Whether you choose to overlook the accusations of whitewashing levied against Paramount’s upcoming Ghost in the Shell movie is entirely up to you, but there are certainly some who are rooting for the film to open doors for other anime projects. Studios aren’t exactly hot-spots for innovative thinking; if Ghost in the Shell bombs next weekend, there will no-doubt be executives at Paramount who claim the only real lesson is that American audiences don’t like Anime. That would be a real blow to fans of the long-gestating adaptation of Akira, the seminal 1988 animated movie by Katsuhiro Otomo that has been an inspiration to countless science fiction movies and television shows that follow.
Anyone who ever scrolls through the occasional Business Insider article knows that disruptors — companies that enter a marketplace and change the way people do business — don’t stay disruptors for very long. Take an organization like Uber. For years, Uber was the scrappy little underdog, a technology startup that used technology to upend the established taxi market. In the past few years, however, Uber has gone from the underdog to the dominant player, the company that other technology startups are looking to take down. Success breeds imitation, and imitation breeds improvement.
As someone who loves Kurt Russell more than I love my own wife (don’t tell her), nothing could have made me more excited for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 than the addition of Russell. Not only is Russell’s love of dim-witted characters a perfect match for the universe that director James Gunn has created, the film will also hopefully — and I cannot believe I’m saying this — introduce the actor to a generation of movie fans who have never seen iconic films like Escape From New York and, more importantly, Big Trouble in Little China.
When we last left the caped crusader, things weren’t looking all that bright. Sure, he had a new super-friend in the form of Diana Prince, but Superman — the complete-stranger-turned-mortal-enemy-turned-best-friend in Batman’s life — has sacrificed his life to protect Earth (or something) and now the weight of protecting our planet rested heavily on the shoulders of Bruce Wayne. If Wayne could organize others like him, then maybe Earth could stand a fighting chance.
Earlier this week, a few little birdies spoke with /Film about Warner Bros. standalone superhero film The Batman being rewritten completely from scratch. According to the site’s sources, the studio has chosen to start all over again with input from director Matt Reeves; additional sources also noted that Reeves wouldn’t even meet with prospective cast members until sometime this summer. This came on the heels of comments from a Variety reporter that Reeves is still under contract for War for the Planet of the Apes through the end of June, meaning The Batman was unlikely to even enter production until 2018.
With the success of both Deadpool and Logan, 20th Century Fox has found a way to effectively differentiate itself from the other members of the superhero studio trifecta. Disney releases superhero films with broad appeal and a bright aesthetic; 20th Century Fox aims for more mature themes and isn’t afraid to incorporate both violence and profanity into its projects; Warner Bros…. well, they’re working on this, and when they figure out, it’s gonna be yuuuge. You’ll see.
After nearly six months of writing about teasers, trailers, and rumors for Paramount Pictures’ live-action Ghost in the Shell film, I figured it was time to sit down and actually watch the original 1995 animated movie. And I am here to tell you that it cleared up nothing for me. I’ll admit, the animation, production design, and soundtrack are all as impressive as rumored — the manga’s influence on the Wachowski Sisters is pretty hard to ignore in hindsight — but one movie was not enough to clear up my confusion regarding the Ghost in the Shell characters and universe as a whole.
If the first batch of trailers and clips have shown us anything, it’s that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is going to be Drax show. Dave Bautista famously cried when he was told that he would be playing Drax in Marvel’s new franchise; the direct-to-video market is littered with the work of former professional wrestlers who tried their hand at becoming action stars, and playing Drax meant that Bautista would escape the same outcome of some of his peers. As a result, Bautista poured his heart and soul into this character. It definitely shows.
While I don’t typically pay attention to the box office tracking numbers for upcoming releases, I’ll admit, I’ve checked in a few times on Ghost in the Shell. The blend of intriguing trailers and negative publicity surrounding the film make it a tough cookie to crack; those who would normally be excited by the prospect of a blockbuster action movie starring a woman have good reason to stay at home, while the fans who might normally boost its box office numbers may be disappointed that Paramount is tinkering with a classic. As of right now, Ghost in the Shell is estimated to bring home about $105 million domestically, a very poor showing for a project of this size. I’m fascinated by the whole thing.
With all eyes on the next entry in the DC Cinematic Universe, it’s hard to say what is under more pressure: Wonder Woman, the World War II-era superhero and savior of the modern world, or Wonder Woman, the first female-directed movie in the modern blockbuster era and a stab at social relevance for the beleaguered executives at Warner Bros. The first Wonder Woman trailer that debuted at Comic-Con hit all the right notes for an exciting and female-driven superhero movie; would additional trailers walk back that promise or deliver more of the same?