News Bites: Mummyjay

News Bites LogoIt’s Friday morning, and we’re not operating on an altered schedule this week, so that means it’s time for the News Bites. Now, since this was a bit of a “long” week — last week’s being on Thursday means an extra day of news — I expected this week’s to be just a bit longer than normal. I was wrong. It’s a lot longer. I had enough for a short post of News Bites just on Friday alone. So settle in to read up on what’s happening this week in the world of movies and entertainment.


Hiroshi Yamauchi, the man largely responsible for turning Nintendo from a playing card company to a giant in the video game industry, has passed away at the age of 85. Among Yamauchi’s most famous creations are The Legend of Zelda, Donkey Kong, and — of course — Super Mario Bros.

The lightning-scarred lad may not be returning, but Warner Brothers is heading back to the world of Harry Potter, with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, based on a fictional textbook in the Hogwarts curriculum. The screenplay, which will be written by J.K. Rowling, will focus on the adventures of the author, Newt Scamander, and is planned to be the first in a new series.

J.J. Abrams has said a few words about his future with the Star Trek franchise. He will not be directing the next film — being too busy on Star Wars — but he will be a producer on it.

The long-lost fantasy short film Black Angel, which was rediscovered in 2011, will be screened at the Mill Valley Film Festival on October 13. The 25-minute film originally debuted alongside The Empire Strikes Back in Europe and Australia in 1980, and is about a knight who returns from the Crusades only to find himself transported into a fantasy land. Plans are uncertain after the screening, but there is talk of readying it for digital distribution.

Luca Calvani has signed on to play the villain in The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

Disney CFO Jay Rasulo, talking about Star Wars noted that the current plan is to have a “trilogy film” every other year and an “origin film” on the off years. While it has been speculated before that the non-trilogy SW films would be origin stories, this is the first time an official spokesperson has made such a comment.

The Weinstein Company has acquired Paddington for the U.S. market. Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman are slated to star alongside the bear.

This news comes from last week, but we were dealing with our own infestation of hockey masks at the time. Friday the 13th creator Sean Cunningham says a spin-off TV series is in the works, to be titled Crystal Lake Chronicles. It will be delivered through the internet. Cunningham also expects a new Friday the 13th film to start production next spring for a 2015 release.

After the departure of Len Wiseman, the director currently in talks to head up Universal’s The Mummy reboot is Andres Muschietti, director of ghost story Mama.

The “interactive comic book” Anomaly, about a group of interstellar explorers ambushed on a first-contact mission, will be adapted to film by Relativity.

The official Hunger Games Twitter account has announced that Jessica Chastain will be playing the role of Alma Coin in Mockingjay parts 1 & 2.

The Doyle Estate has given a most peculiar response to the lawsuit alleging that certain elements of Sherlock Holmes should be considered public domain. That they argue isn’t the surprising part. The surprising part is that their argument is that doing this would give the character “multiple personalities” depending on whether the character is using attributes and stories licensed from the Estate or is solely using the alleged public attributes. Now, I’m no legal expert, but I’m pretty sure “We don’t think the stories would all seem the same” is not a viable counterargument to an expiry of copyright. I’m also pretty sure it’s a thin argument when you consider that between Basil Rathbone, Robert Downey Jr., BBC’s Sherlock, and CBS’s Elementary, not to mention dozens of other series and films, the character is pretty damned schizoid already.

Production company Good Universe has picked up Extinction, a script by Spenser Cohen to be produced by David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman. According to THR, “insiders have compared it to The Sixth Sense and Cloverfield.” So… it’s about a boy who sees giant monsters that nobody else sees? (Hollywood insiders need to learn to make comparisons that make sense.)

It’s been a while since anything was said about The Dark Tower, but Ron Howard has broken silence. According to Howard, the project has been delayed, but is still ongoing. Plans are for a trilogy of movies, plus a television series featuring the same cast.

Roland Emmerich has tempered his plans for Independence Day 2 with a bit of humility. He notes that although it is set for a July 3, 2015 release date, it isn’t set in stone, and may be changed depending on circumstances. He also states that although the intention is to continue with another sequel, it will depend on audience reaction.

The latest aging action star to join the cast of The Expendables 3 is not an action star, unless you count his brief stint as Beast in X-Men: The Last Stand. Kelsey Grammer has signed on to play an ex-mercenary in a role that was originally offered to Nicolas Cage.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. hasn’t even started quite yet, but Marvel is reportedly considering another TV series: Agent Carter, focusing on the adventures of Sharon Carter during WWII.

Some bad news for Pixar fans; due to losing its director, Bob Peterson, The Good Dinosaur has started a cascade of release date shifts. The Good Dinosaur will now be released November 25, 2015, nearly a year and a half later than originally planned. Finding Dory is being held back until June 17, 2016. There will be no Pixar film for 2014. Instead, Disney’s Maleficent will be moving up 5 weeks to May 30, 2014, where The Good Dinosaur was originally scheduled.

Manny Eating PasteRumors and Speculation:

Jamie Foxx has confirmed that there has been some discussion about the possibility of the Sinister Six showing up in the Amazing Spider-Man franchise. However, it has only so far been discussion, and is not yet confirmed to actually be happening.

Latino Review reported earlier this week that Arnold Schwarzenegger was going to be the villain in Avatar 2. Almost as soon asthan that story broke, it was debunked, with Fox officially denying the rumors.

Also out of Latino Review, and not yet debunked, Saoirse Ronan allegedly read for a part in Star Wars: Episode VII.

Stan Lee spoke a bit about Marvel movies, saying (among already announced projects) that at one point they’ll probably do a Black Widow standalone film, and that they’ll probably do a film on The Inhumans. On the one hand, Lee is not involved in the day-to-day running of Marvel, let alone Marvel Studios, so he may just be speculating or involved in hopeful thinking. On the other hand, if anybody who isn’t involved in the day-to-day operations knows what’s going on, it’s probably Stan Lee. On the third hand — hey, this is comics — if Stan Lee says Marvel is probably going to do something, and they don’t have plans, they’ll probably at least consider coming up with some.

That’s all for this week’s News Bites. Thanks for reading, and leave a comment below with your thoughts!

About Morgan R. Lewis

Fan of movies and other media
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