The legacy of the James Bond film franchise is not without its twists and turns, many of which are excellently captured in the documentary Everything or Nothing: The Untold Story of 007. One of the more difficult stories related to the film series involves Thunderball, which began with an original screenplay by Bond creator Ian Fleming and Kevin McClory, before Fleming decided to cut McClory out of the picture and publish the novel Thunderball—based on the idea the two hatched together—with nary a mention of McClory. The result was a decades-long legal battle and two “unofficial” Bond films (Thunderball and Never Say Never Again), but at long last the entanglement has ended.
Hit the jump for more, including what this means for the Bond franchise going forward.
Sony is once again getting a jump on its next Spider-Man sequel, as the studio has tapped a trio of scribes to start penning the screenplay for The Amazing Spider-Man 3. Alex Kurtzmn, Roberto Orci, and Jeff Pinkner are credited with the screenplay for next May’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2, and Sony has now hired the trio to begin work on The Amazing Spider-Man 3. The studio clearly has big plans for the rebooted Spidey franchise, as it recently set release dates for both Spidey 3 and The Amazing Spider-Man 4 for June 2016 and May 2018, respectively. Hit the jump for more, including the likelihood of director Marc Webb returning for the third installment.
Sony Pictures has just acquired a stranger-than-fiction pitch that will see Jason Segel playing a maple syrup thief. Inspired by real events reported by Anne Sutherland in the Montreal Gazette, the film chronicles the 2012 heist of over $20 million worth of maple syrup that was stolen from Quebec’s Federation of Maple Syrup Producers (this is a real thing that exists). As of now, over 20 individuals have been arrested in connection to the maple syrup crime (also a thing that exists). Segel is attached to star and Horrible Bosses director Seth Gordon is onboard to direct. Hit the jump for more.
Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, and Evan Goldberg have long talked about an idea for an R-rated animated film, and now it appears that the raunchy pic will finally come to fruition. Sony Pictures announced today that it will partner with Annapurna Pictures on Sausage Party, which was written by Rogen, Goldberg, Kyle Hunter, and Ariel Shaffir based on an idea by Rogen, Goldberg, and Hill. The story follows one sausage’s “quest to discover the truth about his existence,” as he falls out of a shopping cart and, along with his friends, embarks on a journey to return to his aisle before the 4th of July sale.
Voice casting has yet to be announced, but Conrad Vernon (Shrek 2) and Greg Tiernan will be directing the pic with an eye towards a 2015 release date. Rogen and Goldberg made their directorial debut with this summer’s excellent This Is the End and are currently helming the Rogen/James Franco comedy The Interview. Hit the jump for the full press release.
Though Elysium has only been in theaters for a couple of weeks, Sony has already given director Neill Blomkamp’s next film a release date. The sci-fi pic Chappie will open in theaters on March 27, 2015, adding yet another film to look forward to in what’s shaping up to be the busiest moviegoing year in history. The only other film currently set for release on 3/27 is DreamWorks Animation’s spinoff The Penguins of Madagascar, but Marvel is poised to invade every available screen a little over a month later when The Avengers: Age of Ultron opens on May 1st.
With Chappie, Blomkamp reunites with his Elysium and District 9 star Sharlto Copley once again. The pic tells the story of a robot (Copley) imbued with artificial intelligence who is stolen by two local gangsters who want to use him for their own nefarious purposes. Ninja and Yolandi Visser are onboard to play said gangsters. Production on Chappie begins this fall in South Africa, but it appears that Blomkamp will need plenty of time to complete the film’s extensive visual effects.
Following last weekend’s slightly disappointing box office opening of Elysium, Sony Pictures has decided to back another one of writer/director Neill Blomkamp’s films. The studio is teaming up with MRC to finance Blomkamp’s next pic, the sci-fi film Chappie. The pic “tells the story of a robot imbued with artificial intelligence who is stolen by two local gangsters who want to use him for their own nefarious purposes.” Sharlto Copley is already onboard to voice the titular robot, and Ninja and Yolandi Visser (aka Die Antwoord) are set to play the two gangsters. Dev Patel was reported as being in early talks for a role a few months ago, but there’s no mention of the actor in this official press release. Blomkamp recently revealed that there’s one more role he’s trying to fill, so this may be it.
Blomkamp wrote the script for Chappie with Terri Tatchell (District 9) and will also produce the pic alongside Simon Kinberg, who also produced Elysium. Filming is poised to begin this fall. Hit the jump to read the full press release, which includes the logline.
ABC staple Shonda Rhimes is returning to feature films. Before creating the incredibly successful ABC dramas/soaps Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, and Scandal, Rhimes penned the screenplays for The Princess Diaries 2: The Royal Engagement and Crossroads. Now THR reports that Rhimes will return to the world of features to write the screenplay for the drama War Correspondents. The project, which focuses on the lives of female war correspondents, was initially developed by Rhimes as a potential TV series, but stalled when the Iraq War began. Now Sony has decided to turn the idea into a feature film, and Rhimes will pen the screenplay with longtime producing partner Mark Gordon (Source Code) onboard to produce.
Rhimes continues to run Grey’s Anatomy and most recently developed the successful ABC series Scandal, which returns for a second season this fall and garnered Emmy nominations for stars Kerry Washington and Dan Bucatinsky. No director is yet attached to War Correspondents, but development will be moving forward at Sony in the coming months.
With casting already underway on David Fincher’s adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s best-selling novel Gone Girl, it’s no surprise to learn that his planned big-budget feature 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is kaput. A couple months ago, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that production had been pushed back to 2014 due to the inability to find a lead actor to commit to the project. However, The Playlist reports that the movie has been dead for months, and the report was “apparently a desperate bid by the Aussie government to entice the filmmakers and producers into continuing with this project that would bring millions of dollars in jobs to their movie industry.”
Fincher did try his damndest to make the picture happen, but couldn’t wrangle a bankable lead actor. Brad Pitt passed to do Fury, Matt Damon and Daniel Craig didn’t want to commit to the a 140-day shoot away from their families, Channing Tatum wasn’t seen as a bankable enough, and Fincher didn’t agree with Disney’s suggestion to cast Chris Hemsworth. Rather than continue fighting for his expensive project that was already a risky proposition for Disney (and one that now seems ludicrous considering the massive failures the studio had in trying to adapt older properties with John Carter and The Lone Ranger), Fincher moved to Gone Girl. So where does that leave his other major project, The Girl Who Played with Fire? Hit the jump for more.
We’ve got some very exciting James Bond news to share today. While it’s been looking like Skyfall director Sam Mendes was going to return to direct Bond 24 for a while, Sony officially announced today that Mendes has closed his deal to helm the pic, with Skyfall scribe John Logan onboard to write the screenplay. Moreover, a release date for the film has been firmed up, as Bond 24 now joins the absolutely insane list of films that will hit theaters in 2015. The pic will open in the UK on October 23, 2015, and in the US on November 6, 2015. It’s essentially the same release date strategy as Skyfall.
The pic is currently slated to open in the US opposite Edgar Wright’s Marvel film Ant-Man and the untitled Peanuts movie, but one imagines Marvel will alter the Ant-Man release date slightly so Bond and the superhero pic don’t cannibalize each other at the box office. Hit the jump to read the full press release.
Sony has tapped Greg Berlanti to helm a fascinating robot uprising film called Epsilon. The sci-fi actioner has a script by Zombieland and G.I. Joe: Retaliation scribes Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick and takes place in the aftermath of a failed robot uprising, in which Earth operates on almost no electronics. In the world of the film, the remaining robots have taken refuge on a space station where they begin to raise their own human lab rats, which they train to act as their agents. The film’s protagonist is a man who discovers he is more human than he thought. Heat Vision reports that Berlanti has close a deal to direct the pic, with Michael De Luca onboard to produce alongside Reese and Wernick.
Berlanti is best known as the executive producer and showrunner of such TV series as Brothers & Sisters, Everwood, and No Ordinary Family. On the feature front, Berlanti scripted Green Lantern and the 2010 comedy/drama Life as We Know It, but most recently he has been serving as executive producer and showrunner on The CW’s Arrow. Epsilon certainly has a interesting take on the “robot uprising” conceit, and it marks Berlanti’s biggest directorial project to date. Here’s hoping he delivers the goods.
Just as Warner Bros. is celebrating its successful launch of what will hopefully be a fruitful DC Comics Movie Universe with the release of Man of Steel, Sony and Marvel have swooped in to steal some of that DC thunder. Sony Pictures has announced that The Amazing Spider-Man 3 and The Amazing Spider-Man 4 will be released in theaters on June 10, 2016 and May 4, 2018, respectively. The studio rebooted the Spidey franchise last year with director Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man to the tune of over $750 million in worldwide box office, and Webb is currently hard at work filming the follow-up. However, it appears as though Sony is wasting no time in continuing the franchise even further. Hit the jump for more.
A minor yet amusing piece of news regarding the 21 Jump Street sequel has been announced. Embedded in a press release that announced a remake of the French film A Prophet produced by Neal Moritz, Sony has revealed that the title of the Jump Street sequel will be, appropriately enough, 22 Jump Street. Not too much is known about the follow-up as of now, but directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller are expected to return, and the story will find Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill’s characters infiltrating a college campus. Moreover, Moritz previously told us that Ice Cube will indeed be reprising his fantastic role as Captain Dickson. 22 Jump Street will open in theaters on June 13, 2014.
Sony Pictures has acquired the Engligh-language remake rights to the 2010 French crime film A Prophet. Directed by Jacques Audiard, the original film tells the story of a young man imprisoned for petty crime who rises to power in a prison crime syndicate after he is mentored by the boss. A Prophet was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Oscar in 2010 and picked up considerable critical acclaim during its theatrical and festival run. Neal H. Moritz is onboard to produce the English remake, and he’s a bit of an interesting choice given that his previous credits are more action-oriented tentpoles including the Fast & Furious franchise, 21 Jump Street, and I Am Legend. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of take on the material this remake involves.
Hit the jump to watch the trailer for Audiard’s film and to read the full press release.
After Sam Mendes opted not to return to helm the upcoming 24th installment of the James Bond franchise, Eon and Sony Pictures have been on the hunt for a new director with an eye towards getting the next film out by 2016. While rumors swirled recently that Christopher Nolan was considering the job, the notion seemed highly unlikely because A.) he’s busy prepping to shoot Interstellar this summer and B.) he has already stated in the past that he’d like to direct a Bond film when he can reboot the franchise with a new actor.
Following Mendes’ Skyfall will be no small task, but it appears that Eon and Sony are aiming for the cream of the filmmaking crop as directors such as Ang Lee, Nicolas Winding Refn, and Iron Man 3 helmer Shane Black have reportedly been considered for the director’s chair. Hit the jump for more. [Update: Now Deadline reports that Sam Mendes has changed his mind and is in talks to return to helm Bond 24. Read the full story here.]
As the director of the film with the second highest grossing opening weekend of all time, Iron Man 3 co-writer and helmer Shane Black has likely been inundated with a number of offers over the past few days. However, it appears that the Kiss Kiss Bang Bang director will be making his next project a property that he’s already been developing for some time. Sony Pictures Entertainment announced today that Black will co-write and direct Doc Savage as his next film. The pic is a feature film adaptation of a popular character from the 1930s and 40s. Doc Savage has been described as “a mix of Sherlock Holmes’ deductive abilities, Tarzan’s outstanding physical abilities, Craig Kennedy’s scientific education, and Abraham Lincoln’s goodness,” and so it provides a nice adventure avenue for which Black to imbue with his distinctive sensibilities.
Black recently told Steve that he was still planning on making Doc Savage and seemed to hint that it could be his next film, and this press announcement from Sony confirms that the director is eyeing Savage as his follow-up to Iron Man 3. Hit the jump to read the full press release.