The big news this week is today’s $4B purchase of Marvel Entertainment by Disney, details below. Also in our weekly genre movie news wrap-up we cover some Batman and Underworld rumors, find out what is next for District 9, and report troubles for Green Lantern and Green Hornet. Plus all the latest trailers and images, including 2012, Zombieland and more.
GENRE MOVIE NEWS
Disney Purchases Marvel for $4 Billion
Walt Disney Company is purchasing Marvel Entertainment, which includes the film studio Marvel Studios, for $4 billion in cash and stocks. Under the terms of the deal — and upon approval by shareholders at Marvel — Disney would acquire ownership of 5,000 Marvel characters:
“Disney is the perfect home for Marvel’s fantastic library of characters given its proven ability to expand content creation and licensing businesses,” said Ike Perlmutter, Marvel’s chief executive officer. “This is an unparalleled opportunity for Marvel to build upon its vibrant brand and character properties by accessing Disney’s tremendous global organization and infrastructure around the world.”
“We believe that adding Marvel to Disney’s unique portfolio of brands provides significant opportunities for long-term growth and value creation,” Robert A. Iger, Disney’s chief executive, said in a statement announcing the deal.
Disney said that they will honor previous deals Marvel made for distribution of their properties — for example, “Spider-Man 4” through Sony Pictures, “Iron Man 2” through Paramount Pictures and “X-Men Origins: Magneto” and “X-Men Origins: Wolverine 2” through 20th Century Fox — and re-examine them upon expiration.
Batman Rumors: ‘Dark Knight’ Follow-up Completely in IMAX? + Megan Fox Catwoman?
“The Dark Knight” director Christopher Nolan shot several scenes from the film using IMAX cameras, a feature that went over incredibly well with fans and if a certain rumor/report from AICN pans out, we may be able to experience Nolan’s follow-up to the film entirely in IMAX:
The THIRD chapter of Christopher Nolan’s Caped Crusader’s saga could very well be FULLY shot in IMAX, not IMAX Digital – but the beautiful, stunning IMAX that we saw pieces of THE DARK KNIGHT in.
Now this is something that I’m sure a lot of you will feel is a no-brainer. Nolan blew us away with the IMAX sequences in that film – but it was a very tough process to work in. Mainly due to the limitations of how many available real IMAX rigs there are. Not only that, but lenses had to be created, adapted and god forbid one broke down. Part of the reason that Nolan went forward with INCEPTION first – besides taking a creative break from the cape and cowl adventures… was possibly to create a few new IMAX cameras made to his specs. Once again – the cost of shooting an entire feature film on IMAX… the stock, the time it takes to reset, to load, to move the cameras… Well… it is daunting, but as Nolan proved with DARK KNIGHT – the difference is stunning.
Meanwhile on the rumor debunking front, a WB studio representative debunked a report from the British tabloid The Sun claiming that Megan Fox had signed up to portray Catwoman in the ‘TDK’ follow-up: “It’s a rumor. It’s not true,” the studio representative told People.com. “There is no script. There is no project to be cast in.”
District 9 Sequel In the Works + Listen to the Movie Soundtrack
Director Neill Blomkamp says he’s ready to move forward with a sequel to the well-received sci-fi alien refugee film “District 9” and admits that although he wrote “District 9” with no sequel in mind, he has “an inclination of an idea” for a sequel:
“I would totally make a sequel,” he told The Sci-Fi Movie Page. “I’ve got an inclination but it’s not really fleshed out yet. Now that it’s done well, I think it would be cool. The studio have definitely said they want one, it’s just a question of what the hell it is.”
More from The Sci-Fi Movie Page:
It would seem that Blomkamp is more interested in it being a sequel than a prequel, which would again be set in South Africa and star Sharlto Copley as Wikus van der Merwe again. “Does Wikus become human again?” is one of the plot issues which Blomkamp feels can be explored in a possible sequel.
Click here to listen to the complete interview, which also includes Blomkamp discussing his involvement in the “Halo” project, which he reveals $11 million was spent on before Universal pulled the plug — he won’t be involved in any revival of the project — and more. In other “District 9” news, Sony has posted samples from the soundtrack of the film which you can access in the embedded player below or at the official website.
Jon Favreau Talks ‘Avengers’ and Iron Man 2 + Sam Rockwell
“Iron Man 2” director Jon Favreau told Ireland Online (via io9) that although he worries about that “The Avengers” may be “a failed experiment”, he is hopeful that it may “be something wonderful”:
“I think that’s fun. I think it’s inevitable, and ‘The Avengers’ might be the thing that helps rescue us from the inevitable sequel slump that you get into, because you’re throwing everything on its ear. It might be a failed experiment or it might be something wonderful, but it allows you to add complexity in an organic way where you’re culminating with something bigger, as opposed to trying to play out and not repeat the same story over and over again.”
On the “Iron Man 2” front, Favreau discussed two of the newest additions to the cast; Scarlett Johansson (Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow) and Mickey Rourke (Ivan Vanko/Whiplash):
“Scarlett brings a new element that not only works us towards ‘The Avengers’ but also changed the dynamic between Robert and Gwyneth. With Mickey Rourke, I didn’t want to just have two guys in robot suits hitting each other again. I wanted to have a different type of villain.”
Meanwhile, Comic Book Resources relays an interview they conducted with another recent addition — Sam Rockwell (Justin Hammer) — at Comic-Con where he discusses his role in the film. Here’s are two excerpts:
CBR: Justin Hammer and Tony Stark are rivals in the film. What are their similarities and their differences?
Rockwell: They’re similar. I think that ultimately Justin is probably more insecure. So that may be his downfall. His ambition may be stronger in a way so it’s a trap that Justin may fall into.
CBR: Did you study any of your character’s appearances in the comic books?
Rockwell: Yeah, I looked at some of the comic books, but the character in the comic books is much different. We’re trying to find another way to tell the story. They wanted the guy to be more of a contemporary. You don’t want to disappoint the fans but you want to reinvent it and give your own interpretation of the character. Justin Hammer’s older and, like, British or something [in the comic]. That’s what’s fun about it. If you see five performances of “Hamlet,” you want to see Ralph Fiennes do Hamlet, you want to see Jude Law, you want to see Richard Burton play Hamlet. You want to see them all do their own interpretations of something. So that’s what’s fun about Don Cheadle [being in the movie] too. It’s a fun thing to watch that.
“Iron Man 2” hits theaters on May 7, 2010. “The Avengers” is scheduled to be released on May 4, 2012.
9: In Depth
Here are some excerpts from interviews with director Shane Acker and the cast of the upcoming post-apocalyptic animated film “9”, which hits theaters Wednesday, September 9th (9/9/09):
Acker on the numbering of the creatures:
“I was just having fun and kind of exploring this idea that these numbers would be versions in some way,” Acker said. “As the numbers get higher, the sophistication of the creatures gets more complex and more refined. So when 9 comes along, he is the last version, the most up-to-date version, the most complete, who has a larger, more holistic view. We just bought into that conceit, and then we tried to have as much fun with that as we could. What does the number 6 mean? What kind of emotions does that elicit, that number? What could this character be? So we tried to separate them all, as they all have their own strengths and their own weaknesses, and together they’re able to complete themselves, and they become a whole once they finally get working together.”
Elijah Wood plays the voice of the title character 9:
“He comes into the world late,” Wood said of his character 9. “So 1 has already established a kind of rule over the other characters, largely due to fear, staying away from the machines, not getting any answers and living cloistered in a tower. I love the fact that 9 comes into that world sort of naively but sort of wisely, and sees that that’s not necessarily the way for them to live, and they’re actually putting themselves in greater harm. If they simply asked the greater questions to find out who they are and what they are, they can get at what’s ultimately keeping them cloistered away.”
Acker on the differences between “9” and other films whose setting is post-apocalyptic:
“I think what’s different is it’s not our world that’s been destroyed,” Acker said. “It’s this kind of alternate reality world. It’s this steampunk world that’s fallen into disrepair that’s been destroyed so it’s as if the Victorian era or the industrial age had been allowed to progress for a couple hundred years beyond what it did. It’s all analog. It’s all pre-digital. It’s a world that was in celebration of the machine and it’s the kind of industrial revolution aesthetic where even within the machinery itself, there’s ornamentation and there’s beautiful detailing. So it’s not about just practicality. It’s about celebrating the mechanics and the industrial age. Then that world has collapsed.”
Jennifer Connelly (the voice of 7) on the parallels between the film’s themes and our dependence on technology:
“I like that it was looking at the sort of fallout of a conflict between man and the machine,” Connelly said. “I liked that there was a piece of the puzzle was held by the machine, was sort of in the world of reason and a piece of the puzzle was in the realm of the spirit. They had to be put together for the soul to be released. I thought that was interesting. It is something I think about. I think that we have incredible technology and we’ve made incredible advances in medicine and science and I don’t think those can be denied. But, I also think that there’s a cost to some of the technologies that proliferate and that we employ. I do think that there needs to be a balance of knowing where things come from and where we come from. I think there is a delicate balance that sometimes gets skewed.”
Head on over to SCI FI Wire (here and here) to read more interviews with the cast and crew. Check out some images from the limited edition “9” movie books (only 999 were made) below, and head on over to io9 for your chance to win a copy of the book.
The Green Hornet Pushed Back Five Months; Rogen Responds
Columbia Pictures has pushed back the release date of the Michel Gondry’s “The Green Hornet” by five months, moving it from July 9, 2010 to December 17, 2010. The delay, however, may not be such a bad thing. Here’s what Seth Rogen — who co-wrote and stars as the Green Hornet — told HitFix:
“We’re both relieved and psyched about the change. It gives more time for post, which would have been immensely rushed if we were to come out in the summer. It also affords us more time to promote the film, (now we can go to Comic-Con with more than a car!) and ultimately is a great vote of confidence from the studio. We got the same date that movies like ‘I Am Legend’ and ‘Avatar’ are getting, so we’re thrilled to be there.”
Kate Beckinsale Denies Reports She’s in Underworld 4
Kate Beckinsale has denied reports that she’s reprising her role as Selena in Screen Gems’ “Underworld 4 3-D”, telling a group of reporters that she hasn’t signed on to anything, but wouldn’t rule out a return:
“I haven’t signed anything,” Beckinsale said. “It was always conceived as a trilogy, which I was never going to be in the third one. I think if they came up with an amazing script or whatever, then, sure, I wouldn’t be averse to it, but it’s not necessarily planned.”
The actress was less enthusiastic about the rumor that the film would kick-off a new trilogy: “God, three whole more?” she sighed. “I don’t think my daughter needs to see my bottom in rubber for another 10 years.” With or without her, Screen Gems have already set a January 11, 2011 release date for “Underworld 4 (in 3-D)”.
Trouble Down Under for Green Lantern?
Last week Production Weekly twittered a message on their account that production in Australia on “Green Lantern” was under threat “after the rising Australian dollar has blown out production costs.” The Australian magazine Inside Film offered more details about situation (via SCI FI Wire):
Warner Bros. is understood to be negotiating with the [New South Wales] State Government to receive a higher level of concessions in an effort to claw back between $US15 and $US25 million in value eroded by the currency gains.
The value of the Australian dollar has climbed by more than 16 per cent since the State Labor government announced the deal to film at Fox Studios in mid-April. The big-budget Hollywood blockbuster was expected to create around 500 local jobs, including 100 performers and 200 crew.
While most offshore productions lock in finance when a project is green-lit, it is understood that ongoing work on the Green Lantern script delayed that move. Pre-production on the film was originally scheduled for July and filming for November.
“Green Lantern” — to be directed by Martin Campbell and star Ryan Reynolds — is currently slated to be released on June 17, 2011.
Three new posters [one more at Yahoo! Movies]
A Christmas Carol
Jim Carrey [MTV]
Final poster [Cinematical]
Frank Langella, Cameron Diaz and James Marsden [MTV]
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
Lily Cole and Heath Ledger [MTV]
Leonardo DiCaprio on the set [more at Radar Online]
Spanish Poster [Aullidos]
New images [MTV]
The Lovely Bones
Motion poster–click to view in motion [io9]
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
Set images: Bryce Dallas Howard and Xavier Samuel [more at Lainey Gossip]
The Twilight Saga: New Moon
First look at the Volturi [more at SCI FI Wire]
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
Set images [edgar wright here]
Superman/Batman: Public Enemies
New images [more at Comic Book Resources]
I suppose it was only a matter of time: Hitler’s response to the Avatar trailer/Avatar Day
Cloverfield 2 (???)
Is this the first viral for Cloverfield 2? [via CHUD]
Behind-the-scenes clip featuring
Behind-the-scenes featurette [via Yahoo! Movies]
Music clip: “I Will Not Bow” by Breaking Benjamin
Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant
Clip featuring Chris Massoglia and Josh Hutcherson
Clip featuring Jesse Eisenberg and Amber Heard
- Oscar Isaac has joined the cast of Zack Snyder’s “Sucker Punch”. He joins Emily Browning, Carla Gugino, Vanessa Hudgens, Jamie Chung, Jena Malone, Scott Glenn and Abbie Cornish. [Variety]
- Hayden Christensen has singed on to star in the independent sci-fi thriller “Vanishing on Seventh Street”. The film’s story is set in a once-thriving city where shadowy forms cause residents to inexplicably disappear. Thandie Newton and John Leguizamo are in negotiations to star. [THR]
- Evan Rachel Wood says there’s nothing new to report on the upcoming “Spider-Man” musical: “I don’t know a lot, but as far as I know, it’s still on.” [E! Online]
- Producer Joel Silver revealed that he hopes to make a remake to “Swamp Thing” in 3-D: “I’m going to hopefully do Swamp Thing, which is a movie we’ve had for a long time. We think that might be great to do in 3-D…As of right now, there still are less 3-D houses than 2-D houses. When the day comes that there are as many 3-D houses as 2-D houses, then I may change my mind about it.” [SCI FI Wire]
- Rob Zombie will write, direct and produce a remake of the 1958 horror classic “The Blob”: “My intention is not to have a big red blobby thing — that’s the first thing I want to change,” Zombie said. “That gigantic Jello-looking thing might have been scary to audiences in the 1950s, but people would laugh now…I intend to make it scary, and the great thing is I have the freedom once again to take it in any crazy direction I want to.” [Variety]
- …which may explain why the director won’t be part of the plans for “Halloween 3-D”, which Dimension Films has slated for release in summer 2010. [LA Times]
- AMC has begun selling tickets for select December 18, 2009 midnight showings of 20th Century Fox’s “Avatar”. About 50 AMC IMAX theaters have started the sales, with online ticketing services MovieTickets.com and Fandango saying that the sales were healthy. [Variety]
- An R-rated version of “Terminator Salvation” will be released on DVD and Blu-ray (“Terminator Salvation – Director’s Cut”) later this year: “Rated for some violence and brief nudity…” [UGO]
- …Speaking of “Terminator Salvation”, co-star Sam Worthington — in a surprisingly candid interview — offered some of his thoughts on the critiques leveled at the film: “I can nitpick with the best of them, man, and kind of go down the list of things I saw on IMDB where they found holes in it, and go, ‘You are f–king right,'” he said. “If there was a big 10-ton robot coming outside that gas station, surely we would f–king hear it. And I missed that. So I’m going to be a bit better when I’m looking through my f–king scripts. So it raises my game a bit, because now I feel like an idiot for not saying it to McG, you know?…” [SCI FI Wire]
- …Worthington also offered up some of his thoughts on his next film, James Cameron’s 3-D sci-fi “epic” “Avatar” by way of the recently released trailer and “Avatar Day” footage: “It’s got a hell of a lot of hype,” Worthington told a group of reporters in London last Friday. “I read all what was said yesterday about the … trailer. I can see their point. But, as I said, it wasn’t meant to be built for an Apple Mac. It’s built for IMAX. It’s built for 3-D. That’s what [Cameron]’s designed it for. He’s designed it to bring people back to the cinema.” [SCI FI Wire]
- Al Gough and Miles Millar (“Smallville”) have been hired by DreamWorks to write “I Am Number Four”, a screen adaptation to James Frey and Jobie Hughes novel. Michael Bay will produce and may direct the project about a group of nine aliens who flee to Earth, disguised as teenagers, when their home planet is destroyed. [Variety]
- Takashi Shimizu (“The Grudge”) will next direct “The Shock Labyrinth”, a 3-D live-action movie about a group of teens dealing with the shock return of a friend they had assumed to be dead. [THR]
- Adam Fierro and Glen Mazzara have been hired by Columbia Pictures to write a sequel to the Will Smith superhero movie “Hancock”. The writers will work with Smith and director Peter Berg to “build on the world hinted at in the first movie.” [THR]
- Director Edgar Wright has wrapped production on his adaptation of “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World”. [edgarwrighthere]
- “Wanted” director Timur Bekmambetov hinted at how he might have Angelina Jolie’s character return in the sequel: “If you remember from the first film, we have a recovery room with the baths of wax…We know how to do this, but it’s still tough to do, because the bullet is inside her head…But there has to be a reason for her to come back… and we know the reason,” he added. “I think we found the reason for her to come back.” Bekmambetov also said that he believes filming on the sequel will get underway this winter. [MTV]
- Sony Pictures Classics will release Terry Gilliam’s “The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnasssus” on Christmas Day. [ComingSoon]
- Screenwriters Michael Ferris and John Brancato on “Surrogates”: “It’s a very 21st-century fear,” Brancato said in an exclusive telephone interview this week. “There’s always the sense that ‘How well do we really know the people we know?'” [SCI FI Wire]
- Jamie Chung co-stars in Zack Snyder’s “Sucker Punch”, which she calls a female version of “300”, and provides some story details in a new interview: “All of the characters in her fever dream are from her real life. The girls plan to escape and they come up with a plan, and things go terribly wrong. It really does affect her reality. It’s a great story. My character is one of the four girls that try to help our lead hero escape. It’s pretty dark. It’s PG-13, but it’s a great adventure.” [SCI FI Wire]
- “The Hobbit” 3-D rumors update: As was pointed out by commentator ety3 in last week’s Sci-Fi Movies, shortly after the MarketSaw article was released — claiming, among other things, that “The Hobbit” and its sequel would be filmed in 3-D — TheOneRing.net debunked the rumors. And now director Guillermo del Toro has chimed in to debunk the 3-D rumors (although he did note that 3-D could come up in discussions down the line): “But make no mistake- I’ve been living in NZ for almost a year now and we have not been discussing 3D.” [The One Ring]
- 20th Century Fox scouts recently completed their third week in Hawaii looking for suitable jungle locations to shoot the Nimród Antal-directed/Robert Rodriguez-produced “Predators” sequel. If Hawaii is chosen, the $40 million sci-fi/horror film would film for 18 days with an October start. Additional shooting will be done at Rodriguez’s Troublemaker Studios in Austin. [Tim Ryan’s Reel Hawaii via SCI FI Wire]
- Stunt choreographer Garrett Warren was recently interviewed and gave tons of tidbits to several upcoming high-profile films, including “Avatar”, “Alice in Wonderland”, “A Christmas Carol”, and “The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn.” Check out the extensive interview at MovieLine.
Box Office Update: Final Destination Beats Out Halloween II; District 9 Closes in on $100M
Two R-rated horror films competed for the top spot over the weekend, with WB’s “The Final Destination 3-D” coming out ahead with $27.4 million over #3-finisher “Halloween II” ($16.3M). “The Final Destination 3-D” finished considerably ahead of 2006’s “Final Destination 3”, which grossed $19.2 million in its opening weekend. That was not the case with “Halloween II”, which fell well short of 2007’s “Halloween” ($26.4 million opening). Meanwhile, “District 9” dropped just slightly over 40% to take in $10.3 million for the weekend, bringing its three weekend total to $90.4 million ($104.7 million worldwide). “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra” brought in $7.7 million ($132.1 million/$256.2 million worldwide), “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” added another $2.5 million and is nearing $300 million domestically ($294.3 million/$896.0 million worldwide), while “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” is within reach of $400 million ($399.4 million/$827.8 million worldwide). For the complete top 10 list head on over to Box Office Mojo.