Thursday, December 31, 2009

Out With The News

A fresh batch of industry bits as we bid goodbye to '09 and the decade...

*Every year, the US National Film Registry Film Preservation Board choose to preserve 25 movies and shorts in the Library of Congress--The '09 honorees...

*Zoe Saldana told MTV that she spoke to J.J. Abrams and Bryan Burk who told her the Star Trek 2 is being written and will "probably be going into pre-production around this time next year"

*Worst Previews says Sam Worthington is tops to being considered to star as the hero in a new "Flash Gordon" from "Sahara" and "The Crazies" scribe Breck Eisner.

*Stan Lee told MTV he thinks that Doctor Strange and to a lesser extent Ant-Man will indeed make it to the big screen

*Mr. T told Latino Review that it "wouldn't be right for him to be in [The A-Team movie]"

*Eric Brevig wants to direct a big-budget 3-D film about the Korean War... Shooting begins in Korea and New Zealand in November next year for a 2012 release

*Production on "The First Avenger: Captain America" should begin this June according to director Joe Johnston while chatting with Fangoria

*Paramount Pictures is looking for a 12-16 year old girl to play the lead in the Coen Brother's upcoming Western remake of True Grit. Details can be found at

*The 17-minute 3-D short film "Captain EO" starring Michael Jackson will make a return to Disneyland for a limited engagement starting in February 2010.

*John Bryant's road movie "The Overbrook Brothers" and will release on February 17th. The story follows two brothers searching for their biological parents says THR

*Disney has axed another film--their long gestating adaptation of Philip K. Dick's short story, King of the Elves says SlashFilm

*Director Ridley Scott wants Universal Pictures to turn his upcoming Robin Hood into a 3-D feature. The process is expected to cost an additional $7-8 million Get full details

*Quentin Tarantino told The Playlist he’s got forty pages written of his prequel to Inglourious Basterds but probably won't do any further work on it for a while with plans to do a smaller film in a different genre.


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Ghost Of A Chance

Ghostbusters cast member Harold Ramis tells Heeb Magazine that "something's going to happen" with Ghostbusters III.

"Dan Aykroyd did write a spec screenplay a few years ago (Ghostbuster go to Hell) but no one was motivated to pursue it. Now, 25 years after the original, there seems to be some willingness to proceed and apparently a substantial public appetite for a sequel.We'll introduce some new young Ghostbusters, and all the old guys will be in it, too. Think Christopher Lloyd in Back to the Future..."

Meanwhlie Sigourney Weaver told MTV that despite all of her recent chatter she hasn't seen a script for the sequel but will in a few weeks by which point she probably won't be able to talk about it.

She added that depending upon the script, she’d be willing to reprise her role in the film.

GB3 plans to shoot next summer and release in 2011.

Common Bond

James McAvoy is rumoured to be playing James Bond author Ian Fleming for a planned biopic says Pajiba.

The story specifically focuses on his younger years as an aimless playboy growing up under the shadow of a famous family, and his experiences in World War II that changed his life and gave him inspiration for the character of 007 based on his own exploits.

The script will be based on the book The Man Behind James Bond by Andrew Lycett and adapted by Matt Brown (Ropewalk) A director search is underway.

Yo Vinnie!

Forest Whitaker, Gong Li and Ray Winstone have joined the cast of St. Vincent reports Twitchfilm.

The tale follows a hitman (Mickey Rourke) who goes deep undercover portraying a priest to get close enough to kill his gangland traitor target.

He soon discovers that playing the part of a good man is more dangerous than being a mob killer ever was.

Walter Hill, who worked with both Whitaker and Roarke on Johnny Handsome in 1986 calls action.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Fog Rolls In

A film version of Studio 407's Night and Fog comic is on the way says Variety.

Set during World War II, the story sees an infectious mist unleashed on a military base that transforms its victims into preternatural creatures of the night. But when the survivors try to kill them, they adapt and change into something even more horrific and unstoppable.

Gilbert Adler and Shane McCarthy will produce the pic.

"This material is definitely in my strike zone in more ways than one," says Adler.

"Having produced the Tales from the Crypt series and some Dark Castle horror films, I can say horror's a genre I know intrinsically. But what really appealed to me wasn.t so much the genre trappings, but rather the characters that really drive this story.."

Monday, December 28, 2009

Santa Wears Blue

The sci-fi epic Avatar wins again taking the holiday weekend...While Sherlock Holmes finds second place....which studio tops box office 2009?

Pamela McClintock of Vatiety:

With a week to go, Warner Bros. declared Monday it will set a new industry record in reaching $3.99 billion in worldwide ticket sales in 2009.

Or will it? Twentieth Century Fox could match that number, or even best it, on the strength of James Cameron's "Avatar" and "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel." While 2009 officially ends on Thursday, 2009 box office receipts will include grosses from this weekend.

Warners projections for the year are $2.13 billion in domestic revs -- by far the best of any studio -- and $1.86 billion in international ticket sales.

Fox insiders say the studio will likely reach $1.64 billion in domestic revs, including $261 million in Fox Searchlight grosses. Overseas, the studio expects to come in with $2.43 billion in ticket sales. Through Sunday, foreign receipts totaled $2.28 billion, setting an industry record.

If those numbers hold, Fox's 2009 grosses will reach $4.07 billion. Warners could easily jump the $4 billion mark as well.

Warners said it is safe in claiming the $3.99 billion record, saying Fox numbers aren't comparable since they include grosses from Searchlight titles that are distributed by big Fox.

Whichever studio comes out on top for the year, the fact that two majors are so close to the $4 billion mark for the first time ever underscores what a tremendous year it has been for the global box office, even though other sectors (such as home entertainment) have not been so prosperou...

Adam Markovitz of EW:

James Cameron epic dipped an incredibly slim 2 percent in second weekend; ''Sherlock Holmes'' a strong No. 2

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Space Out Pace

The Star Trek reboot topped the list of the most pirated movies of 2009 according to Torrent Freak.

J.J. Abrams's epic narrowly edged Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (at 10.6 million downloads.) pulling in 10.96 million downloads this year, easily beating last year's winner "The Dark Knight" with 7 million downloads.

The Top 10 accounts for 85.8 million downloads or around $770 million in potential lost profits say studio claims--that figure assumes each download worked, and that everyone who downloaded a copy would have paid a full ticket price to see the movie.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Have Gun Will Travel

Rapper 50 cent (aka Curtis Jackson) will star opposite for Gun says The Hollywood Reporter

The story takes place in the world of drug dealing and is based on an original premise by Jackson.

Charles Malik Whitfield also stars.

Soul Plane director Jessy Terrero is calling action

Fountain Of Youth

The book is now a movie....

Youth In Revolt stars Michael Cera as Nick Twisp, a too-smart-for-his-own-good teen virgin whose trashy parents take him on a "vacation" to a trailer park in Ukiah. Nick isn't entirely thrilled with the trip until he meets his neighbor, Sheeni Saunders (Portia Doubleday). He falls hard, and when he has to head back home to Oakland, he creates a French counterpart named Francois Dillinger to help him win over the girl of his dreams.

Jean Smart, Zach Galifianakis, Steve Buscemi and Ray Liotta co-star with Miguel Arteta directing. The revolt begins January 8th 2010.

Although Cera can do the awkward nice guy thing like nobody else--taking on a role that allows for another persona as well-should prove entertaing and intersting to watch.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Going Nuts

The classic holiday tale The Nutcracker is getting remade-- action/adventure style as reported a few weeks ago on the Heat Vision blog.

The story centered on a 12-year old girl who, with her brother and sister, receive gifts from their clockmaker-inventor godfather on Christmas Eve, one of which was a Nutcracker doll.

That night, the girl begins an adventure that includes a war involving a seven-headed Mouse King and his army of mice, curses and themes of ugliness and beauty.

Darren Lemke sold the pitch which reimagines the story first penned by E. T. A. Hoffmann in 1816 and later made famous by composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky - Wikipedia and his musical ballet interpretation in 1892.

Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey will be producing the pic.

Not into ballet at all but that's probably more famous then the book on which it is based....As an action tale? Certainly an interesting way to go.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Jingle Jungle

A sack full of fresh flicks will greet holiday movie-goers tomorrow:

Starting things off when it opened on yesterday--it's Alvin and the Chipmunks 2: The Squeakquel (reviews) While 2 award season contenders that were released in a limited fashion finally go wide...George Clooney's career is on a roll with Up in the Air (reviews); The musical Nine (reviews) goes big screen; Robert Downey Jr. is famed London slueth Shelock Holmes (reviews)-'Sherlock Holmes Would Tear Tony Stark Up,' Says Downey Jr.; Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin discover It's Complicated (reviews); Heath Ledger's last film, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (reviews) begins its run quietly--Depp 'honored' to fill in Ledger's shoes‎....

There are no wide releases opening on New Year's Day...Therefore it's any one's game including James Cameron's Avatar-which had a $27 million‎ dollar opening day but then got socked by Mother Nature and a big snowstorm on Saturday December 19th...Things pick back up at the box ofice on January 8th...

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Cure Core

Christoph Waltz, Keira Knightley, and Michael Fassbender will star in David Cronenberg’s new film “The Talking Cure.”

Announced on the Facebook page of the film's Australian distributor Hopscotch Films, the project is based on a play by Christopher Hampton of the same name

The story revolves around famed psychoanalyst Carl Jung's relationship with a young Russian girl driven mad by her past and who became his first patient, and Jung's esteemed mentor and father of modern psychology Sigmund Freud.

Cronenberg has been linked to the project since 2007.

Ab-ducted For Quest

Taylor Lautner may be going on a Vision Quest for a remake says E! Online.

The 1985 original pic starred Matthew Modine as a high school wrestler who’s training to take down the top wrestler in the state when he meets an older girl (Linda Fiorentino) who arrives to stay at his house. His relationship with her ends up interfering with his dreams.

This new version is being helped along by producers Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen and who are also developing the action thriller Cancun as another possible Lautner vehicle.

Yet just another reason (film) for Lautner to walk around shirtless--showing off his abs. Sheesh!

Holiday Mixer

Random industry bits from the past few weeks:

The Los Angeles Times says the 300 prequel has a title...Xerxes (2011) deals with the Battle of Marathon which was the first attempt by Persia to subjugate Greece.

Shaun of the Dead dudes director Edgar Wright and stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost took part in a fun reunion photo shoot at Total Film.

Warner Bros. Home Video will release "The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy-Theatrical Cuts hits Blu-ray on April 6. The nine-disc set contains only the original theatrical versions of the three films along with more than seven hours of special features. The extended editions will make their Blu-ray debut sometime later...

Paramount Pictures chief Brad Grey told the NY Times he wants J.J. Abrams to direct another 'tentpole' film for the studio

Quentin Tarantino Best Films of '09 are....

Acclaimed Japanese animation house Ghibli announced its next feature will be a film adaptation of Mary Norton's fantasy classic "The Borrowers" says Ghibli World.

The Book of Eli screenwriter Gary Whitta talked to Coming Soon about his involvement in the "Akira" project

Twilight star Robert Pattinson (pictured) says "My little cousin tells me I look like Magneto so I guess that's who I should probably play"

Daniel Cudmore says he and Roland Kickinger (both pictured) are the two front runners for the upcoming Conan remake.

The success of the $15,000 budgeted "Paranormal Activity" out on DVD 12/29 has Paramount Pictures planning to annually develop and produce between 10-20 micro budget films with no individual budget exceeding $100,000 says Variety

David Permut, David Gross and Jesse Shapira will produce the romantic teen comedy "Pictures of You" reports Variety. Joshua Friedlander's script, centers on a teenage boy who finds a lost camera on the beach. After developing the film, he ends up on a quest to find the girl of his dreams, whose picture was discovered inside the camera.

Duane Adler, who co-wrote Step Up and Save The Last Dance will direct and rework the screenplay for another teen dance drama "Jump Around" says The Hollywood Reporter. The script follows a group of teenagers who form a Double Dutch Jump Rope team at their high school and compete for a spot in an international competition.

Michael Besman's great sounding action comedy pitch "Wife vs. Ninja" has been bought says Variety. The story centers on a Long Island housewife who discovers that the beautiful young intern who recently stole her scientist husband is actually a bloodthirsty ninja assassin intent on stealing his work.Besman will produce the project and co-write the script with Michael Zam and Jaffe Cohen.

Elizabeth Eulberg's teen novel "The Lonely Hearts Club" is being made into a film reports Variety. A heartbroken teen comes to the conclusion that most high school boys are total jerks and declares herself founding member of said club, refusing to date again until graduation.Other girls quickly join, taking the same oath and forming a movement that throws the high school into an uproar. Eulberg worked closely with Twilight author Stephenie Meyer and helped out with the publicity campaign for the teen vampire series.

Joe Penhall will adapt author John R Williams' 1960 Western novel "Butcher's Crossing says The Hollywood Reporter. In the 1870s, the adventure story centers on a man who drops out of Harvard University and heads west to the small Kansas town. There, he joins the search for a great buffalo herd. Sam Mendes may helm and will co produce the pic

R.H. Greene is writing and will direct the indie road movie drama "Slide" says The Hollywood Reporter. Set in the late 1960s, the story revolves around two gangsters, desperately trying to get away from a mob boss they double-crossed, who inadvertently kidnap Jimi Hendrix who was then at the height of his career and drug addiction. Along the way, Hendrix ends up teaching one of the gangsters about honesty, and Hendrix learns to clean up his act. The project will not use any of Hendrix's music

Steve McQueen will direct the biopic Fela reports Variety. Based on Michael E. Veal's book, the story follows the life of the late African musician and activist Fela Kuti whose music fused American jazz, funk and West African drums.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Super Villain

Kevin Bacon will play the villain in the action-comedy "Super" says Screen Daily.

Bacon plays Jacques, a smooth-talking drug dealer who steals the wife (Liv Tyler) of an average guy (Rainn Wilson), causing the latter to become a one-man crime-fighting force known as The Crimson Bolt.

Ellen Page co-stars.

"Slither" writer/director James Gunn helms the project which is in production until next month.

Gunn said the pic is a "dark, comedic, gritty, very unusual, and grounded film--with love, violence, perseverance, and faith. We need to love Jacques even while he’s doing horrible things Kevin is one of the few actors nimble enough to give life to Jacques, our super villain with a nice streak, Kevin is one of the only actors I know who can pull that off.

Bacon's performance in '04's The Woodsman bears truth in Gunn's praise of him.

Get The Lead Out

Carlos Ramos Jr.(Kill Katie Malone starring Dean Cain and Nick Hogan is scheduled for a release sometime in 2010.) will next direct the comedy "Unleaded" says The Hollywood Reporter.

The story follows a man who's looking for a woman to reproduce since he's facing a declining sperm count.

Celia Hamel is producing when shooting kicks off in in April

Freddy VS. Jason

Platinum Dunes honcho/producer Bradley Fuller comments on the announcement of A Nightmare on Elm Street remake reshoots in the wake of its test screenings. On the company blog:

"We're doing a couple of days, and everyone seems to be making a big deal out of it," he says--pointing out that every single Dunes film to date has gone through a similar process. He did not specify what exactly is entailed for the second time around, but says "the fans' input has always been valuable, and suffice to say we listened."

Elm Street arrives in theaters April 30, 2010 with Sam Bayer calling action and Jackie Earle Haley as Freddy

Meanwhile--concerning Friday the 13th: Part 2:

Fuller says that he'd hoped to get the sequel to Friday the 13th underway by now, but that so far there's nothing really to report:

"We're hoping they decide to get us started early next year." He promises, that the script by Damian Shannon and Mark Swift is "great - dare I say better than the first?"

Waiting To X-Hale

Talking with the Heat Vision Blog, Bryan Singer disussed how X-Men: First Class fits into X-lore.

"It’s basically about the formation of the X-Men. How they began and the relationship between a young Xavier and a young Magneto."

And since it'll borrow elements from Eric Lensherr's longer life, do we even need an X-Men Origins: Magneto film?

"This story would probably utilize some of the Magneto story because it deals with a young Magneto, so it might supersede that because this would explore that relationship between a young energetic professor and a disenfranchised victim of The Holocaust."

But even First Class before hapens Singer's planned fantasy pic Jack the Giant Killer, is his next pic.

"Right now that is the plan. Unless there's a problem in the development process. There is a script for "Jack"; we're in visual development. We've got artwork and pre-viz that we are doing. But you never know how things go."

He also talks about the current status of Excalibur and Battlestar Galactica in the chat as well...

Mortal Combat

The Dominion Post, a newspaper published in Wellington, New Zealand, says that Peter Jackson is working on adaptations of Philip Reeve's Mortal Engines (known as The Hungry City Chronicles in the US).

Reeve's series of children's novels takes place in a steampunk post-apocalyptic future where cities are mobile and perambulate the planet devouring each other for fuel: a system amusingly called Municipal Darwinism. The St Paul's Cathedral-topped London is the strongest of these Traction Cities, in a world where "old tech" is extremely sought after.

The film series is in early development, according to The Post, with design work on the moving cities underway at Weta Digital.

A spokesman for Jackson declined to comment, deferring to Jackson himself. But crucially, he denied nothing. Jackson is understood to have been sitting on the option for the books for some time.

Jackson is extremely busy at the moment--if the story is true than I wonder if they will be shot back to back ala The Lord of the Rings film trilogy?

Four And Two

IGN recently caught up with writer/director/producer Robert Rodriguez on the set of Predators getting updates on his next two major projects -- Spy Kids 4 and the much delayed Sin City 2

"I've already turned in a script for another Spy Kids, which is a reboot," he told the site. "It's different kids, not the old kids, and that one is really cool. I'd probably do that in the early part of next year – March or April…What I like about this Spy Kids is that it reminds me of the first one where it's not so much about the kids. In fact, it leans more towards the parents because when you become a parent, you get a lot of ideas on where you can put some of this stuff. The story in it is good and that name is just such a name with kids. That's your most loyal audience.[Kids] stop me more than their parents about how many times they've seen the Spy Kids films. I even went back and pulled out my original first script and found some ideas that I couldn't bring to life back then."

As for the Sin sequel--slow as ever...same song different verse.

"I know Frank wants to do it. I know I want to do it. But it's always sort of a time-permitting kinda thing…It's not my next picture, I know that. Doesn't mean that it's not the picture right after. That's still a possibility. There has been a script since 2007," said Rodriguez.

"It's the one that Frank wrote and we have to look at it for now and ask, 'Is this really the one?'…I think it's built up so much, are we really going to satisfy everybody with what we have, should we add to it? It's the thing we've always talked about, but now, two years later – going on three – we'd probably make some adjustments, but nothing that would take a long time."

That's cuz it's already taken forever...!

As to the question of new material VS using already established story lines: "The script was pre-existing [material] with some original stuff added to catch up with some characters."

Dare I even ask about Sin City 3?

Monday, December 21, 2009

Earn Your Wings

Pajiba posts that an anonymous source that Warner Bros. has a film based on the superhero Hawkman in development.

Hawkman first appeared in the pages of Flash Comics circa 1940 by Gardner Fox and Dennis Neville who has been through the usual multiple incarnations.

He sports artificial wings made of Nth metal that allows him to fly.

According to the report, the studio wants an Indiana Jones vibe (one version of the Hawk's alter egos--Carter Hall, was an archaeologist) for the film.

Like the character but he's really a second tier hero...Let's see where this goes...

Pale Face

The villian for Wes Craven's next horror pic My Soul to Take has been revealed by New York stunt man Manny Siverio's MySpace page via Shock Til You Drop

The film follows a notorious serial slayer who will return to the sleepy community of Riverdale to finish off the seven children born on the night he purportedly died. But is the slayer really dead, or is he still at large? Or has the mysterious evil personality that once impelled his bloody spree entered the body of an unwary teen, who will now be compelled to do his evil bidding?

Looks like Michael Myers ala Rob Zombie and his dreadful versions of Halloween and Halloween II

Max Thieriot, Denzel Whitaker, Shareeka Epps, Emily Meade star in the 2010 Soul pic.

Marvin & Mike

Alex Zamm will direct the film adaptation of the Looney Tunes classic toon character Marvin the Martian says The LA Times.

Paul Kaplan and Mark Torgove, who have both worked on sit-coms Spin City and George Lopez. are writing the script that will see Marvin coming to Earth to try to destroy Christmas, only to find his plans are foiled when he gets trapped inside a gift box.

Marvin will be a CG character surrounded by live-action actors ala Alvin and the Chipmunks,", and a star will voice the character with Mike Myers a stong candidate.

Zamm is also signed on to direct Hong Kong Phooey the film version of the 1970s Hanna-Barbera cartoon which will probably not get underway until 'Marvin' is complete.

Loved Marvin as a kid...Curious. What is it with Meyers voicing charaters connected to the color green?

'Marvin' is currently aiming for a Holiday 2011 release.

Gods And Men

The LA Times reports that the 2010 version of Clash of the Titans is headed back before the cameras in late January for re-shoots.

Star Sam Worthington revealed: "We're going to be going back and shooting more scenes for it, they cut loose with some money so we can add to it... There were some creaky parts but they are the parts that we knew were creaky and that we knew were going to be creaky going into it... And they're talking about making the movie a 3-D film"

Louis Leterrier's Titans is due for release on March 26th Re-shoots? Added stuff? 3-D conversion? Will the cineplex debut be delayed?

If you knew about the "Creaky" parts going in...Why not address them at that time?

Bond In For A Shock

Oscar-nominated screenwriter Peter Morgan has set the James Bond fan base buzzing over his brief comments about his Bond 23 screenplay.

"It is a shocking story," Morgan said in an interview with the Austrian newspaper Kurier.

Morgan's cryptic comment has sites such as MI6 and CommanderBond going into speculation overdrive.

Does 007 quit? Is he really a Soviet spy? Does a mjor character die?

He also revealed that he wrote the script from July to October of this year, but that all work on Bond 23 has been put on hold until at least February 2010 due to MGM current financial issues and potential sale.

Jump On It

Variety reports that writer/directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller--behind the recent Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs animated pic are poised to make their live-action film debut with an adaptation of the 1980s TV show "21 Jump Street".

The show which ran from 1987-1990 followed young-looking cops working undercover in high school-starring Johnny Depp and Peter DeLuise.

Jonah Hill is starring and executive producing while Michael Bacall is handling the script.

Other folks like Catherine Hardwicke and Ruben Fleischer had been approached to direct the pic.

Interesting way to go here in terms of who is calling action

Sunday, December 20, 2009

RIP Brittany Murphy: (1977 - 2009)

So very sad...

Actress Brittany Murphy died today at the tender age of just 32... reports Murphy went into full cardiac arrest early Sunday and could not be revived.

The site reports a 911 call was made at 8:00 Am from a home in Los Angeles that is listed as belonging to her husband, Simon Monjack. Apparently Murphy's mom discovered her unconscious in the shower. The paramedics arrived, quickly determined Murphy was in full cardiac arrest and immediately administered Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). They continued CPR in route to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center-- several miles away -- and Murphy was unresponsive. She was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Murphy had a memorable supporting role in the 1995 comedy Clueless opposite Alicia Silverstone's Cher...From there, she won roles in Drop Dead Gorgeous and Drive, before winning some notices for her performance in Girl, Interrupted. Bigger parts followed, including leads in Cherry Falls, Don't Say A Word and an emotional turn co-staring with rapper Eminem in 8 Mile. She appeared in Just Married with then-boyfriend Ashton Kutcher and Uptown Girls with Dakota Fanning. My fave from her resume She played Shellie for Robert Rodriguez in Sin City and also voiced Gloria in Happy Feet as well as the part of Luanne Platter in the long running animated series, King of the Hill

Murphy had a full 2010 schedule of films coming up, including Sylvester Stallone's actoiner The Expendables. …

Tragic Gone way too soon... Colleagues remember

Blue VS White

Avatar wins the weekend and the world but is bested a bit by winter wonderland

Pamela McCliintock of Variety

Twentieth Century Fox and James Cameron's "Avatar" grossed $232.2 million in its worldwide debut to post the best global launch ever for a non-sequel, including a strong domestic bow of $73 million that had to overcome the worst blizzard in decades on the East Coast.

The storm paralyzed major cities, affecting the box office across the board. Northern Europe also got stung by a major winter storm that saw brutally cold temps and piled cities, including Paris, with snow.

Sony saw a disappointing launch for Hugh Grant-Sarah Jessica Parker topliner "Did You Hear About the Morgans?" Romantic comedy grossd $7 million from 2,718 theaters to place No. 4 after "Avatar," Disney's "The Princess and the Frog" ($12.2 million) and Warner Bros.' "The Blind Side" ($10 million).

At the specialty box office, the Weinstein Co.'s Rob Marshall-directed musical "Nine" dazzled with the best per location average of the weekend at $71,733. Film grossed an estimated $246,933 as it opened in four locations.

Paramount's George Clooney starrer placed No. 8 for the weekend, grossing an estimated $3.1 million from just 175 theaters for a per location average of $17,714.

The impact of the blizzard in the Northeast was reflected in performances across the board.

Still, "Avatar" scored the second-best launch on record for a film debuting in December, where opening weekends aren't as big, but multiples are far greater because of the lucrative Christmas-New Year's holiday.

A film normally can expect to gross three times its opening weekend, but year-end films can see multiples of four and five.

No. 1 December opening was scored by Warner Bros. Will Smith-starrer "I Am Legend" ($77.2 million).

"Avatar" narrowly bested the $72.6 million posted by Peter Jackson's "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" in its first weekend. That pic grossed $377 million domestically.

The critically acclaimed "Avatar" posted glowing exits, earning an A or A+ CinemaScore across all demos.

More analysis from EW:

Total is on lower end of expectations, depressed by weather, but signs point to solid run in coming weeks....

If If If...

Nine director Rob Marshall has been tipped to call the action on Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides for months....

But things are very much still uncertain at this point.

Marshall recently told Coming Soon, “we're still trying to figure out if it's going to all happen.”

If it happens--I think Johnny's doing a movie with Angelina Jolie in the spring (The Tourist) so if it happens, we'll start in the summer, and we'll see. I'm excited. If it happens, it happens. I'd be thrilled. I just love Johnny and I'm excited about the genre. I would need a script first.”

"... they're still writing," Marshall explained. "I've heard a couple of exciting ideas, but they're still in process. My hope is that we'll be able to shoot it sometime in 2010"

Uphill Battle

Now that his 3-D sci-fi CGI action extravaganza Avatar is out director James Cameron looking ahead to his next project

Talking to MTV he discussed his long-talked about adaptation of Yukito Kishiro cyberpunk menga Battle Angel is still very much a possibility.

"We've got a very good script, we've done about a year of production design, and we've put together an art reel that shows the arc of the film," he says. "It's pretty much 'just add water' and we're ready to go."

Battle Angel Alita (Gun / Dream in Japan) is a nine-volume series from the 1990s, featuring an amnesiac female cyborg rescued from a scrap heap by a cybernetics professor, who rebuilds her so that she can become a kick-ass martial arts bounty hunter. The first two volumes became an anime in 1993, but Kishiro was never enthusiastic about it, and while it was well-received in the US and UK, it wasn't a success in Japan

The film would utilize 3-D/CGI tech as well

"Shooting live stuff in 3-D and then adding CG characters and landscapes beyond that is a little tricky," he says

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Sticky Web

The gang at said that pre-production on Spider-Man 4 was put on hold late last week when Sony Pictures and director Sam Raimi clashed over the sequel's baddie.

The site claims Raimi is pushing hard for the Vulture to be the antagonist, just like he did for Spider-Man 3.

Originaly "Spider-Man 3" was to have Vulture being the Sandman's cellmate, the pair having escaped together and Vulture pressuring the more passive Sandman into committing crimes.

However the studio wanted to use much more popular Venom character on the big-screen and so Vulture was dropped to give way to the demands of Marvel and Sony.

Mixed reviews on the third pic speak volumes.

Even so the studio is seemingly once again pressuring Raimi to use a villain that's more well known and selling comic books and that's not Vulture.

Since the report, a Sony rep tells MTV's Rick Marshall that the movie is " on hiatus for the holidays and production will resume in the new year".

BTW "Spider-M4n" is apparently the title they've been using during pre-production (PU!)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Big Deal Of '09

Warner Bros. paid over 2 million bucks for an untitled spec script by writer and Black lister Dan Fogelman says Variety.

The story follows a father whose life unravels while he deals with a marital crisis and tries to manage his relationship with his children. The tone will be light and sentimental with touches of drama.

Fogelman (pictured) wrote the script specifically with Steve Carell in mind for the lead, and the studio paid extra to make that happen.

Carrell, Charlie Hartsock and Vance DeGeneres will produce the dramedy.

Final details of the deal were being ironed out late Thursday, but today on the last day before the agencies and studios close for the holidays, the deal for arguably the biggest spec script sale of the year was completed.

Just yesterday Carrel also added the comedy pic Mail Order Groom to his list of projects as well

Doctor's Orders

Paramount Pictures is developing writer Chad St. John's action adventure spec script "The Further Adventures of Doc Holliday" reports Variety.

The Pirates of the Caribbean-style but history-based pic will follow the Tuberculosis -ridden gunfighter who formed a strong friendship with Western lawman Wyatt Earp.

Val Kilmer played Doc in the 1993 film Tombstone (pictured) to raves. Dennis Quaid less so starred as Holliday in Kevin Costner's "Wyatt Earp"

Lorenzo di Bonaventura will produce the pic.

Whoever lands in Doc's shoes will have tough road doing as well as Kilmer did in the role...

I don't know quite yet how I feel about turning the story into more of an actioner....