Archive | Comics And Film

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AVENGERS 3: Will The Russo Brothers Be Directing It?

Posted on 14 October 2014 by William Gatevackes

russobrothers2So, it’s pretty obvious that Marvel trusts the Russo Brothers. They signed them on to Captain America 3 before Captain America: Winter Soldier even hit theaters, as savvy move considering how well that film was received by audiences and critics. But are they good enough to replace Joss Whedon on the Avengers franchise? We might just find that out in the future.

Devin Faraci over in his examination of the news Robert Downey Jr. has signed for Captain America 3 over at Badass Digest, drops the bombshell that the Russos are in negotiations to take the reigns from Whedon starting with Avengers 3 and leading the franchise at least through Avengers 4.

Since Captain America 3 will lead heavily into Avengers 3, having the Russos take over will provided a seamless tie between the two. But it seems almost sacrosanct for anyone one else besides Whedon to helm an Avengers film.

Faraci also lets us know that the Avengers after Avengers: Age of Ultron will consist of Cap, Falcon, War Machine, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch and Black Widow, and possibly The Vision. The team will be Cap-less as it goes into Avengers 3, as Cap doesn’t make it out of Cap 3. Since they are supposedly adapting the Civil War arc from the comics, and Captain America was killed (temporarily) at the end of that arc, one could assume that the same thing would happen here. But we all know what happens when one assumes, don’t we?

He also has a theory on how the Civil War will play out in the films:

How will Civil War play out? I know that at the end of Age of Ultron Tony Stark retires from The Avengers and possibly even from being Iron Man. He feels very responsible for what happened in that film, as the Ultron project was his brainchild. Here’s my guess for Cap 3: with that in mind, and aware of the destruction his out of control robot caused, Tony thinks that the Age of Miracles is too unregulated. With the fall of SHIELD there’s simply no one keeping tabs on everybody. That scene of Black Widow in front of the Congressional committee in The WInter Soldier was a late addition, and it speaks to this – these super beings are answering to no one. And Tony decides that’s wrong. Which brings him into direct conflict with Captain America, who is still leading a team of Avengers. I don’t think this will follow the exact outline of the comic book story, but simply take the concept and the beloved Marvel idea of heroes battling.

I have a few issues with this theory. Stark has has problems with authority in Iron Man 2 (where he didn’t want to hand over his Iron Man technology to the government) and The Avengers (where he hacked into SHIELD to get info he felt Fury was hiding from the heroes). I don’t see him spearheading a program where a government agency will act as a Big Brother for the world’s heroes. I do see him providing funding to Agent Coulson’s SHIELD, which Faraci seems to forget already keeps tabs on everybody they can afford too every Tuesday night. The team’s poor financial situation is a major plot point. I’m sure Stark would be willing to help his friend Coulson out, if and when he finds out he is alive (possibly in a heavily promoted cameo during a sweeps week.) On the other hand, Cap was adamant in Winter Soldier that SHIELD not return in any way, shape or form. To find out that the organization is back and being bank rolled by Stark, boom, instant conflict.

Of course, that is just my theory. Feel free to come up with yours.

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Could SPIDER-MAN Be Crossing Over With The Marvel Cinematic Universe?

Posted on 07 October 2014 by William Gatevackes

Avengers_Vol_1_236One of the things that made Marvel Comics so great was the sense that all the characters lived in the same world. It’s not just that they crossed over with one another, because the DC heroes did that too–Superman and Batman shared World’s Finest, the Flash would visit Green Lantern. But the with the Marvel heroes, you expected Daredevil to bump into the Thing on the street not just because they lived in the same town but because a lot of great adventures started off that way.

And this might be the reason why so many Marvel fans bemoan the fact that the film rights to Marvel’s mutant characters and Fantastic Four are with Fox and Spider-Man is at Sony. It guarantees that the shared Marvel Cinematic Universe will never be truly be a shared cinematic universe of all of Marvel characters.

Well, never say never.

Drew McWeeny over at Hitfix buried a juicy rumor in his latest ruminations about the state of the Marvel film universe. Since I do not want to be accused of misinterpreting what he said, I’ll reprint the pertinent paragraph verbatim:

Sony, on the other hand, may be doing things the opposite way. While I can’t get the confirmations I need to verify the story, I’m hearing that there are some very cool “Spider-Man” plans being discussed that would help Sony refocus their enormously important franchise while also opening up some connections in the onscreen Marvel movie universe that would blow fandom’s minds. Will it work out? I don’t know. I would love to be able to state for sure that it’s happening. What seems clear from what I’ve heard is that Marvel wants to be able to play with all of their characters, and if they can make that work creatively and on a corporate level, they will, and that means the world gets bigger again.

It’s a vague statement, but it seem pretty clear that McWeeny is saying that Sony is discussing letting Spider-Man be used by Marvel, and perhaps some Marvel characters used in the Spideyverse.

spideyThis comes after the story that the Oscorp Tower almost made an appearance in the New York skyline of  The Avengers, which only adds an air of believability to this rumor.  Something else that make the character sharing more plausible in some eyes is the general opinion that Sony’s Amazing Spider-Man franchise is in a stage of flux after what is seen as a disappointing showing by The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Sony needs something to inject a bit of excitement into the franchise. This certainly will do the job.

While this, if this is true, is a positive first step towards a united film universe for the Marvel characters, don’t hold your breath waiting for Fox to fall in line. While the failure of the forthcoming Fantastic Four reboot might free those characters to return to Marvel proper, Fox will keep a stranglehold on the mutants as long as they keep making money for the studio. And Marvel isn’t winning any friends at Fox by prohibiting any new mutants to be created denying Fox and new characters to play with and cancelling Fantastic Four as to deprive the reboot with a form of comic book promotion.

Of course, it’s worth mentioning that this is a rumor. And, according to Devin Faraci at Badass Digest, it’s only one of three possibilities Sony is thinking of for Spider-Man (the others are doing a soft reboot in The Sinister Six with a new actor as Spider-man [like THAT was why The Amazing Spider-Man  failed] or keeping Spider-Man in mothballs while they work on developing some secondary characters) so maybe we shouldn’t get our hopes up too much quite as of yet.

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IRON MAN 4 A Go

Posted on 07 October 2014 by William Gatevackes

DowneyIronManDid Robert Downey Jr just let a big cat out of the bag?

While making the rounds promoting The Judge, Downey stopped by Ellen. Naturally the topic of Iron Man 4 came up and Ellen pressed him as to whether or not another sequel would be coming. Look how Downey Jr answered.

That was a yes. Points to Ellen. She should work with law enforcement as an interrogator. She broke him with little or no effort.

Downey Jr has gone from saying there were no plans for a sequel last month to saying last week that he would definitely do it if Mel Gibson directed it. Does the fact that he confirmed that he is doing Iron Man 4 mean Mel Gibson will be directing it?

And also, what does this mean for the rumor we covered yesterday about Avengers 3 being lacking big guns? If Marvel is willing to negotiate with Downey Jr for another Iron Man, why wouldn’t they with the rest of the actors for more films as well, negating the need for the cast reshuffling the rumor says will happen.

It seems like a no-brainer that Marvel would pursue another Iron Man film. It is the studio’s most profitable franchise next to The Avengers, and there are a lot of open-ended questions that need answers from a story perspective, including what’s going with the Mandarin and how Tony will react to the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron.   I guess we can start speculating on what those answers will be–and what bad guy he will be fighting–now.

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Ethan Hawke Is The Latest Name On The DOCTOR STRANGE Casting Carousel

Posted on 01 October 2014 by William Gatevackes

ethan-hawkeWhat was it that Andy Warhol said? Every middle-aged actor in Hollywood will be in the running to play Doctor Strange for 15 minutes?

Well, it’s just about time for another name to be thrown in the ring, and that name appears to be Ethan Hawke.

This Is Infamous, the website that also told us both Joaquin Phoenix and Jon Hamm were up for the role, is going all in on Hawke as Doctor Strange. They claim that Marvel has already made an offer to the actor on Friday, the actor accepted over the weekend and now it just comes down to contract negotiations. According to the site, Hawke is signing on for a six-picture deal, so expect him to pop up in other films if this casting rumor is true.

Hawke does appear to have the quality-acting-to-salary-cost that Marvel looks for. He is an Academy Award nominated actor (Best Supporting, for Training Day), yet has a remarkable number of low budget and B-movies on his resume, which lends itself to the fact that he works relatively cheap.

Another positive check mark for this rumor is the fact that Hawke played the lead in Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson’s 2012 film, Sinister, a connection that the site says played a big part in the hiring decision.

I guess time will tell if this is true, but you can say one thing, Hawke certainly looks the part.

 

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Y,THE LAST MAN Rights Officially Revert Back To Creators

Posted on 26 September 2014 by William Gatevackes

YTheLastManWhen we last checked in on the Y, The Last Man film, co-creator Brian K. Vaughan said that the film rights would revert back to him and artist Pia Guerra if the film did not go into production in a couple of months.

That was back in January, so the rights have reverted back, right?

Right.

Dan Trachtenberg, the most recent director attached to the project was asked about the progress on the film on Twitter on Wednesday. This is what he had to say:

Trachtenberg went in more detail in an interview with /Film, stating the right have been back with Vaughan and Guerra for months. The director also went into what his take on the film would be, which would be an adventure film in the mold of Raiders of the Lost Ark and Big Trouble in Little China. It’s been a while since I read the series, but from what I recall that doesn’t seem to be exactly the best tone to take for the property.

While he hints that Vaughan’s involvement with other projects might mean that a Y, The Last Man film is for all purposes dead, Trachtenberg himself expresses a wish that if the property doesn’t remain the exclusively in the comic book medium, that a television show would be the only thing that would “suffice.”

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Is DOCTOR STRANGE Officially A Go?

Posted on 17 September 2014 by William Gatevackes

dr_strangeOne of the most confounding mysteries of this year’s Marvel Studios panel at San Diego Comic Con is the fact that the studio refused to give us any official confirmation that a Doctor Strange movie was in the works. The project was long rumored to be in the pipeline, and a director was recently hired, but the studio was silent about the progress of the film at SDCC. Unfortunately, it seems like the when Marvel finally gives the official word, it will be anticlimactic because the production will have been confirmed in dribs and drabs way before then.

Screen Daily, the web presence of the London-based Screen International magazine, reports that Marvel Studios is in early negotiations to rent Pinewood Studios’ Shepperton location in the UK for a film that will be shooting starting around May 2015 for a release on July 8, 2016. The website states the film being shot is Doctor Strange.

Scott Derrickson has been hired to direct the film and Jon Spaihts was recently hired to provide a new script for the project–the only such Marvel property to move that far into production so far as we know, so logic dictates that Screen Daily is correct. I mean, what other film can it be?  But we have to be wary until we hear it from Marvel themselves.

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Warners Registers Four URLs For Superhero Films

Posted on 03 September 2014 by Rich Drees

justice-league-tabled

Warner Brothers have been very sush-sush about their plans for their superhero films post 2016’s Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice. We think we know what they have in store, but that is just supposition right now. And that supposition just got a little more evidence supporting it.

According to the folks over at Tech Times, the studio has just registered the following domains –

  • JusticeLeagueFilm.com
  • ShazamMovie.com
  • WonderWomanTheMovie.com
  • AquamanMovie.com

Hardly the move of a studio not planning on making those films, is it?

Currently, the domains redirect to Warner Brothers main webpage, so that is a good indication that they are legit registers and not someone trying to squat on the domains in advance of the studio trying to acquire them for themselves.

We’ve already known that the studio has cast Gal Gadot and Jason Momoa to appear in Batman V Superman as Wonder Woman and Aquaman respectively, so it makes sense that their would be solo films in development. And it has all but officially been announced that there will be a Justice League film.

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First Official Still From ANT-MAN Released

Posted on 19 August 2014 by William Gatevackes

AntManLogo Marvel isn’t being stingy with the promotion for Ant-Man. Even though production began just yesterday, we have our first official image from the film. Perhaps they figure if they show us enough about this film, we’ll forget the whole Edgar Wright debacle.

The studio has released its first still from the film, showing a rather grungy Scott Lang (Paul Rudd):

rudd as scott lang ant-manNot to gush too much over a promo pic, but the down and out nature of the character really shines through in the image. from  the old beater Ford van in the background to the bandages on his eyebrows.

Ant-Man is set to open on July 17, 2015.

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Two Scripts Have Been Commissioned For An AQUAMAN Film

Posted on 12 August 2014 by William Gatevackes

AquamanI wonder if James Cameron will be doing this after Avatar.

The Hollywood Reporter’s Heat Vision blog is reporting that Warner Brothers has commissioned two separate scripts for an Aquaman film. The thinking is the Warners will take the scripts, one by Gangster Squad‘s Will Beall and 300: Rise of an Empire‘s Kurt Johnstad, pull the best moments from each , and Frankenstein a movie out of it. Sounds perfect.

While Aquaman is one of the few comic book characters to be continually published in one form or another from the 1940’s to today, he is also considered somewhat of a joke in the world of pop culture, an opinion exacerbated by shows such as Robot Chicken and Entourage that poke fun at the character and its lame reputation.

This news might be the final nail in the coffin of the rumored line up of films that Nikki Finke provided back in June and that Kevin Smith confirmed a few weeks later. The first blow came last week when Warners came out with an official release schedule that didn’t match the dates Finke gave. And an Aquaman film was not listed in the films Finke put forth in June.  This might be enough to finally show that Finke was given faulty information or that Warners changed their plans as a result of her article.

Jason Momoa has not yet been confirmed as playing Aquaman but is almost universally considered to have been cast. No word as to when the film will be hitting theaters, but it looks like it is years away.

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EW: “Everyone Won” DAWN OF JUSTICE Date Shift, Which Was A “Brilliant Maneuver”

Posted on 08 August 2014 by William Gatevackes

entertainement-weeklyWhen Warner Brothers rescheduled Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice for May 6, 2016, which Marvel Studios had already staked claim to with an unnamed project, it was viewed as an act of war. Here was Warners, a studio with a deep reserve of superhero IP through their sister company. DC Comics, but one that they were never able to fully capitalize on, using the blockbuster success of Man of Steel to take on the master of the comic book film, Marvel Studios, on what would be close to the start of the summer 2016 movie season. It was a statement of how serious they were about starting to take their comic book properties and showed that they believed that they could stand up anything the competition had to offer.

Of course, many fans and journalists didn’t actually believe that both Batman v. Superman and Captain America 3, what Marvel eventually announced as their May 6, 2016 film, would actually come out on the same day. While comic book fans would probably see both if they had the chance, having them open the same weekend would pretty much guarantee that the opening weekend grosses for both would be lower than they should be. It seemed logical that one of the studios would swerve out of this game of chicken, and many were hoping that it would be DC/Warners that would blink due to their audacity at claiming a spot that already belonged to Marvel.

GuardiansOfTheGalaxyPosterWell, Warners did blink, moving Batman v. Superman to March 25, 2016. The Internet, being what it is, started proclaiming Marvel’s victory in this war. The release date move seemed like an act of cowardice on Warners part, especially considering it came after Captain America: The Winter Soldier surpassed Man of Steel in all-time worldwide grosses and Guardians of the Galaxy, a Marvel concept with little or no recognition amongst the general public, opened to a whopping $24 million over projections, tipping the potential clash ever so slightly into Marvel’s favor. To some, this added up to Warners tucking its tail between its legs and running after they realized that the pairing of Batman and Superman might not be enough to win that war.

Not so fast, claims Entertainment Weekly. With a column on their website today titled ‘Batman v Superman’ versus ‘Captain America': The superhero showdown that everybody won, they quote a Warners executive and a film median analyst saying that the move was a “brilliant maneuver” and go on to devote column space to proving that point.

From media analyst Paul Dergarabedian:

There’s that perception [that Warner Bros. retreated], but I think at the end of the day, he who wins is just the one who’s smart. They’re going to have an incredible amount of playing time before the Marvel movie kicks off. Putting this movie on a non-conventional date is going to pay big benefits for Warner Bros., for the theater owners—who love films that have legs—and for the audience. [Customers] will have a really cool movie to go out and see in March.

From Warners’ president of domestic distribution, Dan Fellman:

The reality now is there really isn’t a bad week to open a movie. If you look at the summer box office this year, you can see that there were so many movies, one after the other. You can start with Spider-Man, two weeks later Godzilla, and then Maleficent, and then Edge of Tomorrow, and then Jump Street and Transformers. And the one thing they all had in common, not one of them did over $250 million. We’ll be the first one up [in 2016], which is very important, and we’ll have six weeks before Captain America comes in.

Nowhere in the text is any dissenting opinion that questions the date shift as anything less than genius, nor is there the typical disclaimer EW usually runs in Warners stories that they and Warners are both owned by parent company Time Warner. These omissions make the article seem less like a defense of a savvy move by Warner Brothers than a piece of corporately mandated spin propaganda.

If there was a little bit of even handed reporting, Dan Fellman’s statement might have been challenged a bit more. Such as:

  • The $250 domestic total as a marker of a hit  has some issues. For instance, domestic tallies alone to not make hits anymore. Yes, Transformers: Age of Extinction has made less than $250 domestically (so far, as I will discuss below) but has already made more than a billion dollars worldwide, quadrupling its budget.
  • Speaking of multiplying its budget, the true test of a films success is how much it makes over its budget, not how much it makes altogether. If the benchmark for success is making two times its budget, then all those examples Fellman cites can be considered a hit because they have all doubled their budget in worldwide grosses. Yes, even the “disappointing” Edge of Tomorrow. Heck, by this yardstick, 22 Jump Street is a smash success. It made five times its budget back.
  • Name dropping Malificent and Transformers: Age of Extinction is not something Fellman should have done. Both are still in theaters and are within striking distance of Fellman’s legendary $250 million domestic mark. Granted, the former is at $235 million and nearing the end of its theatrical run, so it passing the $250 plateau is slim, but Transformers: Age of Extinction is at $242 million and should be around for a few more weeks. It seems a given that it will surpass $250 before it leaves theaters.
  • That being said, there have been 83 films to make more than $250 million at the domestic box office to date. Of those 83, only 6 were released outside of the summer months (May through August) or the holiday season (November and December). Of those six films, 3 were released in March–the aforementioned The Hunger Games and Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Alice in Wonderland. So while it is possible to make $250 million domestically in March, it is a whole lot easier to do so when the kids are home from school.

So, while it is possible that Batman v. Superman will make $250 in its March release date, the date itself will have very little to do with its success. It will have to be a quality film that viewers want to see bad enough that they are willing to see and see again, scheduling it in when school is not in session if they want to bring the kids in. And Fellman’s argument that a summer release is no longer lucrative might save face, but it doesn’t really hold water.

batman-vs-superman-dawn-of-justice-logoWe do get an explanation from Fellman as to why Warners felt confident in scheduling Batman v. Superman head-to-head against Marvel’s film. It was because they didn’t think there would be a Marvel film to go head-to-head with:

In terms of going back and reviewing the situation, it looked to us—and maybe our reconnaissance wasn’t great—that they were not going to have a movie [ready] on that date. Just that they held onto it and they might not be able to deliver. But they took another position.

Yes, they took the revolutionary position of delivering on a release date they promised. Granted, holding firm to a release date must be a foreign concept in the halls of Warners (lest we forget that this is the third release date Batman v. Superman has had since it was first announced, not to mention the false starts and inevitable starts the Superman and Justice League franchises have had) and that Marvel did some release date shuffling early in their existence, this whole brouhaha came about because Warners mistakenly thought that a studio that had pretty much consistently met its release dates for over two years would not meet this one and allow Warners to win the staring contest by default. That is just beautiful, and typical of Warners logic when dealing with all things DC.

The one piece of actual news in the article is that Warners plans to supply names to go with those release dates they announced on Wednesday by the end of the month.

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