Good morning, everyone. Today is Friday, and as always that means it’s time for the weekly News Bites. As has been typical of the past few weeks, there’s a lot to cover. Either the movie studios are putting out more press releases, or I’m just getting better at noticing the news. One or the other. Either way, it’s another smorgasbord of snippets in the making.
The major courses this week include another round of Marvel movie news and a fair number of schedule shifts. Click the continue link to see what’s going on.
Some sad news this week. James Gandolfini, star of The Sopranos, passed away Wednesday of an apparent heart attack at age 51.
This is reasonably obvious, but it has been confirmed that Loki will not be back in The Avengers 2, though he will of course continue to be a part of the Thor movies.
Who will be back, however, is Robert Downey, Jr. He has signed on to continue to play Iron Man in The Avengers 2 and The Avengers 3. It is not currently known, however, if there will be any more Iron Man solo films.
Captain America is getting another new look for Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Set photos have revealed the new costume, shown here with Cap riding a motorcycle. The costume resembles one that Captain America wore in the comics a few years ago after being appointed “America’s Top Cop”. Since he’s clearly wearing a motorcycle helmet in this picture, it’s uncertain if his headgear will look exactly like this under ordinary circumstances.
You may have already known that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is set for a May 2, 2014 release date, but now Sony’s scheduled the series almost out to the end of the decade. The Amazing Spider-Man 3 is scheduled for June 10, 2016, and The Amazing Spider-Man 4 is scheduled for May 4, 2018, so every other year will bring a new Spider-Man film, if all goes according to plan. The implication from this is that Sony not only expects strong returns on each film (justifiably so given the franchise’s box office history), but that they also have all essential personnel locked into contracts for that length of time.
However, Shailene Woodley might not be locked in. The role of Mary Jane has been cut from Amazing Spider-Man 2 and moved to Amazing Spider-Man 3. Though Marc Webb states that he loved working with her, speculation is that the role may be recast — possibly due to Woodley having another franchise to focus on if Divergent is successful.
Ryan Reynolds has dropped out of the remake of Highlander. Reynolds was set to star in the film, and his departure means the remake is now devoid of both star and director, after Juan Carlos Fresnadillo withdrew from the project last November. Perhaps the laws of probability have finally decided to enforce the rule that there can be only one.
Robert Rodriguez is not having a very good week, at least as far as getting his films out promptly. Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, which he is co-directing with Frank Miller, has been delayed to August 22, 2014 — it was previously set to come out on October 4, 2013. (Another film based on a Miller comic, 300: Rise of an Empire was similarly delayed nearly a year just last month, so he’s probably not too happy either.) Meanwhile, another Rodriguez sequel, Machete Kills is taking over Sin City‘s spot, being delayed a month for the purpose.
From the same article, the Jason Statham vehicle Homefront has been moved from October 4 to Thanksgiving weekend, November 27, 2013.
Jurassic Park IV has been given a target date of some time in 2015. The film will be shot in 3D, presumably because if 3D film technology exists it would be a damned shame not to use it for dinosaurs.
I’m not sure why I’m so fascinated with the status of Dumb and Dumber To. Perhaps it’s just fun to watch a movie go up and down like a yo-yo. Anyway, it’s back up again, having been picked up by Universal.
Fox has acquired Outliers, a supernatural action film with an unrevealed plot, to be directed by David Karlak, who came up with the idea (whatever it is).
Speaking of supernatural action, Universal has picked IDW Publishing’s comic Locke and Key, about a trio of siblings who discover their ancestral home grants supernatural powers after the murder of their father… but that a demonic creature is after the powers.
Did you know there is going to be a Poltergeist remake? Of course you did. It’s a successful horror film franchise from the 1980s; even if you never heard of the remake, you knew it was coming. MGM and Fox are partnering to produce the film. Production starts this fall, but a release date has not been set.
Helena Bonham Carter will play the Fairy Godmother in Disney’s live-action Cinderella, which also features Lily James in the title role, Cate Blanchett as the stepmother, and Richard Madden as the prince. Kenneth Branagh is directing.
And just a little more release date shuffling. Fox has announced the following release dates. Some of these are changes to existing schedules, and some are new announcements. Pay particular attention to the first one.
- Independence Day 2: July 3, 2015
- Assassin’s Creed (starring Michael Fassbender): June 19, 2015
- X-Men: Days of Future Past: May 23, 2014
- Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: July 18, 2014
Rumors and Speculation:
More Star Wars: Episode VII rumors, this time from an IGN forum thread claiming that Will Smith is in talks to join the film, supposedly as a relative of Mace Windu. Normally, I wouldn’t even mention something coming from a mere forum thread, but I’ve seen this show up in a few different Twitter feeds already, so it’s worth taking a moment to debunk this. First off, this forum thread is apparently the only place to have this story; it’s not turning up elsewhere when I do a Google search for “Will Smith Star Wars”. Secondly, it attributes the story to “Gary Goreman” at the Hollywood Reporter. If it were really a Hollywood Reporter story, then the Hollywood Reporter’s website would have the story — refer to point #1 for whether that’s the case. Thirdly, not only is it not from THR, it’s also not from Gary Goreman. There’s no such reporter, at least not one who is known at the national level. There was a Gary Gorman, for the L.A. Times, but he died in 1996. Unless he’s figured out Obi-Wan’s trick, he’s not reporting on Star Wars: Episode VII news.
A Man of Steel sequel was confirmed last week with the film’s premiere, but now rumors are swirling about just how soon it’ll be appearing. The current rumor is that it will be fast-tracked to come out next summer, 2014, and that the anticipated Justice League film could come out in 2015. All this seems to be a very optimistic turnaround time for a couple of special-effects-laden blockbusters.
Felicity Jones was reportedly in talks to play a role in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, but what that role might be has been unknown. Now rumors are suggesting she may be playing Felicia Hardy, a.k.a. the Black Cat, based on Jones’ vague answer to whether she was looking forward to playing the role. It was a leading question, and she did not confirm she was playing that role, but she didn’t deny it either. Of such things are rumors made.
Latino Review is claiming, with their usual lack of sources, to know for certain the villains in Marvel’s upcoming Doctor Strange film. According to LR, there will be two main villains, Baron Mordo and Dormammu, with Dormammu being backed up by his Mindless Ones, including a giant Mindless One. As Baron Mordo was the first villain Doctor Strange ever faced, and Dormammu the biggest one, the smart money is on this being true.
Wild and woolly Terminator 5 rumors here. First up is that Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson will be playing the villain, a new model of Terminator that is sent back in time to kill the Connor bloodline. The second part of the rumor is that he won’t be sent back to “the present day”, nor will it be set in the future as with Terminator: Salvation. Instead, the new Terminator will be sent back to the 1940s or 1950s (one supposes eliminating Sarah Connor’s parents is as effective as eliminating Sarah Connor), and that Arnold Schwarzenegger’s role will be as a man who prevents the attack and thus serves as the inspiration for the T-100’s design.
Reportedly Britt Robinson and Naomi Scott are the finalists for the lead role in Tomorrowland, a science-fiction film that also stars George Clooney and Hugh Laurie.
“Tomorrow is a satire on today and shows its weakness.”
— Edward Young, The Old Man’s Relapse