There was lots of movie news this week. A quick recap of highlights:• Warner Bros. announced that “Jupiter Ascending,” the newest film from the Wachowski siblings (“The Matrix” movies) is being postponed from its release on July 18 to Feb. 6, 2015, citing more time needed for extensive special effects.
Really? The announcement comes just weeks before the film was to be released, and the Wachowskis are just now saying they need more time? Hmmm.• Variety reports that Bill Condon (“Dreamgirls,” the last two “Twilight” films) will direct a live-action version of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast,” joining another live-action adaptation of a classic Disney tale already in the works: “The Jungle Book,” directed by Jon Favreau. Both films are obviously hoping to cash in on the mega-success of “Maleficent.”
What’s next? “The Lion King?”• “Ghostbusters” is gonna call Aug. 29 the date for a theatrical re-release, in celebration of the seminal comedy’s 30th anniversary. This precedes the film’s Blu-Ray release on Sept. 19.
In other re-release news, “Forrest Gump” will get an I-MAX release on Sept. 5 celebrating its 20th anniversary, further signifying that Hollywood is going to re-release everything in I-MAX. Eventually.• Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o (“12 Years a Slave”) joined the cast of a little movie called “Star Wars: Episode VII.” Production on the film is already underway. It’s due in theaters Dec. 18, 2015. Not so far, far away.
• In other “Star Wars” news, Josh Trank (“Chronicle”) has been hired by Disney to direct a “Star Wars” spinoff film. Trank is currently working on the “Fantastic Four” reboot. No story details were announced.
Gareth Edwards, hot off “Godzilla,” was previously announced to direct a separate “Star Wars” spin-off film. It looks like Disney is following its Marvel comic book films model in prepping the “Star Wars” franchise. Its box-office receipts are sure to go into hyper drive.• In a last bit of “Star Wars” news, “Episode VII” director J.J. Abrams toyed with fans last week when he tweeted a picture of a hand-written note that said: “I wish people would stop leaking photos from Episode VII. And making ridiculous claims that the Millennium Falcon is in the movie.”
The catch, though, is that the note was sitting atop what looked like the famous game board seen on Han Solo’s ship in a previous “Star Wars” film.
So Abrams is either, wink-wink, acknowledging that the Millennium Falcon will indeed be in “Episode VII,” or not.