After a morning packed with Christmas presents, consider this Movie News Cheat Sheet a bit of an after dinner drink to the main meal. Okay, not every item on this week’s list will bring you comfort and joy, but the good most certainly outweighs the not so good.

Not a fan of 3D? It pains me to report that both The Avengers and Star Trek 2 will go under the post conversion knife. On the bright and unrelated side, the big screen adaptation of Ender’s Game just snagged a slew of new cast members including Harrison Ford and Abigail Breslin. In other casting news, Lovelace picked up four and might also add James Franco in a cameo role as Hugh Hefner.

The promotional material elves have been quite generous this past week. Not only did we get new posters for Mirror Mirror and 21 Jump Street, but trailers for the highly anticipated Prometheus, The Dark Knight Rises and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey!

How’s that for a holiday treat? Check out all of the aforementioned and much more in your final Movie News Cheat Sheet of 2011.

1. The Avengers to Get the 3D Conversion Treatment: Say it isn’t so! Sadly, according to Deadline, it looks like The Avengers is getting the 3D treatment. In a brief update regarding release dates for both The Avengers and Disney’s Frozen 3D, the outlet revealed that The Avengers will still hit theaters on May 4th, 2012 as planned, but now it’ll happen with an extra dimension and a new title, The Avenger’s 3D. Not only is this disappointing news in that we’ve got to struggle through yet another 3D feature film, but it also means The Avengers will suffer through a post-conversion process, a technique that has never come close to delivering solid results. Am I still looking forward to The Avengers? Sure, but most certainly not as much. Then again, Joss Whedon did assure us the film won’t be “obnoxiously 3D,” whatever that means.

2. Star Trek 2 to Shoot in 2D: On the bright side, the Star Trek sequel will stick with two dimensions. Oh, wait; scratch that. Yes, J.J. Abrams will shoot the film in 2D, but he told MTV News, “We’re shooting on film, 2D, and then we’ll do a good high-end conversion like the Harry Potter movie and all that.” There’s a such thing as a “high-end conversion?” In J.J. I trust? Normally, yes, but I’m a little weary in this case. Abrams backed up the decision by further explaining, “Luckily, with our release date now we have the months needed to do it right, because if you rush it, it never looks good … We were talking about [shooting in IMAX] and I would love to do it. IMAX is my favorite format; I’m a huge fan.” Now there’s a smart decision! While there have been a teeny tiny handful of films that have used the 3D technology to enhance their stories, generally, IMAX is quite successful when it comes to enhancing the all-around experience.

3. Harrison Ford and Abigail Breslin Join Ender’s Game: As I plow through Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game the book gets better and better and the same is true of the feature film version’s cast. As reported by Variety, both Harrison Ford and Abigail Breslin are officially on board. As suspected a few weeks back, Ford is taking the role of Colonel Hyram Graff, the man responsible for bringing young Ender Wiggin (Asa Butterfield) to Battle School. Breslin will step in as Ender’s beloved older sister, Valentine. In addition, Aramis Knight, Moises Arias, Jimmy “Jax” Pinchak, Suraj Parthasarathy, Conor Carroll and Khylin Rhambo all scored roles in the March 15th, 2013 release and I’d like to bet some will take on the roles of some of Ender’s closest Battle School classmates, perhaps even Shen, Alai and Bean.

4. Lovelace Adds Four and Maybe James Franco, Too: Amanda Seyfried and Peter Sarsgaard have been at the helm of Lovelace for quite some time, but now they’re making room for more supporting cast members. THR reports Hank Azaria, Chris Noth, Bobby Cannavale and Robert Patrick have joined the piece about porn star Linda Lovelace. Cannavale and Noth will take on the roles of Butchie Peraino and Anthony Romano, the men responsible for financing the 1972 erotic film Deep Throat while Azaria is set to portray Jerry Damiano, the director. As for Patrick, he snagged the role of John, Lovelace’s father, opposite Sharon Stone as her mother. Over at Variety the word is that James Franco might also join in to cameo as Hugh Hefner. Franco is still in negotiations, but, should everything go to plan, this would mark Franco’s second go-around with his Howl directors, Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman.

5. Taylor Swift’s Hunger Games Song Arrives: While Lionsgate has been very generous in the promotion department with film stills, trailers and posters, now they bring us something a little more on the unconventional side – a taste of the Hunger Games soundtrack, namely Taylor Swift’s contribution, “Safe & Sound.” Not only is the song a beautiful listen, but it seems incredibly appropriate for the tone and subject matter of the film. Of course it’s impossible to figure out exactly where the tune might fall in the full feature, but there’s at least a dozen options where “Safe & Sound” could be put to good use. Click here to check out the song for yourself.

6. Seth Rogen May Join The B Team: Back in 2008, Disney went for a pitch from Derek Guiley and David Schneiderman, but it’s just now that the project is finally picking up steam. As reported by Variety, Seth Rogen will come on board to produce and possibly star in The B Team. The piece is about a group of tech support members and researchers who must swoop into action when their best agent is kidnapped. Rogen has produced before, but most of those credits are as executive producer, which can denote a whole different degree of involvement. What will Rogen’s producing role mean for The B Team? Probably that the usual suspects will be cast, perhaps Jonah Hill, James Franco, Danny McBride, etc. As for Rogen joining the roster, considering he has starred in everything he’s produced (as a producer and executive producer), I’d like to bet he’ll sign on that dotted line to join the production in that capacity soon, too.

7. A Double Dose of Fast & Furious: After the monumental success of both Fast & Furious and Fast Five, it was obvious that the sixth installment would come our way, but now, according to THR, that sixth film will actually be split into two, making it Fast & Furious 6 and 7. Star and franchise producer Vin Diesel revealed that a second film would be necessary in order to tell the whole story. He explained, “With the success of this last one, and the inclusion of so many characters, and the broadening of scope, when we were sitting down to figure out what would fit into the real estate of number six, we didn’t have enough space.” Fast & Furious and Fast Five director Justin Lin is set to return as is screenwriter Chris Morgan.

8. Posters: Mirror Mirror, 21 Jump Street, The Hobbit: We’ve got a handful of notably fresh faces in the poster department including Mirror Mirror’s Julia Roberts and Lily Collins. Fittingly, Roberts gets a poster of her own, but the second design features both actresses, pitting Snow White against the Evil Queen. Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum make for another dynamic duo in the new poster for 21 Jump Street, which also boasts a crude yet amusing tagline that suits the film well based on the trailers we’ve seen. Finally we’ve got a wall-worthy design for you, the first poster for Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Obviously reminiscent of the Shire setting from Lord of the Rings, this image undoubtedly packs the power to give fans chills, suggesting we’re about to re-enter the Middle-Earth.

9. Trailers: Prometheus, The Dark Knight Rises, The Hobbit: Talk about a big week in trailers. After a three video countdown, the trailer for Prometheus has finally arrived and while it doesn’t reveal much in terms of the film’s plot, the Alien connections are certainly there as is some terrifying deep space action. We’ve also got the full trailer for The Dark Knight Rise, which, on the other hand, is brimming with story details. On top of that, the two minute and ten second piece also gives us quick looks at Anne Hathaway, Marion Cotillard and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as well as a nice long shot of some incredible mid-football game destruction. Lastly, there’s the first trailer for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, which, as expected and quite appropriately, feels as though Peter Jackson is bringing The Lord of the Rings back to life.

10. Box Office: Ouch. I guess the box office was on Santa’s naughty list because there just wasn’t much money to be had this holiday weekend. Mission: Impossible- Ghost Protocol topped the list with $26.5 million courtesy of a 3,023 theater boost. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows lost a little more than half of its week one profits, leaving it with about $17.8 million while Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked saw a more modest drop of 42.7% and took $13.3 million for weekend two. Unfortunately, here’s where the newcomers come in. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo posted a decent $4,461 per theater average and took $13 million in total. The Adventures of Tintin, on the other hand, only took $2,956 per theater, which left it with just $9.1 million for the weekend. Based on these estimates, odds are, the Sunday newcomers, War Horse and The Darkest Hour, may barely make it into the top ten by the day’s end. On the bright side, at least this means people are likely enjoying more family time. (via Box Office Mojo)

By Perri Nemiroff

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Poster
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Poster

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,, Shockya, and MTV's Movies Blog.

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