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AVATAR SEQUEL DETAILS AND NEW DATES. AGAINavatar-1

Avatar (2009) was a huge hit and the beginning of what was promised to be a series of films set in the world of Pandora. It was also, at time of writing, seven years ago and James Cameron’s last film. The sequels have been promised, pushed back, pushed back some more and then some. Every now and again Cameron will pop up and give a titbit of information, announce the films have been delayed once more then vanish.

There has been a sequel of sorts in the form of stage show Toruk – The First Flight, the official Cirque Du Soleil prequel tie-in to Avatar that’s just opened. Speaking at the premiere Cameron dropped a couple of hints about the movie sequels story:

“The storyline in the sequels really follows Jake and Neytiri and their children. It’s more of a family saga about the struggle with the humans.”

And, true to form, he also dropped a hint that the release dates might be delayed once more:

The important thing for me is not when the first one comes out but the cadence of the release pattern. I want them to be released as close together as possible. If it’s an annual appointment to show up at Christmas, I want to make sure that we’re able to fulfill on that promise.”

Avatar 2 is scheduled to hit theaters in December 2018, and the three sequels will follow in 2020, 2022 and 2023, respectively. At the moment. Don’t go booking a babysitter just yet though eh?

HOLY RETRO DARK KNIGHT! THE CAPED CRUSADERS ARE BACK!batman

This is either just pure joy or some real abject weirdness, depending on your age. The high-camp, couldn’t-be-more-’60’s Batman & Robin are coming back and are as far removed from the Michael Keaton, Christian Bale or Ben Affleck versions as you can get. Remember it?  Then you’ll love this trailer:

And if Batman and Robin sound familiar, that’s because original actors Adam West and Burt Ward have returned to lend their voices to this new animated feature (Ward is 71 and West a sprightly 87; somehow is wavering delivery only adds to the charm). This looks like it’s managed to capture the look and tone of live action series that ran for 120 episodes between 1966 – 1968, together with old foes Joker, Riddler and Penguin alongside the also returning Julie Newmar as Catwoman. Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders lands in stores October 11. Holy retro goodness!

 

BEN-HUR THIS YEAR’S BIGGEST LOSER SO FAR. BUT BY HOW MUCH?ben-hur

Sometimes it seems as though there is no rhyme nor reason as to what Hollywood decides to make – and remake. The simple reason is that when a do-over hits big, the bucks roll in. But it’s a gamble that also fails regularly, and this year we have the Ben-Hur remake that’s lost, and lost big. The Hollywood Reporter is saying that those losses run to $120 million, a huge amount that Paramount and MGM – which invested the most – will have to shoulder. Rubbing salt into the wound is the fact it has made less than the original William Wyler 1959 version starring Charlton Heston. And not less adjusted for inflation either, but less than that movie took almost sixty years ago when a trip to the flicks cost a dollar or less. Look, it’s showbusiness ok? But still, did a historical, biblical, multi-million dollar blockbuster ever really stand a chance in a market dominated by spandex superheroes and animated kids output?

STAR TREK IS 50. BUT DOES ANYONE REALLY CARE?star-trek

Star Trek officially turned 50 years old on September 8 and with Star Trek Beyond, the 13th film in the series, still at cinemas and new tv series Star Trek: Discovery debuting in January 2017, the franchise seems set for another half century of success. Right? Well, not really. Celebrations amongst the faithful have been living long and prospering for some time but the world at large seems less willing to boldly go and embrace all things ‘Trek. Star Trek Beyond, despite rave reviews and the consensus that it’s the best ‘Trek in years – and the film that best represents the original series – is, financially, a flop. What this means for the continuing big screen adventures is not known at the moment. Some would argue that ‘Trek needs to be back on television anyway, that that’s where it belongs. But there’s not even a GoogleDoodle celebrating this most auspicious of dates and only a couple of lukewarm, half-hearted tv specials. Live long and prosper? We’ll see.

BOND UPDATE: COULD DANIEL CRAIG RETURN? THERE ARE 150 MILLION REASONS HE MIGHTdaniel-craig

The rumour mill about who might next play James Bond has been quiet recently. Idris Elba, Tom Hiddleston (nope, you’ll get no Taylor Swift gossip here), Aiden Turner and, most interesting of all to us, the criminally ignored Jamie Bell have all been mooted. But now it looks like Craig could return for not one, but two further Bond outings. The reason? A reported offer of £150 million. Yep, you read that right. They don’t call Hollywood La La Land for nothing you know.

£150 million – $75 million a movie – is a huge sum whichever way you call it. Apparently, studio executives are desperate to keep Craig and his take on the suave British spy after the huge success of his tenure, especially the last two movies. Is he worth that much? It wasn’t long ago that a whole Bond film – even two – could have been made for $75 million. Is Craig’s name above the title worth that amount? It’s doubtful. But it does show how much faith execs put in their leading actors. Will Craig take it? One would almost hope he says no, keeps his integrity and goes on to more interesting roles. But that’s a lot of money to turn down and who, really, wouldn’t want to see a couple more films with his Bond? Exactly, us too.