With a new chairman on board, Sony Pictures announced a slate of 16 movies in the next few years. But the one that has us jumping with glee is a match made in Hollywood heaven: Star-Lord and Katniss Everdeen, together at last. Actually, it’s Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence in Morten “The Imitation Game” Tyldum’s big-budget sci-fi romance, “Passengers,” due Dec. 21, 2016. Pratt is back in space, waking 90 years early from cryogenic sleep on board a colony ship. Instead of spending decades alone, he decides to wake up another passenger (Lawrence). Icing on the cake: Michael Sheen is a robot.
Other big highlights, according to Variety:
▪ “Bad Boys 3” is set for Feb. 17, 2017, with “Bad Boys 4” coming July 3, 2019. No word on whether the original stars — Will Smith and Martin Lawrence — are on board.
▪ The first installment of Stephen King’s “The Dark Tower” franchise arrives on a Friday the 13th: Jan 13, 2017.
▪ A remake of “Jumanji” is the studio’s gift for Christmas 2016. Too soon after original star Robin Williams’ death? Not in Hollywood. Another remake: “The Magnificient Seven” on Sept. 23, 2016.
Iron and gold
Tony Stark/Iron Man is rich beyond belief. And, according to Forbes, so is the actor who plays him. For the second year in a row, Robert Downey Jr. tops the magazine’s ranking of highest paid actors, raking in $80 million in the past year. The rest of the top 5: Jackie Chan, $50 million; Vin Diesel, $47 million; Bradley Cooper, $41.5 million; and Adam Sandler, $41 million.
Speaking of Downey, IGN reports that a third film in his other big franchise is percolating. “We’re working on a ‘Sherlock Holmes 3’ script,” said producer/writer Lionel Wigram, who teamed with “Sherlock” director Guy Ritchie on next week’s “Man From U.N.C.L.E.” “I think we would all love to do one if we could come up with something that really was really going to knock it out of the park and was going to be the best of the three. So we’re working on that — it’s quite hard to do.”
▪ Colin Farrell will join Eddie Redmayne in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter spinoff, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” says The Hollywood Reporter. He’ll play Graves, a magician who meets magizoologist Newt Scamander in New York. (Scamander goes on to write Hogwarts’ coolest textbook.)
▪ As if the “Hobbit” movies weren’t long enough already, Warner Bros. will release extended versions of the trilogy for three nights in October, in advance of the Blu-ray release, says theonering.net.
▪ Joel and Ethan Coen will write and possibly direct an adaptation of Ross MacDonald’s 1966 crime novel “Black Money,” says Deadline.com.
| Sharon Hoffmann, firstname.lastname@example.org, @sharonakc