Believe it or not, this is the final edition of Popculturology until July. Not only are we in the final days of June, but I’ll be taking a break from the newsletter through Independence Day.
I’m going to miss seeing Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny its opening night and passing my thoughts along to you, but if you see it next week, feel free to shoot me a message on Twitter or Bluesky letting me no what you thought! (No spoilers, though …)
Who’s watched the first episode of Secret Invasion? I haven’t had the chance yet, but I’m fully in the loop when it comes to Marvel’s baffling decision to use AI to create the show’s opening credits. What an absolute slap in the face to not only all the real artists and special effects houses out there who do that kind of thing for a living but also the artists working on the comics side of Marvel over at Disney.
There’s no justification for using AI instead of real artists. I don’t even want to hear the strained logic that a show about Skrulls should have a title sequence created by nonhumans. As Decider’s Sean T. Collins notes, “this is like saying that since The Sopranos is about gangsters, it would have been okay for James Gandolfini to murder someone on camera to ‘Woke Up This Morning.’”
Ditch this title sequence before the second episode airs, Marvel.
We’ve also been keeping up with Platonic, which continues to be a fun reunion between Rose Byrne and Seth Rogen.
And I hope you’re watching the new season of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. The first few episodes so far have been on a new creative level.
Once again, Popculturology will be on vacation until the Friday, July 7 edition hits your inboxes.
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- Feature Presentation: Dan Stevens joins Solar Opposites
- Bonus Features: Will the Oscars honor stunts?
- The News: IMAX battle, Gal Gadot teases Wonder Woman
- Trailer Watch: Challengers, Dumb Money, The Beanie Bubble, Kraven the Hunter, 3 Body Problem
- Playlist: The Righteous Gemstones
- What to Watch: The Bear
- Snack Break: I have consumed the Grimace
- Odds and Ends: Jury Duty’s Margaritaville shoot
Dan Stevens kicks off recasting of Justin Roiland characters
The end of the Justin Roiland era has begun. Hulu revealed earlier this week that Dan Stevens had replaced Roiland as the voice of Korvo on Solar Opposites. The Hollywood Reporter got the exclusive, sharing the first clip featuring the Downton Abbey star.
I love the comment that because of “chronotons,” Korvo will sound like Stevens in flashbacks.
Since it was announced that Roiland would be replaced across all of his shows, which includes Rick and Morty in addition to Solar Opposites, fans have been wondering if we’d hear actors doing impressions of Roiland’s iconic voices or if the characters would soon sound completely different.
Solar Opposites clearly chose the latter, even going so far as to make several jokes about Korvo’s new British voice.
Recasting Solar Opposites was a much smaller task when it comes to the mountain of voices that Roiland performs across his various shows. Unlike with Rick and Morty where Roiland voiced both main characters along with countless side characters, Korvo was the only character in the main and secondary cast brought to life by Roiland. Very obviously swapping Stevens in as Korvo swiftly wraps up the process for Solar Opposites.
Will Rick and Morty do the same with its Roiland-voiced characters?
Adult Swim President Michael Ouweleen recently said that the new Rick and Morty voice performers are “not imitators,” which makes me think we shouldn’t expect soundalikes replacing Roiland. Will Adult Swim go with with actors who have made their careers doing character voices? Or will they follow Solar Opposites and cast brand-name actors to replace Roiland?
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Life’s short, Academy. Stunt it!
It’s been awhile since the Academy added a new Oscar category, but according to the director of John Wick: Chapter 4, they’ve “made real movement forward” on finding a way to add a stunt category to the ceremony.
“We’ve been meeting with members of the Academy and actually having these conversations, and, to be honest, it’s been nothing but incredibly positive, incredibly instructional,” Chad Stahelski told ComicBookMovie.com (via Variety). He added that a stunt category “can happen as soon as, you know, the next Oscars, or at least the one after that. At the latest, the next three or four years.”
But it sounds like just creating Best Stunts award is easier said than done. Stahelski raised a few roadblocks during his interview.
“The question is, we haven’t had the real talks about how do you even determine what to award,” Stahleski told ComicBookMovie.com. “Like is it for best stunt? Is it best choreography? Best action sequence? Best stunt ensemble? Does the stunt coordinator get it? The guy doing the gag get it? The martial arts choreographer? The fight choreography? The stunt double? The second unit director? The editor? Who gets the award? All these are great questions that just need to be talked about by smart individuals on both sides of it, the stunt community and the Academy.”
I assume this level of thinking goes into every Oscar category. (At least, I hope it does.) Based on the other categories, I’d assume an Oscar that honors the full body of stunt work in a film would be the way to go. The Oscar for Best Sound doesn’t just honor one sound effect, right?
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Tom Cruise and Christopher Nolan’s IMAX battle
While the number of theaters a movie plays in goes a long way toward box office success, the kind of theater also plays a major role when it comes to squeezing a few extra dollars out of each ticket. I’m a big fan of Dolby Cinema at AMC, but the premium large format brand that best connects with moviegoers is still IMAX.
There’s a battle brewing over those IMAX screens this summer.
When Tom Cruise’s Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One hits theaters on July 12, it’ll have just over a week of time on IMAX screens, which is cool since this film looks like it should absolutely be seen on a giant movie screen. (Sorry, I sound like I’m shilling for the theaters now.) Unfortunately for Cruise and the latest Mission: Impossible movie, that IMAX run will end on July 21.
While there’s usually a weekly shuffle of films through premium screens as a new blockbuster opens nearly every week into the summer, only one film this summer comes from Christopher Nolan: Oppenheimer. And it has exclusive IMAX access. From Variety:
But long before the oft-delayed [Mission: Impossible] sequel moved to mid-July, Universal had already ironed out a rare agreement for Oppenehimer to control Imax’s entire North American footprint for three full weeks. (Directors like Nolan, who use Imax cameras to film their movies, are typically granted a two-week exclusive window.) Greta Gerwig’s star-studded Barbie, which also opens on July 21, isn’t playing in Imax at all as a result.
That’s 401 IMAX screens across North America now off limits to Dead Reckoning. Cruise obviously can’t be happy about this after Top Gun: Maverick became the first massive post-pandemic hit, grossing $718.7 million domestically.
That’s despite Cruise making a few calls around town to remind everyone that not even a year ago, Maverick earned more than $100 million from Imax alone. By shorting the Imax run of Dead Reckoning, he suggests, all involved parties risk losing out on serious coinage.
Losing the IMAX and premium format screens to Transformers: Rise of the Beasts and then The Flash has made Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’s continued box office strength all the more impressive.
Dead Reckoning on pace for $90M opening weekend
With a loss of IMAX screens on the horizon for Dead Reckoning’s second weekend, the latest Mission: Impossible film is going to need to make the most out of its opening frame. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Dead Reckoning is on pace to make good on that first weekend, tracking for a debut in the $90 million range.
This would blow away any previous opening weekend for a Mission: Impossible film. Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation debuted to a franchise-best $61.2 million in 2018. Every installment in the franchise before that opened in the $40 million to $50 million range, with the exception of Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol, which had a limited release its first weekend.
Linda Hamilton joins Stranger Things
The upcoming fifth and final season of Stranger Things has added another 1980s star to its cast: Linda Hamilton.
The announcement was made during Netflix’s Tudum presentation this past week, with Hamilton’s Terminator costar Arnold Schwarzenegger introducing her.
Stranger Things loves to add actors who had major roles in films and TV shows in the 80s, with Winona Ryder, Sean Astin and Paul Reiser being some of the biggest names from that era to already fulfill roles on the show.
Will Gal Gadot play Wonder Woman again?
From everything we’ve read and been told since James Gunn and Peter Safran took the reins at DC Studios, it seemed like Gal Gadot’s days playing Wonder Woman were over.
Patty Jenkins’ third Wonder Woman movie was killed. The Gadot/Wonder Woman cameo shot for The Flash was pulled. And while Gunn had announced a Max show set in Wonder Woman’s home called Paradise Lost, Gadot wasn’t involved.
But there may be a sliver of a chance that Gadot returns as Wonder Woman.
Will we actually see Gadot in a future DC Studios project? Or is this unfortunately just another installment in the “DCEU actors unable to accept it’s over” series? (See: Zachary Levi, Henry Cavill, Dwayne Johnson …)
- Michael Shannon turned down Star Wars. “I don't ever want to get stuck in a franchise. I don't find them interesting and I don't want to perpetuate them,” the actor told Insider. “If I’m making something, I want there to be some kind of purpose to it — I don't want to make mindless entertainment.”
- No Hall H presentation from Marvel. The studio will skip Comic-Con’s biggest stage this year, according to TheWrap. No surprise considering Disney just pushed back the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe slate.
- Jennifer Lee won’t direct Frozen III. The Walt Disney Animation Studios CEO told TheWrap, “Where we’re going with Frozen did not come from me. It came from an incredible person.” Lee previously co-directed Frozen and Frozen II with Chris Buck.
- Inside Out series in the works. I’m sure a Disney+ show based on a Pixar movie will help kill the idea that Pixar is no longer a theatrical studio …
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Challengers is Call Me by Your Name director Luca Guadagnino’s latest film, and based on this trailer, I’m predicted that Zendaya gets an Oscar nomination for this one.
Challengers opens on Sept. 15.
Speaking of Oscars, is Dumb Money — the movie based on the GameStop short squeeze in 2021 — a contender? I dismissed this project when it was first announced, based on how quickly it came together, but it looks very good. Ben Mezrich, who wrote the book that was turned into The Social Network, wrote the book that Dumb Money is based on, and Lars and the Real Girl director Craig Gillespie assembled an all-star cast for the film.
Dumb Money opens on Sept. 22.
The Beanie Bubble
When it comes to movies based on real-life stories, I’m not as high on The Beanie Bubble. It looks fun, but are there even Beanie Babies in it? The trailer showcases a bunch of stuffed animals that look nothing like the classic collectibles. (Fun fact: Al Gore’s daughter Kristin co-directed The Beanie Bubble.)
The Beanie Bubble premieres on Apple TV+ on July 21.
Kraven the Hunter
How does Sony somehow make awful Spider-Man adjacent films like Morbius while delivering groundbreaking masterpieces like Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse? Not only does Kraven the Hunter look like it belongs in the former category, it looks like Sony yanked a superhero movie from the early 2000s and tried to make it dark by having Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s character bite someone’s nose off. Everything about this trailer oozes the same “look how edgy we are” vibe that Black Adam carried.
My mind was blown when I realized that J. C. Chandor — the director behind Margin Call, All Is Lost and A Most Violent Year — is the director behind this movie. WHAT.
Kraven the Hunter opens on Oct 6
3 Body Problem
I’m intrigued by this one. I haven’t had a chance to read The Three-Body Problem yet, but I’ve read enough about the book that I purchased it and it’s on our bookshelf as a constant reminder that I should read it.
3 Body Problem premieres on Netflix in January 2024.
💬 💬 💬 Comments, questions or recommendations? Let me know!
The Righteous Gemstones
Episodes: “For I Know the Plans I Have for You” and “But Esau Ran to Meet Him”
The Righteous Gemstones should be one of the biggest shows on TV. Now on its third season, Danny McBride’s latest series is virtually perfect. It has been able to add to its expansive cast while still managing to elevate the The Righteous Gemstones’ core set of actors. (Except Walton Goggins. We need more Walton Goggins.)
As the show’s third season kicks off, it turns out we’ve yet to learn of all the Gemstone family’s hidden secrets. And while The Righteous Gemstones is busy expanding its own mythology, it still doesn’t shy away from ridiculous gags like Adam DeVine’s Calvin running a youth group tasked with shutting down porn shops called Smut Busters or the Gemstone siblings engaging a group of pastors in a shoe-throwing fight.
“I could’ve returned Craig to the orphanage.” — Vance Simkins
“I’d leave my family in a second to be with you. I’d murder them.” — Stephen
- How Genndy Tartakovsky Cracked the Code to Quiet Animation (Matt Zoller Seitz, Vulture)
- Elemental Box Office Debacle: Pixar Movie Opens to Record-Worst $29.6M (Pamela McClintock, The Hollywood Reporter)
- The Flash Is the Past; Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse Is the Future (Richard Lawson, Vanity Fair)
- The Flash Director Reveals Alternate Versions of Its Alternate Realities (Anthony Breznican, Vanity Fair)
- Drew Tarver Is Trying to Be as Funny as The Other Two (Seija Rankin, The Hollywood Report)
- Whatever Happened to Satine Kryze? (James Whitbrook, Gizmodo)
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All ten episodes of The Bear’s second season hit Hulu on Thursday. I loved the first season and can’t wait to watch the new batch of episodes. I’m not sure we’ll have the time to get to all of them this weekend, but you can definitely binge through them pretty quickly.
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Grimace’s Birthday Shake
I did it. I have consumed the Grimace.
While I don’t know if Grimace was ethically sourced and fair trade, I will say that he tastes like a generic berry flavor. If you’re interested in trying the Grimace’s Birthday Shake, you’ll have to order either a Big Mac or 10-piece McNugget meal to get it. Hopefully your McDonald’s doesn’t forget the sauces like mine did …
How Jury Duty shot at Margaritaville
If you’re like me, you watched Jury Duty and constantly asked “how did they pull this off?” The cast and crew behind the Amazon Freevee series pulled back the curtain a bit more on the process of shooting a fake documentary where the main character wasn’t in on the truth with a new video about Jury Duty’s Margaritaville episode.
Christopher Miller shares behind-the-scenes look at key Spider-Verse cameo
There’s a very fun cameo in Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse that was decades in the making. I’m not going to spoiler it for anyone who hasn’t seen Across the Spider-Verse yet (but I am going to judge you for not seeing the movie yet), but you can click over to Spider-Verse writer/producer Christopher Miller’s tweet here …
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