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WIRE Buzz: Godzilla vs. Kong coming to theaters & HBO Max in March; The Last of Us gets new director; more

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Jan 15, 2021, 8:25 PM EST

Godzilla vs. Kong will simultaneously be released in theaters and on HBO Max on Mar. 26, 2021 instead of its previously announced date of May 21, according to Deadline

The move appears to be WarnerMedia’s compromise with Legendary, the latter of which financed 75% of the film to Warner’s 25%. Legendary reportedly considered bringing litigation against WarnerMedia after the company announced plans to realease its entire 2021 movie slate on HBO Max at the same time as in theaters, a move that particularly stung because WarnerMedia had previously blocked a $200 million deal to sell the film to Netflix.

The two companies, however, were able to reach a compromise for the fourth installment in Legendary's Godzilla-Kong franchise. In addition to Godzilla and Kong, the movie stars Alexander Skarsgård, Millie Bobby Brown, Rebecca Hall, Jessica Henwick, and Kyle Chandler.

HBO's The Last of Us series has found the first of its directors. The TV adaptation of Naughty Dog’s hugely successful PlayStation game franchise has reportedly tapped a new director to replace Johan Renck (Chernobyl), after Renck bowed out due to a reported scheduling conflict.

Via The Hollywood Reporter, the series has recruited Russian-language filmmaker Kantemir Balagov to helm the pilot episode of the upcoming series, which is based on the post-apocalyptic survival adventures of original game protagonists Joel and Ellie. Little known outside critics’ circles and cinephiles in the west, Balagov comes with serious-drama credentials aplenty as the director of the WWII drama Beanpole, which has garnered international awards recognition (as well as the Russian submission for best international feature film for last year’s Oscars) since its 2019 release.

Other than the early-episode director swap, everything else that’s previously been reported about the much-hyped TV adaptation for one of Sony’s most successful exclusive gaming properties appears still to be on track. Craig Mazin, creator of HBO’s Emmy-winning limited Chernobyl series, is still writing the series as a co-executive producer alongside Naughty Dog creative director Neil Druckmann, with THR noting that the “marriage of Balagov and [The] Last of Us shows that HBO is aiming for a serious dramatic tone for the adaptation.”

So far, there’s been no indication from HBO on when TLOU could find its way to the small screen in series form, nor on casting. Mazin said last summer that the series is definitely going all in to capture the games’ somber, character-focused tone, pledging there’d be “no episodic nonsense” in a storyline that’s “connected in organic, serious ways that I think fans of the game and newcomers alike will appreciate.”

Peacemaker, the James Gunn-created spinoff series focused on John Cena’s eponymous character from The Suicide Squad, has officially started production.

“5 months ago, while quarantining, I started writing a TV series, mostly for fun, in-between Guardians drafts & cutting #TheSuicideSquad,” Gunn shared on Twitter today. “I wrote the 1st season of #Peacemaker in 8 weeks. & now, here I am, on the 1st day of shooting. Life is surreal. Let’s go (& go safely!).”

Gunn also shared a photo of him wearing a sixties-themed t-shirt with Cena’s Peacemaker smack dab in the middle.

We know few details about the plot of the show, except that it will be violent. In addition to Cena, the series will star Danielle Brooks (Orange Is The New Black), Jennifer Holland (American Horror Story), Robert Patrick (Terminator 2: Judgment Day), and Chris Conrad (Young Hercules).

With the series now in production, it’s a safe bet that Peacemaker will eventually air on HBO Max. News on when, however, will be announced sometime after The Suicide Squad premieres Aug. 6, 2021.