This week in Sci-Fi Movies we have a special pre-Thanksgiving edition. And what do we have to be thankful for in sci-fi/genre movies? How about fresh updates on Avatar — including a new interactive trailer — and The Hobbit. Casting news for Thor and rumors for Spider-Man 4. News on potential ID4 sequels (yes sequels) and we’ve even got a trailer for the upcoming Family Guy ‘Empire Strikes Back’ spoof. We have all that and more, including the latest box office figures, casting bites, images and videos.
GENRE MOVIE NEWS
Weta Wraps Production on James Cameron’s Avatar + New Interactive Trailer
New Zealand-based effects house Weta has wrapped their work on James Cameron’s upcoming 3D sci-fi fantasy "Avatar". The film and director were profiled by "60 Minutes" last Sunday (which noted that the film cost $400 million). You can watch the segment below:
In other "Avatar" news, Atlantic Records has announced that the soundtrack for the film — "Avatar: Music From The Motion Picture" — will be released on December 15th (December 14th internationally). The soundtrack will feature "music composed and conducted by Academy Award®-winner James Horner and the film’s title song, ‘I See You’, performed by multiple Grammy® Award-nominated singer Leona Lewis." The soundtrack is currently available for pre-order through AvatarScore.com. Also 20th Century Fox says the runtime of the movie is looking to be close to 2 1/2 hours and the LA Times’ Hero Complex blog has an interview with USC linguistics professor Paul Frommer talking about the language he created for the film. And lastly, Fox has released a new interactive trailer for the film which you can explore at avatarmovie.com/air.
New image of Zoe Saldana’s character Neytiri [USA Today]
Character profiles: Neytiri (Zoe Saldana)
"Bones" promo featuring Avatar product placement
Featurette: "Human Hardware"
Featurette: "The World of Avatar"
Watch more featurettes here
Thor Will Begin Shooting in January + Cast Expands
Filming on Marvel Studios’ "Thor" is scheduled to begin in Los Angeles in mid-January 2010. Production Weekly reports that filming will then move to Santa Fe, New Mexico in March till late-April. On the casting front, four actors/actresses have boarded the Kenneth Branagh-directed film. First up is the casting of The Warrior’s Three, the trio of Asgardian adventurers who fight alongside Thor. Stuart Townsend, Ray Stevenson and Tadanobu Asano have nabbed the roles:
Townsend…plays Fandral, a character which was drawn in the comic book series based on Errol Flynn and his movies. Stevenson…plays Volstagg the Valiant, a hard-living brawler, a character inspired by Falstaff. Asano…plays Hogun the Grim, the third warrior and traveling companion of the hammer-swinging Thor, who is played by Chris Hemsworth.
Also joining the cast will be Idris Elba. Elba will play Heimdall, the guardian of Asgard who stands on the BiFrost Bridge ready to defend the cities from intruders. And lastly, word from co-star Natalie Portman — who will play Thor’s love interest Jane Foster — is that actress Kat Dennings has also been cast:
"Well I’m really excited," Portman told MTV News. "Kat Dennings is going to be in it with me and she’s a good friend and an amazing actress, so I’m looking forward to that."
"[MARCY LEWIS] (20) Is a college student. Aloof, jaded beyond her years, she thought her internship with scientist Kate Spelling would be an easy 6 college credits. However, she’s been stuck for months in this small New Mexico town and relegated to a wide range of unglamorous activities. Kate has been particularly hard on Marcy, making it her personal project to see that Marcy lives up to her potential. Marcy deals with her situation both by using subtle irony and by being an overt wiseass."
Here are two more casting bites:
Stan Lee says that director Kenneth Branagh has promised him a cameo in the film, but he’s not sure what role it’ll be. [MTV]
New Moon Opens With $142.8 Million; 3rd Biggest Opening Weekend Ever
"The Twilight Saga: New Moon" opened over the weekend to the tune of over $142.8 million, more than doubling-up its predecessor "Twilight" ($69.6 million) and placing it 3rd all-time on the opening weekend charts:
The Dark Knight – $158,411,483
Spider-Man 3 – $151,116,516
The Twilight Saga: New Moon – $142,839,137
Shrek the Third – $121,629,270
Spider-Man – $114,844,116
Helping it place so highly — and well above initial expectations and tracking — were record-breaking midnight and Friday overall numbers. The film took in $72.7 million on Friday, crushing the previous record held by 2008’s "The Dark Knight" ($67.2 million). ‘New Moon’ performed well on the foreign front too, grossing $132.1 million from 24 territories, accounting for a five-day worldwide opening of $274.9 million. To put this into greater perspective, "Twilight" grossed a little less than $385 million in its entire theatrical run — $192.8 million domestic, $192.2 million foreign — so in just five days, ‘New Moon’ grossed more than 70% of the entire take of its predecessor. Through Wednesday the film stands at $296.8 million worldwide (164.7 million domestic and $132.1 million foreign).
Peter Jackson: First Hobbit Script Complete + Important Announcement Expected Next Month
"The Hobbit" executive producer-writer Peter Jackson confirmed that the first script for the two films based on the JRR Tolkien novel has been completed and delivered to the studio [via TheOneRing.net]:
"The Hobbit will be two movies and we’ve written the first script and delivered it to the studio who seem to be happy with it," Jackson told reporters. "We’re now halfway through the second script and Philippa, Fran, Guillermo and myself are doing the scripts and having great fun."
"It was an interesting experience because eight or nine years have passed since we wrote the ‘Lord of the Rings’ screenplays and I was worried it’d be weird or hard or uncomfortable to go back there, but as soon as we started writing the scripts it was fun, actually, and easy."
Jackson also noted that the "Hobbit" films will not be released in 3D, per the desire of director Guillermo Del Toro: "Guillermo wants to shoot in 35mm, old-fashioned film, which suits me, because he wants to keep it in the same space as the original trilogy." Meanwhile, TheOneRing.net was tipped off that some sort of announcement is coming next month:
"I received a mysterious email followed up by a phone call in the last few days. I don’t know much, all I know is that ‘Something is coming’ on December 8th, 2009. And that we should be watching this space and www.lordoftherings.net stay tuned for more!"
Rounding out this week’s "Hobbit" related coverage, here are a few mini-casting bites:
Director Guillermo Del Toro confirmed that he’ll be making a cameo in the film as a small monster: "I had a hand on the design of the creature and I will personally sculpt the appliances that will be applied on my face and hands. I used to sculpt the creatures for NECROPIA (my FX company) and I miss it a bit. I will have a line or two and die quickly."… [TheOneRing.net]
Producers have begun looking at casting for the dwarfs and one of the major contenders reportedly up for a role is Brian Cox. [AICN]
Family Guy: Something Something Something Dark Side Trailer
Fox has released the full trailer for "Family Guy: Something Something Dark Side", a parody special based on the 1980 classic "Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back".
The saga continues as Luke (Chris), Leia (Lois), Han Solo (Peter) and Chewbacca (Brian) have evaded the dreaded Imperial Starfleet led by the cunning, conniving and curiously short evil lord Darth Vader (Stewie), setting up a new secret base on the remote ice world of Hoth. With the rebellion in trouble, young Skywalker must take the advice of his late, and rather lascivious, mentor Obi-Wan Kenobi (Herbert) and learn the ways of the “farce” under Jedi Master Yoda (Carl) to save the galaxy once and for all.
Roland Emmerich Planning Two ID4 Sequels
Director Roland Emmerich ("2012") told MTV News that he would like to follow-up the events of "Independence Day" with two sequels:
"What we want to do in the next – it’s actually two movies – we want to do a bigger arc," he explained. "”Independence Day’ was always like the king who leads his troops into battle against an evil force, and that stays like that."
So the plan is not just one sequel but two. And Emmerich has got a nifty title in mind: “‘ID4-ever,’ Part I and II maybe?” he suggested.
There’s no script yet, but Emmerich says there is "an idea" and that when they do ultimately move forward it’ll be with Will Smith and he even has a name in mind:
"’ID4-ever,’ Part I and II maybe?" he suggested.
"The idea is just to continue the story and actually I don’t know how many years ago this was—twelve, thirteen, fourteen years ago—and just continue where it ended."
Disney Puts ‘20,000 Leagues’ On Hold; McG No Longer Attached
Disney has halted work on "Captain Nemo: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" — which was scheduled to begin production in February — and McG is no longer attached to direct:
The picture, tentatively scheduled to begin production in February, has been halted indefinitely, and McG is no longer steering the ship…The studio confirmed that the studio won’t proceed with the film for now, and reps for the director confirmed he has withdrawn. McG will concentrate on other projects…
While names like Will Smith were rumored as possible stars, no cast was ever set. The project had been on a fast track under the Dick Cook regime. Studio sez event pics like "20,000 Leagues," "John Carter of Mars" and "Tron" are still priority under new chief Rich Ross.
Rachel McAdams Denies Spider-Man 4 Casting Rumors + Casting Call May Provide Some Story Hints
Last week we reported that Rachel McAdams was rumored to be high on a list to play the villain Black Cat in Sam Raimi’s "Spider-Man 4", but the actress is denying the reports:
"That’s a total rumor, I have to say…I was hanging out in Toronto the other day and someone came up to me and said, ‘I just heard you’re doing Spider-Man 4.‘ And I said, ‘Really? No one told me!’ It’s not true."
Shortly after the McAdams casting rumor, two more "Spider-Man 4" casting rumors popped up: one about Julia Stiles meeting with a casting company in New York to discuss a role in the film and another, reported by Nikki Finke of Deadline, that Sony Pictures is interested in pursuing Anne Hatheaway for a role — presumably Black Cat — in the film :
"While Sony Pictures insists no decisions have been made, sources tell me that the producers have approached Anne Hathaway to star in the film. Maybe you experts have an idea what she’ll play? All I know is that she’s wanted for a starring role, and she won’t replace Kirsten Dunst who’s also cast in the Spidey fourquel."
Entertainment Weekly talked with a rep for Hathaway who told them that "there are no negotiations underway," although the rep declined to comment on whether the actress had met with the film’s producers. And lastly, SpoilerTV-Movies got their hands on the first official casting call for the film looking for a baby boy with red hair, perhaps hinting at Cletus Kasady/Carnage:
2 or 3 year old boy to play 2 year old, Caucasian with RED HAIR, an adorable toddler with an engaging personality, on set experience preferred. IDENTICAL TWINS ONLY
And lastly, star Tobey Maguire recently revealed that the film will begin shooting in spring 2010. "Spider-Man 4" hits theaters on May 6, 2011.
The Addams Family (musical)
Alice in Wonderland
Three-poster banner [Facebook]
First look at the theme park "The Wizarding World of Harry Potter" [more at The Leaky Cauldron]
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Iron Man 2
From the January 2010 cover of Empire (out on Thursday) [Empire]
First official look at Josh Brolin [ComingSoon.net]
The Lovely Bones
Final poster [MySpace]
Poster [IMP Awards]
Shrek Forever After
First look [USA Today]
Concept art from Tim Burton’s unfilmed Superman project [more at MTV]
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
Teaser poster [Shock Till You Drop]
U.S. posters [Shock Till You Drop]
French poster [Shock Till You Drop]
Paul Bettany ("Legion") provided the voiceover for Tony Stark’s AI "manservant" Jarvis in "Iron Man", but the actor says he hasn’t gotten a call to voice the part in "Iron Man 2". [IGN]
Sam Worthington has been signed to star in "The Last Days of American Crime", an adaptation of the comic book series of the same name. Worthington will also produce. [Mania’s Comics2Film]
Brad Pitt’s production company Plan B and the Indian company Reliance Big Entertainment have inked a deal with Capcom to develop a feature film based on the "Dark Void" computer game as a potential franchise and starring vehicle for the actor. [Variety]
Sam Neill, Geoffrey Rush, Hugo Weaving and David Wenham will lead the voice cast of Zack Snyder’s 3-D animated film "Guardians of Ga’hoole". [THR’s Heat Vision Blog]
Here’s "Anvil!: The Story of Anvil" director Sacha Gervasi talking about the cameo the band will be making in Michel Gondry’s "The Green Hornet". [via SlashFilm]
Dante’s Inferno (video game)
Fantastic Mr. Fox
Anatomy of a scene: Director Wes Anderson discusses an early scene from the film [NY Times]
Far Cry (straight-to-video)
DVD trailer [IGN]
Behind the scenes featurette
Trailer with commentary by director Matthew Vaughn [via SlashFilm]
The Lovely Bones
French trailer [via ComingSoon.net]
Clip [Rope of Silicon]
Watch another clip from the film at MSN
Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief
Behind the scenes featurette
Season of the Witch
Superman Returns The Bryan Singer Cut campaign trailer [Superman Returns: The Bryan Singer Cut]
Tron Legacy (video game)
Universal Soldier: Regeneration
Making of featurette
- Michael Bay, who is currently working on the script for "Transformers 3" , says he has no plans to write out Megan Fox’s character: "She’s got a great part in Transformers 3," the director said. [USA Today]
- FX has acquired the TV rights to all four "Twilight" movies, beginning with the first movie in the franchise in late 2011. ‘New Moon’ will follow in late 2012, followed by ‘Eclipse’ in early 2013 and ‘Breaking Dawn’ if/when it gets made. The network also acquired the rights to "Knowing" and "Push". [THR]
- "Iron Man 2" director Jon Favreau hints that the trailer for the film will be attached to the Christmas release of "Sherlock Holmes" which stars "Iron Man 2" star Robert Downey Jr. [Superhero Hype]
- Universal Pictures has hired editors Mark Goldblatt and Walter Murch to cut together a new version of "The Wolfman". [Variety via io9]
- 20th Century Fox has hired Justin Theroux ("Iron Man 2") to pen a draft of "Space Invader", a proposed astronaut-based romantic comedy centering on a man who decides to go to space after he suspects that his longtime girlfriend, an astronaut, is cheating on him with another spacewalker. Will Arnett is attached to star. [THR]
- Zach Whedon, brother of Joss Whedon, will be writing a six-issue "Terminator" series for Dark Horse comics. [Techland via Whedonesque]
- Tony Giglio, writer of the upcoming "Death Race" sequel, says that the film will be a prequel and will fill us in on the back story’s of Frank, List and Case. [Shock Till You Drop]
- Comic book writer Alan Moore ("Watchmen") will be writing the lyrics for the next opera from Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett. [BBC via SCI FI Wire]
- DreamWorks Studios has tapped "Mad Men" writer-producer Marti Noxon to pen a script for a remake of the 1985 horror comedy "Fright Night". Noxon’s previous credits include writing-producing gigs on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Angel". [THR]
- Screen Gems has tapped John Hlavin ("The Shield") to write "Underworld 4". The plot of the film is still being kept under wraps, but Hlavin was able to reveal that it’s not a prequel. "It will satisfy old fans and excite new audiences, meaning that we don’t want to redo the first three movies, so steps are being taken to honor what fans have loved but at the same time introduce fresh elements," he added. [THR’s Heat Vision Blog]
- Rob Marshall has confirmed reports that he will be directing "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides". [AICN]
- "Rambo V" won’t have a sci-fi-infused storyline after all: "I’m letting you know that Rambo has changed course and the story about hunting the man/beast will be done using another character in the lead. RAMBO himself will be heading over the border to a violent city where many young women have vanished," Sylvester Stallone revealed. [SZoners]
- Kyle Ward’s deal to pen a script based on the PS3 game "Uncharted Drake’s Fortune" fell through due to other commitments — specifically "Hitman 2" — so Sony has instead hired Thomas Dean Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer ("Conan") to pen the latest draft… [Latino Review]
- …Staying for a moment on the gaming front, Martyn Pick will reportedly direct a film version of the video game "Warhammer 40,000". [QuietEarth]
- Paradox Entertainment is currently working on a new film adaptation of "Kull the Conqueror". [Fantasy.fr via ComingSoon.net]
- You can now listen to the entire soundtrack for Terry Gilliams’ "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus"… [ImaginariumofDrParnassus]
- …Same goes for the film score for Spike Jonze’s "Where The Wild Things Are", which you can listen to at WB’s For Your Consideration site.
FilmDrunk has a script review for the upcoming remake of "Red Dawn". [FilmDrunk]
- Producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura ("Transformers") has signed a deal to produce a big screen adaptation of Michael Scott’s six-part fantasy novel series "The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel". [Variety]
- Sony Pictures has set a February 2, 2010 release date for "Zombieland" on DVD and Blu-ray. [Bloody Disgusting]
- …Meanwhile, "Zombieland" director Ruben Fleischer revealed that Sony is interested in a sequel and that it will probably be shot in 3D. [Moviehole]
- Stephen Susco has been hired by Relativity to pen the latest draft for the live-action adaptation of "Hack/Slash". [Bloody Disgusting]
- Lionsgate will release "Saw VII 3D" — the first in the series to be made in 3D — on October 22, 2010. [DreadCentral]
- Michael Caine ("Batman Begins", "The Dark Knight") doesn’t sound too optimistic about the chances of a third "Batman" from director Christoper Nolan, at least not anytime soon: "But I don’t know if they are ever going to make another Batman. If they do it won’t be for quite a while." [IGN]
- J. Michael Straczynski ("Babyon 5"), who is working on the screenplay for the proposed "Forbidden Planet" remake, says that the film could end up becoming part of a new franchise: "Warners is very excited about it, thinks it’s a big franchise for them and a huge budget, so they’re very much oriented toward getting it done." [SCI FI Wire]
- The cast of "Resident Evil: Afterlife" continue to hint that the character Jill Valentine will be in the film. [Shock Till You Drop]
- Ryan Reynolds talked a bit about his roles in "Green Lantern" and ‘Deadpool’ in an interview with MTV.
- Peter Jackson says that "The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn " is finished: "Tintin is great. It’s made. The movie is cut together and now [we] are turning it into a fully-rendered film." [BBC News]