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Film News Roundup: Alicia Vikander’s ‘Tomb Raider’ Sequel Dated for 2021

In today’s film news roundup, MGM dates its “Tomb Raider” sequel, President Obama’s production company makes a hire, a “Rambo” marathon is unveiled, Andrew Matthew Welch gets a lead role and “After Midnight” finds a home.

RELEASE DATE

MGM is moving ahead with its “Tomb Raider” sequel, hiring Ben Wheatley to direct and setting a release date of March 19, 2021.

Alicia Vikander is on board to reprise her portrayal of action heroine Lara Croft. Graham King is producing through GK Films with Elizabeth Cantillon. Wheatley’s credits include “Kill List,” “Free Fire” and the upcoming “Rebecca” remake, to be distributed by Netflix.

Last year’s “Tomb Raider,” directed by Roar Uthaug and based on the 2013 video game, took in $275 million worldwide as Vikander’s character attempted to solve the mystery of her father’s disappearance.

“Tomb Raider” is the first title to land on March 19, 2021. Wheatley is repped by WME, Independent Talent UK, and Ziffren Brittenham. News was first reported by Deadline.

EXECUTIVE HIRE

Popular on Variety

Higher Ground Productions, founded by former president Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama, has hired HBO veteran Ada Chiaghana as vice president of development and production.

Chiaghana will report directly to co-heads Tonia Davis and Priya Swaminathan. She has worked on Issa Rae’s “Insecure” and “Silicon Valley.”

“Ada’s experience discovering and nurturing storytellers makes her a perfect fit for Higher Ground,” Davis and Swaminathan said. “We are dedicated to seeking out new voices and telling powerful stories that entertain and inspire. Ada’s intelligence, creativity and proven track record will make her an integral part of our team.”

Higher Ground has a distribution deal with Netflix, which recently released the company’s documentary “American Factory.”

RAMBO MARATHON

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema will hold a five-film “Rambo” marathon event at 23 of its locations, starting on Sept. 19.
The marathon coincides with Lionsgate’s opening of “Rambo: Last Blood” on Sept. 20 — 37 years after the series launched with “First Blood.” The story centers on Sylvester Stallone’s Rambo crossing into Mexico and taking on a violent cartel when the daughter of one of his friends is kidnapped.
“Rambo: Last Blood” also stars Paz Vega, Sergio Peris-Mencheta and Yvette Monreal. Adrian Goldberg is directing from a screenplay by Stallone and Matthew Cirulnick.
The four “Rambo” films have grossed a combined $728 million in worldwide box office, led by 1982’s “Rambo: First Blood Part II” with $300 million. “Rambo III” followed in 1988 and  “Rambo”  in 2008.
“This marathon is for the ultimate Rambo fan,” says Alamo Drafthouse Programmer Cristina Cacioppo. “And there’ll be so much to see – the thoughtful drama of ‘First Blood,’ the action spectacle of the middle installments and finally, how it comes to an end in ‘Last Blood.'”

CASTING

Andrew Matthew Welch has been signed as the lead actor in the independent coming of age story “Soul Drift” for Slam Cities Films.
Directed by Michael Vincent, the story centers on a young man who grows up racing on rural Midwest roads, which eventually lead him to the high octane tracks of drift racing. The cast also includes Adam Aalderks (“Ballers”), Daniel Pinder (“Chicago PD”), Jacob Anderson, Meridith Gould and Jim Christensen.

Welch’s credits include “Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase” and “Ma.”

ACQUISITION

The dramatic thriller “After Midnight” (formerly titled “Something Else”) has been acquired by Cranked Up for North American distribution, and will be released in cinemas and on-demand during the first quarter of 2020.

“After Midnight” will be screened at the 2019 edition of Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas, with directors and cast in attendance.
Jeremy Gardner starred, co-directed with Christian Stella and wrote the script about a man whose sanity begins to crack when his long suffering girlfriend disappears suddenly, leaving a cryptic note as her only explanation. Then something terrible starts trying to break in every night.
The acquisition deal was negotiated by Good Deed Entertainment’s Brandon Hill with XYZ and CAA representing the filmmakers.

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