‘A Quiet Place Part 2’ director John Krasinski on the horror sequel

In 2018, John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place turned silence into the building blocks of fright and forged from the horror-thriller genre a modern fable of family love, communication and survival. With its mix of relentless tension and layered storytelling about a tight-knit clan fending off an immensely destructive, sound-attuned alien force, the film became a startling hit and cultural phenomenon.

Now comes the story’s unnerving second chapter, which picks up right where the Abbott family left off. But A Quiet Place Part II also heads to new places as events hurtle past the fragile sanctuary of the “sand path” the Abbotts created in order to prevail in a reality where even a single footstep could be deadly—and into a world of infinite peril beyond. From the opening moments of the film, the family is on the run, beyond any semblance of security and searching for refuge in a town gone mad with fear. In a time when empathy and connection have nearly vanished from the world, the Abbotts strive not only to protect each other from the threat of sound but to find hope in the terrifying hush around them.

The idea that the Abbotts might continue their journey into the vast, unexplored territory beyond their home came as a surprise even to Krasinski. He never imagined he would be in the position to contemplate a sequel when he began working on A Quiet Place, not knowing it would touch such a deep nerve in the culture. He’s also no fan of half-hearted follow-ups. Yet, when Krasinski had an idea he felt could truly push the storytelling—an idea true to the original film’s characters and conception, yet also full of fresh creative challenges—he was lit with the same passion for it as the first time around.

The most important thing to Krasinski was that if he were to extend the story, A Quiet Place Part II had to be, like its predecessor, more than a visceral sensory experience. It had to also drive the family’s emotional journey forward—this time, towards both independence and community.

As he had originally, Krasinski let his thirst to explore the unknown take the lead. That meant imagining all that might lie beyond the cocoon of quiet the Abbotts managed to craft for their family. Where would they go, and what would they find out there and within themselves, if they had no choice but to venture beyond the security of the sand path?

L-r, Director John Krasinski, Noah Jupe and Emily Blunt on the set of “A Quiet Place II.”

“There’s so much more to experience beyond the farm,” note Krasinski. “But even though we’re greatly expanding the world and the scale of the story, the intimacy comes from the fact that the rules remain the same. It was very creatively exciting for us to have this chance to create much bigger set pieces that still feel true to the story and to the Abbott family’s inner experiences.”

Setting the Abbotts adrift from their routines into a land overtaken by chaos meant pulling the rug out from under what was already the most treacherous of situations. But that in turn would only further lay bare the core beauty of families: their resilience even in the face of the gravest doubts.

“If you don’t have the safety devices of the sand path and the lights, everything is even more unpredictable,” describes Krasinski. “Each step you take is uncertain. Scares can come from anywhere. When you don’t know how you’re going to survive the next moment, you’re likely to make a mistake. And when you make a mistake, our infamous creatures are around a lot more than you thought.”

Emily Blunt, left, and John Krasinski on the set of “A Quiet Place II.”

About A Quiet Place Part II

Paramount Pictures presents in association with Michael Bay, a Platinum Dunes / Sunday Night production, a John Krasinski film “A Quiet Place Part II.”  Based on characters created by Bryan Woods & Scott Beck, written and directed by John Krasinski.

A Quiet Place Part II stars Emily Blunt, Cillian Murphy, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe and Djimon Hounsou. Following the deadly events at home, the Abbott family (Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe) must now face the terrors of the outside world as they continue their fight for survival in silence. Forced to venture into the unknown, they quickly realize that the creatures that hunt by sound are not the only threats that lurk beyond the sand path.

In Philippine cinemas March 18, A Quiet Place Part II is distributed in the Philippines by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.  #AQuietPlace

‘Insidious: The Last Key’ director elevates horror genre in ‘Escape Room’

Adam Robitel, the director of Columbia Pictures’ new suspense thriller Escape Room, sure knows a thing or two about creating horror hits for the big screen. After all, Robitel directed the record-breaking Insidious: The Last Key, which has grossed a whopping $167 million worldwide.

Escape Room began when producer Ori Marmur first tried out an escape room with his family and saw a potential for a film that plays out as much as a psychological thriller as a horror movie, by featuring an escape room with a twist. From the producers of the Fast & Furious series, Escape Room is about six strangers who find themselves in circumstances beyond their control and must use their wits to find the clues… or die.

“The good escape rooms are really cinematic: you go into a cold war bunker, you’re rooting through CIA dossiers, then you hit a button and suddenly a hidden projector turns on with a blue light and you see a map,” says Robitel. “These rooms are well art-directed so I saw the potential for a visually appealing film.”

In the film, the six characters — played by Taylor Russell, Logan Miller, Deborah Ann Woll, Jay Ellis, Tyler Labine, and Nik Dodani — have chosen to be part of the escape roomexperience and, they will discover, there’s a mystery that links them all together. “They all chose to be there — they haven’t been kidnapped or forced there,” notes Marmur. That said, they all get more than they bargained for. “They all go there expecting one thing and then it becomes a very different thing entirely.”

And as they solve the puzzles and the plot of each of the individual rooms, they begin to see there is a larger puzzle to solve — why they chose to be there. As it turns out, they all have something in common. “The idea of strangers being brought together for mysterious reasons, thrust in this environment and having to work together, was a really cool idea,” says Robitel.

Jay Ellis, Taylor Russell and Logan Miller star in ESCAPE ROOM.

“Along the way, Original Film, Ori Marmur, and Neal Moritz (producer), they always said, ‘Let’s really try to elevate the genre and infuse a movie like this, which has great visuals, with great psychology, too,’” adds Robitel. “So whether it’s the Ice Room, Billiard Room, Tile Room — each of these rooms represents the psychological machinations and the trauma of each character… Everybody has fired on all cylinders to make this film. It’s been fantastic.”

Columbia Pictures presents an Original Film production, Escape Room. Starring Taylor Russell, Logan Miller, Deborah Ann Woll, Jay Ellis, Tyler Labine, Nik Dodani, with Yorick van Wageningen.  Directed by Adam Robitel (Insidious: The Last Key).  Produced by Neal H. Moritz (The Fast and the Furious franchise) and Ori Marmur.  Screenplay by Bragi Schut and Maria Melnik.  Story by Bragi Schut.  

In Philippine cinemas February 27, Escape Room is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International. #EscapeRoomMovie

‘Dolphin Tale’ director, star reunite for ‘A Dog’s Way Home’

Having appeared in and directed a number of films involving animals — including helming the two hit Dolphin Tale movies — Charles Martin Smith, director of Columbia Pictures’ heartwarming tale A Dog’s Way Home, admits to being enthralled with the genre.

“I’m probably the only director in the business that actually prefers working with kids and animals,” says Smith with a laugh. “I’m fascinated by making movies about animals, nature, and wilderness, and A Dog’s Way Home combines them in a way that’s very exciting for me. When I was a young man acting in Never Cry Wolf, the director of that film, Carroll Ballard, taught me so much about working in nature and working with animals and understanding how to capture that on film. I try to carry that forward in the films that I make now.”

Bella (Shelby) jumps through the window screen in Columbia Pictures’ A DOG’S WAY HOME.

Based on the bestselling novel by the beloved author of A Dog’s PurposeA Dog’s Way Home is an emotionally charged and uplifting spiritual odyssey that follows the adventure of Bella (voiced by Bryce Dallas Howard), a dog who embarks on an epic 400-mile journey home after she is separated from her beloved human, Lucas (played Jonah Hauer-King), an aspiring med student and VA hospital volunteer. Bella touches the lives of many during her unwavering quest; from an orphaned mountain lion cub to a homeless veteran down on his luck, Bella brings joy and comfort to everyone she meets with her unique spirit and faith.

“The thing about animals as opposed to human actors is that animals will always be honest,” Smith says. “You’ll never get a false moment out of an animal; there’s an innocence and purity about them as characters in film that I find endlessly interesting.”

Lucas (Jonah Hauer King), Bella (Shelby) and Terri (Ashley Judd) in Columbia Pictures’ A DOG’S WAY HOME.

Joining Smith in the big-screen retelling of Bella’s journey is Ashley Judd, who previously worked with the director on two other beloved films about an animal: Dolphin Tale and its sequel.

“Charles Martin Smith is the director of the movie and we made two Dolphin Tale movies together,” said Judd in an interview with Parade. “I knew that in his capable hands the movie would be very touching, very inspirational but also very grounded and authentic. I love that the movie deals with big social themes, such as veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), with homelessness, and our family of choice — the people with whom we choose to spend our lives.”

In the film, Judd plays Terri, a veteran affected by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and finds that having Bella in her home is able to give her considerable relief. “As someone who has had service animals, I’m very familiar with the way that these animals are of extraordinary benefit to their humans,” says Judd. “When Terri has [PTSD] episodes, Bella recognizes that, and she’s there to put her chin on Terri’s leg, to comfort her, and to help bring her back to the present moment, to get her back into her body, and out of being stuck in the past traumatic event that happened when she was in the U.S. military.”

Bella (Shelby) in Columbia Pictures’ A DOG’S WAY HOME.

A Dog’s Way Home is a break from the world in which we’re living today,” concludes Judd. “It’s a reminder that we all have really deep needs for connection, belonging, purpose… and those needs are reflected in the movie through Bella’s journey.”

In Philippine cinemas February 6, A Dog’s Way Home is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International. #ADogsWayHome

Bradley Cooper soars as he directs Lady Gaga-starrer ‘A Star is Born’

Four-time Oscar nominee Bradley Cooper makes his directorial debut with Warner Bros. Pictures’ A Star Is Born.

In this new take on the iconic love story, Cooper and Lady Gaga fuse their considerable talents to depict the raw and passionate tale of Jack and Ally, two artistic souls coming together, on stage and in life. Theirs is a complex journey through the beauty and the heartbreak of a relationship struggling to survive.

Cooper portrays seasoned musician Jackson Maine, who discovers and falls in love with struggling artist Ally. She has given up on her dream to become a successful singer, until she meets Jack, who immediately sees her natural talent.

“I never thought, ‘How do I make it original?’ I just knew I had to make it authentic to tell the story I wanted to tell,” says Cooper who, in addition to directing and co-writing the screenplay, and starring as Jackson Maine, produced the film. He also co-wrote some of the music, which he performed alongside Lady Gaga, who co-wrote much of it as well.

Though she loved his take on the story, Gaga—as experienced a performer as they come—was nervous to take on the role of Ally in her first feature film, but nevertheless thrilled to do so with Cooper at the helm and by her side. “I had to get past the nerves, but I was so excited,” she relates, “because, in my opinion, when somebody has talent inside them, brewing for years, ready to move into another medium and it finally happens…it’s like a huge explosion, an opus. He was meant to direct, and I just got lucky enough to be in his first film.”

Cooper states, “She’d done incredible work as an actress, but to make this huge transition… It felt like we were at the same point individually in our work, and we both needed the same thing from each other, essentially, in order to jump the tracks to this other place.”

Still, it’s no easy feat, even for such accomplished individuals. As seasoned singer/songwriter Jack tells Ally when they first meet, “Talent comes from everywhere, but having something to say and a way to say it so that people listen to it, that’s a whole other bag. And unless you get out there and you try to do it, you’ll never know. That’s just the truth.”

In the film, Maine’s philosophy is intended to encourage the skittish ingenue to step into the spotlight, figuratively and literally. It could also be Cooper subtly revealing through his character why this story motivated him to finally test his own wings behind the scenes.

“I’ve always known that I wanted to direct, but I also knew that I needed to have a point of view, to know why I was doing it, otherwise there was no reason to,” he says. “And I always wanted to tell a love story, because it feels like something everybody can relate to—the love, the loss of it, the high of it. It’s the thing that makes you feel the most alive.

“Coupled with that is music—not just music, but singing,” he continues. In fact, Cooper and Gaga made a pact early on to record all their performances in the film live—no lip-syncing to a track. “There’s something about singing that’s so honest…you can’t hide at all. I thought that those two things could be put together in a way that maybe I’d find my point of view.”

“One thing I’ve learned is that when you’re creating any kind of art, if you’re in the moment, you trust your instincts but can be flexible, too, you can make something that might shift someone’s way of looking at their world a little bit,” Cooper reflects. “And when your whole crew goes there with you? That’s a wonderful feeling. That everybody trusted my vision was exhilarating and, I think, gave me the confidence to keep at that daunting task every day.

“This has been a three-year journey and the experience has been amazing, and if I’m lucky enough that anybody allows me to do it again, yeah, I absolutely would,” Cooper continues, adding, “There’s a line in the film that Jack says to Ally, ‘If there’s one reason we’re supposed to be here, it’s to say something so people want to hear it.’ I hope that’s what we’ve done.”

In Philippine cinemas October 10, A Star is Born is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

‘Mission: Impossible’ director returns for ‘Fallout’ starring Tom Cruise

At Tom Cruise’s request, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation director Christopher McQuarrie became the first filmmaker ever to return to direct a second Mission: Impossible film. And does so with the upcoming Mission: Impossible – Fallout (in Philippine cinemas July 25).

“One of the signature elements of the franchise is that there has been a different director for every movie,” McQuarrie explains. “When Tom asked me to come back and direct this one I said I would do it on the condition that I could maintain the spirit of that tradition by completely changing the visual language from the previous film. I want people who watch Rogue Nation and Fallout to feel like two different people directed them.”

That was fine with Cruise, who has had a deep admiration for McQuarrie’s ability as a filmmaker since the pair first collaborated on the 2012 action thriller Jack Reacher. “I love working with McQ,” says Cruise. “He is enormously talented. He wanted to change the visual style so it would be as though someone else had directed it, and he succeeded. But it still has his bold storytelling sensibility. I love the toughness of the movie and the characters. We pulled out all the stops. I can’t wait for audiences to see it.”

McQuarrie believes one of the reasons the franchise remains so popular is Cruise’s insatiable desire to make each film more thrilling and intense than its predecessor. “It never stands still,” says the director. “But most importantly it never forgets the audience. Tom is first and foremost an entertainer. Everything he’s doing in the movies is to take you places you’ve never been, to show you things you’ve never seen, and to put you in the experience right there with him.”

For Mission: Impossible – Fallout, McQuarrie was eager to explore a darker and more human side of the film’s central character. “Ethan has always been a bit of a mystery,” he observes. “This time I wanted to be more inside his head and feel his connection with other people. The title refers not only to nuclear fallout but also to the fallout of all of Ethan’s good intentions. He has walked into a situation beyond his control, and he has to go through it even though he knows he’s being manipulated.”

Mission: Impossible – Fallout is distributed in the Philippines by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.

About Mission: Impossible – Fallout

The best intentions often come back to haunt you. Mission: Impossible – Fallout finds Ethan Hunt (Cruise) and his IMF team (Baldwin, Pegg, Rhames) along with some familiar allies (Ferguson, Michelle Monaghan) in a race against time after a mission gone wrong. Henry Cavill, Angela Bassett, and Vanessa Kirby also join the dynamic cast with filmmaker Christopher McQuarrie returning to the helm.

‘Pitch Perfect’ writer marks directorial debut via comedy film ‘Blockers’

Kay Cannon, the writer and architect of the groundbreaking Pitch Perfect movies has proved that comedies about strong, dynamic women could pull huge audiences of female fans at the box office.

With her directorial debut in Universal Pictures’ sex comedy Blockers, Cannon has become only the sixth woman in the history of film to direct a big R-rated studio comedy.

In the film, when three parents discover their daughters’ pact to lose their virginity at prom, they launch a covert one-night operation to stop the teens from sealing the deal. As nonstop helicoptering struggles with awkwardly letting go, the well-meaning trio shares in the raucous comedy that accompanies their kids’ biggest step into adulthood.

Lisa (Leslie Mann), Mitchell (John Cena) and Hunter (Ike Barinholtz) are thrown together by fate—or rather their daughters becoming fast friends on the first day of kindergarten. As their inseparable girls grow into ride-or-die young adults, the trio of parents becomes de facto commiserates, sharing in their kids’ special moments, from birthdays and teen heartaches to first dances and now prom.

“I had been itching to direct for a long time,” she confesses. “Women don’t get an opportunity like this often and I was excited for the chance.”

When making her directorial debut, it was also important to choose a film that would one day resonate with her daughter. “Even though my daughter’s still young, I wanted to direct a film that she could eventually see herself in,” Cannon says. “I was waiting for a story that shows young women in a way that hasn’t been seen before.”

The story of Blockers appealed to Cannon because it wasn’t a typical ‘high-school sex movie.’ “It shows young women taking control of their own sexuality, and confronts the sexual double standard,” she shares. “Right away, I wanted to do this.”

For far too long, films have been made about young men’s firsts. With Blockers, young women finally have a rollicking film about their own sexual experience that’s equally relatable. The scene where the young women make the sex pact is a favorite for Cannon because it sounds like a conversation that could be overheard in any high school cafeteria. “They’re silly; they’re crass; they curse,” she offers. “They talk about sex in ways that we haven’t seen young women talk about it, at least not in high school.”

Cannon hopes that this story that explores sexuality from several angles will prompt audiences of all ages to start a long-overdue conversation about sex, responsibility and respecting the choices of young women. She offers, “I didn’t talk about sex growing up at all. It was abstinence and that’s it. Maybe you wouldn’t want to see this movie sitting next to your parents because there are a lot of dirty jokes, but my dream for this film is to get people laughing and then talking. I would love that.”

In Philippine cinemas May 2, Blockers is distributed in the Philippines by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.

Director talks taking on the challenge of ‘Thor: Ragnarok’

Philippines is now on its second week in screening Marvel Studios’ Thor: Ragnarok and director Taika Waititi is thrilled to share his vision.

Fans have been waiting for Ragnarok and Waititi is ready to show it to them, “A lot of people are excited by the idea of what Ragnarok means. But to me it means the stripping down of the establishment of what’s already there, and then building it up in a new way.”

“I said this before, if the movie’s called Thor, then Thor should be the best character,” said Waititi. Expanding his thoughts on the God of Thunder, “My main focus was making him cool, and funny when he needs to be, heroic when he needs to be.”

Thor’s changed and it turns out he’s picked up a sense of humor from an old friend, “Thor spent two years hanging out with [Tony Stark]. So, he knows a little bit more about irony and sarcasm now. He’s got a little bit of Earth humor. He’s like a rich kid from outer space who’s spent some time slumming it for a bit, you know? So he’s instantly become a bit more interesting but he’s still in different parts of the Cosmos, and still learning as he goes.”

For Waititi, Thor’s personality was similar to that of well-known 1980’s protagonist, “In my mind, I had imagined Thor being a bit like Jack Burton,” said Waititi. The similarities between Big Trouble in Little China’s lead played by Kurt Russell feels like a leap, but Waititi explains, “He’s a great hero who’s making his way through the adventure.”

As far as Thor’s foe, Cate Blanchett’s Hela is a worthy opponent. “Cate is the first female villain, and for me, the most interesting villain because she is multidimensional. She’s layered. She’s troubled. She’s really funny. So I think it’s gonna be really satisfying to people.” Waititi explains Hela’s prowess, “Her character has amazing powers, she wears the cowl, she has the antlers, and she looks amazing in the concept art and stuff. Thor in the films has never fought anyone tougher than this lady.”

Similar to his previous films, Waititi wants to strike a balance between comedy and drama, “That’s always been my focus with this whole thing, to make it really entertaining, and poignant, and profound when it needs to be, but and also adventurous and funny.”

“We’ll improvise some stuff. I’ll be next to actors and yell suggestions at them all the time, and just coming from that place where I’m with my friends I’m used to doing that—yelling at each other for outtakes—it’s a bit messy.”

Waititi’s so called messiness leads to a cohesive film thanks to creative editing, “But I think, from that messiness comes really great kinda spur of the moment stuff. The balance is always found for me on the editing. So with most takes, I would do stuff that’s way over the top, and then bring it down, and get something exactly what’s on the page, and then something that’s a nice sort of middle balance where the tone is a little bit more natural.”

“This film is so crazy, so eclectic,” Waititi enthused. “There’s so many amazing characters, like a new style of Banner that we’ve never seen before; Hela, Loki’s in there, obviously, then Grand Master. It really is the craziest of the Marvel films. In a good way.”

In Marvel Studios’ Thor: Ragnarok, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is imprisoned on the other side of the universe without his mighty hammer and finds himself in a race against time to get back to Asgard to stop Ragnarok—the destruction of his homeworld and the end of Asgardian civilization—at the hands of an all-powerful new threat, the ruthless Hela (Cate Blanchett). But first he must survive a deadly gladiatorial contest that pits him against his former ally and fellow Avenger—the Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo).

The film stars Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Idris Elba, Jeff Goldblum, Tessa Thompson, Karl Urban with Mark Ruffalo and Anthony Hopkins.

Thor: Ragnarok is distributed by the Walt Disney Company (Philippines).

Darren Aronofsky reflects on why he made new horror film ‘mother!’

Visionary filmmaker Darren Aronofsky (Noah, Black Swan) brings to the screen his most daring and bound-to-be-controversial film – Paramount Pictures’ new thriller mother! starring Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem.

In Philippine cinemas September 20, the film revolves around Mother (Lawrence) and Him (Bardem) who live in a seemingly idyllic existence in a secluded paradise. But the couple’s relationship is tested when man (Ed Harris) and woman (Michelle Pfeiffer) arrive at their home uninvited. Answering that knock disrupts their tranquil existence and as more and more guests arrive, mother is forced to revisit everything she knows about love, devotion and sacrifice.

The relationship thriller began when Writer / Director Darren Aronofsky spent five fevered days at his keyboard alone in an empty house. The Academy Award© nominated filmmaker knows he might be pressed about the result – Why such a dark vision? His answer? Look around:

“It is a mad time to be alive. As the world population nears 8 billion we face issues too serious to fathom: Ecosystems collapse as we witness extinction at an unprecedented rate; Migrant crises disrupt governments; A seemingly schizophrenic U.S. helps broker a landmark climate treaty and months later withdraws; Ancient tribal disputes and beliefs continue to drive war and division; The largest iceberg ever recorded breaks off an Antarctic ice shelf and drifts out to sea. At the same time we face issues too ridiculous to comprehend: In South America tourists twice kill rare baby dolphins that washed ashore, suffocating them in a frenzy of selfies; Politics resembles sporting events; People still starve to death while others can order any meat they desire. As a species our footprint is perilously unsustainable yet we live in a state of denial about the outlook for our planet and our place on it.

“From this primordial soup of angst and helplessness,” continues Aronofsky, “I woke up one morning and this movie poured out of me.”

His other six films gestated with him for years, but this? In 5 days, he was holding a rough draft of m o t h e r ! in his hands. “Within a year we were rolling cameras.”

Two years after that long weekend, Aronofsky’s film was headed for its world premiere at the 74th Venice International Film Festival (Aug. 30 – Sept. 9), selected to compete for the prestigious Golden Lion Award for Best Film. Its North American premiere is set for the 42nd Annual Toronto Film Festival Sept. 7-17.

Aronofsky admits m o t h e r ! is hard to slot into any one particular genre, and that’s because even he can’t fully pinpoint where everything in this film came from: “Some came from the headlines we face every second of every day, some came from the endless buzzing of notifications on our smart phones, some came from living through the blackout of Hurricane Sandy in downtown Manhattan, some came from my heart, some from my gut. Collectively it’s a recipe I won’t ever be able to reproduce, but I do know this concoction is best served as a single dose – in a shot glass.”

“When Darren sat down to write this story one of the main things he was thinking about was the way that human beings live on this planet and what they do to this planet,” says Producer Ari Handel. “And he wanted to dramatize that by shrinking it all the way down: to one relationship in one house. “I remember when, a few months after we were deep in the script, he came across this book, Woman and Nature, by Susan Griffin. It was a piece of ’70s philosophy that also sketched a parallel between how men sometimes treat women and how people treat the planet. That book reaffirmed for us that we were going to be able to make these two stories, the story of a relationship, and the story of our world, both work at the same time.”

mother! is distributed in the Philippines by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.

James Wan expands ‘The Conjuring’ universe with ‘Annabelle: Creation’

Regarded as one of the most creative filmmakers working today, James Wan expands “The Conjuring” Universe with the second chapter in the Annabelle series – New Line Cinema’s “Annabelle: Creation” (in Philippine theaters August 23, 2017).

(Watch the newly released “Toy Gun” Clip from “Annabelle: Creation” below.)

Produced by Wan and directed by David F. Sandberg (“Lights Out”), “Annabelle: Creation” is the follow up to 2014’s hugely successful “Annabelle.” In the new film, several years after the tragic death of their little girl, a doll maker and his wife welcome a nun and six girls from a shuttered orphanage into their home. They soon become the target of the doll maker’s possessed creation, Annabelle.

“When I was directing the first ‘Conjuring’ and we were designing the Warrens’ haunted artifact room, I remember between myself, the studio and the producers, we all kind of looked at each other and said, ‘You know, it would be incredible if we could tell the stories of each of these objects,’” Wan recalls, referring to the collection the couple had confiscated over their years of paranormal investigation.

“Even then, we felt that giving Annabelle that prologue opening was cool, but we sensed she had a lot more stories to tell,” Wan continues. “Every time that doll appeared on screen for just those few minutes, people shifted in their seats. Audiences react to her.”

Wan was thrilled with the manner in which Sandberg embraced and enhanced the horror-verse he began. “David has given this film a very classic period look that takes it outside of the traditional horror films we’re familiar with in contemporary cinema,” Wan says, “and I think that’s been the key to keeping this universe feeling fresh and unique. Each of these standalone movies has a very different flavor, yet they’re all connected.”

Producer Peter Safran agrees. “What James has built and David has continued with ‘Annabelle: Creation’ are films that tap into the fears we hold in our very makeup, our DNA. We’re all drawn to the idea of this doll, this inanimate object that can somehow wreak such devastation.”

“These films are a great example of why we love to go to the movies,” Sandberg concludes. “It’s a safe, shared environment where we can experience such a great range of emotions, from fear to excitement and more. And in this case, we get to find out how another piece of this ‘Conjuring’ and ‘Annabelle’ world is tied together…and maybe even get a hint at what’s to come.”

James Wan is currently in production directing “Aquaman,” starring Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Oscar nominee Willem Dafoe, and Patrick Wilson. The DC Super Hero film is scheduled to be released December 21, 2018.

Wan’s production company, Atomic Monster, launched its slate with the highly successful “Annabelle,” released on October 3, 2015. The film was produced by Wan and Peter Safran and grossed over $252 million worldwide. The second release for Atomic Monster was “Lights Out,” directed by David F. Sandberg and produced by Wan (along with Lawrence Grey and Eric Heisserer). The film was released by in July 2016 and earned over $148 million. Next up for Atomic Monster is the latest title in “The Conjuring” universe, “The Nun.” Currently in production, the film is being directed by Corin Hardy and produced by Wan and Safran, and is set for release on July 13, 2018.

“Annabelle: Creation” is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

‘Wonder Woman’ director Patty Jenkins on making the superhero film

Best known for her Oscar-winning debut feature “Monster,” director Patty Jenkins now brings to the screen one of the greatest Super Heroes of all time, known the world over as “Wonder Woman.”

A revered and enduring DC archetype and a global symbol of strength and equality for more than 75 years—how and when did she come to be, and why did mankind’s welfare become so important to her?

Jenkins’ larger-than-life hero’s journey, “Wonder Woman” tells the long-awaited origin story of Diana (Gal Gadot), the only child of Themyscira, a secret island gifted to her people from the king of the gods himself, Zeus. Hailing from the world of Amazons, Diana has been preparing for combat her whole life. But to become a true warrior, she will need to carry the courage of her convictions—and an arsenal like no other—onto the most harrowing battlefield the world has ever known.

“The time is absolutely right to bring Wonder Woman to movie audiences,” says Jenkins. “Fans have been waiting a long time for this, but I believe people outside the fandom are ready for a Wonder Woman movie, too. Superheroes have played a role in many people’s lives; it’s that fantasy of ‘What would it be like if I was that powerful and that great, and I could go on that exciting journey and do heroic things?’ I’m no different. I was seven years old when I first read Superman, and it rocked my world because I felt like Superman. The character captured exactly what I believed in then and still do: that there is a part of every human being that wishes they could change the world for the better.”

Then came Wonder Woman. “I watched the TV show, and she was everything a girl could aspire to be: strong and kind, exciting and stylish, powerful and effective, and just as fierce as the boys. She’s a badass, and at the same time she stands for love, forgiveness and benevolence in a complicated world. I feel so honored to be making a movie about a Super Hero who stands for such important values.”

The film’s screenwriter, Allan Heinberg, wrote the Wonder Woman comic for DC in 2006 and 2007 and was thrilled to be part of the film. He states, “Wonder Woman has been my all-time favorite Super Hero since I was a first-grader watching ‘Super Friends’ on Saturday mornings in Tulsa, Oklahoma. To have had any part at all in bringing her story to the screen—and to have done so alongside a creative team that includes Patty Jenkins and Geoff Johns—is a lifelong dream come true.”

“Every superhero has his or her strong points,” Jenkins contends, “but I think the greatest thing about Wonder Woman is how good and kind and loving she is. Yet none of that negates her power; it enhances it!”

Gal Gadot returns as the title character in the epic action adventure from director Patty Jenkins (“Monster,” AMC’s “The Killing”).

Joining Gadot in the international cast are Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Connie Nielsen, Elena Anaya, Ewen Bremner, Lucy Davis, Lisa Loven Kongsli, Eugene Brave Rock and Saïd Taghmaoui.

Before she was Wonder Woman, she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, raised on a sheltered island paradise and trained to be an unconquerable warrior. When an American pilot crashes on their shores and tells of a massive conflict raging in the outside world, Diana leaves her home, convinced she can stop the threat. Fighting alongside man in a war to end all wars, Diana will discover her full powers…and her true destiny.

Opening across the Philippines on Thursday, June 1, 2017, “Wonder Woman” is distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.