Shooting begins on action comedy ‘Game Night’ starring Jason Bateman, Rachel McAdams

Principal photography is underway on New Line Cinema’s action comedy “Game Night,” starring Jason Bateman (the “Horrible Bosses” films, TV’s “Arrested Development”) and Oscar nominee Rachel McAdams (“Spotlight,” “Dr. Strange”). Filming began on location in Atlanta, Georgia, under the direction of Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley, marking their second film as co-directors following “Vacation.”

Joining Bateman and McAdams in the cast are Billy Magnussen (“Bridge of Spies,” TV’s “American Crime Story”), Sharon Horgan (Amazon’s “Catastrophe”), Lamorne Morris (TV’s “New Girl”), Jesse Plemons (“Black Mass,” TV’s “Fargo”), Kylie Bunbury (TV’s “Pitch,” “Under the Dome”), Michael Cyril Creighton (“Spotlight”) and Kyle Chandler (“Manchester by the Sea,” TV’s “Bloodline”).

Bateman and McAdams star as Max and Annie, whose weekly couples game night gets kicked up a notch when Max’s charismatic brother, Brooks (Chandler), arranges a murder mystery party, complete with fake thugs and faux federal agents. So when Brooks gets kidnapped, it’s all part of the game…right? But as the six uber-competitive gamers set out to solve the case and win, they begin to discover that neither this “game”—nor Brooks—are what they seem to be. Over the course of one chaotic night, the friends find themselves increasingly in over their heads as each twist leads to another unexpected turn. With no rules, no points, and no idea who all the players are, this could turn out to be the most fun they’ve ever had…or game over.

Goldstein and Daley are directing the film from an original screenplay by Mark Perez (“Accepted”). John Davis (“Joy”) and Jason Bateman are producing, with Marc S. Fischer, John Fox and James Garavente serving as executive producers.

The behind-the-scenes team includes director of photography Barry Peterson (“Central Intelligence,” “We’re the Millers”), Oscar-nominated production designer Michael Corenblith (“How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” “Apollo 13”), editors Jamie Gross (“Vacation”) and David Egan, and costume designer Debra McGuire (“Vacation,” “Ted”).

“Game Night” is a New Line Cinema presentation and will be distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment company.

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Ryan Reynolds back with ‘Deadpool’ writers for sci-fi thriller ‘Life’

Deadpool himself Ryan Reynolds stars in Columbia Pictures’ new terrifying sci-fi thriller Life as astronaut Rory Adams, an engineer and specialist in space walking. “This script had such a degree of reality and a feeling of constant tension,” says Reynolds, who stars alongside Jake Gyllenhaal and Rebecca Ferguson.

The film reunites Reynolds with his Deadpool writers Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick and his Safe House director Daniel Espinosa. “It begins with an air of discovery that turns to a tension that permeates the whole film as we learn more and more about this thing that we’ve put on board the ISS,” he says.

Life is about a team of scientists aboard the International Space Station whose mission of discovery turns to one of primal fear when they find a rapidly evolving life form that caused extinction on Mars, and now threatens the crew and all life on Earth.

“Rhett and Paul wrote a very scary, well-paced thriller, but it’s really fed by their investment in the characters,” says producer Julie Lynn. “These six astronauts are smart, industrious, tenacious, hardworking – and when things get hairy we care about what’s going to happen to them.”

Offers Reynolds, “Some of us are a little more excited than others. Some are incredibly aggressive, others more conservative. And these ideas are mixed together – but like a lot of human actions, we push things a little farther than we should.”

Reynolds’ character, Adams, is the spacewalk specialist, and he’ll tell you just how cool that is. (It’s f-in cool.) Just charming enough to keep from being called cocky, and way more handsome than he needs to be, Adams is the rock star of the mission.

“A mission specialist is a fancy way of saying he’s a mechanic who understands how the ship works, how to fix anything that breaks,” says Reynolds. “He’s also the guy that specializes in the spacewalk and he operates the Canadarm, a system that they use to capture the Mars capsule that is hurdling through space.”

Shooting for the space station scenes, the filmmakers created a zero G effect for the actors with harnesses and other effects. Reynolds says that while on Earth, it takes a good deal of force to stop momentum or push off of an object, it takes only a slight touch in space. “If you’re truly weightless, just applying the slightest amount of pressure in one direction will send your entire body in another direction,” he says. “The trick is not to land. Even if you’re grabbing onto something as you stop, just touching it will actually make you stop. I spoke to some astronauts going into this and they were saying that you can actually get stuck in the middle of a room, and you would perish there unless somebody comes and pushes you to a grab handle.”

On the whole, Reynolds found zero gravity an exciting challenge. “We had to do a lot of training,” he recalls. “We had an obstacle course set up in the weeks leading up to shooting where we played around on the wires and learned what the wires are capable of doing and how much we could move around. There’s no sequence in the movie where we’re not weightless. We were always on wires, always floating and slightly moving all the time. It can feel bizarre, because you get invested emotionally in the scene, and then suddenly you forget to move, you forget to float. It was a challenge, but it’s fun playing an astronaut.”

Still showing in select cinemas across the Philippines, Life is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.

Marvel Studios founder Avi Arad produces ‘Ghost in the Shell’

As the former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer and founder of Marvel Studios, Avi Arad has been a driving force behind bringing many of Marvel’s most famous comic book characters to the screen, with a track record that has been nothing short of spectacular, including a string of No. 1 box office openings.

As a producer or executive producer, his credits include Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2, Spider-Man 3, The Amazing Spider-Man (Columbia Pictures); X-Men, X2: X-Men United and X-Men: The Last Stand (Twentieth Century Fox) and Iron Man (Paramount Pictures).

Now, Arad produces the much anticipated big-screen adaptation of the popular manga, Ghost in the Shell starring Scarlett Johansson.

In the near future, Major (Johansson) is the first of her kind: A human saved from a terrible crash, who is cyber-enhanced to be a perfect soldier devoted to stopping the world’s most dangerous criminals. When terrorism reaches a new level that includes the ability to hack into people’s minds and control them, Major is uniquely qualified to stop it. As she prepares to face a new enemy, Major discovers that she has been lied to: her life was not saved, it was stolen. She will stop at nothing to recover her past, find out who did this to her and stop them before they do it to others.

Over the past three decades the popularity of Ghost in the Shell has continued to grow as its central themes have become more pertinent. “It’s a cautionary tale about technology,” says producer Avi Arad. “Ghost in the Shell raises interesting philosophical questions in a futuristic setting, but it also happens to be relevant to issues we face right now. It’s about what defines us as individuals — our history versus our actions. And it does all that in the context of a big, exciting action film.”

The film began its long journey to the screen, when Avi Arad pitched the project to Steven Spielberg — with help from an unexpected source. “I ran into Steven and his young daughter on the beach in Malibu,” he recounts. “She knew everything you can imagine about Ghost in the Shell. She did the pitch for me. That started the ball rolling.”

In 2008, Spielberg and DreamWorks acquired the rights to make the first live-action version of Ghost in the Shell, with Avi Arad, Ari Arad, Steven Paul and Michael Costigan as producers, and Tetsu Fujimura, Yoshinobu Noma, Mitsuhisa Ishikawa and Jeffrey Silver as executive producers. Almost eight years of painstaking efforts to get the right script, director and star would follow.

To helm the ambitious project, the producers selected British director Rupert Sanders, best known for his dark action epic, Snow White and the Huntsman. “Rupert Sanders is a visionary,” says Avi Arad. “He always loved the project and he knew how important it could be. Rupert’s love for art and storytelling made him the perfect director for this.”

Arad also notes that of all the film’s characters, Major is the one whose life has been transformed the most by technology. “She revels in being the most extraordinary person in the world, but at the same time you get a real sense of the weight that she carries. Scarlett [Johansson] perfectly captures Major’s emotion, humor and intensity.”

Ultimately, Ghost in the Shell is a story about how people may have to change to survive in the future, according to Arad. “Technology is already penetrating our lives in different ways. Here we are literally mixing man and machine together. But however little of Major’s original physical self is left, she is still profoundly human. Rather than a story about fearing the future, it is a film about finding a way through a complicated future.”

Opening across the Philippines on March 29, Ghost in the Shell is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.

Fede Alvarez to helm ‘The Girl in the Spider’s Web’ with new actress to play Lisbeth Salander

CULVER CITY, Calif., March 13, 2017 – Lisbeth Salander, the cult figure and title character of the acclaimed Millennium book series created by Stieg Larsson, will return to the screen in The Girl in the Spider’s Web, a first-time adaptation of the recent global bestseller written by David Lagercrantz.

Fede Alvarez, the director of 2016’s breakout thriller Don’t Breathe, will helm the project from a screenplay by Steven Knight and Fede Alvarez & Jay Basu. Scott Rudin, Søren Stærmose, Ole Søndberg, Amy Pascal, Elizabeth Cantillon, Eli Bush, and Berna Levin will produce; the executive producers are Anni Faurbye Fernandez, Line Winther Skyum Funch, Johannes Jensen, and David Fincher.

The new film will feature an entirely new cast, and the announcement marks the kickoff of a global search for an actress to portray in the iconic role of Lisbeth Salander. The production will begin principal photography in September of this year with a release date scheduled for October 5, 2018.

The Girl in the Spider’s Web will be the first in the best-selling series to be produced into an English-language film in its initial adaptation. The previous books in the series have been adapted into Swedish-language films, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was a remake of the Swedish film. It became a global hit for Columbia Pictures, taking in over $230 million worldwide.

The announcement was made today at the London Book Fair during a celebration for the fifth Millennium book launch, also by Lagercrantz. Sony’s Columbia Pictures retains the rights to all future Millennium Series books.

Sanford Panitch, president of Columbia Pictures, said, “In all of contemporary literature, Lisbeth Salander is completely sui generis – probably one of the greatest female literary characters of all time in my view. Modern punk defiance personified, she is unforgettable in every incarnation, truly one of the most compelling characters we’ve seen in recent years. David Lagercrantz’s brilliant work in continuing this remarkable series honors Stieg Larsson’s masterpiece. We at Sony are so honored to be part of this series with Yellowbird, and we’re so excited to be making an original film of The Girl in the Spider’s Web. Fede Alvarez is the perfect choice to direct. Fede is an amazing director with a unique vision of the world. In particular, his talent and skill in creating psychological intensity will bring Lisbeth Salander back into popular movie culture with a roar.”

Alvarez added, “I’m hugely excited and grateful for this opportunity. Sony has become family to me and I can’t think of a more thrilling project to celebrate our relationship. Lisbeth Salander is the kind of character any director dreams of bringing to life. We’ve got a great script and now comes the most fun part – finding our Lisbeth.”

The Millennium Series is a worldwide bestseller, with the four books selling over 86 million copies since their debut.

‘Before I Fall’ journeys from adapting young adult novel into film

Sam seemed to have everything a teenage girl could want: popularity, a hot boyfriend, cool status, fun friends, loving family and seeming happiness. But beyond the superficial, Sam’s life wasn’t so charmed. She was one of a clique of high school mean girls who made life hellish for those different from them. When she’s killed in a car accident, Sam is forced to relive her last day on Earth seven times in order to get things right. She attempts to make sense of what befell her and gain a better understanding of herself and others. In the process Sam evolves, learns to be a good person and comes to accept her fate. As narrated by Sam (Zoey Deutch), the touching story of Before I Fall is based on the 2010 young adult novel by Lauren Oliver.

The film, based on the popular YA novel of the same name by Lauren Oliver, attracted director Ry Russo-Young for its sense of youthful authenticity and intriguing repetitive structure. “When I read the book I was struck by how powerful Sam’s story was and what interesting questions were raised by the recurring day construct,” said Russo-Young. The emotional honesty of Sam’s posthumous journey made a strong impression on her. “Lauren Oliver’s ability to balance the emotional and philosophical resonated with me on a personal level, as it reminded me of my friendships at that time in my life, how deep and all-encompassing they were, and the dramatic choices that I felt I was facing at the time,” said Russo-Young.

Adapting a book to the screen can be a challenging experience, as filmmakers are mindful of staying true to the spirit of the original work. “I knew the film had to capture the emotional core of what book fans loved about the novel,” said Russo-Young.

However, she points out that book and film formats are disparate, necessitating some substantive differences. “At the end of the day, a book and a movie work in different ways because of the mediums,” she said. “ The book charts inner monologues, but movies work with images and translate the characters’ interior world in a different way. So, in making this film, all the choices (visual and otherwise) were made to support Sam’s psychological journey. In this story it was especially true because the whole film exists in her mind.”

The first alteration from the book was geographic. “The book was set in Connecticut with a New England look and feel,” said Russo-Young. “I changed it to the Pacific Northwest, specifically a region called Cascadia which includes the Pacific Northwest and part of Canada and has a unique history. This area felt right to me because it captured the moody angst of the story with its fog, rain and dramatic mountains. There is a beauty and a deathly danger to that region which captured Sam’s between life and death struggle,” adds Russo-Young.

As for similarities to the book, much of the voiceover narration stayed close to the original in the book. For example ‘Maybe for you there’s a tomorrow’ is a book line,” said Russo-Young. “Other times the text was modified. The fact that so many lines made it into the movie untouched is really a tribute to the book and the strength of Lauren’s writing.” Indeed, swathes of dialogue remained intact. “There are some direct lines from the book that we put in the movie, which I always think is fun because I love when you read the book and you see the movie and it’s really true to it,’ said Sage Halston, who plays Lindsay, Sam’s friend and ringleader of a little group of bullies.

“Before I Fall” is now showing in Philippines cinemas from Pioneer Films.

‘Avengers: Infinity War’ starts production, Phase 3 details teased

Marvel Studios has officially announced the production start of Avengers: Infinity War via a featurette that shows Robert Downey Jr. (Tony Stark/Iron Man), Tom Holland (Peter Parker/Spider-Man) and Chris Pratt (Peter Quill/Star-Lord).

Watch the featurette below.

Prior to the release of the first featurette, Robert Downey Jr. (Tony Stark/Iron Man) hosted a Facebook Live, to answer fan questions. Here’s everything we learned from the live chat (and the first Avengers: Infinity War featurette) so far:

  • Tom Holland will be reprising his role as Peter Parker/Spider-Man.
  • Chris Pratt‘s Peter Quill/Star-Lord will also be joining the fray.
  • Robert Downey Jr. still fondly remembers the Mark 42 from “Iron Man 3”
  • “Avengers: Infinity War” kicks off with tension as Captain America is still on Iron Man’s “S-List”
  • Reflecting on his appearance in the first “Iron Man” to “Avengers: Infinity War,” Downey says “[Tony Stark] has matured a bit. What has changed is the universe around him.”
  • Stark’s universe now involves Peter Parker, the Guardians and Doctor Strange.
  • Joe and Anthony Russo have never fought on set
  • The three Avengers the Russo brothers would go on a family vacation with: Tony Stark, Peter Park, and Vision.
  • Start of production officially began last month in Pinewood Atlanta.
  • Thanos will be “the most frightening villain the Avengers have ever faced;” he’ll show us all why he’s “the biggest, the best, the baddest villain that we’ve ever had.”
  • The Avengers are completely unprepared to face Thanos as a result of the events of “Captain America: Civil War” leaving the Avengers a team name with no team members.
  • Get ready for the Guardians of the Galaxy / Avengers team-up as we see Thor fighting alongside Rocket Raccoon
  • The Russo brothers confirm two films will be deeply connected – “these next two Avengers films will be an event like no one has ever seen on film before”
  • Downey drives that point home as we’ve come to learn the next two Avengers will be filmed back-to-back for a “year of fun-filled lensing”

Continuing a cinematic universe that launched in 2008 with Iron Man, Infinity War promises an epic story that will bring in characters from a decade of films. The cast includes Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Elizabeth Olsen, Sebastian Stan, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Benedict Cumberbatch, Pom Klementieff, Tom Holland, Peter Dinklage and Josh Brolin as Thanos. Directors Anthony and Joe Russo, who return after Captain America: Civil War, are directing both Avengers: Infinity War and the untitled second half, which will close Marvel Phase 3.

Avengers: Infinity War will hit US theaters May 4, 2018, with the second part following on May 3, 2019. Release dates in the Philippines to follow.

Dakota Johnson dons Monique Lhuillier gown, capelet in ‘Fifty Shades Darker’

Dakota Johnson as Anastasia Steele dons a custom gown and capelet by Monique Lhuillier, renowned bridal, ready-to-wear and accessories designer, in the new film Fifty Shades Darker, the second chapter based on the worldwide bestselling “Fifty Shades” phenomenon, it was announced today. The film arrives in Philippine cinemas today.

Known for her glamour and modern elegance, Monique Lhuillier brilliantly captures Ana’s alluring beauty and vulnerability with this modern design. The liquid satin sheath gown with draped neckline and cross back in a silver hue exudes femininity and sophistication, while the handmade ostrich feather capelet adds exquisite glamour for Ana’s grand entrance in the film’s exclusive masquerade ball.

In keeping with the essence of her brand, Monique’s design evokes an enchanting, yet sophisticated, vision by weaving together sensuous and modern elements for the character of Ana. The fluid silhouette of the dress, which is topped with the elegantly embellished capelet, is distinctly Monique Lhuillier.

“I am so delighted to partner with Universal Pictures’ Fifty Shades Darker to design for the character of Anastasia Steele,” said Lhuillier. “Like the Monique Lhuillier woman, Ana radiates confidence and femininity, and so the gown I imagined for this iconic scene encapsulates that modern sophistication.”

“I often thought of Dakota in Monique’s stunning gown as a ‘beautiful siren of simplicity,’” lauded Cunliffe. “We sent Monique ideas and images that evoke old Hollywood, and she and her team took the inspiration from there—crafting this stunning confection. Ana’s cape itself was a challenge—each feather was sewn by hand—but I felt it would magnify Ana’s showstopping entrance at the ball, hearkening back to the 1930s screen sirens. Monique also beautifully resolved our need to create a gown which can effortlessly slip to the ground…another feat of engineering.”

ABOUT FIFTY SHADES DARKER

Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson return as Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele in Fifty Shades Darker, the second chapter based on the worldwide bestselling “Fifty Shades” phenomenon. Expanding upon events set in motion in 2015’s blockbuster film that grossed more than $560 million globally, the new installment arrives for Valentine’s Day and invites you to slip into something a shade darker.

When a wounded Christian Grey tries to entice a cautious Ana Steele back into his life, she demands a new arrangement before she will give him another chance. As the two begin to build trust and find stability, shadowy figures from Christian’s past start to circle the couple, determined to destroy their hopes for a future together.

Also returning from Fifty Shades of Grey are Academy Award® winner Marcia Gay Harden, Rita Ora, Luke Grimes, Victor Rasuk, Eloise Mumford and Max Martini, who are joined for the first time by Oscar® winner Kim Basinger, Bella Heathcote and Eric Johnson.

Fifty Shades Darker is directed by James Foley (Fear, House of Cards) and once again produced by Michael De Luca, Dana Brunetti and Marcus Viscidi, alongside E L James, the creator of the culture-spanning blockbuster series. The screenplay is by Niall Leonard, based on the novel by James. www.fiftyshadesmovie.com

ABOUT MONIQUE LHUILLIER

Monique Lhuillier is internationally recognized as one of America’s foremost designers. Established in 1996 by Monique Lhuillier and her husband, Tom Bugbee, the company is considered one of the leading fashion houses in design, quality and creativity. With a passion for creating collections that are both feminine and modern, Monique Lhuillier continues to design ready-to-wear, accessories and bridal collections that are luxurious, chic and true to her aesthetic. Fans include Emma Stone, Blake Lively, Taylor Swift, Reese Witherspoon, Kristen Bell, Anna Kendrick and the First Lady Michelle Obama among others. Monique’s signature design sensibility has led to the launch of licensed products including fur, fine jewelry and tabletop, transforming the company into a luxury lifestyle brand. Monique Lhuillier products are distributed through Monique Lhuillier stores, premium department stores and specialty stores throughout the world.

Jamie Dornan, Dakota Johnson take you inside ‘Fifty Shades Darker’

Universal Pictures brings back Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson as Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele in Fifty Shades Darker, the second chapter based on the worldwide bestselling “Fifty Shades” phenomenon. The hotly anticipated sequel expands upon events set in motion in 2015’s blockbuster film that grossed more than $560 million globally.

(Watch the “A Look Inside Fifty Shades Darker” featurette below.)

Their story continues as a wounded Christian Grey tries to entice a cautious Anastasia Steele back into his life…and she demands a new arrangement before she will give him another chance. As the two begin to build trust and find stability, shadowy figures from Christian’s past start to circle them, determined to destroy any hopes for a future together.

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With the whirlwind of launching Fifty Shades of Grey behind them, Dornan and Johnson set to work on the Darker set, ready for the unique set of challenges that lie ahead.

For Johnson, the chance to not only return to a character that she’s worked on provided cause for both excitement and trepidation. She says: “I’ve never been on a project this long, and I’ve never been such a large part of a project. I feel this great honor to be able to tell this young woman’s story. It’s all been quite an experience—at times, it’s been insightful, emotional, heavy, dark and difficult. But it’s also been so joyous, and filled with laughter and love. It’s been all-encompassing. It’s made me grow as a person so much that no matter how difficult shooting these films may have been, I would never take it back and I would never change anything about the experience.”

Johnson gives additional credit at being able to cover such rough terrain to the only other person on Earth who could know what she’s gone through. “I literally trust Jamie with my life,” she reflects. “He’s such an honorable, wonderful, hilarious and talented human. We’ve built our friendship around trusting each other. We got to know each other based around the fact that I needed him to be protective of me. I needed him to be able to tell when I was uncomfortable and would need to step in. Or when things were too heightened, too emotional and I couldn’t deal anymore, I needed him to be able to see that in my face and protect me in that way. We learned so much about each other, and I do trust him implicitly.”

fifty-shades-darker-movie

Dornan returns the compliment, explaining that they are bonded for life: “We have a very natural, easy way with each other now, having been through the first movie and all the pressures and expectations associated with it. A great thing about Dakota is only she knows what I’m going through, and only I know what she’s going through. We both really needed each other through this process. There are days when it wasn’t easy, when a lot has been asked of us— particularly a lot has been asked of her, in terms of the physical stuff, and she was usually wearing less than I was. You need to have that person who understands and has been with it since day one with you.”

It was quite enjoyable for the two performers to expand the reach of what others believed the series was about. Discussing the advancing storylines in Darker, Dornan says, “a lot of people are basing an idea—that these books are purely about sex—on not really knowing the books, or just taking the buzz around the first book and going with it. Even acknowledging that sex is a major part of it, Darker takes on a whole different track—and that’s pleasing, as an actor. It’s nice knowing we’ve got two more films to develop the other aspects of the story and bring in what we didn’t have time to accomplish in the first. A lot more is asked of us, to be sure, but that’s been a fun aspect of it.”

Fifty Shades Darker

As Christian opens up to Ana, we see he is carrying the traumas of his early childhood, which lends itself to why he struggles to relate to many people. He isn’t the most approachable of men, and he doesn’t know how to have a “normal” relationship, as much as he wants to. Still, he agrees to change for Ana’s sake. He wants to be the man she knows him to be, which is incredibly difficult for him, because of the horrors he endured in his childhood. As E L James reveals with the introduction of the dark Elena, all is not as it seems.

Christian’s biggest secret, with regard to his need to dominate and control his romantic partners, is that it stems from psychological scars that left him with a stigmatizing label: “It was suggested early on that he’s maybe a sadist,” explains Dornan. “There’s a scene in the Red Room where he says he isn’t—perhaps it was him being in total denial. But by this stage, I think he’s admitting there’s something wrong with him and that it’s beyond the boundaries. Being a dominant is one thing, but being a sadist is something that Ana is not okay with. Now, he needs to find that out about himself in order for him to change.”

Opening across the Philippines on February 8, 2017, “Fifty Shades Darker” is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.

Marvel Studios begins production on ‘Black Panther’

Marvel Studios announced today that production has begun on “Black Panther,” starring Chadwick Boseman (“Captain America: Civil War,” “Get on Up”), Michael B. Jordan (“Creed,” “Fruitvale Station”), Academy Award® winner Lupita Nyong’o (“Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” “12 Years a Slave”), Danai Gurira (“The Walking Dead,” upcoming “All Eyez on Me”), Martin Freeman (“Hobbit” trilogy, “Sherlock”), Daniel Kaluuya (upcoming “Get Out,” “Sicario”), with Academy Award® nominee Angela Bassett (“American Horror Story,” “London Has Fallen”), with Academy Award® winner Forest Whitaker (“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” Lee Daniels’ “The Butler”), and Andy Serkis (“Avengers: Age of Ultron,” “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”).

Additional cast members include Letitia Wright (“Urban Hymn,” “Glasgow Girls”), Winston Duke (“Person of Interest, “Modern Family”), Florence Kasumba (“Captain America: Civil War,” “Emerald City”), Sterling K. Brown (“Whiskey Tango Foxtrot,” “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story”) and John Kani (“Captain America: Civil War,” “Coriolanus”).

Ryan Coogler (“Creed,” “Fruitvale Station”) directs Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther” from a screenplay he co-wrote with Joe Robert Cole (“The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story”). The film, which opens in Philippine theaters on February 2018, will be shot in Atlanta and South Korea.

“Black Panther” follows T’Challa who, after the events of “Captain America: Civil War,” returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation of Wakanda to take his place as King. However, when an old enemy reappears on the radar, T’Challa’s mettle as King and Black Panther is tested when he is drawn into a conflict that puts the entire fate of Wakanda and the world at risk.

Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther” is produced by Kevin Feige with Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Nate Moore, Jeffrey Chernov and Stan Lee serving as executive producers.

Coogler’s creative brain trust includes his frequent collaborators: director of photography Rachel Morrison, A.S.C. (“Dope,” “Fruitvale Station”), production designer Hannah Beachler (“Creed,” “Fruitvale Station”), editors Claudia Castello (“Creed,” “Fruitvale Station”) and Michael P. Shawver (“Creed,” “Fruitvale Station”); along with costume designer Ruth E. Carter (“Selma,” Lee Daniels’ “The Butler”), visuals effects supervisor Geoffrey Baumann (“Doctor Strange,” “Avengers: Age of Ultron”), Academy Award®- winning makeup designer Joel Harlow (“Star Trek Beyond,” “Black Mass”) and seven-time Academy Award® nominee, special effects supervisor Dan Sudick (“Captain America: Civil War,” “Marvel’s The Avengers”).

Based on the Marvel comic character that first appeared in “Fantastic Four Vol. 1” Issue 52, published in 1966, “Black Panther” joins Marvel Studios’ slate of releases in its Phase 3 commitment to introduce film audiences to new heroes and continue the adventures of fan favorites over the course of four years and nine films.

In 2016, Marvel Studios continued its unprecedented success with the release of “Captain America: Civil War,” which opened on May 6 with the fifth largest opening weekend of all time and has since garnered box office receipts of over $1.1 billion worldwide.

The juggernaut studio ended the year with its newest Super Hero “Doctor Strange,” starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Rachel McAdams. The film opened #1 at the box office on November 4 and went on to gross more than $659 million worldwide to date. The two films propelled Marvel Studios’ #1 domestic box-office opening streak to a record-breaking 14 consecutive films.

Marvel Studios’ other epic big-screen adventures include Marvel’s “Iron Man,” “The Incredible Hulk,” “Iron Man 2,” “Thor,” “Captain America: The First Avenger,” “Marvel’s The Avengers,” “Iron Man 3,” “Thor: The Dark World,” “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” “Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” “Ant-Man,” and the upcoming “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” (May 5, 2017), “Spider-Man: Homecoming” (July 7, 2017), “Thor: Ragnarok” (November 3, 2017) and “Avengers: Infinity War” (May 4, 2018).

‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ is the official title of Episode VIII

Lucasfilm has announced the official title of the film previously known as Star Wars: Episode VIII.

The studio says, “We have the greatest fans in this or any other galaxy. In appreciation of the fans, we wanted them to be the first to know the title of the next chapter in the Skywalker saga: Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

The Last Jedi is written and directed by Rian Johnson and produced by Kathleen Kennedy and Ram Bergman and executive produced by J.J. Abrams, Jason McGatlin, and Tom Karnowski.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is scheduled for release December 15, 2017.