Watchmen continues to dominate in theaters and in genre news this week, but we also have updates on the upcoming films in the Terminator, Tron, Tranformers (and even Mad Max) Franchises. In TV news we have news on who is coming back next season (Smallville & Heroes) and who probably isn’t (sorry Knight Rider fans), plus a new TARDIS for Who? All that and the usual TV and movie previews and images…all below.
Watchmen Opening Weekend: $55M+ And Other Odds and Ends
Zack Snyder’s did strong business for Warner Bros., pulling in an estimated $4.6 million from midnight screenings and finishing off its first day with a solid $25.1 million from a record — for an R-rated movie — 3,611 theaters. While that’s a lower first-day gross than Snyder’s last film "300" — which took in $28.1 million on its first day en route to a March record $70.8 million opening — it’s still an impressive tally for an R-rated picture, especially one with such a long runtime (2 hours and 40 minutes). While it’s hard to estimate a full weekend from just one day’s gross, most analysts expect the film to top out at around $55-60 million. Of course, a strong Saturday haul, instead of an expected dip, could significantly alter it’s gross but the long run time is not boding well for a higher gross. io9 has some excellent coverage of the film, here are a few bites you might be interested in checking out:
- Interview with Billy Crudup (Jon Osterman/Dr. Manhattan). [io9]
- Snyder talks about the type of movie the studio initially wanted, specifically about how they wanted to take it out of the 80s and into modern times. [io9]
- What didn’t make the translation from graphic novel to big screen? [io9]
And to close out this week’s "Watchmen" coverage, we leave you with the following new videos, beginning with a neat bit of marketing courtesy the film’s international distributor, Paramount Pictures and ending with a look at the film’s opening title sequence:
Dr. Manhattan brought to life in London [details and more videos at /Film]
Viral: World In Focus: 6 Minutes to Midnight
COMEDY: Hitler’s reaction upon learning the changed ending
Opening Title Sequence
Video Journal #12 [MSN]
Anatomy of a Scene: The Keane Act Riots [NY Times]
McG Explains the Title of Terminator Salvation
During a group interview at WonderCon last week, McG offered reporters more insight into "Terminator Salvation" including how the film will stay away from comedy and the basis behind the word ‘Salvation’ in the title. Here’s an excerpt courtesy SCI FI Wire on the latter bit (SPOILERS):
What does the "salvation" in the title mean?
McG: Salvation, you know, is just sort of forgiveness for sins, all right? And we start this picture with Marcus [Sam Worthington] committing a rather substantial infraction. In fact, he’s ultimately put to death, which is how he ends up with some metal rods in his body. And he learns that people—he doesn’t believe that—but he learns from hanging out with these people that everybody deserves a second chance. Look around this table—where would any of us be without a second chance? You know what I mean? And he’s slow to understand that, but that’s effectively the expression of salvation, and that’s why we elected that to be the title of the picture. …
Mad Max 4: Animated 3D?
Director George Miller tells MTV that a fourth installment in the "Mad Max" movie, but it’ll differ significantly from the franchise’s predecessors. The site reports that Miller is "resurrecting the idea as an R-rated, stereoscopic anime flick for theatrical release." Miller says he’s "always loved anime…" and it’s something he’s "…always wanted to do." Read the rest of the interview at MTV.
Tron 2.0 Plot Details + Soundtrack News
Described as a "trustworthy" and "reliable tipster" AICN has new details for "Tron 2.0" (whose title will contain a colon, something like TRON: _______). The tipster reports that story takes place 25 years after the original film:
The movie starts in 1989. Kevin Flynn (Bridges) has created some of the world’s top selling games based on his Game Grid challenges in the first film, and has marketed the hell out of what he saw there (action figures, Recognizer night lights, yadda yadda yadda).
Cast for Snyder’s Next Film, Sucker Punch
Described as "’Alice in Wonderland’ with machine guns", the all-female cast for Zack Snyder’s next project "Sucker Punch" is filling out. Amanda Seyfried is in negotiations to star as the lead role of Baby Doll, described by Entertainment Weekly as "a young woman who has been committed to an insane asylum and fantasizes about escaping with the help of her fellow inmates, who take on fantastical roles in her mind." The other roles in the film will be played by Vanessa Hudgens, Abbie Cornish, Evan Rachel Wood and Emma Stone.
Weaving Returning as Megatron, Bay Finally Confirms Character Is Back
Hugo Weaving was interviewed by the Australian newspaper The Advertiser (via io9) and revealed that he’s already recorded the voice of Megatron for "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen". Asked by the paper how the character can return when he was killed in the first movie, Weaving responds: "I think in the last one, doesn’t Optimus Prime pick up a little bit of, a shard of the cube, or the thing that’s left, and he takes it with him. Maybe there’s something there… but I don’t know. [Laughs]". The reveal by Weaving has forced director Michael Bay to finally confirm what has been suspected — and separately confirmed last week by writer Roberto Orci — for some time: Megatron is back.
"Okay cat is out of the bag. Megatron is back —– but you will only get to see him from the long lost past. We go way back in time as this movie explains the mythology of the Primes. He is not a tank like everyone suggests, but an alien vehicle. But sadly he does not has much screen time."
Dragonball Evolution [DB The Movie]
First images of Michael Myers (Tyler Mane) on the set [three more images at STYD]
Poster (from WonderCon 2009) [Latino Review]
X-Men Origins: Wolverine
Character photos [six total at USA Today]
Ryan Reynolds as Wade Wilson/Deadpool [Superhero Hype!]
Japanese TV spots [two others at DB The Movie]
Featurette: includes new clips, interviews with cast and crew and behind-the-scenes footage [DB The Movie]
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Theatrical Trailer #2 [HD Version]
Theatrical Trailer #2 [HD Version]
X-Men Origins: Wolverine
- Warner Bros. has set a April 16, 2010 release date for music video-turned film director Samuel Bayer’s "A Nightmare on Elm Street" remake. [via Box Office Mojo]
- South By Southwest has announced that Sam Raimi will premiere a work-in-progress print of Sam Raimi’s "Drag Me To Hell". [/Film]
- The rumor that Judd Aptow would be producing "Ghostbusters 3" has been debunked. [LA Times]
- For the next few weeks, director Alex Proyas ("Knowing", "The Crow" and "Dark City") will be a guest blogger at film site /Film.
- Producers Ray Haboush and Brian Yuzna are working on a 3D remake of the original "Re-Animator" film. [STYD]
- Chris Columbus’ 1492 Entertainment has picked up the film rights to the IDW horror graphic novel "Welcome to Hoxford". [Variety]
- Universal Pictures will distribute Matt Damon’s Philip K. Dick adaptation of "Adjustement Bureau". [Variety]
- "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" beauty Megan Fox is in final negotiations to star opposite Josh Brolin and John Malkovich in "Jonah Hex", WB’s action western based on the DC Comics character. Fox will play Brolin’s (Hex) love interest Leila…
- …Fox is also attached to star and develop "Fathom", Fox Atomic’s comic-book based underwater adventure. [THR]
- Walt Disney Pictures has cast Alfred Molina as an evil sorcerer in "The Sorcerer’s Apprentice". The Jerry Bruckheimer-produced film stars Nicolas Cage as the lead sorcerer and Jay Baruchel as Cage’s apprentice. [/Film]
- Leonardo DiCaprio has been tapped to star in Christopher Nolan’s original sci-fi action film "Inception". Written and directed by Nolan, the film is described as a contemporary sci-fi action film set within "the architecture of the mind." [THR]
- Keira Knightly has been cast to star in the cloning-themed love story "Never Let Me Go". [Variety]
Heroes Will Return for Fourth Season + Bryan Fuller on Season Three Finale
Despite as stretch of series low ratings, NBC entertainment president Angela Bonstad tells THR that "Heroes" is in no way "on the bubble" of shows in danger of cancellation and the network is expected to renew it for a fourth season, albeit at a reduced 18-20 episode order. Apparently one thing the show still has going for itself is international appeal, something Bromstad says she experienced first hand in her prior job role of head of NBC international: “Every single place you go has heard about ‘Heroes’ — whether you’re in China or Japan or Russia,” she said. “And to me, that is global content.” However, Bromstad also admitted that the network has discussed setting an end-date for the series, ala "Lost" and "Battlestar Galactica", but even still, they don’t plan for season four to be the show’s last. Also, producer Bryan Fuller tells EW.com that the season finale will set "up arcs for a variety of characters", especially Claire and the Petrelli’s.
"We set all the pieces up in terms of Claire’s attitude and what her trajectory is going to be in season 4. You will have a very strong idea by the end of this season’s final episode where Claire is going and what’s going to be happening with the Petrellis."
Rounding out this week’s "Heroes" news (first two via EW.com):
- There are three deaths expected by the end of the season: two for real and one fakeout.
- In terms of next season, they are planning an origin story type episode for Angela Petrelli: "We’re going to understand her in a way that we hadn’t before," teases Fuller.
- Katherine Boecher ("Mad Men", "Supernatural") has been cast in the role of Alena, a Russian call girl. Boecher’s character will be involved with Matt Parkman (Greg Grunberg). [OK! Magazine]
- Ali Larter talks about episode 20 "Cold Snap", which is a Tracy-centric episode and is returning producer Bryan Fuller’s first since he came back to the show. [E! Online]
- We’ll also learn the identity of Rebel in "Cold Snap". [The ODI]
And here’s the promo for episode 19, "Shades of Grey"
Knight Rider Likely Canceled
While "Heroes" appears to be sticking around, another NBC series isn’t as likely to. TV Guide is reporting that "Knight Rider" will not be returning for a second season. The season one finale last Wednesday drew 5.68 million viewers and a 1.7 A18-49 rating. That’s a decline of a 23 and 32 percent, respectively, from its September premiere (7.35M viewers and a 2.5 A18-49 rating). NBC had no comment about the report.
Smallville Season Eight and Nine Bites
Here are some news bites for season eight, and nine, of The CW’s "Smallville" [SPOILERS]:
- Two characters will die, for good, in the season finale : "These characters will die and they will stay dead…This is the real deal." [EW.com]
- Wrestler Matt Morgan has been cast to play Doomsday on the series in season nine. [via OSCK]
- The Legion will make a return for the season finale, which will focus on a manhunt for Chole and Doomsday [EW.com]
Images and promo for episode 15, "Infamous
Promo images [14 more at KryptonSite]
CW TV promo
Doctor Who Casting and 2009 Special #2 News + Tardis Redesign?
Model Gemma Chan will be playing a character named Mia Bennett in the second "Doctor Who" special which has now been confirmed will air during Christmas. Also, former "Neighbours" star Peter O’Brian says he begins filming next month to play a villain in as part of David Tennant’s final storyline. The Christmas airdate for special two was confirmed in the latest issue of "Doctor Who Magazine" by series writer Gareth Roberts. Roberts says that "the Easter Special is pretty much all we’ve got until Christmas." And rounding out this week’s "Doctor Who" news, The Daily Mirror is reporting that The Tardis will be undergoing a complete redesign in time for the arrival of Matt Smith as the new doctor. BBC bosses have apparently given the go ahead to "completely refit the interior for a radical new look." They will also improve the quality of the exterior. The decision was made by new show runner Stephen Moffat, who wants to distance himself from previous show runner Russel T. Davies. A couple new images from the set have surfaced online. Check them out below.
Set images [several more images at Alun Vega’s Flickr page]
More of Ben’s Backstory Expected on Lost
When "Lost" returns with new episodes in two weeks (March 18th), viewers will get even more background on the character Ben. Actor Sterling Beaumon will be reprising his role as "young Ben" for an upcoming four-episode arc that will delve deeper into the character’s history. Sterling says that the story is "very major, and it’s going to change Ben forever," adding that the event "involves himself and yes, it is a trauma…Before the change Ben’s a nice, good kid…and then one second will change his life forever." And it looks like we’ll definitely be getting some answers, especially when it comes to the most secretive aspect of the series: the island:
"Ben will [come to] know everything about every little bit about the Island. We’re not going to learn more about the past with Dharma, we’re going to learn more about the past of the Island."
Head on over to E! Online to read their excellent roundup of last week’s Sawyer-centric episode, "LaFleur". Also, images and a promo for the episode, titled "Namaste" (March 18th), follow below.
Promo images [34 more images at Doc Arzt]
ABC Cancels Life on Mars
The producers of ABC’s British import "Life on Mars" have been informed by the network that they won’t be ordering any episodes beyond the 17 currently in the works. The early decision by ABC — who could have waited until as late as May — will allow for the show’s producers to write and film a worthy ending for the series. Production is expected to continue for a few more weeks and at the moment, the finale is scheduled to air on April 1st. ABC’s executive VP Jeff Bader says that given the show’s low ratings, even the show’s producers weren’t pushing for the show’s continuation:
"The producers were really pushing for it… Based on the ratings the way they are now, it didn’t look like it would be back. So (the producers) said, ‘Let us end it.’ We thought, Let’s do the right thing and give viewers a satisfying ending."
First look at Chevy Chase and Scott Bakula [via ChuckTV.net]
Promo images from episode six, "Man on the Street" [four more at DollhouseWeb]
Season two behind-the-scenes image [16 more at SpoilerTV]
Promo from episode five, "True Believer"
Promo from episode 21, "Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner" [new clip at io9]
Promo from episode two, "Dirty Sexy Mongol" [Watch another promo here]
And here’s an extensive (6-minutes+) clip from the episode
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
Promo from episode 18, "Today is the Day"
Interview with Garret Dillahunt (Johny Henry) — important plot point revealed
Interview with Stephanie Jacobsen (Jesse)
Plus, watch an extended trailer for the remaining episodes of the season at EW.com
- "Chuck" producer Chris Fedak says that future episodes of the NBC series will incorporate more sci-fi elements.. More roundtable impressions at io9.
- Expressed through a series of back stories, we’ll learn more of the mythology of "Dollhouse" including the "why" and the "how" Echo ended up in the Dollhouse beginning with the April 3rd episode "Needs". [EW.com]
- Check out a new interview with the two female Terminators in "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles", Summer Glau and Shirley Manson, at io9.
- And speaking of those two Fox Friday night shows, they both continued their downward spiral in the ratings with new lows last night. ‘TSCC’ sank to just 3M overall viewers and a 1.0 A18-49 rating (-12 and -17 percent, respectively from the week prior) while "Dollhouse" was down 17% among viewers and 6% in A18-49 rating from the week prior.
- Marvel has begun streaming episodes of the 1970s Japanese "Spider-Man" TV show on their site. You can watch the first episode embedded below. New episodes will be posted on the site every Thursday. [Marvel]
In case you missed it, be sure to check out Friday’s weekly BSG column to get your fix on the latest BSG news, images and videos. In the mean time, here’s the promo for next week’s episode — the first part of the three-part/two-week series finale — "Daybreak, Part 1".
I’m a Marvel (Wolverine) and I’m a DC (Rorschach)
Spoof on the I’m a Mac/ I’m a PC commercials
SCI FI RATINGS (2/9/2009 to 2/15/2009)