Warner Bros. Moves fourth Matrix Film to 2022

Off the back of moving Tenet and Wonder Woman 1984 to new release dates, Warner Bros. has announced the change in date of another upcoming highly anticipated movie.

This was announced in line with the huge changes Warner Bros. has been making. Matrix 4, which was initially scheduled to release May 21, 2021, is now scheduled for April 1, 2022.  This decision came as a result of the pause in production which was caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Filming of the movie was carried out in Germany before the pandemic and is proposed to start next month.

Many of the original casts of the franchise such as Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, and Neil Patrick Haris are back for the fourth installment of the movie. The franchise’s co-creator, Lana Wachowski, also remains one of the directors of the movie.

In other news, Warner Bros. has removed “Witches” from its scheduled release date and is yet to announce a date for the movie. The movie which stars Anne Hathaway is directed by Robert Zemeckis and was initially scheduled for release on October 8, 2020.

In addition, the sci-fi action movie “Godzilla vs Kong” is now scheduled by Warner Bros. to release May 21, 2021; the date which was originally scheduled for Matrix 4 release. Also, Warner bros. moved its upcoming live-action comedy film, “Tom and Jerry” to March 5, 2021, from December 23, 2020.

 The Hollywood studios also announced it will be releasing one of its untitled horror movies on Jun. 24, 2020 while also removing another untitled Warner Bros. event film originally scheduled for Oct. 16, 2020, to a date later to be announced.

All in all, the studio changed the release dates of 6 of its upcoming movies while also removing two other ones from their scheduled release date with no date yet to be announced. 

Cineworld backs away from $2.1 Billion Deal for Canada’s Cineplex, cites deal breach

U.K based enterprise, Cineworld announced earlier this week that they are no longer working on the proposed $2.1 billion deal to acquire Canada’s Cineplex after Cineplex appears to have breached some of the agreements backing the deal.

Cineworld is U.K ‘s leading multiplex Cinema chain with over 9518 screens in 11 countries. Cineworld Cinemas made the shocking announcement after evidence and proof of breaches from Cineplex Inc.’s end of the deal surfaced.

In a statement responding to the announcement, Cineplex said: “As a consequence of these matters and Cineplex’s unwillingness to cure the breaches, Cineworld has notified Cineplex that it has terminated the Arrangement Agreement with immediate effect. The Acquisition will therefore not proceed.”

In addition, Cineworld claims Cineplex denied breaching the terms of the deal and that there was no material adverse effect from their end. In their statement, they said: “Cineworld has complied with all of its obligations under the Arrangement Agreement and it is entitled to terminate the Arrangement Agreement. It will therefore vigorously defend any allegation to the contrary.”

Cineworld’s acquisition agreements with Cineplex was announced back in December 2019. The deal would have seen Cineworld acquire the 1695 screens in 165 cinemas that are operated by Cineplex – one of Canada’s biggest theatrical brand.

Cineworld is currently in a $3.6 billion deal with Regal Entertainment Group and has planned to combine the operations of the Regal Entertainment Group and Cineplex Inc. thus making them the largest cinema chain in North America. Had the Cineplex deal gone through, Cineworld would be operating 11,204 screens ins various cinemas globally and 8,906 screens in Canada and the U.S.

“Gone With The Wind” Screening in Paris Canceled by Warner Bros.

It just won’t stop. Warner Bros. yet again makes changes to their scheduled dates. This time, the Hollywood studios announced “Gone with the Wind” which was scheduled for screening on June 23rd at the Rex Theater will no longer be released.

The Romance-Drama movie was scheduled for theatrical release on June 23 to celebrate the reopening of Cinemas in France after they were all shut down due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Having been scheduled to release in France’s biggest theater, HBO Max temporarily pulled the Oscar-winning movie from their website following John Ridley’s featured article in the Los Angeles Times Newspaper. In the op-ed, John Ridley urged the streaming service to remove the movie from its library due to the way the film “romanticizes the horrors of slavery.

The award-winning classic was released in 1939 and has gone on to win eight (8) Academy awards but has always been partially criticized for its depiction of Slavery and black people as a whole. The movie starred Vivien Leigh, Olivia de Havilland, and Clark Gable and tells the story of the love between the daughter of a plantation owner and a southern aristocrat.

Realizing what releasing the movie would mean in light of the ongoing protests, HBO Max, released a statement while simultaneously pulling the movie from its website. In the statement, the streaming service said the Civil war epic would return and be available for people to watch. The service also added that it would be releasing a discussion about the historical context of the movie as well as their opposition towards the racist acts depicted in the movie.

“Gone with the Wind is a product of its time and depicts some of the ethnic and racial prejudices that have, unfortunately, been commonplace in American Society. These racist depictions were wrong then and are wrong today and we felt that to keep this title up without an explanation and a denouncement of those depictions would be irresponsible. These depictions are certainly counter to WarnerMedia’s values, so when we return the film to HBO Max, it will return with a discussion of its historical context and a denouncement of those very depictions but will be presented as it was originally created because to do otherwise would be the same as claiming these prejudices never existed. If we are to create a more just, equitable, and inclusive future, we must first acknowledge and understand our history”.

The move does not come as a surprise considering the ongoing Black Lives Matter #BLM protests in light of George Floyd’s death. Re-releasing such a movie would only rile more people up.

2021 Oscars Postponed by two months due to Coronavirus Pandemic

With the world adjusting to the Coronavirus pandemic with various events being canceled and the deployment of several health guidelines, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences announced its 93rd Academy Awards event has been postponed.

The announcement came last week the 2021 Oscars which was scheduled for Feb. 28 will be delayed by two months and the new date being April 25, 2021. This announcement is in line with Variety’s report in May in which the report said the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences was planning on delaying the upcoming event due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement released by Dawn Hudson (CEO) and David Rubin (Academy President), they said: “For over a century, movies have played an important role in comforting, inspiring, and entertaining us during the darkest of times. They certainly have this year. Our hope, in extending the eligibility period and our Awards date, is to provide the flexibility filmmakers need to finish and release their films without being penalized for something beyond anyone’s control. This coming Oscars and the opening of our new museum will mark a historic moment, gathering movie fans around the world to unite through cinema”.

Also, the academy announced that the annual Governors Awards gala scheduled to take place in November has been postponed with a date later to be announced. Also, the opening of the new Academy Museum of Motion Pictures building in  Los Angeles, California has been pushed back to April next year.

Alongside postponing the date of their major events, the organization also updated its eligibility rules for the 2021 Oscars Academy Awards. In the new rules, feature films that want to be nominated for an award must have a release date between Jan. 1, 2020, and Feb 28. 2021. The new submission deadline for specialty categories has been pushed to Dec. 30, 2020, while submission deadline for general categories (such as Best Picture, Original song, Best Actor and Actress, etc.) is now Jan. 15, 2021.

The novel Coronavirus outbreak has caused a lot of changes in the entertainment industry. Many studios have turned to digital distribution platforms for the release of some of their movies due to the shutdown of movie theaters. Some other studios however decided to postponed their upcoming blockbuster movies with dates to be announced when movie cinemas reopen.

There is still no certainty what the future holds for the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences Awards telecast but we will definitely keep you updated. 

Pete Davidson’s ‘King of Staten Island’ pulled from theaters after Universal Picture ‘error’

With only two days left to the theatrical premiere of Judd Apatow and Pete Davidson’s comedy movie, “The King of Staten Island”, the movie was abruptly pulled from theatres much to the chagrin of fans who have already bought tickets to see the movie.

Director Judd Apatow also took to twitter and tweeted “This is an error. The King of Staten Island is only opening on VOD Friday. It is not opening in theaters”.

The comedic drama which is a semi-autobiographical film of Pete Davidson was initially scheduled to debut in select few drive-in theatres still open during the COVID-19 pandemic while also simultaneously launched digitally on premium video-on-demand platforms.

The news prompted outrage from the theaters that have been promoting the movie and selling tickets both offline and online. Most of the reason for the outrage was due to the fact that they now have to refund those that already bought tickets and try to find new movies to show.

New Zealand Eases Covid-19 Border controls After Avatar Crew Allowed Entry

Following the New Zealand government’s decision to allow award-winning director James Cameron and his filming crew into the country, many from the opposition party have accused the government of double standards. Responding to this anger and outburst, the government announced it will ease its Covid-19 border controls.

Like every other country in the world, New Zealand was forced to close its border to non-residents and non-citizens in early March after recording cases of people being down with the coronavirus. However, as of Monday this week, a new rule is now being enforced. The new rule gives “high-value workers” with “projects or assignment of national or regional significance” access into New Zealand.

Earlier before the latest rule change, two athletes competing for America’s Cup were denied access to enter the country. Coupled with the rule change for high-value workers, arrivals are to undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine. This means James Cameron and his crew of 55 are currently in lockdown in their Wellington hotel rooms.

As of the time of this writing, New Zealand is yet to record a new Covid-19 case in 28 days. In addition, there are no active cases in the country

ABC News Exec Barbara Fedida Placed on Administrative Leave after Report of racist Comments

In light of the recently published article by Huffington Post, ABC News has placed Barbara Fedida, one of its senior executives, on Administrative leave following disturbing racist statements and insensitive comments brought forward by several unnamed sources.

Barbara Fedida who is currently the network’s Senior Vice President of Talent and Business Affairs is said to have made derogatory remarks about some ABC News staff including claims of a racist comment about Robin Robert’s ”Good Morning America”. The article, which cited 34 sources that comprised of current and former ABC News staff, also reported Fedida had once given derogatory remarks about Sunny Hostin and Kendis Gibson.

Fedida re-joined ABC News after she was brought in by Ben Sherwood, former president of ABC News’ Talent and Business Affairs department. Her position gave her strong say on any appointment ABC News made. Her role also gave her influence over the career paths of various journalists and correspondents on the network. Over the years, many of the staffers have come to see Fedida as the lieutenant of the other senior executives in ABC News.

Following the release of the post by Huffington Post, ABC news immediately placed Fedida on leave and released a statement to address the issue. The statement reads: “There are deeply disturbing allegations in this story that we need to investigate, and we have placed Barbara Fedida on administrative leave while we conduct a thorough and complete investigation. These allegations do not represent the values and culture of ABC News, where we strive to make everyone feel respected in a thriving, diverse, and inclusive workplace”.

Fedida in a statement sent to Huffington Post by her attorney said: “Throughout my career, I have been a champion for increased diversity in network news. Building a news division where everyone can thrive has been my life’s mission. I am proud of my decades of work hiring, supporting, and promoting talented journalists of color. And, unlike these heartbreaking and incredibly misleading claims about me, the track record is well-documented and undeniable”.

Before rejoining the network in 2011, Barbara Fedida had worked as a producer for a couple of years at ABC News. She also worked as the Vice President of talent and development at CBS News for four years. Fedida has reported and developed specials and stories on trending news while working as a producer and many of the broadcasts have won both Emmy and Peabody Awards.

While investigations are still ongoing, it is safe to say Barbara Fedia is on thin ice right now.

‘No Time to Die’ Release Date Changed AGAIN

No Time to Die, the latest installment in the James Bond franchise is now scheduled to release earlier than expected.

Originally scheduled to release April 2020 but then rescheduled with a new release date of November 25, the long-awaited movie will now be released five days earlier in U.S. theaters.

The new release date was made official last week on the franchise’s official Twitter account. The account tweeted to reveal No Time to Die will premiere on November 20 only in the United States.

The tweet read: ‘The return of old friends in NO TIME TO DIE. In Cinemas 12th November UK, 20th November U.S.’

Asides being the latest movie in the James Bond franchise, the movie will also be Daniel Craig’s last outing as James Bond.

No Time to die is not the only highly anticipated movie whose original release date was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Other blockbuster movies like Disney’s Mulan (July 24), Paramount Picture’s ‘A Quiet Place II’ (Sept. 4), Pixar’s ‘Soul’ (Nov. 25), and Marvel’s ‘Black Widow’ (Nov. 6) all had summer releases before being forced to reschedule their release dates.

The new release date is as a result of the changes Warner Bros. has been making to several of their upcoming movies. Other Warner Bros. movies have also been moved up and down to give the movies the best possible publicity they can get. Christopher Nolan’s upcoming spy film has been delayed from its initial release date by two weeks and is now scheduled to release July 31. Wonder Woman 1984’s initial release date of August 14 has also jumped to Oct. 2.

Universal Moves Tom Hanks’ Post-Apocalypse Movie ‘Bios’ Back to 2021

Following the different release date changes and adjustment the coronavirus pandemic has forced the entertainment industry to make, Universal Pictures has decided to move Tom Hank’s ‘Bios’ from its initial release date of Oct. 2, 2020, to April 16, 2021.

‘Bios’ starring Tom Hanks and directed by Miguel Sapochnik is a post-apocalypse sci-fi movie written by Craig Luck and Ivor Power. The executive producers are Adams Merims, Craig Luck, Zemeckis, Miguel Sapochnik, and Andy Berman.

The movie follows the journey of an ailing inventor who is one of the remaining survivors on earth after a cataclysmic solar event almost wiped out all of mankind. Whilst living in his underground bunker and with time running out due to his terminal illness, the inventor builds a robot to protect his dog when he dies. The robot, though built to protect his ailing creator’s dog soon learns about friendship, love, and what it means to be human. Caleb Landry Jones plays the robot in the movie.

The new release date was announced shortly after Warner Bros. moved eight of their upcoming movies to new dates with Warner Bros.’s Wonder Woman 1984 now scheduled for release on Oct. 2.

In other news, Universal Pictures and Blumhouse Productions’ psychological horror movie, ‘You Should Have Left’, is set to release digitally via premium video-on-demand instead of its planned theater release. The release date is set for June 18, 2020 (U.S.). This is not the only Universal Pictures movie set to be released on digital rental services. “The King of Staten Island” directed by Judd Apatow which was originally scheduled for a theatrical rollout, was also dropped for rent via premium video on-demand services.

Other upcoming Universal Picture movies including Fast and Furious’ latest installment, Minions 2, Sing 2 have all been rescheduled to release in 2021.

Los Angeles Sets Strict Rules for TV and Film Production Restart

With many countries now switching from total lockdown to partial lockdown, many activities have now been allowed to resume albeit under strict and extensive regulations.

Film and TV Productions is one such activity set to resume again in some states as early as Friday although with extensive regulations issued by Los Angeles Country. This new extensive regulation is not much of a surprise considering professional football has also restarted behind closed doors.

While productions are allowed to restart Friday, 19th of July, many producers would probably only start filming around July or August.

As would be expected, the first major rule is for cast and crew to maintain social distancing while on sets. The county also sets the use of face masks and coverings as an important detail not to be overlooked by cast and crew members as actors and musicians who cannot perform with face-covering on are expected to be eight feet apart. Furthermore, it mandates that only essential cast crew be present on set at any given time with the directive that actors must wash their hands before shooting any scene.

Also, it discourages all prolonged physical contact that arises from sex and fight scenes and mandates that all actors and crew keep information about any film shooting from the public. The country also directs that all crowd scenes are discouraged.

The rules also direct that makeup artist are only allowed on set when the actors cannot apply makeup to fit the scene. Also, Craft service buffets are temporarily forbidden on all sets.

Talk Shows and Sitcoms also looking to film new scenes in Los Angeles that must follow new rules. The rules now mandate that audience members must sit six feet apart and must not occupy more than 25% of the available space. It also allows paid staff and crew to serve as audience members. And capping it all, the rules set that only the same group of the audience present at the restart of filming are allowed for subsequent productions.

Although the entertainment industry released some rules for crews and cast to follow when production restarts, the rules released by the county are more strict. This is because the entertainment industry task force didn’t mandate many of their rules like the county did.

Following the release of the entertainment industry’s rules and guidelines, Donna Langley – Chairman Universal Film, stated in a statement that the rules, in his words, are “a significant step in getting our industry back to work in Los Angeles County”.

In his statement, the chairman expressed gratitude to the County Board of Supervisors as well as the county’s mayor for their commitment to the region’s economic recovery. He also expressed gratitude to the County’s Public Health Department for their efforts to keep their region safe. He then went ahead to say “Teams across the Studios, production companies, guilds, and unions in every facet of our business have shown and will continue to show innovation and creativity in bringing film, TV and digital production safely back to Los Angeles”.

Though production restart is imminent, there are still several things that will come into play which might delay restart to mid or late August. One of the obstacles production restart faces includes the detailed protocols all guilds and unions are yet to agree to.

Another major obstacle many productions will face pending the restart is whether or not they will be able to obtain insurance. Bob Jellen, the managing director for entertainment at HUB international believes many productions that were underway before the lockdown would be spared from “additional costs that are required to make filming safer for the actors and crew”. In other words, this obstacle is only for new productions that have not yet started filming before COVID-19 lockdown that caused productions to stop. Obtaining insurance is even going to be more difficult for independent filmmakers.

Many in the film making industry have expressed concerns about the difficulty many new productions will face when trying to secure insurance. To this end, Congress has introduced a bill that gives insurance companies the power to sell policies covering the coronavirus shutdown. The bill, however, is yet to pass.