7 items from 2017
With supporting turns in two of summer’s biggest movies — including box office juggernaut “The Fate of the Furious” and the upcoming and much-hyped “Guardians of the Galaxy” sequel — Kurt Russell is back in a very big way. But despite reentering the cultural consciousness with a slew of splashy roles over the past couple of years, Russell never really went away. He just got choosier. That kind of freedom has always marked Russell’s five-decade-long career, one that includes a childhood spent in literal contractual service to Walt Disney; an action-heavy ’80s that saw him star in such classics as “The Thing,” “Escape From New York” and “Big Trouble in Little China”; and a critically acclaimed third act that’s rife with unique choices.
- Kate Erbland
When Kurt Russell stepped into the detective’s uniform for “Dark Blue,” he wasn’t just accepting another movie role. He was taking a stand. He was destroying an image he’d spent two decades building, and turning his back on the American hero audiences had come to recognize at the sight of him.
Becoming a villain sounds kind of heroic, doesn’t it?
“Dark Blue” is one of those low-budget cop dramas you don’t see made at studios anymore. At a reported $15 million, Ron Shelton’s feature couldn’t even make back its budget. First released at an Italian film festival in mid-December 2002, it was dumped in the U.S. during February 2003 for a cumulative worldwide haul of just over $12 million.
Big surprise. Opening out of awards season, the movie chronicled events leading up and through the Los Angeles riots in 1992, depicting a racially divided city »
- Ben Travers
Trolls director Mike Mitchell is set to direct The Lego Movie 2 over at Warner Bros. Mitchell, who is also the man responsible for the likes of Shrek Forever After and Sky High, will replace Rob Schrab on the project after he jumped ship due to creative differences.
The film is now in production for a release in 2019 and will follow-on from the 2014 original movie, which went on to gross nearly $470 million around the world from a reported $60 million budget.
- Paul Heath
Solidifying his bona fides as Hollywood’s go-to director for movies about cheerfully singing plastic, Trolls director Mike Mitchell has been selected to direct the second Lego Movie. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Mitchell will be replacing Community alum Rob Schrab, who was attached to the project back in February of 2015.
Mitchell’s past directing credits include Sky High and Deuce Biglow, Male Gigolo, plus animated sequels like Shrek Forever After and Alvin And The Chipmunks: Chipwrecked. Despite that spotty (some might say “aggressively shitty”) pedigree, his Trolls was a certifiable, candy-colored hit, managing to sneak some fairly profound ideas about happiness and purpose into what could have been a mercenary commercial for Justin Timberlake music and ugly, pug-nosed dolls.
As a follow-up to one of the biggest animation hits of the last ten years, The Lego Movie sequel has a lot riding on it; former directors Christopher Miller ...
- William Hughes
Phil Lord and Christopher Miller are far too busy with Han Solo to return to The Lego Movie franchise, and that means a new filmmaker has been sought to take the helm. With Rob Schrab departing the project due to "creative differences," it's now been revealed that Mike Mitchell will take his place. He recently helmed Trolls, a movie which recently grossed a fairly impressive $338 million worldwide. However, his track record before that is a little spotty. In the animated realm, he's worked on the likes of Shrek Forever After and Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, while Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo and Sky High are among his live-action credits. So, should we be excited or a little worried right now? Well, The Lego Movie 2 has already gone through a fair few rewrites, with Lord and Miller writing the first draft of the script for the sequel with Raphael Bob-Waksberg taking care of a re-write. »
Warner Bros. Animation seems to have settled upon a director for The Lego Movie Sequel after parting ways with their previous choice, Rob Schrab, due to “creative differences.” According to The Hollywood Reporter, Trolls director Mike Mitchell is the studio’s choice to helm the upcoming entry in the so-called Lego cinematic universe and sequel to 2014’s smash hit The Lego Movie.
Mitchell’s hiring certainly makes sense, as he delivered a box office and (somewhat) critical success with Trolls for Fox and has been making light and vibrant kid-friendly movies for the past decade between Sky High, Shrek Forever After and Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked. The latter two of the aforementioned movies were fairly disappointing, but the former remains an underappreciated gem.
One can’t help but wonder what “creative differences” got in between Schrab and Warner Bros. Schrab seemed like an ideal candidate for the job: he »
- Justin Cook
He’s replaced Rob Schrab on the project, which is set for a Feb. 8, 2019, release. Producers are “Lego Movie” directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller, along with Dan Lin and Roy Lee. Jill Wilfert from Lego Group, Chris McKay and Jinko Gotoh are executive producing.
Lord and Miller wrote the first draft of the script for the sequel with Raphael Bob-Waksberg taking care of a re-write. Matt Fogel has written the latest draft. Schrab departed due to creative differences.
Mitchell’s credits include “Shrek Forever After,” “Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked” and “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water.” He also directed live-action titles “Sky High” and “Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo.” “Trolls,” produced by DreamWorks Animation and released by Fox, generated a solid $338 million on worldwide box office following its opening in November. »
- Dave McNary
7 items from 2017