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‘Alien: Covenant’, ‘Logan’ & More Shown Off: 20th Century Fox’s 2017 Product Reel

Deadline logo Deadline 12/15/2016 Anthony D'Alessandro

20th Century Fox had what was equivalent to a mini-CinemaCon session today, showing off clips and trailers for four pivotal titles on their 2017 release schedule: Gore Verbinski’s A Cure for Wellness (Feb. 17), James Mangold’s Wolverine movie Logan (March 3), Ridley Scott’s Prometheus sequel Alien: Covenant (May 19) and Matt Reeves’ third millennial Planet of the Apes installment War for the Planet of the Apes (July 14).

And, no, James Cameron didn’t make a surprise appearance like he did at CinemaCon to reveal more details about the Avatar sequels.

It’s the second time this season after Paramount’s 30 minute product reel in New York and Los Angeles, that a major studio has sought to stoke the media with a sneak peak at their upcoming product. In the case of Fox, they completely spoiled the press showing 42 minutes of Logan, the first ever two clips and a trailer of Alien Covenant and the first 30 minutes of A Cure for Wellness. 

Due to embargoes on three of the films, the studio forbid any plot point revelations. Fox broke the R-rating ceiling successfully with Deadpool, and it’s clear they’re going to continue in that direction with Logan. From what we say, let’s just say it’s your Dad’s Wolverine movie: very gritty, very Charles Bronson-in tone, and very R-rated. The last X-Men was titled Apocalypse, however, this one truly feels like Wolverine’s end of the world as he makes his way across the country, starting off in Texas.

“Hugh (Jackman) didn’t want to do it unless we could do something different. We made the last movie and there’s been a slew of superhero-comic-book movies, and I, for one, am feeling an exhaustion,” said Mangold before rushing off to take a plane.

So the director, who helmed the 2013 The Wolverine, raised the stakes and and pitched “What if we made Little Miss Sunshine with Marvel characters and violence? And they let me.”

“We made a movie that isn’t worried about getting in under the (ratings) bar. It’s not about language and violence, we made a movie for adults. Westerns are made for adults, gangster films were made for adults, there’s no reason this genre can’t be,” added Mangold.

Two clips and a new trailer were shown for Alien Covenant. The movie has all the style in Prometheus, with its industrial Byzantine production design harkening backing to Ridley Scott’s original movie. He introduced the clips by video, but star Katherine Waterson was in house to tell us a little more. Yes, her character is reminiscent of Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley, but it’s not clear from the narrative whether the two are related. The actress said that the inspiration for her bowl haircut in the movie came from her fellow Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them character Ezra Miller. Waterson spoke about how Scott gave her and her fellow actors Michael Fassbender, Billy Crudup the freedom to work on the dark stuff in the film. “We’d then show him what we came up with, and if he didn’t like it, we reworked it,” said the actress about the actors’ sci-fi playground.

War for the Planet of the Apes director Matt Reeves showed off a trio of clips; some were split-screen exhibiting Andy Serkis and crew in their mo-cap suits on one side, and the finished product on the right, and some were just a blend. He described the movie as being akin to Apocalypse Now: Caesar and a ragtag group of apes go up the river to the Sierra Mountains of California to look for a nasty army leader played by Woody Harrelson. Along the way, they pick up a small human girl, and a humorous circus chimp played by Steve Zahn. Three years after the last movie, Reeves explained that technology wise, WETA stepped up their game with the ability to take mo-cap out into the exteriors — which they do so extensively in this threequel. The first movie, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, was mostly shot in interiors, with a couple of exterior scenes.  However, now they have the lightening down pat with the technology in these outdoor scenes which include more woods, the beach and the snowy mountains.

Lastly, Gore Verbinski was on hand to show the first 30 trippy minutes of A Cure for Wellness. After working on such movies as The Mexican  and The Lone Ranger, the helmer found this movie to be a liberating experience and described it as having a “dream narrative”. The movie centers around an ambitious young executive who is sent to retrieve his company’s CEO from an idyllic but mysterious “wellness center” at a remote location in the Swiss Alps but soon suspects that the spa’s miraculous treatments are not what they seem.

Said Verbinski, “We were fascinated by this thing in the human condition:  You’re born, you go to school, and we work. And then we get hit by a bus.What’s it all for?”

The director mentioned that the challenge for the movie right now remains the theatrical market “and getting people to come. We’re not based on a theme park ride or toys. We don’t have plans to make a sequel. It’s a big ask to have people to come to theater.”

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