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Every year, it seems like Oscar season comes earlier and earlier. Wasn’t it just last August that everyone was gushing about the Academy Award prospects for the musical romance, La La Land? Well, it is that time of the year again, it seems, as the Venice Film Festival saw the debut of what promises to be a contender come late February, Alexander Payne’s new Matt Damon-starer, Downsizing.

With that debut showing promise, studios have turned their attention to promoting the films that they believe have the best chance of netting some trophies for the production companies next year. For 20th Century Fox, one of the films they have decided to push is certainly an unconventional one, at least when considering the films that Oscar voters tend to lead towards.

According to Fox, a big push is being planned for War for the Planet of the Apes, their big budget sequel to the multi-million dollar franchise that released in July. In the past, Fox has pushed these movies with the hope of landing a Best Actor nomination for Andy Serkis, who plays the lead ape, Caesar, but they have been unsuccessful. Now, apparently, their goal is to push for the film to be nominated for Best Picture. These are lofty ambitions indeed!

Some other movies that believe they have a pretty decent shot at nabbing a nomination for Best Picture this winter include the new film from Alexander Payne, Downsizing, a marvelous directorial effort from James Franco, The Disaster Artist, and a collaboration between Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks, and Meryl Streep that was created fairly quickly known as, The Post. It will certainly be an exciting Oscar season and the inclusion of a major summer blockbuster would only serve to add even more intrigue.

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A New Rom-Com from an Interesting Duo

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When you try to think of some of the all-time great on-screen pairings, a few common names might come to mind. Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers (Top HatThe Barkleys of Broadway) would be one. Perhaps you may think of Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan (Sleepless in SeattleYou’ve Got Mail). Or even, more recently, Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling (Crazy, Stupid LoveLa La Land). One that might not immediately spring to mind is the combination of Winona Ryder and Keanu Reeves, two mega-stars of the 1990s. But they could certainly qualify now!

After starring together in the 1992 film, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, from iconic director Francis Ford Coppola, and the 2006 Richard Linklater movie, A Scanner Darkly, Reeves and Ryder are slated to star opposite each other once again in the upcoming film, Destination Wedding, which will be written and directed by Victor Levin. The two famed actors will portray curmudgeonly guests at a wedding who, despite themselves, end up finding the other one somewhat worth falling for.

It will certainly be interesting to see the sort of chemistry that these two legendary actors are capable of bringing to the beloved by fans, yet oft-maligned by critics, genre of the romantic comedy.

Reeves is obviously best known for starring in some pretty popular stoner comedies, especially in the Bill and Tedfranchise, as well as some of the most iconic action movies of the 1980s and 1990s, including Point BreakSpeed, and The Matrix. Now, he is currently headlining the acclaimed John Wick franchise. Ryder, on the other hand, is known for her roles in Edward Scissorhands and Beetlejuice, and is currently starring in the hit Netflix sci-fi drama series, Stranger Things. I am sure many fans of the big screen will be delighted to see these two pair up again.

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Bad News for Summer Blockbusters

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Ever since the release of Steven Spielberg’s mega-hit, Jaws, summers have been viewed as an optimal time for studios to release their big budget films in the hopes of attracting the largest audience as possible, with a few notable exceptions like the release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier in the spring of 2014 and the past couple installments in the Star Wars franchise being released in early winter.

This year, however, studios did not seem to have much luck when it came to the box office success of their tentpole films. The domestic box office for summer movies in 2017 is down sixteen percent from what it was at just a year ago. While international markets did help some films make more money than they otherwise would have, it is still hard to ignore the fact that the summer box office will remain under four billion dollars for the first time since 2006.

This weak season for films is infamously marked by such domestic flops as The Dark Tower, a condensed Stephen King adaptation starring Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey, The Mummy, an attempt at launching a cinematic universe with Tom Cruise, and Transformers: The Last Night, which, when compared to its predecessors, failed miserably.

The summer was almost about to end with quite the whimper, too, with back-to-back weekends in which the top grossing hit of the weekend was the Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds buddy action film, The Hitman’s Bodyguard, which still managed to gross only a modest amount of money. But, the horror genre came to the rescue as the new remake for Stephen King’s classic story, IT, broke all sorts of records en route to becoming one of the biggest box office success stories of all-time.

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When the New Mulan Will Shoot

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Ever since the surprise box office hit that was 2010’s Alice in Wonderland, Disney has taken full advantage of the benefits that come with the concept of remaking their classic animated films as live-action retellings. Maleficent came next with Angelina Jolie as the star and this, too, was a rousing success. Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella was less so, but after back-to-back smash hits with Jon Favreau’s epic adventure film, The Jungle Book, in 2016 and the Emma Watson-led Beauty and the Beast from 2017 (currently the highest-grossing movie of the year so far), Disney is all in on this sub-genre of films.

While fans are most eagerly awaiting the results of what Favreau will be able to do in his follow-up to The Jungle Book, a remake of the 1994 classic, The Lion King, another film is slated to begin filming soon as it aims for a release date earlier than the one that will boast the return of James Earl Jones as Mufasa. That’s right, Disney’s live-action remake of Mulan is scheduled to begin the filming process in January of 2016, in such locations as Australia, New Zealand, and, of course, China. Directing the film will be Niki Caro of McFarland, USA fame.

Mulan is the classic film that tells the story of a Chinese woman who disguises herself as a man so she will be allowed to take her father’s place in a fierce war. Eventually, Mulan’s secret comes back to haunt her and she has to put aside her troubles with authority so she can save her beloved nation and her family from the terrors that threaten to destroy them both. The film was also made majorly successful because of hit songs like “Be a Man” and “Reflection,” but you cannot go wrong with Eddie Murphy’s portrayal of the sidekick, Mushu.

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