After finally emerging from the SXSW bubble, it’s time to recognize that the film industry is making moves beyond Austin.
After a recap of Shockya.com’s run at SXSW 2013, we dive into loads of casting news, featuring big recruits for the book-to-film adaptation “Divergent” and Bryan Singer’s “X-Men: Days of Future Past.” Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment also dropped a big bomb this week; they’ve hired “Safety Not Guaranteed” director Colin Trevorrow to direct “Jurassic Park 4.” Then, of course, we’ve got the goods on all this “Veronica Mars”/Kickstarter action and speculate on how the arrangement might open the doors to a new format of film financing.
You’ve got all that and much more coming at you in this week’s Movie News Cheat Sheet.
1. SXSW Wrap-Up: At this point, I’ve covered my fair share of film festivals, but, really, there’s just nothing like SXSW. You can read my more sentimental piece about my experience in Austin over at Movies.com, but here, we’re going to run through the quality of the films and their current status. Of the bunch, just two SXSW entries gained distribution, one of which I had the pleasure of catching twice, “Cheap Thrills.” Drafthouse Films snagged the rights to that one and will give it a limited theatrical run and VOD/home entertainment release planned while IFC Midnight snatched up the Abigail Breslin starrer “Haunter.” Of the bunch, “Cheap Thrills” was easily my top film of the festival, so it’s a, er, thrill to know that more will get the opportunity to see it, but for one of my other SXSW favorites, Jessie McCormack’s “Gus,” hopes are high it’ll receive more love on a lengthy festival run. I also had the pleasure of catching a number of films that rolled into SXSW with release plans already in place and all four – “Evil Dead,” “VHS 2,” “You’re Next” and “Spring Breakers” – are must-sees. Check out the entire list of Shockya.com SXSW 2013 coverage right here.
2. “Veronica Mars” Funded via Kickstarter: Not that a “Veronica Mars” movie isn’t a very personal endeavor for the folks trying to make it, but Kickstarter’s always been a place where aspiring filmmakers can put their budgets together on a highly independent level. However, after what just went down with “Veronica Mars,” that may change. The film’s $3.5 million Kickstarter account will finance the production of the movie, but Warner Bros. Digital Distribution is stepping in to handle marketing, promotion and distribution. Could this spark a trend of studios buddying up with material that comes with a big enough fan base to amass an entire production budget essentially free of charge? After a response like this, it’s highly likely.
3. “Divergent” Casting Updates: Shailene Woodley is finally getting some company on the set of the Veronica Roth adaptation of “Divergent.” Not only has Summit locked Maggie Q, Zoe Kravitz, Jai Courtney, Ansel Elgort, and Theo James, but the studio is also closing deals with Kate Winslet, Aaron Eckhart, Ray Stevenson and Miles Teller, too. The film’s official Twitter account broke the news that Courtney is on board to play Eric while THR announced that Q is set for Tori, Kravitz is taking the role of Christina, and Elgort is Caleb. The update on Winslet, Eckhart, Stevenson and Teller doesn’t mention the parts they’re going for, but Deadline does reveal that Theo James is playing the film’s main man and, naturally, Woodley’s character’s love interest, Four.
4. Dave Bautista is Drax the Destroyer: Rather than go for a more familiar face in the acting realm, director James Gunn and Marvel Studios have chosen mixed martial artist and WWE wrestler Dave Bautista for the role of Drax the Destroyer in “Guardians of the Galaxy.” Bautista beat out Isaiah Mustafa, Patrick Wade and Jason Momoa for the part, which is being described as “a human resurrected as a green warrior for the sole purpose of killing Thanos,” the villain that was teased at the end of “The Avengers.” Bautista joins Chris Pratt who’s all set to lead as Peter Quill, but the gang still needs a Groot, Rocket Raccoon, and Gamora. (via THR)
5. Colin Trevorrow to Direct “Jurassic Park 4:” Considering the “Jurassic Park 4” release is just over a year away, it’s about time we learned who’s going to direct the thing. It comes as a pleasant surprise that Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment steered clear of franchise frequenters and went with “Safety Not Guaranteed” director Colin Trevorrow for the gig. Trevorrow doesn’t really have anything on his resume to suggest he’s the man for the job, but “Safety Not Guaranteed” is a highly charming little sci-fi comedy, so perhaps someone with a tendency to produce material in that sphere is the better bet when trying to avoid big budget travesties like “Jurassic Park 3.” (via Universal Pictures)
6. “X-Men: Days of Future Past” Casting Updates: Bryan Singer seems to be having quite a bit of fun casting “X-Men: Days of Future Past” and, in turn, so are we. The director’s made a wall of headshots and he’s unveiling new cast members by filling in the empty spaces. We’ve got a photo showing all the usual suspects – Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, Nicholas Hoult, Anna Paquin, Ellen Page, Shawn Ashmore, Peter Dinklage, Omar Sy and Halle Berry – with the addition of Daniel Cudmore who played Colossus in “X2” and “X-Men: The Last Stand,” Boo Boo Stewart of “The Twilight Saga,” and Fan Bingbing who’s set to play the teleporting mutant, Blink. Should this board of his be a full 11×2 assembly that still leaves six cast members yet to be revealed. Singer is very generous when it comes to sharing updates about his projects on Twitter, so be sure to give him a follow or just keep an eye on Shockya where we’ll have all the latest news as it comes in. (via Comingsoon.net and Bryan Singer)
7. Jared Harris Joins “Pompeii:” Paul W.S. Anderson is really picking things up with his next feature, “Pompeii.” The 3D action-adventure has been in play for a couple of years now, but, as of November 2012, pre-production is in full swing with Kit Harington, Emily Browning and now Jared Harris all signing up. Harington is due to lead as Milo, a slave trying to save his best friend and one true love from the devastating eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. Browning will play said love interest while Harris will step in as her father who also happens to be Harington’s character’s owner. Production is already underway in Italy and will eventually move to Toronto. (via THR)
8. Tribeca Film Festival 2013 Lineup: Technically this should have been part of last week’s Movie News Cheat Sheet, but considering the much-needed SXSW hiatus and the fact that the list is loaded with intriguing projects, it’s worth a belated mentioning. I’ll be on the ground for Shockya.com and, at a first glance, here’s a taste of what’s on my radar. We’ve got the Emma Roberts/John Cusack-starrer “Adult World” and “Almost Christmas” with Paul Rudd, Paul Giamatti, and Sally Hawkins on the list. There’s also Kodi Smit-McPhee’s hunt for a rare duck in “A Birder’s Guide to Everything” and Neil Jordan’s vampire flick featuring Gemma Arterton and Saoirse Ronan, “Byzantium.” Having missed “Prince Avalanche” at SXSW, that one will be worth circling back for and, even though I did catch “VHS 2” in Austin, it’s well worth a second viewing. Also of note in the Midnight category is the Zoe Bell headliner, “Raze,” and Karl Mueller’s “Mr. Jones.” The festival’s April 17th start date is right around the corner, so expect a string of reviews and interviews right here on Shockya.com soon. (via Tribeca Film Festival)
9. Trailers: “Kick-Ass 2,” “Dark Feed,” “The Bling Ring:” We’ve seen a slew of set photos, but our first look at Kick-Ass and Hit Girl back in action has finally arrived. The new red band trailer is loaded with the foul-mouth banter and wicked superpower-less action sequences we came to love in round one, but also with a few new additions like a pleasantly unrecognizable Jim Carrey as Colonel Stars and Stripes. Check it out for yourself here, but be warned, this one’s NSFW. The latest from the duo behind John Carpenter’s “The Ward” has also arrived. Michael and Shawn Rasmussen pull double duty, both writing and directing their latest project, “Dark Feed,” and now we’ve got our first look at it via a trailer loaded with eerie imagery. We wrap this section up with the new teaser trailer for Sofia Coppola’s latest, “The Bling Ring.” This one arrives at the perfect time, piggybacking off the “Spring Breakers” naughty girl vibe, showing off stars Emma Watson, Taissa Farmiga, Leslie Mann and more in a slick presentation of the tale about rich kids with a thing for robbing wealthy celebrities.
10. Box Office: “Oz the Great and Powerful” may not be “Alice in Wonderland” big, but it’s still quite the moneymaker. After securing an impressive $79.1 million opening weekend, “Oz” managed to maintain about 55% of its weekend one earnings for a stellar $42.2 million second weekend out. “The Call” turned out to be a surprisingly big winner, snagging the second spot with $17.1 million – a rock solid start considering the film only cost $13 million to make. “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone,” on the other hand, wound up a major disappointment, only snagging $3,261 per theater and $10.3 million in total. “Jack the Giant Slayer” held on rather strong, only dropping 36.8% from weekend two to three and taking another $6.2 million to the bank. “Identity Thief” enjoyed a minimal drop, too, only slipping 28.7%, earning another $4.5 million, and bringing its domestic grand total to a whopping $123 million. (via Box Office Mojo)