It looks as though New Line has a bona fide franchise on their hands with the Journey to the Center of the Earth movies. Journey 2: The Mysterious Island just passed $270 million worldwide, besting the Brendan Fraser-fronted first movie’s $242 million total gross, and now Heat Vision reports that New Line is moving forward with Journey 3. The studio has closed deals with Journey 2 director Brad Peyton and writers Brian Gunn and Mark Gunn to return for the third (and likely not final) installment. Peyton commented that they’re going to “grow the mythology,” and said that while Journey 2 was definitely a franchise reboot, Journey 3 will be about “making the seminal work in the franchise.” Alrighty then. The film is on a fast track with a targeted 2014 release in mind.
No deals have been discussed with returning cast members, but I wouldn’t be shocked if Josh Hutcherson opts to stick with The Hunger Games instead of the Journey series. Apparently kids really like the 3D franchise, and I’m totally fine with them continuing the series as long as they feature burly action stars or legendary thespians gleefully riding giant CGI creatures in each and every installment.
Last fall, we learned that New Line was in talks with Ice Cube to write, produce and star in a fourth installment of the Friday franchise. The 1995 film spawned two sequels: Next Friday and Friday After Next, and kicked off the acting career of Chris Tucker. The actor all but dropped out of the spotlight following Rush Hour 3, but has recently returned to acting with a role in David O. Russell’s upcoming The Silver Linings Playbook. When news of another Friday movie broke, word was that Cube was interested in having Tucker reprise his character of Smokey from the first film.
Steve got to speak with Cube at the 21 Jump Street press junket this morning in New York City, and Cube gave a brief update on the next Friday sequel and addressed whether or not he thinks Tucker will return. Additionally, as he recently directed an entry in ESPN’s 30 for 30 series, the multi-talented performer talked about the prospect of directing more often in the future. Hit the jump to see what he had to say.
That long-awaited and highly anticipated Police Academy reboot that everyone’s been clamoring for finally has a director. Deadline reports that New Line Cinema has set Scott Zabielski to helm the remake of the 1984 film. The original comedy spawned six sequels that culminated with 1994’s Mission to Moscow (shudder). Zabielski will make his feature directorial debut with the project, having helmed a number of episodes of Comedy Central’s wildly popular series Tosh.0. Zabielski actually went through the police academy, becoming a reserve police officer in West Hollywood. I’m sure this will come in handy when staging R-rated sex comedy gags.
No plot details are known at this time regarding the reboot (though my fingers are cross for a Steve Guttenberg cameo), but we should hear more soon now that a director’s attached. For a refresher, hit the jump to watch the trailer for the original film.
Apparently New Line Cinema is pleased with the team behind the scenes of Journey 2: The Mysterious Island because they’ve decided to keep the same group on board for a potential third installment. If plans for Journey 3 move ahead, director Brad Peyton will carry over, along with writers Brian Gunn, Mark Gunn and Richard Outten, and producers Beau Flynn, Charlotte Huggins and Tripp Vincent. This bodes well for the sequel (which releases on February 10th) since we can assume it tested well over the weekend. The film, based on Jules Verne’s “Mysterious Island” follows Sean Anderson (Josh Hutcherson) as he searches for his missing grandfather (Michael Caine) on an island crawling with dangerous wildlife. Hit the jump for more.
I guess it was only a matter of time. With Hollywood craving anything and everything 3D, the market seems ripe for a disaster film resurgence. What better way to kick off a string of 3D disaster pics than with earthquakes? New Line Cinema is leading the charge with the aptly named San Andreas: 3D. 24 Frames reports that versatile scribe Allan Loeb (Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, 21) wrote the script, which centers on a man “forced to go on the road to reconcile with his children and his estranged wife, who’s moved away and taken up with another man.” The film follows the protagonist’s journey from Los Angeles to San Francisco.
Beau Flynn (Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D) is producing, and the project is currently seeking a director. With movies like this, the best you can really hope for is big spectacle (Michael Bay could sure have some fun with earthquakes in 3D). Roland Emmerich took a stab at monstrous quakes with 2012 pretty effectively, so we’ll have to see if the director they go with can come up with a cool take on the disaster genre. Either way, 3D earthquakes are coming soon to a theater near you.
New Line Cinema’s new iteration of The Nutcracker now has a director. Deadline reports that Adam Shankman (Hairspray) has signed on to the project. Scripted by Darren Lemke (Jack the Giant Killer), the film goes back to the original 1815 book The Nutcracker and the Mouse King by E.T.A. Hoffman and centers on a young girl who is taken on an adventure by her now animated wooden toy soldier. The tone is said to be in the vein of Alice in Wonderland (as is every fantasty/adventure movie in development these days), as it’s a drama with action and a love story. The project is reportedly shaping up to be Shankman’s next film, and New Line is aiming for a holiday 2013 release.
While Shankman’s resume is hit and miss, his musical work is pretty impressive and he should bring a fun version of the classic story to life. Universal also has a version of The Nutcracker in the works with Rise of the Planet of the Apes producers John Mann and Jon Gunn onboard. Shankman recently wrapped the 80’s-centered musical Rock of Ages with Tom Cruise and Julianne Hough.
One of the big surprises of the year (at least for me), was the enthusiastically positive critical response to A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas. I figured fans of the series would enjoy the pic, but the goofy spirit of the duo’s Christmas adventure seemed to enrapture critics across the country. Hot off the success of that film, director Todd Strauss-Schulson has landed the horror comedy Final Girls. Described as a mix between Back to the Future and Friday the 13th, the film centers on a young girl mourning the loss of her mother who was a scream queen in the 1980s. “When she and her friends are mysteriously sucked into the world of her mother’s most famous horror movie, Max is reunited with her mom and must face the pic’s crazed killer.”
Variety reports that the script was written by Mark Fortin and Josh Miller, and New Line plans to distribute. The concept is definitely out there, but with the right tone I think it could be a really fun horror comedy (full disclosure: I’m an unabashed fan of the similarly plotted Stay Tuned). Harold & Kumar was the director’s feature debut, so I’m excited to see where he goes from here.
George, Lizzie and Ralph are coming to a city near you…and they’re going to burn it down. In a new development by New Line Cinema, the classic 1986 arcade game Rampage is getting the big screen treatment. The Midway Games franchise* features three average humans who are transformed into a King Kong-sized gorilla, a Godzilla-like lizard and a towering werewolf. And what else do monsters do when they get together but stomp all over the military, destroy buildings and eat people? Hit the jump for more info on Rampage and some nostalgic gameplay.
Somehow it all started with what was basically a fan-film, but Mortal Kombat will be getting a live-action reboot feature film. In January 2010, we reported that Warner Bros. was considering a new Mortal Kombat movie and hired Oren Uziel to write the script. In June, director Kevin Tancharoen (Fame) teamed with Uziel to put together an unauthorized viral short film as a calling card to reboot the franchise. That short film blossomed into the ten-part web-series Mortal Kombat: Rebirth, written by Uziel and directed by Tancharoen. Now the web-series has finally brought forth the film reboot. Deadline reports that New Line Cinema, which is owned by Warner Bros., has picked up the movie. Fittingly, Uziel will write the script and Tancharoen will direct. While Tancharoen’s take was a little too serious for my tastes, it’s neat to see the journey of this movie and how their dedicated effort has come to fruition. The LA Times adds that Warner Bros. is aiming to release the reboot in 2013 and hopes to have it coincide with the release of the next Mortal Kombat video game.
Now we’ll see if cast members Michael Jai White (Jax), Jeri Ryan (Sonya Blade), Matt Mullins (Johnny Cage), Ian Anthony Dale (Scorpion), and Lateef Crowder (Baraka) will make it to the feature film. Plot details are currently under wraps and I’m curious to see if Mortal Kombat: Rebirth will serve as a prequel, get expanded into a feature, or will be set aside altogether. No matter what direction the reboot takes, it’s time to brush up on your fatalities.
With his feature directorial effort A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas slated to hit theaters later this year on November 4th, Todd Strauss-Schulson is already ironing out the details to once again work with New Line Cinema. Heat Vision reports that Strauss-Schulson is currently attached to helm a Brazillian-set untitled action/adventure/comedy pitch for the studio. Per the report, Strauss-Schulson will produce and co-develop the project alongside former Late Show with David Letterman scribe Chris Galletta who will pen the eventual script.
Further details regarding the film are currently underwraps. Prior to landing A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas, Strauss-Schulson had worked extensively in the world of comedy shorts. As for Galletta, the writer’s 2009 Blacklist script Toy’s House is currently casting over Big Beach Films which previously produced titles such as Away We Go, Sunshine Cleaning, and most recently Lucky starring Colin Hanks and Paul Rudd’s Our Idiot Brother on August 26th.
New Line Cinema is developing a live-action family comedy by the name Furry Friday. (Umm… be careful when you google that.) The story is an animalistic twist on Freaky Friday, where a cat and a dog switch bodies. New Line took one look at the first draft and said, “No, this does not meet our standards for a cat/dog body-switching comedy.” Variety reports the studio has hired David H. Steinberg to rewrite the script. Steinberg is a co-writer on the upcoming Shrek spinoff Puss in Boots, and he’s in post-production on his feature directorial debut, Miss Dial. Cathy Schulman (The Illusionist) and Adam Stone (Limitless), the team that sold the project on spec to New Line, will produce for Mandalay Pictures.
Hit the jump for a mostly irrelevant clip from the Nickelodeon cartoon CatDog.
Actress/producer/director Drew Barrymore is poised to helm her second feature film with an adaptation of Liz Tuccillo’s novel How to Be Single. The New Line romantic comedy follows the “love lives and break-ups of a group of New Yorkers over the span of ten years.” THR reports that Marc Silverstein and Abby Kohn (Valentine’s Day) will script the adaptation.
This marks a reunion of sorts for the team that put together last year’s He’s Just Not That Into You, with Barrymore and Nancy Juvonen producing, and the screenwriting team of Silverstein and Kohn once again writing the adaptation. Barrymore made her directorial debut with 2009’s Whip It starring Ellen Page and Kristin Wiig, which was met with rather warm critical praise. Hit the jump for a synopsis of the novel by Liz Tuccillo.
Some folks last year were dismayed that Warner Bros released no-frills, theatrical-version-only Blu-rays for Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy. They complained they were being ripped off by a product no one was forcing them to buy. But with The Hobbit finally moving forward and Warner Bros. wanting to put Middle-Earth back in the minds of audiences, it looks like the Extended Editions might be on the way. The Digital Bits reports that they have sources at Warner Home Video and New Line Cinema saying that Warner Bros. is planning to release The Lord of the Rings Trilogy: Extended Editions on Blu-ray this year. It’s currently unknown whether these editions will have new special features or if Peter Jackson will oversee the transfers. If I had to guess, I would say these Blu-rays will have the same special features as the DVDs and if we’re getting more LOTR special features, it probably won’t be until there’s an “Ultimate” set which also includes The Hobbit.
The Digital Bits says to expect an announcement on the Extended Edition Blu-rays in the next several weeks along with an Blu-ray announcement for Stanley Kubrick’s Lolita and Barry Lyndon.
New Line Cinema has hired screenwriter Jason Richman (Bangkok Dangerous) to pen an adaptation of the popular 80s TV show, MacGyver. The series is best known for Richard Dean Anderson as the titular character who could bring together random everyday objects and save the day. The project was announced in March of last year, but according to Risky Business, Relativity Media followed by quickly putting together the parody MacGruber (based on the SNL sketch) and got a cast in front of cameras last summer and fall. That film opens tomorrow and it’s pretty good. I imagine that Richman’s script for MacGyver will have significantly less throat-ripping.
Critics who think a narrative adaption of The King Of Kong: A Fistful Of Quarters hit a kill screen should check with Seth Gordon first. The 2007 documentary tells the David vs. Goliath quest for the world record score on the arcade obsession Donkey Kong. Talk of a feature adaptation began almost immediately. Getting it out of development became another matter. Gordon says Kong is definitely on.
We caught up with the director after a screening of his new documentary Freakonomics (made with some of the highest-profile documentary directors in the business). Gordon responded, “You want to see my calendar, the roundtable set up for next week?” He continued, “there’s been a lot of interest from the agencies” and “it’s a “passion project for a handful of people at New Line.” He cautioned, however, “The odds are stacked against it … Just because it’s a movie and hardly any get made.”
Hit the jump for the full audio & transcript of the interview along with the full details on Kong, whether Johnny Depp is attached, how Freakonomics hits very close to home & whether there’s a music film in his future.