From the corporate world to movie and streamer news, Hollywood is cranking up, and we round up the news here.

20th Century Studio’s Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes (see "’Kingdom of the PotA’ Trailer") opened big, grossing $56.5 million at the domestic box office, slightly above projections, according to Variety.  Another $72.5 million from international markets brought the first weekend box office total to $129 million.  Among other films in the top ten for the weekend was Godzilla x Kong: A New Empire, which now sits at $191 million domestically after its seventh week in release.

Andy Serkis will direct and star in The Lord of the Rings: The Hunt for Gollum (working title), a new live action feature set for release in 2026, Middle-earth Enterprises parent Embracer Group announced.  The film will be produced by Warner Bros. Pictures and New Line Cinema, with The Lord of the Rings trilogy producers Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, and Phillippa Boyens.  Walsh and Boyens are writing the screenplay, along with Phoebe Gittins and Arty Papageorgiou (The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim).  Embracer announced that Middle Earth Enterprises had reached a multi-year deal with New Line Cinema and Warner Bros. Pictures to develop new films based on The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit in February of 2023 (see "New ‘LotR Movies’").

Marvel Studios is cutting back its Marvel slate to a more subdued pace of two TV series a year (instead of four), and two or at most three movies a year, down from four, Disney CEO Robert Iger said during the company’s conference call.  Marvel currently has four films scheduled for release in 2025: Captain America: Brave New World, Fantastic Four, Thunderbolts, and Blade (see "Geek Movie Calendar – 2025").  It’s not clear from Iger’s remarks whether that release schedule is going to be grandfathered in or altered.

Casting is moving quickly now for the upcoming Fantastic Four movie, which has added a number of new cast members in the past week.  John Malkovich has signed on for an undisclosed role, according to Deadline; Ralph Ineson (Game of Thrones) has joined the cast as Galactus, and Paul Walter Hauser is on board in an undisclosed role, according to The Hollywood Reporter.  They join Julia Garner as Silver Surfer (see "Julia Garner in ‘Fantastic Four’"), Joseph Quinn as Johnny Storm, and Ebon Moss-Bachrach as Ben Grimm.

George Cheeks, Chris McCarthy, Brian Robbins
The latest in the ongoing drama over the sale of Paramount is the news that a $26 billion offer from Sony and Apollo would likely result in the break-up of the company, with Sony keeping the movie studio and selling off CBS and its stations, cable networks like MTV and Nickelodeon, and streamer Paramount+, according to the New York Times.  Other suitors remain interested in buying the company, including Skydance, which negotiated exclusively with Paramount for weeks. Late last year, Warner Bros. Discovery was reported to be interested (see "WBD – Paramount Talks"), but now it is only being mentioned as a potential acquirer of portions of the company in a break-up.  In the midst of this turmoil, late last month, Paramount announced that CEO Bob Bakish resigned and was replaced by a three-person Office of the CEO.

Prime Video has announced it will drop all ten episodes of animated series Batman: Caped Crusader on August 1.  Prime Video also released images from the series (see below).  The streamer picked up the series, developed by Bruce Timm, J.J. Abrams, and Matt Reeves, last year with a two-season order (see "’Caped Crusader’ Leaps to Prime").

Click Gallery below for Batman: Caped Crusader pics!