Standard franchises are a thing of the past. Now, it’s all about world building.
Disney CFO Jay Rasulo officially revealed that the “Star Wars” spinoffs are origin stories and Warner Bros confirmed that the Harry Potter realm will continue through “an extension of the wizarding world” called “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.” The upcoming “Jurassic Park” movie is also beefing things up by trading in the “Jurassic Park 4” title for “Jurassic World.”
Read on for more on those stories, a rundown of the biggest acquisitions at the Toronto International Film Festival, the “Hunger Games” latest casting triumph, and much more.
1. TIFF Wrap-Up: That’s that for the Toronto International Film Festival 2013, but the event certainly gave us more than enough to consider as we head towards awards season. Not only was Steve McQueen’s “12 Years a Slave” a winner with the critics, but the film also snagged the Blackberry People’s Choice Award. We also had a number of big winners on the distribution front. The Weinstein Company left with quite the haul, taking Ned Benson’s two-parter, “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Him” and “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Her,” the Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman-starrer, “The Railway Man,” as well as “Can a Song Save Your Life?,” which features Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo. Magnolia Pictures opted to continue its successful run with Ti West by snatching up his latest, “The Sacrament,” while IFC Midnight honed in on “The Station,” a film about a group of weather analysts in the German Alps that finds a mysterious red liquid leaking from a glacier. Oddly enough, even after earning primarily positive reviews, the highly anticipated Daniel Radcliffe-starrer “Horns” is leaving TIFF without a home.
2. “Clifford the Big Red Dog” Coming to the Big Screen: Now that the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” franchise has clearly run out of steam, director David Bowers might move on to the big screen adaptation of the beloved children’s book, “Clifford the Big Red Dog.” As reported by The Wrap, he’s currently in the negotiations stage and, should his deal go through, he’d be taking the hybrid approach, featuring live-action actors alongside an animated Clifford. “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” and “Race to Witch Mountain” scribe, Matt Lopez, is currently penning the script for Universal and its in-house animation company, Illumination Entertainment.
3. Jack Black May Lead the “Goosebumps” Movie: This one’s been a blip on the radar for quite some time, but now it looks as though the film adaptation of R.L. Stine’s book series, “Goosebumps,” could be creeping closer to a green light. According to The Wrap, Jack Black is currently in talks to reteam with his “Gulliver’s Travels” and “Shark Tale” director, Rob Letterman, to step in front of the lens here as “a Stine-like author whose scary characters literally leap off the page, forcing him to hide from his own creepy creations.”
4. Julianne Moore Joins “The Hunger Games:” The “Hunger Games” continues its trend of pitch perfect casting. Lionsgate broke the news, announcing that Julianne Moore is officially on board to portray Alma Coin, the leader of the rebellion against the Capitol. Coin doesn’t arrive until the third book, so we’ll have to wait until “Mockingjay – Part 1” arrives on November 21, 2014 to catch Moore in action, but she is just bound to nail the balance between capable leader and one with particularly ruthless tactics. (via Lionsgate)
5. Star Wars Spinoffs are “Origin Stories:” After J.J. Abrams has “Star Wars: Episode VII” in the can, the franchise will continue to grow with a series of spinoff movies and now, via Variety, we know that those spinoffs will be origin stories. The outlet was in attendance at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Media, Communications & Entertainment Conference where Disney CFO Jay Rasulo gushed over licensing opportunities and announced that they’re aiming to release one “Star Wars” film a year, beginning with “Episode VII.”
6. The “Harry Potter” Film Franchise Continues: Harry Potter’s big screen saga may have come to a close – or at least for now – but J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world continues to grow via “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.” That title belongs to a Hogwarts textbook loaded with information on magical creatures. Rowling herself will be adapt the piece for the screen with the book’s author, Newt Scamander, at the center of the narrative. Rowling explained, “It all started when Warner Bros. came to me with the suggestion of turning ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ into a film.” She added, “Although it will be set in the worldwide community of witches and wizards where I was so happy for seventeen years, ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ is neither a prequel nor a sequel to the Harry Potter series, but an extension of the wizarding world. The laws and customs of the hidden magical society will be familiar to anyone who has read the Harry Potter books or seen the films, but Newt’s story will start in New York, seventy years before Harry’s gets underway.” (via Warner Bros)
7. The So-Called Pitch Trailer for “Jurassic World:” Just after Universal announced that the new “Jurassic Park” movie is locked for a June 12, 2015 release under the title “Jurassic World,” a supposed pitch trailer made the rounds. After the Internet had a meltdown over the Pterodactyls surfer attack scene, which has since been removed, JurassicWorld-movie.com insisted that it wasn’t even a pitch trailer for the film at all and that it’s actually associated with a video game. No word on whether or not that’s really the case, but producer Frank Marshall did hop on Twitter to point out that the piece has nothing to do with Colin Trevorrow’s film. But still, even without this “pitch trailer,” the new title does heavily suggest the film could involve the dinos going global – or at least venturing beyond Isla Sorna and Isla Nublar in some capacity.
8. “The Mortal Instruments” Sequel Delayed: Well, this was just bound to happen. After “The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones” opened with a minimal $9.3 million and only managed to accumulate $67.9 million worldwide after four weekends in theaters, Constantin Film decided to put the sequel, “City of Ashes,” on hold. In an official statement, the company pointed out, “Constantin Film has a long tradition of adapting books to the big screen. Pushing back the start of production of ‘City of Ashes’ was a decision we did not take lightly. But after speaking with all of our partners on the creative and distribution side, it was clear that it will be beneficial to have more time to reposition the film in the current market place.” It’s strange to think that no interest now could mean more interest later, but the core cast including Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower, Kevin Zegers, Robert Sheehan, Jemima West, and Jonathan Rhys Meyers as well as newcomer Sigourney Weaver are locked to star so perhaps that alone is enough for Constantin to give it another go. (via Constantin Film)
9. Trailers: “Grudge Match,” “Homefront,” “August: Osage County:” It’s a movie featuring Robert De Niro and Sylvester Stallone as a pair of retired boxing rivals re-gearing to beat the crap out of each other. It’s an easy sell and the first trailer for “Grudge Match” proves it. The new trailer for “Homefront,” on the other hand, is a little too disjointed to pack much promotional power. The idea of Jason Statham defending his daughter and James Franco taking on another eccentric role to take him down has potential, but as presented in this first look at the film, it seems as though the narrative might be a bit silly and unnecessarily convoluted. Back in more effective territory, we find the new trailer for “August: Osage County.” Somewhat similar to “Grudge Match,” this one need only show off its all-star cast and nothing more, but it certainly gets quite the boost from the fact that it leaves you genuinely wanting to spend more time with the family.
10. Box Office: James Wan officially has two $40 million+ openers in 2013. After “The Conjuring” locked a predicted $41.9 million its first weekend out back in July, “Insidious Chapter 2” blew expectations away by nearly matching it with $41.1 million of its own. Unfortunately the weekend isn’t as much of a win for Luc Besson. His film, “The Family,” only opened with $14.5 million on a $30 million production budget. Not what you’d expect from a film featuring Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Tommy Lee Jones. Per usual, “Riddick” took a big hit making the move from weekend one to two, dropping 63.1% and claiming the #3 spot with a total of $7 million. Meanwhile, both “The Butler” and “We’re the Millers” continue their incredibly slow declines. “The Butler” dipped just 33.6% and took another $5.6 million to the bank while “We’re the Millers” dropped 29.6% to claim another $5.4 million in its sixth weekend out. (via Box Office Mojo)