Bad Bunny performs onstage
ManOfTheCenturyMovie News Death to ‘El Muerto’? Marvel’s adaptation of Sony’s Bad Bunny faces challenges beyond the strike

Death to ‘El Muerto’? Marvel’s adaptation of Sony’s Bad Bunny faces challenges beyond the strike

Bad Bunny performs onstage

Sony has removed “El Muerto,” a Marvel film about a luchador supervillain played by Bad Bunny, from its theatrical release schedule. The ‘Spider-Man’ villain’s standalone film was previously scheduled for January 12, 2024; now, according to Sony, it’s “TBD”.

An individual familiar with the project told IndieWire that “El Muerto” is still in development, but with the ongoing writers’ strike and the musician’s tour dates, rescheduling the release is tricky. ‘El Muerto’ isn’t the first superhero movie to be impacted by the WGA strike, but there are enough challenges here to make one wonder if ‘El Muerto’ will be relocated or if he is out of the running.

This morning, Sony emailed the press with three updates to its domestic release calendar:

  1. Seth Rogen’s “Dumb Money” has been moved from October 20, 2023 to September 22, 2023.
  2. “The Book of Clarence” has been delayed from September 22 to January 12, 2024.
  3. The release date of “El Muerto” is now considered “TBD”.

There were multi-paragraph descriptions for both “Dumb Money” and “The Book of Clarence”. There was no synopsis for “El Muerto”.

“El Muerto,” first announced by Bad Bunny himself at CinemaCon 2022, was scheduled to begin filming in Los Angeles in August 2023. But since the initial announcement, there has been no additional (public) casting or significant update. And as for the whole touring thing, Bad Bunny doesn’t currently have any dates announced. Of course, that could change soon: The Latino superstar headlined Coachella this spring and released a new track last month.

A film producer (not affiliated with “El Muerto”) told IndieWire that now is not the time for Bad Bunny fans to freak out, just yet. After all, it wouldn’t be unusual for even a short delay — not to mention a writers’ strike that has no end in sight — derail a production for quite a while.

“I wouldn’t necessarily cancel it just because they changed the release date. It’s certainly possible, and the industry has a glut of content right now and it’s in a dramatic state,” said the producer, who spoke with us on condition of anonymity. “But if your production was delayed due of the writers’ strike, means delaying the window and you’re losing Bad Bunny, I can easily see the thing where ‘We’re going to lose a month on this, and the way the schedule lines up, we’ve got to lose six months or a year.’”

In other words, today’s news doesn’t make “El Muerto”, well, muerto. Sony definitely wants to keep Bad Bunny close; he played a major role in the marketing of their Brad Pitt action film “Bullet Train” last summer. And it took Bad Bunny some time to learn the ropes of pro wrestling: He faced off against Damien Priest at WWE’s “Backlash” premium live event in May.

BULLET TRAIN, BAD BUNNY, 2022. ph: Scott Garfield /© Sony Pictures Entertainment /Courtesy Everett Collection©Sony Pictures/Courtesy of Everett Collection

“El Muerto” will be directed by Jonás Cuarón (son of Alfonso) and written by Garrett Dunnet-Alcocer, who wrote this summer’s upcoming “Blue Beetle”. That DC film is the first superhero film to have a Latino lead, and the producer speculates that Sony may also be looking at that film’s performance to determine next steps.

As the producer put it, “superhero fatigue is real,” and the El Muerto character, who appeared as a villain in just two Spider-Man comics in the 2000s, is obscure to even the biggest comic book nerds. This year has already seen the underperformance of superhero tentacles like ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’, ‘Shazam! Fury of the Gods’ and last weekend’s ‘The Flash’, which opened to just 55 million national dollars.

On the positive side of “El Muerto,” the exception to the trend has been anything “Spider-Man” adjacent. Sony’s acclaimed sequel to ‘Spider-Verse’ currently looks bulletproof, having grossed nearly $500 million globally since opening in early June. Sony is also doubling down on their universe of Spider-Man villain spin-off characters, with a new ‘Venom’ film in the works and ‘Madame Web’ with Dakota Johnson still on track for 2024. just presented a first trailer, it was strong.

“There is still newness and freshness that can be brought to the genre, but I feel we may be reaching a saturation point,” said the producer. “There are signs that we’re seeing that maybe people are ready to move forward and see something different.”

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