Coming to a theater near you: these films

Mary Poppins to be featured in new original musical

Director Rob Marshall (Into The Woods, Chicago) has been attached by Disney to direct a new, original musical featuring the famous magical nanny, Mary Poppins. Marshall will work again with his Into The Woods producers John DeLuca and Marc Platt to adapt the further adventures of P.L. Travers’ beloved character for the screen. The new film will feature original songs by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman (Hairspray, Smash) with a screenplay written by Academy Award-nominated writer David Magee (Life of Pi).

It will take some time to get used to whoever is cast as Mary Poppins. To many, Julie Andrews is Mary Poppins, and Mary Poppins is Julie Andrews. The newly attached team, however, is creating much excitement for this update of an adored, iconic character. Disney seems to be lining up the right puzzle pieces for a great new musical.

King Kong makes moves from Universal to Warner Bros.

With Kong: Skull Island premiering in March 2017, and casting announcements happening all over the place, nobody could have anticipated a studio change. What does this mean?

First of all, what did Universal get in return? You don’t trade your franchise quarterback away and get nothing in return. Warner Bros. must have put up some serious talent for Universal to consider this move. Total speculation, but Universal Studios Hollywood is under construction on a “Wizarding World of Harry Potter” section to their extravagant theme park. Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them is set for a trilogy of films with Academy Award winners set to star.

Additionally, Warner Bros. is working with director Gareth Edwards and screenwriter Max Borenstein to return for the sequel to 2014’s Godzilla, and now with the King of the Apes at their disposal...ladies and gentlemen, let’s get ready to rumble!

**Justin Timberlake set to star in animated Dreamworks musical Trolls **

There are certain things in this world that simply belong together: Spaghetti and meatballs, Peanut butter and jelly, Justin Timberlake and an animated musical based on those Troll dolls. Pure magic. JT will lend his voice to “Branch”, described as a “hilariously hardcore survivalist” in this upcoming animated adventure film. Timberlake joins Anna Kendrick, who will voice “Princess Poppy,” and film director, Shrek Forever After veteran, Mike Mitchell. 20th Century Fox is developing this one, which is set for release in Nov. 2016.

Bryan Singer announces 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea as next project

Director Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects, X-Men: Days of Future Past) took to his Instagram account to give us some big news: he just turned 50! Oh, and he’s finished a draft of a script adapting the famous Jules Verne tale of Captain Nemo, the Nautilus, and the giant squid. Singer is still wrapped up in post-production for the next installment of the X-Men series, X-Men: Apocalypse, but has 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea lined up next. X-Men fans need not worry. Singer wrote: “...Not abandoning the #xmen universe. Very excited about #xmenapocalypse and beyond.” The project does not have a home yet, but I anticipate a sea-battle between studios to grab hold of it.

** Transformers writers’ room lays out future plans for franchise**

The Transformers franchise is one of the sure-fire money makers in today’s cinema. Unfortunately, that doesn’t say much about the quality of these films. After the fourth installment, Age of Extinction, Paramount and Hasbro tasked a number of writers with developing the future of the franchise. Led by Akiva Goldsman (A Beautiful Mind), the writers have emerged with details regarding Transformers 5 and beyond. Goldsman is set to develop an idea into a script for the fifth film, starring Mark Wahlberg reprising his role as Cade Yeager and Michael Bay directing, though Bay is not yet confirmed.

I thoroughly enjoyed the first Transformers. It was the right blend of action-comedy and sci-fi for a summer popcorn flick (and I will sing the praises of Shia LaBeouf until he no longer deserves it). I’ve got to admit, though, that I’m off the train. This is like someone calling themselves a fisherman because they caught a trout one time. You’ve got to keep catching trout, and Michael Bay and Paramount have been reeling in water since Revenge of the Fallen. I’ll be keeping my ear to the ground for more news about this, and I will hold out hope.