Greetings, and welcome to another edition of The Monitor, WIRED’s entertainment news roundup. Today, we have more updates about how the novel coronavirus is impacting the world of culture. There’s also a new Black Widow trailer. Oh, and James Wan is reportedly working on a monster movie and Taika Waititi is bringing Roald Dahl to Netflix. Here we go.
The Final Black Widow Trailer Is Epic
Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) has always referred to The Avengers as her family. But before that she had another one: She was an assassin trained in the Red Room. Now the Red Room has a new leader—Taskmaster—and according to her sister Yelena (Florence Pugh), he’s manipulating its recruits. So, naturally, she’s going to stop him. To do so, she gets help from Yelena, Alexei/The Red Guardian (David Harbour), and Melina (Rachel Weisz). Black Widow—the first film of Marvel’s Phase Four, even though it takes place after the events of Captain America: Civil War—hits theaters on May 1.
Game of Thrones Star Max von Sydow Dead at 90
Max von Sydow, the man known for playing everyone from Father Merrin in The Exorcist to the Three-Eyed Raven in Game of Thrones has died. The Swedish actor was 90 years old. “It’s with a broken heart and with infinite sadness that we have the extreme pain of announcing the departure of Max von Sydow on March 8, 2020,” his wife, French documentary filmmaker Catherine von Sydow, said in a statement today.
Pixar’s Onward Leads the Weekend Box Office
It’s not a huge number, especially for a Pixar movie, but Onward lead the box office this weekend bringing in $40 million domestically. (Internationally, it made $28 million for a worldwide total of $68 million.) Even though that total seems low, the studio hopes good word-of-mouth will give it a long shelf-life in theaters. Also, if you’re wondering if fears about the new coronavirus are keeping people out of theaters, that may not be the case. “I think there was zero impact,” Comscore analyst Paul Dergarabedian told Variety. “With $40 million for Onward, a small drop off for The Invisible Man, and The Way Back getting solid scores from audiences, it looks like people are in the habit of going to the movies.”
South By Southwest Canceled Due to Coronavirus Fears
Following in the footsteps of the Game Developers Conference, F8, Google I/O, and other conventions, this year’s South By Southwest will not happen as planned due to concerns over Covid-19. In a statement posted to Twitter on Friday, organizers said “the City of Austin has cancelled the March dates for SXSW and SXSW EDU. SXSW will faithfully follow the City’s directions. We are devastated to share this news with you.” In another bad bit of news for the conference, the cancellation will reportedly not be covered by insurance. Speaking with The Austin Chronicle, SXSW cofounder Roland Swenson said, “We have a lot of insurance (terrorism, injury, property destruction, weather). However, bacterial infections, communicable diseases, viruses, and pandemics are not covered.”
James Wan Is Producing a New Universal Monster Movie
Not too long ago, Universal jettisoned an idea to create an interconnected cinematic universe based around its classic monsters (Dracula, The Wolf Man, The Mummy, etc.). Now, with the success of The Invisible Man, it seems as though the studio might be willing to make monster movies after all—although not in a connected universe. According to The Hollywood Reporter, James Wan is going to produce a new monster pic for Universal. The report doesn’t specify exactly which monster the movie will focus on, but it does sound a bit like Frankenstein. “With shades of Disturbia, the tale will focus on a group of teens who discover that a neighbor is building a monster in his basement,” the report says. “Spoiler: The monster gets loose.” Wan isn’t set to direct the movie; Supernatural writer Robbie Thompson is set to work on the script.
Taika Waititi Is Making Two Roald Dahl Animated Series for Netflix
As if he wasn’t busy enough, Taika Waititi just made a deal to make a pair of animated series for Netflix based on the works of Roald Dahl. The first will be based on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and the second will be based on the Oompa-Loompas. Waititi will write, direct, and executive produce the series, which Netflix claims will retain the spirit of Dahl’s works “while building out the world and characters far beyond the pages of the Dahl book for the very first time.”
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