Space Jam 2 (Finally) Gets Filming And Release Dates

After years in development hell and talks of a sequel, we can FINALLY say that Space Jam 2 is officially happening. LeBron James will take over Michael Jordan’s role as a human basketball player who joins forces with the Looney Tunes to win a basketball game against aliens. The sequel’s release date was officially announced by James’ production company, SpringHill Entertainment.

Space Jam 2 is officially coming to theaters on July 16, 2021. SpringHill Entertainment brought the news to life over on its Twitter account and posted a teaser to go alongside it. The post features basketball star LeBron James in the Tune Squad uniform, with Bugs Bunny and Lola Bunny standing beside him.

Interesting side note: Lola Bunny has top billing over Bugs Bunny on the poster. Is this a tease that she’s receiving a beefed up role in the sequel? She was the only prominent female character and she was heavily sexualized in the first film, so maybe they can stand to update her a bit.

For those who may not remember or been alive during the ’90s, Space Jam was a live-action-animation hybrid that saw the Looney Tunes recruiting Michael Jordan to help them win a basketball game so that they wouldn’t be enslaved by an alien theme park. Yeah, it was pretty wild and there was nothing else like it in 1996, which likely led to it becoming so nostalgic for fans today.

Not only that, but the movie will be filming this summer. LeBron James confirmed as much during this video posted by The Crossover on Twitter. Check it out!

This is no doubt exciting for fans who are nostalgic for Space Jam. I am one of those people, though I recognize the movie is probably not nearly as good as a remember it as a kid. Still, it’ll be interesting to see what they do with the sequel. The first Space Jam had a lot of athlete cameos, including Bill Murray, who had the funniest part in the movie. I’d wager Space Jam 2 will also feature cameos from today’s most popular athletes.

I’m also curious to see what audience they target for this. It looks like a cross-generational nostalgia based film, targeting fans of the old movie, families, and fans of LeBron James. In 1996, a movie like this was far more unique than it is today, when IP-based reboots, remakes, and sequels happen all the time. It’ll be interesting to see if Space Jam 2 can be more than a retread of the first movie.

Space Jam 2 is directed by Terence Nance with Justin Lin and Ryan Coogler onboard as producers. The sequel is currently scheduled to arrive in theaters on July 16, 2021. For everything else hitting theaters, here’s our 2019 movie release guide.

Navy Officials Defend Tom Cruise After ‘Arrogant’ Top Gun 2 Set Claims

Top Gun‘s Maverick is known for his need for speed, but Navy officials are shooting down rumors that he also needs better manners. Tom Cruise and company filmed some scenes for the Top Gun sequel Top Gun: Maverick aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt in San Diego. Reports recently spread that Cruise’s behavior was seen by some sailors as arrogant, and a Navy official stepped in to defend the actor:

A Navy official defended Tom Cruise to NBC 7 after the news station was told by an anonymous servicemember that Cruise acted “very arrogant” and told them not to look at or touch him. That sailor added that Cruise “angered USS Theodore crew while filming.”

However, Navy escorts who accompanied Tom Cruise through filming disputed that account:

Navy officials also said Tom Cruise took to the mic at a recent “all hands on deck” to personally thank the crew for their support of the film.

Several social media posts critical of Tom Cruise’s on-set behavior were shared by The Scientology Money Project — a news site dedicated to investigating the money, propaganda, and legal matters of Scientology, of which Cruise is a member. The site posted comments said to be from Navy sailors on the TR (names were redacted) with people calling out Cruise for allegedly telling the crew not to look at or talk to him during Top Gun 2 filming.

Not having been there myself, I don’t know who said what to whom. It does seem like it could easily have been a misunderstanding. But if any U.S. Navy servicemembers really did feel disrespected, well, that’s not good. It’s not good in general, and it’s not good for a movie set on their turf.

Paramount already had to step in and correct some previous Top Gun 2 chatter about production halting so Tom Cruise could learn to fly Navy fighter jets. Sources said Cruise couldn’t fly the jets in question even if he wanted to, because civilians just aren’t allowed to. But Cruise would be doing some flying in “certain aircrafts.”

Top Gun: Maverick, directed by Joseph Kosinski, is currently scheduled for release on June 26, 2020. Paramount moved it from its previous release date of July 12, 2019.

Tom Cruise’s Pete “Maverick” Mitchell is back from the 1986 movie, now a captain and flight instructor. Val Kilmer is also back as Iceman, with Miles Teller as the son of Maverick’s late partner Goose. Jennifer Connelly also joins the cast as a single mother who runs the local bar near the Navy base, and apparently she and Cruise reenact a version of the first film’s motorcycle scene. The star-studded cast also includes Glen Powell, Jon Hamm, and Ed Harris. As we wait for this movie to arrive in 2020, check out our 2019 movie release date schedule for details on everything coming out this year.

How J.J. Abrams Wants Star Wars: Episode IX To Make Fans Feel

Later this year, Star Wars: Episode IX will conclude the new trilogy of films that reawakened the Star Wars franchise. As with any finale, there’s bound to be some emotions from fans who have grown attached to Rey, Finn, Poe, and the rest of the gang. It’s up to you to decide how you’re feeling after the movie, but director J.J. Abrams has said that he wants fans to walk away from the film feeling satisfied above all else.

Finales are tough for any storytelling medium to nail, and fans are often left divided on how their favorite movie, television, or book series ended. This December, Star Wars will likely become one of those series as Star Wars: Episode IX wraps up the story that began in 2015. To say that the last entry, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, left fans split down the middle is an understatement, and people are curious how J.J. Abrams and Lucasfilm will address the criticism in Episode IX.

It sounds like the goal is to make sure that everyone is left feeling satisfied…which is kind of the goal of every movie, if you think about it.

J.J. Abrams told ET that satisfaction was the most important emotion for Episode IX, though he hopes people feel a lot more by the time the credits finally roll. I certainly don’t envy Abrams’ job, but he does have experience in this area. Fans will remember that Abrams directed The Force Awakens and kickstarted this new trilogy. That movie is certainly satisfying as it captures a lot of the spirit of the original Star Wars films. Some would say it does that a little too well and doesn’t have enough originality, but Abrams did his job.

Episode IX has still got lots of time to figure it out. The movie officially wrapped filming and doesn’t arrive in theaters until December. Abrams shared a touching photo of Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, and Oscar Isaac hugging after filming. In reference to that photo and finally wrapping the movie, here’s what Abrams said:

We’ve still got a little while before we can expect a trailer (or a title), but all of our questions will finally be revealed when Star Wars: Episode IX releases in theaters on December 20, 2019. To learn as much about the movie as possible, here’s everything we know so far. For everything else hitting theaters this year, here’s our 2019 movie release guide.

How To Train Your Dragon 3 Poised For Best Box Office Opening Of The Franchise

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World is the final film in the DreamWorks Animation trilogy, and it’s looking like it could make the most money. You might think “Well, of course!” but up until just now it was looking like the opening weekend might be less than the first two films.

Box office tracking for How to Train Your Dragon 3 has been all over the map, and final opening weekend numbers won’t come in until Sunday afternoon. There were initial predictions of around $40 million, which would be less than the previous two films. However, Deadline just updated that The Hidden World is heading toward the best debut of the trilogy with a $60 million domestic box office opening from 4,259 theaters. Variety was slightly more cautious, putting the opening around $53 million.

Either way, anything above $50 million would be a new franchise record.

Here are the previous opening weekends, and the total worldwide grosses (via Box Office Mojo) as combined from domestic (U.S./Canada) and foreign markets:

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World has already made nearly $200 million at the foreign box office heading into this weekend. We’ll have to wait for the full weekend numbers to come in to see where we stand, but if those new $50M-$60M domestic estimates hold, that would clearly be enough to take the record for best franchise opening. Could this film make the most money overall? It has to top $621.5 million for that, so we’ll see.

How to Train Your Dragon 3 concludes the adventures of Hiccup and Toothless. Hiccup voice actor Jay Baruchel had said the film would leave fans sad but satisfied. He seemed satisfied and proud that the film has already gotten such a big emotional reaction from moviegoers. There’s even talk that The Hidden World may have a chance at an Oscar this year, unless it loses once again to a Toy Story movie (or the Frozen sequel).

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World is now playing in theaters, and however this weekend’s box office shakes out, it sounds like it’ll be more healthy than the ones we’ve seen so far in 2019. Speaking of 2019, bookmark our handy movie release date schedule to keep up with everything heading to the big screen.

Holmes And Watson ‘Wins’ Worst Picture (And Then Some) At 2019 Razzies

Holmes & Watson – WINNER
The Happytime Murders
Robin Hood

Melissa McCarthy, The Happytime Murders and Life of the Party – WINNER
Jennifer Garner, Peppermint
Amber Heard, London Fields
Helen Mirren, Winchester
Amanda Seyfried, The Clapper

Donald J. Trump (as himself), Death of a Nation and Fahrenheit 11/9 – WINNER
Johnny Depp (voice), Sherlock Gnomes
Will Ferrell, Holmes & Watson
John Travolta, Gotti
Bruce Willis, Death Wish

John C. Reilly, Holmes & Watson – WINNER
Jamie Foxx, Robin Hood
Ludacris (voice), Show Dogs
Joel McHale, Happytime Murders
Justice Smith, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Kellyanne Conway (as herself), Fahrenheit 11/9 – WINNER
Marcia Gay Harden, Fifty Shades Freed
Kelly Preston, Gotti
Jaz Sinclair, Slender Man
Melania Trump (as herself), Fahrenheit 11/9

Donald J. Trump and his self-perpetuating pettiness, Death of a Nation and Fahrenheit 11/9 – WINNER
Any two actors or puppets (especially in those creepy sex scenes), Happytime Murders
Johnny Depp and his fast-fading film career, Sherlock Gnomes
Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly (trashing two of literature’s most beloved characters), Holmes & Watson
Kelly Preston and John Travolta (getting ‘Battlefield Earth’-type reviews!), Gotti

Holmes & Watson – WINNER
Death of a Nation (remake of Hillary’s America)
Death Wish
The Meg (ripoff of Jaws)
Robin Hood

Etan Cohen, Holmes & Watson – WINNER
Kevin Connolly, Gotti
James Foley, Fifty Shades Freed
Brian Henson, Happytime Murders
The Spierig Brothers (Michael and Peter), Winchester

Fifty Shades Freed – WINNER
Death of a Nation
Happytime Murders

Carol Danvers Has A Special Love For Maria Rambeau In Captain Marvel, According To Brie Larson

Before she gained incredible powers and became an agent for the Kree empire, Brie Larson’s version of Carol Danvers, like her comic book counterpart, was a pilot in the U.S. Air Force. As we’ve seen in the Captain Marvel previews, she flies planes alongside Maria Rambeau, and we’ve known for a while that these two are friends. However, the way Larson describes it, there’s more than just a simple camaraderie between these two. After Lashana Lynch, who plays Maria, noted that Maria and Carol get along so well because they’re both women in a male-dominated military and share similar personalities, Larson added:

Carol Danvers’ relationship with Maria Rambeau was among several topics discussed during the Captain Marvel press conference that CinemaBlend’s own Eric Eisenberg attended. While it doesn’t sound like these two women are involved romantically, Brie Larson’s comment does make it sound like the love that they share with one another fills the gap that would normally be occupied by a traditional romantic relationship in a movie. We don’t know what Carol’s family life is like in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but clearly because of their time together in the Air Force and their shared experiences, Carol would go higher, further, faster to protect and help Maria.

Looking at Captain Marvel through that lens, it makes Carol Danvers’ situation at the start of the movie sadder, as when we meet her at the start of the movie, she’s serving on the Kree Starforce team and doesn’t remember her past. Eventually that will change once Carol ends up back on Earth and, during the course of hunting down Skrull infiltrators, learns about her life as a human. One can imagine that whenever Carol sees Maria after being away for so long and remembers her best friend, it will be an emotional reunion.

Let’s also not forget that Maria Rambeau has a daughter, Monica, who has been a superhero in the Marvel Comics universe for nearly four decades. If Carol Danvers is so close with Maria, Monica probably looks at Carol like an aunt. Since Captain Marvel takes place in 1995, that means Monica is an adult in the present day. So even though it hasn’t been revealed yet where Carol’s been since the events of Captain Marvel, it’s also a good bet that despite all that passed time, Monica, like her mom, would be overjoyed to see Carol again. Who knows, maybe Carol being back in Monica’s life again could pave the way for her to embark on her own superhero journey.

Captain Marvel hits theaters on March 8, and Brie Larson will be back as Carol Danvers for Avengers: Endgame on April 26. As for what else the MCU has in the works, look through our handy guide for that information.

No, The Black Widow Movie Was Never Going To Be Rated R

Early this year, a rumor made the rounds about the MCU’s Black Widow movie starring Scarlett Johansson. According to the rumor, at one point, while the film was in development, it was discussed to possibly become the MCU’s first R-rated movie. This was never confirmed and was reported as a rumor, and now we know for sure that it’s just that, a rumor. According to Kevin Feige himself:

There you have it. Black Widow will not break the seal on R-rated films for the Marvel Cinematic Universe and will instead almost certainly retain the PG-13 rating that all of the previous films featuring the character have used. Beyond that, Kevin Feige told that Black Widow was never going to be R-rated.

As Kevin Feige noted, the rumor got started and everyone wrote and talked about it, including us. Such is the nature of the level of interest in these films and the demand for information. If an intriguing rumor is out there, it makes sense to talk about it, as long as it is reported as just a rumor and everyone takes the appropriate amount of salt with it.

It may be possible that someone at some point said “Hey maybe we should make this rated R,” but Kevin Feige made it clear that it was never going to be. Ultimately it was just a rumor. You can see why this gained traction though.

Black Widow as a character would make the most sense of the existing MCU stable to have an R-rated film. If someone said the sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming or the next Guardians of the Galaxy movie were going to have that restricted rating, it would not have been given as much digital ink. We also have recently heard that Deadpool will remain R-rated at Marvel, so maybe there is a future for the rating at Marvel, but not with Black Widow.

I have argued that it would have been a ballsy move for Marvel to make Black Widow R-rated and a cool way to do something different in the MCU, yet I acknowledge that it was always an unnecessary move. By giving Black Widow a more blockbuster-friendly rating, the film won’t alienate any of the audiences that have enjoyed Scarlett Johansson’s character to this point.

So now, although not official, we basically know the rating for Black Widow, or at least know what it won’t be. We still don’t know when this movie is hitting theaters but the rumor and expectation is that it could be one of Marvel’s 2020 films. Black Widow is directed by Cate Shortland and will star Scarlett Johansson, who may be making a pretty penny for the film. The rest of the cast and any firm plot details remain a mystery for now.

Black Widow may have been the MCU’s first heroine, but her solo film will not be the MCU’s first female-led movie. That honor goes to Captain Marvel, which hits theaters next month. After that we’ll see Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow when Avengers: Endgame opens on April 26.

Check out our 2019 release schedule to see the biggest movies headed to theaters this year and stay tuned to CinemaBlend for all your movie news.

A Fighting With My Family Sequel? Here’s What Paige Has To Say

While most biographical movies tend to take a one-and-done approach to their storytelling, there’s obviously plenty of story left by the time Fighting With My Family ends. So obviously, fans of WWE Superstar Paige are probably going to wonder if anyone involved with the film has approached the idea of a follow-up that jumps into the further depths of her career’s development. Well, as far as Paige herself is concerned, she seems game for another film, but as you’ll see below, she’s focused on the here and now:

That’s certainly not a stone cold confirmation of any sort of a Fighting With My Family sequel, as the current film is just opening in theaters this weekend. However, with Paige on board and the movie ready to try and win the hearts of both wrestling loyalists and non-wrestling fans alike, it’s only a matter of time before someone starts to try and figure out just how to make another installment happen.

Paige’s career ran about a good four years or so past the events of Fighting With My Family, leaving a lot of history uncovered by the Stephen Merchant written/directed film. So unlike your typical biopic, the structure of this film focuses on a more intense portion of time, leaving a lot of material to be covered in another film.

Not only does that material include the ever-evolving role of female wrestlers in the WWE, but there are also subjects such as various scandals and setbacks that cropped up during Paige’s career, as well as her eventual retirement due to injury and a surprise Scoliosis diagnosis. Any one of those subjects, should they be approached in the same way as Fighting With My Family, would only follow in the footsteps of the first film’s approach to Paige’s life.

As her story is far from the standard of underdogs winning the day, and having perfect careers until their retirement, Paige’s story is one that is just as human and affecting as the moments we saw in Fighting With My Family. Certainly not one to shy away from moments such as those, you can see how excited the WWE superstar is about tackling such a project, in the video from our conversation during the film’s recent press junket.

With Fighting With My Family bringing Paige’s origin story to light in a manner that appeals to both fans and non-fans, there’s a possibility that this weekend’s grosses will tell a tale of a public wanting more. And so long as Paige and Stephen Merchant are ready to team up again, there’s a good chance that they’ll get exactly that.

Of course, as the lady herself has pointed out, Fighting With My Family needs people to see it before there’s any chance of a sequel. The film is now in theaters, ready to fight a ladder match with your heart.

Why Marvel Hasn’t Announced Its May 2020 Title Yet

Back in late 2014, Marvel Studios made a splash when it held a special event announcing when all of the Phase 3 movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe would come out. Naturally there were some changes to the slate in the years afterwards, but for the most part, we knew what was coming and on what dates. With Phase 4, however, while some of the upcoming MCU movies have been officially announced or reported on, no specific release dates have been revealed yet, and according to Kevin Feige, we shouldn’t expect to learn what Marvel movie will follow Spider-Man: Far From Home until after the Web-Slinger’s adventure is released. When CinemaBlend’s own Eric Eisenberg asked what the game plan is for Marvel movies in production, the Marvel Studios president responded:

There you have it. Rather than clue fans in on what’s coming to the MCU in 2020, Kevin Feign and the rest of the Marvel brain trust would rather our attention be focused on what’s coming this year. This is similar to the approach Marvel took last year with waiting to reveal the title for Avengers: Endgame; Feige and the gang didn’t want to divert focus from the fallout of Avengers: Infinity War and Ant-Man and the Wasp.

And make no mistake, 2019 is a big year for the MCU, as Captain Marvel will wind the clock back to 1995 to tell Carol Danvers’ origin story, Avengers: Endgame will conclude Phase 3 by having its heroes fight to undo Thanos’ genocide and Spider-Man: Far From Home will kick off Phase 4 by having Peter Parker fight Elementals alongside Mysterio in Europe. Whew, that’s a lot!

So per Kevin Feige’s update, that means the soonest we could learn which Marvel movie will occupy that May 1, 2020 spot is sometime in the latter half of July, after Spider-Man: Far From Home has had a couple weeks to attract audiences. However, don’t be surprised if Marvel decides to wait even longer to announce when the next MCU movie is coming out, delaying that reveal until August or sometime in the fall. Ideally the company doesn’t wait too much longer than that to announce the big news. After all, as popular and successful as the MCU is, Marvel can still benefit from starting promotion as early as possible.

If I had to guess, I’d say that the Black Widow movie will end up taking that May, 1, 2020 release date. It has a director attached, filming is expected to begin later this year and if it’s anything like Captain America: The Winter Soldier, it won’t require as many visual effects as your average Marvel movie. That means it would be easier to get Black Widow ready to go by May 2020 compared to something like The Eternals, which is also planning to shoot in 2019. Whether this is a correct guess or not, we have at least five months to go to learn the answer, if not longer.

Rest assured, once the release date for the next MCU movie comes out, we here at CinemaBlend will let you know about it. In the meantime, the MCU will pick back up with the release of Captain Marvel on March 8, followed by Avengers: Endgame on April 26 and Spider-Man: Far From Home on July 5. If you’re interested to learn what the superhero franchise has in development, look through our handy guide.

How E.T. Inspired The Ending Of How To Train Your Dragon 3

Be warned, this article contains SPOILERS! So if haven’t yet cried over How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, turn back until you have!

Go out to the movies, we’ll get together, we’ll have a few laughs… and then a beautiful ending like How To Train Your Dragon’s hits. The last installment of the animated trilogy centering on a village of Vikings and a boy and his dragon has finally been released in theaters, and it’s a tear-jerker.

I’d say the director achieved all of this in the latest installment! The final scenes of How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World include some of his wishes fulfilled, including Hiccup and Astrid’s marriage and a touching goodbye reminiscent of Steven Spielberg’s E.T. Since the franchise explores similar themes of a boy’s unlikely friendship with a creature typically cast out and misunderstood by his society, DeBlois turning to the classic makes a lot of sense.

Toothless helps Hiccup grow and flourish through their friendship, much like Elliott and E.T’s story goes. Originally an awkward misfit, his journey with Toothless gives him the courage and strength to be a part of something and ultimately become the leader of Berk.

Once Toothless started to find his way home in the “Hidden World” and with the Light Fury, Hiccup must say goodbye to his friend and allow them both to fly on their own. Much like E.T’s phone home, which has Elliott saying goodbye to his closest friend, who helped him get out of his shell and fight for something.

DeBlois also pointed to another classic film as an inspiration for the end of How To Train Your Dragon. In his words:

The most emotional and gratifying scene in The Hidden World is when the timeline jumps forward to a time when a bearded Hiccup, Astrid and their children are on a boat together and they come across Toothless and the Light Fury. The dragon couple has had dragon children of their own.

The two families share a touching moment where they acknowledge each other, happy in their own environments, and get some gratification that everything turned out okay separately, just as the classic story does with the adopted lion cub sent back into the wild.

Dean DeBlois’ inspirations for the end of How To Train Your Dragon are spot on and, in my opinion, made for a satisfying conclusion to the franchise. Let us know what you thought of the ending in the comments below.