Aladdin sequel in the works at Disney

Disney executives are reportedly working on a sequel to the live-action version of Aladdin.Directed by Guy Ritchie, the adaptation of the studio’s 1992 animated movie of the same name followed street urchin Aladdin (Mena Massoud) as he falls in love wi…

Disney executives are reportedly working on a sequel to the live-action version of Aladdin.

Directed by Guy Ritchie, the adaptation of the studio’s 1992 animated movie of the same name followed street urchin Aladdin (Mena Massoud) as he falls in love with Princess Jasmine (Naomi Scott) and befriends the wish-granting Genie (Will Smith).

While Aladdin received mixed reviews from critics when it premiered last May, it grossed $1 billion at the worldwide box office, and on Wednesday, editors at Variety reported that producers are in the “early” phases of developing a follow-up.

Sources claimed writers John Gatins and Andrea Berloff are involved, while executive producer Ryan Halprin and producers Dan Lin and Jonathan Eirich are apparently also back on board for a second film.

At present, it is not known if Ritchie plans to return, though the producers are reportedly keen for the central cast members to reprise their roles.

And while the original animated Disney movie Aladdin had two straight-to-video sequels, it’s believed this movie won’t be based on any of those films.

The news comes after star Massoud admitted he was struggling to find his feet in Hollywood, despite receiving praise for his performance in the flick.

“I’m kind of tired of staying quiet about it,” the 28-year-old told The Daily Beast last year. “I want people to know that it’s not always dandelions and roses when you’re doing something like Aladdin: ‘He must have made millions. He must be getting all these offers.’ It’s none of those things. I haven’t had a single audition since Aladdin came out.”

© Cover Media

Will Smith voices support for ‘spectacular actor’ Mena Massoud

Will Smith has voiced his support for Mena Massoud after the actor claimed he was struggling to land auditions.The 28-year-old recently shared his dismay at his career issues and confessed he hadn’t had a single audition since playing the titular role …

Will Smith has voiced his support for Mena Massoud after the actor claimed he was struggling to land auditions.

The 28-year-old recently shared his dismay at his career issues and confessed he hadn’t had a single audition since playing the titular role in Disney’s live-action blockbuster Aladdin, which was released in May.

When quizzed about his former co-star’s comments, Will, who played the Genie in the movie, said he was unaware of Mena’s lack of work, but gave the Egypt-born Canadian some encouraging words of support.

“He is a spectacular actor and he has nothing to worry about,” the Oscar-nominated star told Variety while at the premiere of his new animated movie, Spies in Disguise.

Earlier this week, Mena told The Daily Beast that he was “tired” of following agents’ advice and pretending that he’s been hugely successful.

“I want people to know that it’s not always dandelions and roses when you’re doing something like Aladdin. ‘He must have made millions. He must be getting all these offers.’ It’s none of those things. I haven’t had a single audition since Aladdin came out,” he explained. “It’s wild to a lot of people… People have these ideas in their heads. It’s like, I’m sitting here being like, ‘OK, Aladdin just hit $1 billion. Can I at least get an audition?’ Like I’m not expecting you to be like, here’s Batman. But can I just get in the room? Like, can you just give me a chance? So, it’s not always what you think.”

Mena will next be seen in the Hulu series Reprisal.

© Cover Media

Mena Massoud hasn’t had an audition since Aladdin

Aladdin star Mena Massoud hasn’t had a single audition since the release of the hit Disney movie.The 28-year-old actor has spoken out about his career struggles, revealing he is “tired” of following agents’ advice and pretending that he’s been hugely s…

Aladdin star Mena Massoud hasn’t had a single audition since the release of the hit Disney movie.

The 28-year-old actor has spoken out about his career struggles, revealing he is “tired” of following agents’ advice and pretending that he’s been hugely successful since the live-action blockbuster, which was directed by Guy Ritchie.

“I’m kind of tired of staying quiet about it,” he told The Daily Beast. “I want people to know that it’s not always dandelions and roses when you’re doing something like Aladdin. ‘He must have made millions. He must be getting all these offers’. It’s none of those things. I haven’t had a single audition since Aladdin came out.

“It’s wild to a lot of people… People have these ideas in their head. It’s like, I’m sitting here being like, OK, Aladdin just hit $1 billion. Can I at least get an audition? Like I’m not expecting you to be like, here’s Batman. But can I just get in the room? Like, can you just give me a chance? So it’s not always what you think.”

The Egypt-born Canadian, who will next be seen in the Hulu series Reprisal, has been open about his struggles as an actor of colour, which led him to launch the Ethnically Diverse Artists Foundation to help under-represented artists in September.

“I feel like I’m going to be overlooked and underestimated for a long time because I am a young actor,” he added. “I’m an up-and-comer in the sense that I’ve been doing this for 10 years, but to a lot of people, Aladdin’s the first thing they’ve seen me in. So I think I’m going to be viewed that way for a long time. I’m going to have to work at chipping away at that.”

Aladdin, which was released in May, also starred Naomi Scott and Will Smith and has made more than $1 billion (£769 million) at the worldwide box office.

© Cover Media

Will Smith goes on diet following weight gain

Will Smith has gone on a diet after becoming the heaviest he’s ever been.In an “emergency” episode of his wife Jada’s Facebook Watch series Red Table Talk, the 50-year-old actor summoned his entire family so he could discuss his struggle with his weigh…

Will Smith has gone on a diet after becoming the heaviest he’s ever been.

In an “emergency” episode of his wife Jada’s Facebook Watch series Red Table Talk, the 50-year-old actor summoned his entire family so he could discuss his struggle with his weight.

During the candid chat, The Fresh Prince of Bel‑Air star confessed he’d reached his heaviest-ever weight, and told his family he noticed he had a problem during a family vacation, during which he was given the affectionate nickname Pudge Muffin.

“So for breakfast, I was having the four or five muffins. You know, Aladdin was successful, so I was like, ‘Muffin, muffin, muffin!’,” he shared. “Then for lunch, I would have a Moscow mule, I’d have a little vodka. That was pretty much my routine for the 10 days. I’d wake up, eat five muffins and go back to sleep.”

The actor went on to reveal he tried to lose the extra weight by going on a 10-day fast, but had to give up after four days because he was taking medication and his blood pressure went “dangerously low”.

However, Will stopped taking his medication and changed his diet, and found eating healthily helped reduce the reading back down to normal.

“I couldn’t believe I got to 50 years old without knowing you literally are what you eat,” he reflected. “I eat food like an addict. I love food, but I realised my relationship with food was I eat for fun. I eat for joy.”

“Pudge Muffin was cute. But I don’t want to be a Pudge Muffin to my family,” the star added, before his son Jaden quipped: “You can’t put the fate of a family on a Pudge Muffin.”

© Cover Media

Mena Massoud calls for more inclusivity in Hollywood

Mena Massoud has called on Hollywood leaders to make more films with people from minority groups.The Aladdin actor, who was born in Cairo, Egypt but moved to Toronto, Canada with his family when he was three, made the comments as he returned to his nat…

Mena Massoud has called on Hollywood leaders to make more films with people from minority groups.

The Aladdin actor, who was born in Cairo, Egypt but moved to Toronto, Canada with his family when he was three, made the comments as he returned to his native country to present an award at the El Gouna Film Festival.

In a speech, Massoud championed inclusion and diversity in film and television and urged his fellow actors to tell their stories through “the power of art”.

“As artists, we have an extraordinary and rare privilege to tell the stories of our people, our land, our culture. They grip us, tear us apart, and put us back together. We are our stories,” the 28-year-old shared, according to Variety. “When I was growing up (in Canada) I never really saw people that looked like me on the big screen, and that made me feel like I didn’t belong there, and there wasn’t room for my story.

“When we represent all cultures with sensitivity and truth, we foster a society that supports all people. When we uplift artists who reflect diverse perspectives their stories not only tell us how people view others, but how they view themselves.”

Massoud presented the film festival’s inaugural award for International Artist in Motion Pictures to Moroccan actress Nisrin Erradi, who starred in the critically-acclaimed film Adam.

And the Open Heart star was inspired by the movie, which follows the stories of three North African women.

“All at once it portrayed the grace and strength, the dedication, community, and vulnerability that women of this region embody, and reminded me of my mother and sisters and the love and assertiveness with which they raised me. This film makes me proud to say that I am the son of a North African woman,” he added.

© Cover Media

Naomi Scott could barely leave bed during eczema flare-ups

Naomi Scott’s eczema problems were so bad during her teens she found it hard to get out of bed at times. The 26-year-old is opening up about her battle with the chronic skin condition in the hope that other young women will look to her for inspiration…

Naomi Scott’s eczema problems were so bad during her teens she found it hard to get out of bed at times.

The 26-year-old is opening up about her battle with the chronic skin condition in the hope that other young women will look to her for inspiration.

“You know those days where you want to stay in bed, where you can’t move your neck because it’s so sore? I’m with you,” she told fans during a candid interview with Teen Vogue. “And I guarantee you, the more you own it, the more you feel confident… This is something I wanted to speak on specifically for this interview because Teen Vogue, for me, has a real no BS (no bulls**t) honesty thing.”

She also revealed that she had her worst-ever bout of eczema as she began filming her role as Jasmine in Guy Ritchie’s live-action remake of the Disney animated classic, Aladdin.

“I thought that maybe after filming it would all simmer down, but it erupted,” Scott said. “It was all over my body, I was itching at night, and every night (there was) blood on the sheets.”

She decided to stop disguising the dry patches and scars on the final press tour for Aladdin and believes her openness could help teens grappling with their own imperfections.

“If I, out of all people, am honest about my imperfections, then I might just make… I think of a 14-year-old girl and (how) it could make her feel just that bit better: ‘Oh, she has it and she plays Jasmine (in Aladdin),'” the actress commented.

Scott also discussed her ethnicity, revealing it was difficult to find her place in Hollywood due to her Indian heritage.

“There’s a thing of someone (being) like… ‘She’s not white, she’s not black, she’s not Latina, what is she?’ There were definitely a few leads that I went for, where I think, ultimately, I was maybe, ‘The other choice’, ‘The exotic choice,'” she added.

However, Scott’s career is really taking off now, and she will next begin promoting the new Charlie’s Angels revamp, also starring Kristen Stewart and Ella Balinska.

© Cover Media

Aladdin producer Dan Lin ‘didn’t expect’ backlash to Will Smith’s Genie

Dan Lin wasn’t prepared for the amount of backlash Disney’s live-action remake of Aladdin received over Will Smith’s portrayal of the Genie.Robin Williams voiced the popular blue character in the 1992 cartoon version of the film, with Smith previously …

Dan Lin wasn’t prepared for the amount of backlash Disney’s live-action remake of Aladdin received over Will Smith’s portrayal of the Genie.

Robin Williams voiced the popular blue character in the 1992 cartoon version of the film, with Smith previously admitting he was “terrified” to take on the iconic role. But when the first images of the new character were released earlier this year, fans were less than impressed that the Genie appeared different to before – as they struggled to accept the actor replacing Williams, who died in 2014.

“I’ll be honest, we did not expect the amount of backlash that we actually got,” the producer explained to ScreenRant. “I feel like it really became part of the popular culture, when we’re on the news with people talking about how the Genie looked. We never expected that kind of reaction. But, certainly, we expected some kind of backlash.”

Lin added that he’s still “trying to get a handle on” gauging people’s reactions online, reflecting: “Everything is under such critical scrutiny. I came up in an era where there was no internet. It’s a new thing that I’m trying to get a handle on.”

The Guy Ritchie-directed flick, which also starred Mena Massoud and Naomi Scott, was a box office smash hit, and in June became the highest-grossing movie of Smith’s career.

© Cover Media

Disney considering live-action Aladdin sequel

Producers of Disney’s live-action Aladdin are “exploring” a possible sequel.The musical spectacle, directed by Guy Ritchie and starring Will Smith, Mena Massoud and Naomi Scott, was released back in May, and has made more than $1 billion (£827 million…

Producers of Disney’s live-action Aladdin are “exploring” a possible sequel.

The musical spectacle, directed by Guy Ritchie and starring Will Smith, Mena Massoud and Naomi Scott, was released back in May, and has made more than $1 billion (£827 million) at the worldwide box office.

Now, producer Dan Lin has revealed a possible reinterpretation of Aladdin’s original animated sequel, The Return of Jafar, could be on the cards.

“We certainly, when we first made the movie, wanted to just make the best movie we could and let audiences tell us if they wanted to see more. And I would say resoundingly audiences want to see more. They’ve watched this movie multiple times. We have lots of fan letters about people who really go back and they bring their friends and bring their family,” he told CBR.

“And so we feel like there’s more story to tell. We are going to treat it the same way we treat the original Aladdin movie and not going to do a shot by shot remake of anything that’s been done before. We’re really looking at what’s been done before in the past and the home video, and there’s just more story to tell with the underlying materials… So without giving away too much, we are certainly exploring where we can go with this franchise.”

Massoud, who played the title character in the live-action remake, previously told Collider he’d “absolutely” be onboard for a Return of Jafar adaptation.

The original Aladdin was released in 1992 and followed up with direct-to-video sequels, 1994’s The Return of Jafar and 1996’s Aladdin and the King of Thieves.

© Cover Media

Will Smith tapped by Moncler for first fashion campaign

Will Smith has teamed up with Moncler for his first-ever fashion campaign. The Independence Day actor has been tapped by executives at the Italian brand to front their Genius Is Born Crazy campaign, and in the first image, shot by photographer Tim Wal…

Will Smith has teamed up with Moncler for his first-ever fashion campaign.

The Independence Day actor has been tapped by executives at the Italian brand to front their Genius Is Born Crazy campaign, and in the first image, shot by photographer Tim Walker, the 50-year-old can be seen levitating in a seated position while wearing a red Moncler down parka, white T-shirt and silver trousers.

“When I got the call from @Moncler that they wanted me to be THE FACE of a FASHION campaign I was like… ‘These jokaz must be CRAZY (sic),'” Will shared on Instagram. “I’ve always dug their gear. So I listened to their ideas. Then I was like… ‘That might be GENIUS.’ I started pondering the Relationship between Crazy & Genius and I got more & more intrigued. Real Dreamers ALWAYS get called Crazy! I started to wonder… ‘Are Geniuses born Crazy?! Or can we all get some? 🙂 #GENIUSISBORNCRAZY (sic).”

The star also shared the campaign image and video on his Instagram account as well as behind-the-scenes footage from the photoshoot, which showed him walking about backstage in a variety of different outfits, joking around with the crew and his daughter Willow Smith, and getting pampered as he sits cross-legged on a high stool, which has been edited out for the finished image.

“I believe in the power of crazy, and I always give a chance to a crazy dream,” said Moncler chief executive officer Remo Ruffini in a statement. “The magic often happens somewhere beyond the ordinary, in the exploration of new horizons that only (a) few see, before others follow. Long live the craziest intuitions when rigor and dedication are there to make them happen.

“It’s an honour to have Will Smith, in his first advertising fashion campaign, embracing our ‘crazy’ idea to celebrate the genius hidden within everyone.”

© Cover Media

Toy Story 4 breaks global box office records

Toy Story 4 has shattered world box office records for an animated film, despite a disappointing opening in America.The new movie, which sees Tom Hanks and Tim Allen reprise their voice-acting roles for the characters of Sheriff Woody and Buzz Lightyea…

Toy Story 4 has shattered world box office records for an animated film, despite a disappointing opening in America.

The new movie, which sees Tom Hanks and Tim Allen reprise their voice-acting roles for the characters of Sheriff Woody and Buzz Lightyear, respectively, has debuted with $238 million (£187 million) globally, beating The Incredibles 2’s $235.8 million (£185 million) launch in 2018.

But Toy Story 4 slightly underperformed in North America, failing to meet estimates but still coming in at number one with $119.5 million (£94 million) over the weekend. Disney bosses expected the feature to debut with about $140 million (£110 million).

Horror remake Child’s Play debuted in a distant second place in the U.S. with $14 million (£11 million), while Aladdin, Men in Black: International and The Secret Life of Pets 2 rounded out the new top five.

In spite of the shortfall, Cathleen Taff, distribution chief for Disney, told editors at The Associated Press that producers were pleased with the opening figure for the latest Toy Story sequel.

“The Pixar team has always been disciplined about making sure they have a compelling story to tell, and that is especially true when it comes to sequels if you look at their past,” she said in a statement. “Their process of sort of going through the rigor of making sure that this is a story people want told, the end result speaks for itself.”

When unveiled in 2010, Toy Story 3 made $110 million (£86 million), while the first two features in the franchise were hugely successful at the box office.

And while Toy Story 4 introduces new toys, such as Duke Caboom, as voiced by Keanu Reeves, and Gabby Gabby, played by Christina Hendricks, U.S. journalist Mark Harris has asserted in a widely-shared Twitter thread that audiences may be tiring of sequels.

“But even people who love franchise movies get older, get bored, want something new. (Maybe even something new that could become a franchise!) And it’s dangerous to assume that as those moviegoers fall off the treadmill, they’ll be steadily replaced by perfect, pliable new consumers,” he argued.

© Cover Media