Tag Archive | "Vin Diesel"

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New Releases: April 3, 2015

Posted on 03 April 2015 by William Gatevackes

fast-furious-71. Furious 7 (Universal, 4004 Theaters, 137 Minutes, Rated PG-13 for prolonged frenetic sequences of violence, action and mayhem, suggestive content and brief strong language, Rotten Tomatoes: 82% Fresh [113 Reviews]): I saw Fast & Furious 6 and fell in love with the franchise again. The first film was surprisingly good, but then the quality dipped as stars left, came back and left again.

But the sixth installment was mindless fun. Just sit back and watch the characters go through the basic plot line and be entertained by the fancy cars and the impressive stunt work. I looked forward to this installment quite a lot.

Then series star Paul Walker died during filming, causing the film to be delayed. That would be enough to cast a pall over any film, but the fact that he died in a high-speed car accident made the shadow over the film even bigger. And, if that wasn’t enough, this film’s plot is propelled by the on-screen death of one of the characters in a car wreck. All of a sudden, mindless fun became a morbid curiosity.

I guess it would be up to us to not let the real world events behind the film influence our enjoyment of the film. I’m just not sure I could do that.

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Posted on 12 August 2014 by William Gatevackes

inhumansBack in 2011, when Marvel announced that it was developing Guardians of the Galaxy for the screen, they also announced that  another interesting Marvel property would be joining them in development–The Inhumans. The Guardians were first into the breech, presumably to test the water and see if movie audiences would respond to such a little known property.

Now that Guardians of the Galaxy is turning out to be a smash hit, now it is The Inhumans’ turn to get some love from Marvel.

Collider is reporting that Marvel is shopping an Inhumans script around to potential directors. The script was written by Joe Robert Cole, who, like GotG‘s screenwriter Nicole Perlman, was part of Marvel’s writing program. Collider states they are trying to hire a director like James Gunn, one who can seamlessly bring his own style to Marvel’s per-prescribed vision.

This news comes on the heels of a rather big hint Vin Diesel gave about his involvement with the film last week:

Note the capital “I” on Inhuman.

Rumors abounded at the time Diesel was cast as the voice of Groot that Marvel had locked him in for another role further on down the line. Obviously, nothing definite has been announced, but the only Inhuman I can see an actor of Diesel’s popularity playing would be their leader Black Bolt. If this is the role that Diesel ends up in, it will mean that for Marvel the actor has provided a voice for a character yet was not seen and with will play a character that is seen but not heard (Black Bolt is mute because  his voice is his power–even a whisper is massively destructive).

I’m sure we’ll hear more on this in the coming months.

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Diesel States Universal Want Another RIDDICK Film

Posted on 29 January 2014 by Rich Drees


It may not be as big a hit as other franchise films are for their studios, but apparently Riddick, the third film from actor Vin Diesel and writer/director David Twohy about an intergalactic mercenary swept up in events bigger than him, has earned enough money that Universal is ordering up another sequel.

Diesel himself made the announcement, embedded in the middle of a seven-minute video of himself dancing about to music, apparently happy over the news. The video is below and you can hear him give the news starting around the 3:10 mark, but if you don’t want to be bothered with all that, here is the text of what he said.

I’m just excited, and happy, and I’m shouting out to you guys to say thank you. Universal just called me and told me Riddick is number one on the DVD charts. There’s no way Riddick would have been made without you guys. You know that. And you guys have been a part of our page since 2012 and remember how arduous a road it was to get the movie made, and to make it rated R, and to do it with such a low budget. It’s a win for all of us and I really, really thank you so much. Yeah, I’m excited, and of course, Universal also says they want to develop the next one.

Despite only moderate box office in the United States for Riddick, the latest film in the series from the duo – approximately $42 million – the film pulled an impressive $56 million more overseas. Combine that with some healthy home video sales and it may be easy to see how the studio came to their decision.

The series launched in 2000, with the low budget Pitch Black which turned out to be a surprise minor hit for the studio, earning back well over twice its $23 million price tag in just US box office alone. A sequel, 2004’s The Chronicles of Riddick, cost much more but did not come near being as successful. It took Diesel and Twohy nearly eight years to convince Universal brass to allow them to go ahead with the third film. Apparently, it was the right decision.

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2013 In Review: What The Top Ten Grossers Say About The State of Cinema

Posted on 01 January 2014 by William Gatevackes

TicketsIf there is one constant in Hollywood, it’s that money gets things done. So, if we want some idea where Hollywood is going in the future, we have to look at the highest grossing films of the past year. What secrets do they hold? What truths do they tell? Let’s find out.

Below is a list of the top ten domestic grossing films from 2013, accurate as of Monday, December 30, 2013, as they are reported by Box Office Mojo:

2013 top ten1. 2013 was $380 million off from 2012 domestically: The drop off is even more severe in combined worldwide grosses, which dropped $1.6 billion from last year.

Is this cause for panic? Not necessarily. Last year had the 800-lbs gorilla that was The Avengers, the final installment of Nolan’s Batman franchise and the Twilight franchise. Plus, there was a Bond film thrown in there for good measure. So there are a lot of reasons why this drop could just be a return to normal rather than the start of a great decline. But it still bears watching.

iron man tony stark Robert Downey Jr2. Robert Downey Jr. might be more valuable to Marvel than they’d like to admit: To date, only two Marvel films have reached #1 in the year in box office, The Avengers last year and Iron Man 3 this year. The other Marvel film this year, Thor: The Dark World, failed to crack the top ten by about $20 million dollars. The calls to mind 2008, when the first Iron Man made it to #2 in the top ten domestic grossing films and The Incredible Hulk ranked only #17. And for the record, Iron Man 2 was the 3rd highest grossing film of 2010. Also for the record, no other Marvel film scored higher than #10 in the year end lists.

So, the most successful films put out by Marvel had Robert Downey Jr. in a featured role. This explains why Marvel was so quick to sign him to Avengers 2 and so soon after the first receipts for Iron Man 3 came in. The only question was why Marvel didn’t throw buckets of money at him for more Iron Man films at the same time.

3. Man of Steel shows that Warners finally has figured out what to do with their DC Comics characters. Maybe: After years of false starts, Warners has finally had a hit movie starring a DC character other than one wearing a batsuit. Granted, is was with the most known character, Superman, but still. Superman Returns showed how hard it is to get people interested in a character as iconic as the Man of Steel.

The film overcame mixed reviews from both professional critics and comic book fans to earn more than $662 million worldwide, giving Warners the chance to capitalize on their DC characters the way Marvel has been capitalizing on theirs for years.

Of course, any continued success relies on Warners making Batman vs. Superman work. They are cramming just about every viable DC hero into that movie, hoping to create a Big Bang to get their shared universe started. That is a risky proposition. I can’t wait to see how, or, rather, if, they pull that off.

Gravity-2013-Movie-Poster4. Gravity tells us that Oscar bait can be successful–if it has a high concept: You don’t often get a lot of crossovers between the Top Ten highest grossing films and the shortlist for Oscar glory. The highest domestic grossing Oscar nominated film last year was Lincoln, which came in at #13. Where did Oscar winner Argo rank? It was #22.

So the fact that Gravity, a film that seems like a lock for a Best Picture nomination and a very good chance of walking off with a statue, was the 6th highest grossing film domestically is kind of a big deal.

Of course, the fact that its plot–an astronaut stranded in space has to find their way back to Earth–sounds like something John McTiernan might have directed Bruce Willis in in the 90s, helps. It is certainly a high-concept, attention grabbing story. The acting of Sandra Bullock and directing of  Alfonso Cuaron served to elevated to Oscar worthy status.

5. Frozen is proof that Disney’s in-house computer animation arm has become just as vital and exciting as its Pixar arm:  For a long time, the tradition of quality Disney animation was shouldered by its partner-turned-subsidiary, Pixar. While Disney was releasing critical failures such as Brother Bear and box office bombs such as Home on the Range and Treasure Planet, Pixar was putting out classics like Finding Nemo and The Incredibles. When it looked like Pixar was going to break away from Disney, the Mouse House made the decision to forgo conventional animation and go all in on in-house CGI fare. The results were the critically lambasted Chicken Little and Meet the Robinsons. It seems dark days were ahead for the mouse.

That being said, it’s was not hard to view Disney’s buying of Pixar as a sign of defeat at the time. When Pixar’s John Lasseter was made chief creative officer of both Pixar and Walt Disney Animation, it would not be outlandish  to think Disney was handing over it’s animation future exclusively to Pixar, a move that would have made a lot of sense.

Fortunately, that did not happen. Not only did Lasseter bring back the two-dimensional animation that was Disney’s hallmark with 2009’s The Princess and the Frog, but he started building up Disney’s in-house computer generation arm as well.Starting with 2008’s Bolt and continuing through 2010’s Tangled and 2012’s Wreck-It Ralph, Disney’s in-house computer animated fare began displaying better stories to add critical acclaim to the financial successes.

msf_frozen_lg_v13But with Frozen, something spectacular has happened–Disney’s in-house animation arm will have surpassed Pixar both in quality and in grosses. Yes, the film will end the year about $20 million behind Monsters University. But Frozen has only been in release for 5 weeks, and Monsters University’s take is after it completed its 26-week theatrical run. . It should over take Monsters University this week, and leave it in the dust by the time it ends its theatrical run.

And it’s not that Monsters University is a bad film, it’s just that I found Frozen to be a far better film. It was funnier, had better characters, had more emotional pull and had a much better story. Granted, you can not do a straight apples to apples comparison. After all, part of Frozen’s appeal is in its expertly crafted songs. Monsters University, not being a musical, has nothing to offer on this point in return. But I think that Frozen is good enough to not only win the Best Animated Feature Oscar, but also have a shot at a Best Picture nod.

If this trend keeps up, Disney will have two CGI animation arms that excel in quality from start to finish. As a fan of animation, you can’t help but be excited by that. And if you respect the history of animation, you should doubly excited.

6. There’s a reason why Universal is not willing to let go of Fast and Furious: In the wake Paul Walker’s tragic and ironic death in a car crash on November 30, there have been many calls for Universal to shelf the Fast and Furious franchise. After weeks of debate, it was decided that the franchise would go forward, with Fast & Furious 7‘s release date being moved from July of 2014 to April of 2015 in order to address Walker’s departure.

Perhaps in a perfect world, the film would have been cancelled and Walker’s fans would get their wish. But as you can see, Fast & Furious 6 was the 8th highest grossing film domestically last year. When you add its $550 million international gross, it became the 4th highest grossing film worldwide. Taking into consideration that sources say that up to half the film was already shot, Universal has already invested a lot in the film already. The money invested so far and the potential profits are a hard thing for any studio to give up. 

And even though Walker was a vital part of the cast, as hard as it is to say, he wasn’t the biggest draw in the ensemble. Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, and most of the other players, many with international appeal, will be returning. So, from a callous business standpoint, it doesn’t make sense to call it quits now, even though many people think they should.

It remains to be seen if the tragedy changes this paradigm in anyway. Walker’s death my spoil the franchise its fans and the grosses will plummet. Or morbid curiosity might carry the franchise to new heights. But the best we can hope for is that the next film honors Walker’s legacy instead of sullying it.

7. We are going to see a lot of Oz themed films come down the pike in the near future: Back in 2010, FBOL Head Honcho Rich Drees told us of nine Wizard of Oz related projects that Hollywood had in the works. Oz, the Great and Powerful was third on the list but the first to have its feature film come to fruition. And considering that the film doubled its budget in worldwide grosses, we can expect to see the seven remaining properties (The Witches of Oz had a limited theatrical release before being recut into a SyFY UK miniseries).

First up will be Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return. The computer animated film, originally titled Dorothy of Oz, will be hitting theater on May 9, 2014. The adaptation of Caliber Comics’ OZ, now called Dreams of Oz instead of Dark Oz, is still in development with an eye on release in 2014. An adaptation of the stage musical Wicked is still in development. There are a number of other Oz projects, some that Rich mentioned, some new, that are also in the works. And, of course, a sequel to Oz, the Great and Powerful is being considered.

And if you think you can escape the Oz onslaught be staying home, think again. There are no less than five TV projects based around the concept too.

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UPDATED: Vin Diesel Once Again Teases GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY Role

Posted on 21 December 2013 by Rich Drees


Updated: Marvel has finally confirmed that Diesel will be voicing Groot in the upcoming Guardians Of The Galaxy. Original post follows –

Vin Diesel has been having fun teasing fans about possible involvement in an upcoming Marvel Studios comic book film. But while Marvel has not made an official announcement that the actor would be participating in any of their upcoming slate films, that hasn’t stopped speculation and reports that he would be appearing in Marvel’s upcoming Guardians Of The Galaxy. Diesel is at it again, this evening posting on his Facebook the above picture of himself with a model of Groot the alien member of the Guardians whom he has been linked with voicing.

When pressed by fans, Guardians Of The Glaxay director James Gunn stated that he the bust was the one that was used for reference for the other actors during shooting. (The character will be created through CGI.) He also said that he couldn’t say that this was confirmation of Diesel’s casting in the picture, but “I’d hate to think I spent all this time recording him for no reason.” He added, “I hope this puts to rest all the silly Thanos-Vin stuff which people just seemed to make up out of nothing.”

The casting of the voice actor for Groot is the only piece of casting that Marvel has not officially announced. The cast for the film includes Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Benicio del Toro, John C. Reilly and Glenn Close. Bradley Cooper has already been announced as providing the voice of another of the film’s CGI-created characters, Rocket Raccoon.

Guardians Of The Galaxy hits theaters on August 1, 2014.

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New Releases: September 6, 2013

Posted on 05 September 2013 by William Gatevackes

riddick-poster-key-art1. Riddick (Universal, 3,107 Theaters, 119 Minutes, Rated R): In 2000, Pitch Black introduced Riddick into the world. The sci-fi became a cult favorite, was an unexpected hit at the box office and jump started Vin Diesel’s career.

The follow up, The Chronicles of Riddick, was a disappointment not only in quality but also in grosses, as it’s PG-13 rating turned off the people who like the violent precursor and failed to bring in the wider audience it was supposed to.

This one seems like a return to the qualities that made the first one so popular, as Riddick is stranded on a hostile land and is forced to fight off deadly beast that live on the planet and vicious mercenaries that came to the planet for the price on his head.

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Vin Diesel In Negotiations To Play GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY’s Groot

Posted on 12 August 2013 by Rich Drees


Vin Diesel has been having fun teasing fans about his possible participation in a Marvel Studios movie. On his Facebook page he has hinted about meetings and then said he couldn’t talk about what was discussed. Just last month at the San Diego Comic Con, Diesel stated that there should be an announcement coming from Marvel soon, though studio chief Kevin Feige denied that.

Diesel is at it again. This time the actor has posted a picture of a talking tree on his Facebook page, of course indicating that he might be playing/voicing the ambulatory tree character Groot in Marvel’s upcoming Guardians Of The Galaxy being directed by James Gunn.

Deadline picked up this ball and checked with their sources who tell them that the actor is indeed in negotiations with the studio for the role. It is not known at the moment whether Diesel will play the character through motion capture or if he will just voice Groot’s one line of dialogue – “I am Groot.” – in various inflections as needed for each scene. While I know that some fans were hoping that Diesel would land the voice role of Rocket Raccoon in the film, I think Diesel’s gravely voice is perfect for the Guardians arboreal member.

And if you are not familiar with the character of Groot, here is FilmBuffOnline’s Comic Book Film Editor William Gatevackes’ write up on the character from last year.


Real Name: Groot

First Appearance: Tales to Astonish (vol. 1) #13 (November, 1960)

Created by: Stan Lee and Jack Kirby

Origin: Groot originally encountered Earthlings when he tried to capture a number of them for scientific study. However, once the comic calamities started to happen, he eventually used his power for good, to defend the universe from destruction.

Powers: Groot is made of wood. He can regrow any part or all of his body if only a sliver of it exists. He can also control certain plants and has a genius-level I.Q.

The Skinny: Groot has an interesting comic book history. He is one of the earliest Stan Lee/Jack Kirby creations, pre-dating the Fantastic Four, Hulk X-Men and Avengers. He first appeared in comics when Marvel was publishing a number of anthologies built around sci-fi themed monsters. Luckily, he went from being a monster-of-the-month to being one of Marvel’s next movie stars. Yes, Groot gets the big screen treatment while Doctor Strange, Black Panther, Iron Fist, and many other notable characters are waiting for their shot.

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Is Vin Diesel Stringing Us Along About A Marvel Movie?

Posted on 22 July 2013 by Rich Drees


One of the bigger stories concerning Marvel Studios’s output of superhero films, at least until this weekend’s announcement of The Avengers 2 subtitle, has been actor Vin Diesel commenting about a potential role in an unspecified upcoming film, culminating with his claim this past weekend that an announcement should be made by the end of the month.

But if this is true, no one has told Marvel Studio chief Kevin Feige. Speaking with Geek Tyrant this weekend at San Diego Comic Con, Feige stated that he had no idea of what Diesel was talking about and that there was no plans for the studio to be announcing anything in regards to the actor anytime soon.

Well, here’s what I will tell you about Vin. And I’ll be very honest with you. We did a press day on the Captain America set last week or something. The very first question was, ‘So how did the meeting with Vin Diesel go?’ I went, ‘Here’s the funny thing, it hasn’t happened yet. It happens at 3 p.m. today.’ And they went, ‘Oh, really?’ And it did and he came by and met. So, I’ll say two things: One, there’s nothing to announce with Vin. Vin is an amazing guy and an amazing personality.

No. It’s so far ahead it may not even exist. So, there’s nothing to announce. But, I love Vin and he’s an amazing personality. Look how much attention he’s gotten for a meeting. He’s incredibly shrewd. He’s got a Riddick movie that I can’t wait to see. And the Fast & Furious franchise, in addition to Vin, is a franchise I admire a lot for turning the sixth and next year the seventh into the biggest and most popular one. As far as a piece of it? Could someday we do a Luke Cage: Hero for Hire in that kind of vein? Totally.

So to summarize – Vin Diesel has met with Marvel, but there is no announcement coming about what they may have been discussing. It is interesting that Feige mentions Luke Cage, a hero that there has been some discussion about bringing to the silver screen, but no real confirmation that the property is in active development at the studio. Could it be that Marvel is at least actively exploring the idea of bringing that character into its cinematic universe?

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SDCC: Vin Diesel Says Expect Marvel News From Him Soon

Posted on 21 July 2013 by Rich Drees


The last couple of weeks has seen actor Vin Diesel teasing his possible participation in an unnamed Marvel Studios film. And during his appearance at the San Diego Comic Con Friday, he continued to hint that there might be a collaboration between himself and the studio in the near future stating “There is some very big news coming at the end of this month.”

Back at the end of June, Diesel mentioned on his Facebook page that he had an upcoming meeting with Marvel, a statement that set off a flurry of speculation. Last week, Diesel sparked a new round of speculation when he stated that he had had his meeting with the folks at Marvel Studios and while “Only the people in the room can tell you what was discussed” he posted the picture below.

I am sure that some will be disappointed by the idea of having to wait a while longer to find out what Marvel and Diesel are cooking up and would have preferred to hear an announcement later today at the Marvel Studios panel. Most likely, the end of the month deadline is to allow time for the final details to be finalized on whatever deal is being struck. While it has been known to happen in the past, having a deal finalized in just ten days in order to make an official announcement at Comic Con is perhaps too short a time frame.

There are rumors that there will be Marvel Studios announcements being made in a couple of weeks at Disney’s D23 Expo August 9th through the 11th. Is this what Diesel was referring to? We’ll keep watching.


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SDCC: New Extended Red Band Trailer For RIDDICK

Posted on 19 July 2013 by Rich Drees


Just a short while ago, Riddick director David Twohy and stars Vin Diesel and Katie Sackhoff appeared at the San Diego Comic Con to promote the movie and premier this new, extended red band trailer.

Given what we see here and the synopsis below, it looks as if the film is veering more towards 2000’s Pitch Black, the first film in this franchise, than 2004’s rather bloated Chronicles Of Riddick.

Here’s the studio synopsis for the film –

The infamous Riddick has been left for dead on a sun-scorched planet that appears to be lifeless. Soon, however, he finds himself fighting for survival against alien predators more lethal than any human he’s encountered. The only way off is for Riddick to activate an emergency beacon and alert mercenaries who rapidly descend to the planet in search of their bounty. The first ship to arrive carries a new breed of merc, more lethal and violent, while the second is captained by a man whose pursuit of Riddick is more personal. With time running out and a storm on the horizon that no one could survive, his hunters won’t leave the planet without Riddick’s head as their trophy.

Riddick opens September 6.

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