Cue the “Star Wars” theme! Yes, it’s official, we’re returning to the universe of Wookiees, Jedi, lightsabers and more not for one additional installment, but rather for a whole new trilogy, brought to you not by Lucasfilm, but The Walt Disney Company.
While it most definitely doesn’t add up to a $4.5 billion deal, Jamie Foxx will probably earn a pretty penny once he’s confirmed to play Electro in “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.” Director Francis Lawrence is sitting pretty as well, getting the go-ahead from Lionsgate to stick with “The Hunger Games” franchise and direct “Mockingjay – Part 1” and “Mocking Jay – Part 2.”
You think those stories are big? We’ve got news on “Zero Dark Thirty,” “The Hobbit,” and much more. Check it all out in your weekly Movie News Cheat Sheet.
1. Airline Safety “Hobbit” Style: If only more airlines would take a cue from Air New Zealand, we’d have many more travelers well versed in midair safety. WETA Workshop produced a “Hobbit”-themed safety video for the airline packed with familiar characters, hairy feet, Peter Jackson himself and more. It’s clever and comprehensive resulting in a video that’s quite informative, but entertaining, too.
2. Jamie Foxx Could Go Head-to-Head with Spider-Man As Electro: It looks as though Marc Webb may have recruited another newcomer for his “Amazing Spider-Man” sequel, Jamie Foxx. According to Variety, in addition to Shailene Woodley who’s gunning for Mary Jane Watson, Foxx is also in talks to take a big role in round two, that of the film’s villain, Electro, a man named Max Dillon who acquires the power to harness electricity after being struck by lightning. While the news has yet to be confirmed by Sony, Foxx did Tweet, “Dressed up as Electro for Halloween last night. Costume fits well,” which is more than enough validation for me.
3. No “Zero Dark Thirty” Until January: Kathryn Bigelow’s highly anticipated “Zero Dark Thirty” is still hitting theaters on December 19th, but only in New York and Los Angeles. The film was originally scheduled for a wide release on the 19th, but now, according to THR, the plans have shifted and the film will start in NY and LA, keeping it eligible for the Academy Awards, then will spread to eight to 10 more markets on January 4, 2013 and finally go nationwide on January 11th. The article suggests that the changes are aimed at pumping up word-of-mouth prior to awards season. The move also lets “Zero Dark Thirty” steer clear of quite a bit of competition including “Django Unchained,” Les Miserables,” “This Is 40” and more.
4. Francis Lawrence Locked for Both “Mockingjay” Films: “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” is still over a year away from its big release, but Lionsgate must be happy with director Francis Lawrence’s work thus far because the studio has hired him to direct both “Mockingjay – Part 1” and “Mockingjay – Part 2.” The Lionsgate press release also confirms that “Game Change” scribe Danny Strong will pen both scripts and Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth are locked to return. “Catching Fire” is set to hit theaters on November 22, 2013, “Mockingjay – Part 1” will arrive on November 21, 2014 followed by “Mockingjay – Part 2” on November 20, 2015.
5. Disney Acquires Lucasfilm and Plans “Star Wars Episode 7” for 2015: Excuse the lack of eloquence, but, whoa. Not only did The Walt Disney Company announce the acquisition of Lucasfilm (via ComingSoon), but the studio is also moving forward with another “Star Wars” film – as part of a new trilogy! So yes, that means we can expect at least three more “Star Wars” movies beginning in 2015. Apparently the deal amounts to $4.05 billion of which most will go to charity. Via THR, a Lucasfilm spokesperson announced, “George Lucas has expressed his intention, in the event the deal closes, to donate the majority of the proceeds to his philanthropic endeavors.” Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill, also got chatty with EW, telling the outlet he was shocked when Lucas told him, “We decided we’re going to do Episodes VII, VIII, and IX.” You and many more, Mr. Hamill.
6. “V/H/S” x 2: Who’s ready for another round of VHS madness? The first film saw a limited release in early October and stirred enough buzz to warrant a second. “V/H/S” producers Gary Binkow, Brad Miska and Roxanne Benjamin reteamed to pull together another group of directors for the next anthology. “The Raid” director, Gareth Evans, will co-write and co-direct a segment with Timo Tjahjanto while “The Blair Witch Project” director, Eduardo Sanchez, will do the same with Gregg Hale. Adam Wingard is set to return, but rather than direct the portion that connects all the smaller stories, he’ll create his own segment. Writer Simon Barrett is due to return as well to make his directorial debut. “Hobo With A Shotgun” director, Jason Eisener, is locked for a segment of his own, too. According to THR, this time around, the overarching story will involve two investigators who find a tape while trying to track down a student. If you have yet to get your “V/H/S” fix, it’s still playing in select theaters, is available On Demand and will hit DVD on December 4th. (via THR)
7. “Bone Tomahawk” Gets Peter Sarsgaard, Jennifer Carpenter and More: Sticking with the horror genre, we’ve got an interesting project in the works over at Caliber Media Co. After finding a spot on The Black List with “The Brigands of Rattleborge,” and landing two spec deals, writer S. Craig Zahler is ready to make his directorial debut and is doing so with a big cast and what sounds like some extreme material. “Bone Tomahawk” will feature a gunslinger played by Kurt Russell, a befuddled oldster played by Richard Jenkins, a cowboy played by Peter Sarsgaard and a yet to be cast gunslinger who join forces to rescue a group of captives from cannibalistic troglodytes (cave people). Jennifer Carpenter steps in as one of those at risk of being the cannibal’s next snack. The article calls the film “brutally violent” so this one’s got a shot at satiating those looking for some gory fun, but doing so in a more tactful manner than most thanks to Zahler’s skill.
8. Jason Bateman Will Be in Good Company for His Directorial Debut: Jason Bateman has locked quite the cast for his first go behind the lens. As unveiled by Darko Entertainment, Aggregate Films and MXN Entertainment, “Bad Words” will star Bateman, Allison Janney, Kathryn Hahn, Ben Falcone, Philip Baker Hall, and Rohan Chandz. Bateman leads as a high school drop out who weasels his way into The National Quill Spelling Bee, a competition for kids in the 8th grade and below. Janney’s character, Dr. Bernice Deagan, the event’s director, protests, but Bateman still manages to make it through round after round until he meets Chandz’s character at the nationals. The two buddy up, Bateman offering Chandz some “dark comedic life lessons.” Hahn steps in as a reporter who funds Bateman’s adventure for exclusive rights to his story.
9. Trailers: “Side Effects,” “West of Memphis,” “Struck By Lightning:” Ready for a taste of Steven Soderbergh’s second to last effort behind the lens? With the director’s retirement on the horizon, the trailer for his early 2013 release, “Side Effects,” hits, featuring an all-star cast including Rooney Mara, Channing Tatum, Jude Law and more in the midst of a drug-induced nightmare. Equally terrifying, if not more so due to its true roots, is the trailer for Amy Berg’s documentary, “West of Memphis.” This one focuses on the 1993 murder of three young boys, a crime that was pinned on three teenagers who, after 18 years in prison, were released as a result of insufficient evidence. On a much lighter note, we’ve got the trailer for Chris Colfer’s “Struck By Lighting.” The trailer isn’t as funny or snappy as the full feature, but it still offers a solid taste of the high school shenanigans that ensue.
10. Box Office: Can you say “Wreck-It Ralph 2?” No, a sequel hasn’t been announced, but after a $49 million start, I’d like to bet Disney is thinking about it. “Flight” had a solid start as well, matching “Wreck-It Ralph’s” $13,000 per theater average. However, with about 1,800 less theaters, “Flight” only accumulated a total of $25 million, easily locking the second position, but far from catching “Ralph.” “Argo” saw yet another extremely minimal drop, falling just 15.2% from weekend three to four, taking another $10.2 million to the bank. “The Man with the Iron Fists” had a mediocre opening, kicking off what’ll likely be a short run with $8.2 million. “Taken 2” rounded out the top five, dropping just 22.2% and posting a $6 million fifth weekend out. (via Box Office Mojo)