Saturday, June 23, 2018

Disney Spins Star War Films Hold

A recent report indicated that the box office failure of Solo: A Star Wars Story was leading Disney to decide to put a hold on future spin-off films (with possible exception of the Boba Fett film). In source was an unnamed insider which has now been countered by other unnamed insiders saying this isn't true but really the comments seem to actually back up Collider's reporting rather then deny it.

From The Hollywood Reporter:
"They haven’t slowed down development," says a source with knowledge of Lucasfilm’s thinking, "but they are licking their wounds."

"It doesn’t mean those spinoffs don't happen," says another insider of Solo's underperformance globally. "It just means they’re trying to figure out how to make, and market, them differently."

But there's a catch with Boba Fett. Sources say that after the underperformance of Solo, the project could now be reconfigured. The thinking is that if Han Solo, one of the most iconic characters in the Star Wars universe, couldn’t sustain a big-budget origin feature, then any Fett movie would have to be scaled down, since though the character is popular, he’s certainly less well-known to most moviegoers than the Corellian smuggler.

The status of the Obi-Wan Kenobi spinoff is even less clear. Stephen Daldry had been in negotiations to direct, but both the studio and his agency, CAA, had no comment on the current state of the project.
From ABC News:
Lucasfilm sources on Thursday characterized as "inaccurate" a report that future "Star Wars" movies falling outside of the regular trilogy storyline (Episodes I to IX) have been put on hold in the wake of the box office under-performance of "Solo: A Star Wars Story."

Instead, Lucasfilm told ABC News there are still "multiple" Star Wars films currently in development that have not been officially announced. Those projects are moving forward separate from an already-announced "Star Wars" trilogy being overseen by "The Last Jedi" director Rian Johnson and another series of movies from "Game of Thrones" producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss.
So basically Collider was accurate. One spin-off film (Boba Fett) may move forward and no movement on any other spin-offs. I suspect Disney's plan is to do a cheaper budgeted Boba Fett film, see how it does and then decide if they will do other spin-off films based on how it does combined with how far in development they are on the Rian Johnson's trilogy and the Benioff/Weiss film. A reasonable plan, not entirely sure why they just state that.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Disney Putting Star Wars Anthology Films on Hold?

It seems the relatively lackluster performance of Solo: A Star Wars Story might be making Disney gun shy about continuing to release a Star Wars film every year. Collider is reporting that unnamed sources within Disney owned Lucasfilm are " put plans for more A Star Wars Story spinoff movies on hold, instead opting to focus their attention on Star Wars: Episode IX and what the next trilogy of Star Wars films will be after that film." Disney has not confirmed this report.

If true, its a bit of a sudden turnaround considering they just hired James Mangold (Logan) to write and direct a Boba Fett film. Or alternatively that film is the last hurrah to maintain a "trilogy" feel for the spin off films. The possible decision is in light of Solo's weak $343.4M world wide box office result which means the film might break even at best. However, Disney is really comparing it to over $1 billion the previous 3 films have made.

If true, its seems like an over reaction. Solo didn't do well because it was an average film that came out during a highly competitive box office window against Disney's own Avengers: Infinity War, Rampage, A Quiet Place, Deadpool 2 and a host of others. Its a level of competition that the three previous films avoided with their holiday release dates that have the fraction of of tent pool releases and the rest are mostly Oscar bait releases that are not remotely competitive for box office dollars compared to Star Wars. In short, Disney can afford to verify if Solo was an outlier which is what the Boba Fett film, if moves forward, could do.

In the meantime, the Star Wars fun will definitely continue. Star Wars Episode IX is still on track for a December 2019 release. Rian Johnson remains in charge of the potential next trilogy of films that will follow for the 2020's and Jon Favreau is working on a live-action TV show. Later this year the next cartoon series Star Wars Resistence is expected to premiere.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Boba Fett Movie Officially In Works

Fett: A Story Wars Story (or whatever the title becomes) will be the next non-"Episode" film in the Star Wars saga according to THR. Logan director James Mangold direct and co-write the film with Simon Kinberg (The Martian). Boba Fett was a minor bounty hunter accidentally killed by a blind Han Solo in Return of the Jedi.

However, thanks mostly to the now jettisoned Extended Universe, he survived the experience and enjoyed a long and storied character history in the franchise via books, comics, and video games that turned him into one of the most popular Star Wars characters. Popular enough that he was written into Attack of the Clones and revealed to be a clone of bounty hunter Jango Fett, just like all the clones used by the Empire to seize power and execute "Order 66" that destroyed the Jedi. The only "difference" between Boba and those clones is he was allowed to age naturally.

As a result of all this, the setting of the film can go anywhere between the end of Attack of the Clones to around The Force Awakens. I suspect that like Solo and Rogue One, they will probably set it before A New Hope to show Fett earning his bounty hunter reputation with and end showing him accepting the contract to capture Han Solo for Jabba the Hutt. No release date or other details revealed but a writer and director means they are likely aiming for December 2020 to stay on their every other year schedule for these standalone films.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Reviews for Solo: A Star Wars Story Positive

The reviews for Solo: A Star Wars Story are starting to come in ahead of its May 25 release date. Overall they are positive with a current 73% on Rotten Tomatoes. The general consensus is it is safe, Star Wars-ish movie that entertains with strong performances by all the actors involved with many noting Alden Ehrenreich's performance (Han Solo). The main complaint seems to be the lack of an engaging story that instead relies on Star Wars things, mentions and the characters themselves. Below are a few highlights.

Collider grade: C
This fear or unwillingness to branch out of these archetypes and try new things renders Solo oddly joyless. It’s a movie that throws a ton of special effects at the screen, but no one really seems to be enjoying themselves or taking stock of their situation. It’s to Howard’s discredit that he could make a movie firmly in the mold of an action-adventure and it rarely feels adventurous. ...For Howard’s part, his greatest concern seems to being making sure everyone hits their mark and says their lines. It’s the bare minimum of direction as the score does the heavy lifting rather than injecting an actual personality into this movie.
USA Today grade: 3/4 stars
Ehrenreich does the character justice, mainly because he’s a different Han than previously seen. This guy’s all wide-eyed gumption and smirking confidence — not the cynic who gets a crash course in the Force later in life. Lawrence Kasdan penned the screenplays for The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi back in the day, so his co-writing Solo with son Jonathan — and having a masterful handle on Han’s voice — is half the battle.
AV Club grade: B
the action sequences, including a sci-fi train robbery and a smash-and-grab infiltration, unfold with the efficient professionalism often associated with director Ron Howard. ...Ehrenreich makes a fine, if not exactly revelatory, young Han. His best moments are comic, imitating some Harrison Ford mannerisms (the stance, the pointing) with a cocksure goofiness; he might have been a more distinctly funny take on the character for other filmmakers. ...This is a fannish, sometimes overstuffed undertaking, but it’s so full of Star Wars-y details, like the alien head floating in a jar singing backup at a villain-packed club, that it’s hard to begrudge it a certain inconsequentiality.
Entertainment Weekly grade: B
...Speaking of Glover, it’s no spoiler to say that the Atlanta star is easily the best thing in this good-not-great movie. More than any big action set piece or narrative double cross (and there are plenty of them thanks to a smooth crime boss played by Paul Bettany), it’s Glover’s mack-daddy, Colt 45 swagger as the rakish gambler formerly played by Billy Dee Williams that will be the thing you’ll be buzzing about after the lights come up. ...It’s all fun and rollicking enough until you walk out of the theater into the daylight and realize just how trivial and insignificant it all really is. What you’re really left with, apart from a yearning for the young Ford at his most cavalier, is a slightly fuller and more rounded understanding of who Han Solo is – where he came from, what makes him tick, and how he’d much prefer to shower alone than with a Wookiee. In other words, it’s pure fan service. And if that’s what you’re after, then you’ll be more than satisfied.
Filled with excellent action and a lot of emotion, Solo: A Star Wars Story is going to surprise a lot of people. Despite its troubled production, it’s ended up being incredibly fun and funny, with great characters, performances, and a huge range of Star Wars references to delight fans and non-fans alike. ...The whole film hinges on Ehrenreich’s portrayal of a younger, still-developing version of the legendary character, and I’m happy to report he nails it. Solo has flaws. But those flaws pale in comparison to the rest of it. This may not be your favorite Star Wars movie, and it definitely won’t change what you think Star Wars can be. It will, however, remind you of everything you love about it and, hopefully, have you grinning like Han the first time he jumps to hyperspace.

Harrison Ford and Two More TV Spots for Solo

Harrison Ford shows up for an interview along with two more TV spots for Solo: A Star Wars Story.