How are you all feeling? Like you’ve been deprived of a whole hour of sleep? Well, go grab a little caffeine because it’s time to plow through the best of the best in movie news from the past week.

We’ve got sequel news galore this time around. Not only is Fox moving forward with a Chronicle sequel, but Warner Bros. has plans to bring Project X back for more. Joss Whedon is also busy talking up his Avengers sequel, something he hopes will be “more personal” and “more painful.” As for the Journey franchise, they’re going for round three, director Brad Peyton and writers Brian Gunn and Mark Gunn set to return and possibly even Dwayne Johnson, too.

In the nearer future we’ve got The Loved Ones and The Cabin in the Woods to look forward to, both of which got new trailers this week. Speaking of Cabin in the Woods, it absolutely blew audiences away at SXSW, as did a few other films. Which ones exactly? Find out that and so much more in your weekly Movie News Cheat Sheet!

1. SXSW: SXSW opened with a bang, festivalgoers going absolutely nuts for The Cabin in the Woods. Many are saying the less you know about this one the better, so rather than offer up snippets of rave reviews, just know that so far, the film is very well received. The latest from Broken Lizard, The Babymakers, also screened and THR calls it one of their best, surprisingly “a comedy with a better shot at mainstream success.” Bloody Disgusting says REC 3 Genesis is “riddled with head-scratching decisions that all stem from Plaza’s desire to step away from the found footage subgenre,” but Twitch notes the film is “zesty fun, very satisfying for what it is, with a multitude of gory kills.” THR caught Matthew Lillard’s directorial debut, Fat Kid Rules the World, and suspect the fact that it is “less colorful than its grandeur-deluded title suggests” will hurt it at the box office, but for those who do catch it, they’ll “be impressed by its unexpected if modest charms.” Inside Pulse caught the Ethan Hawke-starrer Sinister and, despite an “underwhelming ending,” says it’s “a highly effective horror movie that, through the use of a great performance from Ethan Hawke and extremely unnerving music from composer Christopher Young, manages to cut through audiences’ defenses and leave them genuinely unnerved.” On the other hand, things aren’t looking so hot for Nature Calls, which has gotten the thumbs down nearly across the board, Hey U Guys saying, “I can’t imagine this film will ever get playtime at the multiplexes, but I can bet it will for sure be playing its cruel deceitful joke on legions of Netflix users for years to come.” Many more updates to come as this is only day three of the nine-day event.

2. First Image of Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer in The Lone Ranger: Casting a blonde as a brunette is one thing, but a Caucasian man as a Native American? Well, apparently face paint is an easy fix, just like the use of some hair dye or a wig. Jerry Bruckheimer recently tweeted the first image of Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer in The Lone Ranger, and while Hammer is rocking the traditional ranger garb, in true Depp fashion, he’s got his own spin on Tonto, which, unsurprisingly, involves a rather brazen hair, makeup and wardrobe effort. Could Tonto be the next Jack Sparrow for Depp? We’ll find out come March 31, 2013. (via Jerry Bruckheimer on Twitter)

3. Chronicle 2 is on the Way: With over $106 million in the bank from the worldwide box office, Fox isn’t about to let the success of Chronicle slip away. As reported by Deadline, Max Landis has been hired to pen the sequel. Landis has had quite the year with Chronicle performing well and locking a few other gigs including Amnesty, something he pitched to Universal Picture and Imagine Entertainment, which Ron Howard is set to direct as well as an untitled adventure that went to Disney. As for the Chronicle sequel – SPOILER ALERT – I’ve got high hopes the series will stick with Alex and perhaps focus on him trying to figure out what happened to them. Regardless of what turn the story takes, I hope (and would bet) that Landis isn’t going to approach this as any old sequel, rather use the opportunity to really push the limits, further enhancing this whole situation and maybe even the found footage technique.

4. Project X Sequel in the Works: Say what you want about the found footage genre, but we’re eating it all up. After a $21.1 million start, Warner Bros. is looking to reap the benefits of this wild party by keeping it going. According to THR, Project X co-writer Michael Bacall is back on board and working on a treatment for Project X 2. After that treatment is complete, producers Todd Phillips and Joel Silver will judge whether it’ll turn into a script. No word on whether or not the studio has options for Project X’s lead trio, but THR suggests it’s likely as there was no sequel deal in place for the stars of The Hangover, and look what happened there. No, Project X and its stars aren’t on the same level as The Hangover, but hey, this is film; every penny counts. But that still leaves the question of whether or not we actually want to experience another one of these out-of-control bashes. Personally, I’d go for it, but I’d much rather get a peek at what happened to the guys post-party – police car footage, courtroom shots, etc.

5. Second Clip from The Hunger Games: After giving us a hint at the action to come showing Katniss snatch the apple right out of the Gamemakers’ pig’s mouth with her bow and arrow, clip number two slows things down a bit, letting us see Katniss meet her Capitol stylist Cinna for the very first time. Lenny Kravitz was probably one of the more shocking casting choices of the bunch and, even though he doesn’t quite look like what I was picturing while reading the book, he’s got the power to hold his own alongside an Academy Award nominee and, most importantly, the ability to show off Cinna’s professionalism and genuine concern for his tribute. At this point, just about any scene from the film will have fans foaming at the mouth, myself included, but these two clips are particularly smart choices, showing off rather profound moments, but ones that will likely assume even more importance when viewed in context.

6. We’re Going on Another Journey: Journey 2: The Mysterious Island may only have opened in third at the domestic box office, but it’s absolutely killing it internationally, accumulating over $276 million worldwide to date. Think that’s cause to green light a third film? New Line certainly thinks so because according to The Wrap, the studio has lined up the Journey 2 team to return for round three. The group includes director Brad Peyton, writers Brian Gunn and Mark Gunn, producers Beau Flynn, Charlotte Huggins and Tripp Vinson and now quite possibly star Dwayne Johnson, too. Apparently, Johnson is in talks to join Journey 3, but there’s still no word on whether or not Josh Hutcherson will be back as well. However, rumor has it, the Journey 3 story involves both actors’ characters.

7. The Motor City Shuffle: Back in September it was announced that Dominic Cooper snagged the lead role in Motor City, a revenge thriller about an ex-con looking to get back at the ones who framed him. However, Cooper recently backed out and it was reported that Jake Gyllenhaal was in consideration to assume the role. But, according to Deadline, it isn’t going to work out with Gyllenhaal either thanks to scheduling issues; Gyllenhaal wanted to push the shoot, but financier Dark Castle wasn’t having it. Director Albert Hughes still has Gary Oldman and Amber Heard on board, but it looks as though the search for his main man is back on.

8. Joss Whedon Talks Avengers 2: We’re still a couple of months away from The Avengers’ May 4th release, but Whedon’s already got plans for round two. Whedon told SFX (via Digital Spy), “I want to know what makes them tick, what makes them flawed, what makes them fight – and ultimately, what makes them awesome.” When the outlet asked him how Avengers 2 could go bigger than the first, Whedon responded, “By not trying to. By being smaller. More personal, more painful.” Whedon also talked a bit about what it took to get The Hulk right. “A Bruce Banner who’s not obsessed with his own problems. A Hulk who not only feels flesh and blood, but is clearly an extension of Banner himself and not just a CGI thing that roars.” Whedon added, “He’s the hardest character by far, and ended up being the most fun.” You can catch SFX’s full interview with Whedon in issue 220, on sale now.

9. Trailers: On the Road, The Cabin in the Woods, The Loved Ones: Sure, On the Road is an adaptation of the famous Jack Kerouac novel, but the trailer’s inability to tell a concrete story might create a disconnect between the film and the folks who are unfamiliar with the source material. Then again, this trailer does show off quite the roster including Kristen Stewart, Garrett Hedlund, Kirsten Dunst, Viggo Mortensen, Terrence Howard and more, which should be more than enough to attract an audience. The Cabin in the Woods, however, is on the other end of the spectrum, perhaps revealing too much of its plot. Regardless, the trailer still makes the film look like a blast and the rave reviews coming out of SXSW prove that it’s a beyond worthy watch. After a lengthy festival run, stretching from September 2009 to April 2011, The Loved Ones is finally getting a US release and is celebrating with a new teaser trailer. The teaser is essentially a short clip from the film, but if you’re looking for something sick and twisted, it’ll still undoubtedly appease and give you a taste of what’s to come in the full feature.

10. Box Office: $30.6 million is a pretty solid opening, but when you’re looking to recoup a $250 million production budget, there can be problems. Then again, when you take $70 million from the foreign box office and that brings your worldwide grand total to $101.2 million, things don’t look as grim. Perhaps $30.6 million isn’t a bad start for John Carter after all. But still, John Carter couldn’t trump Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, which fell 44.3% and claimed another $39.1 million. Project X held on stronger than expected, losing 45.1% and earning $11.6 million during weekend two. As for newcomer Silent House, it only managed to take $7 million to start, but that’s still better than Eddie Murphy’s A Thousand Words, which only got $6.4 million and couldn’t even crack the top five. That fifth position went to Act of Valor, which took another $7 million, bringing its domestic grand total to $56.1 million. (via Box Office Mojo)

By Perri Nemiroff

The Lone Ranger
The Lone Ranger

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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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