MGM delays releases of Respect & Tomb Raider sequel
With the global pandemic still keeping theaters shut and preventing productions from getting underway, MGM has elected to delay the release dates of the Aretha Franklin biopic Respect and the Alicia Vikander-starring Tomb Raider sequel, according to The Wrap.
Respect, which was originally set to debut on October 9 before being pushed to a limited release on Christmas Day followed by a wide release on January 15 for the awards season, but due to the pandemic has been pushed back again by seven months to August 13, while the Tomb Raider sequel, which is looking to get production underway in early 2021, has been pulled completely from its March 19, 2021 release and has been left unset.
Respect will follow the rise of Aretha Franklin’s career from a child singing in her father’s church’s choir to her international superstardom. The film is the remarkable true story of the music icon’s journey to finding her voice. Marking the first authorized feature film based on Franklin’s life, the movie directed by Tony-nominee Liesl Tommy (Broadway’s Eclipsed) and is written by Emmy-nominee Tracey Scott Wilson (The Americans, Fosse/Verdon).
Hudson, who was personally hand-picked by Franklin to play her in the film, is joined by Forest Whitaker as Reverand C.L. Franklin, Marlon Wayans as Ted White, Audra McDonald as Barbara Siggers Franklin, Mary J. Blige as Dinah Washington, Marc Maron as Jerry Wexler, Tituss Burgess as James Cleveland, Saycon Sengbloh as Erma Franklin, Hailey Kilgore as Carolyn Franklin, Tate Donovan as John Hammond, and Skye Dakota Turner.
The producers are Scott Bernstein (Straight Outta Compton) and multiple Grammy-nominated producer Harvey Mason Jr.(Dreamgirls), who has produced music for both Aretha Franklin and Jennifer Hudson. The movie will be distributed internationally by Universal Pictures International.
Respect will exclusively feature the iconic songs: Respect; I Say A Little Prayer; Think; (You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman; You’ve Got A Friend; Dr. Feelgood; Do Right Woman, Do Right Man; Spanish Harlem; and Young, Gifted and Black. The film will also feature Ain’t No Way; Precious Lord; There’s A Fountain Filled With Blood; Amazing Grace; and Chain of Fools.
It was announced in September 2019 that Ben Wheatley (Free Fire, High-Rise) will direct the untitled sequel. Production on the MGM and Warner Bros. movie was initially planned for this year, with a release date originally set for March 19, 2021, but has obviously been delayed due to the ongoing pandemic. The sequel is being written by Amy Jump, who is a regular collaborator with Wheatley. The two have previously worked on High-Rise, Free Fire, A Field in England, Sightseers, and Kill List together.
Jump is taking over writing duties for Geneva Robertson-Dworet and Alastair Siddons, who co-wrote the first movie. Plot details on the sequel are being kept under wraps. Graham King will once again produce through his GK Films banner.
Based on the video game character, the 2018 Tomb Raider earned $274.7 million at the worldwide box office and received mixed reviews from critics but generally positive reviews from audiences, with Vikander’s performance in the titular role generally praised.
In the movie, Lara Croft (Alicia Vikander) is the fiercely independent daughter of an eccentric adventurer who vanished when she was scarcely a teen. Now a young woman of 21 without any real focus or purpose, Lara navigates the chaotic streets of trendy East London as a bike courier, barely making the rent, and takes college courses, rarely making it to class. Determined to forge her own path, she refuses to take the reins of her father’s global empire just as staunchly as she rejects the idea that he’s truly gone. Advised to face the facts and move forward after seven years without him, even Lara can’t understand what drives her to finally solve the puzzle of his mysterious death.
Tomb Raider also stars Dominic West (Money Monster, 300), Walton Goggins (The Hateful Eight, Django Unchained) and Daniel Wu (Into the Badlands). Roar Uthaug (The Wave) directed the film, and Graham King (The Departed) served as a producer through GK Films.