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Movie News Cheat Sheet: Lego Gets Lord Of The Rings, The Help Gets Golden Globe Nods And The Box Office Gets More Money

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Well, for some of us.

With the end of the year fast approaching, the awards nods are rolling in and this past week a big list was revealed – the Golden Globe nominations. Generally the right films snagged the honors – The Artist, The Descendants, The Help – but we did have a few upsets, namely the lack of Steven Spielberg’s name on the Best Director list for his work on War Horse.

Brendan Meyer will certainly be having a very merry Christmas. The young actor was just cast as Stilson in Ender’s Game while Spike Lee turned to Clive Owen for the role of the villain in his Oldboy remake. Meanwhile, Mike Myers is planning a Broadway version of Austin Powers and Lego is designing some new sets inspired by The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies.

With the holidays right around the corner, we’ve all hopefully got a nice, light workweek ahead of us, so why not kick back and relax at the office with a little movie news? Check out all the goods in this week’s Movie News Cheat Sheet.

1. Ender’s Game Gets Its Stilson: I told you I’d start reading Ender’s Game and am making due on my word, but don’t know if I’m far along enough to comment on the value of this news. According to THR, Brendan Meyer just snagged the role of Stilson in the film. As far as I know, Stilson only comes into play in a relatively small portion of the first act of the film. So, that begs the question, why is Meyer’s casting even news? Could Stilson be getting a little sprucing up in the film version? Maybe he’s going to Battle School with Ender? Again, I haven’t finished the book yet, but from what I know, I doubt that’ll be the cast. If anything, I think this tidbit of news is merely getting attention because outlets are trying to jump the gun on what could be the next Hunger Games.

2. Oldboy Offers Are Out: With Spike Lee behind the lens, Josh Brolin in the leading role and the film being a remake of the popular Park Chan-wook original, it’s rather surprising that the new Oldboy is having a tough time locking a cast. Lee targeted both Christian Bale and Colin Firth for the villain role in the film, but both declined and now, according to Twitch, Lee’s moved onto his third choice, Clive Owen. The production is facing a similar problem with its leading lady. Rooney Mara took a pass on that part and now, again according to Twitch, Mia Wasikowska is next on the list. Here Lee might have a shot. Turns out Wasikowska just wrapped on Chan-wook’s first English language film, Stoker. Could that have a little something to do with this offer? I wouldn’t be surprised.

3. Movie Marketing Done Right: By now you all know I’m rather partial to The Hunger Games, but, in a way, that also makes me hypercritical of the book-to-film adaptation and, sure enough, I’ve kept a close eye on Lionsgate’s progress from day one. Now that we’re rounding the corner and pulling into the New Year, it’s all about marketing and, so far, the studio’s done a stellar job. The latest in the effort to spread the Hunger Games hype was the release of a new poster, and the studio didn’t just opt to give some web outlet the exclusive. Instead, Lionsgate doled out 100 puzzle pieces, puzzle pieces fans had to find and then assemble to reveal the film’s new poster, a design that quite appropriately brings us all one step closer to the games! In other poster news, we’ve got a few other items worth taking a look at – Prometheus, The Expendables 2 and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.

4. Golden Globe Nomination Revealed: Sure we’ve got the usual snubs and surprises, but, generally, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association has put together a pretty solid list of Golden Globe nominees. The Descendants, The Help, Hugo, The Ideas of March, Moneyball and War Horse are set to battle it out in the drama department for Best Picture while 50/50, The Artist, Bridesmaids, Midnight in Paris and My Week with Marilyn have their eyes on the top prize for musicals and comedies. Sadly Steven Spielberg was bumped from the list of potential best directors, but War Horse did get a second nod for John Williams’ score. My hopes are high for Charlize Theron snagging Best Performance by an Actress in a Comedy for Young Adult and George Clooney topping the Best Performance by an Actor in a Drama for The Descendants. It’d be nice to see either Jessica Chastain or Octavia Spencer win Best Supporting Actress for The Help, but The Descendants’ Shailene Woodley’s got a good shot at stealing the award from both. Yes this is the Movie News Cheat Sheet, but, in the TV department, go American Horror Story and Game of Thrones! Click here to check out the full list of nominees.

5. Paris Jackson to Hit the Big Screen: It should come as no surprise that the showbiz bug continues to run in this family. Michael Jackson’s 13-year-old daughter, Paris, just signed on to star in the book-to-film adaptation, Lundon’s Bridge and the Three Keys. The live-action/animation hybrid focuses on a dolphin turned into a human, a young boy turned into a dragonfly and a jellyfish queen turned into an evil fairy godmother all during a war between the land and sea. Jackson steps in as a young girl who narrowly escapes the jellyfish queen’s clutches. The film’s producer, Stephen Sobisky, told People, “She wants to take on her dad’s legacy and do something good for the world and our product does that.” And he’s not kidding. The plan is to release a new version of the book with Paris on the cover and half the profits from both that book and the film will be donated to schools. There’s no release date just yet, but filming is set to begin in January with Larry King, his wife Shawn, Joey Fatone and Ted Lange lined up to voice some of the animated characters.

6. Austin Powers on Broadway: Even while Austin Powers 4 is reportedly chugging along, Mike Myers has plans to expand the franchise further. According to THR, Myers will write the story for a stage production of Austin Powers. The Book of Mormon co-director, Casey Nicholaw, is in talks to direct the musical, which is being developed by Myers in conjunction with Warner Bros. Theater Ventures. The plan is to make the show a prequel to the movies, taking place in London in the 1960s and focusing on how Powers got his iconic mojo. The tale will be told to the tunes of Burt Bacharach and Elvis Costello.

7. Lego Goes Lord of the Rings: They may not be available this holiday season, but the Lord of the Rings Lego sets could be a hot item next time around. According to Variety, Warner Bros. Consumer Products handed over the rights to design action figures and playsets in conjunction with all three Lord of the Rings films as well as the two Hobbit movies. Lego plans to kick off the venture with some products due out in June of 2012 and then continually release new items leading up to The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’s debut on December 14th. Film-to-Lego creations have proved to be quite lucrative for the toy company, their Harry Potter and Star Wars items helping in the push to top $1 billion in domestic sales in 2010, a feat the company expects to repeat.

8. Weekly Absurdity: The force is not with David Canterbury. The 33-year-old Portland man armed up with a toy lightsaber to go to battle with police at a Toys R Us. According to the news report (via Buzzfeed and Movies.com), Canterbury went Star Wars on shoppers and hit a few people with the lightsaber. When police arrived, Canterbury was out in the parking lot wildly wielding the weapon and attempted to tase him, but Canterbury used the lightsaber to break the wires. Shortly after, the officers managed to subdue Canterbury, but he continued to struggle. Nobody was seriously injured during the incident and Canterbury was cited with disorderly conduct, theft, resisting arrest and interfering with a police officer. Okay, nobody was hurt, that means we can laugh a little, right? Sorry, dude. Darth Vader is not your father.

9. Trailers: The Dictator, Rock of Ages, Jack the Giant Killer: How about a little sampling of what we’re in for this summer? One of the first out of the gate is Sacha Baron Cohen’s The Dictator and the film’s new teaser suggests that anyone with a soft spot for Borat and Brüno will fall for his latest absurd creation. Come June 1st, Rock of Ages very well might fill the void in the movie musical department. Similar to the Broadway show, the film looks as though it’ll bank big time on a stellar soundtrack, and now, the A-list cast singing it, too. Lastly we’ve got the first teaser for Bryan Singer’s Jack the Giant Killer and if you’re looking for some CGI goodness, this one’s got a giant dose of it – pun intended.

10. Box Office: Now this is more like it. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows and Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked didn’t do their predecessors justice, but they’ve certainly helped the box office crawl out of the recent slump. A Game of Shadows scored $40 million with a $10,807 per theater average while Chipwrecked snagged a total of $23.5 million on a $6,312 average. Not bad, right? Yes, those numbers are pretty solid, but when you compare them to Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol’s earnings, they certainly lose some clout. The fourth installment of the Tom Cruise franchise managed to earn a whopping $13 million at just 425 theaters, giving it a stellar per theater average of $30,588. In the fourth position we’ve got New Year’s Eve, which took a modest hit, 43%, for a week two total of $7.4 million while The Sitter lost 55.3% of its week one profits and took just $4.4 million this time around. (via Box Office Mojo)

By Perri Nemiroff

New Hunger Games Poster

New Hunger Games Poster

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Film producer and director best known for her work in movies such as FaceTime, Trevor, and The Professor. She has worked as an online movie blogger and reporter for sites such as CinemaBlend.com, ComingSoon.net, Shockya, and MTV's Movies Blog.

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