This is what Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows has wrought. From now on, the final chapter of every major franchise will be split in two. Mark my words: Eventually the adaptation of the final book in a trilogy will be split into thirds. Xzibit will have to appear before every franchise and say, “I heard you like trilogies so I put a trilogy inside your trilogy.” The latest franchise to get the split treatment is Allegiant, the final book in the Divergent trilogy. It’s not a surprising move. Lionsgate split the final Twilight book—Breaking Dawn—into two parts and they’re doing the same thing with Mockingjay, the finale of the Hunger Games series. You have to milk these franchises for all their worth even though I have yet to hear a single good thing about Allegiant.
Hit the jump for the press release regarding the Allegiant movie split. The next installment, Insurgent will open on March 20, 2015. Allegiant – Part 1 will be released March 18, 2016 and Allegiant – Part 2 will open on March 24, 2017.
One of my favorite films I saw at this year’s Sundance Film Festival took me completely by surprise in the best way possible, and now you too will be able to enjoy the delightful wickedness of director Marjane Satrapi’s (Persepolis) dark comedy The Voices. Lionsgate has acquired US distribution for the pic, which stars Ryan Reynolds as a loveable psychopath who converses with his dog, cat, and other disembodied parts in his droll apartment. As I said in my review, Reynolds is positively stellar in the lead role and Satrapi mesmerizes as she takes us inside the mind of one twisted individual, basking in all of the colorful eccentricities of his point of view.
No details are given as to when Lionsgate will release The Voices, but the studio feels like a smart fit for the genre-bending pic. The film also stars Gemma Arterton, Anna Kendrick, and Jacki Weaver in supporting roles. Read the full press release after the jump.
With only two installments left in the highly lucrative Hunger Games series, Lionsgate/Summit is continuing to mine YA properties for feature film fare, and now Heat Vision reports that Lionsgate has tapped Catfish directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman to direct an adaptation of the Jeanne Ryan novel Nerve. The story revolves around a high school senior who takes part in a global online game of truth or dare that plays out as “watchers” vote and comment (with her fate left to internet commenters, what could possibly go wrong?). As the game escalates and the girl advances higher and higher, she finds herself in grave danger.
Joost and Schulman followed up the provocative Catfishwith Paranormal Activity 3 and Paranormal Activity 4, but they’re currently in pre-production on an untitled thriller for Blumhouse so Nerve likely won’t be their next film. That being said, this certainly feels like a solid fit between director and material, so it’ll be interesting to see what they put together. Jessica Sharzer (American Horror Story) penned the script for the adaptation. Read the synopsis for the novel after the jump.
David S. Goyer has set up his next directorial effort, but it won’t be a DC Comics property and it won’t be at Warner Bros. Heat Vision reports that Goyer will helm an adaptation of the Patrick Lee novel The Breach for Lionsgate, which is an action-thriller that follows a former cop and ex-convict who stumbles across a crashed 747 and a mysterious artifact that will determine the fate of the future. Goyer has been developing this project for some time with producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura, but it now looks to be moving forward fairly quickly.
Goyer originated the take on Superman that resulted in Man of Steel and penned the screenplay for the film, and he’s been seen as the man steering some of WB’s DC Comics adaptations. He wrote the script for the untitled Man of Steel follow-up involving Batman and Superman, but the project recently enlisted Oscar-winning Argo scribe Chris Terrio to do further work on the script. Hit the jump for more on the project and Goyer’s current slate.
I enjoyed Ender’s Game, and while the film met predictions at the box office on opening weekend, the true expectation of any potential franchise is to absolutely dominate. Lionsgate, the studio behind Ender’s Game, didn’t get that dominant box office performance, and now they’re mulling over whether or not they should pursue a sequel. According to Variety, Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer told analysts that the studio will “wait another week or two” before it decides whether to make another film based on the Orson Scott Card series of 13 novels (novels that are much weirder than the original book). This isn’t an encouraging sign since Lionsgate is making its decision made based on perception rather than reality. The film’s true financial success will be measure in ancillary revenues like home entertainment sales and TV rights.
However, even if Lionsgate decides to pass on a sequel, they might not give up on the property entirely. Feltheimer says they’re also considering a TV spinoff. I assume in order to save money, the characters will always decide they’re not up for a game in the battle room.
Today in theme park news (very weird to write that), we have a couple stories to report. First up, Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger recently talked about Star Wars. In addition to saying they decided to release Star Wars: Episode VII in December 2015 to give the filmmakers more time (neglecting to mention that the studio refused a 2016 date), he also spoke about the company’s theme park plans. Unsurprisingly, fans should expect more Star Wars attractions at Disney’s domestic theme parks as wells as the studio’s parks in Paris, Tokyo, and possibly Hong Kong. I look forward to the ride where they reveal your biological father.
Hit the jump to learn about Lionsgate possibly getting into the theme park business with the Hunger Games franchise.
We’ve got a number of exciting acquisitions to report on this afternoon from the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival. Briefly:
- The F Word – This fantastic relationship comedy from Goon director Michael Dowse stars Daniel Radcliffe as a young man who strikes up a close relationship with a girl (Zoe Kazan) who has a boyfriend (Rafe Spall). It was one of my favorite films from TIFF this year and CBS Films has acquired US rights to the pic. Read Matt’s review here.
- The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: His/Hers – The ambitious two-part feature about a relationship between James McAvoy and Jessica Chastain is told from each partner’s point of view in two separate portions, and The Weinstein Company is now acquiring the U.S. rights to the Ned Benson-directed 190-minute pic per Deadline.
- The Railway Man – The Weinstein Company is also acquiring (per THR) this war/post-war drama starring Colin Firth as a former POW suffering from PTSD who attempts to reconcile the events of his capture. The pic as a whole never really comes together, but Jeremy Irvine stands out in flashbacks. Read my review here.
- Life of Crime – Deadline also repots that Lionsage and Roadside Attractions are nearing a deal for this Elmore Leonard adaptation starring Jennifer Aniston, Yasiin Bey, and John Hawkes.
Hit the jump for more details in the full press releases.
One of the biggest box office surprises of 2013 thus far has been director Louis Leterrier’s magician heist pic Now You See Me. The $75 million film went on to gross $115.6 million domestically, and it’s international total now stands at $119.3. When you consider that some major studio tentpoles (ahem The Lone Ranger) have failed to cross the $100 million mark stateside, that is an incredibly impressive performance; obviously this means it’s time to make a sequel. THR reports that Lionsgate and Summit are moving forward with a follow-up film, with production currently “penciled in” for 2014. Should that plan stick, we could expect to possibly see Now You See Me 2 hit theaters in 2015. Hit the jump for more.
While Orson Scott Card’s award-winning sci-fi novel Ender’s Game continues to be beloved around the world (and a favorite of yours truly), Card’s own outspoken anti-homosexual beliefs have resulted in a planned boycott of Lionsgate’s upcoming movie adaptation. The situation is unfortunate on a number of levels, Card’s lack of human decency aside. Fans of the novel have been waiting to see Ender’s Game on the big screen for years, but now face a moral quandary over whether or not they want their hard-earned money to line the pockets of a bigot. Members of the LGBT community may now forever associate the story of Ender’s Game with the misguided hatred of its author. On a studio level, Lionsgate is attempting to distance their picture from the author and has released a statement in the hopes of getting back in the good graces of all movie-goers. Hit the jump to see what they have to say.
I was a little surprised when The Hunger Games didn’t make an appearance at Comic-Con 2011. It was Lionsgate’s most expensive film to date, and it would have drawn a huge crowd. Regardless, it was a huge hit, but now the studio will bring the highly-anticipated sequel to this year’s San Diego Comic-Con along with I, Frankenstein. Both panels will be on Saturday, July 20th with the Hunger Games panel bringing an exclusive new trailer, and I, Frankenstein showing off new footage (and it will probably be the first footage, since we’ve seen nothing from the movie thus far). The press release doesn’t mention specifically the talent that will be on the panels, but fans can submit questions to the Facebook pages for Hunger Games, I, Frankenstein, and Fandango (the site’s Dave Karger will be moderating the panels). I’m 99% sure the Lionsgate panel will be in Hall H, and if Marvel chooses to have their panel on the same day, which they probably will, you should probably just start camping out now.
Hit the jump for the press release. The 2013 San Diego Comic-Con runs from July 18 – 21st. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire opens November 22nd. I, Frankenstein opens January 24, 2014.
We’ve got release date news concerning two upcoming Sylvester Stallone action films to share. First up, Lionsgate has solidified an August 15, 2014 release date for the sequel The Expendables 3. We recently learned that Red Hill director Patrick Hughes has been tapped to helm the follow-up, and Jackie Chan, Nicolas Cage, Wesley Snipes, and Milla Jovovich are all confirmed to be appearing alongside Sylvester Stallone and company. The pic currently has that late summer release date all to itself, and filming will likely get underway later this year.
Additionally, Summit has pushed the Stallone/Arnold Schwarzenegger prison break film Escape Plan back from September 13th to October 18th of this year. The film will now face off against the horror remake Carrie, the Jeff Bridges-fronted fantasy pic The Seventh Son, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt directorial debut Don Jon.
[Update: Additionally, Universal has now announced that the Liam Neeson-fronted airplane thriller Non-Stop will open on February 28, 2014.]
The Cannes Film Festival, like most major film festivals, is where studios deal behind the scenes to acquire films, although Cannes has the added touch of also packaging movies (which is why we’ve seen so many casting stories) and selling existing properties to foreign buyers. Lionsgate managed to sell nine of their movies, and their press release contains brief synopses for each of the films. Some confirm what we already know, some provide new information, and some are Step Up 5 (“Fifth installment of Summit Entertainment’s successful STEP UP franchise”).
Hit the jump for the synopses as well as the cast and above-the-line crew.
Olivia Wilde and Mark Duplass are set to team up for a new thriller set within the world of medicine. Variety reports that Wilde and Duplass will lead Lionsgate’s Reawakening, which “follows a team of research students that discovers the secret to bringing subjects back from the dead—however, their actions result in a series of sinister consequences.” So it’s kind of like a horror film version of Flatliners with more dead people. Jiro Dreams of Sushi director David Gelb will be taking the helm, with Luke Dawson and Jeremy Slater handling scripting duties.
Horror guru Jason Blum—who is behind the Paranormal Activity series, Sinister, and a number of other spooktacular films from the past few years—will produce the pic through his Blumhouse banner. The incredibly busy Duplass recently committed to starring in an HBO comedy pilot that he and his brother Jay Duplass created, and Wilde will be seen later this year in Ron Howard’s F1 racing drama Rush.
One of the more widely-praised festival hits from the past few years is director Adam Wingard’s horror film You’re Next. Matt had very positive things to say about the pic in his review from the 2011 Toronto Film Festival, and now Lionsgate has finally slated the film for release later this year. The story centers on a family reunion that turns deadly when the family becomes targeted by murderers sporting some incredibly creepy animal masks. The studio released a fantastic first trailer for the pic last month, and it now looks like they’re taking their marketing campaign to the streets. Hit the jump to see images of You’re Next‘s poster takeover.
Lionsgate has announced a couple of minor developments for two of their upcoming films. During an analyst call earlier today (via THR), Lionsage’s Motion Picture Group co-chairman Rob Friedman revealed that the upcoming graphic novel adaptation I, Frankenstein will be released in 3D. As writer/director Stuart Beattie’s adaptation wasn’t filmed in the format, this is presumably a post-conversion. Aaron Eckhart stars as the titular monster living in the present day who is being hunted by demons that want to learn the secret of his creation. The pic’s release was recently moved from this February to September 13th, which now makes sense with the news that it’s getting a 3D conversion.
Additionally, it was revealed that director Gavin Hood’s anticipated sci-fi adaptation Ender’s Game will be released in the IMAX format when it hits theaters on November 1st. Fans of a the film will have just a few weeks to catch the pic on the big, big screen, as Lionsgate’s sure-to-be-massive sequel The Hunger Games: Catching Fire will also be released in the IMAX format later that month.