We’ve got a number of big projects making some big moves.
A Licensing Expo banner revealed that “Jurassic Park 4” is back on track and now heading towards a 2015 release. It’s also smoother sailing for Marvel in regards to “The Avengers 2” and ‘The Avengers 3” now that the studio officially has Robert Downey Jr. back on board. “Terminator 5” seems to be making strides as well with a rumor surfacing purporting that Dwayne Johnson is due to join the cast.
Ready for the latest on all of those stories, the status of “Independence Day 2,” a casting update for “Tomorrowland,” and loads more? It’s all a quick scroll-down away in your weekly Movie News Cheat Sheet.
1. No Will Smith for “Independence Day 2:” “Independence Day 2” is coming and, odds are, it’ll be big, but not big enough to support Will Smith’s price tag. Director Roland Emmerich told the NY Daily News, “Will Smith can not come back because he’s too expensive, but he’d also be too much of a marquee name.” So when the aliens attack again when the long awaited sequel hits theaters on July 3, 2015, Captain Steven Hiller will be off living happily ever after with Jasmine and Dylan, or whatever you do after you fly a UFO into space and demolish an alien mother ship, but that won’t be the case for some other original characters. Emmerich also revealed, “We have like maybe half of the people that you know would know from the first film (in the script) and the other half people who are new.” James Vanderbilt is currently polishing that script, which Emmerich notes is not a total reboot and rather “something that’s totally unusual.”
2. Anna Kendrick May Play Cinderella in “Into the Woods:” Not only is Anna Kendrick due to star in the musical-to-film adaptation of “The Last 5 Years,” but possibly the highly anticipated “Into the Woods,” too. As reported by THR, Kendrick is currently in talks to join Meryl Streep, Johnny Depp, Chris Pine, Jake Gyllenhaal, James Corden, Emily Blunt, Tracy Ullman and Christine Baranski as the film’s Cinderella. Blunt and Corden lead as a husband and wife trying to lift a witch’s spell. During their adventure in the woods, they run into Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood, and, of course, Cinderella, too. Should Kendrick’s deal go through, her character will be “trying to find her place in the world” while suffering through her marriage to a vain prince played by Pine.
3. “Jurassic Park 4” is Back on Track: Things got a little rocky, but it looks like Colin Trevorrow and co. may have pulled “Jurassic 4” back together. ComingSoon.net caught a banner for the franchise’s fourth installment at the Licensing Expo in Las Vegas that shows off the film’s new 2015 release date and reported that the event’s programming book states the film will be shot in 3D, too. Shortly after JoBlo.com jumped in with never-before-revealed story details. Apparently “JP4” will involve John Hammond’s original vision, but fully realized. Jurassic Park is up and running, totally safe, and gets 10 million visitors a year. The outlet has loads more information, but continue on at your own risk. The details do creep into spoiler territory.
4. Dwayne Johnson in “Terminator 5?:” He’s already part of “Fast & Furious,” “Journey to the Center of the Earth,” and “G.I. Joe,” but why not add another potentially massive franchise to the list? According to WWE Examiner, Dwayne Johnson might be skipping out on WrestleMania 30 in April because he’ll be busy shooting “Terminator 5.” The outlet reports that the script is only in the development stage, but the tale will involve a “sinister machine,” and the filmmakers want Johnson to play that machine. Apparently there are still a number of storyline possibilities in the mix, but one option would make “T5” a prequel featuring Sarah Connor’s parents. Arnold Schwarzenegger is locked to return, but there’s also a chance he won’t play a machine in the next installment, rather a “heroic human figure.” As WWE Examiner points out, none of these details have been confirmed, but should the film really go into production next April, they could be soon.
5. Britt Robertson vs. Naomi Scott for “Tomorrowland” Lead: Britt Robertson or Naomi Scott could get a major career boost real soon. According to THR, director Brad Bird has narrowed it down to the two for his “Tomorrowland” lead. George Clooney is locked for a role in the film, but the story’s main character is Casey Newton, “a rebellious teenage girl who comes to Clooney’s character, a disgruntled inventor, for help on a quest.” The next stage of the selection process will involve full hair and makeup tests in early July, but if Bird doesn’t find what he’s looking for in Robertson or Scott after that, he’ll move on to other options.
6. Robert Downey Jr. Officially Locked for “Avengers 2” & “3:” It’s official. Robert Downey Jr. will play Iron Man in both “The Avengers 2” and “The Avengers 3.” There was talk about recasting the role of Tony Stark in fear of “challenging” negotiations with Downey Jr., but now Marvel confirms that he’s locked for the pair of films, the first of which is scheduled to go into production in March of 2014 and hit theaters on May 1, 2015.
7. Sam Taylor-Johnson will Direct “Fifty Shades of Grey:” “Nowhere Boy” director Sam Taylor-Johnson is set to helm the big screen adaptation of E.L. James’ “Fifty Shades of Gray.” Universal Pictures and Focus Feature made the big announcement with producer Michael De Luca noting, “Sam’s unique ability to gracefully showcase complex relationships dealing with love, emotion and sexual chemistry make her the ideal director to bring Christian and Anastasia’s relationship to life.” The story focuses on a 27-year-old billionaire named Christian Grey and his relationship with college student Anastasia Steele. The rumor mill has already been churning for the casting of both roles, but now that the film has a director and is inching closer to production, be prepared for Christian/Anastasia speculation to pick back up again, full force.
8. William Fichtner is “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’” Shredder: When word of William Fichtner’s casting in Jonathan Liebesman’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” hit the web back in May, there was tons of talk about his mystery role being that of the franchise’s big bad villain, Shredder. Fichtner himself just proved those rumors true, flat-out telling HuffPost TV Canada, “I play Shredder.” “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” is currently in production with Alan Ritchson, Jeremy Howard, Pete Ploszek, and Noel Fisher bringing the turtles back to life motion capture style and is due in theaters on June 6, 2014.
9. Trailers: “Free Birds,” “The LEGO Movie,” “Frozen:” We’ve got a trio of animated movies for you this week. First up is the promo for “Free Birds” featuring the voices of Owen Wilson and Woody Harrelson as a pair of turkeys traveling back in time to take their kind off the Thanksgiving menu once and for all. The scenario seems amusing enough, but “Free Birds” doesn’t come anywhere close to trumping the nostalgia of “The LEGO Movie.” Some of the jokes in the film’s first trailer do fall a little flat, but the animation is impeccable and there’s something about that LEGO piece clicking sound that make the appeal of going on an adventure in that realm undeniably appealing. “Frozen” also takes a step beyond “Free Birds” thanks to an overwhelming dose of heart. The new teaser trailer doesn’t delve into the feature’s narrative, but rather offers a little taste of the world through a tremendously adorable short form standoff between a snowman and moose.
10. Box Office: As expected, “Monsters University” made a killing at the box office, but surprisingly, “World War Z” wasn’t far behind. “Monsters University” locked a total of $82 million on a $20,480 per theater average for its first weekend out while “World War Z” scored a very solid $66 million with about $18,298 at each location. Tack on the $45.8 million “World War Z” made overseas and that $190 million production budget no longer seems that far out of reach. With both newcomers opening strong, it’s no surprise that “Man of Steel” suffered a hefty hit with the film’s 64.7% loss leaving it with about $41.2 million for its second weekend out. The #4 spot went to “This is the End,” which held on well moving into its second weekend. Thanks to a minimal 37.3% drop, it took another $13 million to the bank. But even more impressive, “Now You See Me” dropped just 28.6% while making its move from weekend three to four, letting it take another $7.9 million to the bank. (via Box Office Mojo)