Walt Disney Pictures has come a long way from making full-length animated features like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Cinderella, and Peter Pan. In the 21st century, the company has reinvented itself with live-action blockbusters like Pirates of the Caribbean, state-of-the-art computer animated films like Cars and Frozen, and adaptations of children’s literary classics like Roald Dahl’s The BFG and Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time (out in theaters this March). In recent years, Disney has expanded into more lucrative markets like comic book blockbusters (ie. Marvel comics) and, of course, the Star Wars franchise. The latest Star Wars entry, The Last Jedi, hit the $1 billion mark in worldwide box office sales barely three weeks after its US theatrical release. With a plethora of material to work with, and plenty of money coming in, one would think Disney is far passed its tipping point, but that might not be the case at all. Continue reading →
Actor Kurt Russell as Snake Plissken in John Carpenter’s Escape From New York (1981).
Deadline has recently reported that Twentieth Century Fox just won the rights to writer/director John Carpenter‘s 1981 action-flick Escape From New York. The film starred Kurt Russell (The Thing, Death Proof) as contracted-convict Snake Plissken, who is given the task of rescuing the US President (British actor Donald Pleasance) from futuristic New York City, after Air Force One crashes there and the criminals/inmates that now inhabit the city attempt to take him hostage. Lee Van Cleef (A Fistful of Dollars, The Good The Bad and the Ugly) also starred in the original picture. Now a remake of the cult classic is in the works at the studio with John Carpenter, himself, getting involved as executive producer, but no news has been released as to who will star in the film and a release date is still out of the question, but we’ll keep you posted.
Twentieth Century Fox recently moved their upcoming sequel to Dawn of the Planet of the Apes from July 2016 to the next July in 2017. With this move, the vacated release-spot has been filled by Universal Pictures, moving their upcoming Jason Bourne sequel that will reunite Matt Damon (The Departed, Interstellar) with director Paul Greengrass (Green Zone, Captain Phillips) into this date instead. This will push the Bourne release back by a couple of weeks, but also provide virtually no competition for that opening weekend, so it could turn out to be a really profitable switch. Damon and Greengrass are currently writing the screenplay for the film with producer Christopher Rouse, but there is no word yet as to whether or not the movie will follow the previous installment, The Bourne Legacy, with series newcomer Jeremy Renner (The Avengers, American Hustle). The Bourne Legacy was directed by series screenwriter Tony Gilroy, taking over for Greengrass who directed Damon in both the preceding movies The Bourne Supremacy (2004) and The Bourne Ultimatum (2007), but now Greengrass is back on board to direct and Gilroy has, as of now, fallen away from the series. Stay tuned for more news.
There is so much news these days regarding upcoming comic-movie projects that it’s getting hard to keeps facts and rumors straight, but this seems pretty much certain. Michelle MacLaren has agreed to direct the independent Wonder Woman project for Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment, with Zack Snyder (300, Man of Steel) producing. The character will initially appear in Snyder’s upcoming Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, and then MacLaren’s film will be an independent character project. I am assuming that Gal Gadot will carry the role over from Batman Vs. Superman, but we’ll have to wait and see about that. Another bit of recent news that also seems pretty set in stone (coming from Variety) is that Oscar Isaac (Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Inside Llewyn Davis) has been cast by Twentieth Century Fox to play the title villain in the upcoming X-Men installment Apocalypse. This one is scheduled to hit theaters in May 2016, and will also bring the characters Cyclops and Jean Grey back to the big screen as the film is expected to take place in the 1980s.
The next chapter in the Planet of the Apes reboot project from Twentieth Century Fox is coming to theaters this Friday, once again featuring motion-capture master Andy Serkis (The Lord of the Rings, Rise of the Planet of the Apes) in the role of Caesar. Rise of the Planet of the Apes came out in 2011 and ended with a mutated virus spreading across the globe and beginning to wipe out mankind from existence. Now in the years after the breakout, a band of humans lead by Gary Oldman (The Dark Knight, Leon: The Professional) are heading out to wage war against Caesar and reclaim their dominant-species status on Earth. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes also features Keri Russell (August Rush, Mission: Impossible 3) and is directed by Matt Reeves (Let Me In, Cloverfield) from a screenplay by Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, and Mark Bomback. Check out the trailer here on MADE, then go and see it on the big screen this weekend!
Fresh off his 5th Oscar nomination for Best Actor in The Wolf of Wall Street, Leonardo DiCaprio will be moving forward with a film from director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (21 Grams, Babel). Inarritu will be adapting author Michael Punke’s novel The Revenant: A Novel of Revenge, which follows the story of fur-trapper Hugh Glass, who journeyed up the uncharted Missouri River in the 19th century with the Rocky Mountain Fur Company and was abandoned by his troupe and left for dead after a Grizzly bear attacked and critically wounded him. Glass survived, however, and after a two-thousand mile trek back to civilization, completely unarmed and seriously wounded, swears vengeance against those who abandoned him in the wilderness. The film will be produced through Twentieth Century Fox and New Regency Productions, and will hopefully be hitting theaters sometime in the fall of 2015. DiCaprio is also currently working as producer on two films: Home, which is now in the filming process, and A Boy and His Tiger, but there is no word on whether or not he will appear in these films, or when we can expect to see them released. Inarritu’s film adaptation will be titled The Revenant and will be penned by himself and screenwriter Mark L. Smith (Vacancy, The Hole).
With 2015 quickly drawing nearer, and the list of film franchises that will return to the big screen constantly growing, then shrinking, then growing again, two movies seem to be moving along at a steady pace. Independence Day and Jurassic Park are those two movies, and all reports are that pre-production is going quite well, especially as far as casting is concerned. Jeff Goldblum, who played the part of Ian Malcolm in the original Jurassic Park (1993) and the first sequel, The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997) will not return for director Colin Trevorrow’s reboot of the series, Jurassic World. The new film is being produced by Steven Spielberg, who directed the original film, and thus far has an impressive cast which includes Bryce Dallas Howard, Christ Pratt, Jake Johnson, Nick Robinson, and Ty Simpkins, and according to new reports from Deadline, Vincent D’Onofrio. While Goldblum will not be appearing in the new film, he recently confirmed that he will be back for director Roland Emmerich’s Independence Day 2, which like Jurassic World is still awaiting a completed script. Universal has set the release for Jurassic World for next June, and Twentieth Century Fox is looking to release Independence Day 2 a month later. Let’s hope they stay on schedule with production!
Fans of the 1996 Sci-Fi blockbuster Independence Day have been waiting more than a year now to hear definitively if Will Smith will be returning for the 20-year follow up. Deadline Hollywood recently reported that Smith is still not likely to join the project, having already informed Twentieth Century Fox of his departure. The official word is still not out, however, because according to Deadline Smith is still going back and forth about whether or not he wants to star in the picture or not. While this comes as bad news for many fans, the production company has been planning for this all along. As we learned last year, Fox has two separate scripts ready for the film, one which includes Smith’s character, and the other that does not include him. Director Roland Emmerich is supposed to be meeting with Smith sometime in the near future to have a final discussion regarding his appearance, but until that happens everything revolving around the film is still up in the air. I’m sure Will Smith is enjoying a bit of a power-trip, keeping Hollywood and movie fans on edge for a sequel that will be released exactly 20 years to the day since the original was released, but we’ll wait and see what happens. I feel that even if Smith doesn’t take on a big role in the film he will still make an appearance (like Johnny Depp did with 21 Jump Street) but we’ll have to wait for that final meeting to be sure.
With The Wolf of Wall Street already earning five Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director (Martin Scorsese), and Best Actor and Supporting Actor nominations for Jonah Hill and Leonardo DiCaprio, the cast and crew are definitely enjoying their success. While they wait for the upcoming Oscar ceremony, Hill and DiCaprio are already looking ahead to future projects, and one of them has them reuniting for another biopic drama. The Ballad of Richard Jewell, originally an article featured in Vanity Fair, follows a security guard at the 1996 summer Olympics who was suspected of being involved in the plot after reporting the backpack that contained the bomb. The article was recently purchased by Twentieth Century Fox and will be produced for the big screen by DiCaprio, Jennifer Davisson Killoran, and Kevin Misher under Appian Way Productions. While Hill and DiCaprio are both currently attached to the project, there are no reports of a director or screenwriter being involved at this time.
Walt Disney Pictures made Johnny Depp one of the most famous actors in the world when Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl first hit theaters in 2003. Ten years later, after three sequels, the last of which was regretfully lacking in originality and excitement, Depp is once again stepping into the boots of Captain Jack Sparrow for a fifth Pirates installment. With the production going smoothly, many were surprised to hear that the studio has decided to move the release date for the sequel back to 2016, instead of the originally slated July 2015 release. According to production president Sean Bailey, the studio is simply taking the time to ensure a well written script that can fulfill the expectations of audiences around the globe and hopefully bring some redemption to the franchise. While Disney is pushing Pirates back an entire year, Twentieth Century Fox is also moving the next Star Wars sequel back for a holiday release date instead of summer 2015. Star Wars movies have a history of being released in May, beginning with the original and all the way up to the most recent, but maybe this will be good for Star Wars. A lot of successful movies are released during the holiday season, most recently Les Miserables andThe Hobbit, so it could end up paying off for the studio in the end. We’ll have to wait and see.