Book to Screen: THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PART 1 Is Better than the Book

by     Posted 25 days ago


If you’ve read the third book of Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games trilogy, you’re well aware that Mockingjay has problems and is undoubtedly the most difficult book of the series to bring to screen.  Whereas The Hunger Games and Catching Fire had the benefit of following the clear-cut chain of events involved in the Hunger Games, Mockingjay is more of a free-for-all.  Katniss is holed up in District 13, the Hunger Games are a thing of the past and now it’s just about the rebels trying to figure out how to get an edge on President Snow and the Capitol.  There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that narrative, but for folks who’ve enjoyed the spectacle and structure of the Hunger Games, Mockingjay could be a serious adjustment.

The same is true of the first half of Francis Lawrence’s big screen rendition, but it’s an adjustment worth making.  Minus the familiar faces and settings, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 bears little resemblance to its predecessors, but Lawrence and co. made a number of changes that make the film version far more accessible than the book.  [Please Note: This article contains spoilers for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1, but there is no discussion of what’s to come in Part 2.]

CHEAP THRILLS’ E.L. Katz Set to Direct YOU’LL BE THE DEATH OF ME for Lionsgate

by     Posted 29 days ago


Don’t know who E.L. Katz is?  It’s probably because you haven’t seen the movie Cheap Thrills and if that’s the case, you’re missing out on one of the best horror movies of the year.  The film didn’t get much of a theatrical run, but apparently someone noticed Katz is top-notch talent because he just scored a new directing gig, a comedy thriller called You’ll Be the Death of Me.

Lionsgate and Mandeville Films are behind the endeavor with Two Night Stand’s Mark Hammer set to pen the script.  Hit the jump for more on You’ll Be the Death of Me and to check out what Katz is capable of.

Brad Pitt to Produce Sci-Fi Thriller ALPHA from ROBOPOCALYPSE Author

by     Posted 30 days ago


Though author Daniel H. Wilson’s novel Robopocalypse came super close to being a Steven Spielberg movie (which he may or may not still make), another idea of his is now poised to come to the big screen via Brad PittTHR reports that Lionsgate has picked up the sci-fi thriller Alpha, based on an original idea by Wilson, with Pitt set to produce alongside his Plan B partners Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner.  Plot details are under wraps, but the film is a sci-fi survival story “that has shades” of White Fang author Jack London.  Wilson will write the screenplay based on his own idea, and newcomer Anthony Scott Burns is set to make his feature directorial debut with the project.  Burns’ pitch for the film apparently involved a fake commercial for a fictional company that is central to the story.  More after the jump.

Paul Schrader, Nicolas Cage, Anton Yelchin and Nicholas Winding Refn Fight Against This DYING OF THE LIGHT Trailer

by     Posted 65 days ago


Interesting story with this one.  Paul Schrader, who wrote Taxi Driver (a classic) and recently conspired with Bret Easton Ellis to bring us The Canyons (by most counts not a classic) has a new movie coming out called Dying of the Light.  Only he’s not too thrilled about the way it turned out. Nor are his stars Nicolas Cage and Anton Yelchin.  Nor is executive producer Nicolas Winding Refn (who was supposed to direct this a few years back with Harrison Ford in the lead role).

Apparently Schrader was locked out of the editing room on the film and the movie that’s being prepped for release is not his vision.  Contractually he is forbidden to trash the movie given a non-disparagement clause in his contract, but he found a nifty way out of that and a way to get his message across.  Hit the jump for the Dying of the Light trailer and to learn more about the controversy at hand.  The film gets a limited release on December 5th. 

Arnold Schwarzenegger Zombie Movie MAGGIE Acquired by Lionsgate for Early 2015 Release; Will Now Skip TIFF

by     Posted 116 days ago


One of the more offbeat movies that was poised to premiere at the upcoming Toronto International Film Festival was Maggie, which stars Arnold Schwarzenegger as a father who struggles to come to terms with the fact that his daughter (Abigail Breslin) is slowly becoming a zombie.  I say “was” because Lionsgate announced today that it has acquired distribution rights to the film and, per THR, will be pulling it out of TIFF.  Instead of debuting at the festival, the studio has set a Maggie release date for early 2015, though a specific theatrical bow has not yet been determined.  It’s a bit of an odd move to pull the film out of TIFF, and not exactly a great sign if Lionsgate wants to control the flow of reviews for the pic.

The Black List script was penned by John Scott 3 and directed by Henry Hobson, with Joely Richardson taking on a supporting role in the film.  Read the full press release regarding the acquisition after the jump.

POWER RANGERS Movie Release Date Set for July 22, 2016; Official Synopsis Revealed

by     Posted 129 days ago


Lionsgate has set the Power Rangers movie release date for July 22, 2016, officially scheduling morphin’ time for just over two years from now.  The film doesn’t yet have a director let alone a cast, but X-Men: First Class screenwriters Ashley Miller and Zack Stentz were tasked with penning the script a month ago, and Roberto Orci (Star Trek) boarded the project as executive producer.  Story details are non-existent at this point, but Orci recently revealed that Power Rangers is not a “leave it behind reboot”, adding that the film will exist in continuity with the TV series.  The question then is, which TV series?  Power Rangers began in 1993 on Fox and has aired a total of 20 seasons thus far, going through a number of different incarnations of the core Rangers.

On the July 2016 date, Power Rangers will open directly opposite Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur film for Warner Bros. and a week after the next Bourne film.  With the clock now running, we should hear word on a director for the project in the coming months.  Read the official synopsis after the jump which, unsurprisingly, puts the fate of the world in the Rangers’ hands.

Rodrigo Cortes to Direct DOWN A DARK HALL; Lionsgate Acquires Supernatural Drama Produced by Stephenie Meyer

by     Posted 143 days ago

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Lionsgate has acquired the suspense thriller Down a Dark Hall and set Rodrigo Cortes (Buried) to direct.  The young adult novel by Lois Duncan centers on Kit, a new student at Blackwood Boarding School: “It is the opportunity of a lifetime, but Kit quickly realizes something strange is happening behind its walls as she confronts the darkly seductive powers of Blackwood’s headmistress and comes face to face with the supernatural powers that could make her great or destroy her.”  Michael Goldbach (Daydream Nation) adapted the first draft—Chris Sparling (Buried) has joined the team for additional writing.

Stephenie Meyer, Meghan Hibbett, Wyck Godfrey, and Marty Bowen will produce Down a Dark Hall.  Check out the press release for more details after the break.

THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PART 1 Trailer to Debut on Galaxy Tab S at Comic-Con

by     Posted 155 days ago


In a unique bit of marketing, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 trailer will premiere on the Galaxy Tab S at Comic-Con on Friday, July 25th at 12:00pm PT.  Cast members (TBA) will introduce the trailer on the Galaxy Tab S in the Capitol Gallery located in the Samsung Galaxy Experience in San Diego (in the Hard Rock Hotel, corner of 5th and L Streets).  It should be noted that there is no Hunger Games panel this year.  They could have played the trailer on a gigantic screen in Hall H.  Instead, it will premiere on a screen that’s 8.4 inches wide.

Hit the jump for how you can see a preview of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 trailer if you’re not at Comic-Con, what you can get from “The Hunger Games Movie Pack” app, and even how to get a free ticket to see the film.  The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 opens November 21st.

POWER RANGERS Movie to Be Written by X-MEN: FIRST CLASS Scribes Ashley Miller and Zack Stenz; Roberto Orci to Executive Produce

by     Posted 158 days ago


The Power Rangers movie is gaining some steam, as Lionsgate and Saban have enlisted a pair of screenwriters to put pen to paper.  Heat Vision reports that X-Men: First Class scribes Ashley Miller and Zack Stentz will pen the screenplay for Power Rangers, while studio favorite Roberto Orci has boarded the pic as an executive producer.  In addition to First Class, Miller and Stentz also wrote Marvel’s Thor and worked on the TV series Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and Fringe, the latter of which was also produced by Orci.  It’s unclear what this new Power Rangers movie will entail, but it’s planned as a complete reinvention of the property.  Hit the jump for more, including just how much involvement Orci will have with the film.

Emma Watson and Miles Teller May Go Musical for LA LA LAND; Lupita Nyong’o to Lead AMERICANAH; Ike Barinholtz Joins THE NEST

by     Posted 198 days ago


A couple of interesting casting announcements have surfaced.  First up, director Damien Chazelle—whose dark music-centric drama Whiplash drew raves at Sundance earlier this year—is putting together his next project.  Whiplash, a film about the relationship between aspiring jazz drummer (Miles Teller) and his ruthless instructor (J.K. Simmons), marked Chazelle’s feature debut, and it appears that he wants to stay in the music realm for his follow-up.  The Wrap reports that Miles Teller is in early talks to reteam with Chazelle on the musical La La Land, with Emma Watson in talks to tackle the female lead.  The story follows a lonely, aspiring actress and a cocky, charismatic jazz pianist who fall in love in Los Angeles.  However, they are soon faced with the stiff challenge of navigating a relationship in the cutthroat climate of L.A.

Hit the jump for more on La La Land and news regarding a new Lupita Nyong’o project and a Neighbors standout landing the lead in the new Tina Fey/Amy Poehler film.

Lionsgate Launching THE HUNGER GAMES Touring Exhibit in Summer 2015

by     Posted 204 days ago


When director Gary Ross’ adaptation of The Hunger Games opened in March 2012, few could have predicted just how successful the film would be.  Even after the pic garnered overwhelmingly positive reviews and grossed nearly $700 million at the box office, many still figured the sequel would fall short.  Alas, director Francis Lawrence’s follow-up The Hunger Games: Catching Fire surpassed the original in many ways (including box office), and now The Hunger Games stands—almost defiantly—as one of the most popular franchises around.  All good things must come to an end, though, and while there are still two films left to go (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Parts 1 & 2 open November 2014 and November 2015), Lionsgate is keen on milking the series for all its worth before its conclusion.

The studio has announced today that, somewhat anachronistically, they will be launching The Hunger Games: The Exhibition in 2015, a touring exhibit that offers fans a behind-the-scenes look at the world of the film.  Hit the jump for more.

Johnny Depp in Talks to Play Houdini in THE SECRET LIFE OF HOUDINI

by     Posted 207 days ago


Though Johnny Depp is currently deep in production on a film about famed crime boss Whitey Bulger, Black Mass, he may soon be adding another historical figure to his resume.  THR reports that the actor is negotiations to take on the title role in Lionsgate/Summit’s long-gestating adaptation of authors William Kalush and Larry Sloman’s book The Secret Life of Houdini: The Making of America’s First Superhero.  The project has been in the works for years and paints the famous magician as an Indiana Jones-type who, while not performing feats of escape, spends his time investigating the world of the occult.  Hit the jump for more, including clarity on Depp’s upcoming slate.


by     Posted 224 days ago


Now available via On Demand and iTunes, and in limited theaters June 6th, is writer/director Ti West‘s The Sacrament. I wrote about my anticipation for the film a few months ago and I finally got the chance to check it out last night. For those unaware, the pic utilizes the found footage conceit to immerse viewers in a story akin to that of the Jonestown Massacre of 1978. West fans will likely note how the found footage approach and the emphasis on psychological terror over more conventional scares set The Sacrament apart from the filmmaker’s previous work. In spite of those differences, it utilizes the same slow burn before all hell breaks loose in the final act approach employed by The House of the Devil and The Innkeepers to great effect. Anchored by fantastic pacing and a mesmerizing performance from Gene Jones as the sect’s leader “Father”, the result is West’s most disturbing and lingering film to date.

In addition to a wholehearted recommendation for The Sacrament, this week’s Top 5 also features our review of and interviews for Neighbors, the new trailer for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, the first trailer for Fox’s Gotham, word of a new live-action Power Rangers film, and an excellent red-band trailer for Bong Joon-ho‘s Snowpiercer. Discover a brief recap and link to each of the above after the jump.

Lionsgate and Saban to Develop New Live-Action POWER RANGERS Movie

by     Posted 227 days ago


And the nostalgia keeps on coming.  Mighty Morphin Power Rangers debuted in 1993, and now that it’s a little over twenty years later, those ten-year-olds are now thirty-year-olds who probably want a piece of their childhood back.  Lionsgate and Saban are going to be more than happy to give it to them in the form of a new live-action film.  For those who never watched the show (and I only saw its original incarnation), it’s about a giant floating head that bestows five teenagers with special powers that allow them to morph into brightly-colored rangers who fight evil aliens.  The episodes always end by ripping off Voltron as each ranger pilots an animal vehicle, and then the vehicles combine to make a really big vehicle that defeats a really big enemy.  It’s a kids’ show, people.

The series is still on the air (the titles keep changing, and now it’s called “Power Rangers Megaforce“) and there have been three movies, but now Lionsgate and Saban want to create a new, live-action feature film.  Hit the jump for more.

Lionsgate Splitting Adaptation of Final DIVERGENT Book, ALLEGIANT, into Two Parts

by     Posted 253 days ago


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.

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