To 3D Or Not To 3D: Buy The Right Maleficent: Mistress Of Evil Ticket

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil with a pleading look towards Aurora

Just in time for the witching hour of Halloween, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil is here to cast its spell on those who want a little Disney villainy in their lives. And with a little bit of fairytale sorcery, there are always two things that can be guaranteed: a cost to pay for wielding such power, and a 3D conversion to bring those powers to life.

Which means it’s time to crack open the old spellbook and see if Maleficent: Mistress of Evil is worth the extra 3D cash, or if it’s something best left in the dark corners of Moors. If you’re curious about how we felt about the film itself, you can read our official review elsewhere. But if you’re ready to fly, let’s spread our wings and swoop into the details of this latest 3D adventure in a theater near you.

3D Fit Score


It’s pretty easy to peg a film in terms of how well it would fit into the world of 3D conversions, and Maleficent: Mistress of Evil is definitely a movie that could benefit from that treatment. With a full-scale war, magical realms of wondrous creatures that fly and float, and dark corners populated with secrets and creatures that could be positively eye-popping, the Maleficent sequel could make for something pretty impressive, with the right 3D approach.

Planning & Effort Score


Unfortunately, the approach to Maleficent: Mistress of Evil’s 3D presentation is not as exemplary as the film would have promised. The problems aren’t even limited to one section either, as several factors set the 3D version back quite a bit. Brightness definitely plays a part in that overall devaluation, but on top of that, there’s a really unbalanced level of Before/Beyond The Window action, as well as a bit of a concern for Audience Health that goes beyond mere screen dimming.

Before the Window Score


In terms of objects being thrown off of the screen, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil doesn’t land on a consistent level of disappointment, as the film does show in a couple of cases that it can project thrills outside of the window’s frame. Musket balls, arrows, and other weapons shoot out to the audience, but those are about the only notable features that really poke out of the film’s overall picture. One of those effects even causes a bit of a visual wonkiness, confusing the eyes in its execution, and that’s a shame, as there are quite a few moments in the film that could have used this effect to great extent.

Beyond the Window Score


Thankfully, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil doesn’t forget to add the depths to its Beyond The Window component, giving the audience a lot of lush thrills when it comes to seeing how deep this particular rabbit hole goes. Characters and their environments are separated to impressive degree, with a lot of close-up shots putting a premium on where the participants are standing respectively. But there’s a minor hiccup in the fact that some scenes feel deeper than others. In one moment, the picture feels endless, and in the next, it almost feels like the background stops short of that effect. For the most part, there’s a healthy depth to the picture shown on screen.

Brightness Score


You’d expect a certain degree of dimness to a 3D picture, as the glasses required to complete the illusion bring things down a notch. But if your theater doesn’t maintain or calibrate its equipment properly, the 3D presentation of a film like Maleficent: Mistress of Evil will be stymied from the word go. As the 3D effect for this particular equipment wasn’t turned on until halfway through the 3D trailers, the calibration was assumed to be a bit off, which in turn may have contributed to this showing of the film in question grayer than normal. The colors were a bit washed out, and even in scenes of full daylight, there’s was a noticeable dimming that went beyond just what the glasses provided. Maleficent: Mistress of Evil was still watchable, but some portions were harder to look at than others due to the dimness of this picture.

Glasses Off Score


Whether the picture is dim or not, you’re going to want to take your glasses off at some point to see what things look like without your glasses. At this point, you’d see a varying degree of blurriness on the screen, as that’s what helps manipulate the typically 2D image of a normal movie into a 3D presentation. Maleficent: Mistress of Evil definitely has its share of blurriness on screen, but through various points of the film, it feels like even that factor is varied. Linking to the slight problem of the film’s ability to draw depth, there are some scenes where things are really blurry to maintain the illusion, and others that aren’t as blurry and feel like they’re putting a little less effort into the mix.

Audience Health Score


When you mix the factors of fast-moving action that doesn’t let the audience’s eyes catch up to the 3D effect, and a dimness that goes beyond the standard level of gray added to the picture, you have a familiar recipe for eye strain. Maleficent: Mistress of Evil is a bit hard to watch, as the eyes tire between both of those twin factors of wonk, leaving the audience relieved when the experience is over.

3D Fit Score 5
Planning & Effort Score 3
Before the Window Score 2
Beyond the Window Score 4
Brightness Score 3
Glasses Off Score 3
Audience Health Score 3

Your mileage may vary with Maleficent: Mistress of Evil as a film itself, but as far as a 3D experience is concerned, the film lands off the mark it’s aiming for. If you’re a 3D fanatic, then you should at the very least seek a matinee screening that softens the cost for your day out. But if you’re only mildly curious, it’s suggested you either find a theater you trust with a 3D showing, or stick with the 2D version with this one. Either way, tread with caution.

How will you see Maleficent: Mistress of Evil?

Be sure to visit our full To 3D Or Not To 3D Archive.

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Jurassic World 3’s Laura Dern Is Seriously Excited About Playing Ellie Sattler Again

The Jurassic World series of films has always made a point to tip its cap to the movies that came before it, especially the much beloved original Jurassic Park. But things were taken to a whole new level when it was announced that the forthcoming Jurassic World 3 would not only see the return of Jurassic Park star Jeff Goldblum, who had a cameo in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, but also Sam Neill and Laura Dern.

Laura Dern is an especially big announcement as this will be her first appearance in the franchise since that original film. Fans of the franchise are certainly excited to see the stars of the original film back again, but the truth is it sounds like maybe nobody is quite as excited for the return of Laura Dern as Laura Dern herself. She says she’s looking forward to seeing how the old and new stories will be brought together. She’s also looking forward to working with her old castmates once again. According to Dern…

Laura Dern’s comments to Total Film (via GamesRadar) reveal that she apparently doesn’t know much of anything about the story for Jurassic World 3 yet. The movie is set to film next year, and it doesn’t sound like Dern has seen the script quite yet. Either that or she’s so focused on keeping secrets that she’s acting like she hasn’t.

One assumes at the very least she has a general idea what she’ll be doing since she agreed to be in the movie in the first place.

From the moment it was revealed that Jeff Goldblum would be appearing in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom everybody wondered if we might see other original Jurassic Park characters appear, either in that film or the others that were coming. While nothing materialized for Fallen Kingdom, and Goldblum’s entire appearance was basically seen in the trailer, we now know that the trio will be reunited for real in the next film.

When Dern’s role was first revealed it was confirmed that the character of Ellie Sadler would be a major role in Jurassic World 3, not simply a cameo. While it was not technically confirmed that the same would be the case for Jeff Goldblum and Sam Neill, it stands to reason that the three probably will have similarly sized roles.

We’ll see the return of Laura Dern, along with Sam Neil and Jeff Goldblum, when Jurassic World 3 hits theaters in June of 2021.

Despite Campaigning For Years, Josh Gad Won’t Be The Batman’s Penguin

It’s been an exciting week for Matt Reeves’ The Batman. After sitting in development hell for a number of years and losing its original star/director, Reeves has finally begun assembling the cast and crew. A few exciting casting announcements arrived this week, with Big Little Lies‘ Zoe Kravitz playing Catwoman and Paul Dano landing the role of The Riddler. It’s still unclear who will be playing The Penguin, but one thing is clear: it won’t be Josh Gad.

Beauty and The Beast and Frozen star Josh Gad has become a household name, gaining a ton of followers on his social media accounts. For years, he’s been using his platform to campaign for the role of The Penguin in the DCEU, making his interest in the iconic villain known. Gad was recently asked if he might be in talks to play Oswald Cobblepot in The Batman, responding with:

Well, that seems pretty cut and dry. Despite his interest and previous campaign for the role, it seems Josh Gad definitely won’t be rocking an umbrella on Matt Reeves’ upcoming DC blockbuster. What a bummer.

Josh Gad’s recent tweet seems like an attempt to clarify the talks around his possible role as The Penguin, and hopefully end any rumors about his casting. The Tony-nominated actor was no doubt asked about that possibility plenty this week, as news has come out regarding the casting of The Batman. Matt Reeves is going for some A-List talent, with plenty of big names already attached to populate Gotham City.

For years, we’ve been seeing Josh Gad drop not-so-subtle hints about his interest in playing a live-action Penguin somewhere within the DC Extended Universe. The villain has been rumored to be a major presence in The Batman, making that blockbuster the most obvious choice. But it seems that it simply wasn’t in the cards, with Gad officially ending his campaign to play the iconic Batman rogue.

As far who will play Penguin in The Batman, that remains a mystery. It was recently revealed that talks between the studio and Jonah Hill have fallen through— although it’s unclear which role(s) he was being considered for. Additionally, Seth Rogen was another name tossed around, although no concrete talks happened with the Knocked Up star.

Josh Gad has certainly proven himself as an actor, both on the screen and stage. He’d no doubt bring a specific physicality to Oswald Cobblepot, had the actor The Secret-ed the role into reality. Although he’d have some big shoes to fill, as Penguin has already been brought to life in live-action a number of times throughout the years. But Gad clearly a fan of the comics, and you can access Penguin’s life on the page here.

First came the late Burgess Meredith rendition in the 1960’s Batman TV series. Danny DeVito had a particularly strong outing as Penguin in Tim Burton’s Batman Returns. And most recently, Robin Lord Taylor played the character for a whopping 100 episodes of Gotham. So whoever gets the part in The Batman will have to find a way to make a wholly unique interpretation of the iconic character.

You can catch Josh Gad in the highly anticipated animated blockbuster Frozen II on November 22nd, and The Batman will (finally) hit theaters on June 25th, 2021. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

Terminator: Dark Fate Red Band Trailer Is Full Of Violence And F-Bombs

The last two Terminator films, 2009’s Terminator: Salvation and 2015’s Terminator: Genisys both carried a PG-13 rating, the rating assigned to most modern action blockbusters that want to reach the widest audience possible. The franchise returns to its roots though this November with Terminator: Dark Fate, which will see the return of the original Sarah Connor Linda Hamilton, producer James Cameron and will have an R rating. The red band trailer for Terminator: Dark Fate embraces that rating and is full of violence and F-bombs. Check it out:

If there was any doubt that Terminator: Dark Fate would be R-rated, this red band TV spot puts that to rest. The general rule of thumb (although there are exceptions) is that a PG-13 movie is allowed to have one F-bomb and any more than that necessitates an R rating. Well, in this spot’s one minute and 19-second runtime, it goes right ahead and breezes into R-rated territory as we hear two F-bombs dropped. And they are both glorious.

Natalia Reyes’ Dani Ramos lets out a “Who the fuck is that?” upon seeing Sarah Connor and although she doesn’t know yet, she’s gonna learn today exactly who Sarah Connor is. And of course, as you would expect, Linda Hamilton’s character gets to drop her own F-bomb in a rare moment of levity.

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s T-800 tells Dani that he goes by Carl now, to which Sarah Connor responds “I’m never gonna fucking call you Carl.” It’s a funny moment that tells you a lot about Sarah Connor, and reminds you that she doesn’t view the Terminator as a person. He’s a machine and machines don’t get names; calling him Carl would humanize him and she won’t do it.

I’m sure these F-bombs are just a sample of what the film has in store in its over two-hour runtime. The cursing is befitting for a movie that is about the literal survival of the human race. Sarah Connor basically affirms as much at the end of the trailer by saying that if they don’t win this one, it’s all over. Hopefully they do win because James Cameron and company have a trilogy in mind if this film is successful.

Besides the F-bomb, this spot earns its red band with some brutal, bloody violence, in particular from Gabriel Luna’s Terminator. We don’t yet know his model number, but Mackenzie Davis’ Grace, who seems to be from the future, calls him the most lethal Terminator ever created which does not bode well given how near unstoppable the T-800 and T-1000 were before him.

We see that in practice too. In a scene that seems to be a bit of a nod towards the lobby scene from The Matrix, Gabriel Luna’s Terminator tells the guards as he goes through the metal detector that his whole body is a weapon. He then proves it by absolutely laying waste to the guards. There is a lot of blood and it’s splattering about as he cuts through human obstacles like a hot knife through butter.

The fights between Arnold’s T-800, Grace and the Terminator are particularly hard-hitting– and it looks like the heroes will be getting beat up a lot. The violence on display reminds you that the Terminator is a literal killing machine and Terminator: Dark Fate isn’t going to shy away from that. The R rating affords it the freedom to embrace it, which is exactly what you would expect and hope for from the director of Deadpool, Tim Miller.

Terminator: Dark Fate arrives in theaters on November 1. Check out our 2019 Release Schedule to keep track of all the big movies coming your way this fall.

No, Joker Won’t Get An Extended Cut Or Deleted Scenes

Joker is a solid hit at the box office and with many fans. There’s talk of it competing for major awards as we get closer to the end of the year. It seems to be the sort of movie that a lot of people are watching in the theaters more than once. Those same fans likely will be interested in picking up the eventual Blu-ray release, but if you were hoping for an extended cut of Joker or a lot of deleted scenes, you can stop hoping now.

While creating “extended cuts” of films, or at least including deleted scenes as extras on the home release of a film, is pretty standard practice, it seems unlikely that anything of the sort will be happening with Joker. Director Todd Philips appears to have a particular animosity for the concept. He recently told Collider

Todd Philips certainly isn’t the first director to decry the concept of the “director’s cut.” Many directors have taken issue with the idea that scenes which they choose to delete for good reason should be included back into a film they made. Having said that, many of those same directors have no problem including deleted scenes as extras.

While a scene may not have ultimately worked in the final edit of a film, that doesn’t mean the scene is entirely without value. Getting a glimpse at it gives viewers a look at the filmmaking process and can help fans to understand why certain directorial decisions were made.

Todd Philips seems to have a slightly more militant view of the concept. He claims here that he will never so much as show off any scenes from Joker that were edited out of the final cut.

If Todd Philips has final say over what makes it onto the Joker Blu-ray then we shouldn’t be looking forward to seeing any more of the movie then what’s included on the big screen right now. Of course we have no idea if that’s the case.

Some of Todd Philips’ previous films, like Old School and the first Hangover, have released Unrated versions on DVD that included additional footage not part of the theatrical release. The fact that the discs were called Unrated and not “Director’s Cut” would at least imply that Philips may not have been the one putting the footage back in. Whether he completely disavows those versions of the movies is unclear, but if he does, and they were released anyway, it would be evidence a director doesn’t always have the final say on what ends up on Blu-ray.

And it’s always possible Todd Philips will soften his feelings on deleted scenes. I don’t think Joker needs an extended version by any means, but seeing the additional work that Joaquin Phoenix and Todd Philips did on the movie wouldn’t be a bad thing.

Joker is in theaters now. We’ll have to wait and see just what the eventual Blu-ray release brings us in a few months.

New Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker Image Gives A Closer Look At Keri Russell’s Mysterious Character

The Star Wars universe is on an exciting precipice, as J.J. Abrams’ The Rise of Skywalker will essentially end the franchise was we know it. Episode IX will wrap up the current trilogy, as well as the overarching Skywalker Saga that began with A New Hope. Abrams has a ton of characters to service for the upcoming blockbuster, but there are also some exciting newcomers making their debut in the space opera. Chief among them is Keri Russell’s mysterious Zorii Bliss, who has been described as an old friend of Poe Dameron. And a new image was recently revealed, showing a better look at her epic costume.

Keri Russell has a long history of working with J.J. Abrams, so it wasn’t a huge surprise when she eventually made her way to the galaxy far, far away. But exactly how Zorii Bliss factors into the story remains a mystery. We also haven’t see Russell’s face yet, with only a few brief glimpses of the character, all of which her helmet has been on. Now we can see a closer look Zorii, thanks to a new Rise of Skywalker still. Check it out:

Is it December yet? This still us the closest look at Zorii Bliss’ helmet. Although what he character is doing and her true allegiance in the galactic war remains to be seen.

This new image comes to us from EW, and is sure to excite the generations of Star Wars fans out there. Keri Russell’s character is wearing her signature armor and helmet, likely because she’s a criminal who is trying to hide her identity. But it’s what’s in her hands that will likely entice moviegoers. It looks like she’s got a coin or a data chip, and I have to wonder how important that prop will be in the upcoming blockbuster.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will reportedly feature a time jump, allowing the conflict against the First Order to take a new form. From what we’ve heard so far, The Resistance has fallen on hard times, and can no longer afford to continue the ongoing war against Kylo Ren’s forces. This might be where Zorii Bliss comes in, as she operates in the underground of the galaxy. It’s going to take all of The Resistance’s efforts to even the playing field, with Poe Dameron likely seeking out his old friend.

The Star Wars franchise is known for its secrecy, so the overall story and evens of The Rise of Skywalker should remain a mystery until it arrives in theaters on a few months. The footage release thus far as been limited, with Keri Russell’s Zorii Bliss not getting any screen time so far. John Boyega’s agent previously indicated that a new trailer for Episode IX was going to arrive this past Monday, but that didn’t come to fruition.

Given Zorii Bliss’ connection to Poe Dameron, one has to assume that Keri Russell will be sharing her scenes with Oscar Isaac. This is the third acclaimed actress that Isaac has had the privilege to collaborate with, following Carrie Fisher and Laura Dern. I’m eager to see how Poe has continued developing as a Resistance Leader, as he’s been set up as Leia’s protegee in the last two films.

The generations of Star Wars fans will have to patiently wait for The Rise of Skywalker‘s upcoming release, and hope that more stills and footage arrive to raise anticipation. But if you’re eager for more Star Wars content, there are plenty of comics to choose from. Plus, The Mandalorian will hit Disney+ shortly.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will hit theaters December 20th, and you can check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

Elton John Reveals Why He Hasn’t Seen Bohemian Rhapsody

Rocketman and Bohemian Rhapsody are two recent films that have received a great deal of comparison. Both are biopics about music stars from the same era, and both follow very similar trajectories in their stories. There are plenty of reasons to compare them, but one person who can’t do that is Elton John, the subject of Rocketman, because he’s never seen Bohemian Rhapsody.

Bohemian Rhapsody was a box office hit and an awards season darling, so a lot of people ended up seeing it, and one might expect that, especially since Elton John would have a unique perspective on the movie, he would be one of those who checked it out. However, it turns out that’s exactly the reason he’s avoided the movie. John says he can’t watch it because he was too close to Freddie Mercury.

I’ve never seen somebody I knew personally portrayed by an actor in a film, but just trying to imagine such a thing is strange. I can totally see why Elton John might have trouble watching Bohemian Rhapsody. There’s the possibility of getting frustrated with the film for the ways in which it changes the story. There’s the potential difficulty that comes with reliving events that might be emotionally difficult to go through a second time. Regardless of how good or bad the movie turns out to be, there’s the possibility of dealing with some serious issues.

Elton John says he’s seen pieces of the film, enough to compliment Rami Malek‘s portrayal as Freddie Mercury, but that’s all. If anything, the fact that Malek did such a good job may have reinforced to Elton John the idea that he shouldn’t watch the rest of the movie. It might have hit too close to home.

While the similarities between Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocketman are obvious there is one significant difference. The Freddie Mercury movie was rated PG-13, while the Elton John biopic was rated-R. John told GQ that the success of Rhapsody did not lead to any additional pressure to sanitize his story. What it did lead to was more people being introduced to the music of Queen.

Elton John is likely experiencing a similar resurgence. While Rocketman hasn’t been quite the hit Bohemian Rhapsody was, the movie still grossed close to $200 million dollars globally, and it still has a chance at some awards season recognition of its own.

Why Maleficent: Mistress Of Evil’s New Prince Philip Didn’t Go Back And Study The First Movie

While Joachim Ronning’s Maleficent: Mistress Of Evil reassembles most of its core cast from the original for its new adventure, there is one notable bit of recasting. While Brenton Thwaites played love interest Prince Philip in the 2014 predecessor, the sequel sees that role now played by Harris Dickinson. It put the actor in a unique place on the set of the film, making discoveries about the character while everyone else was recalling their past performance – but interestingly one thing that Dickinson didn’t really do is go back and analyze what Thwaites did with the part.

This was a revelation I picked up during a recent interview I did with Harris Dickinson at the Los Angeles press day for Maleficent: Mistress Of Evil. Our conversation began with a discussion about where he started with the character, and I specifically asked him if part of his process saw him watch the original Maleficent and study how the character was previously played. He said no, and explained why:

Harris Dickinson faced the same conflict that any artist faces when taking on a work previously established by a different artist, which is the struggle to honor what came before, while still maintaining enough creative freedom to leave your own personal stamp on a product. In playing the role of Prince Philip in Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, Dickinson clearly more heavily favored the latter side of that equation.

Reflecting on the original Maleficent, it does make a fair amount of sense that the new actor would take the approach that he did, if not just because there really isn’t much to Prince Philip as a character in that movie. While he is certainly a principal player in the classic Sleeping Beauty story that audiences were well familiar with prior to the film, the Robert Stromberg-directed movie altered perspectives to reveal that he was much more of an ancillary figure in the story about the love between a mother (Angelina Jolie’s Maleficent) and daughter (Elle Fanning’s Aurora).

Maleficent: Mistress Of Evil definitely has much more for Prince Philip to do, starting with the fact that his proposal to Aurora is what kick-starts the movie’s plot. The couple’s pending nuptials puts the magical titular anti-hero in a room with Philips’ mother, the magical creature-hating Queen Ingrid (Michelle Pfeiffer), and it is a meeting that proves to be the fuse that lights the powder keg of war between faeries and humans.

While Philip has a more significant role to play in the movie, though, one thing that Harris Dickinson actually valued about the part is that he’s very much a supportive figure who abandons ego in the name of doing what’s right and helping those around him. Discussing what he appreciated about the character, the actor explained,

Zombieland: Double Tap Post-Credits Scenes: What Happens And Why They’re Great

Zombieland: Double Tap main cast

Warning: SPOILERS for Zombieland: Double Tap are ahead!

We waited 10 years for a follow-up to Zombieland, and now it’s finally here. Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Jesse Eisenberg and Abigail Breslin reunited for another round of zombie-fighting action in Zombieland: Double Tap, and just like its predecessor, the sequel has been met with a solid amount of positive reception. But one of the things that distinguishes Double Tap from the first Zombieland is its use of something that’s become way more popular in the last decades: mid/post-credits scenes.

Yes, Zombieland: Double Tap got in on this craze by including a scene in the middle of the credits and one for when they were done rolling, both featuring the return of a familiar face from the first movie… and, really, anyone who’s remotely a fan of comedy. CinemaBlend will have more coverage on Double Tap’s main story in the weeks ahead, but for now, let’s over what happens in these scenes, how they came about and plenty more.

This is your final SPOILER warning, although to be fair, some of this has already been teased in previews.

Bill Murray in Zombieland: Double Tap

What Happened In The Scenes

Zombieland came with a celebrity cameo in its arsenal: Bill Murray, who appeared when the main four characters took refuge in his Hollywood mansion and discovered that the comedy star was pretending to be a zombie so he could safely walk around town. Sadly, Columbus was the last to discover Murray was around and, initially thinking he was a real zombie, fatally shot him. Murray’s final words were expressing regret that he’d starred in Garfield.

That was the end of Bill Murray’s story in the Zombieland world, so naturally when it was reported late last year that he’d be present for Zombieland: Double Tap, fans wondered just how this would happen. Well, as Double Tap’s credits roll, Columbus can be heard expressing his continued remorse about happened with Murray, which then transitions into a flashback showing what the actor was up on the first day of the zombie outbreak 10 years earlier.

Bill Murray is at the junket for Garfield 3: Flabby Tabby (which we were thankfully spared from in real life) and answering reporters’ questions, such as acknowledging that the only reason he agreed to star in the threequel was so he could pay for drugs. Then, as Murray sits down with NBC personality Al Roker, who immediately turns into a zombie and attacks Murray. The comedy icon slams the zombified Roker with a chair, and when he realizes the zombie apocalypse has begun, he starts killing zombies left and right.

That all plays out in the mid-credits scene, but in the quick scene that’s shown after the credits are finished rolling, Bill Murray is seen back at the junket, before all the zombie insanity unfolds, showing some reporters, specifically one from a Spanish speaking outlet, how he makes Garfield’s hairball noise in this woman’s native tongue.

Al Roker in Zombieland: Double Tap

Why The Scenes Are Great

Look, considering that Bill Murray was killed off in Zombieland, we should be glad that writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, director Ruben Fleischer and the rest of the creative team found a way to bring him back. But to not only have him laying the smackdown on the first wave of zombies in his vicinity, but also have Al Roker play his first zombie victim is a stroke of genius. This isn’t like a Marvel movie where Double Tap is setting the stage for a threequel (I vote it be called Zombieland: Third Time’s The Charm), it’s just a little bit of fun to cap off what went down in the main story.

Bill Murray and Al Roker in Zombieland: Double Tap

How The Scenes Came About

It would have been easy enough to leave Bill Murray out of Zombieland: Double Tap considering what happened to him in the first movie. But director Ruben Fleischer explained to CinemaBlend’s own Eric Eisenberg that because Murray was such a “key part” of Zombieland, Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick came up with the idea of flashing back at what Murray was up to right as the zombies emerged. Fleischer added:

I think that it was always a junket, and that Garfield line is so funny that that just was like, ‘If you’re going to do anything…’ And then it, what was really cool was it was always written for like Reporter One, Reporter Two, Reporter Three. And I think it was the producer who pitched the idea, Gavin [Polone], of getting real actual junket people or reporters to do it, as opposed to just casting people to play those roles. And I think it just elevated it to a whole other level when you have Al Roker. Everyone was just such good sports, and I think had real fun. We spent hours doing improv answers to all those junket questions. What ended up being maybe 30 seconds, it was like six hours of listening to Bill Murray improvise, it was pretty incredible.

Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick also noted that it was “such a slog” getting Bill Murray for the first Zombieland, but because he had such a fun time there, he was much more receptive to appearing in Zombieland: Double Tap when he got the call. Murray had fun playing around with the junket setting and getting to do his “own thing.”

However, had Zombieland: Double Tap been made using one of the earlier drafts, we could’ve seen Bill Murray interacting with different celebrities in a different setting…

Dan Aykroyd and Joe Pesci

What Might Have Been With The Scenes

Contrary to previous reports, Bill Murray’s Ghostbusters costar Dan Aykroyd does not appear in Zombieland: Double Tap, but he did in a previous version of the story. Earlier in the creative process, Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick set the Double Tap post-credits scene at a golf course, where Aykroyd, as well as the late Harold Ramis and Ernie Hudson, was trying to convince Murray to do Ghostbusters 3. Funny how things worked in real life on that front, as there is a direct sequel to the original two Ghostbusters movies in the works, Ghostbusters 2020, and it looks like Murray and Aykroyd will appear in that, as will Ernie Hudson, Sigourney Weaver and Annie Potts. But I digress.

Then, similarly to what happened with Al Roker, Dan Aykroyd suddenly becomes a zombie, and Bill Murray has to fight him off. But here’s the kicker: Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick also had Joe Pesci playing in front of Aykroyd, Murray and the others on the golf course, and because he was playing too slowly, they “hit into him,” resulting in Pesci understandable getting angry.

Recalling how he and Paul Wernick had tried to get Joe Pesci on the first Zombieland, Rhett Reese said:

We tried before and failed on the first. We tried to get Joe Pesci for the Bill Murray part in Zombieland. And the classic line… We pitched Joe Pesci’s agent before they’d read the script, and we said, ‘Well, it’s a small part.’ And Joe Pesci’s agent said, ‘There are no small parts, only small money.’ So anyway, we had the Joe Pesci and the golf course, and they were going into the lake in the golf cart and all this stuff. And then unfortunately for us, Ghostbusters actually did happen in that 10 years intervening. And so suddenly it’s like, ‘Well, you can’t really do that Ghostbusters joke anymore.’ So then we pivoted to Garfield, and it worked out.

It did indeed work out, although part of me wishes that Joe Pesci could still have been thrown into Zombieland: Double Tap in a different way so we could have had a quick snippet of him as an appetizer to the main course that is his grand return in The Irishman next month. Alas, that wasn’t in the cards, but at least we now know what it would look like if a zombified Al Roker attacked Bill Murray.

Be sure to read CinemaBlend’s review of Zombieland: Double Tap, and look through our 2019 release schedule to plan your trips for the rest of the year accordingly.

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Zombieland: Double Tap Director Shoots Down Those Weird Dan Aykroyd Casting Rumors

Late last year, it was reported that following in the footsteps of his Ghostbusters co-star Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd would cameo in Zombieland: Double Tap. We won’t spoil what specifically goes down in the long-awaited sequel, but it’s important to note that Aykroyd is not present in it, and there were never any plans to include him. At least, not in how the final version of the movie played out. According to Double Tap director Ruben Fleischer:

Ruben Fleischer set the record straight concerning Dan Aykroyd while appearing on the ReelBlend podcast. If Zombieland: Double Tap had arrived before February 2014, when Harold Ramis passed away, then it’s possible that this scene could have been shot and thrown into the movie. But by the time the final draft was ironed out, this scene was cut out. Sorry, folks, there’s no Ghostbusters reunion in Double Tap, and this was just a case of someone getting ahold of outdated information.

You’ll have to just imagine what’s happened to Dan Aykroyd in the Zombieland world. Maybe he was turned into a zombie right as the outbreak began, or maybe, like Bill Murray, he was able to survive for many years afterwards. Although if it’s the latter option, fingers crossed things turned out better for him than Murray, who was accidentally killed by Columbus in Zombieland.

Fortunately for Ghostbusters fans, it’s looking like Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd will reunite with each other onscreen soon thanks to Ghostbusters 2020. This direct follow-up to the first two Ghostbusters movies is also bringing back Ernie Hudson, Sigourney Weaver and Annie Potts, so these members of the first Ghostbusters generation (in other words, they’re playing their original characters, as opposed to brand-new ones like in the 2016 reboot) will join forces with the new main characters.

As for Zombieland: Double Tap, again, we’re not dropping any spoilers, but like its predecessor, it’s been met with a solid amount of positive reception. Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Jesse Eisenberg and Abigail Breslin have all reprised their respective roles for the sequel, and they’re joined by Rosario Dawson, Luke Wilson, Zoey Deutch, Thomas Middleditch and Avan Jogia.

Zombieland: Double Tap is now playing in theaters, and be sure to read CinemaBlend’s review of the movie. Don’t forget to plan your trips to the theater in the near future accordingly with our 2019 release schedule and 2020 release schedule.