After the excitement of festivals finally wears off as September comes to a close, there’s still a lot of great news regarding films to look forward to. A24 is about to get its first horror trilogy. Martin Scorsese found himself won over by a horror movie this year. Ana de Armas spoke about her upcoming movie, Hocus Pocus could be having a spin-off in the future, and Avatar rocks the box office ahead of its sequel debut. Check out everything that happened in film the past two weeks.
Sequel to X and Pearl Confirmed
Horror audiences were in for a treat this year as Ti West returned with two new horror films that are both connected. Earlier this year, he debuted “X” through A24 as a 1970s-style slasher picture. This September, he debuted “Pearl”, a 1910s prequel that was filmed at the same time. West would later divulge that he convinced A24 to let him make this second film during filming considering how much time they had on location. And it’s looking like a third film is in the works to complete the trilogy.
Just like with “X”, “Pearl” featured an after-credit preview of the next film. Since nothing has been officially shot yet, it’s mostly a teaser, but it makes clear what the next film will be about. Maxxxine will take place in the 1980s and follow more of Mia Goth’s Maxine character, the porn actress who escaped the violent farm of the first movie. West will direct and Goth will return to her role which seems to suggest she’ll be heading for Hollywood.
No release date is currently set for the third film as it’s currently in production.
Martin Scorsese Praises Pearl
Continuing on with Pearl’s positive praise, a notable filmmaker has offered a powerful review. One might not expect a small horror film to gain the attention of Martin Scorsese. Scorsese, however, was really won over by the movie and sent A24 this glowing review:
“Ti West’s movies have a kind of energy that is so rare these days, powered by a pure, undiluted love for cinema. You feel it in every frame. A prequel to ‘X’ made in a diametrically opposite cinematic register (think 50s Scope color melodramas), ‘Pearl’ makes for a wild, mesmerizing, deeply — and I mean deeply — disturbing 102 minutes. West and his muse and creative partner Mia Goth really know how to toy with their audience … before they plunge the knife into our chests and start twisting. I was enthralled, then disturbed, then so unsettled that I had trouble getting to sleep. But I couldn’t stop watching.”
The praise makes sense when considering Scorsese’s love of classic cinema. Recognizing the retro influences was a major part of what gave “X” and “Pearl” their own distinctive styles. The 79-year-old director, known for such hit films as “Taxi Driver” and “Goodfellas”, recognizes a good film when he spots one.
Emotion in Blonde
Ana de Armas is certainly becoming the talk of the town for her performance in “Blonde”, an explicit take on the life of the celebrity Marilyn Monroe. But it may surprise you that Monroe wasn’t the only influence on Armas’s performance. To make the performance work, she channeled her own past anxieties to fit the conflicted character.
In an interview with Variety, Armas brought up how she used her own emotional experience while working on the movie.
“Using my emotions — how I felt about playing the role — was the way I approached the entire film…Embracing my fears and my vulnerability, my feeling uncomfortable and my insecurities.”
Director Andrew Dominik also brought up how it was working with Armas.
“She’ll allow the room to get tense if she needs that space — and in doing that, she puts even more pressure on herself to deliver.”
“Blonde” is experiencing a limited theatrical release and will debut on Netflix on September 28, 2022.
Hocus Pocus 2 and Spin-Off Possibilities
Disney+ will soon be debuting the long-awaited sequel to “Hocus Pocus”. The 1990s cult classic was originally supposed to be a TV movie but the film about three witches terrorizing modern Salem went to theaters. Despite being a box office bomb, it would soon find a firm following over the years, becoming a Halloween staple. So, naturally, Disney tapped into this love with a sequel.
On The Art of Kindness Podcast, “Hocus Pocus” creator David Kirschner recently spoke about how there might still be a future for the comedic witch saga on the small screen where it was originally intended to start:
“Underneath all of those headstones as you see when the kids run in the ceremony and they go underground [in the first film] … I wanted to really explore a world that lives beneath Salem of things that go bump in the night in a Buffy the Vampire kind of way. It’s Salem for God’s sake! That’s magical land — that’s holy land. I absolutely would love to see that.”
There are no official plans yet for a “Hocus Pocus” spin-off. That being said, Disney does have a love of continuing franchises in one form or another. Given how much of a marketing push Disney is placing on this property, it might not be surprising to see more of Salem on Disney+ in the future.
“Hocus Pocus 2” premieres on Disney+ on September 30th.
Avatar Nets Big Box Office Return
James Cameron will soon be debuting “Avatar 2” in theaters later this year. To hype theatrical audiences up on returning to his sci-fi world, 20th Century Studios re-released “Avatar” into theaters with a new 4K transfer. The box office certainly proved that the “Avatar” fandom is still alive after more than a decade.
2009’s “Avatar” returned to theaters with a worldwide gross of $30.5 million for its return screenings. This draw was expected as Disney had pulled the film from Disney+ for this brief time period and given the heavy draw of the film when it was first released. “Avatar” would smash box office records during 2009 and it was only recently toppled by 2019’s “Avengers: Endgame”.
What this all points to is that it’s looking like “Avatar: The Way of Water” will be heading for major blockbuster status when it debuts in December. This probably isn’t the biggest surprise considering James Cameron’s legacy for making box office titans, since the previous box office record holder before “Avatar” was his other epic, 1997’s “Titanic”.