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Planet of the Apes’ Black Mirror

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Good morning: In today’s edition of The Industry, we look at:

Kathryn Bigelow is back, Steve McQueen’s treasure, Bella Ramsey’s twist, Roger Corman’s incubator, and a 100th birthday.

Let’s go!


PLANET OF THE APES’ BLACK MIRROR

How long would it take a monkey to write Planet of the Apes?

With the latest Planet of the Apes film released this weekend, our enthrallment with eloquent apes deserves a close inspection.

The idea of humans subjugated beneath our simian cousins remains one of the most alluring in science fiction. Since the original novel by French author Pierre Boulle in 1963, Hollywood has released ten films:

  • Planet of the Apes (1968)
    • Featuring the iconic Charles Heston shirtless beach scene
  • Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970)
  • Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971)
  • Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972)
  • Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973)

Remake:

Reboot:

From the anti-war sentiments woven through the narratives of the 1960s series to the ethical quandaries of genetic engineering broached in the contemporary chapters, these films articulate profound messages, transcending the spectacle of gun-toting, horseback-riding apes.

Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes (2024) director Wes Bell stated:

“What I like about the franchise is that these movies hold up a mirror to our society, the things we’re going through, and we get to look at ourselves and see humanity through these apes’ eyes.”

This latest installment shows how the powerful distort messages of peace and unity for their own authoritarian rule.

It’s a message best served to mass audiences under the guise of a Blockbuster. And it’s exciting to see Planet of the Apes continue to fearlessly entwine socio-political commentary with its storytelling.

For More:

Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes trailer.

There was a surprising amount of nongreen screen and on-location shooting in the film. Check out the director’s breakdown in this Anatomy of a Scene.

“You cut up his brain, you bloody baboon.” The original 1968 trailer is still shocking.


THE INDUSTRY NEWS

Weekend Box Office. Here are the domestic grosses:

  • $56.5 M – Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes (20th Century Studios)
    • $129 M Global
    • $169M budget
    • Slightly over-performed
    • The last installment, War for the Planet of the Apes (2017), grossed $56.2 M
  • $14.4 M The Fall Guy (Universal Pictures)
    • 2nd weekend
    • $50 M domestic total
    • $103.7 M worldwide total
    • $130M budget
    • Underperformed
    • Trailer
  • $2.5 M Godzilla x Kong (Warner Bros/Legendary)
    • $559 M worldwide
    • $135 million production budget
    • Blew past expectations
    • New film in the works from writer Dave Callaham (Shang Chi)
  • $195 K I Saw The TV Glow (A24)

The Academy is about to have its 100th birthday in 2028. They’ve launched a $500M Academy100 campaign to expand the Oscars into a more inclusive institution for filmmakers around the world after being accused for years of homogenous Oscar picks.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) wants to:

  • Endow and fund programs
  • Preserve film history
  • Enable the creation of world-class film exhibitions
  • Train and educate the next generation of diverse global film artists

AMPAS stated:

“As the Academy and the film industry become increasingly global, this expanded international outreach will help develop a pool of new filmmakers and Academy members and support the worldwide filmmaking community.”

It’s great to see so much wisdom on the eve of a 100th birthday.

Still, The Academy has nothing on my grandma, whose 101st birthday I celebrated with my family last week. It was wonderfully lively.

Kathryn Bigelow is back. The two-time Oscar-winning director behind Zero Dark Thirty and The Hurt Locker is directing her first feature since 2017.

Here’s the synopsis:

The White House’s real-time response efforts to an incoming ballistic missile attack on American soil.

The film is said to be one of the first that Netflix’s new head of film, Dan Lin, is greenlighting. Lin is focusing on quality control for Netflix’s feature films, which means cutting down their massive output. To that end, Lin forced Bigelow to cut down the budget and the script.

The project seems perfectly tuned for Bigelow.

Tidbit:

Another project in the works from Netflix’s Dan Lin is Yucatan. The long-gestating project was first discovered as part of Steve McQueen’s (Bullitt, The Great Escape) notebooks, which he’d left in the trunk of his car following his death in 1980.

Here’s the official synopsis:

A group of thieves head to Mexico to find a centuries-old treasure buried beneath the Yucatan peninsula.

Robert Downey Jr. has long been attached as the film’s producer. A new writer, Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer (Blue Beetle), has just been hired to write the script.

Francis Ford Coppola has sold some of the international distributors rights for Megalopolis. After selling to France last week, it just sold to Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Spain, and Entertainment Film Distributors Limited (The Gentleman, Civil War) for the UK.

The Jim Henson Company is making a Grendel with Jeff Bridges, Dave Bautista, and Bryan Cranson. Here’s the synopsis:

Grendel is the tale of the legendary monster at the heart of the Beowulf epic poem who steps forth to tell his side of this riveting story.

In the epic poem, Grendel is described as “horrible to look at.” That’s the type of vagueness that allows The Jim Henson Company to pour their imagination into.

Shōgun Season 2. It’s happening.


THE ACTOR SPOTLIGHT

Bella Ramsey got her wish. She will play “The White Widow,” a British terrorist in Girl Next Door.

Here’s the official synopsis:

A 21-year-old suburban mother (Ramsey) becomes radicalized after her husband’s involvement in a terrorist attack, eventually becoming a wanted fugitive implicated in multiple deadly bombings.

Five months ago, Ramsey, the Gen Z star in The Last of Us and Game of Thrones, decided to make a career pivot. After playing the tough yet sweet-hearted role of Ellie, the actress stated:

“I’ve not really played a villain yet. So I want to play a baddy.”

She asked to play someone twisted like The Joker or Hannibal Lecter, full of “intricate” and “complex” dynamics. And her agents listened.

As one of the first Gen Z stars to take on multiple prestige TV dramas, Ramsey also had the unfortunate privilege of being subject to harsh online abuse. She would scroll for hours, looking at all the negative comments while ignoring the positive ones, which she felt couldn’t possibly be true.

We’re very lucky this didn’t kill her confidence to keep acting.

Girl Next Door is launching at the Cannes Market.

Queen of the sci-fi thriller Sigourney Weaver is in talks to join Jon Favreau’s new Star Wars feature The Mandalorian & Grogu. Following the further adventures of the titular Mandalorian and his little green sidekick Grogu.

If Weaver books the role, it’ll continue to solidify her decades-long career leading some of the most long-standing and prestigious sci-fi:

  • Alien (1-4)
  • Avatar (1-2)
  • Galaxy Quest

Mandalorian and Grogu has begun production and will released in 2026.

Manuel Garcia-Rulfo may go from defending clients to escaping dinosaurs. After his breakthrough performance in Netflix’s The Lincoln Lawyer (trailer), Manuel is currently in negotiations to lead Universal and Amblin Entertainment’s new Jurassic World movie with Scarlett Johanson.

In The Lincoln Lawyer (2022- ), Garcia-Rulfo wonderfully played a recovering addict and defense attorney in Los Angeles who treats his chauffeur-driven Lincoln Navigator like an office.

Garcia-Rulfo will next be seen in Netflix’s Spanish film Pedro Pàramo, based on a novel of the same title by Juan Rulfo.

Garcia-Rulfo’s past film credits include:

  • A Man Called Otto (2022)
  • Sicario: Day of the Soldado (2018)
  • The Magnificent Seven (2016)

The new Jurassic World movie, as of now, has a July 2nd, 2025 premiere date set.

Tidbit:

Sophie Turner is coming back to TV in a major way as the lead in a new heist series, Haven (working title), from Amazon Prime Video.

The Game of Thrones (2011-2019) star is joined by Saltburn (2023) breakout Archie Madekwe in the British crime thriller that involves Turner’s character being forced to help a violent gang of thieves steal billions of pounds of people’s pensions.

From Drama Republic, the production company behind the viral miniseries One Day (2023), Haven will premiere worldwide on Amazon Prime Video.

Ellen Burstyn is one of the greatest living actresses. In her latest film, Mother, Couch, she plays a mother who hijacks a trip to a furniture store by refusing to leave the couch. It’s a wild gambit to reunite her family, and Bustyn is classically sinister in the trailer. The film, which premiered at TIFF, will be in NY on July 5 and LA on July 12th.

Matt Dillion as Marlon Brando (first look Last Tango in Paris homage still) in Maria.


FESTIVALS

BAFTA TV Awards. Top Boy won Best Drama Series and Best Actress for Jasmine Jobson.

All winners here.

Cannes Market:

  • 77 Blackout
    • Starring: Mahershala Ali and Tom Hardy
    • Dir: Cary Fukunaga (True Detective S1)
    • Producer: Charles Roven (Oppenheimer)
    • International Sales Rep: Black Bear
    • Domestic Sales Rep: WME

Official synopsis:

In 1977, five rogue police officers formulate a plan to rob three criminal strongholds – the Hong Kong Triads, the Italian Mafia, and the Harlem Mob – all in one night. When a blackout sweeps the city the night of the robbery, the crew is forced to navigate a hellish landscape as years of being overworked and underpaid forces each of them to confront their own morality.

The talent on this project is insane.

Official synopsis:

The story of Felix Kersten, who served as physician to a Nazi party leader during World War II, but secretly worked to save thousands of lives from the concentration camps.

Moverman is one of the most interesting indie directors, working with Harrelson previously in his wildly magnetic portrait of a brutally unhinged cop in Rampart (2011).

  • Mutiny
    • Star: Jason Statham
    • Dir: Jean-Francois Richet (dir: Gerard Butler’s Plane)
    • Production Company: MadRiver Pictures (Plane, Ad Astra)
    • N. American distributor: Lionsgate

Official Synopsis:

After his billionaire industrialist boss is murdered in front of him, Cole Reed is set up to take the fall for the crime — leaving him on the run as he works to uncover an international conspiracy.

Shooting in Sept in the UK.

Also Cocaine Werewolf

If you’re headed to Cannes for the first time this year, check out the Cannes Film Festival Survival Guide with Jim Eaves.


INDIE FILMMAKER SPOTLIGHT

Roger Corman has passed away at 98. His B-movies forged Hollywood talent. Here’s a short guide to the features Corman created and the careers he launched:

  • Little Shop of Horrors (1960)
    • Featuring a young Jack Nicholson, clip
    • Dir: Corman
  • Dementia 13 (1962)
    • Director: Francis Ford Coppola (his debut)
    • Producer: Corman
    • Trailer
  • The Wild Angels (1966)
    • Starring Peter Fonda (Easy Rider), Bruce Dern
    • Dir: Corman
    • Trailer
  • Boxcar Bertha (1972)
    • Director: Martin Scorsese (2nd feature)
    • Producer: Corman
    • Trailer

In a ‘07 documentary, Corman stated:

“There are many constraints connected with working on a low budget, but at the same time, there are certain opportunities. You can gamble a little bit more. You can experiment. You have to find a more creative way to solve a problem or to present a concept.”

Words to live by.

He will be missed.


ON THIS DAY

1939. Harvey Keitel, (Taxi Driver, Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs), born in New York City.


See you tomorrow.


Written by Gabriel Miller, Spencer Carter, and Madelyn Menapace.

Editor: Gabriel Miller.

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