News Bites: Rebooting Reptiles

News Bites LogoOnce again, Friday morning brings with it a week’s worth of news out of Hollywood. And once again, a lot of it involves remakes and reboots: this time with appropriately metaphorical animals, including dragons, snakes, and phoenixes.

There’s even a theme park ride getting the revival treatment. So read on to find out what’s coming back to a theatre — or amusement park — near you.

Theo James has joined the cast of Divergent as the male lead, “Four”. Lot of casting news all at once for this film; guess they must be rolling. And on the same front, a few days later a relatively big name was attached to co-star: Kate Winslet.

Remember “Star Tours”? With Disney acquiring Lucasfilm, and the rights to Star Wars, it’s natural for fans to expect a return of the ride to Disneyland. But it turns out that Disney is thinking a little bigger… like, say, an entire theme park section, a la Toon Town. They’re putting out feelers now to gauge public interest, as if there’s any question whether kids like Star Wars.

Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters will be getting a sequel due to its strong international box office reception.

Here’s an interesting bit of legal news. The U.S. Supreme Court, in a 6-3 ruling, has declared that copyright holders cannot block the U.S. resale of produts they have made for foreign markets. The ruling was over a case involving a man buying text books overseas and selling them in the U.S. at a profit (while still lower than typical U.S. textbook prices), but the ruling is more general than that (as is usually the case with Supreme Court rulings). I’m no lawyer, but the gist of it is that the “first sale doctrine” — which says that a person who legally obtains a copy of a copyrighted work has the right to transfer ownership of that individual copy to somebody else — also applies to copies of that were lawfully made and purchased abroad. To put it in layman’s terms, it sounds as though the “grey market” of importing books, films, and video games from other countries has just been legally declared as white as any other resale business.

Snake Plissken will be coming back to the big screen… with a face lift. Joel Silver is remaking the franchise started by John Carpenter’s Escape From New York, and plans to create a new trilogy, starting with an origin story. Presumably once Hollywood is finished remaking all the franchises of the 80s, they’ll start remaking the franchises of the 2010s, which are also the franchises of the 80s. It’ll just be this endless cycle of remakes….

Of course, not all remakes are from films of the 80s. Some come from the 70s. Disney has hired David Lowery and Toby Halbrooks to write a new version of Pete’s Dragon, which is not expected to be a musical. I haven’t heard of anything either of these guys have done, but I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that although Pete’s Dragon may not be one of the top-tier Disney movies, it’s still probably more popular than anything they’ve done. I understand why some companies want to remake movies; I do, really. I’m just not sure why Disney ever wants to. They tend to get it right the first time.

There’s one word to describe Natalie Portman’s current production, Jane Got a Gun (which she is both starring in and producing), and that word is troubled. On Monday, director Lynne Ramsay (best known for We Need to Talk About Kevin) failed to show up for work, abandoning the film on its first day of shooting. A few days later, it sounds like they’ve got their new director, Gavin O’Connor, director of Warrior. But its troubles weren’t over with that; co-star Jude Law has since departed the picture, as he only signed on to work with Ramsay. I don’t know what was going on behind the scenes or anything, but I hope for Ramsay’s sake that there was something seriously wrong with the production to warrant her walking. There are a lot of times to quit a production, but the day when things are supposed to be set in motion is a pretty low-class choice, and this could easily damage her reputation with studios, limiting her ability to get another large budget film in the future.

Kiefer Sutherland has signed on to play the villain, a Roman senator who has enslaved the hero’s (Jared Harris) village, in Paul W.S. Anderson’s sword-and-sandals disaster movie Pompeii. Well, Sutherland is certainly used to being in situations where he’s running out of time…

Manny Eating PasteRumors and Speculation:

Director Jon M. Chu has said he’d like Dolph Lundgren to cameo in the upcoming Masters of the Universe film, which is allegedly titled Grayskull. The idea of Lundgren making a cameo is just idle speculation at the moment, but the film itself is apparently moving forward with Chu, who besides this year’s G.I. Joe: Retaliation has also directed Step Up 2 and 3, The League of Extraordinary Dancers 2, and Justin Bieber: Never Say Never. …Mr. Chu, it is now very important that G.I. Joe: Retaliation impresses children of the 80s a lot more than we’ve been expecting, to put our minds at ease. You do not want to be the guy that makes Michael Bay look good by comparison.

Of course, that’s not the only 80s kids’ program possibly getting revived. Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future creator Gary Goddard wants to bring his creation back to life as Phoenix Rising, an adult-oriented science fiction television series. He already has a pilot script written and is shopping it around to non-U.S. networks, with the hope that they will be less restrictive than U.S. networks over content. No word yet on whether it will actually be picked up, who Goddard hopes to cast in it, and whether it’ll eventually make its way over to the U.S. (just idle speculation here, but if it does get picked up overseas and has some success, Syfy might go for it.)

Deadline reports that they are “hearing” that Tom Cruise will be starring in The Man from U.N.C.L.E., a film adaptation of the classic TV series, to be directed by Guy Ritchie. No word yet on whether the film will piss off remaining fans of the original series by making the original Man from U.N.C.L.E. a villain.

In other espionage news, this is too vague to count as anything solid, but MGM has a few words on James Bond #24. They plan to release the film within the next three years, and hope to announce a new director soon.

“If you’re a copycat, you can never keep up. You’re always in a passive position. You never lead; you always follow. You give birth to something that’s already behind the times — just a knockoff, an inferior version of the original. That’s no way to live.”
— Jason Fried, Rework, 2010

About Morgan R. Lewis

Fan of movies and other media
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21 Responses to News Bites: Rebooting Reptiles

  1. 3 years feels like an eternity between Bond films, even though that’s the standard for sequels, I guess. 😦

  2. Spikor says:

    “No word yet on whether the film will piss off remaining fans of the original series by making the original Man from U.N.C.L.E. a villain.”

    I see what you did there.

    It’s funny to me now, that when M:I came out, I was the only person I knew (other than the old man) who watched the original series, and/or the 80s follow-up. To every person I knew, M:I was just a kickass theme song. So I was the only person I knew who was outraged when I watched the movie. Everyone told me I was crazy and that it was one of the best action/spy movies EVAR. I enjoyed it the movie on an action/spy level, but that change to Jim makes me feel dirty about it.

    • Me too. Of course, I watched it with my Dad, which just magnified the wrongness of the whole thing, since he was even more familiar with the old series. I haven’t watched any of the Mission: Impossible movie series since. I figure it comes under the same sort of heading as “fruit of the poisoned tree”, you know?

      • Spikor says:

        I understand totally. I’m really glad that Peter Graves had the guts to keep out of it, since I’m sure they threw enough money at him that a lesser man might’ve jumped on board.

        Him not being involved made it easier for me to head-cannon that Voight wasn’t Jim, just some old guy also named Jim. It was even easier to watch Part 2, because “Jim” was gone and it, too, is M:I in name only. Part 2 is “John Woo: Tom Cruise Edition”… which if you were as into John Woo movies as I was at the time, made it a must see anyway. But the non-action elements were just too terrible, and I didn’t bother with 3.

        I saw Ghost Protocol in theatres after reading Fogs’ review, and found it satisfactory for an action/spy/heist movie.

        • Yeah, I can see that. I haven’t seen anything to really indicate that the rest of the series is anything but “sort of OK” action films, and really, it’s not like there’s a scarcity of those.

  3. ruth says:

    I thought Escape From New York was gonna be remade a while back? I remember Gerry Butler was rumored to play Snake but I’m sure glad it didn’t pan out!

  4. Very interesting news this week! Thanks Morgan 🙂

    • Anything in particular stand out to you, Fernando?

      • Yes, the Disney/Star Wars thing. I think they’ll do it, of course. It’d be a huge hit. But would they move their Star Tours attraction to the new Star Wars land or just completely StarWarsify Tomorrowland?

        • Since Star Tours has been out of commission for several years (I think), I imagine they’ll just move it to the new theme park. I don’t think they’ll StarWarsify Tomorrowland; it sounds like they’re thinking of an entirely new area.

        • Are you talking about Orlando? Because Star Tours in the CA Disneyland is still up and running (I rode it in December).

          It’ll be interesting to see how this works out for Disney. I don’t think they’re the least bit nervous or hesitant. It’ll obviously be a huge hit!

        • Interesting; my info must have been out of date, because I know it was gone for some time.

          But yeah, Disney is obviously pretty confident in the brand, and with good reason.

        • Well, I do think it was gone for a while. They seemed to have remodeled it a bit. It was all a bit outdated but last time I visited the ride looked new.

  5. Will says:

    They closed Star Tours for a bit to update it. Now it’s all digital and there are multiple “tours” that rotate randomly. I rode it for the last time when it was still the old one, and I have no interest in seeing the new CG version. In any case, I would be very interested in a Star Wars land, provided there is a Mos Eisley Cantina.

    The Guy Pearce movie Lockout was basically a remake of Escape from New York in space. It’s not the best movie, but the “Snake” character is pretty funny. I can’t imagine how they would make a trilogy out of that original Escape story, though. Even John Carpenter just remade the original as a self-aware comedy when he made a sequel. I don’t think there’s a lot of depth there… not that whatever the remake ends up being will be a movie for me anyway.

    Also, nice to know that when I buy Blu-rays from Hong Kong the Supreme Court has my back. If US companies would stop giving martial arts movies edited or dubbed-only releases, I wouldn’t have to, but it is fun to get a package from Hong Kong. 🙂

    • Good point on Lockout… I’ve only seen the trailers, and I haven’t seen “New York” (and only sort of watched “L.A.”), but even just from that I was referring to Lockout as “Escape From Space York”. 😀

      And yup, as long as it’s not a bootleg, you’re good to go with the Hong Kong discs. 😀 I take it you have a region-free player? Or is that no longer an issue? (I haven’t kept up with that aspect of the technology.)

      • Will says:

        HK Blu-rays are actually the same region as US blu-rays. DVDs are different (theirs are Region 3, and we’re 1) but their Blu-rays will play on any US player. Which works perfectly with my Asian film love.

  6. Will says:

    No, there’s three Blu-ray regions for the world. A, B, & C. Region A is North and South America, and a lot of Asia including Hong Kong, Japan. Works for me! DVDs have 6 regions worldwide, and they don’t exactly match up with the blu-ray regions. It’s weird, for sure.

    • Oh for goodness sake… OK, sure, I don’t go doing a lot of importing, and I don’t even have a BR player yet… but that’s ridiculous.

      Maybe we’ll get real lucky and this ruling will mean the player manufacturers will just say “screw it”.

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