Thursday, December 18, 2014

American Sniper Peek #2: "I'm Ready To Come Home"

The final trailer for the biopic "American Sniper" is here.


Based upon U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle's autobiography--Jason Dean Hall wrote the adapted script about Texas native Kyle (Bradley Cooper) who came to record the highest number of sniper kills (255) for an American. The book is a frank first-person account and includes passages from his wife who slowly watches her husband’s affection turn from her to his job. Tragically, this true American hero was killed by a fellow veteran at a shooting range in February 2013.

Sienna Miller is playing the Kyle's wife, who is raising his kids while he is off fighting overseas. Miller beat out Jaimie Alexander ("Thor") for the role. Kate Mara was also an early candidate for the role, but dropped out of consideration when she was cast in the reboot of The Fantastic Four.

Homeland co-star Navid Negahban has been cast as Iraqi local Sheikh al-Obeidi, who helps the SEALs find their targets. Boardwalk Empire's Eric Ladin plays Squirrel, a young surfer from Southern California who is part of the Seal team, while no further details have been released about the character Nashville's Eric Close will play. Gang Related's Rey Gallegos will appear as chief of the Seal team Tony. Jake McDorman will play Kyle's buddy Ryan 'Biggles' Job who was known for his sense of humor. Fifty Shades of Grey co-star Luke Grimes is playing fellow Seal team member Marc Lee Cory Hardrict ("Battle: Los Angeles") will play a fellow Navy SEAL in the pic. Sammy Sheik also stars. Several real-life SEALs are expected to appear in the movie. Parenthood star Sam Jaeger will play Captain Martens, who welcomes Kyle back to Iraq for his second tour of duty and is his commanding officer on his subsequent tour. Joel Lambert ("Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen") plays a Delta sniper who is sent on a mission with his partner (Owain Yeoman)

 Clint Eastwood took over directing duties--Steven Spielberg was due to helm the biopic but left the project last August, He decided to  move on because his vision of this movie would not mesh with the budget. DreamWorks also pulled out leaving the project solely in the hands of  Warner Bros where Eastwood makes his films.

Cooper, Andrew Lazar and Peter Morgan are producing the film.

The movie has made quite a few critics Top 10 lists this year. It is set to open in wide release next week.

Star Trek 3 Is The Next Guardians Of The Galaxy?

As the world waits to find out who will helm Star Trek 3--since we know that Roberto Orci is no longer directing the film. Orci co-wrote and produced J.J. Abrams' "Star Trek" '09 and "Star Trek Into Darkness" with longtime partner Alex Kurtzman. It's down to Rupert Wyatt ("Rise of the Planet of the Apes"), Morten Tyldum ("The Imitation Game"),  Justin Lin ("Fast Five") and Daniel Espinosa ("Safe House"). Wyatt is reportedly at the top of the list and has apparently had a meeting already.


Abrams commitments to the Star Wars: Episode VII kept him from coming back. Other names like "Attack the Block" filmmaker Joe Cornish and G.I. Joe: Retaliation" director Jon M. Chu were in the mix to call action--before Orci got the gig. Jonathan Frakes, best known to Trekkers as Commander Riker in Star Trek: The Next Generation, indicated he wants to sit in the director's chair but knows it's a long shot...Edgar Wright was mentioned as well.
Badass Digest reports that the studio is gonna go in a new direction with the next film, albeit one that still retains the "Star Wars" style of storytelling. The report suggests that one reason that Orci is no longer sitting in the center seat is because the studio wanted to go with a different tone and style - something more like this year's biggest domestic box-office film "Guardians of the Galaxy".


Sure original Trek has done light-hearted stories before with eps like I, Mudd,  The Trouble with TribblesA Piece of the Action and the feature film Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, but why on earth would the suits want to replicate GotG at all? The last 2 films-as successful as they were--get knocked for being too much like "Wars" Why alienate those critics further? I liked the last 2 films a lot but I understand the "too much Star Wars and not enough Trek" mantra and think that those folks have a point. Now it's gonna be "too much like GotG"...

 "Thor" and "X-Men: First Class" writers and "Fringe" producers Ashley Edward Miller and Zack Stentz were eyed to script the sequel but opted not to do it.

Now J.D. Payne, Patrick McKay and Orci were co-writing the next film. Orci confirmed the first draft of the screenplay was completed and will be closer in tone to the original 1960s show than the previous two films.

Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, Anton Yelchin and John Cho are all expected to return to the Final Frontier in their respective roles as Kirk Spock Uhura Dr. McCoy Scotty Chekov and Sulu.

What started as rumors are now all but confirmed that Star Trek-TOS star William Shatner is returning to the franchise in Trek 3. Shatner has admitted that one of the challenges of getting him into the rebooted timeline is that Kirk Prime died in 1994's Star Trek: Generations.

Shatner was originally in the script for a cameo in the '09 film but the notion was nixed. According to reports, a sequence in the Trek 3 script reunites Shatner and Leonard Nimoy as Kirk and Spock for their first canon appearance together since 1991's "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country". Kirk Prime's appearance is said to be 'plot-driven' rather than some throwaway cameo which means it will likely stay in the script despite any rewrites.

Abrams Bryan Burke Orci and David Ellison will produce the film

The sequel is seemingly still going to move forward quickly so that it can make a 2016 bow for Paramount--coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the "Star Trek" franchise. Filming on the next "Star Trek" hopes to begin in the Spring with pre-production aiming to start in very early 2015.

Star Wars: Andy Serkis Nixes A Rumor

Despite the rumors that say otherwise, actor Andy Serkis tells Entertainment Weekly that he is only playing one character in J J. Abrams' "Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens".

The mo-cap guru was asked about chatter that he was playing both a live-action character, and a CG motion capture character in the film: “No that's not true at all. I can say I only play one character."

Asked if his role is a CG or live-action, he says: "I can't say a single thing about that. I'm sorry. These things will all come out in the fullness of time, I promise." Adding that: "The character has been through some stuff."

He also confirmed that his voiceover heard in the teaser trailer was not altered, that's his actual voice in character: "That is the character. There's no digital manipulation. That's just me".

 Serkis also says that he had no idea his voice would play such a prominent role in the peek: "Director J.J. Abrams and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy told me, 'You're all over the trailer,' but I didn't know what that meant. I thought, 'Oh great, they're using the voice of the character I play for the trailer. That's fantastic.' Not thinking what that would actually translate into."


Original Trilogy stars Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker Harrison Ford as Han Solo  and Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia Anthony Daniels as C-3PO, Peter Mayhew playing the legendary Wookiee Chewbacca, and Kenny Baker as Astro droid R2 D2 will be back. Warwick Davis is in the film says Variety. Davis has already appeared in two films in the series 1983's "Return of the Jedi" and 1999's "Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace".

Franchise creator George Lucas told Bloomberg Businessweek that he begun talks with original stars to have them return to for its new films -- before he had even begun the process of the ultimately $2 billion deal between sale. It's been said that Lucas' actually spent about a year planning the franchise's future before handing the reigns of Lucasfilm over to Disney.

The new cast members also include John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson,Christina Chong and  Max von Sydow as a villain character. 12 Years a Slave Best Supporting Actress Lupita Nyong'o and Game of Thrones co-star Gwendoline Christie have officially been cast in the film as well. Parkour master Pip Andersen and actress Crystal Clarke have joined the sequel--the pair were two of the 37,000 or so hopefuls who attended casting calls across eleven cities. Miltos Yerolemou, who had a small but memorable role as Arya Stark's sword trainer in the first season of "Game of Thrones," has joined the cast of in an undisclosed role reports The BBC. The role is said to be a minor one. Greg Grunberg has a role in the pic.

A series of trading cards recently revealed  that Isaac will play a character called Poe Dameron,  Ridley is Rey, Boyega is Finn, the dark hooded Sith character is called Kylo Ren, and the soccer ball droid is BB-8. Stitch Kingdom reports that the studio have registered trademark applications for all of these characters and one more - Captain Phasma.

Scottish actor Ian McDiarmid who played Emperor Palpatine attended the 2014 London Film and Comic Con and confirmed that he would not return to the "Star Wars" universe in the  upcoming trilogy--but he didn't rule out a return in a potential spin-off pre-Return of the Jedi:

"I'm definitely not in [Episode VII]. As you know, he's dead by then. I know, we believe in reincarnation, and holograms… But you know, they are going to take many twists on the story as the years go on, and I guess they may go back to a time - I've got no clue, I'm speaking off the top of my head - when the Emperor ran the universe. And I don't want anyone else to play him, do I?"

In a recent post Latino Review claims that Palpatine is part of the new trilogy after all--though played by another actor...

James Earl Jones, the man behind the voice of Star Wars villain Darth Vader was asked by Variety recently about the possibility of playing the character in more films, perhaps one of the Spin-Off Films for example set before "Return of the Jedi". He said: "Oh no. I've got no illusions that I will or even hankerings to be in them, but I'm very proud to have been part of the original."

Actor was asked by HeyUGuys whether he'd been invited back to play his character from Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace--Qui-Gon Jinn in the franchise...While the answer was "No" He said that he would be up for a comeback.

Abrams wrote the script with Lawrence Kasdan for the film. Oscar winner Michael Arndt ("Toy Story 3," "Little Miss Sunshine") vacated his job scripting the next film--after disagreements over which characters the film will focus on.

Kasdan ("The Empire Strikes Back," "Raiders of the Lost Ark") and Simon Kinberg ("Sherlock Holmes," "X-Men: Days of Future Past") have reportedly closed deals to pen the final two installments of the new "Star Wars" trilogy. Kasdan and Kinberg are also indeed writing the stand alone/origin Star Wars features. Company CEO Robert A. Iger recently revealed that the studio has three features in the works - not two as previously indicated.  "Godzilla" reboot director Gareth Edwards is going to direct the first of the upcoming Star Wars Spin-Off Films. "Fantastic Four" reboot and "Chronicle" director Josh Trank is officially set to direct the as yet Untitled Number 2 stand alone spin-off film.

The plan is to have each of these films come out in the years when we don't see a new episode of the saga - They would come out in 2016, 2018 and 2020. We still don't know which characters these spin-offs will focus on. Current franchise chief,
Kathleen Kennedy spoke to Yahoo about the stand-alone films saying that they will NOT affect the main narrative of the Episodes.

While the character was rumored to be getting a solo film last month--Cinelinx posts that the studios are developing a separate trilogy of spin-off films dedicated to the character of Obi-Wan Kenobi--set between the prequel and original trilogy. Their source says:

"First up, they are not talking about an Obi-Wan spin-off movie but a trilogy of Obi-Wan movies . I need to stress that these movies are not connected. They aren't part of a story arc but three separate Obi-Wan adventures set between Episodes III and IV. It seems like the three movie ideas are as follows: One set completely on Tatooine and two where Obi-Wan travels elsewhere in the Galaxy. Qui-Gon Jinn is very much present in these stories. So too is Owen Lars . Several characters from the 'Star Wars: The Clone Wars' TV Series would make an appearance. There would be flashbacks to Obi-Wan fighting in the Clone Wars."

Looking ahead "Looper" and "Brick" writer-director Rian Johnson has inked a deal to both pen and call action on "Star Wars: Episode VIII" as well as write a treatment for "Star Wars: Episode IX".

The Avengers: Age of Ultron star Mark Ruffalo previously worked with Johnson on The Brothers Bloom, with Ruffalo playing one half of a brotherly con act. In a recent interview with Collider Ruffalo tells the site that he contacted Johnson to tell him  that he wants to be in the sequel.

Kasdan and Kinberg would also join the projects as producers with Kennedy.

Series MVP composer John Williams is set to score the film as well as Episode VIII and Episode IX.

There was
a scheduled two-week production hiatus in August to allow for adjustments in the shooting schedule following Ford's recovery from that injury where he  broke his left leg. The injury is also said to have happened during filming on a top secret set rather than on the Millennium Falcon set as was widely reported.

Production took place mainly at Pinewood Studio in England. The film has a confirmed release date of December 18, 2015

RUMOR: Spidey Deal Done?

A reddit user claims that they have a friend who says that the proposed deal between Sony Pictures and Marvel is now inked for "Spider-Man" to start appearing in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The user claims a meeting was recently held between both studios that lasted about 40 minutes--working out the "final kinks" of the deal as well as "tending to other commodities."

If the deal is in place, Spider-Man could possibly show up in a post-credit scene for Joss Whedon's superhero team up sequel "The Avengers: Age of Ultron" and a cameo in "Captain America: Civil War".

The latest incarnation of the character would be a reset, ignoring the previous five films, and NOT include an origin story. Peter Parker will already be living his dual life as a student and Spidey-- his love life would only be a sub-plot and not the major focus as chronicled in the previous movies.

 
The deal is expected to be officially announced after next month's "Spidey Summit" and the "heavy favorite" to play Spider-Man is Fury co-star Logan Lerman.

Lerman was up for the role in 2010 prior to Andrew Garfield getting the gig. At the time he stated: “There have been a few discussions, it’s definitely something I’m looking into. [He's] one of my favorite characters ever and I’m a huge fan of the series. I’d love to have more conversations about it. I’m definitely very interested in it.”

I have liked Lerman's work dating all the way back to the short-lived TV series Jack & Bobby
but as I said previously I hate to see Andy get the axe.... 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Tessa Thompson Nabs "Creed" Role

Dear White People and Selma star Tessa Thompson has won the female lead in the spin-off film to the Rocky series titled "Creed" says Deadline.


The story will feature Michael B. Jordan as the son of Carl Weathers' Apollo Creed character.

"Fruitvale Station" filmmaker Ryan Coogler co-wrote the screenplay with Aaron Covington, that sees Apollo's offspring has no desire to box and yet possesses the gifts and potential of his grandfather. He needs a mentor and seeks out retired fighter Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) who isn't eager to return to the boxing world, even as a trainer.

The young Creed will take on a savage opponent named Pretty Ricky Porter (British champion boxer Tony Bellew). Champion boxer Andre Ward is also in the film. 

The project was Coogler's idea in the first place.

Stallone, Kevin King, Irwin Winkler and Robert Chartoff will produce.

In a series of tweets, Stallone confirmed that production on the project is aiming to begin in January in Las Vegas and Philadelphia.

Theo Rossi And Nicola Peltz Are "Low Riders"

Theo Rossi ("Sons of Anarchy") and Nicola Peltz ("Transformers: Age Of Extinction") have joined the cast of the untitled "Low Riders" film says The Hollywood Reporter and  Deadline.



The story is set in East L.A. and centers on the Lowrider cars and street tagging sub-culture and centers on a teen named Danny who is caught between his traditional father and his estranged brother, Ghost, who are both competing in the annual low-rider “Supershow.”

Peltz replaces Lily Collins, who had previously been attached, for the role of Lorelei.

Demian Bichir is set to play the lead in the pic that co-stars Eva Longoria

 Ricardo de Montreuil is on board to direct using a script, written by Josh Bierne-Gordon and Justin TippingCheo Hodari Coker and Elgin James wrote previous drafts of the script.

Brian Grazer Jason Blum. Kim Roth and Alexandre Dauman and Couper Samuelson will produce the movie.

Orlando Bloom Talks "Pirates Of The Caribbean 5"

Is the upcoming sequel "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales" part reboot as well?

seemingly retired from the Pirates of the Caribbean film series after the third film. He and Keira Knightley's characters were replaced by Sam Claflin and Astrid Bergès-Frisbey in "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" but the dynamic did not work as well. Now Bloom's character of Will Turner may return for Pirates 5


Speaking with IGN, Bloom suggests that the new film not only continues the main Sparrow story but it also hits the reset button. He says:

"I'm not entirely sure that [I'll be back] just yet, but there are talks. Basically they want to reboot the whole franchise, I think, and do something with me and the relationship with my son… I'm of course Davey Jones now, so I'm down the bottom of the ocean. It might be kind of fun to do something where I'm rumbling round the bottom of the ocean, because I won't look anything like me. [Gestures to face] Get all gnarly.”

Lucy Boynton ("Miss Potter"), Kaya Scodelario ("The Maze Runner"), Gabriella Wilde ("Endless Love"), Alexandra Dowling ("The Musketeers") and Jenna Thiam ("The Returned") are on the shortlist to potentially appear in the film. There are additional names testing as well, but they haven't been revealed.

The part is essentially the love interest for the secondary male lead--a British soldier named Henry ("The Giver," "Maleficent" star Brenton Thwaites) in the film. The studio will perform chemistry tests next week between Thwaites and the ladies to see who best fits the role--other details about the part remain unknown.

Could Thwaites be playing Turner's son? Talk about aging up a character...

Thwaites beat out Ansel Elgort, Taron Egerton, George Mackay ("Pride"), and Sam Keeley ("This Must Be the Place") for his part.

"Kon-Tiki" directors Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg are due to call action and are reportedly working on the latest draft of the script after Jeff Nathanson (Men in Black 3) did a rewrite of his initial script.

Ronning and Espen Sandberg said that the new film will be a combination of a stand-alone story, and adding to the "overall mythology of the series" (Read not as stand-alone as "Stranger Tides " but not as mythology heavy as the first two sequels--Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End).

Franchise star Johnny Depp's nefarious do gooder Jack Sparrow will get a new female lead to play off of, a woman who will be accused of witchcraft though is actually a scientist. Rebecca Hall is said to be circling to play Carina.

 Javier Bardem ("Skyfall," "No Country for Old Men") is in early talks to play the villain in the film-- a ghost captain who blames Jack Sparrow for the death of his brother and is searching for a supernatural object to aid him. Christoph Waltz ("Inglourious Basterds," "Django Unchained") took some interest in playing the role at one time. Bardem's wife, Penelope Cruz, played the female lead in"Tides".

Jerry Bruckheimer returns to produce the sequel.

The myth of the Bermuda Triangle will factor in somehow.

Production begins next year in Australia for a July 7th, 2017 debut.

The Avengers 2: Smulders & Bettany Speak

 Two cast members are talking about their roles in Joss Whedon's superhero team up sequel "The Avengers: Age of Ultron".

The sequel DOES NOT follow the Age of Ultron comics storyline--in which the big bad Ultron was created by Hank Pym who becomes Ant-Man. James Spader will both voice Ultron, and he'll have to do some kind of motion-capture as well--This news puts to rest the most popular theory suggesting that Tony Stark's (Robert Downey Jr,) robot butler J.A.R.V.I.S. (voiced by Paul Bettany) operating system from the Iron Man Films would turn into the villain.

Marvel vets RDJ, Chris Evans Chris Hemsworth Scarlett Johansson Samuel L. Jackson Jeremy Renner Mark Ruffalo, Clark Gregg and Cobie Smulders are all back Two time Iron Man co-star Don Cheadle is involved this time out according to USA Today. Bettany will appear on screen as The Vision an android created by Ultron as a weapon to be used against the Avengers. Vision can fire beams of radiation and turn invisible--the character ultimately turned the tables on Ultron and became an Avengers member himself.


Smulders talked with EW about her role as former S.H.I.E.L.D agent-turned-Stark employee Maria Hill and her character arc in the sequel:

"There's so many pieces to this giant puzzle, and I'm happy that Maria Hill is one of them. She's working for Tony Stark, yes, but they shot so many locations all over the world and this team is out doing all sorts of things. So I like to think that Maria is at headquarters, trying to keep everything running as smoothly as possible. And working for Tony Stark is a whole other ballgame. She doesn't have S.H.I.E.L.D. personnel to back her up at her disposal, so it's an entirely different vibe for her."

Meantime, Bettany talked about voicing Jarvis and becoming the character of Vision in the film. Speaking to THR while attending the Dubai International Film Festival, he says he's glad that fans will soon be able to get their first look at Vision:

"It's still a secret. I think all will be revealed very shortly. It's a secret I've kept for about three years, which is really hard, especially with three kids. I'm contractually obliged not to talk about it. (I'm still concerned about) sunlight glinting off a sniper's telescopic lens. J.A.R.V.I.S will be there and so will The Vision. But I simply can't tell you any more."


TV's Hulk Lou Ferrigno has confirmed that he'll return to do the voice of the big guy in the sequel. Ferrigno has said four words as the character so far - "Hulk Smash" in 2008's "The Incredible Hulk" and "Puny God" in "The Avengers".

Thomas Kretschmann has landed the role of 2nd bad guy Baron von Strucker. In the comics, the seemingly immortal Strucker is one of the leaders of Hydra, and an enemy of both S.H.I.E.L.D and The Avengers He seemingly beat out rumored candidates Marton Csokas and Dougray Scott who were being considered for the BvS role. The character will have Wanda Maximoff, a.k.a. Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and her twin brother Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) apparently working for him in the sequel (American Horror Story favorite Evan Peters plays a different incarnation of the speedy superhero in Bryan Singer's "X-Men: Days of Future Past"--in a very cool sequence in the film). Korean actress  will play a bad gal role.

 Idris Elba who plays Heimdall in the Thor films, confirmed to The Telegraph that he and fellow Thor star Tom Hiddleston [Loki] will both appear in the pic

Radar Online has an unidentified source that claims that RDJ was campaigning to get his pals Mel Gibson and Jodie Foster a role in the movie.

 Latino Review has posted what appears to be details about the film's opening 15-20 minutes (SPOILERS).

The movie shot in South Korea, South Africa, Bangladesh, Italy, and the United Kingdom. Post-production  on the 'Avengers 2' continues to meet a release date of May 1, 2015.

 Additional filming on the movie is scheduled to take place in January.

Box Office Preview: The Holiday "Battle" Begins...

Today-the final installment of Peter Jackson's trilogy film adaptation of author J. R. R. Tolkien's book--The Hobbit The Battle of the Five Armies (reviews) arrives.


As promised this film seems far more like the Lord of the Rings trilogy than either of the previous two - no more singing around the dining table, no light dwarf comedy here. Instead there's a lot of fighting, a lot of armies, and death.

Two holiday frame releases come out on Friday:

In Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb (reviews) star Ben Stiller and director Shawn Levy reunite for the sequel that follows the further adventures of museum guard Larry Daley (Stiller), who discovered that the exhibits come to life under cover of darkness..


The late great Robin Williams reprises his role as President Theodore Roosevelt. A role he has played in both "Night at the Museum" and "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian". Former Downton Abbey star Dan Stevens will play Lancelot here. Skyler Gisondo, who played Emma Stone’s brother in “The Amazing Spider-Man,” will star as Nick, son of Stiller’s Daley. Ricky Gervais plays Dr. McPhee, Daley’s boss again. Rebel Wilson will play the night guard at the British museum where the action the action is set this time out. Sir Ben Kingsley will portray an Egyptian pharaoh, Owen Wilson and Steve Coogan also appear.

The Annie remake (reviews) sees Oscar nominee Quvenzhané Wallis ("Beasts of the Southern Wild") star as the iconic big-hearted orphan adopted by a new incarnation of Oliver "Daddy" Warbucks  named Benjamin Stacks (Jamie Foxx) in this contemporary update of the classic Musical and Comic Strip.


Rebecca Ford of THR:

After a strong performance in foreign markets this past weekend, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies will open in the U.S. beginning Wednesday.

The final installment in Peter Jackson's Hobbit trilogy should earn between $70 million and $75 million for the five days, according to estimates, to top the U.S. box office.

Beginning its rollout at 7 p.m. Tuesday, The Battle of the Five Armies, rated PG-13, will hit more than 3,850 theaters this weekend around the U.S. It's already taken in a stellar $125 million in foreign markets through Tuesday.

A debut around $70 million (some insiders believe it could hit as high as $80 million) would put Battle of the Five Armies behind the pace of the first and second installments, which both opened on Fridays. The second film, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, opened one week earlier last year, earning $73.6 million in its debut. It went on to earn $958.4 million worldwide. The first installment, An Unexpected Journey, opened in December 2012 to $84.6 million on its way to a grand total of $1 billion.

There is still the possibility that Battle of the Five Armies will earn higher than the expected range as fans could turn out in droves to say goodbye to the Tolkien franchise. But the New Line and MGM film faces tougher competition than its predecessors during a crowded holiday season, which includes Sony's family film Annie and Fox's Night at the Museum sequel, both opening this weekend, and musical Into the Woods, Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken, Paramount’s The Gambler and The Interview (the film at the center of the Sony hack attack) next weekend.

Another third film in a trilogy, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, is also hitting theaters this weekend. Directed by Shawn Levy, the PG film starring Ben Stiller should earn around $35 million-plus in its debut.

Secret of the Tomb marks one of the final film appearances for both Robin Williams and Mickey Rooney, who died in 2014. Owen Wilson, Dan Stevens and Ben Kingsley also star.

Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian opened in May 2009 to a four-day debut of $70 million over Memorial Day weekend (It earned $54.2 million in the traditional three day window). It went on to earn $413.1 million worldwide. The first Night at the Museum film debuted to $30.4 million when it opened in December 2006 on its way to a worldwide tally of $574.8 million.

Sony's remake Annie, starring Quvenzhane Wallis, is opening Friday, and should earn $15 million or slightly higher in its debut. The musical hits theaters as Sony deals with escalating threats from a hacker group over their upcoming Christmas Day release, The Interview.

Also starring Jamie Foxx and Cameron Diaz, Annie is a contemporary adaptation of the musical of the same name, based on the comic strip Little Orphan Annie. The $60 million-plus movie was one of several Sony films that was leaked onto the Internet during Thanksgiving weekend, but piracy doesn't often heart a film's box office results. Rivals, though, say interest in Annie, produced by Will Smith and Jay Z, is relatively soft, but as with most films that open in December, it could have longer legs as the holidays arrive and families head to theaters.

Holdover Exodus: Gods and Kings, which topped last weekend, and Lionsgate’s big YA film The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1, now in its fifth week, should continue to do steady business this weekend as the holiday season kicks into gear.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Prime "Pixels" Posters

Sony Pictures has released a batch of really cool looking posters for the feature length adaptation of French filmmaker Patrick Jean's 2010 short film "Pixels".


The original short, features 1980s video game characters like Donkey Kong, Tetris, Space Invaders, Frogger and Pac-Man attacking New York City and turning everything they hit into pixels - with the entire planet being pixeled.

The goal is to make film into a Ghostbusters-style action comedy in which characters come out of a video game to wreak havoc in the real world. Video game experts are recruited by the government to help deal with the threat.

Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Brian Cox Peter Dinklage ("Game of Thrones," "X-Men Days of Future Past") Michelle Monaghan Jane Krakowski and Josh Gad  also star in the big-budget comedy.

Tim Herlihy (Bedtime Stories) worked on the script that was rewritten by Timothy Dowling (Role Models, This Means War) from which Chris Columbus will direct.

Sandler, Jack Giarraputo, Benjamin Darras, Johnny Alves and Matias Boucard are producing.

 Pac-Man, Space Invaders, Centipede, Donkey Kong and Galaga get their own posters, with more sheets expected soon.

Pixels opens in theaters on July 24, 2015.

Tom Hanks Marked For "The Circle"

Vulture reports that Tom Hanks is attached to star in a film adaptation of author Dave Eggers' novel "The Circle".


The story centers on a young woman who lands a job at a powerful online company dubbed The Circle, a company that creates an online entity from the information contained within your digital shadow (e-mails, credit cards, banking, social media, etc.). The story explores themes of online transparency, the loss of privacy and the monetisation of personal data.

We don't know what role Hanks may play in the adaptation.

James Ponsoldt ("The Spectacular Now") will script and direct the film.

Hanks and Gary Goetzman are producing. The project will go out to studios and financiers this week.

Ruby Barnhill Nabs Lead In Spielberg's "The Bfg"

Newcomer Ruby Barnhill is set to play in the live-action film adaptation of author Roald Dahl's 1982 children's book "The Bfg" says Variety.


The story follows a young girl named Sophie (Barnhill), the Queen of England and the BFG, who set out on an adventure to capture the evil, man-eating giants who have been invading the human world.

Melissa Mathison (E.T.), wrote the adapted screenplay from which Steven Spielberg will direct. 

After a lengthy search, I feel Roald Dahl himself would have found Ruby every bit as marvelous as we do,” Spielberg said in an official statement. “We have discovered a wonderful Sophie in Ruby Barnhill.”

Barnhill is jazed by the opportunity to play Sophie: “Sophie gets to go on this wonderful adventure and I’m so excited that I get to play her. I feel incredibly lucky and I’m so happy." The 10-year-old actress has never appeared in a feature film before but has a role on the BBC children’s series 4 O'Clock Club

Tony and Olivier award-winning actor Mark Rylance has been cast as the benevolent giant title character. Rylance is currently working with Spielberg on the Untitled Cold War spy thriller.

Frank Marshall will produce the pic.

Spielberg will shoot the project in early 2015 ahead of a July 1st 2016 release.

"Beetlejuice 2" Inches Closer To Being A Realty

Coming Soon spoke with Tim Burton who is out on the stump promoting the biopic "Big Eyes" and they asked him about the status of Beetlejuice 2 the sequel to his 1988 supernatural comedy.

 At last report, Seth Grahame-Smith is at work on the script. Co-star Winona Ryder has said that she is up for reprising her role as Lydia Deetz. Current awards season contender Michael Keaton is keen on playing the title character again

Burton says:  "It's a character that I love and I miss and I miss actually working with Michael. There's only one Beetlejuice.  We're working on a script and I think it's probably closer than ever and I'd love to work with him again."

Monday, December 15, 2014

Look Ma, No Wires!!

36 years ago today Richard Donner's Superman The Movie opened in theaters...I remember the first time I saw STM on the big screen Like It Was Yesterday..


Here composer John Williams conducts the Boston Pops playing the rousing theme that he wrote for the film

J.K. Simmons Confronts "Kong: Skull Island"

Deadline reports that "Spider-Man" and "Whiplash" star J.K. Simmons is tipped to join the retitled King Kong reboot "Kong: Skull Island" for Legendary Pictures.


The origin story will deal with the giant gorilla and his life on an island of prehistoric monsters before he was taken into captivity.

"Thor" star Tom Hiddleston will reportedly play the lead role in the project, though no further details about his character were given.

"Flight" and "Real Steel" screenwriter John Gatins  has been hired to rewrite the script taking over from"Godzilla" scribe Max Borenstein who penned the initial script.for the film which was announced at this year's San Diego Comic-Con.

"The Kings of Summer" director Jordan Vogt-Roberts will call action here. At one point "Attack the Block" director Joe Cornish was reportedly offered the gig that Vogt-Roberts now has. JVR is tipped to direct Metal Gear Solid for Sony Pictures, though that pic will likely get pushed now.

 Thomas Tull and Jon Jashni are producing the film which is slated for release on March 10th 2017.

David Oyelowo Tipped For "Americanah"

Variety reports that current awards season contender David Oyelowo has signed on to join the film adaptation of author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's novel "Americanah".



The 2013 National Book Critics Circle award winner follows a romance between two young Nigerians, a love that spans continents, visas, phone cards and breakups. At the same time it explores the cruelties and the humor of both the modern immigrant experience and the difficulty of finding your way home.

A director, writer or release schedule has not been announced yet.

Brad Pitt's Plan B Productions®, which produced "12 Years a Slave", has acquired the film rights to the book.

Pitt will produce while Lupita Nyong'o will produce and star.Andrea Calderwood also produces the film.

5 Ladies Up For "Pirates of the Caribbean 5"

Variety says that Lucy Boynton ("Miss Potter"), Kaya Scodelario ("The Maze Runner"), Gabriella Wilde ("Endless Love"), Alexandra Dowling ("The Musketeers") and Jenna Thiam ("The Returned") are on the shortlist to potentially appear in the upcoming sequel "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales". There are additional names testing as well, but they haven't been revealed.


The part is essentially the love interest for the secondary male lead--a British soldier named Henry ("The Giver," "Maleficent" star Brenton Thwaites) in the film. The studio will perform chemistry tests next week between Thwaites and the ladies to see who best fits the role--other details about the part remain unknown.

 Thwaites beat out Ansel Elgort, Taron Egerton, George Mackay ("Pride"), and Sam Keeley ("This Must Be the Place") for his part.

"Kon-Tiki" directors Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg are due to call action and are reportedly working on the latest draft of the script after Jeff Nathanson (Men in Black 3) did a rewrite of his initial script.

Ronning and Espen Sandberg said that the new film will be a combination of a stand-alone story, and adding to the "overall mythology of the series" (Read not as stand-alone as "Stranger Tides " but not as mythology heavy as the first two sequels--Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End).

Franchise star Johnny Depp's nefarious do gooder Jack Sparrow will get a new female lead to play off of, a woman who will be accused of witchcraft though is actually a scientist. Rebecca Hall is said to be circling to play Carina.

 Javier Bardem ("Skyfall," "No Country for Old Men") is in early talks to play the villain in the film-- a ghost captain who blames Jack Sparrow for the death of his brother and is searching for a supernatural object to aid him. Christoph Waltz ("Inglourious Basterds," "Django Unchained") took some interest in playing the role at one time. Bardem's wife, Penelope Cruz, played the female lead in"Tides".

seemingly retired from the Pirates of the Caribbean film series after the third film. He and Keira Knightley's characters were replaced by Sam Claflin and Astrid Bergès-Frisbey in "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" but the dynamic did not work as well. Now Bloom's character of Will Turner may return for Pirates 5

Jerry Bruckheimer returns to produce the sequel.

The myth of the Bermuda Triangle will factor in somehow.

Production begins next year in Australia for a July 7th, 2017 debut.

Ted Melfi Charts "Every Exquisite Thing"

Ted Melfi ("St. Vincent") will write and direct the film adaptation of author Matthew Quick's upcoming novel "Every Exquisite Thing" says Deadline.


The story follows Nanette O’Hare, a teen student athlete who is given by a favorite teacher his tattered copy of the out of print cult novel The Bubblegum Reaper. The book awakens an adventurous spirit in her, prompting Nanette to seek out and befriend the reclusive author and emulate the crazy life described in his book.

Melfi remains attached to a film adaptation of author J. R. Moehringer's memoir "The Tender Bar" with several actors and financiers circling the pic.

Star Trek 3: Director Shortlist

Deadline has a shortlist of potential replacement directors to over the helm of Star Trek 3--since we learned that Roberto Orci is no longer directing the film. Orci co-wrote and produced J.J. Abrams' "Star Trek" '09 and "Star Trek Into Darkness" with longtime partner Alex Kurtzman.

The four names are surprisingly high-profile Rupert Wyatt ("Rise of the Planet of the Apes"), Morten Tyldum ("The Imitation Game"),  Justin Lin ("Fast Five") and Daniel Espinosa ("Safe House"). Wyatt is reportedly at the top of the list and has apparently had a meeting already.


Espinosa is slated to helm "Boston Strong" next, Lin had his Bourne film pushed back so that could leave room for him to take the gig. Wyatt and Tydlum are still in early development of their next projects. Duncan Jones ("Source Code") was also rumored in the original report but the filmmaker has quickly shot that down the notion via his Twitter feed.

Abrams commitments to the Star Wars: Episode VII kept him from coming back. Other names like "Attack the Block" filmmaker Joe Cornish and G.I. Joe: Retaliation" director Jon M. Chu were in the mix to call action--before Orci got the gig. Jonathan Frakes, best known to Trekkers as Commander Riker in Star Trek: The Next Generation, indicated he wants to sit in the director's chair but knows it's a long shot...Edgar Wright was mentioned as well.

"Thor" and "X-Men: First Class" writers and "Fringe" producers Ashley Edward Miller and Zack Stentz were eyed to script the sequel but opted not to do it.

Now J.D. Payne, Patrick McKay and Orci were co-writing the next film. Orci confirmed the first draft of the screenplay was completed and will be closer in tone to the original 1960s show than the previous two films.

Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, Anton Yelchin and John Cho are all expected to return to the Final Frontier in their respective roles as Kirk Spock Uhura Dr. McCoy Scotty Chekov and Sulu.

What started as rumors are now all but confirmed that Star Trek-TOS star William Shatner is returning to the franchise in Trek 3. Shatner has admitted that one of the challenges of getting him into the rebooted timeline is that Kirk Prime died in 1994's Star Trek: Generations.

Shatner was originally in the script for a cameo in the '09 film but the notion was nixed. According to reports, a sequence in the Trek 3 script reunites Shatner and Leonard Nimoy as Kirk and Spock for their first canon appearance together since 1991's "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country". Kirk Prime's appearance is said to be 'plot-driven' rather than some throwaway cameo which means it will likely stay in the script despite any rewrites.

Abrams Bryan Burke Orci and David Ellison will produce the film

The sequel is seemingly still going to move forward quickly so that it can make a 2016 bow for Paramount--coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the "Star Trek" franchise. Filming on the next "Star Trek" hopes to begin in the Spring with pre-production aiming to start in very early 2015.