Enjoying the long weekend? Men in Black 3 and The Avengers certainly are. Even though MIB 3 is sitting strong at the top of the box office, The Avengers continues to impress, still holding strong with a $9,440 per theater average.
In casting news, there are a number of things to note. Peter Bogdanovich just snagged an impressive trio of leads for Squirrel to the Nuts while Kathryn Bigelow makes a last minute addition to the cast of Zero Dark Thirty, Mark Duplass. Rupert Grint just picked up two new projects and Bradley Cooper will likely produce and star in American Sniper.
We’ve also got a couple new film ideas brewing, one of which is another Lego movie, but one that focuses specifically on the toy’s Hero Factory line. It also looks like Lifetime will go head-to-head with NBC with dueling Silence of the Lambs TV adaptations. Lifetime is going the Clarice Sterling route while the NBC series focuses on our favorite cannibal, Hannibal Lecter.
You think all of this sounds good? This week’s Movie News Cheat Sheet is overflowing with juicy stories for you to take to your Memorial Day barbeque.
1. Brie Larson, Owen Wilson and Olivia Wilde take Squirrel to the Nuts: Squirrel to the Nuts just shot to the top of my radar. Not only is the Peter Bogdanovich comedy being produced by Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach, but now he’s got Brie Larson, Owen Wilson and Olivia Wilde attached to star, too. Not a bad lineup, huh? The Bogdanovich-penned piece focuses on a hooker who becomes a Broadway star and how her former and current careers constantly collide. Larson will take that lead role while Wilson steps in as a Broadway director who takes advantage of Larson’s character’s former career. However, after paying for her services, he opts to give her cash to drop the hooking gig and follow her dreams. Not quite sure how this connects, but according to Variety, Wilde’s character is a therapist who’s own mother is in rehab for an alcohol addiction. There’s also a chance Jason Schwartzman may join the cast, but no word on the role he’s up for. Anderson and Baumbach are aiming to find financing and distribution ahead of production, which is due to begin in the fall.
2. Another Lego Movie on the Way: The whole toy/board game-to-film effort has been underwhelming, but as a longtime Lego diehard, it’s tough not to be downright thrilled that there’s a Lego move in the works, let alone two. As reported by THR, Universal is in the process of snagging the rights to Lego’s Hero Factory line. The studio is also in negotiations with Predators scribes Michael Finch and Alex Litvak to pen the script. Even amidst a somewhat ridiculous amount of excitement, you’ve got to acknowledge the fact that toys don’t really lend themselves to narratives. Hero Factory, on the other hand, is a Lego brand that actually comes with its own storyline and mythology. Apparently the heroes come from a planet assigned to produce robots to take out intergalactic evil. Robots including Stormer, Bulk, Stringer, Furno and Breez go head to head with the Hero Factory bad guys, XPlode, Corroder, Meltdown and Von Nebular. The plan is to go the live action route with this one and keep the storyline within the set’s mythology, two things that are expected to set it far apart from Warner Bros’ CGI-animated Lego movie.
3. G.I. Joe: Retaliation No Longer a Summer 2012 Release: I don’t want to knock G.I. Joe: Retaliation before it’s out, but bumping the film back this late in the game? Really? News hit via Deadline that the G.I. Joe sequel, originally scheduled to arrive on June 29, 2012, now won’t hit theaters until March 29, 2013. On the bright side, the delay isn’t due to a very last minute suspicion that the film isn’t all that good, rather because Paramount is opting to post-convert it. Okay, maybe that isn’t really looking on the bright side. As someone who actually had a blast with the first film, I was looking forward to coming back for more, but in 3D? And even worse, this isn’t only a post conversion job, but it’s post conversion way after the fact. Did director Jon M. Chu shoot the film with the third dimension in mind? If not, I’d like to bet the film won’t pop nearly as much as it could have had this decision been made from square one. A studio executive noted, “We’re going to do a conscientious 3D job because we’ve seen how it can better box office internationally,” and “Jim Cameron did all of Titanic‘s 3D in post — and look how well that movie turned out.” It’s tough to deny that first point, but in terms of the latter, are we really comparing G.I. Joe to Titanic? Get real.
4. Disney Shuts Down Order of the Seven: Poor Saoirse Ronan; she’s about to lose a major studio production. Good thing she’s got a half dozen other films on the way. According to THR, Disney is pulling the plug on their Snow White production, Order of the Seven. The film was set to star Ronan and mark Michael Gracey’s directorial debut, but hopes to go into production this summer in London were dashed by John Carter. Some are saying that John Carter’s dismal box office performance forced Disney to reassess all of its tentpole budgets and the budget for Order of the Seven was high enough to give the studio cold feet. Additionally, it was Rich Ross who was responsible for overseeing the production, but after the John Carter debacle, Ross split and Disney CEO Bob Iger has yet to replace him. There was something intriguing about a Snow White set in 19th century Hong Kong, but when we’ve got two other Snow White adaptations hitting this year, it renders Order of the Seven a minimal loss.
5. Kathryn Bigelow Adds Mark Duplass to Zero Dark Thirty: Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty is set for a December 19, 2012 release, but apparently she’s still casting. As reported by Deadline, Mark Duplass is the latest to join the film about the hunt for Osama Bin Laden and supposedly locked a “key supporting role.” This news only earned a mere paragraph on Deadline, but after getting a double dose of Duplass in Your Sister’s Sister and Safety Not Guaranteed, I’m ready to jump on board just about anything he’s attached to. No word on who he’s playing in Zero Dark Thirty, but for a guy with a knack for comedy, it’ll undoubtedly have him testing new waters.
6. Bradley Cooper May Wear Two Hats on American Sniper: How about a double dose of Bradley Cooper? According to THR, Cooper not only has plans to produce American Sniper, but possibly star in it, too. The adaptation of the autobiography of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle will be the very first project for Cooper’s Warner Bros-based company, 22nd & Indiana. Jason Dean Hall is set to write the script about how Kyle went from being your typical Texas resident to earning the record for the American with the highest number of sniper kills. But the story isn’t all action and guns; apparently Kyle’s American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History also includes passages from Kyle’s wife about how their relationship changed as her husband became increasingly concerned with war. The plan is to start shooting in July.
7. Rupert Grint Takes Two: We’ve got yet another double take with Rupert Grint. As reported by Variety, Grint is on board to star in both The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman and CBGB. The former stars Shia LaBeouf as a guy who falls for the daughter of a crime boss. Alan Rickman leads CBGB as the iconic movie club’s owner, Hill Kristal. No word on who Grint will play in Countryman, but in this one, his character is Cheetah Chrome of the Dead Boys, a musician who was a pivotal player during CBGB’s rise.
8. Clarice Starling Gets a TV Series: This may not be movie news, but the fact that it relates to The Silence of the Lambs certainly makes is Cheat Sheet worthy. Via TV Guide, Lifetime is hard at work on a series called Clarice, a show all about the character Jodie Foster brought to life back in 1991, but following her during her younger years, right after she graduates from the FBI academy. While it’s hard not to fall for a show featuring Clarice Sterling, NBC definitely has the upper hand as their 13-episode series, Hannibal, focuses on Hannibal Lecter and, let’s face it, who would Clarice Sterling be without Hannibal Lecter? I’ll be watching both, but my money’s on Hannibal.
9. Trailers: The Apparition, The Great Gatsby, Anchorman 2: Believe in ghosts? According to the new trailer for The Apparition, that might not be the best idea. When a group of students tries to prove that, if you believe, paranormal events really can happen, they wind up with a horrifying amount of success. We’ve also got the highly anticipated first trailer for Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby. We’ve got wild parties, elaborate set design and incredible roaring twenties costumes all of which are further enhanced by Luhrmann’s picturesque camera techniques and a pounding union of Kanye West and Jay-Z’s “No Church in the Wild” and Jack White’s “Love is Blindness.” And on a far less elaborate note, the teaser trailer for Anchorman 2 has arrived and while it’s fun seeing the boys back together again, the gag isn’t really all that funny.
10. Box Office: The Avengers had a nice long run at #1, but now it’s time to let another summer blockbuster take the spotlight. Men in Black 3 opened strong with $55 million and a $12,947 per theater average. Even though The Avengers dropped to #2, it’s still enjoying an incredible fourth weekend out, only losing 33.5% and taking another $37 million to the bank. Battleship, on the other hand, took a tough 57.7% hit, leaving it with only $10.8 million its second weekend out. With only $44.3 million in total in the domestic bank, it’s a good thing the $209 million-budgeted flick has a $232.7 million international haul to lean on. The Dictator beats out Chernobyl Diaries for the fourth spot, losing 44.9% of its weekend one profits for another $9.6 million. As for Chernobyl Diaries, it only managed to accumulate $8 million its first weekend out with a $3,288 per theater average. (via Box Office Mojo)