Universal Assembles “Writer’s Room” for Cinematic Monster Universe; WOLFMAN, BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN, and More Reboots Planned

by     Posted 15 days ago

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I’ve written before about how this new “interconnected universe” approach to franchise filmmaking is a bad idea.  Approaching the film medium like a television series scales back the individualized nature of each film in favor of a serialized, streamlined approach, but Marvel movies make a ton of money so this trend continues to catch on, and Universal is going one further by assembling a literal writer’s room for its Monster Movie Universe.

Screenwriters Alex Kurtzman (Transformers) and Chris Morgan (Fast & Furious franchise) are spearheading Universal’s reboot of its classic monsters, with The Mummy on tap to be the first film out of the gate in 2015 with Kurtzman directing.  But now the duo is getting some help in shaping the Monster Movie Universe, as they’ve assembled a brain trust of screenwriters that includes Prisoners scribe Aaron Guzikowski and Men in Black writer Ed Solomon to develop subsequent features.  Hit the jump for more, including which Universal monsters are getting the reboot treatment.

UNTITLED UNIVERSAL MONSTER FRANCHISE FILM Dated For 2017, Will Be Second Shared Universe Pic After THE MUMMY

by     Posted 23 days ago

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By this point it’s common knowledge that Universal has their own cinematic shared universe to build using the IP of their classic monsters (which means we can technically also refer to this as an MCU too).  While I haven’t seen their recent film Dracula Untold, it’s my understanding that it’s only tangentially connected to the main series of films being developed by producers/writers Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan.  Kurtzman will actually be directing The Mummy from a script credited to John Spaihts and Billy Ray, which will hit theaters on June 24, 2016.  So this new project, currently going by Untitled Universal Monster Franchise Film, will obviously focus on one of the other monsters in at their disposal (with an appearance by The Mummy I would guess if they’re planning on hitting the ground running with the shared universe concept).

But which monster?  I’m not sure!  What’s interesting (and maybe a little alarming) is how intent they are into making these into action movies.  Hit the jump for more on the Untitled Universal Monster Franchise Film, which is currently dated for Friday, April 27th, 2017.

Alex Kurtzman Teases VENOM’s Darkness

by     Posted 78 days ago

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So far we know that the Venom movie may be titled Venom Carnage and it may arrive in theaters in 2017, but not much more beyond that.  However, while on the red carpet at the Paley Center For Media’s premiere of CBS’s Scorpion, writer-director Alex Kurtzman threw a little something else into the mix: Venom will be a particularly dark character.

Sounds familiar, right?  Evan did a Venom breakdown  back when we first found out the movie was in the works and in it, he emphasized that a key to making a Venom movie work is to make the character scary and keep him scary.  Perhaps that’s what Kurtzman is teasing here.  Hit the jump to find out exactly what he said.

THE FAULT IN OUR STARS Director Josh Boone in Talks to Revive LESTAT at Universal; INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE Won’t Be Remade

by     Posted 101 days ago

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All around I think this is a rather encouraging bit of news.  Director Josh Boone, who is now very much in demand following the success of his recent film The Fault in Our Stars, appears to be pretty much all set up to write and direct Lestat, the new Anne Rice adaptation percolating at Universal.  To me, this indicates that they want to focus on character in favor of spectacle overload (though I’m sure there will be a bit of that as well).

Equally good news?  It looks as though Interview With the Vampire won’t be remade after all.  At least not right now.  A few weeks back I speculated that a remake would happen when the news broke that the rights to all of The Vampire Chronicles (including the upcoming Prince Lestat) were going to Universal, but I’m happy to admit that I was wrong on that particular prognostication.  Hit the jump for more on Josh Boone directing Lestat.

Universal and Imagine Land the Rights to Anne Rice’s THE VAMPIRE CHRONICLES; Kurtzman and Orci to Produce

by     Posted 112 days ago

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I guess we might be getting a remake of Interview with the Vampire after all.  Universal has acquired the rights to Anne Rice’s incredibly popular anthology of novels, The Vampire Chronicles. Imagine’s Brian Grazer will produce alongside Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci (someone needs to look into a monopoly breaker for those two, they can’t have every property).  The deal is for every single book in the series, including the upcoming Prince Lestat (and yes, this includes the ones that have already been made such as Interview and Queen of the Damned).

I’d like to think they could hit the ground running with the sequels and leave the 1994 Tom Cruise movie alone, but there’s a strong likelihood that they’ll feel the need to rebrand from the ground up. Only time will tell, but that’s my hunch.  Hit the jump for more on The Vampire Chronicles landing at Universal and Imagine and be sure to check out our Comic-Con interview with Rice herself. 

VENOM Movie Reportedly Titled VENOM CARNAGE; Doc Ock Rumored to Lead the SINISTER SIX

by     Posted 115 days ago

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In addition to the news about a female Spider-Man spinoff there were also a few nuggets regarding the rest of Sony’s Spider-Man plans.  While we’ve known about Drew Goddard’s Sinister Six for a while (and learned about its November 11, 2016 release date a few weeks ago), we’re still in the dark in regards to exactly which villains will be appearing since its rogues gallery gets regularly rotated in the comics.  Now it appears that Dr. Octopus will be leading the way for the film adaptation.

It also appears as though the Venom movie Alex Kurtzman has been attached to direct for a while now has a new title, Venom Carnage.  Does that mean we’re getting a Cletus Kasady/Eddie Brock team-up (or showdown)?  Hit the jump for more Venom Carnage and Sinister Six news.

THE HUNTSMAN Prequel Set For April 2016, THE MUMMY Moves to June

by     Posted 119 days ago

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I never saw Snow White and the Huntsman, it just didn’t seem like my thing.  Which makes it kind of hard for me to be interested in a followup or spin-off aside from the fact that one of my favorite directors, Frank Darabont, will be helming it (he also did the newest draft of the script).  But it’s coming anyway, and now we get the news that this new film, called The Huntsman, is actually a prequel (which makes more sense).  And yes, Chris Hemsworth and Charlize Theron will be returning (although Kristen Stewart won’t).  The new film hits on April 22nd, 2016.

Yesterday we also got the news that Alex Kurtzman would be directing The Mummy reboot, part of a larger cinematic universe for Universal.  That film has now moved to get out of The Huntsman‘s way and will come out on June 24th, 2016.  Hit the jump for more on The Huntsman release date and what lays ahead in the film.

Comic-Con: Tom Mison, Nicole Beharie, Executive Producer Alex Kurtzman, and Showrunner Mark Goffman Talk SLEEPY HOLLOW Season 2

by     Posted 119 days ago

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The unusual premise of the hit Fox series Sleepy Hollow combines supernatural elements with a police drama format.  Marketed as a modern-day retelling of the short story, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” by Washington Irving, the show takes the same liberties with history as Once Upon a Time does with fairy tales, as facts and myths are tweaked slightly to fit within the show’s universe.

Season 2 begins on September 22nd, and has been bumped up in size from 13 to 18 episodes, so that fans can get even more monsters.  Before greeting their fans at the panel, co-stars Tom Mison and Nicole Beharie, along with showrunner Mark Goffman and executive producer Alex Kurtzman, spoke with press about what to expect in the upcoming season.  Hit the jump for highlights from those interviews.

Alex Kurtzman to Direct THE MUMMY at Universal

by     Posted 120 days ago

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It was just a couple of weeks ago that we learned that Alex Kurtzman (Transformers, Star Trek) and Chris Morgan (Fast & Furious franchise) would be spearheading a crossover universe for the Universal Monsters starting with The Mummy, but it appears that those plans also include giving Kurtzman the keys to the first film out of the gate.  The Mummy is intended to set the tone for the other Universal Monsters films going forward, and while the project previously had Len Wiseman (Underworld) attached to direct and then later Andy Muschietti (Mama), both of those filmmakers subsequently left the project.

With Universal keen on getting going sooner rather than later in anticipation of a May 22, 2016 release date, the studio has now tapped Kurtzman to direct The Mummy instead.  More after the jump.

Comic-Con: The Cast and Producers of SCORPION Talk High IQ’s, The Difficulties of Being a Genius, How the Show Raises Awareness, and More

by     Posted 125 days ago

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CBS is bringing to life the incredible stories of real-life genius, Walter O’Brien and his team of equally gifted individuals, this fall with their new show, Scorpion.  After their first appearance as a cast at Comic-Con, where they also screened the pilot’s premiere, the cast and producers sat down for round table interviews with the press.

The real O’Brien, who also serves as executive producer on the show, was on hand to discuss how the idea for a series came about and what motivated him to move on with the project.  During our conversation, the cast: Robert Patrick, Elyes Gabel, and Katherine McPhee, gave us some insight into their characters and the producers (Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci) revealed what viewers can expect to see on a weekly basis and why we should all watch.  Hit the jump for more.

Alex Kurtzman Gives Updates on AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 3, SINISTER SIX, and VENOM; Talks Universal Monster Universe Plans

by     Posted 133 days ago

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While producer/writer/director Alex Kurtzman was at the CBS portion of the TCA Press Tour for his latest TV venture Scorpion, it provided an opportunity to catch up with him about some of the projects he currently has in various stages of development in the film world.

During an interview with Collider and a couple of other outlets, talk went to the building of a Monster Universe with the classic movie monsters, which he’s kicking off with The Mummy, that he’d be honored if Guillermo del Toro wanted to get involved with Frankenstein, once they get to that stage, his big picture view of the Monster Universe, and how some monsters will get their own movie while others are supporting characters in other monster movies.  He also talked about where things are at with The Amazing Spider-Man 3 and that they’re just trying to figure things out, at this stage, working with Drew Goddard on Sinister Six, and his plans to direct Venom after that.  And of course, no conversation with Kurtzman would be complete without an update on the feature film of Locke & Key.  Check out what he had to say after the jump.

Screenwriters Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan to Create Crossover Universe for UNIVERSAL MONSTERS Starting with THE MUMMY

by     Posted 134 days ago

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Last year, we reported that Universal had hired Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman to create a crossover universe employing the studios famous monsters such as Frankenstein’s Monster, Dracula, The Mummy, et al.  But a few months ago, Orci and Kurtzman dissolved their long partnership, and have gone their separate ways.  However, Universal still wants their Avengers-style crossover world featuring the studio’s treasured creatures, and has now brought on Chris Morgan to team up with Kurtzman on the project.  Morgan is a favorite at the studio having written the scripts for every Fast & Furious movie since Tokyo Drift, which is good because when I go to a Fast & Furious movie, it’s because of the screenwriting.

Hit the jump for more on what Kurtzman, Morgan, and Universal have planned for the classic monsters.

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 Review

by     Posted 210 days ago

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When Sony decided to reboot Spider-Man, it was a bit of surprise since Sam Raimi‘s series still had life in it, and everyone involved in the production was eager to return for a fourth installment.  But the studio cravenly hit the restart button, and even though they hired a director with great potential and a strong cast, The Amazing Spider-Man was a weak return for the wall-crawler.  It was too gritty and the plot was an utter mess based on coincidence with entire plotlines cut to ribbons (what happened to Irrfan Khan?).  The Amazing Spider-Man 2 wants to function as a reboot of a reboot, and while it’s marginally better than its predecessor, it suffers from an overstuffed plot where no one seems to be on the same page.  There’s a fun, lighthearted tone that always peeks out, especially in the scenes between Peter (Andrew Garfield) and Gwen (Emma Stone) as well as Spidey at his most buoyant.  But that vibrancy is always snuffed out by ridiculous villains, cheap motivations, and shiny but lifeless action scenes.

TOP 5: WonderCon Coverage, BOYHOOD Trailer, Orci Lobbying to Direct STAR TREK 3, Ray Fisher to Play Cyborg in BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN, STAR WARS News

by     Posted 215 days ago

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I’d like to apologize in advance for today’s opening paragraph lacking the fascinating insight and ESPN Films’ 30 for 30 gushing that you’ve come to expect. I’m writing from the press lounge of the 5th Annual Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo (also known as C2E2) where a majority of my time will be spent on the convention floor taking Cosplay pictures and searching for heavily discounted hardback comics. It’s not a complete loss, though, as I should be posting an image recap from the convention in the coming days much like I’ve done the last two years.

All dreams of hardback treasure hunting aside, this week’s Top 5 highlights our extensive WonderCon Anaheim coverage, the first trailer for Richard Linklater‘s Boyhood, word that Roberto Orci is looking to direct Star Trek 3, Ray Fisher landing the role of Cyborg in Batman vs. Superman, and several new pieces of Star Wars info. Resting on the other side of the jump is a brief recap and link to each of the above.

Roberto Orci Lobbying to Direct STAR TREK 3 as Film Partnership with Alex Kurtzman Ends

by     Posted 219 days ago

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For better or worse, the writing duo of Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman has been responsible for some of the biggest franchise hits of the past decade.  Orci and Kurtzman penned the scripts for the first two Transformers films, Star Trek, Star Trek Into Darkness, Mission: Impossible III, and they were recently brought into the Spider-Man franchise as the scribes behind The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and the upcoming The Amazing Spider-Man 3.  However, it appears that the two have decided to part ways in the feature world as they have their eyes on making the move to director—separately.

Kurtzman already has one feature under his belt as director, the 2012 dramedy People Like Us, but Orci is thinking big for his directorial debut as he is currently vying to take over for J.J. Abrams on Star Trek 3.  More after the jump.

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