Wonder Woman star Gal Gadot and director Patty Jenkins are reuniting for the period biographical drama, Cleopatra. The film, which will see Jenkins direct on a script from Laeta Kalogridis. Paramount Pictures won an auction for the project, the first major project package won by Paramount Motion Picture Group President Emma Watts in what, according to Deadline, came down to an auction between Paramount, Universal, Warner Bros, Netflix, and Apple.
Cleopatra will be produced by Jenkins, Gadot and her Pilot Wave Motion Pictures partner Jaron Varsano, and Atlas Entertainment's Charles Roven. Kalogridis will serve as executive producer. The film was Gadot's idea.
According to Deadline's report, the deal for Cleopatra goes well beyond just development of the project. The project has an accelerated timetable with the intent to head towards big budget theatrical release as soon as possible -- though given the state of the box office and the entertainment industry due to COVID-19 what that timeline looks like is unclear.
Kalogridis has extensive credits, including Alexander, Shutter Island, and Alita: Battle Angel. She will be writing the script along with input from Gadot, Jenkins, Roven, and Varsano to take on the story of the infamous Egyptian queen, which has been brought to life multiple times in film, perhaps most notably by Elizabeth Taylor in 1963's Cleopatra, which despite being a major box office success as well as a major winner at the Academy Awards in 1964 was the most expensive film made to date, nearly bankrupting 20th Century Fox at the time.
As for Gadot and Jenkins' upcoming effort, Wonder Woman 1984, that film is current slated to open in theaters on December 25th, though it's anyone's guess at this point if that release date -- the sixth for the film thus far -- will stick. Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, most major Hollywood blockbusters have been pushed further and further back, hoping to delay release until more theaters in New York and Los Angeles reopen as well as the moviegoing public feels safer in theaters. Some analysts expect Wonder Woman 1984 will also experience a further delay.
"Optimistically, there's a window for a big tentpole around the Presidents and Valentine's Day holiday weekend in February since Marvel's Eternals vacated that spot," Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at Box Office Pro, told Observer. "That could be a good fit if the fall and winter fight against the virus goes better than expected and New York, alongside Los Angeles, reopen theaters by then."
A Disney shuffle moved Eternals off its February 12 date and later into 2021. There's now a next summer slot for WW84 following a freshly announced delay for Universal's Jurassic World: Dominion, which will roar to life one year later in June 2022.
"Perhaps more realistically, June 11 looks like a great spot," Robbins said. "Universal just left that weekend wide open with Jurassic World: Dominion's delay to 2022. It would allow a two-week gap after F9 and a two-week head start on the Venom sequel, both of which will be predominantly male driven anyway. It's also part of the early summer corridor where the first Wonder Woman enjoyed so much success."
What do you think about Jenkins and Gadot teaming up for Cleopatra? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
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