This summer offers five superhero movies. Such is common now, but the Comic Book Age is still a relatively recent phenomenon in cinema, one that traces its roots back to 1978. Superheroes had appeared on the big screen before, but 1978′s Superman established the template for how to make a big superhero blockbuster. The sequels ran the franchise into the ground over the next decade, by which point Batman took over the reins in 1989. After a false start with Superman Returns in 2006, Warner Bros. is pulling out all the stops to revive the character with Man of Steel. I try to capture that journey with Superman by the Numbers, a feature that provides a numbers-based snapshot of each Superman movie and its place in the filmography by looking at the box office, critical reception, and miscellaneous facts.
Hit the jump for a comprehensive review of Superman, Superman II, Superman III, Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, Superman Returns, and Man of Steel.
Fox 2000 has hired Michael Sucsy (The Vow) to direct the feature adaptation of Dare Me, described in movie terms as “Heathers meets Fight Club.” According to Deadline, the studio is courting Natalie Portman to star. Based on the book synopsis, I assume Portman would play the new cheer squad coach: “Cool and commanding, an emissary from the adult world just beyond their reach, Coach Colette French draws Addy and the other cheerleaders into her life.” A suicide draws a police investigation, and Addy begins to uncover dangerous secrets. If Portman signs on, Dare Me becomes a project to keep an eye on that should offer a handful of nice roles for young up-and-comers.
Portman has nearly finished filming Jane Got a Gun, a troubled Western project that she produced and headlined. Portman will next be seen in Thor: The Dark World, opening November 8. Hit the jump for the Dare Me book synopsis.
You will know if you are the target audience for Killing Season as soon as you hear the tagline: “The purest form of war is one on one.” So, are you in?
If somehow you’re still on the fence: Robert De Niro plays a military veteran who retreats to a cabin in the Appalachian Mountains to forget his experience in the Bosnian War. He befriends a European tourist (John Travolta) who—surprise!—is a former Serbian soldier out for revenge. Thus begins the purest form of war. Travolta’s Serbian accent alone may be worth the price of admission when Killing Season, directed by Mark Steven Johnson, opens on July 12. Milo Ventimiglia and Elizabeth Olin co-star. Hit the jump to see the first batch of images and the trailer.
Casting for a notable biopic, a Disney fairy tale, and an indie music drama:
- Eddie Redmayne is close to landing the lead role in the Stephen Hawking biopic Theory of Everything, which focuses on the relationship bewteen Hawking and his wife.
- Tracey Ullman is in negotiations to join Disney’s Into the Woods, an adaptation of the Broadway musical in which Meryl Streep, Johnny Depp, Chris Pine, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Emily Blunt will play classic fairy tale characters.
- Laura Dern has joins Josh Duhamel, Maria Bello, Lucas Till, and Tom Everett Scott in Strings, the feature directorial debut of Daniel Duran.
More on each project after the jump.
An Elton John biopic would grab our attention in most any configuration, but producers Steve Hamilton Shaw, David Furnish, Lawrence Bender, and (hey) Sir Elton John are doing a great job with the early hype for Rocketman. Shaw promises, “Rocketman will be a radically different kind of biopic. It will be as unique as Elton’s life, told in a non-linear and hyper-visual manner.” Up-and-coming commercials director Michael Gracey is on board with a script by Lee Hall (Billy Elliott) that features choreographed features set to John’s catalog. Best of all, Tom Hardy is circling the lead role—I didn’t know I wanted that, but now I must have it.
This is understandably an appealing package to studios. Deadline reports FilmDistrict is near a deal for the U.S. rights with a $10 million minimum guarantee (plus a significant marketing budget) for a wide release. Hall’s script starts at age five with a musical prodigy who wins a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music by age eleven, so the next step is to cast Young Elton. We will let you know if/when they lock in Hardy and/or FilmDistrict’s money.
Earlier today, Microsoft announced the price and release date of the Xbox One. Sony was quick to follow with information on the PlayStation 4 and finally unveiled the new design at E3. The PS4 will sell for $399 when it is released later this year, $100 less than the $499 list price of the Xbox One. You can now pre-order the console at Amazon—keep in mind they won’t charge you until it ships. There are 140 games in development for the PS4, including 100 that are set to be available in the first year of release.
See the new design and video of the announcement after the jump.
The Purge rode an intriguing hook—for a twelve-hour period every year, all crime is legal—to gross $36.4 million at the box office this weekend on a lean $3 million budget. Given the high return on investment and repeatable premise, you know what comes next: Universal and producer Jason Blum have announced development on The Purge 2.
The Purge is essentially a home invasion thriller that centers on a family played by Ethan Hawke, Lena Headey, Max Burkholder, and Adelaide Kane. I imagine the studio and Blum will explore the greater Purge universe to find a new story, so there is no guarantee the cast will return. At this stage, it is also not clear if writer/director James De Monaco will return. See Blum’s Twitter announcement after the jump.
We got our first look at Sebastian Stan as the Winter Soldier in Captain America: The Winter Soldier set photos here and here. Our best look at both the character and his bionic arm comes in today’s new set photo. In the comics, the Russians find Captain America’s sidekick Bucky Barnes (believed to be dead) missing his left arm and his memory. They give Bucky a bionic arm and program him to be a badass assassin with the code name Winter Soldier—so you see why Marvel wants to feature the villain as soon as possible.
Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Anthony Mackie, Cobie Smulders, Georges St-Pierre, Frank Grillo, Hayley Atwell, Toby Jones, Emily VanCamp, Maximiliano Hernández, Robert Redford, and Samuel L. Jackson also star. Captain America: The Winter Soldier opens on April 4, 2014. See the new set photo after the jump.
I have been waiting for The Kings of Summer ever since I saw this enigmatic teaser trailer, featuring the young stars Nick Robinson, Gabriel Basso, and Moises Arias whaling and flailing on a giant pipe. It’s finally coming to my town—and hopefully your town—as part of the June 7th expansion. To celebrate, we have five stylish posters designed by Adam Schickling, eBoy, Jay Ryan, Jon Wilcox, and Rich Kelly to give away.
Nick Offerman, Megan Mullally, and Alison Brie co-star in Jordan Vogt-Roberts‘ feature directorial debut. Hit the jump to find out how you can win.
Lionsgate has released the domestic trailer for Drift, the Australian surf drama directed by Ben Nott and Morgan O’Neill. Set in 1970s Austrailia, Drift centers on two brothers (Xavier Samuel and Myles Pollard) who launch a surf gear business, selling merchandise out of the back of their van. Sam Worthington co-stars as a surf photographer and filmmaker. The trailer suggests the film quickly transitions from the easygoing surfer vibe to an intense thriller. If that fails, it looks like Nott and O’Neill captured some solid surfing footage.
Robyn Malcolm, Lesley- Ann Brandt, Aaron Glenane, Steve Bastoni, and Maurie Ogden co-star. Drift opens August 2. Watch the trailer after the break.
A roundup is in order for a few items related to This Is the End, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg‘s apocalyptic comedy led by Rogen, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride, and Craig Robinson:
- A new red band TV spot to promote the June 12 release.
- Sony posted the video game “Hollywood Hellfire” to the official This Is the End site. The trailer indicates you can play as Rogen, jumping around a fiery wasteland, collecting mushrooms.
- Video and images of the This Is the End mural that Franco painted on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles.
More after the jump.
Sony sent over five clips from This Is the End, the apocalyptic comedy written and directed by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. Rogen, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride, and Craig Robinson star as versions of themselves who take refuge in Franco’s house when disaster strikes: “As the world unravels outside, dwindling supplies and cabin fever threaten to tear apart the friendships inside.”
Also featuring Jason Segel, Michael Cera, David Krumholtz, Paul Rudd, Martin Starr, Mindy Kaling, Kevin Hart, Aziz Ansari, and Rihanna, This Is the End opens June 12. Watch the clips after the jump. And for more, check out the red band trailer, the green band trailer, and the international trailer, plus these previously released clips.
The Wizard of Oz premiered August 25, 1939. 73 years, 9 months, and 9 days later, the Technicolor wonder has cemented its status as a classic of American cinema. If you’re measuring in studio time, it is nearly the 75th anniversary, and Warner Bros. has big plans. First, WB will partner with IMAX to release a converted 3D Wizard of Oz in 400 IMAX theaters. WB has quietly remastered the Oz print for the last four months before presenting the test run to IMAX. IMAX presient Greg Foster remarked, “The sound was exceptional, the sharpness was exceptional. But it’s the color that stands out. What they could do is truly amazing, maybe what people felt when they first saw it.”
There are currently no plans for release on standard screens, but a limited international release is in the works. The theatrical re-release will be followed by a five-disc Blu-ray set—featuring a new documentary on the making of the movie—on October 1. [Update: We've updated the article with the full press release after the jump, which includes much more information regarding the Blu-ray including pricing and special features.]
The CW previously released clips and short previews for the new series on their 2013-14 schedule. If you are eager to see more, The CW obliged with 3-4 minute trailers for:
- The 100 - “After a nuclear apocalypse, civilization on planet earth was destroyed. 100 juvenile prisoners will be the first to set foot on ground after 97 years.”
- The Originals – “The city Klaus once ruled has fallen under new leadership, and now he wants it back.”
- Reign – “Mary will need more than love and friendship to do what is best not only for her, but for her country.”
- Star-Crossed- “When Emery was 6 years old, an alien spacecraft crash-landed in her small town. Did they come in peace or with more sinister intentions?”
- The Tomorrow People – “Stephen is on the brink of becoming someone extraordinary, but he has no clue.”
Watch the trailers after the jump.
AMC is considering a Breaking Bad spin-off that centers on slick lawyer Saul Goodman (played by Bob Odenkirk), but the nature of the series is still up in the air. Is it a half-hour sitcom? An hourlong drama? TBD. Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan says he is currently hashing out the details with Peter Gould (the writer who came up with Saul) “every chance we get.” Gilligan went on the record to explain a bit more about the thought process:
“[We're] trying to figure out, for instance, whether it’s a prequel or a sequel. … Any story that at some point or another showed Saul at his peak, his abilities and his networking skills, would, I think, show the criminal underbelly of a fictional Albuquerque that really had Saul Goodman wired into pretty much the heart of it.”
Hit the jump for more from Gilligan, plus a featurette for the new eight-minute scene created specifically for the Season 5 Blu-ray/DVD.