Michael Bay has conquered the toy world with the Transformers franchise, and now his sights are set firmly on the gaming universe. The filmmaker has struck a deal with Ubisoft to develop a feature film adaptation of the video game Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon at Warner Bros., and Bay is eyeing the project as a potential directing vehicle. The video game series follows a fictional squad of U.S. Army Special Forces designed to execute highly classified special operations using advanced weaponry. Hit the jump for more.
Quite the action team-up is taking place for the upcoming film Heatseekers. A couple of years ago, we reported that Michael Bay and his Platinum Dunes studio had acquired a spec script called Heatseekers for Paramount Pictures. The story centered on aerial “pirates” and was likened to Fast & Furious and Point Break. Now word comes that that Wanted and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter helmer Timur Bekmambetov has come aboard the action project to direct, with Bay maintaining his producer role. Hit the jump for more details.
Michael Bay is expanding his television interests. The explosions feature film director recently set up a pirate drama at Starz called Black Sails, and now THR reports that he’ll produce a cop drama at A&E called Occult through his Platinum Dunes banner. The story will center on an FBI agent who has returned from administrative leave after going off the deep end while investigating his wife’s disappearance. Eager to be back on the job, he is paired with an agent with her own complicated backstory who specializes in the occult. The duo set out to solve cases as part of the newly formed occult crimes task force. James Wong, who wrote and directed the first and third Final Destination films, will pen the script. He’s no stranger to television, as he previously wrote for 21 Jump Street, The X-Files, and American Horror Story.
Occult is one of a number of pilots that A&E is developing for the upcoming season, including a Psycho prequel series called Bates Motel from Lost co-showrunner Carlton Cuse. The order is not to series, so the network will look at the pilot before committing to further episodes of Occult.
With the Spartacus series continuing to anchor its original programming, Starz has ordered another blood-and-boobs historical epic to series in the form of the Michael Bay-produced Black Sails. Set to film in South Africa, the tentatively titled show is a prequel to Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic pirate tale Treasure Island. It will take place 20 years before the events of the novel, following Captain Flint (the deceased pirate who literally put the treasure in Treasure Island) and a young Long John Silver as they buckle swash in defense of “notorious criminal haven” New Providence Island. Hit the jump for more, including a full press release.
Almost two years ago, a bevy of board games were targeted for big-screen adaptations. Stretch Armstrong, Monopoly, Candy Land, Clue, etc. have all been in the development line towards big-screen adaptations, but recently (and on the heels of the release of Battleship) movement on the aforementioned projects has slowed. McG was set to direct an adaptation of the supernatural game Ouija, but Universal decided to pass on the project back in August. Hasbro continued to develop Ouija, and after numerous rewrites, the studio has now changed its mind and is now moving forward with a completely retooled version of Ouija for a targeted 2013 release.
Compared to McG’s previous $100 million Ouija, Deadline reports that this new version will be produced by Blumhouse Productions’ Jason Blum for a budget close to $5 million. Blum has made a name for himself with low budget/high profit films like the Paranormal Activity series and Insidious, and now it appears Universal plans to take that approach with Ouija. Hit the jump for more.
Lest you think that the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot linger in development hell for eternity, Paramount has made some movement on the project. Deadline reports that the studio has tapped Josh Appelbaum and Andre Nemec, the scribes behind Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, to write the screenplay for the new live-action flick. Michael Bay and Platinum Dunes are producing the film, and last August Iron Man screenwriters Art Marcum and Matt Holloway were set to re-write a previous draft of the reboot. With the hiring of Appelbaum and Nemec, it looks like Marcum and Holloway’s draft wasn’t exactly up to snuff either.
While it’s frustrating that it’s taking this long to get the project going, it’s promising that the powers that be are interested in getting the best script possible. Hopefully we’ll see our heroes in a half-shell back on the big screen soon. At least we’ve got the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series coming next year to Nickelodeon.
Paramount Pictures is looking to pick up The Hauntrepreneur, an original spec script by Scott Rosenberg (Gone in Sixty Seconds) with Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes to produce. The Hauntrepreneur centers on a family that moves to a new town and has difficulty fitting in. They hire a strange man known as the Hauntrepreneur, who creates a haunted house full of oddball residents to help patch up their difficulties. How exactly this is supposed to help, I have no idea.
Hit the jump for more on The Hauntrepreneur, as well as upcoming Platinum Dunes projects.
Insidious got off to a solid start this weekend. The horror film outperformed expectations of $10 million for an impressive 3rd place at the box office with an estimated $13.5 million. It marks the first big screen pairing in four years of Saw creators James Wan and Leigh Whannell as director and writer and surprisingly just their third feature-length collaboration in those roles. Their latest project follows a young family (Watchmen star Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne of Damages fame play the parents of two boys) who have just moved into a new home when bizarre events occur that make the mortgage the least frightening aspect of their new purchase. Insidious appears to be a traditional haunted house film until the plot takes a major turn.
Collider caught up with director James Wan and writer Leigh Whannell (who also provides some comic relief onscreen) for a very revealing interview. Hit the jump for the audio and transcript, including: updates on their future projects, a candid take on some high-profile horror remakes and stories of some formerly condescending classmates who have a very different take on their work these days.
Sony Pictures has picked up the rights to the IDW comic book Zombies vs. Robots for Platinum Dunes (the studio behind the Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street remakes). Screenwriter JT Petty (The Burrowers) has used the comic as the basis for a spec script entitled Inherit the Earth. Per Deadline, the story “focuses on a young girl who is the last survivor on earth. She is protected by a group of robots from a pack of zombies that are intelligent and evolved.” Here’s the positive reaction to this story: “Ah! So maybe a little Iron Giant mixed with Zombieland! Sounds wonderful! Here’s the negative reaction: “UUUUUGGGGGHHHH.” This is really one of those projects with the potential to be delightful and imaginative or a quick, thoughtless cash-in on smashing two genre creatures together. Your optimism or pessimism probably hinges on how much you trust the Platinum Dunes gang of Michael Bay, Brad Fuller, and Andrew Form, who are producing along with Dave Alpert and Rick Jacobs.
And for those wondering about the title, there’s no relation between Zombies vs. Robots and Jon Favreau’s similar-sounding Cowboys & Aliens.
Taylor Lautner and director Michael Bay have sent out an untitled script to the major studios. The Twilight actor and Transformers director won’t discuss the story but insiders tell Deadline that “it’s Mr. & Mrs. Smith meets Wanted.“ I’m interpreting this to mean that the movie is about a nihilistic couple who take their orders from a magic quilt, and that the story abruptly ends.” Or, as is more likely, the movie involves elite assassins. Huzzah.
Hit the jump for where Mr. & Mrs. Wanted might fit into Lautner’s busy schedule.
Platinum Dunes producer Brad Fuller took to the Twitter machine this weekend to provide updates on Friday the 13th Part II, A Nightmare on Elm Street 2, The Monster Squad, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Despite director Marcus Nispel successfully rebooting the Friday the 13th franchise back in 2009, in April 2010 Fuller tweeted that the project was dead. Today, Fuller tweets that screenwriters “[Damian] Shannon and [Mark] swift wrote a great script. We are ready to go, when new line is ready. But as of yet, they are not ready.” As for Nightmare 2, Fuller says there isn’t even talk of writing a new script. That’s weird because in May 2010 there was talk of Warner Bros. green-lighting at 3D sequel and Fuller said “Freddy always has a story to tell.” In his tweeting today, Fuller explained that studios aren’t interested in R-rated horror films and want tentpole films instead.
Hit the jump for what Fuller had to say regarding Monster Squad and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
A few weeks ago, we reported that McG (Terminator Salvation) and Breck Eisner (The Crazies) would duke it out for the Ouija director’s chair. Tonight we can confirm that McG has emerged victorious and will helm Universal’s adaptation of the Hasbro board game. Per Heat Vision, the studio is now in negotiations with the director who will helm a script by Tron: Legacy scribes Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis.
While Universal and Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes are keeping plot details for Ouija close to the vest, it is believed that the film will be akin to adventure films such as The Mummy and Indiana Jones. Maybe it’s just me, but this vague description keeps making me think that Ouija will come out looking a lot like a sequel to 1995′s Jumanji (a film that nine-year old me was none too fond of). Again, it’s probably just me. As for McG, his next directorial effort is the romantic comedy This Means War starring Reese Witherspoon, Chris Pine, and Tom Hardy. Ouija currently has a release date of November 9, 2012.
Pierre Morel (Taken) is the lead candidate to direct the Platinum Dunes film based on the Ouija board. The negotiations are still fresh, and there are other (unspecified) names up for the job, but Universal believes the French filmmaker has what it takes to bring this inherently plotless property to the big screen.
According to 24 Frames, the studio hopes to turn Ouija into an action-adventure tentpole — presumably one with franchise potential. Morel is busy with his own large-scale actioner, undertaking an adaptation of Frank Herbert’s classic sci-fi novel Dune. Meanwhile, Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz (Lost) are busy polishing the Ouija script, and Universal’s attention is divided amongst a number of toy-based movies: Battleship, Stretch Armstrong, Monopoly, Candy Land, and Clue. Hit the jump for some background information on the Ouija board.
As a child of the 1980’s, it’s been funny to watch the majority of the entertainment of that era either sequelized or remade. Whether it’s trying to emulate John Hughes’s tone in a teen driven romantic comedy, or the Indiana Jones sequel, or the birth of comic book movies, it all feels very connected to that decade. For horror fans, it seems every major and minor title is getting the remake treatment, with Wes Craven’s classic films of the period at the top of the list. Craven’s classics Last House on the Left and The Hills Have Eyes were already done (and reasonably well), so it was only a matter of time before someone finally got to Freddy Kruger. Platinum Dunes, the remakers behind The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Amityville Horror and Friday the 13th put Samuel Bayer behind the camera, and made the smart choice in giving the iconic hat, sweater and finger-knives glove to Jackie Earle Haley. Random teens (headed up by Rooney Mara) are terrorized by Kruger in their dreams for an unknown reason, which become evident in the 2010 remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street, and my review of the blu-ray follows after the jump.
In the alleged leaked internal Paramount e-mail outlining the studio’s upcoming slate, the word on the live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot was that the first draft was not good, that Paramount was “looking for another writer to come on this quickly as its a huge Viacom priority.” It seems the memo speaks the truth: according to Deadline, Paramount has hired Art Marcum and Matt Holloway (Iron Man) to rewrite the script for the cool sum of $1 million. The studio is fast-tracking the production, hoping for a first draft by October 1st to enable a 2012 tentpole release. One source remarked, “The studio is looking at this as its next huge franchise, like Transformers.”
If that’s the case, they put the right man in charge. Ninja Turtles is housed at Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes, heretofore known for horror remakes like Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street. I’m a bit cynical about this whole process, but if we end up with something on the level of Transformers come 2012, I’ll count it as a success. Easier said then done?