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Warner Bros. to Release ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ Prequel and ‘The Color Purple’ Musical in Theaters in 2023

Mad Max Fury Road Furiosa Charlize
©Warner Bros/courtesy Everett C

Warner Bros. has announced release dates for three of its upcoming films: George Miller’s “Mad Max: Fury Road” prequel, titled “Furiosa”; a musical adaptation of “The Color Purple”; and the family film “Coyote vs. Acme.” All three films will debut in theaters in 2023.

“Furiosa,” starring Anya Taylor-Joy in the title role, has been set for June 23. The live-action/ animation hybrid “Coyote vs. Acme” is debuting on July 21 and “The Color Purple” will release around the holidays on Dec. 20.

Earlier in December, Warner Bros. shared plans to premiere its entire 2021 slate — including “The Matrix 4,” “Dune” and “The Suicide Squad” — simultaneously on the company’s streaming service HBO Max and in movie theaters. The studio called the unprecedented release strategy, one that drew criticism from all corners of Hollywood, a “unique one-year” model in response to the pandemic. Wednesday’s announcement suggests that Warner Bros. intends to continue its commitment to theatrical releases.

Chris Hemsworth and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II will join Taylor-Joy in “Furiosa,” which takes place before 2015’s sci-fi epic “Mad Max: Fury Road.” Miller, the filmmaker behind 1979’s “Mad Max” and its three sequels, is returning to direct, write and produce “Furiosa,” along with his longtime producing partner Doug Mitchell.

Dave Green is directing “Coyote vs. Acme,” centering on the age-old rivalry between Wile E. Coyote and his preferred mail order supplier. “Guardians of the Galaxy” director James Gunn is co-writing the screenplay, based on Ian Frazier’s fictional New Yorker magazine article of the same name. Chris DeFaria and Gunn will produce, the latter under his company Two Monkeys, A Goat and Another, Dead, Monkey production banner.

“The Color Purple” is being adapted from the Tony-winning musical and 1985 film. Blitz Bazawule is directing the upcoming version, which will be produced by Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg. The film, which has yet to be cast, tells the story of Celie, a Black woman living in the South in the early 20th century who learns her self-worth through the help of two friends.

Spielberg directed the original film adaptation of “The Color Purple” in the ’80s, which starred Danny Glover, Whoopi Goldberg and Winfrey. The coming-of-age story, adapted from Alice Walker’s 1982 novel, was turned into a Broadway musical in 2005.