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‘Blue Beetle’ Moves to Theaters; ‘Toto,’ ‘Last Train to New York’ Dated

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Warner Bros. has announced release dates for several films including DC’s “Blue Beetle,” directed by Angel Manuel Soto, which is now due Aug. 18, 2023. The superhero saga was originally set to premiere on HBO Max, but will now start its run exclusively in theaters.

Starring “Cobra Kai” actor Xolo Maridueña, “Blue Beetle” will focus on the most recent version of Blue Beetle, introduced in 2006, as the Mexican-American teen Jaime Reyes. “I have so much pride in getting to be a part of this project with Angel, someone like him,” Maridueña told Variety when he was cast. Along with “Batgirl,” it had originally been developed as an HBO Max project.

“The Last Train to New York,” based on Korean zombie movie “Train to Busan,” will open April 21, 2023. Timo Tjahjanto directs from a script by Gary Dauberman, with James Wan producing.

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Meanwhile, animated Wizard of Oz feature “Toto,” told from the POV of the titular pooch, is set to open Feb. 2, 2024. Alex Timbers directs from a John August script, with Derek Fray producing.

The studio unveiled a slew of dates for both theatrical and HBO Max premieres Thursday, including Steven Soderbergh’s thriller “Kimi,” starring Zoe Kravitz, which will stream exclusively on HBO Max on Feb. 10. Byron Bowers, Jaime Camil, Erika Christensen, Derek DelGaudio, Robin Givens, Charles Halford, Devin Retray and Jacob Vargas co-star with Rita Wilson. Soderbergh’s recent films “No Sudden Move” and “Let Them All Talk” also premiered exclusively on HBO Max.

HBO Max will also premiere Megan Park’s “The Fallout” on Feb. 10 and Christopher Winterbauer’s “Moonshot” on March 24.

 

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Gossips

Reese Witherspoon Becomes Latest Celebrity to Read a Bedtime Story to British Kindergarteners

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In addition to Academy Award winner, Reese Witherspoon can add the utmost honor of becoming the first best actress Oscar winner to deliver a bedtime story for British kindergartners.

Witherspoon is set to read a children’s book for BBC children’s channel CBeebies, which targets kids aged six and under. The “Morning Show” star will read “Extraordinary” by Penny Harrison.

The CBeebies gig is especially on brand for Witherspoon, who’s something of a bibliophile herself. Through her production company Hello Sunshine, she launched Reese’s Book Club, which is curated by the actor and selects a book each month. The club has 2.2 million followers on Instagram.

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“Extraordinary,” illustrated by Katie Wilson, shows how you can discover beautiful and wonderful things, wherever you look — if you just look closely enough.

Opening the story, Witherspoon reads: “Sometimes, when we’re busy, it can be hard to find time to notice the world around us. The things we see every day can seem a bit… ordinary. But if you stop, and look closer, you’ll see that our world is extraordinary!”

As she sends the young audience off to bed, the actor encourages them to look closely at something the following day that may at first appear ordinary and they might also discover something magical.

Witherspoon is the latest in a long line of famous faces to take the CBeebies hot seat. Past readers include Ryan Reynolds, Tom Hardy, Chris Evans, Regé-Jean Page, Felicity Jones, David Schwimmer, Alesha Dixon, Eddie Redmayne, Orlando Bloom, Sir Elton John and Dolly Parton.

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“Bedtime Stories” airs every weekday at 6:50 p.m. on the CBeebies channel, and is also made available on catch-up service BBC iPlayer. Witherspoon’s episode will air on Jan. 28.

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Cate Blanchett on Her Double Oscar Buzz, Skipping ‘Ricardos’ and New Pedro Almodóvar Movie

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Cate Blanchett delivers two outstanding performances that are both in the awards conversation this year: “Don’t Look Up” and “Nightmare Alley.” The star shepherds grace and a hypnotic trance that has the viewer hanging on every single word she releases.

With another impressive turn in Adam McKay’s “Don’t Look Up,” Blanchett is a contender in what is easily our strongest field of supporting actress contenders in the last 30 years. Blanchett was shortlisted at BAFTA for “Don’t Look Up,” and also picked up a SAG Award nod for Guillermo del Toro’s “Nightmare Alley.”

Variety’s Awards Circuit Podcast recently spoke with Blanchett about her double dip in the awards arena this season, and having to turn down the role of Lucille Ball in Aaron Sorkin’s “Being the Ricardos,” which ultimately went to Nicole Kidman. Plus, the Australian actor talks about her next project with Pedro Almodóvar and why she thinks it’s important to get back to movie theaters. Listen below!

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In what was reported exclusively on Variety, Blanchett will next work with Almodóvar on “A Manual for Cleaning Women,” his first English-language feature, which she will star in and also produce.

She also discusses her other upcoming movies like “TÁR” from Todd Field, “Pinocchio” from Guillermo del Toro and “Borderlands” from Eli Roth. Another possible project in the works is Francis Ford Coppola’s “Megalopolis,” which she’s been rumored to be circling alongside other stars such as Oscar Isaac and Zendaya. Isaac was said to be in discussions to play Desi Arnaz in Aaron Sorkin’s “Being the Ricardos” around the time that Blanchett was being eyed to play Lucille Ball.

“It became the movie it needed to be,” she says of what ultimately transpired with “Ricardos.” “Those things happen in the right way, at the right time. In the best possible way, you don’t always envisage the same thing; and then it goes on to become a different entity.” As for the possibility of working with Coppola she says, “When Francis calls, you just have to say yes. Because you’re on the epic, life-changing adventure ride. You’re on that roller coaster. I’m ready for that.”

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“Don’t Look Up” is distributed by Netflix and is now streaming on the platform. “Nightmare Alley” is distributed by Searchlight Pictures and is now playing in theaters.

Variety’s Awards Circuit podcast is hosted by Clayton Davis, Michael Schneider, Jazz Tangcay and Jenelle Riley and is your one-stop listen for lively conversations about the best in movies. Michael Schneider is the producer and Drew Griffith edits. Each week, “Awards Circuit” features interviews with top talent and creatives; discussions and debates about awards races and industry headlines; and much, much more. Subscribe via Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify or anywhere you download podcasts. New episodes post every week.

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