Sci-Fi Movies Monday: Avatar, Green Hornet, Harry Potter, Kick-Ass, Superman, Zombieland + more

This week’s Sci-Fi Movies column brings a new viral site for James Cameron’s Avatar, Mark Millar teasing a Kick-Ass sequel and discussing his proposed Superman reboot, and more movie news. We also have the latest images from the sets of Eclipse and Green Hornet and videos (and details) for Universal Studios’ upcoming Harry Potter theme park attraction, and much more, including Neuromancer posters.


Mark Millar on Superman Reboot + Teases Kick-Ass Sequel
Mark Millar told MTV News that he doesn’t expect Warner Bros. to seek him out for his proposed trilogy-long "Superman" tale: "I don’t think they could afford me now," Millar said. "I’ll stick with Marvel."  Millar, however, clarified some of his comments and the framing of the situation in a post he wrote on the forums of his official website:

1/ I don’t think I said they couldn’t afford me now. If I did I was joking because writing Superman would be a massive payday so if I said that I was obviously laughing at the time. It’s possible though as I like being glib.

2/ Nobody has ever seen my Superman idea besides Matthew [Vaughn]. We never pitched. I’ve never done a pitch in my life (it’s demeaning) so all this stuff about people hating my Superman ideas, etc, is just bullshit. Nobody’s seen it. I don’t write or give ideas away for free and simply wouldn’t. I mentioned a big epic idea to Empire in a Wanted interview which was a couple of lines long, but no story stuff at all. So the stuff about me pitching is nonsense. I don’t and will never pitch. That’s why I like working in comics.

In other news, Millar said that the ending to director Mathew Vaughn’s adaptation of his comic book series "Kick-Ass" (in theaters April 13, 2010) will tease his proposed sequel, which in the past he has said would likely begin shooting within two years:

"There’s a basic plot," Millar told MTV News. "The series ends on a teaser for the next one, and the movie ends on that teaser, too."

"We don’t want to sound too cocky, but we know this is good," Millar said. "It didn’t cost that much money to make. There will definitely be another one."

Avatar Viral Site Launches + New Video Game Featurette
Gearing up for the film’s December release, 20th Century Fox has launched a new viral website for James Cameron’s 3D sci-fi film "Avatar".  The site– located at — features art, stills and videos from the upcoming film, including an intro video from Stephen Lang’s character Colonel Quaritch (embedded below).  You can follow the site through Twitter ( and through Coke Zero’s Facebook page here.

Meanwhile, Empire Online has uploaded a featurette from the Ubisoft-published video game "Avatar: The Game".  Here’s an excerpt from James Cameron:

"This is the first time I’ve really been involved with a game from the inception of the movie project. What they said to us was, ‘We want to make a game from inside your thematic ideas, outwards.’"

"Then the thought was, working with Ubisoft, well, wait a minute. We’re working in a game engine; you’re working in a game engine. Maybe some of the assets we’ve already generated, of which there are literally tens of thousands, are things you can use. The resounding answer back was, ‘Yeah, give us everything you’ve got’. So we basically did a download of the world to them, and it worked out beautifully. So we figured let’s build one world and create two ways of enjoying it, simultaneously: separately and in parallel."

Watch the first production diary "Crafting a Universe" below along with some concept art from the aforementioned viral site.  "Avatar" hits conventional, IMAX and 3D theaters on December 18, 2009.

Concept art [more at AVTR]

Patrick Swayze Was To Cameo in Zombieland
writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick reveal that their initial choice to cameo in the film was the late Patrick Swayze:

"That was many years ago, before he got sick," explains Reese. "It was [going to be] a Patrick Swayze zombie. They got attacked by him zombified and we had these wonderful moments where they found a potter’s wheel and there’s Columbus on the wheel and these other hands come up behind him and it’s Patrick Swayze the zombie. Ultimately, they fight and Patrick bull rushes Tallahassee who grabs him and lifts him into the air, a la Jennifer Grey, and smashes him into a pillar." 

When Swayze had to bow out, the two began looking for a new actor to cameo, including Sylvester Stallone, Joe Pesci, Mark Hammill, The Rock, Kevin Bacon, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Matthew McConaughey, before they ultimately found someone else.  SPOILER–highlight to view.  As we’ve reported on in the past, the actor rumored to have been selected is Bill Murray.  Find out for sure when "Zombieland" hits theaters October 2nd.

Meatballs Carries Weekend, Jennifer’s Body Underperforms + Ice Age 3 Becomes 3rd Highest Grossing Film Worldwide
Sony’s CG-animated "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" easily took the top spot at the domestic box office over the weekend, grossing an estimated $30.1 million from 3,119 sites.  3D presentations contributed about $18 million of the film’s gross (at 1,828 sites), with an estimated $2.5 million coming from 127 IMAX 3D sites.  Also opening last week was "Jennifer’s Body", but the Diablo Cody-scripted/Megan Fox-starring horror/comedy busted out with an opening tally of just $6.8 million from 2,702 sites.  Elsewhere in the top 10, "9" dropped to sixth place with $5.5 million from an expanded 2,060 sites  ($22.8M cume, $24.1M worldwide), "Sorority Row" dropped to ninth place with $2.5 million ($8.9M cume) and "The Final Destination" became the highest grossing film in the franchise in domestic gross adding $2.4M for a 10th place finish ($62.4M cume, $94.9M cume).  The biggest development for the weekend box office however was the surprising worldwide performance of "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs".  It has just become the third highest-grossing performer ever internationally, tallying an enormous $658.7M ($853.7M worldwide).  While its weaker domestic cume means an 18th place standing on the all-time worldwide charts, it places third when looking just at foreign receipts, behind the $1.2B of "Titanic" and the $742.1M of "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King". For updates on the rest of the sci-fi/genre films still in theaters, head on over to Box Office Mojo


The Box

Press stills [more at SpoilerTV]

The Descent 2

French poster [Shock Till You Drop]

The Fourth Kind

Poster [JoBlo]

The Green Hornet

Set images with Seth Rogen Jay Chou and director Michel Gondry [more at Accidental Sexiness]

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

Publicity stills [more at IGN]


Poster art [more at Quiet Earth via io9]

Paranormal Activity

Poster [IGN]


Publicity stills [more at IGN]

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

Set images [more at SpoilerTV]

Where the Wild Things Are

Character banners [more at /Film]


Press stills [more at Shock Till You Drop]


  • Madchen Amick has been cast in Screen Gems’ "Priest".  She’ll play the mother of a kidnapped niece who the priest (played by Paul Bettany) searches for in a vampire-ridden wasteland. [Shock Till You Drop]
  • A casting call for "The Green Lantern" reveals some characters expected to show up in the upcoming DC superhero film.  They include Carol Ferris (Star Sapphire), Abin Sure and villains Sinestro and Hector Hammond. [SpoilerTV]
  • Boris Kodjoe revealed on his Twitter page that he is set to star in Paul W.S. Anderson’s upcoming "Resident Evil: Afterlife". [Boris Kodjoe via Shock Till You Drop]
  • David Henrie ("Wizards of Waverly Place") has partnered with Platinum Studios to develop its comic book series "The Weapon" into a feature film that he’ll star in. [THR]


Gentlemen Broncos

New clip [io9]

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (Universal’s new Theme Park attraction)

Theme Park Map

Theme Park Fly Through

You can read the press release here


New Moon

Trailer #3


German trailer

Paranormal Activity


Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief

Trailer #2


  • Nigeria’s information minister Dora Akunyili has asked movie theaters in the African country’s capital city Abuja to stop screening Neil Blomkamp’s "District 9" because he says the South Africa-based film "portrays Nigeria in bad light". Akunyili has asked Sony to publicly apologize and wants them to edit out any references to Nigeria. [AP via SCI FI Wire]
  • Right now on eBay, you can bid for your chance to meet Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow) at the premiere of "Iron Man 2".  The Auction, which at last look had a current bid of $4,525.55, will end on September 24th at 6:00pm PT.  All proceeds benefit Osfam America, an international relief and development organization working to help those in the world who live in poverty. [eBay]
  • Geoff LaTulippe’s adaptation of S.G. Browne’s zombie novel "Breathers: A Zombie’s Lament" is complete and out to directors, producer Diablo Cody has revealed. [SCI FI Wire]
  • Universal Pictures has acquired the screen rights to Melissa Marr’s "Wicked Lovely", the bestselling first book in Marr’s fantasy series about a 17-year-old girl who can see fairies, and must fend off the advances of a fairy king determined to to marry her to save the planet from his vengeful mother.  A fourth installment in the series will be published by Harper Collins next year. [Variety]
  • Records are already being broken for Summit Entertainment’s "The Twilight Saga: New Moon".  Online ticket sellers MovieTickets and Fandango report that the "Twilight" sequel is selling out screenings earlier than any other movie to date, with 50 showtimes of the nearly 22,000 offered on Fandango and 13 of the 2,912 offered on MovieTickets already sold-out… [LA Times]
  • …In other news, details for the film’s soundtrack have been released.  Some tracks includes on the soundtrack include Radiohead’s Thom Yorke ("Hearing Damage"), The Killers ("A White Demon Love Song") and Grizzly Bear ("Slow Life").  [MySpace]
  • And in other soundtrack news, the listing for Wes Anderson’s "Fantastic Mr. Fox" has been released.  Check out the complete list of 25 tracks at /Film.
  • The Woody Harrelson-starring self-made superhero film "Defendor" has been picked up by Sony Pictures in a seven-figure deal that includes all U.S. rights and most of Europe, Asia and Latin America. [Variety]
  • Australian actress Radha Mitchell discusses her role in the upcoming Bruce Willis-starring sci-fi film "Surrogates", in theaters this Friday, September 25th… [Moviehole]
  • …As does director Jonathan Mostow in an interview with AMC’s Sci-Fi Scanner blog.
  • Writer John Logan ("Star Trek: Nemesis") will adapt Jordan Ainsley’s vampire novel "The Passage" into a feature film for 20th Century Fox with Ridley Scott possible directing.  It would mark the first time the two collaborated since the Oscar-winning "Gladiator" which Logan co-wrote. [Variety]
  • Director Zebediah de Soto is developing "Night of the Living Dead: Origins", a 3D CGI-based re-imagining of the George Romero classic.  Romero will have no involvement in the project. [THR’s Heat Vision Blog]
  • Walt Disney Studios chairman Richard W. Cook has stepped down from his role at the studio effective immediately. One possible replacement could be Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige: "There’s been a lot of talk that Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige spent a lot of time with Disney CEO Bob Iger during the dealmaking to buy the company, and Feige impressed the hell out of Iger." [Deadline]
  • Dan Brown’s latest novel, "The Lost Symbol", has already sold more than 1 million copies after just one day of being on sale in the United States, Canada and Britain. Due to the brisk sales, the publisher has put an additional 600,000 copies into print, bringing the total print run to 5.6 million copies. The novel has been in release since last Tuesday. Despite the strong sales, the numbers pale in comparison to record-holder "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows", which sold more than 8 million copies in the U.S. alone on its first day. [SCI FI Wire]
  • Warner Bros. has announced that they plan to release "Ultimate Edition" Blu-ray’s for all eight "Harry Potter" films.  The first two on tap will be ‘The Sorcerer’s Stone’ and ‘Chamber of Secrets’ and will both be released on December 8th.  In addition to featuring extended cuts, each release will include a new one-hour featurette that will be combined to make the complete 8-hour documentary of the entire franchise.  Suggested list price for the sets will be $49.99, but they can currently be pre-ordered on for $34.99 each. I’ve embedded the trailer for the "Ultimate" editions below. [High Def Digest (and here)]
  • Meanwhile, the studio has detailed specs for the upcoming Blu-ray release of the latest ‘Harry Potter’ film, ‘Half-Blood Prince’, which also will be released on December 8th. [High Def Digest]

Package art [High Def Digest]

The Harry Potter Ultimate Editions trailer


President Barack Obama with Lightsaber

The president at an event promoting Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Olympic Games [Gawker]

Follow Russ on his blog: Your Entertainment Now and on Twitter:

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

First – Avatar looks a bit poncy to be honest

Avatar looks like a video game put on the big screen. I still don’t see what the big fuss is about.

oh cmon its “James Cameron” director (of 10 year old film) “Titanic” .

I feel bad for Taylor Lautner’s (Jacob Black from Twilight) wardrobe manager. She’s out of a job, his costumes consist of “black pants” and “wet body”

I know Twilight fan girls want to see nothing but buff bods but even the ones I know are saying “yesh, enough already buy the guy a shirt!”.

Also that “Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief” looks incredibly lame. No doubt it’ll be shelved soon after release with the Narnia “films” and Bridge to Terrible-ithia.

Paranoral Activity = Crapfest 2009.
Lightning thief = Lamefest 2010.

People who are complaining about how Avatar looks: Are you watching it merely on this site? Because the bigger you watch it the more incredible it becomes. You watch the Avatar trailer in 1080P, full HD, and you begin to see how beautiful it is. It doesn’t look like a video game.

i’ve seen the avatar trailer on a High Def 3d projector at a theatre. it looks well, pretty lame. now i won’t destroy it yet, cause i thought SGU looked lme ntil they released the 2 min trailer. but honestly, avatar looks really weird and like it makes no sense

I couldn’t resist.

One of those avatar concept/viral image/whatever it is images looks very like NX-01 LCARS (if you can call it LCARS?).

“The Neuromancer movie seems to be on hold. Rumors say the 2011 film will star Hayden Christensen, but we fear it’s forever in development purgatory.”

GOOD! I love the book but I don’t think it will translate well to the big-screen… at least not with the rumored director and cast…

I don’t know what equipment you saw the trailer on, but on a 24″ iMac in HD it looks gorgeous. Just beautiful. And the smaller you go the more average it looks.

6 – dmduncan –> Sorry, but even in HD, “Avatar” looks like a video game. Nothing exciting about it at all. It’s not beautiful to me; it’s cheesy.

Since the trailer focuses on the effects instead of the story, I’m worried: the effects aren’t impressive in the trailer, so there’s nothing to attract me to Cameron’s latest overpriced, overhyped waste of time.

And I have to say, the posters for Neuromancer look lame. It’s a tough, dark, gritty novel, but the posters look like a new Pixar “Bug’s Life” film. Phooey.

You talking about the image quality? Exactly what video game does the Avatar image quality resemble? Give me some examples, because I’m not aware of a single one. Post some screenshot links of comparable video games if that’s what you think. If you don’t like the design work itself or the story or theme that’s one thing, but to say that it looks like a video game is ridiculous. I WISH Halo 1, 2, and 3, or Killzone looked that good. That would be amazing.

#4 – ““Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief” looks incredibly lame.”

I tried reading the book about three years ago, when I was working with some sixth-graders, and couldn’t make it much past page 100.

I remember thinking at the time that this wouldn’t even make a very good ABC “After School Special.”

Seriously? Trek fans saying Avatar looks poncy? Wow, people that live in glass houses should nt throw stones. Considering that most non-geek, sci-fi, and especially Trek fans find Trek to be very poncy. One of several reasons Trek has such a stigma about it with the main stream. Yet said non geeks etc…dont find Cameron’s films poncy at all.. Btw I love Trek so before you have a hissy fit, Im just pointing out the unreal irony of that comment lol

oh, and btw, I too would love a link to a game that has graphics as good as the cgi in Avatar.

I saw the 16 minute trailer in IMAX 3D. It looks like NO video game cgi I’ve ever seen.

Avatar looks AWESOME – only query is have they got the story/characters to match what will undoubtedly be a quantum leap in visual effects?

I think the use of the word poncy elsewhere in this forum was a bit unfortunate…

Wait for it…wait for it…

I agree, Avatar does indeed look awsome. Love all these people that are quick to claim it looks like a video game, but I also have yet to see anyone provide a link that actually can show any game that has graphics that good.

And as for the poncy comment, dude thats like Harry Potter fans calling something gay, as in they should be the last people to talk…..

I kind of wish they would stop writing “John Logan” writer of ST Nemesis…..writer of Gladiator..blah blah blah….If he had put half the effort into Nemesis that was put into Gladiator…it would have been a good film..
never the less…possibly the worst….2nd worst…sorry SHAT….FF was definately the worst!…..
I envisioned teh Romulan Empire, like the Roman Empire..with Shinzon in a Commodus type role…with the gradeur of Rome on Romulus …
…instead we got rehashed NextGen story lines, less than stellar fx..the Romulan senate hall has been used before in episodes….anyway..rant rant rant…

Looking forward to “Neuromancer.” Could care less what Millar thinks about *anything.*

“Swayze was to cameo in Zombieland”.

He still can. Actually he’d be even more convincing as a zombie now.

@23. That is so wrong, funny as he11, but so wrong.

The Avatar-video game thing is hyperbole.

I’m not a Harry Potter fan, but that theme park lookes very cool. It’s a great idea to alter the dragon and unicorn ride for the new theme. This sort of reminds me of the Trek Experience in Vegas, with the shops, etc., leading to other attractions.

I wonder if there will be real owls in the owlery.

I think ICE AGE 3 demonstrates just how important the rest of the planet is when tentpoling a franchise in this millennium.

And our collective ancestral memory seems to have faded as to how important it was in getting our favorite film franchise launched in the first place. From an article entitled REBORN LOSERS from November 8, 1981:

“A second Star Trek adventure is in pre-production, probably because the first Trek flick scored well with European audiences (Americans remained relatively loyal to the syndicated TV series.)” – Robert Alan Ross, ST. PETERSBURG TIMES,5858891

3D gives me a headache after about ten minutes… Avatar can wait until its out in a proper format

Sorry, I’ve seen Avatard’s long trailer, in IMAX now, too.

It looks like a futuristic video game. Smiling black haired blue skinned aliens. Yep. And hybrids grown in a tank and mentally interfaced. Um, yep. With one-dimensional bad guy military people. Might as well make the bad guys American military and the good peaceful Pandorans into poor helpless Thirdworlders. Yuck.

Nice ideas for visualization Mr. Cameron, but I think you should have written a story to go with it. Something that’s not a remake of “Big Bad White Europeans Rape the New American Continents and Destroy The Culture of the People of Color.”

Whats Avatard? Do you work for the Fox news channel where you just make names up and you believe that if you say it enough times that will make it true? Or are you just desperatly hoping that if you say it enough times it will catch on? You realize the only thing that comes across as retarded is your juvenile word use?

Oh my, how clever…Would you like a cookie for being clever/witty enough to combine the words avatar and retard? *sarcasm mode deactiviated*

Geez, some “fanboys” seriously need to grow up…..

And yeah, its awful when sci-fi acts as an allegory for things that have happened in history or things going on in the world right now is nt it?

I guess Star trek: the undiscovered country sucks because its pro-communist with its sympathetic portrayal of the Klingons/Russians

District 9 must also suck because of being about Apartheid and xenophobic treatment of immigrants……

Oh, wait …no it isnt, that right, a lot of the best sci-fi is allegory or uses its thematic content to comment on politics/social issues/human nature etc…..

31: “I guess Star trek: the undiscovered country sucks because its pro-communist with its sympathetic portrayal of the Klingons/Russians”

That’s news to me. I hope it’s not pro-Communist/Russian, since nobody killed more people during the 20th century than the Communists, and by a wide margin over the Nazis, too. I always thought it was pro peaceful Klingon faction.

As far as the Avatar-video game comparison, relax, that’s just hyperbole and should be dismissed as such.

29: “Something that’s not a remake of “Big Bad White Europeans Rape the New American Continents and Destroy The Culture of the People of Color.”

Well at least he knows history, even if he doesn’t want to be reminded of it in the movies.

I’m with those who’ve seen the full 15 minutes of Avatar in IMAX 3D. This film WILL BE a game changer in the industry. It is revolutionary. I’m a filmmaker and 3D is the future, folks.

BTW, it gives you a headache because it makes your eyes work like they have to in reality. Forcing them to refocus constantly. It’s actually better for your eyes than 2D.


33 – with respect.. films that give viewers a headache as a side effect are not going to catch on.

3D is a distraction made worse by the standard 3D posed shot, the bit where the actor points directly at a camera specifically to create the ‘effect’ that his finger is three inches from your face.

The other point is that it isn’t even 3D its only ever 2.5D to be proper 3D you need to have a holodeck.

The only 3D that ever worked for me was an interactive experience based on ‘Aliens’ where actors ushered an audience through a set and acted ‘around’ us as if we were colonists being rescued.

the headache is caused because the brain is trying to compensate for the red/green filter effect.. if like me you have one eye that is weaker than the other it just isn’t going to work… ever

to 34, the Red Green (or more commonly blue) thing hasn’t been in theaters for a wile and why would you want to do a movie in that manner? it distorts the color. what currently being used is a shutter based system that uses “polarized” lenses and projectors. each eye is seeing a completely seperit image that’s in full color.

after watching avatar in 3d twice i must say i never got any sort of headache.