By bringing on Martin Scorsese as a producer, Warner Bros. hopes to use the legendary filmmaker to lure his longtime collaborator into the world of comic book franchises, Kim Masters and Borys Kit report:
Sources say Warners will make an attempt to use Scorsese to bring Leonardo DiCaprio into the world of comic-book movies. Certainly, Scorsese’s involvement in The Joker film, which The Hangover filmmaker Todd Phillips would direct, could elevate and diversify the studio’s contributions to the genre, creating the potential to make awards-worthy films such as Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy.
There’s no offer for DiCaprio, and sources say Scorsese’s deal to produce isn’t even done yet. The chances of landing DiCaprio could be slim to none. But the attempt in itself sends a signal to talent that Warners wants to hire serious filmmakers to make serious films.
This plan was not met with applause in all quarters: Insiders say Jared Leto, the actor who portrayed the Clown Prince of Crime in last summer’s Suicide Squad and is slated to reprise the character not just for a sequel but for another spinoff movie (with DC villainess Harley Quinn), was caught off-guard by the plans. Leto is said to have made his displeasure with the notion of multiple Jokers known to his CAA agents, and rival agency WME has been using the concern to court him.
Elsewhere in film…
► Kingsman sequel tracking for $40M-plus U.S. debut. Matthew Vaughn’s Kingsman: The Golden Circle is generating strong interest, as the Fox release is projected to open in the $40M-$45M range when it hits theaters Sept. 22. (Ahead of the $36.2M domestic debut of the original Kingsman in February 2015.)
► China’s summer box office now soaring. Revenue totaled $2.48B from June to August, a 24 percent increase over the summer of 2016. Meanwhile, North America’s box office is estimated to have plummeted 15.7 percent, with revenue totaling $3.78B.
+ Patrick Brzeski notes: Hollywood and Beijing regulators can both breathe a sigh of relief over the Chinese market’s return to form. After surging by an average of 35 percent for a decade, the country’s box office experienced an abrupt correction in 2016, eking out a gain of just 3.7 percent for the year. The sudden shakiness of the world’s most reliable growth engine had led to handwringing on both sides of the Pacific.
► Has Hollywood’s gender-bending trend jumped the shark? Mia Galuppo writes: Despite having few details known about the project, immediate criticism met the news that Warner Bros. is developing an all-female adaptation of Lord of the Flies, William Golding’s 1954 novel, directed by two men. Immediate backlash.
^Our Souls at Night, reviewed. Co-stars Jane Fonda and Robert Redford reunite as aging bedmates in an adaptation of Kent Haruf’s last novel presented by Netflix and screening in Venice. The takeaway: “An engaging family film and rom-com for the older generation.“
Quoted at the Venice Film Fest…
+ Paul Schrader: “I don’t think we as a species will outlive this century. The world is going to be fine. We’re not.”
+ Guillermo Del Toro: “It’s so difficult to talk about love and not sound silly, but I do believe the antidote to what we are living, which is a time full of hatred and division, is this humanistic possibility.”
+ Ai Weiwei: “Why do we have the news talking about Houston flooding for weeks? Why not talk about the flooding in Bangladesh that killed thousands of people at the same time?”
► Sam Rockwell to play George W. Bush in Cheney biopic. The actor is in final negotiations to add his name to Adam McKay’s biopic of former vice president Dick Cheney, starring Christian Bale. The call sheet also includes Steve Carell, Amy Adams and Bill Pullman.
► Gary Sinise to narrate Steve McQueen doc. The movie, Steve McQueen: American Icon, hails from American Icon Films, a joint venture between Erwin Brothers Entertainment and pastor Greg Laurie of Harvest Christian Fellowship.
► Denzel Washington legal thriller to premiere at Toronto Film Fest. Dan Gilroy’s Roman J. Israel, Esq., starring Washington, is headed to Toronto for a world premiere, just three years after debuting the Jake Gyllenhaal-starrer Nightcrawler at the fest.
Q&A: Matt Damon on Downsizing, Suburbicon. Stephen Galloway speaks to the actor ahead of the Alexander Payne film’s Venice film festival debut. Damon: “film’s not dead. But in terms of the big studio movies, it feels like the $20 million to $70 million drama is just gone.“