Sci-Fi Saturday: Batman, Watchmen, Fringe, Torchwood, Heroes, Daisies, Terminator + more

For movie news this week there isn’t much, except maybe the rumor about Cher in the next Batman (no kidding). We also have some new movie vids and pics, but the real news this week is with the Fall TV season with lots of images, videos and scoops to get you all going for that small screen genre goodness. 

MOVIE NEWS

Dark Knight big (but not in Japan) + Sequel Updates and Rumors
"The Dark Knight"
has passed the $490M domestic mark and has taken in more than $400M overseas pushing its worldwide total past $900M. But there’s something interesting to note overseas as the movie isn’t doing as well as expected in Japan, brining in less than "Batman Begins." Japanese film critic Chika Minagawa explains why: "The story is very pessimistic. It has a dark and gloomy texture that Japanese movie fans do not find appealing in a ‘comic hero’ film… Japanese movie fans expect such films to be fun and action packed, for the hero to be attractive, for the villain to be loud and outrageous, and for the movie itself to be easy to understand and light." We’ve also got an update on the sequel, THR  reports both Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures are just waiting for director Christopher Nolan to come back from vacation and bring them a "story and a plan". 

"There are a lot of us who emotionally would love to do it," Producer Roven says. "But it’s really Chris’ call. Chris is the kind of filmmaker who just doesn’t think about the next movie before he has completely finished the movie he is working on."

And here is a left field casting rumor, the British newspaper The Telegraph (citing a studio source) is reporting that Cher is "Nolan’s first choice" for the role of the Catwoman: “He wants to her to portray her like a vamp in her twilight years,” says the Telegraph’s source. “The new Catwoman will be the absolute opposite of Michelle Pfeiffer and Halle Berry’s purring creations.”


The next Catwoman?

Outlander Going Straight-to-video?
The Jim Caviezel-led Sci-Fi film "Outlander" appears to be headed straight-to-video, that according to a report from Dread Central.  The Weinstein Company holds distribution rights to the Howard McCain-directed $47M film.  Dark Horizons notes that the fate of the film had been undecided for some time, but now Movies Unlimited is listing the film available for pre-order for a November 18th street date.  Considering the nearly $50M price tag, it seems very odd that TWC would dump it off on DVD.  In fact, /Film was directed to a post on Outlander.solsector.net which reveals that the studio is contractually obligated to give the film at least a limited theatrical release: “There’s been no confirmation about the DVD date and nearest myself and one of the producers can tell there really isn’t a date set for the DVD much less a theatrical release. Plus, The Weinstein Company is contractually obligated to give outlander at least a limited theatrical release.”

Babylon A.D. Director Disappointed + Diesel Wants 2  More Riddick Sequels
Matthieu Kassovitz, director of "Babylon A.D." is disappointed in the final product: "I’m very unhappy with the film… I never had a chance to do one scene the way it was written or the way I wanted it to be. The script wasn’t respected. Bad producers, bad partners, it was a terrible experience."  Kassovitz added that he "should have chosen a studio that has guts" and that the studio was "just trying to get a PG-13 movie."  Read the rest of the director’s comments at AMC.  Meanwhile, Vin Diesel, who stars in the film, recently told MTV that he expects there to be not one, but two more sequels to "The Chronicles of Riddick":  “David Twowy right now is writing the scripts. The only question is whether we take a page from the ‘Lord of the Rings’ guys and try to shoot the two chapters at the same time. There are two more in mind,” he said.  Diesel said “Everyone knows I love the Riddick character and I’m always working on it,” Diesel asserted. “It just takes five years to make another one because David Twohy and I are so precious about it.”

New Watchmen Plot Synopsis
Warner Bros. has released a new plot synopsis for "Watchmen", check it out below.  Also, if you’re interested in an easy-to-read, yet comprehensive, analysis of the 20th Century Fox v. Warner Bros. lawsuit head on over to the New York Times.

A complex, multi-layered mystery adventure, Watchmen is set in an alternate 1985 America in which costumed superheroes are part of the fabric of everyday society, and the "Doomsday Clock" – which charts the USA’s tension with the Soviet Union – is permanently set at five minutes to midnight. When one of his former colleagues is murdered, the washed-up but no less determined masked vigilante Rorschach sets out to uncover a plot to kill and discredit all past and present superheroes. As he reconnects with his former crime-fighting legion—a ragtag group of retired superheroes, only one of whom has true powers—Rorschach glimpses a wide-ranging and disturbing conspiracy with links to their shared past and catastrophic consequences for the future. Their mission is to watch over humanity…but who is watching the Watchmen?

NEW IMAGES

The Day The Earth Stood Still

Legend of the Seeker

Saw V

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (set photos–read a set report at this link and check out more images here)

Watchmen (SET Magazine Covers–source of scans)

NEW VIDEOS

Max Payne

MOVIE BITES

  • 20th Century Fox will debut the first trailer for "Dragonball" in theaters on October 17th.  The trailer will be attached to the studio’s video game adaptation "Max Payne". "Dragonball" hits theaters on April 10, 2009. [ComingSoon.net]
  • Dimension Films is moving forward with a sequel to Rob Zombie’s "Halloween", but without the director at the helm.  Instead Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo have confirmed that they’ll be co-directors of the film: "Our vision will be done with the utmost respect, with a continuity to Zombie’s work. But also a real evolution of the world he set in place," Maury told Rue Morgue Magazine. [JoBlo]
  • Vadim Perelman is in talks to direct the remake of "Poltergeist" for MGM. [Bloody-Disgusting]
  • Last week when we learned that "Voltron" was put into turnaround courtesy Relativity, we were told to expect a director announcement within a week.  Well, that director has been announced: Max Makowski.  The virtually unknown director is said to have a very unique visual style when he directs. [Latino Review]
  • Danny Elfman has been tapped to score Universal Pictures’ remake of "The Wolfman". [AICN]
  • Lionsgate has acquired the domestic rights to a sequel to the 2005 horror film "The Descent" and plans to release the film in the U.S. sometime in 2009.  The movie also has an official title "The Descent: Part 2". [Bloody-Disgusting]

CASTING BITES

  • Kristen Bell will be voicing the lead female role in WB’s CG-animated film "Astro Boy". [Variety]  Also, check out some concept art stills that has leaked out by clicking the image below.
  • Robert Downey Jr. and Tina Fey are in negotiations voice characters in "Master Mind", DreamWorks Animation’s computer animated spoof film of the superhero franchise. [EW]
  • Woody Harrelson has signed on to star in the horror comedy "Zombieland".  The movie, written by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, revolves around a pair of survivors who find friendship in a world overrun by zombies.  Ruben Fleischer is directing. [THR]
  • Scottish actor Kevin McKidd has reportedly been approached to star in the upcoming revamp of "Highlander".  The report further adds that producers on the Summit Entertainment film would like to return to medieval Scotland in the new version.  [JoBlo]
  • Kevin Spacey has joined Sam Rockwell in the Sci-Fi film "Moon". Rocknell told i09 that Spacey will voice the robot in the Duncan Jones film.

TV NEWS

Orci, Kurtzman and Abrams Talk Fringe
Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman and J.J. Abrams talked about the Fox drama "Fringe" with SCI FI Wire at the Manhattan premiere of the show.  Here are some highlights:

SCI FI Wire: How did this show come together?
Orci: I call this a planned pregnancy. Which means we literally said, "Let’s sit down in a room together and create a show." And the three of us just sat down for weeks on end and just went through the history of our TV loves and our movie loves and just–planned pregnancy. So it was all three of us.

SCI FI Wire: You would say this is a science fiction series first and foremost, where X-Files was supernatural?
Orci: Yeah, the title itself refers to fringe science, so I think the idea is to keep it so that it’s maybe a couple of minutes in the future, but not weeks in the future, not years. We’re trying to do what you can read any of the tech science parts of the newspaper nowadays, and there’s just really strange articles in there that 10 years ago would have been, you know, unbelievable, and now it’s like "Oh, the Pentagon has an invisibility cloak." It’s like "What?" You know?

SCI FI Wire: How much of the mythology do you figure out before the show actually starts? Or is it make it up as you go, as you write the show?
Kurtzman: There’s a large mythology that we all kind of decided on when we wrote the pilot, and we knew that when we went to series we were going to have to reach a certain end point. That end point’s very flexible in terms of when we get there. If they let us run for 12 seasons, you’ll see it in season 12. If they take us off the air by nine episodes, you’ll see it in episode nine. So, um, there’s a lot of room there.
Orci: Yeah, we were lucky to actually figure it out early. Sometimes you don’t figure it out early; you kind of find it as you go, and this time we really do have a plan. … [It’s a lesson we learned from] Alias. We learned it from Alias. We learned a lot from Alias. …

Abrams was asked about his future involvement in the series and said he’ll be as involved as is necessary. SCI FI Wire has several other articles up on the show including an interview with star Joshua Jackson (here) and the site’s exclusive sneak peak behind-the-scenes of the series here.

Third Season of Torchwood Underway + Big-Screen Who
Filming for the shortened third season of "Torchwood" is now underway.  The "Doctor Who" spinoff from creator Russell T. Davies is scheduled to return to BBC America (where its the network’s highest-rated series of all time) in 2009.  The third season is entitled "Torchwood: Children of Earth" and will contain just five episodes.  "The new series of Torchwood is hugely bold and promises to be bigger and better than ever the audience is in for an amazing ride. This series is one big serial and the most ambitious story we’ve ever made, and we’ve got plenty of surprises in store," Davies said. Meanwhile, new "Doctor Who" showrunner Steven Moffat told THR that he would be interested in developing a new film version of the TV series:
"It would be good to see it in the cinema so long as it is great and fantastic. I’m not against it … so long as it never gets in the way of the TV show. If it got in the way of the show that would be appalling" said Moffat.  Moffat takes over as showrunner of "Doctor Who" in 2010 when the show returns after a short episodic break in 2009 in which only TV movies will air.

Heroes Season Premiere Description Released
NBC has released the descriptions for the first two hours of the third season premiere of "Heroes" (Monday, September 22nd at 9pm ET).  Here are the partial descriptions, click here to read the entire description for both episodes.

  • "The Second Coming": "The first chapter of Volume 3: Villains kicks off moments after shots rang out, as the shocking identity of Nathan’s (Adrian Pasdar) assassin and the reasons why the Texas press conference had to be cut short are revealed–immediately throwing Peter (Milo Ventimiglia) and Matt (Greg Grunberg) into unexpected, uncharted territory.
  • "The Butterfly Effect.": "In the shocking second chapter of Volume 3: Villains, Angela Petrelli (Cristine Rose) confronts her much-changed son, Peter, as the bursts of violence around them only hint to the catastrophes to come.

Headey and Friedman Talk Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles
"Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles"
star Lena Headley and producer Josh Friedman held a conference call about the upcoming second season of the series.  Here are some highlights, courtesy i09:

  • Sarah Connor will be taking more of a "backseat," this season. "I think this season for Sarah is her losing slight control over everything, pretty much," said Headey. "I think there’s a slow madness sort of happening in her, she feels that everyone’s kind of out of reach right now."
  • Friedman was asked about the announcement he made at Comic-Con that someone would die.  Although he wouldn’t elaborate much, he did say that Summer Glau’s pseudo-death in the season opener doesn’t count and that when it happens, you’ll know. He also added that it’ll be done for story reasons, not just for shock value or to save money on actors.
  • Shirley Manson’s character is not evil, just focused. Her plan is to grow the Turk and she’s motivated to not let anyone stop her. The big tech company she’s the head of is not Cyberdine.
  • Brian Austin Green will continue to be the "human face" of the future war.  He’s a "damaged war vet," says Friedman.
  • Friedman says there will be a huge surprise in the season opener, in which we meet a new antagonist for Sarah and John, who’s more than "a basic corporate type." (presumably Manson’s character) There appears to be some sort of surprising twist involved.

Pushing Daisies Promotional Tour
ABC is launching a cross-country promotional tour (called "Touch of Wonder") to give fans of "Pushing Daisies" a hands-on experience with the show.  An Airstream trailer resembling The Pie Hole (pictured below) will be hitting several destinations across the country offering visitors free pie and allowing them the opportunity to check out props from the series and watch footage from the show on plasma TV sets.  You can keep track of the Pie Hole’s journeys via a newly-launched website, PushingDaisiesTour.com.

TV IMAGES

Eli Stone

Fringe (more at this link)

Heroes

Knight Rider (Promo photos–more at this link)

Pushing Daisies (more at here and here)

 

TV VIDEO

Fringe (Featurette–more videos here, here, here and here)

Heroes (Season Two "Untold Stories" and Deleted Scene–click here for a season two preview video and click here, here, here and here for some Canadian promos)

Knight Rider (Paul Campbell Interview more videos here)

The Resistance (Web series–Details at this link)

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (Richard T. Jones Interview–click here for an interview with Brian Austin Green and click here for more videos)

True Blood (click here for clip from the pilot episode and here for another clip)

TV BITES

  • The working title for the upcoming "Battlestar Galactica" TV movie may be "The Plan", that according to a review of the BC Film Commission official production list. The title is an obvious reference to the show’s tagline "..and they [Cylons] have a plan". [13th Colony]
  • Michelle Rodriquez is returning to ABC’s "Lost".  The actress will reprise her role as Anna Lucia in one episode of the upcoming season.  SPOILERS: Considering she was shown to be shot dead in her last episode, she’ll likely appear in someone’s flashback or via hallucination. [EW]
  • NBC has announced an early back-nine pickup for the second season of "Chuck", pushing its season total to 22 episodes.  The network had originally picked the show up for a shortened 13-episode run.  "Chuck" premieres Monday, September 29th on NBC. [Variety]
  • Supergirl fans won’t like this news.  Speaking at the Toronto FanExpo last weekend, Laura Vandervoort confirmed that she will be appearing in just one episode of the eighth season of "Smallville".  Vanderfoort also revealed that she had been involved in talks about her character being considered for a spinoff series, but it didn’t pan out.  She provided no further details. Also, check out some spoilerific photos from the season premiere at this link.
  • HBO has killed its planned television adaptation of the Garth Ennis comic series "Preacher".  Mark Steven Johnson says that "the new head of HBO felt it was just too dark and too violent and too controversial. Which, of course, is kind of the point,” said Johnson.  The 75 issue comic book series ran from 1995 to 2000. [ComicsContinuum]
  • Richy Schroder has signed on to direct "Hellbounds".  The SCI FI Channel telefilm will air on the network sometime next year.  Here’s the brief synopsis: Set in 500 B.C., stars Scott Elrod ("Men in Trees") as Kleitos, a Greek warrior who with his companions fights against the hellhounds of Hades to rescue his bride from the Underworld and bring her back to life. The telefilm, written by Paul A. Birkett, is said to be full of CGI and special effects. [THR]
  • Fox is offering students with a .edu e-mail address the opportunity to watch a free online screening of premieres of both "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles" and J.J. Abrams’ "Fringe". To watch the episodes, log in with a .edu e-mail adress. [ComicMix]
  • Robert Llewlyn (Kryten on "Red Dwarf") revealed that the BBC has commissioned a one-hour special for the series.  Running for eight seasons, this will mark the show’s first appearance on television since 1999. [AICN]
  • CBS has chosen to go with another episode rather than the pilot of "Eleventh Hour" for the show’s series debut (Thursday, October 9th at 10pm).  The original pilot dealt with cloning babies, while the new premiere episode will deal with Dr. Hood (Rufus Sewell) investigating a food-related syndrome that’s causing paralysis. [The Futon Critic]
  • The SCI FI Channel has released details about the upcoming season premieres of "Ghost Hunters" and "Destination Truth".  Both shows return with all-new episodes beginning on September 3rd. [SCI FI Wire]
  • "Eureka" creator Jaime Paglia talked about what’s to come with the final four episodes of the season and how the show has managed to find a "new balance of our humor and character stories, with some really interesting sci-fi visuals". [SCI FI Wire]
  • Alan Ball, creator of the upcoming HBO vampire series "True Blood" spoke with i09 about the series.  Also, HBO will be hosting a special screening of the premiere in Chicago this Thursday, September 4th.
  • SCI FI has released detailed plot information for "First Contact" (September 26th) and "The Lost Tribe" (October 10th). [Gateworld]

MISC BITES

  • A report that Peter Jackson would direct the first installment in the "Tintin" franchise was inaccurate.  Spielberg will still be directing the first film, which will written by Steven Moffat ("Doctor Who") and is based on two books; "The Secret of the Unicorn" and "Red Rackham’s Treasure".  Jackson is still on board to direct the sequel and will produce the first film.  [THR]
  • Sony Pictures is teaming up with Stand Up to Cancer to offer a "Spider-Man 4" package to the highest bidder on eBay.  The winner will get not just a set visit for one shooting day, but a meet an greet with the cast (one-hour); A walk-on/extra role in the film; A trip to the New York premiere; Designer outfits to wear for the premiere and guest from top designers; and the opportunity to walk the red carpet at the film’s premiere.  The auction ends on September 5th at 10:00 PM ET.
  • Roberto Orci has been answering fan questions and offering insights into "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" over at TFW2005. Click here to get in on the Q&A.
  • ABC has picked up Nathan Fillion’s hour-long comedic crime procedural drama "Castle".  It will air sometime in 2009. "Cupid" (click here for a cast photo) has also been picked up by the network. [The Futon Critic]
  • The sixth annual Slay-A-Thon Make-A-Wish-Foundation benefit held this past weekend raised nearly $11,000.  But you can still make a donation. [slayathon.org]
  • Paramount is creating a set of mobile comics based on several of its movie properties including "Mission Impossible" and the upcoming "Eagle Eye" [Variety]
  • "X-Files" star David Duchovny has voluntarily entered a rehabilitation facility for sex addiction.  Ironically enough, the actor currently plays a sex-obsessed author on the Showtime series "Californication". [Access Hollywood]
  • Warner Bros. has launched TheWB.com, the studio’s counter to Hulu.com and other online TV show sites.  The site includes several ad-supported shows including Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel and Smallville.  Read an interview with Craig Erwich, who is overseeing the service, at this link.

SCI-FI RATINGS

Top 10 SF&F Broadcast Shows   HH Rating
1)
Ghost Whisperer (R)  
2.5
2)
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (R)
1.6
3) Supernatural (R) 1.2
4) Smallville (R) 1.1
6) Reaper (R) 0.8

8/4/2008 to
8/10/2008
– Source: Nielsen Galaxy Report via SCI FI Wire

Top 10 SF&F Syndicated Shows   Rating
1) Star Trek 0.8
2) Stargate SG-1 0.7
3) The Dead Zone 0.6
4) Stargate Atlantis 0.6

8/4/2008 to
8/10/2008
– Source: Nielsen Galaxy Report via SCI FI Wire

Top 10 SCI FI CHANNEL Shows   Rating  
1) Eureka 1.9
2) Monster Park 1.7
3)
Ghost Hunters International
1.6
4)
ECW
1.4
5)
Scare Tactics
1.2

6) The Shaft
1.1

7) Saw II   
1.0
8) Ritual    1.0
9) Manticore    1.0
10) The Scorpion King    1.0

8/4/2008 to
8/10/2008
– Source: Nielsen Galaxy Report via SCI FI Wire

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