May 31, 2010
Acclaimed stunt man Simon Crane is reportedly no longer onboard as director of next year’s video game adaptation Kane & Lynch. According to Latino Review, director Wayne Kramer is currently the top candidate to replace him.
During his career as a stunt coordinator, Simon Crane has worked on Hollywood blockbusters ranging from Aliens and Batman to Braveheart and Titantic – all the way up to this summer’s Angelina Jolie thriller, Salt. Crane was set to make his directorial debut with Kane & Lynch, which as of now is still scheduled to begin shooting this August.However, Lionsgate has dropped Crane from the project due to creative differences and is currently on the lookout for a new filmmaker to come onboard. F. Gary Gray – who directed Kane & Lynch star Jamie Foxx in last year’s Law Abiding Citizen - was approached by the studio earlier this week, but he reportedly passed on the project.
Now the word is that Wayne Kramer – director of the ultra-violent 2006 flick Running Scared – has entered negotiations with Lionsgate to helm Kane & Lynch instead.Kramer’s most recent directorial effort was last year’s immigration flick Crossing Over, a box office failure regarded by most critics and moviegoers alike as a retread of the Oscar-winning ensemble drama, Crash. Based on that film, Kramer may seem like an odd choice to helm a movie whose plot revolves around a convict (Willis) and a schizophrenic killer (Foxx) who must join forces to retrieve a stolen microchip for a group of bloodthirsty mercenaries.
However, Running Scared was a pulpy thriller that revolved around a criminal (Paul Walker) and his attempts to retrieve a gun (evidence) after a drug-op gone wrong. It was a frantically-paced, action-packed flick that often reached Tarantino-esque levels of violence – in other words, exactly what we can expect to see in the film version of Kane and Lynch. In that sense, Kramer sounds like a reasonable fit after all.
The biggest concern with Kane & Lynch at this point is whether Willis and Foxx will make for a charismatic pair of criminals in the film– regardless of who ultimately directs the flick. Cinematic adaptations of video games have an infamously bad history track record, so we’ll just have to keep our hopes high for now.
What do you think? Does bringing Kramer onboard to direct Kane & Lynch sound like a good idea? Are you sad to see Simon Crane dropped from the project? Sound off in the comments section below.
Kane & Lynch is still scheduled to begin filming this August with the intention of reaching theaters sometime in 2011.
-I could definitely see this being a good choice of director, but you never know...thoughts?
May 30, 2010
After spending the last two years developing "The Hobbit" as his latest directing project, Guillermo del Toro has announced he is leaving the helm of the J. R. R. Tolkien adaptation.
“In light of ongoing delays in the setting of a start date for filming “The Hobbit,” I am faced with the hardest decision of my life,” Guillermo wrote in his announcement on "Lord of the Rings" fansite TheOneRing.net. “After nearly two years of living, breathing and designing a world as rich as Tolkien’s Middle Earth, I must, with great regret, take leave from helming these wonderful pictures."
He said he would continue to co-write the screenplays with Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and Phillippa Boyens.
The walls started to crumble for del Toro in recent weeks as the uncertain future of MGM put the project, which was to have been two movies, in a limbo state. The producers had been hoping to be in production this summer but no greenlight was forthcoming.
"The blessings have been plenty, but the mounting pressures of conflicting schedules have overwhelmed the time slot originally allocated for the project," said del Toro in his statement. "Both as a co-writer and as a director, I wish the production nothing but the very best of luck and I will be first in line to see the finished product. I remain an ally to it and its makers, present and future, and fully support a smooth transition to a new director."
Jackson stated he understood del Toro's position: "We understand how the protracted development time on these two films, due to reasons beyond anyone’s control – has compromised his commitment to other long term projects. The bottom line is that Guillermo just didn’t feel he could commit six years to living in New Zealand, exclusively making these films, when his original commitment was for three years."
Jackson said development on "Hobbit" would continue apace, although his statement did not specifically address any possible postponement of the release date.
"New Line and Warner Bros. will sit down with us this week, to ensure a smooth and uneventful transition, as we secure a new director for the Hobbit. We do not anticipate any delay or disruption to ongoing pre-production work," he said.
The press kits given to critics to accompany the movie they're reviewing are, for obvious reasons, not given to hard truths. They tell us how much everyone enjoyed working with each other, how proud they are of the final film, and generally how well everything's worked out -- predictable, harmless stuff.
But once in a while one will go out of their way to make an extra-foolish statement that seriously shatters credulity, like last year's "My Sister's Keeper" (the Cameron Diaz weepy about a terminally ill little girl) kit, which testified that "In films as disparate as 'John Q,' 'Alpha Dog' and 'The Notebook,'" director Nick Cassavetes "has investigated the nuances of the human condition, the nature of love and free will and human dignity." This is not how most people think about "The Notebook."
Generally, though, such statements are avoided for films that aren't screened in advance for critics -- it's tacitly understood that the film in question is, most of the time, no good whatsoever, and that it's only hope is to make as much money as possible before people catch on.
Lionsgate may have well made history in explaining why "Killers" -- next Friday's Ashton Kutcher-Katherine Heigl action-comedy-romance thing -- isn't going to screen for critics (except the day of, in the almost-standard "courtesy screening" that at least saves writers the trouble of invoicing their employees).It's not, the studio assures, because the film's a stinker: it's because they "want to give the opportunity to moviegoing audiences and critics alike to see `Killers' simultaneously, and share their thoughts in the medium of their choosing. We felt that this sense of immediacy could be a real asset in the marketing of `Killers.'"
Here's assuming they hope that the kind of people most prone to "sharing their thoughts" online about a movie like "Killers" are also the kind of people that go on message boards and call critics they don't like out-of-touch-elitists. The whole scenario is nonsense (and would be no matter what the caliber of the movie; 99% of the time, people write in to hector, not to discuss).
The real issue here, as noted by Screen Daily critic Brent Simon, is that studios "don't really have their finger on the pulse of the fan community":For people who are really into films, what the Internet has done - through message boards and a plethora of other sites that report on film - is it's opened up this world whereby they're able to see not only the goings-on of production but also of marketing. So when there are no reviews of a film the week of release, that message gets out there. It doesn't really matter what their interests or predilections are as far the types of films they're interested in, but people smell a stinker.They seem to have equal problems figuring out which ones are good, which ones are marketable. The "Crank" films were unscreened, despite being cult classics in the making, and excitably received by some critics. (The same goes for the Neveldine/Taylor team's "Gamer," which is actually good fun.)
Nor do bad reviews make much of a quantifiable difference in the first place: people still showed up for "Transformers 2" and "G.I. Joe." The former screened, the latter didn't; "Transformers"' average Metacritic score is a statistically insignificant three points higher than "G.I. Joe"'s. There is no real way to explain, based on that evidence, why "Transformers" made nearly $500 million more worldwide and $350 million more domestically. It just doesn't matter.
This is a backhanded way of advocating something I think should go without saying, but perhaps studios should rethink this policy because there's no evidence reviews affect box-office revenue. The critic-proof film is now a matter of fact (cf. "Norbit," "Wild Hogs"); let the coverage be done on time. Everyone's lives will improve, and no one's will be harmed.
My apologies for the absence last week, but I decided to celebrate Memorial Day a week early so that I would be here with you today to analyze the Box Office numbers from this all important holiday weekend.
As far as the three day weekend numbers are concerned, it turns out neither Carrie and the girls nor something that looks like “Clash of the Titans” but stars Jake Gyllenhaal could defeat the second weekend of America’s favorite ogre. “Shrek Forever After” took in $43 million this weekend, to take the top spot and raise its domestic total to $133 million. As its worldwide gross currently sits at $158 million and its production budget was $165, even though the film has fallen behind the grosses of the last two in the franchise, it will still make hundreds of millions for Dreamworks, once the global theatrical run had ended. Still two things remain to be seen: First, will this be another “Dreamworks sleeper” a la “How to Train Your Dragon” which maintained incredible momentum for weeks despite a slow start and second, is Dreamworks sensing a fatigue to this franchise that may cause them to make good on calling this film “The Final Chapter”. Only time and stock prices will tell…
“Sex and the City 2” took in $32 million this weekend, bringing its domestic total (including Thursday’s grosses) to $46 million and its worldwide total to $73 million. Even though the latest film in the multi-media franchise may need all five days of the holiday weekend to compete with the three-day opening of the first film, the film will easily make its $100 million budget back in the coming days, and will prove a financial success for Warner Brothers any way you slice it. The latest film could easily out-gross it predecessor, though the real test of the film will be in the coming weeks. Regardless, it should be profitable enough that you should mark your calendars to spend Memorial Day weekend 2012 at the movies with the girls seeing “Sex and the City 3”.
Though it may not be in “flop” territory yet, the numbers almost call to mind Jane Lynch’s famous line on “Glee”: “That’s the smell of failure and it’s stinking up my office.” Buena Vista put $200 million into “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time” hoping there would be a brand-name from the video game in the marketplace that simply wasn’t there (the video game debuted in 1989). What they couldn’t have planned for, was that the disappointing “Clash of the Titans” and “Robin Hood” created a sword-and-sandals fatigue that kept filmgoers away from theaters on opening weekend. Adding insult to injury, while Jake Gyllenhaal is easily one of the best actors working today, early on in the marketing campaign for the film, audiences seemed uncomfortable accepting him in a summer blockbuster. Ironically, his critical and commercial success in “”Jarhead”, Brokeback Mountain”, “Zodiac”, and “Brothers”, were likely what made it impossible to be taken seriously by audiences in another summer blockbuster despite the commercial success of “The Day After Tomorrow” in 2004. This weekend, “The Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time” grossed $30 million domestically and $58 million worldwide. The coming weeks will define whether the film is a “flop” or not, though at this rate there is a great chance of it not making its money back.
In fourth place is the fourth weekend of “Iron Man 2”, which took in another $16 million to bring its domestic total to $274 million and its worldwide total to $550 million, all from a $200 million investment from Paramount. Look for “Iron Man 3” to kick off the summer movie season on Friday, May 4 2012.
Rounding out the top five was the third week of “Robin Hood” which is actually turning a profit on a global scale despite underwhelming stateside. The film made $10 million this weekend to bring its domestic total to $83 million, yet its worldwide total currently sits at $154 million, making Universal’s $200 million investment look like a solid gamble.
The only other film to open this weekend (and also the film with the highest per-screen average) was “Micmacs”, the latest film from the Oscar-nominated writer/director Jean-Pierre Jeunet, the man behind “Amelie” and “A Very Long Engagement”. The film made $48,700 on four screens, bringing its average to $12,175 per-screen.
What drew you to the theater this holiday weekend? Did you see a new summer blockbuster, or catch up on one from the past several weeks? Or, did you go straight to the arthouse and opt for quieter fair with fewer big names and no CGI budget? Either way, we at the Awards Circuit would love to hear what you saw, what you thought about it, and always, any awards potential you see. Thanks for commenting, and from the bottom of our hearts we wish you a great summer at the movies.
They join original "Scream" cast members Neve Campbell
To be directed by Wes Craven
Iya Labunka is producing along with Craven.
May 29, 2010
Warner Bros. has scheduled "Sherlock Holmes 2" for a mid-December 2011 release and is getting close to giving the go-ahead for a movie about beloved DC Comics superhero "Flash."
The Dec. 16 release date next year for the "Sherlock" sequel was shown on a slide during a presentation here Thursday by Warner chairman and CEO Barry Meyer. His appearance was part of TW's investor day.
The first "Sherlock" was released this past December.
Meyer said the 2011 film slate will have roughly 25 movies.
As other big releases already set, he mentioned:
-- Red Riding Hood: April 22, 2011
-- The Hangover 2: May 26
-- Green Lantern (3D): June 17
-- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II (3D): July 15
-- Journey to the Center of the Earth 2 (3D): Sept. 23
-- Happy Feet 2 (3D): Nov. 18
-- New Year's Eve: Dec. 9
Given that 2011 will be the last year with a "Potter" release, Meyer said he guesses that the most successful franchise in motion picture history will have exceeded $7.5 billion in worldwide boxoffice once the final installment ends its theatrical run.
And he said his team has been preparing for the franchise's end.
Meyer particularly highlighted that DC Comics characters are key parts of Warner's future, mentioning a July 20, 2012 release date for the latest "Batman" film by Christopher Nolan and a holiday season 2012 "Superman" film.
He added that the studio is also "nearing" a greenlight for a "Flash" movie, with films featuring Wonder Woman, Aquaman and Mad magazine characters also in development.-Mark them down!
May 28, 2010
Gary Coleman, the child star of the smash 1970s TV sitcom "Diff'rent Strokes" whose later career was marred by medical and legal problems, has died after suffering an intercranial hemorrhage. He was 42.
Utah Valley Regional Medical Center spokeswoman Janet Frank says life support was terminated and Coleman died at 12:05 p.m. MDT.
Coleman, with his sparkling eyes and perfect comic timing, became a star after "Diff'rent Strokes" debuted in 1978. He played the younger brother in a pair of African-American siblings adopted by a wealthy white man.
His popularity faded when the show ended after six seasons on NBC and two on ABC.
He suffered continuing ill health from the kidney disease that stunted his growth and had a host of legal problems in recent years.
-Rest in peace...
Every once in awhile you hear news that in your wildest dreams you would have never predicted. Today is one of those days.
According to Deadline’s story, the producers are meeting with writers in the near future. Which means the project is still in the very early stages.
What is not in the story is what kind of tone they’re going for. Since TMNT is clearly aimed at kids and selling toys, if this is still the plan for the property, this will mark a huge departure for Platinum Dunes.
When we last reported on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the plan was for Paramount to release the movie in 2011 and they were planning on using men in suits like the previous films. Also, the production was thinking about using the same face replacement technology that helped make that Where the Wild Things Are look so damned fabulous. Perhaps they still will.
The other thing to know is Viacom (which owns Paramount and Nickelodeonpaid $60 million for the rights to TMNT, which means they are going to get this film made no matter what. More as we hear it.
So what do you all think about the news? Can you imagine Michael Bay’s name in front of TMNT!?
-I'm not sure if I like this, but it could be worse, I guess...thoughts?
James McAvoy has signed on to play a young Charles Xavier, aka Professor X, in “X-Men: First Class,” which Matthew Vaughn is directing for Fox.
According to Fox, “First Class” will “chart the epic beginning of the X-Men saga. Before Charles Xavier and Eric Lensherr took the names Professor X and Magneto, they were two young men discovering their powers for the first time. Before they were archenemies, they were the closest of friends, working together, with other Mutants (some familiar, some new), to stop the greatest threat the world has ever known. In the process, a rift between them opened, which began the eternal war between Magneto's Brotherhood and Professor X's X-Men.”
Patrick Stewart played the character, a bald-headed, wheelchair-bound telepath, in the original "X-Men" trilogy. Fox did not reveal if McAvoy will sport a follicle-free pate.
Fox is moving fast on the production, hiring Vaughn in early May and planning a summer start in London. The movie is being planned for a June 3, 2011, release.
Bryan Singer, who conceived the story for “First Class,” is producing along with Lauren Shuler Donner and Simon Kinberg.
McAvoy, repped by UTA and Ruth Young/United Agents, already has comic book movie experience, having starred in “Wanted.” The British actor was last seen in “The Last Station.”-Not bad casting at all...thoughts?
May 27, 2010
Even as Alvin Sargent rewrites the script for Columbia’s rebooted “Spider-Man,” director Marc Webb has been ensnaring actors in his web(b) in his search for the new Peter Parker, aka Spider-Man.
Webb has been meeting and reading actors quietly for several months, but the list has narrowed in the past week or two. No screen tests have been conducted at this early stage (though it will be a requirement), and insiders point out that the director and studio are still on the lookout.
The candidates for the web-slinger include:
-- Jamie Bell: The 24-year-old English actor, repped by WME and Artists Independent Management, who made his film debut playing the title character in “Billy Elliot,” has been doing the proper British actor thing in period movies such as “Nicholas Nickleby” and “Jane Eyre” (he’s also appeared in Hollywood movies such as Peter Jackson’s “King Kong” and Ed Zwick’s “Defiance”). More important, he’s already stepped into the comics world by portraying Tintin in Jackson and Steven Spielberg’s “The Adventures of Tintin” movie, which won’t hit screens until December 2011.
-- Alden Ehrenreich: The Los Angeles-born 20-year-old has a juicy backstory, having been “discovered” by Spielberg, who saw a comedy video starring Ehrenreich at a bat mitzvah of his daughter’s friend. A couple of TV appearances followed, but the actor’s next big leap came when he was cast by Francis Ford Coppola in 2009’s “Tetro.” He is repped by WME.
-- Frank Dillane: The 19-year-old Brit’s main credit is last year’s “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” where he played a young Tom Riddle. Is a minor role in a “Potter” film a good springboard for a mega-franchise? It worked for Robert Pattinson.
-- Andrew Garfield: The L.A.-born actor had a short stint on a BBC TV series called “Sugar Rush” but gained notices for playing a young reporter in a gritty British TV movie trilogy titled “Red Riding.” The 27-year-old appeared in “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” and will be seen in David Fincher’s movie about Facebook, “The Social Network.” He is repped by CAA and the Collective.-- Josh Hutcherson: The youngest actor of the bunch -- he turns 18 this year -- is also the one with the most experience. The past six years alone have seen the Kentucky-born kid rack up credits with key roles in Jon Favreau’s “Zathura,” drama “Bridge to Terabithia” and the upcoming “Red Dawn” remake. He appears in the Sundance hit “The Kids Are All Right,” which insider buzz suggests could be an Oscar contender, and starred with Brendan Fraser in “Journey to the Center of the Earth.”
Hutcherson, repped by ICM and Beddingfield, just signed on to star in the “Journey” sequel, and that movie could prove a fly in the ointment if the actor’s schedule collides with “Spider-Man.” (Though you can bet every effort would be made to make it work.)
The group of actors seems to fall in line with what Webb has been looking to do with his take on Spider-Man, which is to cast relative unknowns in a story that roots Parker back in high school. The movie will be an angst-ridden tale of a teen dealing with the knowledge that his uncle died even though he had the power to stop it.
Columbia wants to begin production by year’s end, but Webb and the studio are taking their time choosing the actor while Sargent gets the script in spider-shape.
A Columbia spokesperson did not comment on the casting process, saying “There have been a number of names floated online and almost every week, someone calls with a new rumor. We are not commenting on the casting process or rumors such as these.”
-I lean towards Hutcherson or Garfield...who do you prefer?
Diane Keaton is set for the title role and Ellen Page has signed on to co-star in Tilda, HBO’s half-hour comedy pilot from Bill Condon. The project centers on Tilda (Keaton), a powerful female online Hollywood journalist with a no-holds-barred style. (Hmm, wonder where the inspiration for that character came from.) Page will play Caroyln, a morally conflicted creative assistant caught between following the corporate culture of the studio she works for and following Tilda, who has taken a keen interest in her. Condon and Tell Me You Love Me creator Cynthia Mort wrote the script and are executive producing the pilot, which Condon is attached to direct. Filming is slated for June in Los Angeles. Both Keaton and Page have recent history with HBO. Keaton, who has never starred on a TV series, was attached to another half-hour project about a feminist icon launching a sexually explicit magazine for women. And Page in the fall teamed with the pay cable network for Stitch N' Bitch, a single-camera comedy she is writing with two other young actors, Alia Shawkat and Sean Tillmann. Page next co-stars opposite Leonardo DiCaprio in Christopher Nolan's summer tentpole Inception, while Keaton’s next stars in Bad Robot's Morning Glory. Both are repped by WME. Page is managed by Kelly Bush.
-I'll certainly check it out...thoughts?
May 26, 2010
At this stage of the game, there’s no point in interviewing Woody Allen (age 74) or Mike Leigh (age 67) about their movies, because we know exactly what they’re doing.
Woody Allen writes a screenplay, and because he’s Woody Allen, he casts it with the best actors available, who make it possible for him to raise foreign coin—and to shoot in exotic locations like London, Paris and Barcelona. Allen was one of many filmmakers showing films at Cannes (You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger stars Antonio Banderas, Josh Brolin, Anthony Hopkins and Naomi Watts) who is in his declining years as a major auteur. During the press festival press conference—Allen was on and funny, despite looking droopy—he talked about how he wrote his characters and then cast them with the best actors he could find.
It hit me that especially these days, his ability to do that is what makes the movies work. Check out the final ensemble for Allen’s latest romantic comedy Midnight in Paris, about a family traveling on business: Kathy Bates, Carla Bruni, Marion Cotillard, Rachel McAdams and Alison Pill. Put Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz in Vicky Cristina Barcelona and sparks will fly. Imagine that movie without them, or Match Point without Scarlett Johansson, and what have you got? What keeps these films fresh and watchable? The actors bring fresh life to Allen’s worn ideas.
Leigh, on the other hand, is neither in decline nor reworking anything: with Another Year (picked up by Sony Pictures Classics) he is at the height of his powers. That’s because his process remains the same. And it works every time. He’s like Pixar. Each new movie is original, entertaining, masterful and emotionally moving. That’s really hard to do consistently, every time. It means that Pixar and Leigh have their process down: they know how to make their films really good.
Leigh starts with no script but a story idea. He works with his actors individually and in different groups for improvisatory workshops where they explore his basic premise and research and define their characters until they become them. They work out the story, often not knowing key plot elements that come as a surprise on set, and Leigh eventually writes it up and they shoot it. It’s so organic that the resulting movie rings true. And the extraordinary performances of Lesley Manville in Another Year, Sally Hawkins in Happy-Go-Lucky, Brenda Blethyn in Secrets & Lies, Imelda Staunton in Vera Drake, David Thewlis in Naked, or Jim Broadbent in Topsy Turvy are the inevitable end result.
-I'm probably in the minority of preferring Woody still, but it's a really interesting article...thoughts?
Director John Hillcoat hasn't had a lot of luck, lately. The Road was given one of The Weinstein Company's half-dead releases. His follow-up, an adaptation of the novel The Wettest Land, has fallen through due to financing. But a man of Hillcoat's reputation doesn't lack for work, even if he can't always get financing, and Bloody Disgusting is reporting he's attached to direct The Revenant. Christian Bale is in talks to star, and Mark L. Smith penned the script.
The Revenant is based on Michael Punke's novel, which is itself based on the true story of Hugh Glass. A man of many adventures, Glass goes West in 1822 in the employ of Captain Andrew Henry to do some profitable fur trapping. Glass is attacked by a bear, and badly injured. Miraculously, he survives, but the terrain makes it impossible to carry him back. Henry tries, but eventually hires two mercenaries to simply stand watch and bury him. They abandon Glass, alone and defenseless, but unfortunately for them, he recovers. He resolves to hunt down the men who abandoned him. The story has actually been done before as Man in the Wilderness, with Richard Harris as the mauled man out for revenge, but I wouldn't go so far as to call this a remake. It's history!
CHUD notes that The Revenant was once set up to be directed by Chan Wook Park, and set to star Samuel L. Jackson. Jackson continued to be attached after Park's departure, but apparently the revival of the project has left him behind. (Probably due to that massive Marvel contract.) That would have been a fascinating pair to tackle this story. If there's one downside to the Hillcoat and Bale version, it's that we know what kind of grim, bloody adventure we're going to get.
-Seems like it has potential...thoughts?
The Extra Man
The Kids Are All Right
The Killer Inside Me
-What smaller films are you looking forward to this summer?
May 25, 2010
Full disclosure on my part...I didn't care much for the book either. This movie just never connected with me as it should have, muting the performances and potential power of the film. To me, it's just an interesting failure, but to plenty of people it was one of the best of 2009. If you're one of those, pick it up and enjoy. This post-apocalyptic character study isn't a bad film by any stretch, and it's the best of the week for me, but that's only because of the dearth of releases this week, so take that as you will.
-Also out we have 3 films that I haven't seen. There's the comedy Mystery Team, which I've heard good things about. There's the tearjerker Dear John, which I've heard bad things about, and the suspense flick Tell-Tale, which I've heard almost nothing about. If any of these have some appeal to you, grab them and enjoy.
-My Vintage pick this week is, in honor of the release of Survival of the Dead, the other George A. Romero zombie flicks. There's Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead, Land of the Dead, and Diary of the Dead. You can even throw in the remake of Dawn of the Dead if you want, since it's a pretty good horror flick, if inferior to the original. All are good films in my book, so check them out if you haven't.
-What will you be watching on DVD this week?
Press Release: Woody Allen announced today the full cast for MIDNIGHT IN PARIS, his latest film in pre-production. The film stars, in alphabetical order: Kathy Bates, Adrien Brody, Carla Bruni, Marion Cotillard, Rachel McAdams, Michael Sheen and Owen Wilson. Co-starring in the film, in alphabetical order, are: Nina Arianda, Kurt Fuller, Tom Hiddleston, Mimi Kennedy, Alison Pill and Corey Stoll. The film shoots this summer in Paris.
MIDNIGHT IN PARIS is a romantic comedy that follows a family travelling to the city for business. The party includes a young engaged couple that has their lives transformed throughout the journey. The film celebrates a young man’s great love for Paris, and simultaneously explores the illusion people have that a life different from their own is better.
MIDNIGHT IN PARIS is produced by Letty Aronson, Steve Tenenbaum and Jaume Roures. It is part of a three-picture financing deal between Allen’s Gravier Productions and Mediapro, the Spain-based company which also funded Allen’s “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” and the upcoming “You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger” to be released domestically by Sony Pictures Classics this fall. Imagina International Sales is handling international sales for MIDNIGHT IN PARIS for most territories.
-Sounds good to me...thoughts?
May 24, 2010
Legendary Pictures has picked up rights to “Mass Effect,” the Electronic Arts-BioWare video game. Mark Protosevich, the scribe who wrote “I Am Legend” and worked on “Thor,” is in negotiations to pen the movie, which will be produced by Avi and Ari Arad as well as Legendary’s Thomas Tull and Jon Jashni.
“Mass,” which debuted in 2008, is an epic sci-fi action game set in the year 2183, focusing on a human soldier and his starship, the SSV Normandy. The galaxy-spanning story involves a long-extinct race of aliens, dormant beacons and more alien species than you can shake a lightsaber at.
A sequel to the game was released in January.
The project is still in the early stages of development, though any game-to-screen undertaking would require a massive commitment. So far, humans vs. aliens movies have tended to be set on Earth, which makes those films easier to shoot while making them relatable for mass audiences.
One of the by-products of the success of “Avatar” has been showing that moviegoers will follow and invest themselves in non-human characters if given a reason to, which opens the door for more alien movies.
The players involved all have experience in undertaking giant-sized production. Legendary’s credits include co-producing such tentpoles as “The Dark Knight,” “300” and the recent “Clash of the Titans” remake. Avi Arad is the former chairman of Marvel Studios, whose Arad Prods. is developing a feature film version of video game “Drake’s Fortune.”
CAA-repped Protosevich is known for his large-scope sci-fi work. In addition to “Legend” and “Thor,” the scribe worked on remakes of “Stranger in a Strange Land” and “The Bride of Frankenstein,” both still in development at their respective studios, and is writing the English-language translation of “Old Boy” for Mandate.
Tull called “Effect” “ripe for translation,” saying it had “depth, compelling characters and an engaging back story.” Arad described the game as “a parable whose conflicts mirror the ones we currently face in our own world. This story emphasizes the need for all cultures to learn to work together.”
“Effect” will fall under Legendary's co-production and co-financing agreement with Warner Bros., who will distribute the film worldwide.
BioWare co-founders Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk will serve as executive producers, as will “Effect” executive producer Casey Hudson.
-This continues the trend of cinematic games becoming legitimate cinema, and I'm all for it...thoughts?
For the most part, the masses seem perfectly fine with Quentin Tarantino's tendency to infuse his films with a neverending stream of cinematic references and homages. But what about other people tackling Tarantino's world and vision? Do the same rules apply?
According to JoBlo, there is a Jackie Brown prequel in the works, titled The Switch. The big catch, or switch as the case may be, is that QT has nothing to do with this. He merely gave his blessing on the project and moved on. Dan Schechter adapted Elmore Leonard's novel, and the author will be one of the film's executive producers. As Tarantino mentioned to the Telegraph back in February, this is the book that turned the filmmaker into a Leonard fan, even though that wasn't the film he ultimately made.
The Samuel L. Jackson and Robert De Niro characters Ordell Robbie and Louis Gara lead this tale, which finds the pair becoming fast friends in prison, and then teaming up back in the real world for a big job -- kidnapping the wife of a rich developer for ransom. But in an Overboard-type twist, the guy doesn't want his "beloved" back. With a ticked off wife now in their ranks, they have to move towards Plan B.
The film will soon head out to find a director and cast. Who could fill in Tarantino's shoes, and who could play a younger Ordell and Louis?
-There are certainly worse prequels out there...thoughts?
While Bob Kerrey is in talks to assume the post of Motion Picture Assn. of America chief, the former Nebraska governor told Daily Variety there is "no decision yet" on the much-anticipated appointment.
Kerrey's statement, in an email to Daily Variety , came after studio sources confirmed the talks were taking place.
If a deal happens, Kerrey would succeed Dan Glickman, who was a former lawmaker from the neighboring heartland state of Kansas. Glickman took the post in 2004 and left April 1 to serve as the head of Refugees Intl., and the MPAA post has been filled in the interim by the org's president, Bob Pisano.
Kerrey's name has been floated as a possible successor for a number of weeks. He spent much of Friday at commencement ceremonies at Madison Square Garden for the New School, where he has served as president since 2001. He already had announced that he would depart that post when his contract expires in 2011.
The MPAA role is considered one of the most lucrative lobbying posts in Washington, with a salary that exceeds $1 million per year and the luster that comes with being the chief spokesman in the Beltway for the movie business.
It also is fraught with challenges, far different from those faced by Jack Valenti, the famed MPAA chairman who held the post from 1966 to 2004.
Among other things, it's ever more difficult to find consensus among studio heads, given the divergent agendas of their media conglom parents. If Kerrey ends up in the post, it will signal that studios are seeking a high-profile name familiar in Washington circles, after much speculation as to who would get the spot and what it meant for the direction of the motion picture business's chief lobbying arm. There had been speculation that the studios would restructure the position, particularly as they grapple with new ways to address what has been one of the lobbying org's chief missions: fighting piracy.
Even before Glickman announced last fall that he would depart, a number of names had surfaced as possible successors, including Pisano, former Tennessee congressman Harold Ford Jr., and a number of studio government affairs officials.
Kerrey, 66, served in the Senate in Nebraska from 1989 to 2001 and as governor of the state from 1983 to 1987. He ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1992, and, as a Medal of Honor recipient in Vietnam, was viewed as a leading prospect. But his candidacy never caught fire, and he dropped out of the race when he had a disappointing finish in early states.
Even though it has been nearly a decade since he was in office, Kerrey still has strong ties in Washington. He served on the 9/11 Commission, and was a big champion of the Senate candidacies of James Webb in 2006 and Al Franken in 2008, raising money and appearing at campaign events for them.
Glickman had that advantage as well, but his tenure was initially hampered as a Democrat lobbying a Republican Congress. Some GOP lawmakers, intent on filling the lobbying ranks with veterans of their own party, were vocal in their resentment.
Kerrey did develop a reputation in his Senate career for bipartisan friendships, and for having somewhat of an independent streak. Among his friends is John McCain, a fellow Vietnam veteran, whom he invited to speak at New School in 2006. Kerrey refused to rescind the invite even after an outcry from students.
Kerrey's entertainment industry ties are less apparent. As governor, he made efforts to lure film production to the state, but it was while dating Debra Winger, then filming "Terms of Endearment," that he was vaulted into the celebrity press.
During his years in the Senate, he tapped Hollywood donors for financial support, and further burnished his national credentials when he served as chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee for the 1996 cycle.
His experience at New School has been bumpy at times, as he has been in some high-profile clashes with students and faculty, and the university has gone through a succession of provosts.
But in press interviews, Kerrey has defended his leadership, as the school re-branded itself, went through a period of significant expansion and underwent efforts to make its eight schools more cohesive.
Serving on the MPAA's search committee have been Jim Gianopulos of Fox, Barry Meyer of Warner Bros., Michael Lynton of Sony and Alan Braverman, exec VP and general counsel of Disney. The MPAA had also enlisted Korn Ferry Intl. as an executive search firm.-I only know of him in the political sense, but I'm sure he'd do a fine job...
May 23, 2010
Palme d’Or: “Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives”
Grand Prix: “Of Gods and Men”
Best Actor: (tie) Javier Bardem, “Biutiful” and Elio Germano, “La Nostra Vita”
Best Actress: Juliette Binoche, “Certified Copy”
Best Screenplay: Lee Chang-dong, “Poetry”
Best Director: Mathieu Amalric, “On Tour”
Jury Prize: “A Screaming Man”
Camera d’Or: “Año Bisiesto,” Michael Rowe
Best Short Film: “Chienne d’Histoire”
-Well, I certainly did better than I was expecting (my predictions can be found a few posts down), so there's that...thoughts on the winners?
In the meantime, what are your predictions for the awards? Here are mine:
Palme d’Or: “Of Gods and Men,” Xavier Beauvois (This is what I'm hearing will win)
Grand Prix: “Another Year," Mike Leigh
Jury Prize: “The Housemaid,” Im Sang-soo
Best Director: Mike Leigh, “Another Year”
Best Actor: Javier Bardem, “Biutiful”
Best Actress: Juliette Binoche, “Certified Copy”
Best Screenplay: Mathieu Amalric, Marcello Novais Telles and Philippe Di Folco, “On Tour”
The fourth film in the Shrek series took the box office crown in the fourth weekend of the 2010 summer movie season, but with a much smaller gross than anticipated. Meanwhile, the SNL curse continued as Universal's MacGruber crashed and burned on impact. Shrek Forever After took charge of the box office this weekend, debuting to $71.3M from 4,359 locations (which includes 194 IMAX and 2373 3D screens) for a per screen average of $16,345. The opening, while extremely good for most movies, is a big let down for the franchise.
Each film in the Shrek series had a higher opening weekend gross than the previous one (taking into account that Shrek 2 opened on a Wednesday). While Shrek Forever After wasn't expected to meet the heights of Shrek the Third, with the 3D and IMAX surcharges added in to a huge theater count, the $72M has to be seen as disappointing. As you can also see, the opening weekend percentage of the final total has been going up as well, as the grosses become more and more front loaded. With less-than-stellar reviews it is distinctly possible that Shrek Forever After may not make as much money as stablemate How To Train Your Dragon, which is currently at $211M and counting.
After two weeks in the top spot, Robert Downey, Jr. and Iron Man 2 took a step back into the second spot this weekend, falling 49% to an estimated $26.6M, bringing its cume to $251.3M. By comparison, the original Iron Man had grossed $223.1M by the end of its third weekend back in 2008. Third place belonged to fellow hero Robin Hood which fell 48% from last weekend to an estimated $18.7M, bringing its total to $66.1M. Look for a final gross in the $115-120M range.
We're now at fourth place with still no sighting of MacGruber... Taking up residence in the fourth spot was Summit Entertainment's Letters to Juliet, which took in an estimated $9.1M this weekend, a drop of only 33% from last weekend's opening. Its cume now stands at $27.4M and it looks to end its run in the $55-60M range. Fifth place finds fellow sophomore Just Wright which fell 49% from last weekend to an estimated $4.2M, bringing its total to $14.6M. Look for a final gross in the $25-30M range.Who is that I see trying to defuse a bomb with only seconds remaining? It's MacGruber! Oh no, he didn't make it! Crashing into sixth place this weekend, the Saturday Night Live sketch-turned-movie bombed at the box office, pulling in only $4.1M, according to estimates, from 2,551 screens for a per screen average of $1,607. The $4.1M opening is one of the worst openings of all time from a film with at least 2,500 screens. How bad was this opening? 1999's Chill Factor, starring that dynamic duo of Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Skeet Ulrich opened to $4.5M from 2,558 theaters.
Seventh place belonged to the film that just wouldn't quit, Date Night, which had the best hold in the top 10, dropping a slim 26% to an estimated $2.8M. Its total now stands at $90.6M. In eighth place was the horror remake A Nightmare on Elm Street which fell 51% to an estimated $2.3M, bringing its cume to $59.9M. It looks to end its run with a total nearly identical to 2009's remake du jour, Friday the 13th which finished with $65M.
DreamWorks Animation's second film in the top 10 ended up in 9th place this weekend as How to Train Your Dragon fell sharply with the latest animation offering taking most of its business. The dragon tale took in $1.85M this weekend, according to estimates, bringing its cume to a robust $210.9M.
Rounding out the top 10 was another new title to the charts, the Bollywood film Kites. Distributed by Reliance BIG Pictures, the crossover hit opened with $1M from 208 playdates, for a per screen average of $4,976.
The top ten films grossed $141.9M which was down 15.7% from last year when Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian opened in the top spot with $54.2M; and down 14.8% from 2008 when Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull opened at number one with $100.8M. However in both previous years, this weekend was part of the Memorial Day holiday weekend.-Did you see anything this weekend?
May 22, 2010
FIPRESCI JURY AWARDS
Competition: “On Tour,” Mathieu Amalric
Un Certain Regard: “Pal Adrienn,” Agnes Kocsis
Directors’ Fortnight: “Todos vos sodes capitans,” Olivier Laxe
UN CERTAIN REGARD AWARDS
Un Certain Regard Prize: “HaHaHa,” Hong Sangsoo
Jury Prize: “Octubre,” Daniel and Diego Vega
Performance Prize: Adela Sanchez, Eva Bianco and Victoria Raposo, “Los Labios”
ECUMENICAL JURY AWARDS
Ecumenical Jury Prize: “Of Gods and Men,” Xavier Beavois
Commendations: “Another Year,” Mike Leigh; “Poetry,” Lee Chang-dong
-I'm thinking tomorrow's Palme d'Or is between Another Year, Biutiful, The Housemaid, and Fair Game, but who knows...thoughts?
After that we have the animated superhero vs supervillain flick 'Megamind':
We wrap up today with the foulmouthed trailer for the documentary 'Winnebago Man':
May 21, 2010
Where's Lars von Trier when you really need him?
The 2010 Festival de Cannes desperately required a von Trier film or better yet von Trier press conference -- the Danish provocateur's true art form -- to enliven this year's slog through mediocrity and failure in the Official Selection. The mutterings down the Croisette from the Director's Fortnight and Critics Week sidebars indicated things didn't improve there either.
True, festival organizers strove mightily to lower the bar following last year's electrifying if controversial lineup of bloody, challenging titles. This was going to be an off vintage, they whispered, much like veteran winemakers surveying bad weather at harvest.
Fingers were pointed at major, highly desirable films not finished in time for Cannes. Or at a dearth of quality films submitted. One of the real problems though, year after year, has been the very small pond in which the festival's programmers choose to fish .
Of course, a critic cannot possibly know what goes on inside screening rooms in Paris but educated guesses can be made. Even a cursory examination of the annual Cannes lineup turns up a substantial number of films with French backing. Besides out-and-out French titles, many foreign selections in Cannes have co-production deals with French entities such as Canal Plus or Wild Bunch. How heavily does that weigh in their favor?
The festival's artistic director, Thierry Fremaux, and Vincent Maraval (Wild Bunch) have worked together for years. Canal Plus puts a lot of money into the Festival itself as an official sponsor. So consciously or subconsciously, that influence shouldn't be ignored.
Some Cannes critics have complained about the lack of American product, but films this year from Oliver Stone, Woody Allen, Doug Liman and Ridley Scott (a Brit who makes only studio pictures) certainly wave the Hollywood flag enough to satisfy most attendees. What's conspicuously absent though are American indie films.Indeed in announcing their sidebar slates, Fortnight and Critics programmers went out of their way to emphasize how they ignored films from Sundance. Which is fine if other equally interesting international indie films are available, but judging from the programs across the board in Cannes that certainly wasn't the case this year. Granted Cannes programmers prefer to host world premieres but at what cost? So you can show French trifles such as Matthieu Amalric's "Tournee" or a bad Italian TV movie such as "Our Life?"Even more absurdly ignored is the world's single largest film producer, India. True, after six straight years of neglect, one Indian film, "Udaan," did get into the Official Selection this year. But really, one film in seven years? I'm not talking about putting a Bollywood film into the Palais. I'm talking about Cannes programmers' seeming ignorance of vital regional cinemas all across India. There are enough films to program a large Indian festival in Los Angeles every April. Does anyone from Cannes even go to India to scout films?
The lack of representation of German films here has become an inside joke. Remember how "The Lives of Others" got discovered by Sony Pictures Classics at Cannes in 2006 -- in the market? The film that went on to win the Oscar for best foreign language film was rejected by Cannes.
You wonder what would happen if the Berlin International Film Festival ignored French cinema to the same degree. The screams out of Paris would be heard all the way to Berlin.And so it goes.
If Lars von Trier, Clint Eastwood, David Lynch, Woody Allen, Wong Kar Wai, Claude Miller, Ang Lee and Terence Malick have big films ready for 2011 Cannes, all this can be safely ignored. A lineup of Old Faithfuls will undoubtedly produce a vintage Cannes. But if organizers run up against another year like 2010, they might get out of those Paris screening rooms and travel to Bombay and Park City. Fishing in a tiny pond next to a vast ocean makes little sense.
May 20, 2010
Cyrus, The Square, Robin Hood, Looking for Eric, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Please Give, Iron Man 2, The Human Centipede, The Losers, Harry Brown, The Back-Up Plan, and Death at a Funeral.
New perspectives on: Kick-Ass, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and Chloe.
We also have an article on the elevating 3-D trend that has been hitting our theaters, is it here to stay? READ Here.
Also, our first official TV Review of HBO's 10-part Mini-series, The Pacific, is here.
And in case you don't want to watch the video, here's a link to the list of the 2003 ACCA Winners. HERE.
IFC has scored U.S. distribution rights for Abbas Kiarostami's Festival de Cannes Competition title "Certified Copy," the film's producer and sales agent MK2 confirmed Thursday.
MK2 followed up presales of the film to Australia, Scandinavia, Argentina, Korea and Hong Kong with sales to Australia/New Zealand (Madman), the Nordic countries (Atlantic Film), Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay and South Cone (CDI Films), Korea (Yega Entertainment) and Hong Kong (First Distributors) after its official festival screening.
The film, released in Gaul via MK2 on Wednesday, boasted the best opening results ever for a film by Abbas Kiarostami in France with 11,000 tickets sold on its first day in theaters on 101 prints.
And here's what IFC had to say about the other two flicks:
HEARTBEATS is the second film in two years for Xavier Dolan at the Cannes Film Festival where his debut I KILLED MY MOTHER won three of the four awards out of Director’s Fortnight. The film tells the story of Francis (Dolan) and Marie (Monia Chokri) who are good friends. One night, they meet Nicolas (Niels Schneider), a young man from the country who has just settled in Montreal. From encounter to encounter, from moment to moment, troubled by innumerable signs — some real, some imagined — Francis and Marie fall deeper and deeper into a fantastical obsession with him. Soon, they find themsleves on the precipice of a love duel that threathens the friendship they once thought indestructible.
PREY tells the story of Nathan (BEAU TRAVAIL’S Gregoire Colin) who is at a countryside retreat for a Fall family reunion that he expects to be particularly stormy. Claire, his wife, has to announce her pregnancy and there are tough decisions that need to be made to prevent the family’s pesticides business from closing down. But on the first night that the family gathers, a terrorized deer mysteriously attacks Claire’s father. The men decide to venture into the surrounding forest to find the reasons for the animal’s odd behavior. Carrying a shotgun for the first time in his life and witnessing the growing tensions between the men in the family, Nathan soon discovers that hunting season is not over yet. Now they’ve become the prey. Marking the debut film for Antoine Blossier, PREY brings together a special effects team from some of Hollywood’s best films.-Stay tuned for more acquisitions in the coming days...thoughts?
Magnolia Pictures has acquired U.S. rights to Alex Gibney's untitled Eliot Spitzer documentary. Produced by A&E IndieFilms and Wider Film Projects, the doc revolves around the rise and fall of the former New York governor and prosecutor. A work-in-progress version recently screened at the Tribeca Film Festival. Magnolia's deal seals its fifth collaboration with Gibney. It also distributed his "Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room," "Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson," the recent "Casino Jack and the United States of Money" and the upcoming "Freakonomics.""Alex is the most vital documentarian working today, and this film could be his finest hour," Magnolia president Eamonn Bowles said. "It transcends what could have been a salacious expose in lesser hands to be a truly thrilling, masterful work of cinema."
Bay's directing from a script by Ehren Krueger with the storyline kept under wraps. Working title is "Transformers 3."