June 2018’s top 10 Minecraft Marketplace creations: Enter the Summer Sale (correction)

The Minecraft Marketplace is about to get the followup on a serious 1-2 punch that could boost creator’s revenues and downloads through the end of July. The Minecraft Team at Microsoft launched the first Minecraft Summer Sale today. As part of this event, most of the content on the Marketplace is getting a steep discount.

While the Summer Sale may get fans downloading more content this month, last month it was the Nintendo Switch that helped fuel sales. The Minecraft Marketplace had 396,511 downloads in June, which is up from 285,816 in April. With the Marketplace hitting Switch for the first time beginning June 26, it’s likely that Nintendo’s platform contributed significantly to that total. You can see past results by tracking the Minecraft Marketplace sales charts here.

But now that Switch is integrated into the Minecraft platform, developers can focus on making their content and the Summer Sale. Some, like Gamemode One founder Sean Davidson, thinks discounts are exactly what some players are waiting for before they spend their money on Minecraft microtransactions.

“We hope and expect that the Minecraft Summer Sale will increase player accessibility to content and potentially drive increased traffic over the remainder of the year,” said Davidson. “Access to products at a discounted rate is a great way to give players and buyers on the fence a chance to see what the Marketplace has to offer.”

Developer Imagiverse has even spent the last few weeks preparing its Lapis Lagoon waterpark map for the sale (it’s already out). This update will roll out to everyone who owns it, and Imagiverse wants positive word-of-mouth to help it perform well in the sale.

“We focused on making sure Lapis Lagoon was going to give the player the best possible waterpark experience they could have in-game,” a spokesperson for Imagiverse explained in a note to GamesBeat. “Old and new players alike will appreciate the work we put into the map getting it ready for the sale.”

Let’s do the charts. Here are the 10 most downloaded pieces of content from the Minecraft Marketplace for June 2018:
10.) Lucky Block Escape
10. Lucky Block Escape

Here it is in list form:

City Life
Mineville Highschool
Dinosaur Park
Planes
Dinosaur Island
Monsters of the Deep
Wildlife: Savanna
Mutant Battle Arena
Prison Escape
Lucky Block Escape

And here are the 10 highest-grossing pieces of content for June 2018:
10.) Lucky Block Escape
10. Lucky Block Escape

List:

City Life
Dinosaur Park
Planes
Dinosaur Island
Monsters of the Deep
Wildlife: Savanna
Mutant Battle Arena
Mineville Highschool
Super Racers
Lucky Block Escape

Next month, we’ll get to see how the Summer Sale affects the charts. This is a big chance for Marketplace partners, and it could turn into one of the biggest months for the Minecraft store so far.

Correction, 12:14 p.m.: Sean Davidson’s name was misspelled as Sean David in the original article. We have corrected the error, and we apologize.

New Minecraft boss argues for US developers to have more breaks

The group head of MInecraft Helen Chiang has argued that US game makers need more time off from work.

Speaking to Quartz, Chiang said that developers from North America need more “off ramps” from work and still be able to come back without any hitches.

“I think here in the US we need more off-ramps from work, or opportunities to take a career break,” Chiang said.

“Whether it’s parental leave, or elder care leave, or a sabbatical, we need opportunities for people to take a break and not have to start over from scratch when they come back.”

This is something that Chiang has learnt from working with Swedish game firm Mojang and is a stark contrast to the US working culture she was used to.

“I see my Swedish employees coming back more energised, which convinces me that we need to support more flexible work arrangements and allow for something like that in the US,” she said.

“On my team, someone is about to go on sabbatical, and someone else is taking an extended summer leave to go work on a passion project, and I don’t look at this as proof that they’re any less committed to what we’re doing.

“When they’re at work, they’re working hard and fully committed, but we need to recognize there’s more to life than work, and I think it’s great that they’re invested in things beyond the office. And I know they’re going to come back re-energised and ready to take on that next set of challenges for us.”

Working culture in games development is one of the hottest topics in the business right now. At GDC this year, there were calls to unionise to give game makers collective bargaining against the extreme conditions they were sometimes asked to work in.

Good Shepherd and Devolver exec Mike Wilson has argued that developers need collective bargaining – even if that doesn’t take the form of unionisation. He also said that triple-A studio working conditions are having a detrimental impact on those involved.

Chiang took the top job on Minecraft in January of this year when Matt Booty was promoted to CVP of Microsoft Studios. Previously she was GM on the franchise.

HyperX is releasing a PS4-themed version of its Cloud gaming headset

HyperX makes some of the best gaming headsets around, and now, the accessory maker has an officially licensed Sony headset for PlayStation 4 users under its Cloud brand. The HyperX Cloud is the company’s standard headset. It costs $80 for the most recent version, and the licensed PS4 version will maintain that price. For people who play way too much Fortnite, like yours truly, owning a headset like this is pivotal for hearing footsteps and pinpointing an opponent’s location.

HyperX also makes a budget headset called the Cloud Stinger for $50, more premium PC-focused models like the Cloud Alpha and Cloud Revolver costing $100 and $120, and an all-purpose wireless version for $160 called the Cloud Flight. But nearly all of its headsets are surprisingly comfortable — I own the Cloud and Cloud Flight and have tried the Cloud Alpha and Revolver — and mostly involve compromising on sound quality or shelling out extra for more robust microphone and audio controls.

The PS4 licensed model will get you a special blue color scheme, as well as the PlayStation logo emblazoned on the side. You also get a volume control module. The headset will be available on August 13th from both Best Buy and Amazon.

How Minecraft is helping kids fall in love with books

Ever wanted to explore Treasure Island or pretend to be Robinson Crusoe? Minecraft is now being used to create an ‘immersive experience’ to engage reluctant readers – we see how it plays out

Robert Louis Stevenson’s 1881 classic Treasure Island tells of Jim Hawkins’s adventures on board the Hispaniola, as he and his crew – along with double-crossing pirate Long John Silver – set out to find Captain Flint’s missing treasure on Skeleton Island. Now, more than a century later, children can try and find it themselves, with the bays and mountains of Stevenson’s fictional island given a blocky remodelling in Minecraft, as part of a new project aimed at bringing reluctant readers to literary classics.
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From Spyglass Hill to Ben Gunn’s cave, children can explore every nook and cranny of Skeleton Island as part of Litcraft, a new partnership between Lancaster University and Microsoft, which bought the game for $2.5bn (£1.9bn) in 2015 and which is now played by 74 million people each month. The Litcraft platform uses Minecraft to create accurate scale models of fictional islands: Treasure Island is the first, with Michael Morpurgo’s Kensuke’s Kingdom just completed and many others planned.

While regular Minecraft is rife with literary creations – the whole of George RR Martin’s sprawling setting for Game of Thrones, Westeros, has been created in its entirety, as have several different Hogwarts – Litcraft is not all fun and games, being peppered with educational tasks that aim to re-engage reluctant readers with the book it is based on. Lead researcher and head of Lancaster University’s English and creative writing department, Professor Sally Bushell, calls it “an educational model that connects the imaginative spatial experience of reading the text to an immersive experience in the game world”.

She says, of the Litcraft Treasure Island: “We hope it will motivate reluctant readers – we can say, ‘We’re going to read the book and then at one point, we’ll go play on the ship.’ I would have loved it as a kid. It is an empathetic task – you do what the characters did yourself, so you understand why they act they way they did in the book.”

The Treasure Island “level” has been extensively road-tested by children such as Dylan, whose school is set to adopt Litcraft in 2019. “It’s really fun,” he says. “I enjoyed it because I’ve read the book, but you have to follow rules in that. In games, you can explore. Now I know exactly what the book looked like.”

What did he like most? “I like that you get to see the pictures. You don’t have to make them in your head. And I liked the ship, Ben Gunn’s cave and the parrots. And there was that weird pig that kept jumping off that cliff. That wasn’t in the book!” (“That was a game glitch,” says Bushell).

The kids know how to use Minecraft more than the teachers do. It inverts the relationship
Sally Bushell, Lancaster University

The project, which is featured on Microsoft’s Minecraft.edu website, is currently being presented to school teachers and librarians across the UK. There has been “an enthusiastic response” to the trials under way in local schools, with plans to roll Litcraft out to libraries in Lancashire and Leeds from October 2018.

Dylan, like many nine-year-olds, enjoys books but is more enthusiastic when talking about Minecraft, which he does with the casual expertise that many children have with their favourite games. He’s already made his own Hunger Games world in Minecraft at home, but couldn’t get some of his traps to work.

This know-how seems to both frighten and impress less tech-savvy adults – which Bushell hopes will not deter schools from adopting it. “The kids know how to do it more than the teachers do,” she says. “It inverts the relationship: you’ve got kids who know more than the adults. You need quite confident teachers. They’re more worried about it. I want to say, ‘Don’t be worried, because all your eight-year-olds will know how to do this.’”

Libraries are particularly interested in the possibilities of multiplayer, Bushell says, adding that one of the future projects will be Lord of the Flies: “In that case, you want all the kids in there playing out a scenario and asking philosophical questions. We hope they do some reading, then play the game, then do some empathetic writing based on what they did in there.”

The Kensuke’s Kingdom map, based on Morpurgo’s story of a boy washed up alone, is particularly aimed at engaging reluctant readers and has just been completed. “The library resources we are putting together include audio and in-game reading and writing as well as graphic novels as a step to the full text,” said Bushell. “The resources are designed to encourage them to either return to or connect with the book through the immersive experience.”

Bushell said more literary Minecraft islands will follow. “Treasure Island is the first world for Minecraft.edu but they anticipate a series – most likely, the next will be The Swiss Family Robinson, The Tempest and Robinson Crusoe,” Bushell says. A recreation of Dante’s Inferno, with a map for each level of hell, is also in development.

But what book does Dylan hope to see next? “The Hunger Games,” he says with no hesitation. “A proper one.”

Minecraft to get new menus soon on all ‘Bedrock’ platforms

Minecraft remains an incredibly popular game even to this day, but there are some issues which need to be addressed. For example, the user interface (UI) could be much better and more streamlined. Luckily, Microsoft is aware of these problems and plans on updating the menus in the near future.

Today, a post on Minecraft’s website detailed some of the changes coming to the game. The team wants players to contribute their menu designs by downloading templates and sharing them online.

Menus! They’re essential for helping you navigate Minecraft and get to what you want with ease. That’s why we’ve started working on a major redesign of the Minecraft menu… for all Bedrock Engine-based platforms (so that’s Minecraft on Xbox One, Windows 10, virtual reality, mobile devices, and Nintendo Switch). What would you like to see from an updated Minecraft menu? Whatever your ideas are, we’d love to see them… share your designs with us… you can do that on our our Minecraft Discord channel.

It’ll be interesting to see what fans come up with. Hopefully the developer will incorporate a lot of feedback to make navigating the UI even better. We’ll keep you posted as soon as the team finalizes its plans and shares the new look. Until then, be sure to contribute your ideas. Please keep in mind that the ‘Bedrock’ version isn’t available on PlayStation because Sony blocks cross-play.

Keep an eye on WindowsCentral.com/Gaming for all the latest in Xbox and Windows 10 gaming, accessories, news, and reviews!

Nerf is turning Overwatch guns into foam-shooting blasters

Blizzard Entertainment is teaming up with the toy experts at Nerf to fulfill our dreams of being an Overwatch-style gunslinger.

Blizzard first announced the collaboration at last month’s San Diego Comic-Con, saying that Nerf would be launching a sleek and chrome-covered blaster gun modeled after the Hellfire Shotgun that Reaper, one playable character, uses in-game. Now, Blizzard has announced a second plastic blaster modeled after a weapon in Overwatch’s lore: the bubblegum-colored Light Gun used by fan favorite character D.Va.

According to Blizzard, the replica fires at speeds reaching 80 feet per second, and features a “recoil action” feature.

Both plastic blaster guns are made for Nerf’s “Rival” line, which are high performance guns targeted toward an older audience. Rather than featuring Nerf’s traditional foam bullets, these blasters will fire off soft, squishy projectiles, acting a bit like a less aggressive paintball gun.

Both Overwatch replicas are hitting store shelves in 2019, though their exact launch date is still a mystery. The price is also TBD — but if the other guns in the Rival arsenal are any clue, the final price could range anywhere from $29.99 up to $99.99.

HyperX is releasing a PS4-themed version of its Cloud gaming headset

HyperX makes some of the best gaming headsets around, and now, the accessory maker has an officially licensed Sony headset for PlayStation 4 users under its Cloud brand. The HyperX Cloud is the company’s standard headset. It costs $80 for the most recent version, and the licensed PS4 version will maintain that price. For people who play way too much Fortnite, like yours truly, owning a headset like this is pivotal for hearing footsteps and pinpointing an opponent’s location.

HyperX also makes a budget headset called the Cloud Stinger for $50, more premium PC-focused models like the Cloud Alpha and Cloud Revolver costing $100 and $120, and an all-purpose wireless version for $160 called the Cloud Flight. But nearly all of its headsets are surprisingly comfortable — I own the Cloud and Cloud Flight and have tried the Cloud Alpha and Revolver — and mostly involve compromising on sound quality or shelling out extra for more robust microphone and audio controls.

The PS4 licensed model will get you a special blue color scheme, as well as the PlayStation logo emblazoned on the side. You also get a volume control module. The headset will be available on August 13th from both Best Buy and Amazon.

Fortnite for Android leak shows it’s limited to Samsung’s Galaxy Note 9 and Tab S4 at launch

Fortnite for Android is coming soon, and rumors have suggested it will be a 30-day exclusive to Samsung’s Galaxy Note 9. A newly leaked version of the game appears to confirm that Fortnite for Android will be limited in some way to Samsung’s latest devices. XDA-Developers has obtained a leaked APK of Fortnite for Android, and has discovered it’s restricted to both the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 and Galaxy Tab S4.

XDA-Developers reports that the game has a variety of checks for Samsung’s new devices, and it even looks for the existence of Samsung’s S-Pen. Epic Games is planning to launch Fortnite for Android soon, but the company has not yet revealed exactly when it will be available. This leaked copy does make it clear there’s some type of exclusivity for Samsung’s latest devices, but there are no hints on how long it will last. We’ll likely find out when Samsung launches its Galaxy Note 9 later this week.

Fortnite for Android won’t be available on the Google Play Store once it’s released, though. Epic Games will launch the game through the company’s website, and Android users will need to sideload it to install it. That’s raised some understandable concerns around security and fake APKs of Fortnite for Android. We’ve started to see a number of fake APKs circulating already, and as official copies are making their way outside of Epic Games and Samsung, the risk of downloading a fake copy full of malware increases.

Dead Cells is the best Castlevania game in years

It’s a weird time to be a Castlevania fan. While Netflix has reinvigorated interest in the series with a gloriously violent animated show, the games themselves have dried up since the departure of long-time director Koji Igarashi. The most recent official Castlevania title was a pachinko game released in Japan last year. But, as is so often the case, indie developers have stepped up to fill in the gaps. There’s an entire subgenre of 2D action games dubbed “Metroidvanias” that pull from the open-ended structure pioneered by Metroid and later expanded by Igarashi’s Castlevania. It’s not hard to find a game inspired by Castlevania, but it is hard to find one that evokes the same tone and feel. That’s what makes Dead Cells so interesting.

Dead Cells isn’t exactly a new game; it’s been available on PC as an “early access” title since last May, but tomorrow will be the release of the full version of the game on PS4, Xbox One, PC, and the Nintendo Switch. You play as an unnamed warrior who awakens in some kind of dingy dungeon, and, with little explanation, you’re forced to fight your way out. As you progress, you’ll come upon new locations — toxic sewers, sunlit castle rooftops, unsettling graveyards — and find new horrors to fight. Along the way, you’ll gain new abilities and weapons that make you stronger and let you venture to previously inaccessible locales.
Dead Cells

This is all par for the course for a Metroidvania. What makes Dead Cells feel particularly Castlevania-like, though, is its style. The side-scrolling, pixel art world feels like it could be another elaborate Dracula castle. There are all kinds of weird, gothic creatures crawling about, from giant, exploding slugs and undead knights to more exotic fare like massive alien eyeballs chained to the wall. Even the people there to help you are creepy; the hooded shopkeeper has a huge glass canister chained to its back. Exploring Dead Cells’ haunting crypts reminded me a lot of playing Castlevania III as a kid. You can even wield an electric whip and eat turkey legs to regain health.

But as much as Dead Cells can feel like a long-lost Castlevania, it’s also a very different game in many ways. For one thing, there’s the structure built around permadeath, a subgenre known as a “roguelike.” Whenever you die in the game, you’re forced to start over from the beginning. Every time you start up again, your oozing green head crawls into a new body, and the crypts around you change slightly. Each playthrough teaches you new skills, and you’re also able to unlock new abilities, some of which carry over to future lifetimes. It’s an intriguing mixture. Typically, Metroidvania games are defined by a place, a location that you slowly learn about by uncovering all of its secrets. There’s some of that in Dead Cells, but because the world is constantly changing, you’re never quite sure what to expect.

It’s also much faster paced than most of its contemporaries. Combat requires you to be constantly alert and quickly dodge and defend against surprisingly clever enemies. Dead Cells is a game that forces you to experiment. You can’t just find a weapon you like and stick with it; once you die, that weapon will be gone, and you never know what items you’ll pick up on the next playthrough. At one point, I found a lot of success combining a powerful broadsword with a freezing attack, but I had to completely switch up my strategy the next time I made my way through the castle. Each weapon has its own distinct feel, as if the tiny pixelated swords and hammers each had a real weight to them, and it requires practice to get the most out of them.

Dead Cells manages to evoke the same feelings I used to get when I played Dracula’s Cure and Symphony of the Night, but it still offers its own distinct and engrossing take on the genre. I’ve been struggling through the crypts for a week now, and I don’t see myself stopping anytime soon. Tomorrow’s release of Dead Cells will soon be joined by the second season of the Netflix anime, which is due in November, while Igarashi’s own promising Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is also on the way. As it turns out, it’s actually a great time to be a Castlevania fan.

The Minecraft movie lost its director and its 2019 release date

A planned film adaptation of Minecraft won’t come out as planned. The film was scheduled for release next May, with director Rob McElhenney (known for playing Mac on the FXX comedy Always Sunny in Philadelphia) at the helm. But according to TheWrap (via Polygon), McElhenney has left the project.

This isn’t the first time an adaptation of Minecraft has had trouble. Word broke that Warner Bros. first began work adapting the game in 2014, with Shawn Levy (Night in the Museum, Stranger Things) in talks to direct. McElhenney later boarded the project in July 2015, with Wonder Woman screenwriter Jason Fuchs brought in to write the script, after Microsoft acquired game developer Mojang for $2.5 billion in 2016.

In light of the change, the film won’t hit its May 24th, 2019 release date, and Warner Bros. has brought on writers Aaron and Adam Nee (who wrote and directed the 2015 film Band of Robbers, and who are attached to direct the upcoming adaptation of Masters of the Universe) to re-write the script.

ABC In Talks For Another Marvel Series, Network’s Boss Talks About Life Without Shonda Rhimes In the Fold – TCA

ABC kicked off the current Marvel Television’ live-action series ramp-up with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which is heading into its sixth season, to air next summer. With Agent Carter and Inhumans gone, there will be no Marvel series on ABC during the 2018-19 broadcast season schedule for the first time since the launch of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. While ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey made it clear in May that she does not necessarily envision the upcoming sixth season of S.H.I.E.L.D. as its last, she would like to launch another Marvel series on the broadcast network.

“In terms of Marvel, we have some things that we are in discussions with them right now that we are in development,” Dungey said. In typical Marvel fashion, she would not reveal any details beyond the fact that “I’m very excited about it.”

As for Star Wars, Lucasfilms’ TV series efforts are currently focused on the Disney’s direct-to-consumer platform and there is no ABC play, with Marvel also developing projects for the service.
Elzer PR

Dungey also spoke about ABC without Shonda Rhimes in the company fold. Rhimes’ Shondaland left ABC Studios last August for a big overall deal at Netflix and recently unveiled her first slate there of eight series.

“We still have 4 Shondaland shows on the air, so I don’t feel the absence of Shonda at this point,” Dungey said. “I’m excited for her, we talked after her new slate at Netflix was announced. I’m excited, I think she is going to get to explore some ideas and themes that might have been trickier for her to tackle on ABC so it’s all good. The relationship, and the shows we are doing are still as strong as ever.”

As for another top producer who recently left ABC Studios, black-ish creator Kenya Barris, also believed to be going to Netflix, “It’s unclear” whether the ABC pilot he had pushed this past season would go forward, Dungey said.

That project, that started as a straight-to-series order and then became a pilot that eventually was put on hold, was one of the factors that allegedly played a role in Barris’ decision to exit his four-year studio deal just over an year into it.

At the upfronts in May, Dungey spoke in detail about an another incident that was considered the tipping point, the episode of black-ish that was pulled shortly before it was to air. It is said to have touched on a number of hot-button issues, including the debate over athletes who kneel during the national anthem at football games.

“With this particular episode, there were a number of different elements to the episode that we had a hard time coming to terms on,” she said back then. “Much has been made about the kneeling part of it, which was not even really the issue, but I don’t want to get into that. At the end of the day, this was a mutual decision between Kenya and the network to not put the episode out.”

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Minecraft movie is delayed as it loses It’s Always Sunny’s Rob McElhenney as director

Next year’s planned cinematic adaptation of Minecraft has been pushed back.

The gaming sensation was being brought to the big screen by It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s Rob McElhenney and co-writer Jason Fuchs. However, it’s come to light that both have moved on from the project.

McElhenney confirmed to The Wrap: “No, that is not happening,” which means Warner Bros has found replacements in the form of writing/directing duo Aaron and Adam Nee.

The pair made their names with 2015’s indie flick Band of Robbers, which took inspiration from the literary works of Mark Twain.
Adam Nee and Aaron Nee pictured in 2015

© Getty Images

Minecraft’s originally planned release date (May 24, 2019) will no doubt be changed in the months to come, but that shouldn’t dishearten fans – at least the new team isn’t rushing to meet deadlines.

Remember when director Ron Howard took the reins on Solo: A Star Wars Story, following Chris Miller and Phil Lord’s exit during filming? His stress levels must have been through the roof…
Rob McElhenney, Charlie Day, Glenn Howerton, Kaitlin Olson & Danny DeVito in It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia S09E10

© FX Patrick McElhenney

Meanwhile, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia will potentially last for another three seasons, according to actor Charlie Day.

He shared: “You definitely get season 13, which we’re making right now, and season 14, which we’re contracted to do, and then beyond that, it’ll be up to FX.

“But I think 15 is the record for a comedy, so I imagine we’ll all want to hold the record for the longest-running comedy in America. Fifteen would be the record for the longest live-action comedy, so we’ll probably try and break that record if we can.”

Ninth ‘Hearthstone’ Expansion ‘The Boomsday Project’ Out Now

“The Boomsday Project” is the latest expansion for Blizzard Entertainment’s popular digital card game “Hearthstone“, and it’s available right now. Players can download the ninth expansion of the long-running title today, which adds 135 new cards to the game, ranging from fun minions to ridiculous cards with explosive effects.

The set, which introduces the unstable but ridiculously powerful Omega cards, allow for some intriguing plays. When you add 10 mana crystals into the mix, they suddenly become a force to be reckoned with. When played with the new Magnetic keyword and other powerful Projects, they can beef up just about any deck build.

There’s also a few new Legendary Spells thrown into the mix for good measure, which should please just about any newcomer or longtime “Hearthstone” players. While the new deck is available now, a new single-player component called The Puzzle Lab will be coming to “The Boomsday Project” as well. It’ll offer a series of challenges that get more difficult over time as players work to impress Dr. Boom himself by completing a series of card-based puzzles.

If you’re interested in playing with a selection of new cards, you can purchase individual card bundles now or via discounted bundles from the “Hearthstone” shop in addition to crafting cards via Arcane Dust and earning packs in-game. There’s a lot to explore, and plenty of zany ways to utilize each card, if you’re so inclined.

“The Boomsday Project” follows “The Witchwood,” the previous expansion, released earlier this April 2018. It added 135 new collectible cards to the game as well as the new Druid alternate hero Lunara.

The ‘Minecraft’ Movie Suffers A Delay As It Loses Its Director

Director and co-writer Rob McElhenney is no longer working on Warner Bros.’s film adaptation of “Minecraft,” according to The Wrap.

The “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” star was picked to direct the film in 2015, but now it’s not happening, he recently told The Wrap. Warner reportedly asked the writer/director duo of Adam and Aaron Nee to write a new script. “Wonder Woman” scribe Jason Fuchs wrote the previous draft with McElhenney. The Nee brothers are best known for “The Last Romantic” (2006) and “Band of Robbers” (2015). They’re also directing the upcoming “Masters of the Universe” film.

McElhenney is the second director to leave the project. Originally, “Night at the Museum” director Shawn Levy and writers Kieran Mulroney and Michele Mulroney were brought in to work on the film, but they left in 2014 after reportedly presenting new ideas to the studio that didn’t mesh with what Mojang was looking for. Levy is now supposedly working on the upcoming “Uncharted” film starring Tom Holland as a young Nathan Drake.

The “Minecraft” film’s release date will be pushed back because of the shakeup, The Wrap reports. It was originally scheduled to come out on May 24, 2019.

“Minecraft” is a sandbox building game created by Markus Persson and later developed by Swedish developer Mojang. It launched in 2011 and is now the second best-selling video game of all time behind “Tetris,” with over 144 million copies sold across multiple platforms. Persson sold Mojang and “Minecraft” to Microsoft in 2014 for $2.5 billion.

Steve Carell is expected to star in the movie. Warner Bros. acquired the film rights to the franchise from Mojang. Roy Lee is producing it through his Vertigo Entertainment production company with Jill Messick.

Here’s the true cost of Henry Cavill’s Mission Impossible mustache

It would have cost $3 million to allow Cavill to take time off from Mission: Impossible filming to reshoot Justice League cleanly shaven.

Last year, Henry Cavill’s Mission: Impossible moustache hit the headlines after the actor was told to shave it off for Justice League re-shoots whilst he will still filming for Mission: Impossible.

The producers of Mission: Impossible, Paramount Pictures, refused to allow Cavill to shave his moustache for reshoots as a cleanly shaven Superman.

Cavill has played Superman in three DC films to date, 2013’s Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) and last year’s Justice League.

Warner Brothers were instead forced to remove Cavill’s moustache via CGI in post-production. However, in the resulting film, Cavill’s upper lip was blurry, with many fans noticing the strange effects.

Now, in an interview with Empire’s Film Podcast, Mission: Impossible – Fallout director Christopher McQuarrie has revealed what exactly happened between Warner Brothers and Paramount over the moustache debacle.

McQuarrie first described what happened when Justice League’s director, Charles Roven, called him. “[He said] we need your help and we need to shave Henry’s moustache. We need him to come back and we need to do these reshoots.”

New Batman film will not be an origin story, says director
His response to Roven was to help initially: “I went and spoke to Jake Myers [Mission: Impossible – Fallout producer] and the suggestion was made through channels that we shave the moustache and Henry could begin to grow the moustache back and that…they would give us the resources to digitally fill in Henry’s moustache.”

McQuarrie reportedly did not want Cavill to use a fake moustache because of the type of camera – 75mm – that the film was shot on. He said: “a fake-moustache in close-up on a 75mm lens is never going to look like anything but a fake moustache.”

Myers went away to calculate the cost of replacing the shots and the figure came in at an eye-watering $3 million.

McQuarrie agreed to accept the $3 million and shut down the production of Mission Impossible to allow Cavill the time needed to regrow the moustache. However, Paramount had other ideas.

“Somebody from Paramount Pictures said: ‘What is going on? What are you people even talking about? There’s no way we’re going to do that,” McQuarrie explained. “We were just like, ‘Okay. That was the best plan we could come up with.”

Earlier this year, Cavill paid tribute to his moustache after it was shaved off via a tongue-in-cheek Instagram clip.

Earlier this month in an interview with NME, Simon Pegg spoke about the drama behind the moustache. You can watch what he said here:
Read more at https://www.nme.com/news/heres-true-cost-henry-cavills-cgi-moustache-2363020#sXAML8mM5dOtFu8y.99

Justice League failed to make significant headway at the Box Office, despite it’s huge $300 million budget.
Read more at https://www.nme.com/news/heres-true-cost-henry-cavills-cgi-moustache-2363020#sXAML8mM5dOtFu8y.99

“Incredibles 2” Projected To Be First Animated Film To Cross $500 Million Domestically

“Incredibles 2” continues to soar.
Incredibles 2 is making a mockery of the box office. You would think Disney was satisfied with owning the box-office for most of the year (Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, and let’s not forget Star Wars: The Last Jedi was still in theaters in January). It doesn’t look like their stranglehold on the box-office will cease anytime soon though. Their line-up for the rest of the year includes a Wreck-It Ralph sequel, a Marry Poppins sequel, and Christopher Robbins.

Incredibles 2 had a record-breaking opening weekend, raking in $180 million. Now, it is being projected that the animated film will cross the $500 million mark. Currently, Incredibles 2 is sitting at $693 million grossed globally. $485 million of that number can be attributed to domestic sales. According to The Wrap, Incredibles 2 will surpass $500 million domestically this weekend, making it the highest grossing animated film in the US. The top ten highest grossing domestic films do not currently feature any animated films, so if Incredibles 2 can crack $533 million, it will beat out Star Wars: Rogue One for the tenth spot. The first Incredibles film grossed $384 million (when adjusted for inflation), making the sequel more successful before it even leaves theaters. We can probably expect an Incredibles 3 some time in the future.

The 9 Best Movies Based on Books of All Time

Inspiration for movies comes from many places: plays, songs, true stories—even the occasional app can inspire a screenwriter and motivate a studio. But books remain the most frequently visited well for cinematic inspiration. Of the hundreds of movies based on books, here are the ten best.

The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

Based on: A 1992 novella by Stephen King entitled “Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption.”

Back cover blurb: Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) is convicted of the murder of his wife and her lover. He claims he is innocent. The film follows Andy as he tries to survive cruel Shawshank State Penitentiary. He’s helped and counselled by fellow prisoner, Red, played by Morgan Freeman in an Oscar-nominated performance.

Key difference: Red is an white Irish man in the book, while in the film Freeman’s character jokes that he is Irish.

This will be on the test: The King novella also included the source material for the films Apt Pupil and Stand By Me.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)

Based on: The book of the same name by J.K. Rowling, the third in her wildly popular Harry Potter series.

Back cover blurb: Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) spends his third year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry tracking the mysterious story of Sirius Black (Gary Oldman), an ally of He Who Must Not Be Named and a prisoner in Azkaban.

Key difference: The Marauders and their map play a huge role in both the book and the movie, but their backstory and the ways that the map is used differ slightly on-screen.

This will be on the test: After Richard Harris, who played Dumbledore in the first two Harry Potter films, passed away, Ian McKellen was offered the role, but turned it down.

Gone Girl (2014)

Based on: The 2012 beach read classic by Gillian Flynn.

Back cover blurb: Amy Dunne (Rosamund Pike), who has a seemingly perfect suburban life and the seemingly perfect childhood—as illustrated in a successful line of books written by her parents—suddenly disappears and all eyes are on her shady husband Nick (Ben Affleck).

Key difference: Though they still author the Amazing Amy books in the film, Amy’s parents play a much smaller role in David Fincher’s film. Nick’s dad, who also plays a big role in the book, is barely seen on-screen.

This will be on the test: Reese Witherspoon produced the film and intended to play Amy, but withdrew from casting contention after chatting with director David Fincher about his vision for the role.

The Color Purple (1985)

Based on: Alice Walker’s searing and seminal 1983 novel.

Back cover blurb: Celie (Whoopi Goldberg) writes letters detailing her often painful life in rural Georgia, her separation from her sister, Nettie (Akosua Busia), her relationships with her husband’s son’s wife, Sofia (Oprah Winfrey), and her husband’s sometimes-mistress, Shug (Margaret Avery).

Key difference: The book delves even deeper into the inner lives of the women in Celie’s life and paints a more complex picture of the relationships they share.

This will be on the test: This was Whoopi Goldberg’s first film and she received her first Oscar nomination for it.

Atonement (2007)

Based on: Ian McEwan’s 2001 metafictional novel.

Back cover blurb: Precocious and imaginative Briony (Saoirse Ronan) stumbles upon her sister (Keira Knightley) and her boyfriend (James McAvoy) in an intimate moment. Briony misinterprets what’s happening, setting in motion a tragic chain of events that affects them all for years.

Key difference: McEwan’s book is deliciously cerebral and interior, giving the characters’ conflicts, questions, and changes vigorous life. Joe Wright’s film must externalize these inner workings and uses a spare, lush cinematic language to do so.

This will be on the test: The book Atonement is based on another book, Henry James’ What Maisie Knew.

The Wizard of Oz (1939)

Based on: L. Frank Baum’s 1900 book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

Back cover blurb: Kansas farmgirl Dorothy (Judy Garland) is transported by tornado to a magical land where she immediately murders someone and steals her shoes. She then forms a gang and sets off to storm a city with a list of demands for the local wizard.

Key difference: Dorothy’s iconic ruby red slippers were silver in the book.

This will be on the test: The horses in Emerald City were colored with Jell-O crystals.

Film Review: Christopher Robin Explores the Darker Side of Winnie the Pooh

A late-summer dessert entry atop Disney’s already hearty year, Christopher Robin is a property throwback in the vein of David Lowery’s Pete’s Dragon, or Spike Jonze’s Where the Wild Things Are. Frankly, however, it has little of the former’s heart, and all the showy stylistic trappings of the latter. It feels less like a cherry than a big bowl of oatmeal, really. Bland. Gray. A little sticky. It’s salvageable in spots with lotsa hunny – if you really dig for any noticeable flavor – but even then, it’s still just serviceable. Yes, we’re still talking about Christopher Robin.

Christopher Robin takes A.A. Milne’s works about a boy and his bear, and simultaneously modernizes and retrogrades the experience. Du jour in visuals, vintage in its studio feel-goodies. You know Pooh, and his predilection for the ‘hunny’. Fewer may know that Christopher Robin Milne was the name of Milne’s son, and the world of Pooh was inspired by real toys. (You’re welcome at your next bar trivia night.) Now Marc Forster (Monster’s Ball, World War Z) has been tasked with styling a new angle on the blonde bear through a modern lens. In the end, it just doesn’t work, and Forster’s sensitive style has nothing to add beyond aesthetics for aesthetics’ sake.

Robin is now the lead. No longer a tot, he’s played by a shockingly unconvincing Ewan McGregor. It would be unfair to say that the Scottish actor isn’t trying, because the material isn’t up to snuff, and he’s perhaps growing weary of having to work off digital partners after years of War in the Stars. McGregor’s Robin is different, a military veteran. Robin fights in WW2, comes home a luggage businessman, and is on the verge of destroying his family. In shorter terms, he’s played with a stick up the ass. Robin must save his staff from layoffs through the power of accounting and charts, but at the cost of alienating his estranged wife Evelyn (Hayley Atwell) and daughter Madeline (Bronte Carmichael). Christopher Robin? A corporate stiff?

Robin needs his groove back, and only Pooh and crew can renew it in poor “Cristofer Robem.” Perhaps the best word for this characterization is “insincere”? McGregor, an amiable lead in general, is stuck with nominal dialogue, flat intonation, and smiles and moments of longing that never feel earned. Think of it as an overlong take on the little tragedies of Andy growing up in Toy Story 3. Forster never really mines the actor or the heavily stitched-together screenplay for more than mannered cliche.

Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore, Tigger, Kanga, Roo, and Owl are back and articulated with CGI to look alive. Forget the bright yellow-and-red style of Disney cartoons past; he’s been upgraded to a fully-rendered, photorealistic, handsomely budgeted novelty. Like a marionette with no strings. Winnie the Pooh is still a bear, but he’s button-eyed, texturally faded, and lurches along with limited movements in actual reality, interacting with real trees and real jars of hunny. Owl and Rabbit are straight out of Babe, with flapping lips and wide, cartoonish eyes. Perhaps it’s all computer-animated, but the goal is realism here. The effect is curiously jarring, and even a little droll. Pooh’s design is admittedly a nifty conceit to reinforce the film’s themes of the faded past, and the visual effects are nothing to snooze at. However, Pooh is still voiced by Disney mainstay Jim Cummings, because this movie never wants to go too far into the realm of the new. (And look, for fans, it does admittedly give off a feeling of warm fuzzies.)

Through the powers of a cracked jar of hunny, Pooh and Robin reconnect so that Robin can find his inner child, or some such Tony Robbins bumper sticker slogan. The film is pitched at something approximating magical realism, a layer of sparkle atop organic things, and it sounds like a great pitch. Pooh ambling about in his forest with crackling leaves and endlessly glowing lens flares. But Robin neither commits to nor excels in exploring the value of that blend. “What if Pooh but grittier?” seems to be the logline.

Forster struggles to find a tone. There’s an overt, forceful naturalism at work ­– handheld camera, effusive insert shots straight out of Super Bowl car commercials – that suggests a filmmaker attempting the texture of a short story. It’s bold, if rocky. But it’s at odds with the play and imagination that Milne’s comfort creatures bring. Never could one imagine an explosion in a Pooh film, yet here we get one to enforce the hardening of Robin in war. Halfway through, Forster lands on something staid and feel-good and oh-so-very Disney: a race to rescue Robin from a Very Big Meeting. Still in that crunchy, Earthy style, though.

It took five separate writers (including indie magnate Alex Ross Perry, Tom McCarthy of Spotlight, and Allison Schroeder of Hidden Figures) to come up with that? Maybe that’s partly to blame: so much punch-up that the film ironically removed so much of its feeling and liveliness. Robin must regain the trust of his past pals, revitalize his dusty Hundred-Acre-Wood, fix his family, save his job, and find time to convincingly sell Ewan McGregor smiling at CG creations. Oh, bother, indeed. While it may be inoffensive enough , we’ve seen what adventurous filmmakers can do with old material like Lowery’s Dragon remake, or Jon Favreau’s full-blooded take on The Jungle Book. Kids and parents have to watch these things, too, so make it worthwhile.

Not all is lost, though. Brad Garrett’s Eeyore is pitch-perfect, complete with great zingers in a dour key (“Looks like a disaster. Shame I wasn’t invited.”) Cummings, the man behind both Pooh and Tigger for nearly 30 years, still has it: a sweet inflection and endless amiability. The pleasure of good company is Robin’s occasionally winning quality. Parents will make it through this, but they’ll be left wondering what the point of all this remixing was. Children … well, one surmises the desaturated look and low-key story will leave them puzzled – kids are more receptive than you think. Like oatmeal, you won’t be mad, but it’s not gonna be the best or most exciting meal you’ll have this year. Again. Talking about Christopher Robin.

‘Mission: Impossible – Fallout’ Leaps Toward Second Box Office Victory Over ‘Christopher Robin’

Tom Cruise will prevail again at North American multiplexes this weekend with “Mission: Impossible — Fallout,” heading for an impressive $32 million second weekend, early estimates showed Friday.

Disney’s live-action “Christopher Robin” is heading for second place with a respectable $28 million at 3,602 screens. Lionsgate’s action-comedy “The Spy Who Dumped Me” will finish third with about $11 million. Fox’s opening of dystopian sci-fier “The Darkest Minds” is launching inauspiciously with about $7 million at 3,127 locations and will battle a trio of holdovers for fourth place — Universal’s third weekend of “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again,” Sony’s fourth weekend of “Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation,” and Sony’s third weekend of “The Equalizer 2.”

Dinesh D’Souza’s pro-Donald Trump documentary “Death of a Nation: Can We Save America a Second Time?” is performing in line with forecasts of about $3 million at 1,002 locations this weekend for Quality Flix.

“Mission: Impossible — Fallout,” the sixth film in the Paramount franchise, is screening at 4,395 sites and declining less than 50% from its opening weekend of $61.2 million. The action-thriller is also performing better than 2015’s “Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation,” which won its second weekend over “Fantastic Four” with $28 million. “Fallout” should wind up the weekend with about $122 million in its first 10 days.

“Christopher Robin” took in $1.5 million in Thursday night previews, topping Disney’s “A Wrinkle in Time,” which opened with $1.3 million in Thursday previews and went on to a $33 million opening weekend in March.

“Christoper Robin,” based on the characters from A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh books, hopes to draw nostalgia lovers and their children when it opens on 3,602 screens Friday. Ewan McGregor plays a sad adult version of Winnie the Pooh’s old pal Christopher Robin, so Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, and Eeyore come to life to help him regain his imagination. Reviews have been mixed to positive with a 63% score on Rotten Tomatoes.

Lionsgate-Imagine’s “The Spy Who Dumped Me” opens at 3,111 venues and stars Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon as best friends pursued through Europe by assassins. Susanna Fogel directed and co-wrote with David Iserson, while Justin Theroux, Gillian Anderson, Hasan Minhaj, and Sam Heughan round out the cast. “Spy” carries a 39% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Prospects are downbeat for Fox’s “The Darkest Minds,” which opens on 3,127 screens. The movie, which carries a $34 million price tag, is based on Alexandra Bracken’s novel and set in a dystopian America where a group of teenagers is on the run from the government after mysteriously obtaining superpowers. The film stars Amandla Stenberg, Mandy Moore, and Gwendoline Christie. Reviewers have been underwhelmed with a Rotten Tomatoes score of 15%.

With the top two films combining for about $60 million, overall domestic moviegoing should be up significantly over the same 2017 weekend, which was led by “The Dark Tower” with $19 million in its debut — marking the start of one of the slowest Augusts in more than a decade. Summer domestic box office is up a hefty 10.4% to $3.46 billion as of Aug. 1, according to comScore, and year-to-date domestic box office is also leading last year by 7.6% at $7.4 billion.

Tom Cruise Has Considered Setting A ‘Mission: Impossible’ Film In Space

As Ethan Hunt, Tom Cruise has scaled the world’s tallest building, held his breath underwater for over six minutes, shattered his ankle in a rooftop chase, and grasped for dear life on the side of the airplane during takeoff. But those are all appetizers for the inevitable main course in the Mission: Impossible film series: [extremely “Pigs In Space” voice] TOM. CRUISE. IN. SPACE.

While promoting the latest M:I installment, the wildly fun Fallout, Cruise revealed that he’s “thought about” traveling to space. “It’s like how do we do it? It’s the mechanics of getting it there,” he said. “How do you build a sequence there and how long can we have that sequence? Because if I went up and just dropped, how do you put that into the structure of a screenplay of a mission?”

Before watching Fallout, I binge-watched all the Mission: Impossible movies, and while doing so, I couldn’t help but wonder: who would win in a fight, the Mission: Impossible crew (Ethan Hunt, Ilsa Faust, Benji, and Luther Stickell) or the Fast and Furious team (Dominic Toretto, Hobbs, Shaw, Letty Ortiz, Roman Pearce, and Tej Parker). Fast and Furious has the numbers and brute strength, but Mission: Impossible has Tom Cruise, so… Anyway, after reading Cruise’s comments, I’m curious about something else: which movie will travel to space first? It’s the new SPACE RACE, but with more Corona and exploding gum.