Zack Snyder Owns Up to Provoking His Fans for Clicks and Charity

Zack Snyder shooting Justice League.

Zack Snyder shooting Justice League.
Screenshot: HBO Max

Zack Snyder’s Justice League is a perfectly passable, unquestionably long comic book movie whose existence can be attributed to a number of factors beyond its director’s firm belief in his vision of what DC’s superheroes should look and act like on the silver screen.

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Following the initial release of Justice League’s theatrical cut—a bit of a frankenmovie, cobbled together from things Snyder shot before he left the project and was replaced by Joss Whedon—a vocal contingent of Snyder’s fans wasted little time calling for Warner Bros. to release a director’s cut closer to Snyder’s vision. At the time, the footage that would eventually become Zack Snyder’s Justice League couldn’t be considered a workable, completed movie, but that did not quiet calls for the “Snyder Cut” release or lessen how the fandom around Snyder was becoming more solidified as a group.

A major part of the reason that Snyder’s fans grew more insistent with their demands for the director’s Justice League was the way he frequently interacted with them on social media, especially on Vero, his preferred outlet. By working fans into frenzies by sharing “secret” looks at things related to the Snyder Cut, the director gave people reason not only to hope, but to double down on their belief in the movie’s existence.

In a recent interview with the Sunday Times, Snyder opened up about his approach to interacting with his fans and explained that while he’s very proud of the charity work that’s come out of the group, he recognizes how he played on their emotions for clicks and hype.

“They’ve saved lives,” he said, referring to money raised for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. “That’s a fact. But on the other hand, was it fun to provoke them? For a clickable thing? Yes. And they were an easy target. But they continue to raise money.”

When the AFSP thanked the “#ReleaseTheSnyderCut Movement” back in February for raising $500,000, it stood out as an example of how a fandom’s collective energies can be put toward a solid cause. But the donation existed alongside the Snyder fandom’s well-documented history of bullying and harassing people who expressed any sort of negativity toward Snyder or the idea of him making another Justice League film.

Like most online movements, there was no way for well-meaning Snyder fans to police their more vitriolic peers who felt compelled to tell people to kill themselves (among other wild, troll-y things). But these are the sorts of things that individuals like Snyder, who are in unique positions of power in regards to these massive fandoms, have to take into consideration when they decide to capitalize on the fandoms’ energy for any given purpose.

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Though Snyder stoking his fandom’s flames led to charity, it’s important to keep in mind that it was also a drawn-out advertising stunt meant to help will an unfinished film into existence years after its original incarnation bombed at the box office. As is usually the case with stunts, there were unintended consequences—in this case, ugly harassment—that Snyder has to own also if he wants to take credit for the good that’s come out of his work.


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Faces of Death Gets a Gen-Z Reboot From Legendary Entertainment

Original Faces of Death Promo images

Original Faces of Death Promo images
Image: MPI, F.O.D. Productions

The fakeumentary Faces of Death is classic horror that left movie fans in disbelief as it showed various ways humans can die in graphic detail. The film includes clips from around the world and convinced everyone the various deaths were real, but many were not.

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The Hollywood Reporter states that Legendary Entertainment (Godzilla vs. Kong) has picked up the rights to the franchise and plans a reboot for the Gen z era. The team behind the 2018 Netflix sex worker thriller Cam (Isa Mazzei and Daniel Goldhaber) will write and direct.

The synopsis for the new film is as follows:

“A female moderator of a YouTube-like website whose job is to weed out offensive and violent content and who herself is recovering from a serious trauma, who stumbles across a group that is re-creating the murders from the original film. But in the story primed for the digital age of online misinformation, the question is: Are the murders real or fake?

The first film was released theatrically in 1978 and written/directed by John Allan Schwartz. The initial reviews weren’t kind to the movie as it was met with repulsion and banned in several countries. It wasn’t until it hit the VHS market in the 1980s that it achieved a cult following, which helped fuel many sequels and imitators.

For the Faces of Death fans, is it worth the reboot? What do you think of the plot summary? Let us know in the comments!


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Star Wars Secrecy Caused Michael B. Jordan to Bomb His Force Awakens Audition

Michael B. Jordan as Eric Killmonger in Black Panther.

Michael B. Jordan as Eric Killmonger in Black Panther.
Image: Marvel Studios

Lucasfilm values its secrecy. It’s so worried about and vigilant against leaks about their upcoming Star Wars projects, they keep scripts locked away until actors come to them to audition, and lock them back up when the actors leave. It’s a process that gives actors virtually no time to prepare—which is a huge problem if it’s preventing actors like Michael B. Jordan from getting Star Wars roles.

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While promoting his new Amazon Prime movie Without Remorse, Jordan talked about he “bombed” his audition for The Force Awakens with Variety’s “Just for Variety” podcast. “I think that was probably my worst audition to date,” he said, and the reason he thinks he blew it is partially because of Lucasfilm’s obsession with secrecy. He talked about how he only received his sides—Hollywood lingo for small portions of the movie’s script (individual scenes, basically) that actors usually use to audition—after arriving at Pinewood Studios in London, which would be tough for any actor. It would be even tougher if the scene includes weird Star Wars terms like”hydrospanners” and “womp rats” that would be much harder to memorize and say with a sense of realism because they’re so unnatural.

Jordan also talked about how “super-vague” the bits of script were, which didn’t give him much to latch onto as an actor: “I think it was I couldn’t wrap my brain around some of the sides because you know when you’re reading for these high-level projects, there’s never really any specificity in the sides.” Again, if your casting system prevents you from hiring objectively phenomenal actors like Michael B. Jordan, your system is flawed. His talent was already proven back in 2012 and 2013, when The Force Awakens auditions would have taken place, in roles in The Wire and Friday Night Lights. While all the actors in the new trilogy were great, Lucasfilm’s punishing process meant that the auditions favored those who could make a mountain out of a molehill of a script at high speed and not necessarily the actor who would have been best had he been given normal scenes in a normal advance.

Again, this is because of Lucasfilm’s obsession with secrecy; they don’t want the risk of any information about the movie getting out because fans will go wild. But fans go wild over everything anyway, and writing a better scene and giving actors some time to prepare for it wouldn’t change that. Instead of using purposefully vague characters and hoping that actors guess what the role is, just write a better fake scene with characters that are adjacent enough to the intended roles to give actors something to work with. Or, just have the screenwriters do a couple of extra scenes in the script that are intended solely for these auditions. Would have it diluted anyone’s enjoyment of The Force Awakens to learn that a Rebel pilot named Poe Dameron was going to be in the film a year earlier than we did? Not in the slightest.

Just chill out a little, Lucasfilm. Worry less about the scripts leaking and worry more about making the scripts good. And hire Michael B. Jordan.


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My Favorite Cinematic Space Battles

Crop of the cover of The Last Watch by J.S. Dewes.

Crop of the cover of The Last Watch by J.S. Dewes.
Image: Tor Books

From For All Mankind to Space Sweepers, every day more great sci-fi adventures grace our screens both big and small. All signs point to a sci-fi renaissance filled with reluctant heroes, scrappy misfits, and snarky sentient robots. Of course, I can’t forget one of the most quintessential staples of the genre: the epic space battle. Massive energy weapons firing from colossal battleships, sleek starfighters zipping past exploding support ships, and our heroes accomplishing feats of (often erroneous) physics our earth-bound minds can hardly fathom.

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But are cool ships, big explosions, and striking visuals all that’s needed to make a space battle great? As both a filmmaker and author, I love picking apart sequences and peeling back the layers to reveal the gooey thematic insides. Keep reading for some cinematic insight into three very different but equally impactful sci-fi battle sequences! (Light spoilers ahead.)


Rogue One

Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) takes aim in Rogue One.

Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) takes aim in Rogue One.
Image: Lucasfilm

What the Movie Consistently Gets Right

Though by no means a perfect film, for me Rogue One gets a ton of points simply for being one of the most Star Wars feeling of Star Wars films. From the ships and weapons to costumes and makeup, everything feels dirty and genuine and incredibly lived. (Sounds basic, but weathering is a crucial immersion detail too often overlooked in SFF.) In the same vein of gritty realness, Rogue One’s reliance on practical effects bolstered by perfectly blended CGI makes the VFX easily some of the best of any Star Wars film. Practical effects are often used even for distant background action, all executed with great precision and attention to detail that creates a layered sense of realism that roots the audience to the story and characters in a way not easily achieved in just two hours of runtime.


The Battle of Scarif

After learning about the Death Star and the “fatal flaw,” Jyn Erso proposes a mission to the Rebel Alliance to retrieve the design plans from an Imperial base. Unable to gain the support of Alliance leadership, Jyn and Cassian take it upon themselves to carry out the mission, assembling a small unit of rebel allies to join them on the planet Scarif.

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Though there are plenty of great space battles in the Star Wars repertoire to choose from, this near-perfect example of an intercut ground and space battle made Rogue One an easy choice. This sequence carries a lot of weight on its shoulders, more so than similar climax sequences due to the fact that (most of) the audience already knows how the movie will end. And yet Rogue One’s Battle of Scarif stands on its own as a cinematic tour de force even outside the context of A New Hope, managing to build nail-biting tension through the sheer piling-on of conflict points. So very much happens in this almost 30-minute sequence, and nary a second is wasted, only rarely cutting away to Uncanny Valley Tarkin or the Rebel base. The whole thing feels messy and slapdash and desperate—all themes consistent throughout the film, and in line with what we expect to see from a scrappy rebel army. Yet despite that chaos, the filmmakers have made it incredibly easy for the viewer to follow what’s going on.

One thing this sequence accomplishes masterfully is in how it utilizes shot design and editing to link the three facets of the battle—ground, air, and space. Most of these mini-action sequences play out via shots designed to place us in the rebels’ shoes—from their cockpits, over their shoulders as they scramble to new positions, low angles matching their eye line as they look up to the air battle overhead, etc. In one great example, we see a cockpit POV of a fighter about to go down, then cut to an exterior shot as that ship crashes, only to have that same shot move down to create a new establishing shot for the ground battle with rebels running frantically in the foreground. These dual-purpose shots not only make for smooth visual pacing, but tie the sequence together to create a sense of many small pieces working together to achieve a whole: this engagement isn’t about big ships vs. big ships or big strategies vs. big strategies, but rather one frantic, desperate move after the other—all contributing to an ongoing metaphor for the rebellion.

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Another of my favorite details happens early in the ground firefight when a random rebel gets shot and his equally random buddy nearby screams “NO!” and runs to him. It’s a small thing you might not even notice on first viewing, but similar instances occur a handful of times—unnamed, faceless people get lines and emotions and take critical actions to advance the rebels’ progress in a way not often seen in other films, where they’d traditionally be nothing more than additions to the body count. A similar situation happens again when a soldier is raised on comms and told to find the “master switch,” and we get a conversation between two (technically named but essentially random) characters. The short exchange almost feels like a behind-the-scenes look—the true, nitty-gritty rebel soldier experience, versus the broader view of explosions and destruction we so often see in sci-fi battles.

We see this yet again when the rebel fleet finally arrives, and in a brilliant editing choice, we don’t get the classic “cavalry has arrived” epic sweeping shot of the fleet warping into frame. Instead, we see their arrival to Scarif through the direct POV of a fighter pilot—once again putting us in the shoes of the everyday person and creating a sense of intimacy with the rebel forces. Small details like this all work toward engaging the audience emotionally, furthering the intrinsic sense of community and frenzied nature of the engagement. It’s not only up to our heroes to save the day—every person is critical to the success of the mission. Closer to the end, when the rebel fleet admiral—another essentially random character—makes a major decision that changes the course of the battle by sacrificing a rebel ship in order to send a disabled star destroyer careening into its neighbor. Questionable physics aside, this quintessentially desperate move results in the second most beautiful battle shot in all of Star Wars (the Holdo maneuver inarguably in first place) as the two star destroyers totally annihilate each other. Beautifully reckless tactics are what really set this entire engagement apart from a typical space battle, and to great effect.

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That moment is as much a turning point for the viewer as it is for the rebels, as the audience is allowed to (briefly) breathe for the first time in over twenty minutes. However, soon the Death Star rises like a murder moon over the horizon, the sound design goes muted, and ships just start dying quietly under a bittersweet orchestral score. Then, to cap off half an hour of straight tension, we’re rewarded with easily one of the best pay-off sequences in cinematic history as Vadar absolutely destroys that corridor. Say what you want about the film as a whole, but hot damn.


Battlestar Galactica, “Resurrection Ship, Part 2”

Spot the Cylons!

Spot the Cylons!
Image: Syfy

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What the Series Consistently Gets Right

Invariably the first well-done element that comes to my mind when thinking about space combat in Battlestar Galactica is the almost “handheld” motion of the camera—one that continually adapts (and at times almost hunts) in both scale and focus while zeroing in on the action. It’s a style established early on and returned to almost without exception as a device to instantly evoke tension—when we’re outside the ships, it’s immediately obvious from the motion of the camera whether we’re in trouble or not.

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A major element BSG consistently gets right is that it keeps it simple, both with the components of the battle and the choreography. There are generally only two units of any consequence on either side: battleships and fighters. We’re primed early on in the series about the capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses of each ship, and because we know the rules, aren’t overwhelmed by sheer possibilities, paving the way for us to follow engagements clearly while still allowing for surprises when creative tactics are employed. Similarly, the physical blocking of the battle is typically kept very simple: Battlestars and basestars are almost never maneuvered, ensuring a static lay of the battlefield that greatly diminishes potential disorientation. Both elements contribute to a subtle simplicity that allows the audience’s focus to stay where it should: the story and characters.

Which leads to yet another thing BSG is great at: personification. A massive fight with a thousand ships can make for great eye candy, but we can’t possibly care about a thousand individual ships. Creating a strong link between the characters and their ships is critical to establishing stakes in an otherwise faceless battle. BSG is consistently generous with CIC and cockpit shots, so we always know who is where, and thus who’s in trouble as things get chaotic.

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The Battle of the Resurrection Ship

After discovering a Cylon resurrection ship, the Galactica and Pegasus work together to generate a plan to destroy the vessel. Meanwhile, both Adama and Cain scheme to seize command by executing the other after the engagement concludes.

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Though I originally intended this as an example of a more “classic” space battle, there’s actually a lot going on in this sequence that doesn’t follow typical convention—for the show itself, or cinematic sci-fi as a whole. This is a situation where the battle itself is almost beside the point—the well-planned, perfectly executed attack ultimately serving as one giant counterpoint to the human drama unfolding on the ship. This is reflected from the very first shot of the battle, when instead of the aforementioned frenzied handheld camera style we’ve come to expect, we instead get one long shot—which still hunts and changes focus, but does so in a surprisingly slow, steady manner. This subversion is almost unnerving at first but quickly lures us in with the promise of spectacle as we’re allowed to watch the battle unfold in a much clearer, cleaner way than most other action sequences in the show. We begin to see these contrasting elements even more clearly when Lee’s fighter takes a hit and he’s ejected into open space. A typical space battle establishing shot lacks any kind of true point of view, often seen from an omniscient standpoint somewhere far off to one side of the field of battle. But here we get to see our wide, dramatic establishing shot directly from over a character’s shoulder as he floats helplessly in space, rooting us not only positionally but thematically as Lee’s disillusionment with the state of human affairs escalates.

And really, the entire rest of the battle serves to impress this disillusionment on the viewer. It’s clear the entire time that the humans have the upper hand, and yet we don’t get a single exuberant victory shot or the triumphant music one might expect. Instead, we’re presented with a series of long, sweeping, silent shots of the Cylons’ resurrection ship being destroyed, continued via more of the much steadier, smoother camerawork and long takes. In one haunting shot, we get a detailed view of hundreds of Centurions as they’re ejected into space. Though the narrative continues to assure us our heroes are “in the right,” we’re still made to feel the Cylon’s vulnerability as this closely guarded secret ship is laid bare to open space in such primal detail—all serving as subtle foreshadowing for the series’ upcoming questions of morality as the lines between human and Cylon continue to blur.

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A well-planned, well-executed space battle with hardly a single mishap should run the risk of feeling tedious or even boring, and yet this sequence is anything but due to the thematic tie-in of our heroes’ “success.” The cinematography, editing, music, and sound design all reflect that choice—even the CGI is cleaner and better looking than most of the rest of the show. Though atypical of most, this battle is beautiful and well-executed both diegetically and non-diegetically, resulting in a sequence that’s much better than the sum of its parts—something that should be the aim of any great action sequence.


Serenity

The Serenity theatrical poster.

The Serenity theatrical poster.
Image: Universal Pictures

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What the Movie Consistently Gets Right

Getting us to care enough about the characters to make what the filmmakers pull off in this incredibly brief sequence possible. Oh, and witty banter.

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The Universe Battle

After learning of the Alliance’s horrific cover-up, the crew of the Serenity races to Mr. Universe’s planet so they can expose the evidence to the public. With an Alliance fleet awaiting their arrival, they lure an enraged Reaver fleet behind them to act as cover while they make a break for the planet.

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The baiting of the Reaver fleet kicks this sequence off with a very quintessential Firefly reversal of expectation—and from this very first decision, the audience is given perfect footing. Though we’re about to experience a very not quintessential Firefly sequence in the form of a massive fleet battle the likes of which the film nor series has seen before, it feels like we are about to experience a very quintessential Firefly sequence, all because our scrappy crew used a smart, dangerous, desperate tactic to get themselves there. This same framing is maintained throughout the battle, with the combat serving as a backdrop for the Serenity’s gauntlet through a maze of destruction. Unlike the other two examples, once the battle actually begins, we never see a single omniscient point of view or even the point of view of another ship involved—friend or foe. This acts as a consummate example of the aforementioned “personification” of ships: the Serenity itself acts as the POV character through which we experience the entire battle, with literally every single shot in the sequence at least beginning with its focus on the ship, only panning (but never cutting) away a few times to briefly showcase some awesome mini-brawl happening in the chaotic Reaver/Alliance battle.

Despite our “main character” not being involved in the actual fighting, the stakes are arguably even more keenly felt than a typical battle sequence. Not only due to the frantic pace of the choreography and editing, but because the ship itself is filled with literally every single remaining character we care about. Only our ride-or-die crew matters at this point, so—ironically, as far as grandiose space battles go—we don’t even care about the engagement itself except in the cover it serves for their escape. Speaking of, this one gets full marks for geography. Excellent directionality is maintained throughout (Alliance baddies go left to right, heroes and Reavers go right to left), giving a clear understanding of the layout of the battlefield and movement of various vessels—atypical of a lot of space battles which tend toward a “from all directions!” chaos approach.

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This is bolstered by another atypical decision in that we get mostly sweeping, steady, long takes of the action. The shot duration makes these protracted sequences easy to digest, and yet they still feel dense and chaotic since they’re so rife with action. Every shot has a ton of different things going on, and you could rewatch a half dozen time and still miss plenty. Another great feature of this battle that might otherwise be easy to overlook is the sound design—simple in execution but big on impact. It’s muted and selective to start, building steadily as the scene progresses, more and more layering on until a full complement of sound effects are depicted. The viewer finds themselves slowly bombarded with sounds much like our characters are slowly bombarded by stress as they run their gauntlet. This choice is just one of the many details about this sequence that keeps tensions high even as they enter atmosphere, the main battle falls away, they crash-land on the planet, and their gambit is successful—though not without both witty dialogue and serious consequences, in proper Firefly fashion.


Illustration for article titled My Favorite Cinematic Space Battles

Image: Tor Books

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io9 thanks filmmaker and author J.S. Dewes for sharing her favorite space battles with us. It’s something you can experience more of in her debut novel, The Last Watch, available now from Tor Books.


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All 8 Fast and Furious Movies In Theaters For Free Before F9 Debut

F9 Promo

F9 Promo
Image: Universal Pictures

Fans of the Fast and Furious on “Fast Fridays” can watch all eight films leading up to the summer release of F9 for free!

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Starting Friday, April 30, 2021, and every subsequent until June 18, theaters will show the Fast and Furious movies in chronological order. Movie chains like AMC, Regal, and Cinemark are participating along with 500 theaters across the country. Here are the roll-out dates for each film:

Friday, April 30The Fast and the Furious

Friday, May 7 2 Fast 2 Furious

Friday, May 14The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift

Friday, May 21Fast & Furious

Friday, May 28Fast Five

Friday, June 4 Fast & Furious 6

Friday, June 11Furious 7

Friday, June 18 The Fate of the Furious

Friday, June 25F9

Jim Orr, Universal Studios President of Domestic Theater Distribution, knew this would be a great way for lovers of the series to reminisce about their favorite moments while hopefully gaining new fans. In EW, he says, “The Fast films are all about family, and Universal wanted to find a way to thank our huge family of Fast fans around the country for their passion and loyalty over the past 20 years.”

Orr also acknowledges that this is the best way to bring moviegoers back to the theater in a post-vaccinated America. “We’re grateful to our theater partners for their help in making this screening series possible, and we are delighted to welcome audiences back to theaters to experience the wild Fast ride all over again. And we cannot wait to blow everyone’s minds with the release of F9 on June 25.”

Overall, the Fast and Furious series is about illegal drag racing, money heist, and espionage. The first film saw instant financial success and turned Paul Walker, Vin Diesel, and Michelle Rodriguez into movie stars overnight. Each movie gets crazier, and the stakes get higher. Characters have died and come back to life and disappeared and reappeared. It’s one of the most bonkers set of films in existence and a super fun time at the movies.

For free tickets, visit FastFridayScreenings.com. It’s first-come, first-serve, so get your tickets fast!


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All 8 Fast and Furious Movies Will Be in Theaters for Free Before F9 Debuts

F9 Promo

F9 Promo
Image: Universal Pictures

Fans of the Fast and Furious on “Fast Fridays” can watch all eight films leading up to the summer release of F9 for free!

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Starting Friday, April 30, 2021, and every subsequent until June 18, theaters will show the Fast and Furious movies in chronological order. Movie chains like AMC, Regal, and Cinemark are participating along with 500 theaters across the country. Here are the roll-out dates for each film:

Friday, April 30The Fast and the Furious

Friday, May 7 2 Fast 2 Furious

Friday, May 14The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift

Friday, May 21Fast & Furious

Friday, May 28Fast Five

Friday, June 4 Fast & Furious 6

Friday, June 11Furious 7

Friday, June 18 The Fate of the Furious

Friday, June 25F9

Jim Orr, Universal Studios President of Domestic Theater Distribution, knew this would be a great way for lovers of the series to reminisce about their favorite moments while hopefully gaining new fans. In EW, he says, “The Fast films are all about family, and Universal wanted to find a way to thank our huge family of Fast fans around the country for their passion and loyalty over the past 20 years.”

Orr also acknowledges that this is the best way to bring moviegoers back to the theater in a post-vaccinated America. “We’re grateful to our theater partners for their help in making this screening series possible, and we are delighted to welcome audiences back to theaters to experience the wild Fast ride all over again. And we cannot wait to blow everyone’s minds with the release of F9 on June 25.”

Overall, the Fast and Furious series is about illegal drag racing, money heist, and espionage. The first film saw instant financial success and turned Paul Walker, Vin Diesel, and Michelle Rodriguez into movie stars overnight. Each movie gets crazier, and the stakes get higher. Characters have died and come back to life and disappeared and reappeared. It’s one of the most bonkers set of films in existence and a super fun time at the movies.

For free tickets, visit FastFridayScreenings.com. It’s first-come, first-serve, so get your tickets fast!


For more, make sure you’re following us on our Instagram @io9dotcom.

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The Kids Are Not All Right in the Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous Season 3 Trailer

Damn dinos everywhere!

Damn dinos everywhere!
Image: Netflix

Trailer FrenzyA special place to find the newest trailers for movies and TV shows you’re craving.

Has anything ever gone right on Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous? Just when the kids think they’ve finally found a way off the island, a storm pulls them back toward the danger. Unable to leave, they’ll discover that Dr. Wu didn’t just make the Indominus Rex. He made something even worse.

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That’s the set-up for the latest season of animated series Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous, which drops on Netflix May 21. The 10-episode season picks up where season two left off and continues the canonical story of the Jurassic World franchise as a whole. Since the show is produced by the team behind all the Jurassic films, including Steven Spielberg and Colin Trevorrow, everything that happens here also happens in the world of the films. So sit back, tie your seatbelt in a knot, and watch the new trailer.

Hot take but maybe Dr. Wu was not a good guy.

We’ll find out what he was cooking up (literally) when season three of Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous hits Netflix May 21. And since the new Jurassic World movie, Dominion, is still a year away—currently, it’s scheduled for release on June 10, 2022—this is your best bet for dino-action in the meantime.


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Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Could Have Had an Even More Ridiculous Title

Hey, remember this terrible scene from Batman v Superman? Good times.

Hey, remember this terrible scene from Batman v Superman? Good times.
Image: Warner Bros.

When it was announced that the DC Extended Universe’s follow-up to Man of Steel would be titled Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, people had quite a laugh. After all, it sounded like Batman was going to sue Superman, presumably for all the manslaughter by depraved indifference he committed at the end of his debut movie. However, it turns out the movie’s title could have been much, much more ridiculous.

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Speaking at Justice Con this past weekend (via Collider), director Zack Snyder and screenwriter Chris Terrio revealed that the reason Batman is “v” Superman as opposed to “versus” Superman is because they didn’t want it to sound like some lame “versus” movie, which is funny because it is absolutely and unequivocally a “versus” movie. But that’s apparently not the title they really wanted.

“The whole ‘v’ instead of ‘versus,’ it was like this crazy negotiation,” Snyder said at the con. “I was like, ‘Guys, can’t we just do something like Son of Sun and Knight of Night, or something that’s a little bit more poetic?’”

On one hand, Son of Sun and Knight of Night is pretty clever since Superman derives his powers from Earth’s yellow sun, and Batman is the ultimate night person. On the other hand, this is a terrible, hoity-toity title for a movie starring two of the most popular superheroes in the world whose names are essential to gaining mass audiences’ attention and interest.

If nothing else, it’s a good reminder that it’s really fine that Zack Snyder is no longer in charge of the DC cinematic universe. Yes, his cut of Justice League was infinitely better than the theatrical release, but his vision for these superheroes has always been prohibitively adult, over serious, and self-aggrandizing.

What I want to know is if there are even hoitier and/or toitier titles for the movie out there. If you have ideas, please share them in the comments! My vote is for A Tale of Two Marthas: Who Is Donna Justice?


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Indiana Jones 5 Picks Up the Talented Phoebe Waller-Bridge

Phoebe Waller-Bridge attends the 26th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at The Shrine Auditorium on January 19, 2020 in Los Angeles, California.

Phoebe Waller-Bridge attends the 26th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at The Shrine Auditorium on January 19, 2020 in Los Angeles, California.
Photo: Rich Fury (Getty Images)

Another Lucasfilm saga to add to her ridiculously talented belt.

Today Disney confirmed that Fleabag star Phoebe Waller-Bridge—who previously appeared as the self-righteous droid L3-37 in Solo: A Star Wars story—will join the main cast of the still-untitled Indiana Jones 5. According to Lucasfilm, Waller-Bridge will “star alongside” the returning Harrison Ford, who of course will reprise his role as the curmudgeonly archaeologist/Nazi-whipper/adventure-seeker Indiana Jones.

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In less surprising news, the studio also confirmed that legendary composer John Williams would return to score the movie. “Steven [Spielberg], Harrison, Kathy [Kennedy], Frank [Marshall], and John are all artistic heroes of mine,” the film’s director, Logan’s James Mangold (replacing Spielberg, who stepped away from directing the film early last year), said in a provided statement. “When you add Phoebe, a dazzling actor, brilliant creative voice and the chemistry she will undoubtedly bring to our set, I can’t help but feel as lucky as Indiana Jones himself.”

Indiana Jones 5 is currently set to hit theaters July 29, 2022. No word yet on who Waller-Bridge will play in the adventure film but we’ll bring you more as we know it.


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Spider-Man Movies Will Stream on Netflix First Thanks to New Sony Deal

After theaters and home video, Spider-Verse 2 will be exclusively on Netflix.

After theaters and home video, Spider-Verse 2 will be exclusively on Netflix.

For the past few months, every studio has been figuring out how to balance theatrical movies with growing streaming services. Warner Bros. has one strategy, Disney another, and Paramount yet another. Now Sony has its own strategy and it’s got the biggest name recognition possible: Netflix.

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After a nearly two-year auction, Netflix has secured the rights to stream Sony Pictures’ theatrical films “in the first pay TV window,” according to Variety. This will begin with Sony’s 2022 films and continue for five years. So while 2021 films like Spider-Man: No Way Home, Venom: Let There Be Carnage, and Ghostbusters: Afterlife won’t count, all future films with those characters will. For now, the biggest of those is Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse 2, currently set for release October 7, 2022. Uncharted, Escape Room 2, and Morbius are currently the only other Sony titles announced for 2022 release.

It boils down to this: Sony movies will debut in theaters as they would have in the past. Then, as usual, they’ll show up on DVD/Blu-ray. After that though, they’ll show up exclusively on Netflix. In the past, for Sony movies, this deal was in place with Starz.

There’s no word exactly how much time will pass between a film’s theatrical debut and its Netflix debut, but it’s expected to be shorter than the usual nine-month length Sony films have had in the past. As part of the deal, which reportedly will cost Netflix hundreds of millions of dollars based on how much each film grosses, Netflix also gets exclusive rights to Sony films that are direct-to-streaming.

Oh, and the deal is only in the United States.

Sony already had a deal with Sony for its animated titles (a big reason why the upcoming The Mitchells Vs. The Machines is debuting there), but it now extends to everything, including select back catalog titles.

“Sony Pictures is a great partner and we are thrilled to expand our relationship through this forward-thinking agreement,” Netflix global film head Scott Stuber said in a statement. “This not only allows us to bring their impressive slate of beloved film franchises and new IP to Netflix in the U.S., but it also establishes a new source of first run films for Netflix movie lovers worldwide.”

With most other studios relying on their own streaming services for their big theatrical films, Netflix teaming up with Sony feels like two juggernauts teaming up to fend off the new guys.

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