bergen. Apparently, Aster has had this “Western-noir dark ensemble comedy” in his back pocket to make as a feature from even before his debut, Midsommar in 2019.
Another A24 alum, David Robert Mitchell (It Follow) will begin production for his next film, Flowervale Street, for Bad Robot and Warner Bros, in March. It’s an ’80s set mystery movie, involving dinosaurs and starring Anne Hathaway and Oscar Isaac, and it will precede Mitchell’s return to the world of his 2014 horror movie with a sequel called They Follow, which will once again star Maika Monroe.
A couple movies changed their theatrical release dates this past week, as Universal and Blumhouse‘s horror remake of Speak No Evil (a fairly recent Sundance premiere from Denmark), this one starring James McAvoy (Split), has been delayed to the fall from its original August release. It will now be released on Sept. 13.
Also, Alex Garland‘s anticipated Civil War, reportedly one of the most expensive A24 productions to date, will be released two weekends earlier on April 12, rather than its initial release date of April 26. That new date was originally wide open, whereas April 26 would have put it up against Luca Guadagnino‘s Challengers, obviously a very different movie but one that could be targetting the same 20-something audience. Also, the move would allow Civil Warto have more weeks in IMAX.
Unfortunately, the streamer cancellations keep a-comin’, as Apple announced that it would be ending the musical-comedy series, Schmigadoon!, starring Cecily Strong and Keegan-Michael Key, after its already-aired second season. Also, Max has cancelled Rap Sh!t after two seasons.
With not many new theatrical releases this month and much of the movie biz camped out in Park City, there weren’t many new trailers to share this week, so what the heck, here is the trailer for Prime Video‘s Jennifer Lopez doc, This Is Me… Now: A Love Story, which will begin its streaming on Feb. 16, timed with the release of Lopez’s new album, This Is Me… Now.