I’d like to bet there’s a gift for everyone in this Movie News Cheat Sheet because this week’s edition is packed with a particularly eclectic selection of material.
My favorite industry present? Starship Troopers is set to return! Ender’s Game fans will be happy to know that the incredibly talented Hailee Steinfeld was offered the role of Petra Arkanian in the big screen adaptation while those who hold the Where’s Waldo books near and dear to their hearts will be thrilled to find out that the feature production is moving forward with screenwriter Todd Berger. We’ve also got a nice sized package of first looks including images from Wrath of the Titans, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters and Neighborhood Watch.
The only real downer this time around is the news that At The Movies is going on hiatus. But have no fear, Roger Ebert is here and based on the announcement he posted on his blog, has no intentions of letting the show slip away.
Didn’t see that little something with your name on it in this introduction? Forge forward because this Movie News Cheat Sheet has tons more to offer.
1. Starship Troopers Reboot: Neal Moritz totally read my mind. Seriously, the other night I was watching Starship Troopers thinking this series is long overdue for a reboot. Well, not just the other night. Starship Troopers seems to be on TV at least every other night, so this is a pretty regular occurrence for me. Anyway, Sony Pictures’ Moritz has decided the time has come and the 1997 Paul Verhoeven alien invasion movie is getting a remake. Thor and X-Men: First Class scribes Ashley Edward Miller and Zack Stentz will pen the script and I’ve got my fingers crossed they’ll leave room for Casper Van Dien in some capacity. (via Vulture)
2. Hailee Steinfeld and Harrison Ford May Go For Ender’s Game: Odd Lot Entertainment is loading up their adaptation of the Orson Scott Card sci-fi novel Ender’s Game big and fast. Not only is it official that Hugo’s Asa Butterfield will assume the lead role, but now Variety reports that director Gavin Hood could get Harrison Ford, too. Apparently Viggo Mortensen had been approached for the role of Colonel Hyrum Graff, the International Fleet’s Commander of Training, but when he declined the producers assembled a new group of potentials including Ford. Also in the maybe pile is True Grit’s Hailee Steinfeld. Again, according to Variety, Steinfeld is in negotiations to join as the female lead, Petra Arkanian, Salamander Army’s sole girl and the person who becomes Ender’s right hand woman. Clearly Odd Lot is going big with Ender’s Game, so, enough talk, time to really know my stuff and buy the book!
3. Where’s Waldo Movie Moves Forward: Hopefully a bigger medium will mean bigger characters because otherwise, it’s going to be pretty damn hard to find Waldo. According to THR, Where’s Waldo the movie is moving forward with screenwriter Todd Berger. The rights to the Martin Hanford-created books originally belonged to Paramount and Nickelodeon, but the duo dropped their idea to turn Waldo into a time traveler back in 2004. What’s Waldo’s fate at MGM? The studio is keeping story details under wraps, but we’ll get a sense of what Berger is capable of soon enough when the comedy It’s a Disaster arrives next year.
4. Bye Bye At The Movies, For Now: We basically knew this was coming, but now it’s official; Roger Ebert’s At The Movies is going on hiatus in attempt to replenish its funding. The news comes straight from a post on Ebert’s blog in which he explains, “This move is necessary to allow the public television stations that carry our show to plan their programs for the beginning of the new year.” While the outlook is rather grim, Ebert’s hopes remain high and he plans to push forward. He goes on to call the show a “success” having produced 50 episodes with the help of two hosts “whose chemistry has ignited” as well as “a cadre of Contributors.” As someone who once worked for another movie review show, Lyons and Bailes Reel Talk, I certainly respect and understand the need for what Ebert calls “an intelligent place for the discussion of movies in a forum accessible to the public, and in a manner that is easily understood yet that feeds the thirst for both entertainment and knowledge.”
5. Sundance Competition Roster Revealed: Now that we’re a little ways into December, the Sundance Film Festival is basically right around the corner. Just the other day, via Deadline, the Sundance Institute unveiled the films set to compete in the U.S. and World Cinema Dramatic and Documentary competition from January 19th to the 29th. Some notable selections include the Mark Webber written and directed piece, The End Of Love, that stars Webber himself as well as a few famous faces like Amanda Seyfried and Michael Cera. Writer-director Jonathan Kasdan throws his film, The First Time, in the running, which stars The Secret Circle’s Britt Robertson in a piece about two high school kids that strike up an intense relationship after meeting at a party. Paul Dano, Jon Heder, Jena Malone and Margarita Levieva join forces in So Yong Kim’s For Ellen about a struggling musician fighting to win custody of his daughter. The group also includes the Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Aaron Paul starrer Smashed as well as Save The Date with Lizzy Caplan, Alison Brie and Martin Starr. And those are only a handful of the selections; click here to head on over to Deadline and check out the lot.
6. Lionsgate and Summit May Join Forces: Twilight and The Hunger Games, unite! Okay, not really, but their production companies might. As reported by The Wrap, Lionsgate and Summit Entertainment are currently in the midst of discussions to merge. Apparently the information comes from an individual “with knowledge of the talks” who claims the situation may include other “suitors” as well. The article also notes that some industry experts say this merger is long overdue. Lionsgate may have survived the incident with Carl Icahn, but they’re still vulnerable and Summit is about to go into life after Twilight, so it could be prime time for the union. Lionsgate and Summit ran this course once before, but the deal broke down due to price and control issues so it’s a tossup whether or not the duo will make it to the finish line and seal the deal this time around.
7. Catch The Dark Knight Rises Prologue: Remember those rumors of The Dark Knight Rises sneak peek? They’re actually true! Apparently The Dark Knight Rises prologue will be unveiled before Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol when it hits theaters on December 16th. But don’t get too excited; it’s not going to be particularly easy to catch a showing. Not only will many moviegoers likely be scrambling to get a look, but apparently only a select amount of the IMAX-equipped theaters will get the material from the third film in Christopher Nolan’s Batman series. Back on the bright side, Warner Bros. did unveil the list of locations that will show the prologue and, if you live in a major city, the odds are in your favor. The group, of course, includes New York City’s Lincoln Square 13 and then there’s LA’s Citywalk Stadium 19, Miami’s AutoNation, Austin’s IMAX Theater Austin and many more. Head over to ComingSoon.net to see if a theater near you made the cut.
8. First Looks: Wrath of the Titans, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, Neighborhood Watch: Whether you like it or not, Clash of the Titans is coming back for more and Entertainment Weekly has our very first look at Sam Worthington back in action. Wrath of the Titans kicks off a decade after Perseus (Worthington) takes down the Kraken and is trying to live a normal life, but, clearly, things don’t go as planned. In the midst of the fairy tale craze, Entertainment Weekly also brings us the very first image of Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton in Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters. The film kicks off 15 years after the kiddies visited the gingerbread house and, according to Arterton, “You see a series of flashbacks with their experience of killing that first witch, which is brilliant.” Then, in the comedy department, we’ve got a peek at Richard Ayoade, Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, and Jonah Hill in Neighborhood Watch courtesy of The Playlist. Producer Shawn Levy calls the film a “foulmouthed story of four guys being forced into a situation for which they are utterly ill-equipped.” Well, at least they get to rock those awesome uniforms – kind of.
9. Trailers: John Carter, The Grey, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: The first full trailer for John Carter has finally arrived and it most certainly has more of Mars to offer than the teaser. Sure, that White Ape is pretty wicked, as is some of the action, but I’m certainly missing that appropriately moody background tune, “My Body Is a Cage,” from the teaser. If I were ever stuck on a desert island, trying to survive some sort of apocalypse, or, in The Grey’s case, ever stranded in icy Alaska after a plane crash, I’d want Liam Neeson by my side. Quite reminiscent of Frozen, this first trailer for the Joe Carnahan action-drama will undoubtedly give you chills and I’d like to bet, come January 27th, the full feature will have a similar effect. Remember that eight-minute trailer I caught before a screening of Straw Dogs back in October? Well, now you can watch the full piece for yourself over at iTunes. While The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’s promotional campaign has been fairly successful, as someone who’s never read the books or seen the original trilogy, this is the only piece of video that’s been able to break through my admittedly nonsensical standoff with this movie.
10. Box Office: There’s little to no holiday cheer at the box office this weekend. Sure, it’s really no surprise as there were no new wide releases entering the competition, but still, the veterans took some rather hard hits. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 remained on top, but suffered a near 60% loss giving it just $16.9 million for weekend three. Second-weeker The Muppets lost a whopping 61.7% of its opening weekend earnings, giving it another $11.2 million and bringing its domestic total to $56.1 million, which, on the bright side, is well over its $45 million budget. Thanks to an additional 563 theaters, Hugo fell just 32.9%, posting a decent $4,144 per theater average for a $7.6 million weekend two total. Arthur Christmas held on rather strong as well, dropping merely 39.1%, taking $7.4 million and surpassing Happy Feet Two, which endured a bit of a landslide. After a minimal 36.9% week one to two fall, Happy Feet Two waved goodbye to 55.2% of its weekend two earnings for just $6 million this time around. (via Box Office Mojo)