PODCAST | The Coronavirus has turned us all into ZOMBIES! Well… not really, but it did delay some movies, festivals, comiccons and more! What a way to celebrate the LAST episode of Secrets of the Sire as we know it!
PLUS: Black Widow Trailer 3 hits the ‘net. But if there’s no one in the theaters to watch did it ever really get released? We trailer truth or trash the coronavirus, marvel, black widow and more!
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No Time To Die’ Facing $30M-Plus Hit Over Date Shift
►MGM to take $30 million-plus hit after moving Bond film No Time to Die. Although the bulk of the marketing campaign for the Cary Joji Fukunaga-directed pic — the 25th installment in the storied 007 franchise — had yet to roll out, the marketing outlay already was significant with just four weeks to go before the release, including a $4.5 million Super Bowl spot that ran in February, Tatiana Siegel reports. MGM declined comment.
–Still, the alternative MGM was facing was far more costly, and even an eight-figure loss will be easier for a film like No Time to Die to withstand considering the broader profit margins on a Bond film. The story.
►CinemaCon moves ahead but plans enhanced measures amid coronavirus worries. The National Association of Theatre Owners on Thursday dispatched a memo reiterating that the convention will take place as planned from March 30-April 2 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. So far, no studio has scrubbed plans to attend despite travel restrictions being imposed at some of their parent companies, such as WarnerMedia. The story.
+TCM Classic Film Festival moves ahead amid coronavirus concerns. Organizers of the festival, which takes place at the TCL Chinese Theatre and Egyptian Theatre — unveiled a slew of new additions and guests for the event on Thursday. The festival also stated that, amid coronavirus concerns, it would be “closely monitoring this evolving situation. We are working with internal and external partners to ensure that the safety of attendees and staff are our priority.” More.
+Regal owner Cineworld says no “material impact” on admissions from coronavirus. The exhibition giant reports “good levels of admissions in all our territories” and says that despite the delay of the new James Bond movie studios “currently remain committed to their release schedule.” More.
Coronavirus Hits TV Production
►TV production impacted: A production member for the Fox show neXt, which wrapped production at Cinespace in Chicago last week, has tested positive for the Coronavirus (COVID-19), the performers union SAG-AFTRA said in a statement Tuesday. “We are working closely with the CDPH to identify and contact all individuals who came in direct contact with the crew member, and are taking precautions to protect all who work on our productions,” said Disney Television Studios, which produces the show. The story.
+The crew of Disney+’s upcoming Falcon & the Winter Soldier has been sent home from Prague over coronavirus concerns. The news comes as the Czech Republic has reported 40 confirmed cases of coronavirus and has shut down its schools indefinitely and taken other measures to contain it. More.
+Coronavirus prompts changes for TV shows with live audiences. Rick Porter runs down all the shows proceeding without live audiences, and the other changes hitting production schedules. More.
►Cannes Festival president: “We’ll cancel” if coronavirus situation doesn’t improve. In an interview with a French newspaper, Pierre Lescure says he remains “reasonably optimistic” this year’s festival will go ahead as planned, but acknowledged Cannes is not insured against cancelation. More.
►U.S. movie theaters aim to stay open. “I think theaters are preparing for all contingencies. I don’t think you will see a countrywide shutdown, but there could be some closures on a local level,” says Wall Street analyst Eric Handler of MKM Partners, which tracks exhibition stocks. “We are still seeing an accelerated number of cases, and I don’t think the worst is over.” The story.
Segment 2: Black Widow Trailer Truth or Trash
Final Black Widow trailer brings Scarlett Johansson back to where it all started Johansson and Florence Pugh are absolutely delightful Natasha Romanoff’s secretive past is a core part of her character’s story arc over the course of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but a final trailer for Black Widow promises to explore the moment she became the world’s top spy.
The new trailer focuses on two different parts of Natasha’s past: her time in the Red Room and life with her family. The Red Room, which fans briefly caught a glimpse of in Avengers: Age of Ultron, is a top-secret Soviet training program. The program brainwashes young girls, turning them into lethal assassins and spies. Natasha learns in the new trailer that Taskmaster, Black Widow’s primary villain, is responsible for brainwashing a new class of soldiers.
It’s up to Natasha and her family, specifically Yelena (Florence Pugh), to help take him down for good. The trailer leans heavily into the relationship between Yelena and Natasha, and fans of Pugh will be delighted to see that she’s just as charming in the role as she is in prior films she’s done. Pugh and Johansson are joined by David Harbour who plays Alexei — The Red Guardian, a sort of Russian Captain America — and Rachel Weisz as Melina.
Another familiar face appears halfway through the trailer that longtime MCU fans will know well: Thaddeus Ross. Ross is known for two things: leading the hunt for Bruce Banner in The Incredible Hulk and approving the Sokovia Accords in Captain America: Civil War. The latter is most important in this context. The Sokovia Accords split up the Avengers, with Steve Rogers (Captain America), Bucky Barnes (Winter Soldier), Wanda Maximoff (Scarlet Witch), Sam Wilson (Falcon), and Scott Lang (Ant-Man) opposing the Accords, and Tony Stark (Iron Man), Peter Parker (Spider-Man), James Rhodes (War Machine), and Romanoff approving of them.
Rumors suggest that Black Widow will take place in the two years between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War when the teams reunited to try to defeat Thanos. Many of the Avengers are still on the run — including Steve and Bucky, who Romanoff let get away after Civil War’s biggest fight. Ross could be on the hunt for the renegade Avengers, hence his reason for being in the movie, and in the United States no less.
Still, this is all speculation! Answers will be given on May 1st when Black Widow hits theaters.
Segment 3: Spin The Comics To Movie Racks
Geoff Johns, Jason Fabok tease DC’s Three Jokers comic in exclusive interview
Who are the three Jokers? It’s a question that’s piqued the interest of DC readers for a few years now. At first it seemed like one of the great mysteries of the DC Rebirth era, along with, “how did the Watchmen smiley face button end up in the Batcave?” But while that question was just answered in the Geoff Johns/Gary Frank series Doomsday Clock, which wrapped up its 12-issue run in December, the riddle of the three Jokers is only just now coming into view. In fact, EW can reveal the covers for the three-issue Three Jokers miniseries written by Johns and illustrated by Jason Fabok, set to hit stores this summer.
Johns is unquestionably one of the most influential DC Comics writers of the last few decades. His work on The Flash both encapsulated the Wally West version of the character and also reintroduced Barry Allen to modern continuity, setting the stage for his major roles in both The Flash series on The CW and the big-screen Justice League movie. More recently, Johns has been heavily involved in DC Universe streaming shows like Titans. But Three Jokers actually marks Johns’ first-ever foray into one of the most iconic dynamics in the DC Universe: Batman vs. Joker.
“The world doesn’t need just another Batman-Joker story,” Johns tells EW. “One of the reasons I’ve never done one before is because there are so many amazing ones, so I was only gonna do one if it was different and surprising and looked at the Joker and the meaning of the Joker and his effect on Batman and his family in a new way. We’re not introducing a multiverse of Jokers, we’re not out to change these characters forever, but we are turning over some rocks about these characters and their relationships.”
Three Jokers is set to be a mystery story, so Johns and Fabok don’t want to reveal that many details ahead of time. But suffice to say for now that “who are the three Jokers?” is a question being asked not just by readers, but by characters themselves. Along with Batman, the story is set to heavily feature Batgirl (Barbara Gordon) and Red Hood (Jason Todd) — two of the characters most affected by the Joker over the course of his decades-long struggle with the Bat-family. Barbara was shot by the Joker in the iconic 1988 graphic novel Batman: The Killing Joke from Alan Moore and Brian Bolland, resulting in her discarding her Batgirl costume for years in favor of the identity “Oracle.” Jason, the second boy wonder to hold the Robin mantle, was brutally killed by the Joker in the Batman: A Death in the Family arc from the same year. These days, Barbara has healed enough to reclaim the Batgirl identity, while Jason is alive and kicking. But those are the kinds of traumas even comic book superheroes struggle to shake off.
“It goes back to the beginning when Batman first encountered the Joker, but it’s also The Killing Joke and A Death in the Family that speak to the book and that we’re building off emotionally,” Johns says. “Barbara and Jason have gone through so much, as has Bruce, and it’s really focused on healing, on scars and wounds and what that does to somebody. If you suffer some trauma, you don’t just get over with it and move on with your life, it changes who you are. Sometimes it changes you for the better, sometimes it changes you for the worse. You can heal right, and you can heal wrong. That’s really what the book’s about: Healing right, healing wrong, and surviving.”
Plot echoes and character arcs aren’t the only ways Three Jokers is shaped by The Killing Joke. Fabok, who won an Eisner Award last year for his work with writer Tom King on DC’s Swamp Thing Winter Special comic, tells EW that he’s had a copy of The Killing Joke by his desk for two years now and has incorporated homages to Bolland’s work into the new series.
“We made a choice right from the beginning that we would base the look of our book around what Brian did in The Killing Joke,” Fabok says. “Just like how Gary in Doomsday Clock took a lot of his beats from Dave Gibbons, I’m kind of doing the same with Brian Bolland. Fans who have read The Killing Joke, you’re gonna see some familiar panels, you’re gonna see some familiar-looking things, like the Batcave. My thinking was almost, okay, years have passed so Batman has upgraded his Batcave from what he had originally in The Killing Joke, but the same bones are there. Even the Batmobile that I designed is loosely based around the Batmobile from The Killing Joke, where it’s got one big fin and a face built into the front, with big wheels and everything. I consciously infused a lot of that Brian Bolland, even the way he would tell stories through his panels. The Killing Joke has sat next to my desk for the last two years. I’ve been constantly referencing it, and even following a lot of the rules of how he laid out his panels in that book. I really want it to feel like it could be a spiritual sequel, at least artistically.”
Doomsday Clock suffered a few delays over the course of its run, but rest assured the same will not happen to Three Jokers. Johns and Fabok purposely waited to schedule the series until they were finished with it so that fans won’t get stuck waiting for months between issues.
“I see fans on Twitter and I know they’re getting impatient, they want this book to come out,” Fabok says. “Geoff and I have come to realize that everything will happen within its time. Because it’s taken so long, we’ve actually made this story better. Everything’s come together so naturally, we’re so pumped up and so confident in this story.”
In addition to Johns and Fabok, Three Jokers is colored by Brad Anderson and lettered by Rob Lee. Check out the first three covers above along with some exclusive interior pages featuring classic Batman iconography like the Waynes’ grave and the Batcave below. Look out for the first issue (of three) on June 17.
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NEXT WEEK: Enter The ROGUE WAVE…