What is Hollywood’s natural response to a summer of blockbuster duds like The Lone Ranger, which blew a hole in Disney’s balance sheet so big you could drive a derailing steam engine through it? Why, double down, of course! You would think studios would take a breath before assembling production slates equivalent to the gross domestic product of Madagascar, but the summer of 2015 is already turning out to be a franchise battle royale: Batman vs. Superman, Star Wars Episode VII, and an Avengers sequel.
Nonetheless, Universal has boldly stepped into the fray, declaring that the long-gestating 3-D Jurassic Park IV, now sporting the understated title Jurassic World, will be released June 12, 2015. Like that corned-beef hash you’ve had in the pantry since the first Bush administration, Jurassic Park sequels only get finer with age. No word yet on what terrifying new dinosaur will harass Sam Neill, but something tells me it will have a Far East provenance that conveniently appeals to the growing Chinese film market.
Disney, somewhat more prudently, is delaying the release of the next undying Pirates movie from 2015 until we all collectively forget the memory of Johnny Depp in feathers (2016). You can’t help but smile when Jerry Bruckheimer cites “script issues” as a factor behind the delay; yes, I’m sure Disney has script issues with the next Pirates film: 200 million of them. But that’s good news for newly attached Kon-Tiki directors Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg, who fashioned their own historical boat adventure for the far friendlier price of $15 million. Pirates of the Caribbean 5: Jack Sparrow’s Fabulous Staycation, anyone?
By far the most intriguing blockbuster news this week, however, are rumors that Robert Zemeckis is in negotiations to direct Charlie Kaufman’s adaptation of the young-adult Chaos Walking series for the little studio that could, Lionsgate. Kaufman has actually dabbled in films for younger audiences before, but the series’ description of a world where all thought suddenly becomes audible feels tailor-made for Kaufman’s brand of meta-neurotic, hyper-self-awareness. And frankly, anything that keeps Zemeckis out of his self-destructive relationship with Dead-Eyed Motion Capture can only be a good thing. Now, if only someone would back Kaufman’s Frank or Francis, thus forever destroying Oscar season, we could all live in a year-round paradise of sequels, reboots, and Roland Emmerich!