As we begin August, it’s quite clear the summer movie season is winding down, but that certainly didn’t affect the influx of updates on some highly anticipated projects that could eventually earn blockbuster status.
Not only is Universal Pictures pushing forward with another “Bourne” movie, but the studio is also is preparing to push its “Scarface” reboot into pre-production. Meanwhile, 20th Century Fox’s officially committed to not just two, but three additional “Avatar” films while Sigourney Weaver considers boarding “The Mortal Instruments: City of Ash” even before “City of Bones” is certified hit.
Ready for the details on those stories and more? It’s all right here in your weekly Movie News Cheat Sheet.
1. Bourne 5 in the Works: “The Bourne Legacy” opened to the tune of nearly $40 million last summer and then went on to take in a total of $276 million worldwide, so it’s no wonder that Universal Pictures is moving forward with a fifth installment. According to Deadline, the studio just recruited Anthony Peckham to pen the script, which will continue the story of Jeremy Renner’s Aaron Cross, a medically enhanced agent part of Operation Outcome. There’s interest in having Matt Damon return as Jason Bourne, too, but no progress has been made on that front thus far and the studio never will unless they meet Damon’s demands and bring back director Paul Greengrass.
2. Could Miles Teller Be Mr. Fantastic?: Welcome to the rumor mill. The Wrap recently reported that “Divergent” and “The Spectacular Now” star Miles Teller is being eyed for the role of Reed Richards, also known as Mr. Fantastic, in 20th Century Fox’s new “Fantastic Four” movie. The outlet admitted that the script still needs quite a bit of work and that the filmmakers have yet to hire a casting director, but insists that director Josh Trank did meet with Teller and that he is his top choice. However, shortly after the news broke, Trank took to Twitter to announced, “The casting rumor floating around today isn’t true …. the end.” Trank has yet to comment on whether Michael B. Jordan is really a top choice for Johnny Storm or if Allison Williams is indeed in contention to play Sue Storm.
3. Ellen Will Host The Oscars: Seven years after hosting the 79th Academy Awards, Ellen DeGeneres will hit the stage to lead the 86th ceremony on March 2, 2014. Show producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron stated, “There are few stars today who have Ellen’s gift for comedy, with her great warmth and humanity. She is beloved everywhere and we expect that the audience at the Dolby Theatre, and in homes around the globe, will be as excited by this news as we are.” DeGeneres added, “I am so excited to be hosting the Oscars for the second time. You know what they say – the third time’s the charm.” Should DeGeneres follow through with that motto, the 86th ceremony would land her another “Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program” Primetime Emmy nomination and then her third time hosting would get her the win. (via The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences)
4. Not Two, But Three More “Avatar” Movies on the Way: As if committing himself to “Avatar 2” and “Avatar 3” wasn’t ambitious enough, 20th Century Fox just announced that James Cameron will make “Avatar 4” as well. According to the press release, Cameron recruited Josh Friedman, Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, and Shane Salerno to help him write the three screenplays. “Avatar 2” will hit theaters in December of 2016, the third will follow in December of 2017, and then the fourth in December of 2018. Cameron stated, “I’ve come to realize that Avatar’s world, story and characters have become even richer than I anticipated, and it became apparent that two films would not be enough to capture everything I wanted to put on screen.” Considering “Avatar” took in a total of $2.78 billion at the worldwide box office, an additional three films does seem like a sensible investment, but the studio will likely be holding its breath come December 2016, waiting to see if the interest is still as high. (via 20th Century Fox)
5. David Yates May Reboot “Scarface:” Universal Pictures has been especially careful handling plans for their “Scarface” reboot, refining the script with a number of screenwriters and ensuring the project remains top secret. Deadline quotes a source as saying, “Universal has been through a couple of drafts and now is very high on the current draft. The first stop is the director. This is before any conversations on talent or timing.” And that director might be longtime “Harry Potter” director, David Yates. Apparently Yates is currently in final talks for the gig and, should he officially sign up, he’ll then be tasked with delivering “not a remake or sequel but a reboot of a crime kingpin who through a ruthless campaign of ambition goes in hot pursuit of his American Dream – whatever that is in this decade.”
6. Sigourney Weaver May Join “The Mortal Instruments: City of Ash:” “The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones” doesn’t arrive in theaters until Wednesday, August 21st, but director Harald Zwart and co. are moving forward full force on the next installment, “City of Ash.” According to THR, Sigourney Weaver is in negotiations to join “City of Bones” cast members Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower, Kevin Zegers, Robert Sheehan, Jemima West and Jonathan Rhys Meyers in the sequel as Imogen Herondale, “the ruthless leader of the Shadowhunters who will stop at nothing to destroy the man who killed her son.” It should be interesting to see if the reception of “City of Bones” will play a factor, but at the moment, “City of Ash” is heading towards a fall start.
7. Blumhouse Teams with Mark Tonderai for “Next, Pest:” Anything Blumhouse Productions touches catches my eye, but “Next, Pest” seems like an intriguing project, period. The film is based on an original screenplay from Barbara Marshall’s Black List, Blood List, and Hit List entry about a teen documenting her new way of life after a deadly virus hits her hometown, which includes trying to protect her infected sister while under quarantine. “House at the End of the Street” director Mark Tonderai will helm the film and is currently gearing up to make a play for some top talent to join the cast. (via Dimension Films)
8. Jack Black & Jason Segel to Make “Sex Tape” with Cameron Diaz: Jake Kasdan has quite the cast for his next movie, “Sex Tape.” Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel are locked to lead as a couple that opts to make a sex tape to spice up their relationship. Problem is, they wind up losing it. Rob Corddry steps in as a buddy who helps the duo during their frantic search and, according to The Wrap, Jack Black is on board as well to cameo as the CEO of a major porn company. The film is set to go into production this fall, just before Diaz moves on to play Miss Hannigan in “Annie.”
9. Trailers: “Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa,” “Lone Survivor,” “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty:” Judge the antics of the “Jackass” franchise all you want, but there’s no denying that the first trailer for “Bad Grandpa” is absolutely hilarious. Some of the gags are a little alarming, but assuming no one was scarred physically or emotionally while making the movie, it all looks to be well worth it. If you’ve written off Peter Berg after “Battleship,” you may want to rethink that and give the director another shot because his latest feature, “Lone Survivor,” looks exceptionally thrilling. The film stars Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch, and Ben Foster as the members of SEAL Team 10 tasked with capturing or killing a Taliban leader. Last up we’ve the trailer for “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” which, even without almost any dialogue, manages to give you a solid sense of who Walter is and the predicament he’s struggling with, and also truly move you to care.
10. Box Office: “2 Guns” isn’t your typical Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg-sized hit, but the film did do well enough to take the top spot. Its $9,045 per theater average earned it $27.4 million for its first weekend out. As expected, “The Wolverine” took a rather rough weekend one to two tumble. After dipping 59.1%, the movie wrapped its second weekend out with $21.7 million. It’s a good thing “The Smurfs 2” is absolutely killing it overseas because here in the states it only opened at #3 with $18.2 million. After a stellar start, “The Conjuring” looks to be on a slow decline. It only dropped 46.9% from weekend one to two and now it lessened that percent change to 38.5% during weekend three, letting it take another $13.7 million to the bank. Considering “The Smurfs 2” didn’t put up much of a fight, it should come as no surprise that “Despicable Me 2” only dipped 36.7% moving from weekend four to five. It got to take another $10.4 million to the bank, bringing its domestic grand total to a whopping $326.7 million. (via Box Office Mojo)