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Must Reads 1/23/24: New Jurassic World in the Works, Scott Stuber Leaving Netflix, Razzie Nominations, More Industry News

It’s Oscar nominations morning, so that will be our main focus for the day, but that doesn’t mean we’ve forgotten all you news enthusiasts, who look forward to our “Must Reads” news recap once or twice a week. (This week, there will only be one installment due to the virtual Sundance.)

Speaking of Sundance, Jesse Eisenberg‘s dramedy A Real Pain, his second feature as a director, premiered at the Park City fest over the weekend, and the movie, co-starring Emmy-winning Succession star, Kieran Culkin, was picked up by Seachlight for a reported $10 million shortly after its premiere. Meanwhile, Netflix paid a whopping $17 million for the worldwide rights to horror film, It’s What’s Inside, from writer/director Greg Jardin.

THR‘s Borys Kit broke the news earlier this week that Screenwriter David Koepp was hard at work developing a new movie for the Jurassic World franchise, having been the original screenwriter for Steven Spielberg‘s Jurassic Park thirty years ago. That movie was based on a Michael Crichton novel, but it led to two multi-billion franchise trilogies, with Jurassic World being even more successful than the original trilogy. That’s despite the original Jurassic Park being given multiple re-releases over its three decades, including a 3D remaster. The six movies have grossed $6 billion worldwide, although Koepp hasn’t been involved since The Lost World: Jurassic Park in 1997. He instead went on to write the original Sam Raimi Spider-Man, the two most recent Indiana Jones movies, and directing eight movies.

Scott Stuber in 2016 (via Wikimedia Commons)

Various sources reported yesterday that Netflix’s Head of Film, Chairman Scott Stuber, would be leaving Netflix in March to start his own company. Stuber has been pivotal in Netflix’s efforts in getting big-name directors like David FincherAlfonso CuaronBradley Cooper, and Guillermo del Toro to make films for the streamer since joining the company in 2017, even though it’s yet to win a Best Picture ala Apple and some of the newer distributors like A24 and NEON. Apparently, Stuber’s departure has been in the rumblings for many months, but Stuber will stay on to help with the transitio, as Chief Content Officer Bela Bajaria will oversee things until a permanent replacement is found.

The list of films produced for Netflix under Stuber is quite impressive, including hits like Red NoticeBird BoxGlass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, as well as Academy Award-winning films like All Quiet on the Western Front, del Toro’s Pinocchio, Jane Campion‘s The Power of the Dog, Marriage Story, and Cuaron’s Roma. Stuber leaving certainly can be seen as the end of an era.

In case you didn’t read it yesterday, Above the Line just posted an interview with author Peter Biskind about the potential for the streaming bubble bursting.

A scene from Expend4bles / Lionsgate

On Monday, the nominations for the annual Golden Raspberry Awards aka the Razzies, awarded to the worst movies of 2023, were announced, with Sylvester Stallone and Jason Stathamb‘s action sequel, Expend4bles, receiving seven nominations, followed by David Gordon Green‘s Exorcist: Believer, nominated in five categories. Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey, which has a prequel coming out next month, received five nominations, followed by DC’s Shazam! Fury of the Gods and Ant-Man & The Wasp: Quantumania with four apiece. Statham wasn’t nominated for Expend4bles, but was for Meg 2: The Trench. For the sake of transparency, I often take part in the nomination process for the Razzies, but I also try not to take them too seriously, because I actually really liked one of the movies that was nominated for “Worst Picture” — in fact, it actually came close to making my Top 20 for last year — and the Razzies tend to be very targeted towards studio sequels and super low-budget indies that most people haven’t seen.

There were MUCH worse movies last year than Shazam! Fury of the Gods, so to nominate an Oscar winner (not the first time) like Dame Helen Mirren and a Primetime Emmy nominee like Lucy Liu, just because they maybe didn’t give it their all for a superhero sequel, well… we probably shouldn’t take these Razzie nominations that seriously.

Anatomy of a Fall
A scene from Anatomy of a Fall/Neon

This year’s awards season is already a bit messed up due to the strikes, but the biggest shake-up from the writers strike was delaying the Writers Guild Awards until April. Normally, we would see the WGA’s nominations before the Oscar nominations, but due to the delay, those nominations won’t be announced until Feb. 21, the day before the Academy’s final voting begins.

One thing we do know from history is that the WGA is very specific about which movies are eligible for WGA awards, and normally that means being written by a WGA member. Because of that, a number of movies have already been ruled out for WGA Awards, some that might shock you, like the Golden Globe-winning script for Justine Triet‘s Anatomy of a FallJonathan Glazer‘s The Zone of Interest, Yorgos Lanthimos‘ Poor Things, and Andrew Haigh‘s All Of Us Strangers. All four of those were nominated by BAFTA, the first in original, the latter three in adapted, while the first three just received Oscar nominations as well. This might not have much effect on the Oscar screenplay categories, though it should open the WGA Awards up for a few outliers like Kelly Fremon Craig‘s adaptation of Judy Blume‘s Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.

It was already announced that Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach‘s Barbie screenplay was already being considered “Original” by WGA and other groups, even though the Academy insists it’s an adaptation.

Ketchup Entertainment has paid mid-7 figures for the Michael Keaton and Mila Kunis comedy, Goodrich, written and directed by Hallie Meyers-Shyer (2017’s Home Again), committing to a nationwide theatrical release. In the film, Keaton plays Andy Goodrich, a man whose young wife leaves him to enter a 90-day rehab program, leaving him in charge of their 9-year-old twins, forcing him to rely on his grown-up, pregnant daughter Grace (Kunis) to help him.

Bend It Like Beckham director Gurinder Chadha is developing a new version of Charles Dickens‘ A Christmas Carol, starring a “refugee hating” Tory-voting Ebeneezer Scrooge of Indian descent. This was announced as Chadha spoke to the U.K. Parliament about the state of the British film industry, and that the project was being supported by new distributor, True Brit Entertainment, set-up by Marv Studios CEO and Lionsgate U.K. head, Zygi Kamasa. “It’s very close to Dickens’ original themes with the cost of living crisis in the Britain,” she was quoted as saying.

Getting into some casting news…

Formerly called “Wolverines,” filmmaker Jason Reitman‘s planned biopic about the early days of Saturday Night Live has now been given the much-better title of SNL 1975, and the Sony release just added 21-year-old Gabriel LaBelle, the breakout star of Steven Spielberg‘s The Fablemans, to play a significantly younger producer Lorne Michaels, who was 31 in 1975. Also joining the ensemble cast are Cooper Hoffman (Licorice Pizza) as Dick Ebersol (who took over producing the show for a few years in the ’80s) and Rachel Sennott (Bottoms) as comedian and actress Rosie Shuster. The film, co-written by Reitman and Gil Kenan – director of the forthcoming sequel, Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire – is based on hundreds of interviews done by the duo to tell the story of the very first night of the long-running Saturday night variety series.

Eiza González (Baby Driver) is joining John Krasinski, Natalie Portman and Domhnall Gleeson in Guy Ritchie‘s action-adventure Fountain of Youth being made for Apple and Skydance Media. This will be González’s third project with Ritchie, having starred opposite Henry Cavill in Ritchie’s upcoming, The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare, which hits theaters on April 19, as well as in an untitled Ritchie action movie with Cavill and Jake Gyllenhaal.

Netflix announced yesterday that Justine Lupe (Succession) and Timothy Simons (Veep) have joined its Untitled Erin Foster Show, a comedy series from creator and exec. producer Erin Foster (Barely Famous). They join the previously announced Kristen Bell and Adam Brody in the comedy about an unlikely relationship between an agnostic woman named Joanne (Bell) and an unconventional rabbi, Noah (Brody). Lupe will play Joanne’s sister, while Simons will play Brody’s older brother. Other cast announced, included Jackie Tohn (GLOW), Michael Hitchcock (Black Monday), Paul Ben-Victor (Pam & Tommy), Sherry Cola (Joy Ride), Shiloh Bearman (Home Economics), Stephanie Faracy (Uncoupled), Tania Raymonde (Goliath), and Broadway legend Tovah Feldshuh (The Walking Dead).

from Joachim Ronning’s Instagram

Director Joachim Rønning (Maleficent: Mistress of Evil) took to Insta to let people know that TR3N, the second sequel to the 1982 sci-fi classic, has begun filming with Jared Leto, Evan Peters, Cameron Monaghan, Greta Lee, and Jodie Turner-Smith. He did so by posting a picture of the new logo on the back of one of the chairs on set.

With no new theatrical releases this Friday, there aren’t many new trailers, although Netflix went ahead and released a teaser trailer for Glen Powell‘s Hit Man, co-written and directed by Richard Linklater, which will hit the streamer on June 7. The streamer is obviously trying to capitalize on Powell’s growing popularity from co-starring in the box office hit rom-com, Anyone But You, which is why the teaser focuses on the romance in the movie rather than the fact it’s based on a real person.

Edward Douglas
Edward Douglas
Edward Douglas has written about movies for print and the internet for over 20 years, specializing in box office analysis, reviews, and interviews. Currently, he writes features for Below the Line and Above the Line, acting as Associate Editor for the former and Interim Editor for the latter.
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