Happy Sunday, Shockya.com readers! Yes, another weekend has come to an end, but we’ve got quite the list of movie news to send you back to work with.

The biggest of the bunch is certainly all of the updates pouring out of Disney’s D23 Expo. The event revealed details on a number of projects including The Muppets, The Avengers, Monsters University and so much more. We’ve also got some extensive casting news from some non-Disney productions like the G.I. Joe sequel as well as Steven Soderbergh’s Magic Mike. There are even some inspirational stories in the mix this week; not only did Tom Hanks step up and make amends for Larry Crowne by refunding dissatisfied fans, but a duo of documentary directors made a huge impact in the lives of three men wrongly convicted of murder in the mid 90s.

And, of course, we’ve got your weekly trailer and box office update and while the former is packed with new material that’s got a chance at soaring, the latter shows what happens when studios deliver duds.

Read about all of those stories and much more in your weekly Movie News Cheat Sheet.

1. The Best of the D23 Expo: Disney’s biannual D23 Expo is just wrapping up and offered a ton of new information. To start, Disney-Pixar announced plans to begin the November 23rd release, The Muppets, with a brand new Toy Story short called “Small Fry.” In addition, the studio also released some information on two brand new features, one about dinosaurs to be directed by Bob Peterson and another described as “incredible journeys into extraordinary worlds” from director Peter Docter. In Marvel news, a lucky crowd got to see some footage from The Avengers, which consisted of a four-minute montage, some of which comes from that post-credits teaser we saw after Captain America. A particularly hot item at D23 this year was Monsters University. The film focuses on Mike and Sully’s younger years, when the two are at odds at Monsters U, both competing to become scarers. The Walt Disney Company also showed off a preview of Wreck-It Ralph, a film that focuses on video game characters after the arcade shuts down for the night. This brief summary is really only scratching the surface. ComingSoon.net’s got some pretty extensive coverage and I urge you to check it out to get a more detailed account of all the action at D23.

2. Bruce Willis Officially Goes Joe: No rumor here; Bruce Willis is really suiting up as General Joe Colton, G.I. Joe numero uno, in G.I. Joe: Retaliation. The confirmation actually comes from Dwayne Johnson’s Twitter account who posted, “Welcome brother Bruce Willis to the cast of GI Joe! What an honor. #HeavyArtillery.” Variety also recently broke the news that Walton Goggins is joining the gang as Warden Nigel James. No word on who this guy really is, but as “warden” isn’t an official military title, I’m going to assume Goggins’ character is a member of the opposition. But, then again, there are also game wardens and prison wardens, so your guess is as good as mine.

3. Steven Soderbergh Loads Up His Cast Fast for Magic Mike: He already had Channing Tatum and Alex Pettyfer, but in less than a week, Steven Soderbergh also added Matthew McConaughey, Matt Bomer, Riley Keough and Joe Manganiello to the cast of his upcoming stripper production Magic Mike. Tatum will star as the titular character, a stripper who takes it upon himself to show Pettyfer’s character the ropes. Variety reports that McConaughey will step in as Dallas, the owner of Xquisite, the place where the boys work. According to Deadline, Bomer will work alongside Magic Mike as another exotic dancer while THR reports that Manganiello is in talks to play someone named Big Dick Richie. While The Playlist claims news that Jessica Biel is on board to play Magic Mike’s girlfriend is false, apparently reports from E! Online claiming that Keough is set to play Pettyfer’s character’s girlfriend are still valid.

4. New Breaking Dawn Stills: I feel like I’ve seen some of these before, but perhaps after three years all of this Twilight Saga nonsense is starting to fry my brain. However, I know I’m not going entirely crazy as one of these images certainly is the shot used on the cover of the most recent edition of Entertainment Weekly. A handful of the rest are more of the same, snippets we’ve seen in action in the film’s trailers. Aesthetically speaking, the one of Edward and Bella (Robert Pattison and Kristen Stewart) going for a ride on a speedboat is fairly stimulating and the shot of Rosalie Cullen (Nikki Reed) talking to Jacob (Taylor Lautner) feels particularly fresh as it finally shows off someone other than our leads. Similarly, we also get a peek at a nice moment Bella shares with her, in this image, soon-to-be sisters-in-law Rosalie and Alice (Ashley Greene). Sure it’s another shot of Bella and Edward, but one of the images is also rather noteworthy, as it clearly shows the lovebirds rocking their brand new wedding bands. Check out five of the images right here and the other four here.

5. Tom Hanks Refunds Fans Unhappy with Larry Crowne: If only more actors were this noble … the majority would probably be broke. As reported by The Guardian, Tom Hanks appeased frustrated moviegoers by refunding them for their Larry Crowne tickets. While the star was refueling his ride at a Los Angeles gas station, a couple approached him and “politely explained that they had come to expect more from their favourite actor.” Hanks dug into his pocket, pulled out $25 and handed it over. Many moviegoers heeded the warning and steered clear of the poorly reviewed film, which has only amassed $52.4 million worldwide after seven weeks in theaters, but for those who put their faith in Hanks and came out empty handed, hopefully this act of understanding can make up for a bit of the disappointment.

6. Hollywood Sets The Record Straight: In the mid 90s, HBO recruited directors Bruce Sinofsky and Joe Berlinger to cover the trial of Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelly, and Jason Baldwin, a trio of young men accused of murdering three eight-year-old boys. The directing team made two films on the experience, Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills and Paradise Lost 2: Revelations, both of which stirred controversy by purporting decisions were made based on insubstantial evidence. In the end, Echols still assumed a spot on death row and Misskelly and Baldwin received lengthy prison sentences. However, just days before finalizing the third documentary of this series, Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory, Sinofsky and Berlinger were thrilled to pull out their cameras yet again thanks to a very necessary change to the conclusion of this story. The other day, the “West Memphis 3” took part in a hearing that resulted in their freedom after spending 18 years in prison. Click here to get all of the details via Deadline and keep an eye out for Purgatory which debuts at the Toronto International Film Festival in September.

7. Noah Oppenheim to Pen the WarGames Remake: Another piece has been added to the WarGames remake puzzle, a writer. Former Hardball and Today Show producer-turned-screenwriter Noah Oppenheim has been hired to pen the script for director Seth Gordon. Post-news producing, Oppenheim earned some clout via his script Jackie, which Darren Aronofsky snatched up to direct. That one currently lives at Protozoa. As for WarGames, Deadline points out the piece is particularly “reboot-able” and I have to agree. Back in 1983, Matthew Broderick starred as a high school hacker who gains access to a US military supercomputer and instructs it to run a nuclear war simulation, as he’s under the impression it’s just a videogame. Clearly technology has advance quite a bit since then, notably in the online gaming world, and that growth could give Oppenheim a lot to play with.

8. Ridley Scott to Make a New Blade Runner: In other reboot news, Ridley Scott is good to go on a new Blade Runner movie. However, this one isn’t a remake, rather a follow-up to Scott’s 1982 original. And don’t go and assume “follow-up” means sequel; according to the official press release, there’s a chance this one could be a prequel. Not only is Blade Runner a downright fantastic film, but it has a place in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” The new film’s producers, Alcon co-founders and co-Chief Executive Officers Broderick Johnson and Andrew Kosove stated, “It would be a gross understatement to say that we are elated Ridley Scott will shepherd this iconic story into a new, exciting direction. We are huge fans of Ridley’s and of the original Blade Runner. This is once in a lifetime project for us.” Fingers crossed they make the opportunity count. (via ComingSoon)

9. Trailers: Carnage, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, Underworld: Awakening: It may not be Oscar season yet, but the potential contenders’ promotion material is certainly on the way. The first trailer for Roman Palanski’s Carnage has arrived and it features Jodie Foster, John C. Reilly, Kate Winslet and Christoph Waltz duking it out after their kids get into a schoolyard fight. And, in obviously non-Academy Award news, a new trailer for Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance has dropped and after an almost operatic start, it gets into some heavy-duty flaming cycle riding and action. Oh, and Ghost Rider urinates fire, too. The thrills continue with the first trailer for the fourth film in the Underworld series, Underworld: Awakening. Humans, vampires, lycans and well, something else, all go at it in this new promo clearly designed for 3D viewing.

10. Box Office: Ouch. This weekend was a rough one for our box office newcomers. However, the folks behind The Help are likely ecstatic as not only did the film have a surprisingly strong opening, but the lack of competition this time around let it maintain its strong run and pull in far more cash than expected yet again. Similarly, Rise of the Planet of the Apes benefited from its lackluster opposition, falling just 41.4% and putting another $16.3 million into its pot. As for the newcomers, Spy Kids: All the Time in the World is officially the weakest opener of the franchise, pulling in just $12 million to start. Lionsgate didn’t fair much better as the studio’s massive 3D adventure, Conan the Barbarian, earned just $10 million on a $90 million budget. Just edging Fright Night out of the top five is The Smurfs, which topped it by about $100,000, earning a total of $8 million its fourth week out. (via Box Office Mojo)

By Perri Nemiroff

Monsters University at D23 via Slash Film
Monsters University at D23 via Slash Film

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By Perri Nemiroff

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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