The best thing I can say about director Jose Padilha‘s RoboCop remake is that, for better or worse, it tries to do its own thing. It makes an honest attempt at updating the scathing social critique of the original to fit within our immediate corporate and political landscape and I respect it for that. The most condemning thing I can say about the film is that I found it painfully boring. Aside from the original music playing over the opening title card and watching Samuel L. Jackson‘s spot-on depiction of the pure theater that cable television sells as honest political discourse, I rarely mustered so much as a grin throughout the film’s 108 minutes. To be fair, I don’t envy anyone who is tasked with making a PG-13 reimagining of Paul Verhoeven‘s subversive classic. It’s like Verhoeven was allowed to work with a sledgehammer and Padilha was asked to make due with a Q-tip. It was never a fair fight to begin with.
Opening thoughts aside, we’ll talk more about the RoboCop remake in this week’s Top 5 including an official review and interviews for the film. We’ll also cover the new trailer for Wally Pfister‘s directorial debut Transcendence, Paramount’s decision to release Darren Aronofsky‘s cut of Noah to theaters, the first trailer for Melissa McCarthy‘s Tammy, and a trailer for the excellent looking doc Jodorowsky’s Dune. As is so often the case, a brief recap and link to each of the above can be found after the jump.
Matt was pretty critical of Disney’s recent decision to rush a 3D post-conversion of Need for Speed, but conceded, “While the domestic demand for 3D has died down over the past couple of years, it’s currently fueling international sales, so we have to keep putting up with it.” Paramount may have found a way to have its cake and eat it too. The studio is reportedly spending $10 million to create a 3D version of Darren Aronofsky‘s biblical epic Noah for 65 international markets. However, the studio will distribute Noah exclusively in 2D in the U.S, the U.K., Australia, and France.
Hit the jump for more on the logic behind the decision. [Update: We added a new international poster after the jump.]
With an Oscar nod for Best Documentary under its belt and Matt having named it his favorite film of 2013, the last thing Joshua Oppenheimer‘s The Act of Killing needs is an endorsement from me. And yet, here it is. I watched the film on Netflix several weeks ago and, to be honest, I’m still having trouble coming to grips with it. It’s the most the surreal and disturbing look at human atrocity I’ve seen and the more I think about its subjects and overall approach, the more I’m in awe of the fact that it exists. I drown in hyperbole when thinking of words to describe it because it’s so profound that calling it a “good film” seems not like an understatement but a complete inaccuracy. The Act of Killing is not a “good film”, it’s a stunning work of humanity that makes awards, critical reception, the sentence I’m typing at this very moment, etc., seem absolutely trivial.
Speaking of trivial, in what may go down as one of the worst segues in Collider history, I’ll now attempt to jump into this week’s Top 5. Highlighted today is Jesse Eisenberg and Jeremy Irons joining Zack Snyder‘s Batman vs. Superman, Steve’s Neighbors set visit coverage, the first trailer for The Fault in Our Stars, Christopher Nolan‘s Interstellar being exempt from Paramount’s digital mandate, and the first trailer for Seth MacFarlane‘s A Million Ways to Die in the West. Keep reading for a brief recap and link to each of the above.
Paramount Pictures reportedly won a bidding war for the rights to Neal Bascomb‘s non-fiction book proposal Sabotage. (Full title: Sabotage: A Genius Scientist, His Band of Young Commandos, and the Mission to Kill Hitler’s Super Bomb.) The Wrap reports Michael Bay will produce and is eying the project as a potential directing vehicle.
Nascomb wants to retell the heroic tale as an action thriller that would suit a Bay production. The story centers on a group of Norwegian refugee commandos who infiltrate Nazi territory to sabotage Hitler’s secret nuclear program. More after the jump.
Two weeks ago, we reported that Paramount was considering bumping Martin Scorsese’s potential awards-contender The Wolf of Wall Street to 2014 because it wouldn’t be finished in time for this year. The story is based on Jordan Belfort’s memoir about his corrupt business dealings on Wall Street and indulgence in sex, drugs, and all the other pleasures money can buy. The film hasn’t officially budged from its November 15th release date, and reports said that Scorsese was hard at work trying to whittle down a massive first cut. However, the November 15th date is highly unlikely because Paramount would only have a month to market the movie. However, a December 25th release is in the cards, and now it’s looking like Scorsese will be able to make that date.
Hit the jump for more. The Wolf of Wall Street stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Kyle Chandler, Matthew McConaughey, Jean Dujardin, Margot Robbie, Jon Bernthal, and Rob Reiner.
Christopher Nolan shot 28 minutes of The Dark Knight with IMAX cameras. He followed with 72 minutes of IMAX footage for The Dark Knight Rises. We learned with the release date announcement that his next project, Interstellar, is destined for IMAX. At CinemaCon tonight, Greg Foster, Chairman and President of IMAX Entertainment, revealed Nolan will shoot a significant portion of Interstellar with IMAX cameras. I imagine Nolan wants to test the limits of the technology and film as much of this “heroic interstellar voyage to the furthest reaches of our scientific understanding” as possible in his ideal format. We will see if he can push it to 100 minutes or more this time around and—fingers crossed—shoot an entire feature film in IMAX in the near future.
In addition, IMAX announced Michael Bay will shoot selected scenes in Transformers 4 in IMAX. This is all part of Paramount’s five-picture deal with IMAX—the three remaining titles have yet to be announced. Hit the jump for the press release with the details.
Back in 2010, Zero Dark Thirty director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal were coming off their Oscar wins for The Hurt Locker, and turning their attention to the crime drama Triple Frontier (also known as Sleeping Dogs). The details of the plot were unknown, but the film was billed as an action-adventure set in a border zone of South America known as “la triple frontera”, a haven for organized crime. Tom Hanks was attached to play one of the leads, and other stars were rumored for the picture including Johnny Depp, Sean Penn, Denzel Washington, and Javier Bardem. The plan was to start filming in March 2011. But then Bigelow and Boal decided to hit pause, and do an indie thriller before Triple Frontier. It’s worth noting that Variety shot down a rumor that “the plot concerns the hunt for Osama Bin Laden,” even though that rumor ultimately turned out to be true. However, at that time the indie thriller was about losing Bin Laden in the Tora Bora Mountains; once he was killed, the script had to be updated.
So what happened with Triple Frontier? Hit the jump for more.
Three of Tinsel Town’s brightest stars are about to secure the dough to make their next motion pictures*:
- Sony Pictures and 20th Century Fox will team up to finance and distribute George Clooney‘s WWII-era art heist drama Monuments Men.
- Paramount Pictures closed a deal to acquire the T.S. Nowlin script Our Name Is Adam, with Tom Cruise attached to star as an astronaut who travels back in time and works with his younger self.
- Paramount is also eying Adam Sandler’s next comedy, an untitled project that Sandler will shoot after Grown Ups 2. [Update: Hit the jump for the title and info on Sandler's upcoming comedy.]
More on each project—including some surprise Bill Murray goodness—after the jump.
Just a day after reporting that Tom Cruise was circling the T.S. Nowlin sci-fi spec script, Our Name is Adam, Paramount appears to be in exclusive negotiations for the property. Sure to fetch a high price tag, the project could likely be another win for the studio and Cruise, who currently collaborate on the Mission: Impossible franchise and the upcoming film, Jack Reacher. Another recent winner for Paramount was the acquisition of Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street starring Leonardo DiCaprio. The studio plans to release the film in late 2013 to qualify for the awards season. But where there are winners, there must be losers. Hit the jump to read up on the status of Paramount’s Draft Day, starring Kevin Costner and directed by Ivan Reitman.
You now have a rough date to mark on your calendar for the return of Jack Ryan, in the movie tentatively titled (you’ll never guess) Jack Ryan. Deadline reports Paramount has scheduled the reboot for the fourth quarter of 2013, with the hope of kicking off a Jack Ryan trilogy led by Chris Pine, not to mention a spinoff that may star Tom Hardy as fellow spy John Clark. Kenneth Branagh will direct Jack Ryan and play the villain. Keira Knightley is the female lead, Jack’s wife Cathy. Kevin Costner recently accepted the role as the CIA liason to Jack Ryan and John Clark, which puts Costner in both Jack Ryan and the Clark-centric spinoff Without Remorse, and may even headline his own movie in due time.
But for now, let’s focus on Jack Ryan. Hit the jump for story details.
Adam McKay‘s feature directing career has always been for Will Ferrell comedies, but for the past several years, McKay has had his eye on adapting Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson‘s comic book series, The Boys. The comic centers on a group of special agents who are tasked with policing the world’s superheroes and villains by any means necessary. McKay wanted to make a $100 million hard-R anti-superhero movie, and that pitch tends to make studio executives choke, especially when the property isn’t already established with mainstream audiences. Earlier this year, Columbia passed on The Boys, which was disappointing but not too surprising.
Paramount was involved in two property acquisitions with high-profile producers today:
- Paramount teamed with J.J. Abrams‘ Bad Robot to option the nazi hunter spec script Wunderkind, written by Patrick Aison.
- The studio acquired the screen rights to Libba Bray‘s upcoming novel The Diviners. Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage will produce through their Fake Empire banner.
Hit the jump for details on both projects.
Before you even say it, “Yes, they’ll turn anything into a movie.” Variety reports that Paramount is in talks with Seinfeld writers Alec Berg and David Mandel to develop a movie based off Andrew Grantham‘s YouTube hit “Ultimate Dog Tease”. In the video, an owner taunts his dog with promises of food only to reveal that he has already eaten the meal. If that sound stupid and unfunny, that’s because it is. But it also racked up 93 million pageviews, so here we are. Paramount will develop the movie through its low-budget label, Insurge, which recently produced The Devil Inside.
In case your parents haven’t already forwarded it to you, hit the jump to check out the video.
Paramount and Bad Robot are teaming up once more for an untitled action pic, and they’ve settled on Brad Parker to take the helm. Variety reports that the Diary of Lawson Oxford director has been set to head up the untitled action pic which has J.J. Abrams, Matt Reeves, and Bryan Burk onboard to produce. Plot details are under wraps, but Michael Gilio (Carter Beats the Devil) wrote the script. Parker made his feature directorial debut with the The Diary of Lawson Oxford, a horror film produced by Paranormal Activity helmer Oren Peli. The pic stars Jesse McCartney and is due out sometime next year.
Parker has a rapport with Reeves, as he served as second-unit director on the remake Let Me In. He began a successful career directing commercials in the 1990s, working on spots for Nike, Nintendo, and Sony. Bad Robot most recently produced the super-successful Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, and is gearing up for production start on Abrams’ sequel to Star Trek.
Despite lacking an official script, director, or cast, Paranormal Activity 4 is set to open in theaters a mere nine months from now. We first learned that Paramount was planning to release a new entry in the ever-popular franchise this year a few days ago, and today the studio is quick to announce that an official release date has been set for October 19th (per THR). The quick turnaround shouldn’t be a problem for the studio though, as last October’s Paranormal Activity 3 was made for just $5 million and didn’t begin production until June. The series is quickly becoming the new Saw, and Paramount is surely very happy with the small budget/big box office model that’s been working so far.
On the 19th the pic will go up against the star-studded period crime thriller Gangster Squad (Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, and Ryan Gosling) and the similarly star-studded romantic comedy The Big Wedding (Robert De Niro, Susan Sarandon, Diane Keaton, Katherine Heigel, and Robin Williams). The following weekend PA4 will face some horror competition from Halloween 3D, while The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D opens earlier that month.