Disney’s Live Action Little Mermaid Has Found Its King Triton

Now that it’s official that Disney is moving full steam ahead on a live action remake of 1989’s The Little Mermaid, the movie that kicked off the Disney Renaissance, casting news has been coming in on the high tide. The latest update is that Javier Bardem is being looked at to play Ariel’s father, the mighty King Triton.

Javier Bardem is reportedly in talks to join The Little Mermaid right now. Should a deal be reached, he would join a cast that includes Halle Bailey as Ariel, Jacob Tremblay as Flounder and Awkwafina as Scuttle. Melissa McCarthy is also being looked at to play the main villain, Ursula, while Harry Styles is now in negotiations to play Prince Eric.

One intriguing piece of information include in The Disinsider’s casting report (which has been confirmed by Deadline) is that The Little Mermaid remake will focus more on Ariel’s relationship with her mother, who didn’t even appear in the original movie. Disney is in the process of casting that role as well, but that begs the question of if King Triton’s role will be just important in this adaptation as it was in the original, or if the inclusion of Ariel’s mother means he’ll have reduced screen time.

See The Epic Star Wars Lego Sith Trooper From Comic-Con

The Star Wars franchise has had a fascinating life since Disney acquired Lucasfilm, starting with J.J. Abrams’ The Force Awakens. What followed is the current sequel trilogy, as well as standalone films like Rogue One and Solo. The Skywalker Saga will come to an end with The Last Jedi, with Abrams stepping back into the director’s chair to wrap up the nine-film narrative.

There’s no telling what surprises J.J. Abrams has in store for Star Wars fans with Episode IX, although the first trailer teased an epic blockbuster that will be deeply connected to the long running story. There will also be changes made to the canon, including a new class of Stormtroopers. Dressed all in red, Sith Troopers look deadly, and should presumably have better aim than their counterparts.

This week is San Deigo Comic-Con, giving properties the ability to debut new information, footage, and merchandise to the fans. The Sith Troopers have a big presence on the floor of the convention center, with a Lego version of the First Order soldier has been crafted. And it’s life size, check it out:

CinemaBlend is at San Diego Comic-Con right now, prepared to get all the new information about fan favorite properties. Star Wars fans usually show up in a big way for the annual convention, so they should be delighted to see this sneak peek of the Sith Troopers. But rather than an official costume, we’ve gotten a close look to the character design in Lego form.

The Sith Troopers were announced a few weeks ago, and certainly helped fans get even more excited for the impending arrival of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. The upcoming movie’s contents are a complete mystery at the time of writing, but it’s exciting to see that the Stormtroopers will be getting an upgrade. This change likely comes from the mind of Adam Driver’s Ben Solo, as Kylo Ren ascended to Supreme Leader of the First Order after killing Snoke in The Last Jedi.

It should be interesting to see how the Sith Troopers will factor into The Rise of Skywalker, and just how powerful the new class of ground soldiers are. Stormtroopers are notoriously useless throughout the Star Wars franchise, constantly failing to stop the rebels. Bad aim has become synonymous for the standard white troopers, so it would be an interesting twist if the Sith Trooper were able to kick ass and take names in Episode IX.

The new soldiers look similar to Snoke’s guards in The Last Jedi. Those fighters were adept with using The Force, with weapons and training that nearly matched the combined power of Rey and Kylo Ren. Could Kylo have made these elite soldiers more readily available, and given them matching Stormtrooper suits? Only time will tell, but they look awesome.

All will be revealed when Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters on December 20th. In the meantime, check back with CinemaBlend for our continued coverage of San Diego Comic-Con, and be sure to check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

Frank Grillo Reveals His Contract With Marvel, Clarifies Crossbones’ Fate




Many of the actors who’ve joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe signed multi-picture deals. Frank Grillo is one of those actors, and thus far he’s played Brock Rumlow, a.k.a. Crossbones, in three MCU movies. As it turns out though, Grillo still has plenty of movies left on his Marvel contract, revealing:

You know what? I got five more movies that I’m obligated to do for Marvel if they ever call me. So who knows, man? Maybe I’ll be Captain America after Mackie. I’ll be a middle-aged Captain America. A middle-aged, Italian, Captain America. Think about that.

The prospect of Brock Rumlow playing Captain America is… questionable at best, even ignoring the fact that the character is dead. Besides, with Anthony Mackie’s Sam Wilson having just inherited the star-spangled mantle from Steve Rogers, we can expect him to serve as Captain America for a long time. He’s next set to star alongside Sebastian Stan’s Bucky Barnes, a.k.a. Winter Soldier, a.k.a. White Wolf, in their Disney+ series.

In any case, you might think that Frank Grillo’s comment to Comicbook.com means there’s hope that Crossbones will pop back into the MCU somehow. However, the actor, who recently reunited with Anthony Mackie in the Netflix movie Point Break, clarified the matter on Instagram, declaring that there are no plans for him to play the super villain again.

Brock Rumlow was introduced in Captain America: The Winter Soldier as the field commander of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s S.T.R.I.K.E. team, but it was later revealed that he, like many other S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, was actually a HYDRA operative. At the end of The Winter Soldier, he was nearly crushed to death, but miraculously survived, albeit heavily scarred.

Upon recovering, Brock Rumlow took on the Crossbones identity, left HYDRA and began his own campaign of terror. That ended at the beginning of Captain America: Civil War when he detonated the explosives on his belt in an attempt to kill Steve Rogers, but Scarlet Witch prevented that by transporting into the air. Unfortunately, the blast that incinerated Crossbones also killed dozens of civilians in a nearby building, which led to the passing of the Sokovia Accords.

While that’s the end of Crossbones’ MCU story, Frank Grillo was one of the many actors who appeared earlier this year in Avengers: Endgame, as he played a past version of Brock Rumlow who the present-day Steve Rogers encountered when he traveled back in time to the aftermath of the Battle of New York. Steve successfully tricked Brock, Jasper Sitwell and the other HYDRA double-agents into giving him Loki’s scepter.

But that’s it, everyone! Unless Marvel Studios changes its mind and decides to resurrect Crossbones, whether it be as his normal self or a zombie, this particular baddie will not be troubling any heroes again in the franchise. Since most comic book movie villains once appear once, the fact that Frank Grillo got to appear thrice is not too shabby.

Frank Grillo’s upcoming movies include Boss Level, Black and Blue, Once Upon a Time in Staten Island and The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard. As for non-Grillo movies, find out what’s hitting theaters later this year in our 2019 release schedule.

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No, Happy Death Day 3 Isn’t In Development




Rumors run rampant through the internet, like rabbits through a field of flowers. Unfortunately, sometimes those rumor rabbits have to be caught and prevented from running too far into the wild, and the reports surrounding a potential Happy Death Day sequel are one of those very beasties caught up in the web that divides truth and lies.

With a supposed third film being claimed as in development by numerous outlets, out of an erroneous original report, director and series mastermind Christopher Landon issued the following, definitive statement:

This debunking is one of the more painful rumors that have been shot down, and Christopher Landon has been teasing a cracker of an idea for a potential Happy Death Day 3 ever since the promotion of this year’s Happy Death Day 2U.

While the specifics of what that third film would be like aren’t known to the world at large, the mid-credits sequence that was included in the sequel to 2017’s runaway hit Happy Death Day saw Jessica Rothe’s protagonist Tree being enlisted in helping the government fully understand the nature of the time paradox at the heart of the franchise.

As such, her recruitment lead to an unwitting guinea pig being brought into the mix, which more than likely would have been the main focus of Happy Death Day 3, should the folks at Universal and Blumhouse wanted to make it a reality. And while Jason Blum didn’t sound overly positive on the odds for that film’s genesis, he didn’t shut it down definitively when asked about it in the past.

The prospects for the third film dimmed quickly after Happy Death Day 2U’s performance at the box office was seen as a rather dismal disappointment, especially when compared to the clip that Happy Death Day racked up its box office fortunes back in 2017. Though the film was another triumph of Blumhouse’s budgetary prowess, it brought in roughly half of what the first film had grossed worldwide, and at almost double the budget.

It makes fiscal sense that Universal would pass on another outing in the Happy Death Day saga, as those numbers don’t support a growing appetite for Tree Gelbhorn’s continued adventures. However, Christopher Landon did make a suggestion in his debunking tweet as to how Happy Death Day 3 could potentially happen, and it’s the exact advice you’d expect from today’s market: he thinks Netflix should take on the final film in the trilogy.

It’s not a bad idea, considering Netflix is an expert in picking up projects that studios aren’t interested in moving forward on. With Red Notice moving from Universal’s playground to the streaming studio’s own backlot, and with a hefty price tag to boot, it wouldn’t be that bad of an idea to secure a fan demanded sequel to a big brand with a Blumhouse sized budget on the side.

Then again, if NBCUniversal could revive A.P. Bio for a third season as an exclusive for their upcoming streaming platform, it would be even smarter of Universal to bank that project for their own purposes. Ask anyone who works for an upstart streamer and they’ll tell you, the more original content you have on launch day, the better.

As it stands, Happy Death Day 3 is probably not happening. But much like Jason Blum, and any good fan of the series, we’ll keep a small flame of hope burning that the not likely, “but not impossible” film can start up the time loop again.

Happy Death Day and Happy Death Day 2U are currently both available in digital and physical media formats.

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Playing With Fire Trailer: Watch John Cena and Keegan-Michael Key’s Bumbling Firefighters

Like the WWE fighters-turned actors before him, John Cena’s Hollywood career has really heated up and he’s finally ready to take on the coveted family comedy. He’ll play a goofy firefighter, who has to extinguish the flames that come with taking care of three siblings with lost parents. Oh, and he’ll have none other than Key and Peele sketch comedian Keegan-Michael Key by his side. Check out the trailer for Playing With Fire:

This looks like it’s John Cena’s own sort of The Game Plan. After Dwayne Johnson started his career off with badass roles in The Scorpion King, The Rundown and Doom, he appealed to younger audiences in the 2007 Disney film about a football player who discovers he has a young daughter. Cena’s Fast & Furious 9 costar Vin Diesel also went for this career move in 2005’s The Pacifier and Dave Bautista will soon star alongside do the same and star alongside a 10-year-old actress in My Spy.

In the upcoming Paramount release, John Cena plays Jake Carson, a fire superintendent of an elite team also including Bloodline’s John Leguizamo and X-Men’s Tyler Mane. When they clumsily rescue three children played by Deadpool’s Negasonic Teenage Warhead, Brianna Hildebrand, Christian Convery and Finley Rose Slater, antics ensue! The firefighters are left to take care of them, and nerf fights, dance parties and a room full of bubbles go down.

Keegan-Michael Key, who has been seriously in everything lately from Toy Story 4 and with Beyoncé in The Lion King, looks like he’ll inject his high-strung character humor to his role, calling out Hildebrand’s teen attitude and getting disgusted by the farts of the youngest of the children. John Leguizamo is also known for his hilarious voice role of Sid in the Ice Age movies, besides his roles in John Wick and Spawn, so he’ll likely fit right in.

John Cena has been on fire as an actor since being a scene-stealer on 2015’s Trainwreck. He’s since starred in comedies including Sisters, Daddy’s Home and Blockers. He also took on the role of Ferdinand in Blue Sky’s 2017 animated flick and Agent Burns in Transformers spinoff Bumblebee.

He hasn’t been a stranger to family-friendly fare, hosting the Kids Choice Awards last year and has recently started hosting a remake to Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? over the summer. Coming up, he’ll also have another voice role as Yoshi the polar bear in The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle, has been reportedly been eyed for a role in James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad and is currently filming Fast & Furious 9 for a new, undisclosed role.

Playing With Fire hits theaters on November 8, 2019 alongside Midway and Doctor Sleep. Are you excited to see the family comedy? Sound off in the comments.

Could Anime Adaptations Succeed Where Video Game Movies Have Failed?

Alita preparing for battle

As of this past May, it has officially been 26 years since Super Mario Bros. the first and most notorious of video game movie adaptations, was released. These kind of cinematic adaptations have improved since then, with some films even achieving the status of ‘watchable’. However, the genre has moved with anything but Sonic-like speed. Now, over a quarter century since that ignominious start, the video game movie genre has yet to produce a truly great film, and the video game movie age long heralded has yet to arrive.

While the reasons video game movies have failed are myriad, it should not be a mystery to anyone why Hollywood keeps trying to make them. Take a look at the release calendar and you’ll find that the modern box office is driven by remakes, sequels and franchises. What they all have in common is recognizable IP. In a Hollywood gun-shy about taking chances on original films and a moviegoing public seemingly uninterested in them, the most valuable commodity and the safest bet is movies based on existing intellectual property.

The video game industry is full of such intellectual property, popular titles and characters in an industry with a net worth of $131 billion and growing. Given the popularity and visibility of various video game titles, it is no wonder that Hollywood keeps trying to make video game adaptations happen, the hope being that they could be the new blockbuster cash cow, succeeding or existing alongside our current comic book movie age.

In spite of that hope, and at least a few valiant attempts, that hasn’t happened. But where video game movies have failed, another genre may succeed. There are some positive recent signs that anime adaptations could provide the fuel to Hollywood’s IP-driven machine to become the next breakout blockbusters.

Now it should first be noted that unlike video games, anime is natively cinematic storytelling, and plenty of anime films have already been financially successful. Films like Spirited Away, Pokemon: The First Movie and Your Name have all found huge success either domestically or abroad. But live-action Hollywood blockbusters are still a largely undiscovered country for the Japanese art form.

That isn’t to say that Hollywood hasn’t tried, but like video game adaptations, a lot has been lost in translation with some of the attempts. There are the old low-budget films like Fist of the North Star and The Guyver (with Mark Hamill!), which are probably unwatchable through modern eyes. Then there are more recent failures, like Netflix’s Death Note and Ghost in the Shell, which on top of whitewashing concerns, committed the cardinal sin of not being any good.

Scarlett Johansson in Ghost in the Shell

And of course we can’t forget to mention the two adaptations that are to anime adaptations what Super Mario Bros. is to video game movies: Dragonball Evolution and The Last Airbender. I know Avatar: The Last Airbender might not qualify as ‘true anime’ to purists, but to the laymen, it might as well be. These are two of the most loathed films ever made among certain fandoms and a poor representation of their source materials.

The tide may be beginning to turn though. Earlier this year Alita: Battle Angel, based on Yukito Kishiro’s manga, which was also adapted into a two-episode anime, made $404.8 million worldwide. While that almost certainly fell short of profitability for the expensive film, it still bests all but the most successful video game movies and has inspired a highly passionate fanbase, even though critics were lukewarm on it at best. So it wasn’t an outright failure.

Alita’s performance isn’t the only possible sign that the market might be ripe for more blockbuster anime adaptations. Anecdotally, anime seems to be more mainstream than it used to be. Like comic book characters and much of geek culture, anime fandom is no longer uncool and is now just another beloved facet of our pop culture tapestry.

Netflix has invested heavily in anime and it wouldn’t be doing that if there weren’t financial imperative to do so. The premiere of the iconic Neon Genesis Evangelion series on Netflix in June brought with it coverage from across the media landscape (and a little bit of controversy), including publications like The Washington Post and The New Yorker.

While Pokémon falls into both the video game and anime realms (it’s more video game), the relative success of Detective Pikachu is also a good sign that audiences will buy in to these weird worlds. Also earlier this year, the animated film Dragon Ball Super: Broly was a surprising success, earning $30.7 million domestic and $114.1 million worldwide. These all add up to a marketplace where there is demand and at least some clear willingness to engage with anime content.

Goku and Vegeta in Dragon Ball Super: Broly

That anime content will be coming courtesy of some impressive talent. Alita was the work of director Robert Rodriguez and producer James Cameron, and attaching big name talent to future anime adaptations seems to be the tack that Hollywood is taking with future efforts, which provide hope that anime adaptations have a bright future ahead of them.

News broke last year that Sunrise and Legendary Entertainment are partnering to bring Gundam to the big screen. Then earlier this year came the news that famed comic book writer Brian K. Vaughan has signed on to pen the screenplay for the live-action adaptation of the mecha anime franchise. When it comes to valuable IP, Hollywood could certainly do worse than Gundam.

Mobile Suit Gundam first premiered 40 years ago and in the decades since it has spawned many anime series, movies, manga, novels and toys (merchandising=$$$). The franchise has generated billions over the decades, and because there is no single Gundam story, Legendary’s film can still bear the name and be an entirely new narrative without risking claims of not being faithful. Big robots fighting may not be as popular domestically as abroad, but Gundam has more cultural cachet than something like Pacific Rim and with Brian K. Vaughan writing, it might actually be good.

Then there is Attack on Titan. The hugely popular and highly acclaimed anime series, based on Hajime Isayama’s best-selling manga, will come to an end after its fourth season next year, but Warner Bros. is hoping it is just the beginning for the property with a live-action adaptation (there was a live-action Japanese adaptation in 2015).

IT director Andy Muschietti has been tapped to direct Attack on Titan for Warner Bros., although his recent hiring to direct DC’s The Flash throws things into question. Warner Bros. is reportedly hoping to have The Flash in prep by January 2020, so assuming Andy Muschietti is still doing Attack on Titan, and there have been no reports to the contrary, he could tackle that after.

Following IT’s wild success and with this September’s IT Chapter 2 also looking to be a smash hit, Warner Bros. should have a great relationship with Andy Muschietti, and if he still wants Attack on Titan, he should get it. The series is inherently cinematic, very popular and Muschietti seems like the right guy to bring the friendships and the horror critical to the series to the big screen.

Eren preparing to transform in Attack on Titan

Andy Muschietti has also been attached to a live-action Robotech so clearly the director has interest in anime properties, but with so much on his plate we haven’t heard much about this one in a while.

That’s not all. There is also Your Name. from Paramount and Bad Robot. The Amazing Spider-Man and 500 Days of Summer director Marc Webb is signed on to direct the remake of the wildly successful romantic fantasy drama anime from 2016. Legendary is also producing a live-action feature film based on the My Hero Academia manga/anime, according to THR. Even on the TV side there’s a live-action series for Avatar: The Last Airbender and Cowboy Bebop starring John Cho both coming to Netflix.

Then there’s Akira. Up until this week, Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi was attached to adapt Katuhiro Ôtomo’s seminal 1988 film, but now he is doing Thor 4 and Akira is on hold indefinitely. It’s another blow for a movie that can’t seem to escape development hell, but there is hope that Taika Waititi will return to the project once he’s done with his Marvel flick.

There are no guarantees that any of these anime adaptations will work. As video game adaptations have shown, good intent can only take you so far and lots of anime properties could have some real accessibility issues for wider audiences with stuff that just doesn’t translate.

Not to mention that these IPs won’t be nearly as recognizable to general audiences as something like Halo would be. So there is plenty of reason to be skeptical that anime adaptations will succeed in the unforgiving blockbuster arena. But unlike video game adaptations, these stories have all at least been proven in film or television formats.

Your Name.

I’m sure many will say that they would rather Hollywood not ruin their favorite anime with live-action adaptations, but when has that ever stopped the industry from capitalizing on existing IP? Japan’s anime industry is worth $19 billion, a pittance compared to the video game industry’s $131 billion but far from chump change. These are valuable properties that people care about and studios can’t and won’t ignore that in the IP arms race.

The technology is finally at a point where it can do many of these grand, fantastical stories justice in live-action. And we should be excited that Hollywood seems to be attaching talented people who care about the properties to its upcoming anime projects.

As we’ve seen with video game movies, that is no guarantee of success, but it’s worth a shot and reading the tea leaves it seems like Hollywood and the market is more ready than it’s ever been for a real push of anime adaptations. I’m not saying they will replace or be as successful as the interconnected world of superhero movies, but in a stale blockbuster marketplace, maybe anime could provide something new and different while still having a built-in audience.

Now can we please get a proper Dragon Ball movie?

Check out our premiere guide to see what’s headed to theaters this year and stay tuned to CinemaBlend for all your movie news.

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Why Once Upon A Time In Hollywood Is Rated R

Movie ratings can be a crap shoot at times, with projects presenting themselves as experiences that could straddle key thresholds in some of their earliest trailers. On the other hand, when a Quentin Tarantino film is announced, it’s pretty much guaranteed to be an R-rated extravaganza.

The man just doesn’t do “tame” or “safe” fare for the masses, opting to go over the top with violence, profanity, and gore effects whenever he shows up to the table. Once Upon A Time In Hollywood is no exception, as it’s finally gotten an official R-rating, and for the following qualifiers:

We’ll wait a moment for those of you in the audience who are shocked by this information to control yourselves. Quite frankly, there’s probably none of you out there who were that surprised, especially when both trailers for Once Upon A Time In Hollywood basically snuck in as much innuendo, and key usages of the F-bomb as they could in their short, dazzling timeframes.

Above all of that though is the fact that Quentin Tarantino has never made a film that’s not been rated R. His aesthetic is so drenched in blood and profanity that it’d be hard to even get that sort of thing to a PG-13 level without heavy editing. Even then, the film would probably be thirty minutes, and be comprised of credits and random snippets of dialogue.

If Quentin Tarantino wanted to start trying for a PG-13 rated project Once Upon A Time In Hollywood would have been the worst film to attempt such a result, especially after reading those specific descriptors on Box Office Mojo. Between the story of Leonardo DiCaprio’s depressed/fading actor Rick “Fuckin” Dalton trying to maintain his career alongside his best friend Cliff Booth, played by Brad Pitt, and its crossover into the real-life antics of Charles Manson and his murderous “family”, there is certainly no room for chaste examination in this love letter to a golden era of excess and freedom.

Acting as his ninth out of 10 original films, Quentin Tarantino looks like he’ll keep that streak alive, even past Once Upon A Time In Hollywood’s release. While the man has definitely built in a loophole in his own career to still make that Star Trek movie he’s been wanting to make, we can save ourselves some guessing work on that project right now, as that too is slated to be an R-rated fun fest.

It’s a little over a week until Once Upon A Time In Hollywood is released into theaters, which makes its late game rating reveal all the more surprising. If there was even the slightest chance this film was going to have a PG-13, you’d think there would have been more of an uproar to greet it. In a world where petitions go up at an alarming rate, and crowds can be triggered with a mere mention of “The Snyder Cut” under a person’s breath, it’s nice to know that some of the bread and butter truths of entertainment can be counted on to stay the fucking same.

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood hits theaters on July 26th, with all of the language, graphic violence, drug use, and sexual references you could expect from a Quentin Tarantino affair.