Morbius‘ release date has been delayed by Sony Pictures. The Jared Leto-led superhero movie will no longer release later this month on January 28, due to concerns around the fast-spreading Omicron variant of the novel coronavirus that has extended the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, Morbius — based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name — has been pushed back to April 1. As a result, Morbius is no longer the first superhero movie of 2022. That honour now (maybe temporarily, depending on Omicron) goes to the Robert Pattinson-led The Batman, slated to release March 4 as of now. But could 2022 be 2020 all over again?
This is the fifth delay for Morbius due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Before the coronavirus sent the world into lockdown in March 2020, the Morbius movie was set for a late July 2020 release. Morbius was first pushed to March 2021, then to October 2021, before being driven further back to January 2022. Now, it won’t release at least until April 2022. This is also partly a result of Sony Pictures wanting to stay away from its own releases. The Tom Hardy-starrer Venom: Let There Be Carnage took that October 2021 slot, was followed by Ghostbusters: Afterlife in November 2021, and then Spider-Man: No Way Home in December 2021 — all in cinemas.
The last of those is especially noteworthy given the new Spider-Man movie continues to break pandemic and non-pandemic box office records. Spider-Man: No Way Home is not only the biggest movie to release during the COVID-19 era, but it’s also the 12th highest-grossing movie of all time (and the third highest-grossing Hollywood movie of all time in India). That suggests audiences are willing to take risks for movies they really want to watch. Obviously, Morbius doesn’t have that kind of buzz surrounding it. Moreover, Omicron is a much bigger threat than it was last month. And Sony Pictures clearly isn’t willing to gamble and potentially lose money.
With Morbius getting out of the way, the spotlight will now move onto other big Hollywood films. The next big title is the Agatha Christie adaptation Death on the Nile (February 11) that stars Gal Gadot, Armie Hammer, Tom Bateman, Annette Bening, Russell Brand, Ali Fazal, Rose Leslie, Dawn French, Sophie Okonedo, Jennifer Saunders, Letitia Wright, and director Kenneth Branagh. How long will Disney wait before it pulls the plug? Sony Pictures will be in focus once again post that, with its long-in-the-works adaptation of the Uncharted PlayStation video game — led by Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg — currently lined up for February 18.
Locally, the hotly-anticipated period action drama RRR — from Baahubali director S.S. Rajamouli — has already ditched its January 7 release date. RRR is now undated. Meanwhile, the next two major titles, Prabhas-led period romantic drama Radhe Shyam (January 14) and Akshay Kumar-starrer historical action drama Prithviraj (January 21), are holding onto their theatrical release dates for now.
In addition to Leto as Dr. Michael Morbius who gives himself powers after accidentally infecting himself with a form of transgenic vampirism, the Morbius movie also stars Matt Smith as Morbius’ friend Loxias Crown who suffers from the same blood disease as Morbius, Adria Arjona as Morbius’ scientist fiancée Martine Bancroft, Jared Harris as Morbius’ professor mentor, Al Madrigal as an FBI agent hunting Morbius, Tyrese Gibson as a superpowered FBI agent also hunting Morbius who has a “hi-tech weapons-grade arm”, and Michael Keaton returning as Adrian Toomes/ Vulture from Spider-Man: Homecoming. Yes, Morbius is part of Sony’s Spider-Man Universe alongside the Venom movies.
Morbius is now slated to release April 1 in cinemas worldwide. In India, Morbius will be available in English, Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu.
Inside She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, Marvel’s Modern Legal Comedy
She-Hulk: Attorney at Law — premiering August 18 on Disney+ and Disney+ Hotstar — is more a modern comedy about the struggles of self-acceptance than a standard superhero flick. While most characters adore the idea of harbouring powers, legal attorney Jennifer Walters is quite the opposite. Put yourself in her situation: You get into a car crash and wake up turned into a tall, muscly, green-tinted monster. Sounds cool at first, but imagine being like that all the time. Maintaining public appearances and sporting a fake grin are hallmark traits of an average celebrity, or in this case, a superhero — instances of which we were treated to in Amazon’s The Boys and Zack Snyder’s Watchmen.
Each of the nine episodes in She-Hulk: Attorney at Law is poised to have a distinct flavour, that isn’t restricted to a specific genre. “The easy answer is that it’s a half-hour legal comedy. But it also has huge cinematic scope and elements of drama, action, suspense,” co-director Kat Coiro said Friday, over a Zoom global press conference call. “It really is a little bit of a peek behind the curtain at the everyday — sometimes even mundane — life of a superhero, which we do get to experience in this long-form series.”
Walters, played by Emmy-winning actress Tatiana Maslany, never volunteered to be a superhero. It was all part of a big accident, causing her cousin Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) to transfuse his gamma-irradiated blood into her. But unlike the Hulk — who is unaware of his actions in the monster form — She-Hulk is fully conscious and retains all of Walters’ personality, adding to the inner conflict and spicing up the self-aware, drama aspect to be expected from the show.
“The beauty of television is — unlike movies — we actually have time and space to really sit with the character and learn more about them, and really get to know them as a fully fleshed out person,” head writer Jessica Gao said. “–she [Maslany] was immediately able to make this feel like a real human being. You feel like she’s [She-Hulk] lived a life, she has life experiences, she has relationships, she has family and friends. Also, she changes. Like, she might feel different in the morning than she does in the evening.”
Breaking the fourth wall
Gao, who shares writing credits with HBO’s Silicon Valley and Rick and Morty’s iconic ‘Pickle Rick’ episode, was rejected by Marvel Studios thrice before landing a She-Hulk pitch. Drawing inspiration from comic book artist-writer John Byrne’s ‘Sensational She-Hulk’ run, fans will be quick to notice the fourth-wall-breaking sense of humour in the upcoming Disney+ series. The meta-writing went through several evolutionary steps, including a version where boxy speech bubbles would pop up on-screen. Similar in fashion to the 2013 Deadpool video game and the Ryan Reynolds-led movies, but aimed more at the editors of the show.
“At one point, there was an iteration in the scripts where instead of really talking directly to the camera, there were, kind of, text boxes that were editor’s notes. Like the editor’s notes in comics. And she [She-Hulk] was actually interacting with the editor’s notes that would be on-screen,” said Gao, stating that the idea was eventually scrapped. “How much does she talk to the camera? Is she talking directly to the audience? Is there another meta element? Is she talking to somebody else, like, that’s more behind the scenes?” These are the questions that were raised in the writers’ room at Marvel..
“Ultimately, it was about finding the balance, you know, to where breaking the fourth wall does connect to the audience and draws us in, but not so much so that we’re not connecting to her story and the world that we’ve built,” Coiro added. According to Maslany, She-Hulk has a level of hyper-awareness, where she is able to seamlessly transition between Jenn and monster form whilst fully conscious. The fourth wall-breaking is not limited to her hulk form but is rather, put to display on both ends. “It’s like an extension of her superpower,” she said.
Family dynamics and relationships
The first trailer for She-Hulk touched upon some of the perks and shortcomings of becoming a hulk. Ruffalo (Zodiac), reprising his role as Professor Banner — albeit for brief moments — gathers years’ worth of intel to pass on to his cousin. But having witnessed how becoming a superhero ruined his personal life and prospects, Walters is reluctant to the idea of becoming one herself. “What’s so great about the show is that it has all those huge Marvel elements to it, like big set pieces. However, we also deal with She-Hulk swipe dating and helping her dad carry stuff into the garage,” said Maslany.
In the aftermath of Avengers: Endgame, Banner has relocated to a remote part of Mexico, having created the peaceful, Zenlike lifestyle he has always desired. He soon becomes an unwanted mentor/ life coach to Walters, so she doesn’t struggle with her newfound powers — teaching her ways to control and how to best use them in a given situation. But they realise that Walters’ She-Hulk is different from his, remaining fully conscious and retaining all of her personality traits — something he can’t comprehend. “They have a great rapport and Bruce is just excited to have a person who can relate to him on a Hulk level,” said Ruffalo in a prepared press statement.
“Mark and I really found that dynamic between Hulk and She-Hulk and Jen and Bruce. The scripts lean into this lovingly antagonistic sort of sibling relationship — they obviously grew up very close. She’s always taking him down a notch; he’s always taking her down a notch,” added Maslany.
It wasn’t just the off-screen chemistry, but the fact that both stars were fitted into mocap onesies with dots all over their faces, that created a special moment for Ruffalo — who has been doing it alone for the entirety of MCU. “Other actors usually want to run away from me in those scenes: I’m on a box, covered in dots with a head cam right in the centre of my face,” he notes in the statement. “It’s not a natural experience for them. For the first time, I actually did scenes with another actor who’s in the same position. We see that Bruce/Hulk is grief-stricken and lonely, but free in a way he’s never been before. It’s been exciting.”
Another key figure in Walters’ life is her best friend and fellow attorney Nikki Ramos, providing constant support and advice in both personal and professional matters. Ginger Gonzaga embodies the character to try and remind Walters of a life outside her job and to embrace her new She-Hulk powers. “Shamefully, I do feel like I’m kind of cheating on this show. I feel like Nikki is pretty similar to me,” said Gonzaga. “She is very free. She’s that person you want — that who can get away with anything, you know, and encourage you to do whatever.
“I love first of all that they’re female friends who actually care about each other and love each other and have, you know, some sense of emotional maturity to their life. But also, it’s a really good balance, because Jenn is kind of ‘by the books.’ She’s safe, she knows what she’s doing with her life, and she has all these goals. Nikki is just very reckless and free but in a fun way. I can kind of light fires and encourage Jenn to become She-Hulk.”
Above all else, what intrigued Coiro to direct She-Hulk was her own, personal history surrounding the character. “I remember very vividly, being a little girl and seeing the cover of a She-Hulk comic amidst this sea of male comics. And just not knowing who she was or what this was, but knowing that I was moved by it — the idea of being large and in charge and, you know, taking control, taking up space was something that really resonated with me. And I remember buying that comic book. So, when this show came along, it was really the culmination of a real dream.”
Out of the nine episodes in She-Hulk, Coiro has directed episodes 1–4 and 8–9. The remaining 5, 6, and 7 episodes are helmed by Anu Valia, best known for writing and directing the 2017 Sundance Film Festival award-winning short ‘Lucia, Before and After.’
Gao added: “I love that she’s [She-Hulk] funny. I love that she breaks the fourth wall. I love that she’s super confident with a great attitude and, in later runs, has a realistic relationship to the idea of being a superhero. She has a sense of humour about her powers and has come to really appreciate the advantages. There’s an aspect of it that is very aspirational.”
Marvel’s She-Hulk: Attorney at Law brings a lot more to the table, with compelling characters such as Titania, played by Jameela Jamil — a superpowered social media influencer obsessed with Walters. Then there are some reunions, starting with Tim Roth’s Emil Blonsky aka Abomination, where he reprises his role from the 2008 Edward Norton-led The Incredible Hulk. Benedict Wong as The Sorcerer Supreme also makes an appearance, as a follow-up to the caged ring fight in Shang-Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings.
The Disney+ Hotstar original show also stars Josh Segarra, Jon Bass, and Renée Elise Goldsberry. Charlie Cox is also expected to guest star as Matt Murdock aka Daredevil. Following the Netflix cancellation, a new show has been greenlit at Disney, titled Daredevil: Born Again, slated for an early 2024 release.
She-Hulk: Attorney at Law premieres August 18 on Disney+ and Disney+ Hotstar. New episodes air every Thursday until October 13. In India, She-Hulk will be available to stream in English, Hindi, Tamil, Telegu, and Malayalam.
The Flash: Warner Bros. Is Reportedly Considering Three Release Scenarios
The Flash movie project is reportedly considering multiple release scenarios. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Warner Bros. is discussing ways to release the film, following lead actor Ezra Miller’s recent debacles with the law. The studio is also reviewing a worst-case scenario option, which could see the film getting shelved entirely. The DC Comics superhero film is scheduled to hit theatres on June 23, 2023, though now its fate fully depends upon Miller’s internal cooperation and actions leading up to the release.
Warner Bros. Discovery is considering three key scenarios, as per The Hollywood Reporter. The first one sees WB — under the new CEO David Zaslav — releasing The Flash on the said date, given the 29-year-old actor seeks professional help and explains their erratic actions in a proper interview. Miller (Zack Snyder’s Justice League) will then do limited press prior to the release in cinemas.
Option 2 is based on the scenario where the actor avoids reaching out for help. Warner Bros. would release the film as planned, but won’t see Miller playing a prominent role in terms of the promotion or marketing campaign. In fact, they would be recast in future projects, which is a big blow to the company, since the 2023 film is supposed to kickstart the million-dollar DC Comics film franchise.
Scenario 3 is the most extreme one, which takes into account Miller’s continued run-ins with legal trouble. This would see Warner Bros. scrapping the entire movie, as it cannot be reshot with a different actor. The report claims that Miller would be playing multiple characters or iterations of Barry Allen in the film, which puts his face in almost every scene. This makes the $200 million (about Rs. 1,593 crore) movie practically impossible to save, even with reshoots.
Prior to this development, The Flash was considered safe for release, going by Warner Bros. discovery’s newest 10-year plan to create a contained DC storyline akin to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As part of the decision, the studio shelved the Leslie Grace-led Batgirl movie, alongside Wonder Twins and Scoob! Holiday Haunt, as it did not fit their vision to maximise financial returns. Reports indicate that Batgirl was subject to private test screenings, where the audiences called it “irredeemable.”
Miller was called upon regularly for additional photography for The Flash over the summer. This development was after the actor had been charged and arrested multiple times for disorderly conduct in the public. According to Rolling Stone, the actor was charged with a felony burglary earlier this week, and got into trouble with Vermont’s child services department, following the disappearance of a mother and three children who were allegedly receding at Miller’s farm.
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- Brad Pitt’s Bullet Train Speeds Into $62.5 Million at Global Box Office
If things go positively, The Flash will release in cinemas worldwide, on June 23, 2023.
Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives Season 2 Release Date Set for September 2 on Netflix
Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives will return for its second season on September 2, Netflix India announced Thursday, alongside a first poster for the sophomore run. Bhavana Panday, Maheep Kapoor, Neelam Kothari Soni, and Seema Kiran Sajdeh are back with “hot flushes, new crushes, and more rushes of drama”, claiming Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives season 2 to be the “perfect escape.” Netflix India promises that the new season of the behind-the-scenes reality TV series will be “larger, louder and luxe galore.” Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives season 2 is a production of Karan Johar’s Dharma.
Johar is also an executive producer on Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives season 2, alongside Dharma’s Apoorva Mehta and Dharmatic’s Aneesha Baig. Dharmatic is the digital-focused label of Dharma Productions. Uttam Domale returns as the series director from the first season of Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives, which aired in late 2020 and played to a captive stuck-at-home audience thanks to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Vrishali Kemkar (Street Eats “Asia”) serves as series producer. Manu Maharshi is the creative director on Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives season 2, with Naomi Datta (Blazing Bajirao) set as creative producer.
The wives are back! Prepare yourselves for twice the drama, gossip and glamour 💃
Watch the Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives S2. From September 2nd, only on Netflix!📸 pic.twitter.com/WrZb0UVD9S
— Netflix India (@NetflixIndia) August 11, 2022
Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives was renewed for a second season in March last year as part of Netflix’s “See What’s Next India” event. It went into production the following November. The first look at Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives season 2 was revealed in mid-July, alongside looks at fellow second seasons of the crime drama Jamtara, the Shefali Shah-led police drama Delhi Crime, the Prajakta Koli-led rom-com Mismatched, and the comedy-drama Masaba Masaba with Masaba and Neena Gupta.
The season 2 release date announcement follows new looks at Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives revealed earlier this week, alongside first looks at fellow Indian reality TV series, the influencer-driven Social Currency and dating series IRL – In Real Love.
Here’s the official synopsis for Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives season 2, via Netflix:
This season, the four ladies have to deal with a new (almost) post-pandemic world and are desperate to make up for lost time. Be it dealing with impending menopause, reigniting old passions or letting go of the ghosts of the past, the squad has their hands full.
They are set to embrace new adventures — together as well as individually. And re-examine everything in their lives without fear or judgment. Even if this means a long hard look at their friendships, marriages, or partners.
All episodes of Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives season 2 drop September 2 on Netflix.
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