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Movie News Cheat Sheet: Zach Braff Makes A Movie Via Kickstarter, Blake Cooper Joins One Via Twitter

The times are a-changin’ and it’s more evident than ever this week. Not only did Zach Braff join the Kickstarter craze to secure funding for his next directorial effort, “Wish I Was Here,” but young Blake Cooper also snagged a role in the highly anticipated adaptation of “The Maze Runner” by pestering the film’s director on Twitter.

A few notable movie news tidbits also popped up the old fashioned way, via standard cast negotiating and deal making. Lee Pace is on the cusp of locking the role of the villain in “Guardians of the Galaxy” while both Johnny Depp and Meryl Streep are in talks to board the big screen adaptation of the Broadway musical “Into The Woods.”

And there’s much more where that came from. Check our your weekly dose of film news and film news 2.0 in the Movie News Cheat Sheet.

1. Tribeca Film Festival Recap: Yet another Tribeca Film Festival has come to a close leaving you with quite the number of films worth keeping an eye on as they continue their festival runs or possibly get distribution. Of the bunch my personal favorite was Mo Ogrodnik’s “Deep Powder,” a film that tells the true story of a group of boarding school kids who arrange an annual trip to Ecuador for a cocaine run. “Rabies” directors Navot Papushado and Aharon Keshales made yet another splash at the festival with “Big Bad Wolves,” staying within hard R territory while infusing their brutal violence with a hint of humor. Speaking of hard Rs, keep clear of the Zoe Bell-starrer “Raze” unless you think you can stomach a group of women engaging in viciously realistic and deadly hand-to-hand combat. “Fresh Meat” also made quite the impression in the festival’s Midnight Section, boasting loads of vibrant gore within a darkly hilarious villainous criminals-meet-innocent family of cannibals scenario. If you’re looking for something a little more wholesome, “A Birder’s Guide to Everything” could be for you, Rob Meyer’s feature directorial debut offering up a sweet and charming coming-of-age story about a group of kids who sneak off on a camping trip to track down the extinct Labrador duck. And that’s only scratching the surface of this year’s Tribeca Film Festival. Click here for a look at all of Shockya’s Tribeca 2013 coverage and also keep an eye on the site as we report on the films’ lives beyond the festival.

2. Zach Braff Joins the Kickstarter Craze: Zach Braff is the latest Hollywood heavyweight to take to Kickstarter to go the independent, crowd source financing route for his next project, “Wish I Was Here.” Braff co-penned the script with his brother Adam, which will also mark Braff’s first feature directorial effort since 2004’s “Garden State.” He’s due to star in the film as well as Aidan Bloom, “a struggling actor, father and husband, who at 35 is still trying to find his identity; a purpose for his life.” When his father can no longer cover the bill for Aidan’s kids’ private school education and their only public school option is a school “on its last legs,” Aidan opts to give home-schooling a shot. Braff set the goal at $2 million, but the campaign is already well beyond it, currently just over $2.1 million with 26 days to go.

3. Lee Pace is the “Guardians of the Galaxy” Villain: James Gunn is just about to lock in his “Guardians of the Galaxy” villain. According to The Wrap, Lee Pace is in final negotiations to snag the top-secret role. Should the deal go through, Pace will join Chris Pratt as Star Lord, Zoe Saldana as Gamora, Dave Bautista as Drax the Destroyer and Michael Rooker as Yondu when production kicks off in June. Back in November, Pace was one of the actors being considered for the Peter Quill part, but wowed the folks at Disney enough to lose that role to Pratt, but still get one of his own. Quill and his brigade of alien superheroes will go head-to-head with Pace’s villain and an evil alien race when the film hits theaters on August 1, 2014.

4. Johnny Depp and Meryl Streep May Go “Into the Woods:” Disney is going big with its adaptation of the Broadway musical “Into the Woods.” As reported by Variety, both Johnny Depp and Meryl Streep are in talks to lead. The piece taps into a number of Brothers Grimm tales while focusing on a baker and his wife who venture into the woods in an effort to lift a family curse. Should both Depp and Streep make it official, Depp will play the baker and Streep will step in as the evil witch. The studio has yet to give the project a start date, but the article does note that this would be Depp’s next endeavor after “Transcendence,” which is filming now. If that’s the case, director Rob Marshall and co. could be on set this fall.

5. Blake Cooper Locks “Maze Runner” Role via Twitter: Dylan O’Brien, Will Poulter, Kaya Scodelario, Aml Ameen, and Thomas Brodie-Sangster have another “Maze Runner” co-star, but rather than snag the role through an offer or audition, Blake Cooper landed the part of Chuck through Twitter. Cooper slammed director Wes Ball with tweets insisting, “I’m your Chunk!,” and Ball took his word for it. Ball got in touch with Fox casting director Denis Chamian and Chamian had Cooper send in a self-taped audition. Turns out, he must actually be a solid actor because Cooper got the role and, fittingly, Ball revealed the news by tweeting, “Everyone welcome our Chuck to the Maze Runner cast. Blake Cooper. @followblakecoop.” Cooper’s got a small handful of single-episode TV credits, but “Maze Runner” will mark his first experience on a feature film set.

6. “Dodgeball 2” in the Works: It’s been almost a decade, but Fox and Red Hour are interested in bringing the Average Joe’s dodgeball team back to the big screen. THR reports that the studio and production company just hired Clay Tarver to pen “Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story 2.” The next installment is said to be about Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn’s characters teaming up to tackle “an even bigger threat.” After the first film earned a whopping $167.7 million worldwide on a $20 million production budget, a sequel was expected and while the idea was on the table, it didn’t come to fruition until now. We should get a good sense of how moviegoers will respond to such a lengthy gap when “Anchorman” returns to theaters after a nine-year hiatus in December.

7. Michael Bay Apologizes for “Armageddon” Then Takes It Back: Call it youthful ignorance, but I always enjoyed and still enjoy Michael Bay’s “Armageddon.” Sure, it’s a little tacky and nonsensical, but as far as outlandish end-of-the-world movies go, the experience is immensely satisfying. However, with a rotten 39% on Rotten Tomatoes, clearly most don’t share my affection for the film and while promoting “Pain & Gain,” Bay felt the need to apologize for it – kind of. Bay told The Miami Herald, “I will apologize for ‘Armageddon,’ because we had to do the whole movie in 16 weeks. It was a massive undertaking. That was not fair to the movie. I would redo the entire third act if I could.” Shortly after, Bay took to his official forums, ShootForTheEdit.com, and wrote, “One press writer has gone too far in reporting false information. He has printed the bare minimum of my statement, which in effect have twisted my words and meaning. I’m not in the slightest going to apologize for the third movie in my movie career, a film called ‘Armageddon.’” It’s okay, Mr. Bay. I’m with you on that one.

8. “Iron Man 3” Poised to Rock the Box Office: Get ready because “Iron Man 3” could absolutely blow away the box office next weekend. The film began its international rollout, playing in 79% of the international marketplace, and has already secured an incredible $195.3 million. That’s roughly $10 million more than “The Avengers.” On top of that, “Iron Man 3” also now holds the title of biggest opening weekend ever in Argentina, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Vietnam, Taiwan, Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore, and biggest opening day ever in Taiwan, Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam and Malaysia, amongst other record-setting accolades. Could “Iron Man 3” go on to trump “The Avengers’” $207.4 million domestic debut? These international numbers prove it’ll definitely come close, but I’m not betting on it. (via Walt Disney Pictures)

9. Trailers: “Monsters University,” “Thor: The Dark World,” “The Bling Ring:” College with Mike, Sulley, and more monsters? I’m in! I’ve caught “Monsters University” in its entirety so, admittedly, I may be playing favorites, but after seeing the film, the promotional campaign and the newest trailer in particular already makes me nostalgic for the good old days at MU. While I’m not as enthusiastic about returning to Asgard with Thor, the first trailer for “Thor: The Dark World” does suggest the film is following the trend of tapping into dark superhero territory while also rocking some gorgeous and incredibly detailed visuals. Last up is the new trailer for Sofia Coppola’s “The Bling Ring,” which continues to tap into the kids-gone-wrong hype of “Spring Breakers” with the added boost of being based on a true story.

10. Box Office: As expected, it was a rather mellow weekend at the box office. “Pain and Gain” topped the charts with a $20 million opening. Not the number you’d expect from a Michael Bay film starring Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson, but considering the production budget only came out to $26 million, $20 million is a strong enough start. “Oblivion” took a sizable hit, but even after losing 52.9% of its opening weekend profits, it still ended up with $17.4 million, which was more than enough to secure the #2 position. “42” held on strong yet again, following up its 35.5% weekend one to two dip with a 39.5% loss for another $10.7 million. The #4 spot went to newcomer “The Big Wedding,” but its mere $7.5 million opening haul doesn’t really do its big cast justice. “The Croods” came in with another $6.6 million thanks to an exceptionally minimal 28.5% weekend five to six loss. The $135 million-budgeted film is already well in the green at the domestic box office alone, with a grand total of $163 million. (via Box Office Mojo)

By Perri Nemiroff

The Maze Runner's Blake Cooper

The Maze Runner’s Blake Cooper

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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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