News Bites: Conan and Cruella

News Bites HalloweenIt’s the first Friday of October, and it’s time once again for the News Bites. Not taking a break from the Halloween Haunters yet, though — there will be another review going up just a little bit later today, and it’s a major film in the field of horror — but first, we gotta go through a little bit of news and rumors. Or, actually, a lot of news and rumors. Hollywood’s press machine has been busy this week.

We’ve got a lot of word coming out of Disney, some superhero casting news for the biggest sequel coming, and a lawsuit that you wouldn’t believe. Keep reading to find out what’s going on.


Hugh Jackman has confirmed that he will be in Neill Blomkamp’s Chappie. How big a part he’ll be has not been revealed. It’s about a kidnapped robot voiced by Sharlto Copley; is it too much to hope that Jackman is the kidnapper?

Joss Whedon has stated that the roles of Black Widow and Hawkeye have been beefed up for The Avengers: Age of Ultron. Hopefully this means they won’t feel quite as much like also-rans next to the characters with established franchises.

How many Disney live-action adaptations of their animated features are there going to be? At least one more. Aline Brosh McKenna, the writer of the upcoming Cinderella adaptation, has been hired to write Cruella, focusing on the villainess from One Hundred and One Dalmatians. Glenn Close, who played the dog-hating millionaire in the previous live-action adaptations, is on board as executive producer.

The franchise may be taking a while, but it’s looking increasingly likely that the complete Chronicles of Narnia will one day be avaialable on film. The Mark Gordon Company has signed a deal to develop and produce The Silver Chair, based on the fourth novel in the series.

The Warcraft movie has an official release date: December 18, 2015, making it the latest in an already crowded year for blockbusters. Will it be the first critically acclaimed video game movie? Probably not. But with the ongoing success of World of Warcraft, it might be the most financially successful if they don’t blow it.

Re-write the re-write on the re-write of the reboot once again. That’s the task for Simon Kinberg, who has just been tapped for Fantastic Four. Kinberg is one of the screenplay writers on the upcoming X-Men: Days of Future Past, but his best known released work is probably X-Men: The Last Stand. Which doesn’t bode particularly well, especially for a film that’s had this many re-writes and is supposed to be released in 2015.

The Legend of Conan continues to take shape, finally adding a writer to the mix. The screenwriter is Andrea Berloff, who wrote World Trade Center, and is currently working on a retelling of King Arthur for Disney.

Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Jeff Pinkner, the writers on The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (but not the first film), will also be writing the third film. “AS2” is due out in May, so we’ll know if this is good news in about seven months.

Marvel and Disney. DC Comics and Warner Brothers. Boom! Studios and Fox? Well, Fox hasn’t purchased Boom! Studios, but they have signed a first look deal with the studio and their Archaia imprint, giving Fox the right of first refusal of any of the studios’ comics to be adapted to film. Unusually, the deal also includes a specific provision to give the creators of the comics a portion of the profits.

Assuming Samuel L. Jackson is more truthful than the character he plays, the rumors about Scarlet Witch in The Avengers: Age of Ultron are now confirmed. She will be played by Elizabeth Olsen.

Reese Witherspoon will star in Happily Ever After, a Disney-produced live-action comedy about what happens to the prince and princess in a fairy tale after the story has reached its supposed happy ending.

And now, before we get into the world of wild rumors, the world’s stupidest trademark lawsuit. Exxon Mobil is suing Fox over the logo for their new FXX network… because it features interlocking Xs, and Exxon Mobil claims they own that concept and people are likely to be confused by it. Show of hands: Who here thought a TV station, any TV station, had any affiliation at all with a gas station? I’m no lawyer, but it’s my understanding trademark law generally involves a clause requiring the trademark to be applied for within a specific context, hence why there can be a Quantum computer tape storage, Quantum fishing reels, and Quantum Magazine, all unrelated. Exxon Mobil may have trademarked the logo for broadcast media for use in commercials (conceivably; I’m just guessing), but it’s questionable that it would apply to a station’s logo — especially as Exxon Mobil has probably not trademarked the XX individually, despite their claim of ownership of the content. Also, it’s going to be a hard sell to claim people would be confused; viewers have shown no confusion over ABC and TNT in the past despite both being TV networks whose logos consist of three letters in a circle. It would appear different letters do indeed make a different logo in most peoples’ eyes. Exxon Mobil appears to be basing their assumption that it would lead to confusion based on some internet comments mocking FXX for the interlocking X, drawing comparisons to Exxon’s logo. Well, if that’s all it takes… the Mobil logo since 1964 (not their original logo) consists of a plain blue word with a single red letter — a description which also fits the logo that Crest toothpaste has had since 1955. I wonder if Exxon Mobil thinks people go to Mobil and try to brush their teeth with motor oil?

Manny PumpkinheadRumors:

It seems we can scarcely go two weeks without something setting people abuzz about Man of Steel 2: Superman vs. Batman. This time it’s a casting call for “a woman between 25-33 who is physically strong”. With the role unspecified, this has spawned rumors that the two-hero crossover will be a three hero crossover, with the third part of DC’s “Trinity”, Wonder Woman, having a part in the film. To be honest, I would call this one reasonably unlikely; at that point, they’re pretty much in Justice League territory, so why would they announce it as Man of Steel 2 instead of just going straight to Justice League? If she’s in it, I’m expecting a cameo, similar to Hawkeye’s appearance in Thor.

Saoirse Ronan has confirmed the earlier rumor that she has auditioned for a role in Star Wars: Episode VII; however, she downplayed the importance of this, saying “So has everyone.” She would not confirm whether she has gotten the role, nor what role it was for. And, as if to confirm her comment about everyone auditioning, the latest rumor is that Sullivan Stapleton has auditioned. Presumably not for the same role. Stapleton’s prior films include Gangster Squad and the upcoming 300: Rise of an Empire, where he will play Themistocles of Athens.

According to rumor, the next Friday the 13th film — which will actually be the thirteenth Fridaymay be a “found footage” film. So the franchise that spawned dozens of imitators will now be playing follow the leader.

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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2 Responses to News Bites: Conan and Cruella

  1. Bubbawheat says:

    That’ s good to hear about Narnia, it’s a tougher sell for a franchise, but they still need one more movie after this one to bypass the old BBC versions that only made it through Silver Chair as well. Honestly, I don’t even remember what takes place in the later books, but I’d still like to see them on the big screen.

    • I think, despite the harder sell of it, it has one big advantage in terms of getting studios to produce it and that is that it’s already past the point where it has to have the same child actors all the time. No worries about the kids growing up, because by the time Peter, Susan, etc., show up again, they’re supposed to be grown up.

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