Columbia Pictures will be bringing the highest grossing Russian film of all time to U.S. audiences next month. The studio announced today that it will be releasing the World War II drama Stalingrad exclusively in IMAX 3D theaters nationwide in the U.S. starting February 28th. Directed by Fedor Bondarchuk, the film takes place during the titular WWII battle and revolves around a determined band of Russian soldiers who fight to hold a strategic building in the devastated city against a ruthless German army, all the while becoming deeply connected to a Russian woman who has been living there.
The pic is Russia’s first completely shot in 3D, as well as its first IMAX release, and earned $66.1 million during its six-week theatrical run. The film stars Thomas Kretschmann (King Kong, The Pianist), Petr Fedorov, Sergey Bondarchuk, Mariya Smolnikova and Yanina Studilina. Watch the Russian trailer after the jump.
Things are moving very quickly on director David Ayer’s WWII film Fury. The writer/director sold his spec script to QED in February for a cool $1 million off the success of his 2012 cop drama End of Watch, and last week he landed some major starpower by way of Brad Pitt who signed on to topline the film as an army sergent named “Wardaddy.” Now Columbia Pictures has acquired domestic distribution rights for the film and has set a November 14, 2014 release date, with production poised to begin this coming September. The pic will open opposite Matthew Vaughn’s comic book adaptation The Secret Service and will be sandwiched between Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi pic Interstellar and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1.
The story of Fury takes place in 1945 as the Nazi regime collapses and the five-man crew of an American tank called Fury battles a desperate German army. Hit the jump for more, including the full press release.
Columbia Pictures must be very happy with Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s directorial debut This Is the End, as the studio has already tapped Rogen and Goldberg for another directing gig. The duo will next helm the comedy The Interview, with James Franco being eyed for a lead role. The pic is described as a “topical comedy” that revolves around a talk show host and his producer “who find themselves in way over their heads when they get involved in a plot to assassinate the prime minister of North Korea.” Franco would potentially play the talk show host, while Rogen is poised to star as the producer. Hit the jump for more on this possible Pineapple Express reunion.
Production has commenced on George Clooney’s fifth feature directorial effort, the action-thriller The Monuments Men. The Columbia Pictures/20th Century Fox co-production tells the true story of an unlikely World War II platoon made up of museum directors, curators, and art historians tasked by FDR with going into Germany and rescuing artistic masterpieces from Nazi thieves before they are lost forever. Clooney directs, stars in, and produces the film alongside his Smokehouse Productions partner Grant Heslov, with whom he also co-wrote the script. Moreover, Clooney has assembled a truly remarkable cast that includes Matt Damon, Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett, Jean Dujardin, Bob Balaban, John Goodman, and Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey).
Unfortunately Daniel Craig is not listed as part of the cast in the official press release, so it appears that he may have dropped out of the film. Hit the jump for more, including the full press release.
Though word on the project has been mum for some time now, it appears that Columbia Pictures is still bullish on a sequel to the 2010 spy thriller Salt. Back in June of last year, the studio hired the first film’s scribe, Kurt Wimmer, to start working on a follow-up to the Phillip Noyce-helmed thriller. After reports that star Angelina Jolie wasn’t too keen on the existing script for the sequel and thus had yet to sign on, THR now reports that Becky Johnston has been brought in to reconceive the script.
Johnston is probably best known for penning the 1991 romantic drama The Prince of Tides as well as the 1997 Brad Pitt-starrer Seven Years in Tibet. There’s no firm word on what the follow-up will entail, but the first film involved a CIA officer played by Jolie who discovered that she was actually a Russian sleeper cell agent. Noyce has already declined to return for the sequel, and Jolie’s involvement will hinge on how Johnston’s script turns out. It’s clear, though, that Columbia is keen on getting this follow-up going.
Columbia Pictures has picked up U.S. distribution rights to Moneyball director Bennett Miller’s real life drama Foxcatcher. The film tells the true story of John du Pont, a paranoid schizophrenic who built a wrestling training facility on his 800-acre Pennsylvania estate where he subsequently shot and killed Olympic gold medal-winning wrestler David Schultz in 1996. Heir to his family’s chemical fortune, du Pont locked himself in his mansion for two days after murdering his friend, and spent the time on the phone with negotiators.
The swell ensemble cast includes Steve Carell as du Pont and Mark Ruffalo as Schultz, as well as Channing Tatum, Sienna Miller, and Anthony Michael Hall. Today’s announcement adds that Vanessa Redgrave has also joined the cast, making for one hell of an ensemble. Production is underway in anticipation of a Fall 2013 release. Given how great Miller’s past two efforts have been (Moneyball and Capote), it’s safe to assume that Foxcatcher will likely be an awards contender. Hit the jump to read the full press release.
We’re currently more than halfway through 2012, and 21 Jump Street remains one of the best and most entertaining films of the year. Though those who had seen directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller‘s Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs had high hopes for the film, a lot of moviegoers were caught off guard by just how great 21 Jump Street was. Miller and Lord’s offbeat sense of humor was buoyed by a smart script and hilarious performances from Jonah Hill and, yes, Channing Tatum. It’s an all-around great time at the movies, and naturally audiences were left wanting more.
Columbia Pictures President Doug Belgrad recently confirmed that the 21 Jump Street sequel was in development, but he confused quite a few people by saying that production would begin this fall, even though there’s no finished script and no director(s) firmly attached. Steve recently got to speak with Hill during the press day for the upcoming sci-fi comedy The Watch, and the actor set the record straight regarding the status of the follow-up. Hit the jump to see what he had to say.
As Columbia Pictures continues to develop its adaptation of the horror series Goosebumps, they’re set to go back to the drawing board. The project has seen a number of writers take a crack at the script (including Carl Ellsworth), but now Heat Vision reports that Darren Lemke is coming aboard to start fresh. Lemke wrote the spec script for Jack the Giant Killer, which Bryan Singer directed and is set to open this summer. The scribe also wrote a re-imagining of The Nutcracker and worked on Shrek Forever After.
If you’re unfamiliar with the book series, author R.L. Stine wrote over 50 books under the Goosebumps moniker that successfully gave me night terrors throughout the early-mid 90s (who am I kidding, Say Cheese and Die still haunts me to this day). There’s no word on what kind of story Columbia is looking for, but seeing as how Lemke is starting from scratch, I’m willing to bet they’re not entirely sure either. To get an idea of what a live-action Goosebumps looks like, hit the jump for a couple clips from the 90s TV series. Beware of terrifying cheese…
Pineapple Express director David Gordon Green has been set to write and direct an adaptation of Evan Mandery’s novel Q for Columbia Pictures. The novel centers on a man who is visited by a future version of himself who tells him not to marry the love of his life. He acquiesces, but then spends the rest of his life trying to undo his decision all while more future selves try to thwart his plans. THR describes the film’s tone as It’s a Wonderful Life “with a combination of romance, comedy, and drama.” Matt Tolmach is producing alongside Pouya Shahbazian.
I never got around to seeing Your Highness but I’m a huge fan of Pineapple Express. While the director is best known for his recent comedies, he made a name for himself with dramas like George Washington and All the Real Girls. Green’s latest directorial effort, the Jonah Hill comedy The Sitter, opens next month. Hit the jump to read a synopsis of the novel Q.
If you’ve been waiting with bated breath for a film version of Hasbro’s never-ending board game Risk, well today’s your day. Columbia Pictures has tapped John Hlavin (Underworld: New Dawn) to pen the screenplay for the adaptation of the strategy game. Risky Business reports that the film version will be an action thriller set in modern day. I’m not entirely sure how a film can be resemble the game, unless you cut-away from battle scenes set on Earth to giants in space moving pieces around and yelling at each other over accusations of cheating. That’s a movie I would see. Hlavin wrote a couple of episodes of FX’s The Shield and also penned the Western revenge thriller The Gunslinger which James Mangold is directing.
Columbia Pictures has acquired domestic rights to Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal’s (The Hurt Locker) next movie, which has the working title Kill Bin Laden. The press release says, “the film focuses on the black ops mission to capture or kill Osama bin Laden, which culminated in his death earlier this month during a high-stakes raid on his compound in Pakistan. Bigelow and Boal have been developing the project since 2008 and plan to incorporate recent events into the film.”
We knew the project was moving forward because Joel Edgerton was recently cast as one of the special operatives. However, the press release says they’re going to start filming this summer and it’ll be released in late 2012. As one of the many who thought The Hurt Locker was a brilliant movie that not enough people got to see, I’m happy that Bigelow and Boal’s next release will be everywhere. Hit the jump for the full press release which has some quotes.
When it comes to prestige pictures, producer Scott Rudin is a heavy-hitter. His credits include No Country for Old Men, The Royal Tenenbaums, and last year’s Best Picture nominees The Social Network and True Grit. Now he’s optioned an intriguing New York Magazine article, “The Terrorist Search Engine” about Evan Kohlmann, who was once dubbed by an FBI agent “The Doogie Howser of Terrorism”. Kohlmann, who is a government expert witness in terrorism cases due to his extensive study of jihad particularly in terms of how it relates to the Internet, has become a controversial figure because testifying has become his primary source of income.
Vulture reports that Rudin has taken the project to Sony’s Columbia Pictures and that the film is being set up as a starring vehicle for Jesse Eisenberg. However, Eisenberg is waiting to see a script before making a commitment.
Columbia Pictures has acquired the rights to what is quite possibly the greatest book title ever conceived. Joshua Foer’s best-selling non-fiction novel Moonwalking With Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything delves into the intracicies of memory, framed around Foer attending the U.S. Memory Championship. THR reports that Columbia has optioned the rights for Matt Tolmach (The Amazing Spider-Man) to produce. Columbia president Doug Belgrad has this to say regarding the acquisition:
“This is a very special book which transcends the already fascinating subject of memory. By explaining in personal and entertaining fashion a great deal about how our brains work, Joshua has written a book that sheds light on how memory is connected to humanity.”
The book documents fascinating memory stories, including a man whose memory extends only to his last thought and an individual who can memorize the exact order of 1,528 digits in an hour. Though one wonders how the tome will translate into a fictional narrative, it’s possible that Foer’s narration could turn him into the lead character. Hit the jump for a synopsis of the book.
Adam Sandler is in talks to play Andy Samberg’s father in I Hate You Dad though less than twelve years separate their ages in real life. According to THR, “The story centers on a father who moves in on the eve of his son’s wedding and promptly begins feuding with the bride-to-be.” Columbia Pictures first picked up the project in August 2008 from a script by David Caspe that has since been rewritten by David Wain and Ken Marino (Role Models).
I Hate You Dad is one of several possible starring vehicles for Sandler including Narco, The $40,000 Man, and Valet Guys with Kevin James. Sandler will next be seen in Just Go With It opposite Jennifer Aniston (February 11th), followed by Jack and Jill opposite Adam Sandler in drag later in the year. Samberg has supporting roles in the upcoming big screen comedies Friends With Benefits and What’s Your Number.
With all due respect to Kevin James, Samberg/Sandler is a more exciting comedic prospect if only thanks to the novelty. And that’s before you factor in the invigorating potential of a script from Wain and Marino.
The Social Network is currently the frontrunner in the Oscar race as it’s racked up victories from a wide variety of critics’ groups, individual critics, and publications. However, Sony Pictures is continuing to do everything in its power to push the film’s popularity. In addition to the film making it’s debut on DVD and Blu-ray on Tuesday (three months and eleven days since it was first released in theaters), the studio will be re-releasing the film back into 600 theaters this Friday. In the January doldrums, that’s not a bad strategy and Deadline predicts that the release will push the film over the $200 million mark worldwide.
If The Social Network does win Best Picture, it will be the first victory for Sony’s Columbia Pictures since 1988.