This week we have the first description of Avatar footage and details on the new The Thing and Spider-man 4. Plus there’s timing and casting news for Transformers 3, Thor, Sin City 2, and more. In TV news, there’s lots of Lost details and new info on Doctor Who specials. Plus TV and movie images and previews, including Up, Terminator Salvation, Stargate Universe, Fringe and more.
TIME Has Seen Footage from James Cameron’s Avatar
It’s been relatively quiet on the "Avatar" front, both from director James Cameron, and the studio 20th Century Fox who has yet to release a trailer or photo from the film (sans a on-set image of Cameron). But we’ve finally got a peek inside the $200-300 million 3-D Sci-Fi epic, courtesy TIME Magazine who saw some footage from the film:
I couldn’t tell what was real and what was animated–even knowing that the 9-ft.-tall blue, dappled dude couldn’t possibly be real. The scenes were so startling and absorbing that the following morning, I had the peculiar sensation of wanting to return there, as if Pandora were real.
In related news, actress Michelle Rodriquez told SCI FI Wire that she plays a pilot on alien planet in the movie.
Ronald D. Moore: The Thing is Not a Remake
Ronald D. Moore, who wrote a screenplay for Universal Pictures’ "The Thing", tells IGN that the project is "not a remake":
"It’s really a companion piece to the Carpenter version. We’re telling the story of the Norwegian camp that found the Thing before the Kurt Russell group did, so it’s very buried in the continuity [and] it’s supposed to be the other story that you saw part of. So we didn’t want to reinvent it. It was really much the opposite. We really wanted to have this flow seamlessly into what he did."
Matthijs van Heijningen Jr. is attached to direct the film, which hasn’t been given a greenlight by the studio yet. Moore offered the same thoughts in a separate interview with SCI FI Wire.
Sam Raimi Updates Spider-Man 4
On hand at SXSW to show off an early cut of his new horror film "Drag me to Hell", Sam Raimi took some time out to talk about "Spider-Man 4" with MTV. Raimi wouldn’t reveal any plot details, but did say that they are "working from all the material in the comic books and nothing [invented] outside of that," adding "All the characters or villain or villains, whatever we decide to do will be from Stan Lee’s creations or those that came after him." Raimi also addressed speculation on the fifth film, but said that at the moment he and the crew are "just working on the story for ‘Spider-Man 4".
Paramount Sets Early Date for Transformers 3, But Bay Is Not Pleased
We’re still two months away from the release of "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen", but Paramount/DreamWorks have already set a July 1, 2011 release date for "Transformers 3". Unfortunately, they forgot to tell Michael Bay, who wrote the following on his official message boards:
Wait a minute! I said I was taking off a year from Transformers. Paramount made a mistake in dating Transformers 3 – they asked me on the phone – I said yes to July 4 – but for 2012 – whoops! Not 2011!!! That would mean I would have to start prep in September. No way. My brain needs a break from fighting robots.
In related news, Paramount — on behalf of Marvel — is moving up the release of "Thor" from June 16, 2011 to May 20, 2011 (Paramount is distributing the film, while Marvel is producing and financing).
Robert Rodriquez Updates Sin City 2, Machete and Neveracker
While at the SXSW film festival, directed Robert Rodriquez gave an interview with Cinema Blend and provided some updates on several of his upcoming projects. First up, Rodriquez revealed that while he believes that "Sin City 2" is "right around the corner" he cautions that it "might be a long corner". On the long-discussed feature length version of "Machete", Rodriquez says that he’s "got the script" and is "ready to go". And finally, Rodriquez talked about his sci-fi action film "Neveracker", comparing it with Ridley Scott’s "Blade Runner" (although not so nicely): "I used to say it was, it’s kind of like Blade Runner, but that was Blade Walker. This is Blade Runner." Ok…
Natalie Portman in Thor? Plus Branagh Talks Marvel Connections
According to a report over at Deadline Hollywood Daily, Natalie Portman "is in the lead for the female lead" in Kenneth Branagh’s "Thor". Finke also reports that the following actors have tested for the lead role in the film: Josh Hartnett, Charlie Hunnam, Tom Hiddleston, Alexandar Skarsgard, Liam Hemsworth and Joel Kinnaman. In related news, Branagh is already thinking ahead to other Marvel movies, including "Iron Man 2", looking at various ways to tie the multiple projects together:
“[Branagh] understood that there was this very, very big tapestry of the Marvel movies,” Marvel Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada told MTV News. “There’s continuity within the movies and he really wanted to play within that and wanted it to be part of the other movies.”
Where the Wild Things Are Trailer Description
A three-minute trailer for Spike Jonze’s "Where the Wild Things Are" may be attached to the March 27, 2009 release of "Monsters vs. Aliens". A scooper over at CHUD sent in a description of the trailer calling it "…’beautiful’ and ‘gorgeous’ and ‘breataking’…" and noting that the monsters are "nothing short of real and feel very alive and very, very huggable." Head on over to CHUD to read the full report. Also, check out a new poster for the film below. It hits theaters on October 16, 2009.
Knowing Takes Weekend, Watchmen Slips to Fifth (Nears $100M)
The Alex Proyas-directed sci-fi thriller "Knowing", starring Nicolas Cage, opened its first weekend in first place, taking in an estimated $24.8M. The film finished ahead of two other new releases (non-Sci-Fi). "Race to Witch Mountain" fell just under 47% to fourth place with $13M ($44.7M domestic cume, $45.9M worldwide), while "Watchmen" remained in the top 5 in its third week, but suffered another >60% drop with an an estimated $6.7M. The film’s total domestic cume stands at $98.1M and it looks headed to cross $100M by early next week (worldwide it’s at $147.4M). "Coraline" rounded out the top 10 in 10th place, grossing an estimated $2.1M. The film’s total domestic take stands at $72.8M ($80.8M worldwide).
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince [/Film]
Terminator Salvation [12 more images at /Film]
New poster [IGN]
The Book of Eli
Behind-the-scenes video clip
Monsters vs. Aliens
Behind-the-scenes featurette with Rainn Wilson
New one-minute extended clip
- Walt Disney Pictures has set a July 16, 2010 release date for the Jon Turteltaub-directed adventure film "The Sorcerer’s Stone". In other release date news, Richard Kelly’s sci-fi thriller "The Box" has been moved from November to Halloween weekend 2009. [Variety]
- Disney/Pixar’s "Up" will be opening up the 62nd Festival de Cannes. It’s the first time an animated film and a 3-D film, will be the opening ceremony film at the festival. [via /Film]
- TV writer Evan Charnov has been tapped by Warner to pen a screenplay for "The Lost Boys 3", the studio’s next direct-to-video sequel based on the classic 1987 vampire film. Corey Feldman is expected to executive produce and will return again as Edgar Frog, who will be the focus of the film… [Bloody-Disgusting]
- …In related-news, Jamison Newlander has also been added to the cast. [Moviehole.net]
- Check out a review of the Sam Rockwell-starring sci-fi film "Moon" (June 12, 2009) at IGN.
- Seth Rogen, who co-wrote and will star in the upcoming "Green Hornet" film, says that it will mention that his character, Britt Reid, is the grandnephew of the Lone Ranger: "Yes, there is something to that. John Reid was the Lone Ranger," Rogen said. [SCI FI Wire]
- Ryan Reynolds has confired that the person in the trialer with his mouth sewn shut is his character, Deadpool: "When I’m in the scarred makeup, too… you’ll see closer shots, obviously, in the film." [MTV]
- Catherine Tate ("Doctor Who") has been cast in "Gulliver’s Travels". [via MSN UK]
- Paramount Home Entertainment has announced a 1-disc DVD, 2-disc DVD and 2-disc Blu-ray releases of "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" for May 5, 2009. Check out the box art for The Criterion Collection edition below. [DVD Talk]
Lost Will Be Stuck In the Past
Expect to be stuck in 1977 for some time. Last week’s episode began "the template for what the show’s going to be in the next phase of storytelling," executive producer Carlton Cuse told USA Today. "We’re kind of done with the rapid skipping through time for a while," Cuse says. Cuse adds that the remaining seven episodes of the season (including the two-hour season finale on May 13th) will be focused on the question "What do they do now, and where are the consequences of that?" Head on over to USA Today for many more details about the remaining episodes. In related news, Sterling Beaumon, the actor who plays Young Ben, talked with SCI FI Wire about what’s in store for his character:
You’re going to find out how Ben became the mean, cruel Ben that he is today. And you’re going to find out about the roots of the island and how the island became the island. … In two of the episodes, I’m really not doing a lot, but you just see me a lot, and you’ll see what I mean by that.
And on the spoiler side, the major character who’ll die this season will be either [highlight to view]: Sawyer, Ben or Daniel. That’s according to an inside source to SpoilersLost. And rounding out this week’s "Lost" coverage, the title for the season five finale is "The Incident".
Latest images and videos
Promo images from episode 10, "He’s Our You" [more at SpoilersLost]
Promo images from episode 11, "Whatever Happened, Happened" [more at SpoilersLost]
Promo for episode 10, "He’s Our You"
Russell T. Davies Talks Doctor Who 2009 Specials
Russell T. Davies, who is shortly departing as show runner, talked to SFX about the 2009 specials, which will be the last we see of David Tennant in the lead role. Here’s an excerpt of what he had to say (via Sci Fi Pulse):
There’s the Easter one and then a big gap, and then the other three are going to go out around Christmas time/end of the year. It ends in a two parter. There’s a very strong link between the last three specials. It’s not a three parter, but there’s a strong connection – as we head towards the ending it gets thematically bigger and bigger.
Be sure to head on over to Sci Fi Pulse to read more, including Davies discussing the death of the 10th doctor. Also, take a look at some promo images from the "Doctor Whow" spinoff "K-9" and a new behind-the-scenes video clip with Tennant below.
Promo images from the Doctor Who spinoff [Wired]
Behind-the-scenes video with David Tennant
SCI FI Channel to Become Syfy
And in case you missed it, NBC Universal has announced that this summer, the SCI FI Channel is changing its name to Syfy. The name change will take place on July 7th. Talk about it with fellow TrekMovie visitors here.
Promo images from episode eight, "Needs" [more at SpoilerTV]
Promo images from episode 21, "Into Asylum" [more at SpoilerTV]
Promo images from episode four, "The Favorite" [Reapersite]
Promo images from episode five, "I Want My Baby Back" [more at Reapersite]
Promo images from episode six, "Under Belly" [more at SpoilerTV]
SGU: Stargate Universe
Cast photo [Gateworld.net]
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
Promotional images from episode 21, "Adam Raise a Cain" [Sarah Connor Society]
Promo for episode 17, "Chuck Versus the Predator"
Promo for episode 15, "Inner Child"
Legend of the Seeker
Promo for episode 17, "Deception"
Promo for episode four, "The Favorite"
SGU: Stargate Universe
Video clip: "Frantic"
Preview for three episodes: "Turbulence", "Hex" and "Eternal". Plus a peek at Lois Lane as superhero Stiletto.
Promo for episode 17, "Hex"
Promo for episode 17, "It’s a Terrible Life"
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
Promo for episode 20, "To the Lighthouse"
- Producer Josh Appelbaum says that the American version of "Life on Mars" will have a different ending than the U.K. version. [Slice of SciFi]
- According to producer Josh Schwartz, the character death on NBC’s "Chuck" will be "shocking". [EW]
- The season finale of "Dollhouse" will be called "Epitaph One". [SpoilerTV]
- When "Fringe" returns in Paril, we’ll learn about how Walter, Olivia and Peter were all linked from the beginning and there will be a major revelation about the William Bell. [E! Online]
- We’ll be seeing more of the character Ando in the final episodes of the season. James Kyson Lee, who plays the character, says that there’s more to his power than has been revealed. He also revealed that the fifth season will feature a new female villlain that we’ll meet at the end of Volume four. [SCI FI Wire]
South Park ("Dark Times")
Watchmen: The Video Game (NSFW) [via /Film]
Ratings for Kings, Chuck, Terminator: TSCC and Dollhouse and BSG
The two-hour series premiere of the new NBC series "Kings" drew just 6.08M viewers and a 1.6 A18-49 rating last Sunday, well below what was expected. NBC’s Ben Silverman is hopeful, however, that the show will rebound tonight:
I’m hoping because intent [to view] went up and awareness went up after it aired, clearly people responded to it, and it grew over its two hours. That gives me some hope. It’s just hard to launch things that are not obvious. We may get nailed for it, but I’m proud of the show, and we need to keep taking chances like that.
Silverman also discussed bubble show "Chuck", oddly enough blaming the President for the show losing some of its momentum (his press conferences preempt network programming):
It’s not helping us get any normal rhythm this year. It hurt the fall. I think it hurt "Chuck" — we had the huge 3-D episode, its highest rating in the year, then it was pre-empted the next Monday with no notice. But he’s our president, and whatever he needs we are going to do.
Over on Fox, "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles", although still performing quite low, had another increase in viewers (+8%) and adults 18-49 (+8%). According to fast affiliates (finals will be released next week), episode 19 "Last Voyage of the Jimmy Carter" drew 3.65M viewers and a 1.3 A18-49 rating. Lead-out "Dollhouse" was flat from the week prior, drawing 4.13M viewers and a 1.5 A18-49 rating (minus three and six percent respectively) for the sixth episode "Man On The Street". Finally, the two-hour series finale of "Battlestar Galactica" drew 2.4M viewers according to preliminary numbers. While overall, that’s only a so-so performance ("Ghost Hunters" for instance drew 2.7M episodes last week) it was well above the season 4.5 average (which ended up at 1.77M viewers) and the largest audience for the show since the 2.5 premiere "Resurrection Ship, Part 1" nearly three years ago (January 6, 2006).
Chart (2/23/2009 to 2/29/2009)