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Showbiz Simon Says ...

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Wed, 11/12/2013 - 21:27

By Simon Thompson

There might not be a script yet, but the World War Z sequel has got a director. The job has gone to Juan Antonio Bayona – he’s previously helmed The Impossible and The Orphanage. Marc Forster’s original, based on the novel by Max Brooks, took $540 million worldwide. Brad Pitt will return in the lead role. Although the director has been named, no writers are attached to the project at this stage and there’s no release date so it is very early days.

★ Rosemary's Baby: The TV Show – it’s a thing. NBC has greenlit the four-hour miniseries which will be an adaptation of the 1967 best-selling novel by Ira Levin. The US TV network isn’t wasting any time on getting started as production is due to get under way in Paris in January. James Wong, best known for his penmanship on American Horror Story, will write the screenplay while Oscar and Emmy nominated Agnieszka Holland will direct.

★ Tom Cruise will return as Jack Reacher. After the original made $218 million worldwide on a budget of $60 million, Paramount has confirmed it is moving forward with a sequel. It’ll be based on that will be based on Lee Child's recent novel, Never Go Back. No word yet on a writer or a director, but there are claims that the studio will try to release the film before the fifth Mission: Impossible movie – that has a release date pencilled in for December 2015.

★ Andrew Garfield’s Spider-days might be numbered. He’s only contracted for three movies and hasn’t decided if he wants to swing on back for a fourth. He’s told Yahoo Movies: "I’m under contract for another one after this… as far as a fourth one? That's not anything to do with me. But yeah, I think what we’re doing here is we've established the world. And now we get to really play inside that world." Sony Pictures will release The Amazing Spider-Man 2 in May 2014 and The Amazing Spider-Man 3 in May 2016.

★ Bette Midler has signed up to play Mae West in an upcoming biopic from HBO. It is based on West's 1959 autobiography, Goodness Had Nothing to Do With It. She died in 1980 following a successful career on stage and screen spanning seven decades. It’ll focus on her early years on stage in Gotham, while facing legal issues for her risqué show Sex. William Friedkin will direct it and the script’s being turned out by Harvey Fierstein, but there’s no word on when it’ll air.

A fourth Beverly Hills Cop movie is on and it’ll see Eddie Murphy return as Axel Foley. Brett Ratner is on board to direct it. 2013 saw a TV spin-off go get dropped after just a pilot episode – Murphy was due to make regular cameos – but it was going to focus on his son, played by Tropic Thunder’s Brandon T Jackson. The new movie will reportedly see Axel return to his Detroit roots. The new movie is part of a deal between Jerry Bruckheimer and Paramount Pictures another sequel, Top Gun 2, is also moving forward. Tom Cruise is onboard the project that stalled following the death of Tony Scott in 2012.

A fifth Terminator movie is on the way, Terminator: Genesis, but it’s been confirmed a new new Terminator TV series is also happening. The show will follow a critical moment from the first Terminator film but where the film's story goes one way, the upcoming series will take the same moment in a completely different direction. According to reports, as the rebooted film trilogy and the new TV series progress, the two narratives will intersect with each other in surprising and dramatic ways. No word yet on an air date for the show; however, the fifth Terminator movie will hit cinemas in July 2015.

★ Californication’s been cancelled. The Showtime original series will end after the upcoming seventh season. The 12-episode final run will kick off in the US on April 2014. Rob Lowe is confirmed to be return as eccentric actor Eddie Nero in at least one episode with Roger Howarth, Heather Graham and Mary Lynn Rajskub all guest starring at some point in the final season. Showtime's president of entertainment David Nevins said: “With its unique blend of lyricism and excess, Californication has been one of our groundbreaking signature series. We will always be indebted to Tom Kapinos for leading the creative charge on this memorable comedy, and to David Duchovny for making us root for an unapologetic hedonist like Hank Moody.” Spank you very much.... and good night!

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Screenjabber Podcast: Chillin' with the guys

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Sun, 08/12/2013 - 18:01

Join David Watson, Simon Thompson, Doug Cooper and host Stuart O'Connor for the usual movie news and gossip and a look at a few of this week's UK new releases: the Oldboy remake, Nebraska, Kill Your Darlings, Homefront, Big Bad Wolves and Disney's spectacular Frozen. (Yeah, we forgot to talk about Getaway.)

You can listen to and download the podcast here – or subscribe to it on iTunes ... plus you can follow us on Twitter and join us on Facebook.

PubQuest: We're looking to take the Screenjabber Pubcast on the road, and want your input. Know a great pub in London we should visit to record the show? Drop us a line and let us know.

WriterQuest: We're seeking some more writers, particularly those who want to cover video games for us. Please get in touch if you're keen.

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Showbiz Simon Says ...

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Wed, 04/12/2013 - 22:39

By Simon Thompson

Production on Fast And Furious 7 has been indefinitely postponed by Universal following the death of Paul Walker. There are apparently immediate plans to resume work on the film already more than half-way through production. Because Paul was such a big part of the franchise and the seventh instalment itself, there is the option to scrap what has already been filmed and shoot the whole film again – studios have insurance to cover such things should tragedy hit a key cast member. As a result, there is no word on how (or if) the story will be rewritten, or whether the current 2015 release date will be changed.

Meanwhile, Universal Pictures has announced that a percentage of proceeds from the US home entertainment release of Fast & Furious 6 will be donated to Walker’s non-profit Reach Out WorldWide – the actor founded the organisation after witnessing deficiencies in local activations following the January 2010 Haiti earthquake. To donate directly, or to learn more about the invaluable work of Reach Out WorldWide, please visit the website.

★ The Blacklist has been renewed for a second season. NBC has picked up the James Spader starrer for a full 22-episode second season – the show is currently on a mid first-season hiatus and will kick back in January. Robert Greenblatt, chairman of NBC Entertainment, said in a statement: “The success of The Blacklist demonstrates that inspired storytelling is alive and well in broadcast television.” The show is already the number one new show of the season on US network TV.

★ George Miller has dismissed claims that Mel Gibson will make a cameo in Mad Max: Fury Road. When asked about whether we could expect to see the former A-lister, who played the original Road Warrior, he revealed: "It would have been nice somehow, but no, it's not true.” Miller's also let slip that test screenings have been going extremely well and that everyone involved is very happy. The film will finally hit cinemas in 2015 with Tom Hardy in the lead role.

★ Chucky wants to play again. Following the success of the straight-to-DVD sixth instalment in the franchise, creator Don Mancini has revealed on Twitter that a seventh film has been given the green light. The finale of The Curse Of Chucky did contain a few twists that made a sequel possible although there’s no word yet a storyline although Fiona and Brad Dourif and Summer Howell are expected to return. Also no word yet on whether the next film will be straight-to-DVD again or if a big screen outing is a possibility.

★ Harvey Weinstein is taking on TV with plans to transplant Sin City and The Mist to the small screen. Apparently the directors of both the original movies, Robert Rodriguez and Frank Darabont respectively, are both believed to be involved in the development process. We don’t know a lot right now but we do know that The Mist will be a 10-part miniseries and the Sin City project will quickly follow the 2014 cinema release of Sin City: A Dame To Die For.

★ Sacha Baron Cohen is to make spy comedy Grimsby for Paramount Pictures with Now You See Me helmer Louis Leterrier directing. Described as a parody of the Bond franchise, it’s about a British black ops agent who is forced to go on the run with his long-lost brother, who is a northern English soccer hooligan. The film was originally announced in the summer or 2012 but it’s only now that a director’s been attached to the project that has been written by Baron Cohen and Phil Johnston.

★ Jean-Claude Van Damme wants in on Terminator 5. Responding to an online petition from fans to try to get movie bosses to sign him up, JCVD wrote on his Facebook page: "I would definitely love to join The Terminator franchise with Mr Arnold Schwarzenegger, if I am offered the role. I would love to! Let's see if the studio is interested. Thank you." Alan Taylor, the guy who gave us Thor: The Dark World, is on board to direct but there’s no word on casting yet. But now we know Jean-Claude’s available ... which is nice.

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News Jab: Thanksgiving Weekend US Box Office Report

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Mon, 02/12/2013 - 09:00

Hunger Games: Catching Fire still blazing while Frozen thaws family business

By Rich Matthews

It was a blockbuster weekend all round at the US box office, with Liongate's The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Disney Animation's Frozen both setting new records at the Thanksgiving five-day box office. Both movies beat all previous Thanksgiving records, so now hold the number one (Catching Fire) and number two (Frozen) records for America's late-November holiday kick-off.

The previous record holder was Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone, which took $82.4m way back in 2001. Catching Fire took a huge $110.2m over the five days, with Frozen following up close behind with an equally massive $93m. Focusing just on the weekend itself, Friday through Sunday, The Hunger Games sequel still managed to post the fourth-biggest second weekend in history, taking $74.5m, with only The Avengers ($103.1m), Avatar ($75.6m) and The Dark Knight ($75.2m) ahead of it.

With an international gross standing at $276.5m, Catching Fire already has a massive global gross of $573m, so it's clearly to soar past the original and it's more of a question of just how much it can actually make – is $1bn possible? Frozen, meanwhile, posted the best opening ever for an animated Disney movie, eclipsing 2010's Tangled, which also opened at Thanksgiving to the tune $68.7m. But more importantly, it marked the biggest debut weekend ever over the holiday, easily surpassing previous title holder, Toy Story 2's $80.1m.

It would have been party time in Hollywood if it wasn't the tragic death of Fast & Furious actor Paul Walker in a car accident.

Other new openers during the turkey bonanza were the Jason Statham-starring, Sylvester Stallone-written Homefront, which took $7m to place fifth and Black Nativity starring Forest Whitaker and Angela Bassett at number eight with $3.9m. The big shock opening was Spike Lee's US remake of Korean chiller Oldboy, which could only muster $850,000 from 583 theatres to come a pitiful 17th.

The rest of the top 10 included Thor: The Dark World staying mighty at number three to take $11.1n for a US gross of $186.7m and a global grand total of $591.1m and The Best Man Holiday at number four with a $8.5m gross to take its tally up to $63.4m in the US. Vince Vaughn's Delivery Man actually held better than expected, so it may not be the predicted total disaster many suspected, only dropping 13 per cent to come sixth with $7m – it's US total is now $19.5m, which isn't so bad when you consider that it only cost $22m to make.

At number seven was WWII Geoffrey Rush drama The Book Thief, which expanded to 1,234 locations to gross $4.9m and a domestic total of $7.9m. The chart was rounded out by Stephen Frears' Judi Dench/Steve Coogan dramedy Philomena, which also expanded to 835 theatres to secure a jump in gross of nearly 3,000%, taking in $3.8m for a US gross of $4.8m and a worldwide tally of $19.2m, and aging Vegas Hangover comedy Last Vegas at number 10, which continued to outperform expectations with its $2.8m, domestic total of $58.7m and worldwide cume of $72.8m.

Nothing really huge now until December 13 when The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug will threaten Katniss and the Snow Queen.

IN OTHER NEWS

Fast & Furious 7 going ahead despite death of star Paul Walker | The Guardian

Spike Lee on Oldboy, America's violent history and mouthing off | The Guardian

An astronaut's view on Gravity | The Guardian

Bruce Dern is one of cinema's most underrated actors | The Guardian

AFI Conservatory dean steps down | Screen Daily

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Screenjabber Podcast: Losing Mr Cooper

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Sat, 30/11/2013 - 16:47

Join Neil Davey, Simon Thompson, Doug Cooper (briefly!) and host Stuart O'Connor for some movie news and gossip and a look at a few of this week's UK new releases: Saving Mr Banks, Carrie and Free Birds.

You can listen to and download the podcast here – or subscribe to it on iTunes ... plus you can follow us on Twitter and join us on Facebook.

PubQuest: We're looking to take the Screenjabber Pubcast on the road, and want your input. Know a great pub in London we should visit to record the show? Drop us a line and let us know.

WriterQuest: We're seeking some more writers, particularly those who want to cover video games for us. Please get in touch if you're keen.

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Watch some comedy DVD clips

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Fri, 29/11/2013 - 19:51

Last week saw the release of a host of new stand-up comedy DVD titles, all perfectly timed to get on your Christmas shopping list. We’ve got some great clips from a selection of these new releases to whet your appetite – three from pretty decent British comics, and one from an Australian genius (and the nicest comedian in the world) ...

Adam Hills: Happyism Live
Fresh from his triumph as host of Channel 4’s critically acclaimed entertainment show The Last Leg, Australian funnyman Adam Hills releases his first UK-filmed DVD, Happyism Live. This all-new offering from everyone’s favorite Aussie comedian sees him take to the famous Hammersmith Apollo stage for a first-class evening of comedy with the usual anecdotes and audience participation, all delivered in his refreshingly unique, laid-back style.

 

Seann Walsh: Seann To Be Wild
Seann To Be Wild is the highly-anticipated debut live DVD from one of the most dynamic and charismatic young comedians to emerge in years. Recorded at London’s Hammersmith Apollo, this DVD release will see one of the brightest talents on the UK comedy circuit dominate the stage with his charming and hilarious observational stories and unique physicality.

 

Jack Dee: So What? Live
The UK’s favourite grumpy comedian is back. Jack Dee makes a long overdue and very welcome return to stand-up comedy, as he releases hisnew live comedy DVD, So What? Live – his first release in eight years. This rare release from Jack is the only place fans can experience his latest new material and experience firsthand the original Glum Meister at his most miserable best.

 

Roy Chubby Brown: Who Ate All The Pies?
The nation’s most outrageous comedian returns to the stage with his epic 30th DVD release. Featuring Chubby’s characteristic blue humour and some surprising treats for die hard fans, it’s a must-own on DVD.

 

Ross Noble: Daleks
Surreal funnyman Ross Noble voices his thoughts on reversing trucks and their similarities to some nasty intergalactic despots.

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Showbiz Simon Says ...

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Thu, 28/11/2013 - 20:50

By Simon Thompson

★ Voorhees a jolly good fellow... Paramount has confirmed it’s rebooting the Friday The 13th franchise. It’ll hit cinemas in the US on March 13, 2015 – a Friday, naturally. There’s no word yet on an official title or who will direct and star in it, but apparently it’ll go along the “found footage” route. Warner Bros relinquished the rights to the franchise and gave them back to Paramount earlier this year. Paramount has five years to get a new entry into cinemas before the rights reverted back to Warner.

★ Tickets for the Monty Python stage show at London's O2 Arena are already changing hands for as much as £4,000. The first show, on July 1, sold out within 43.5 seconds but they quickly added four more – those shows then sold out within 55 minutes shifting a total of 14,500 tickets each. It will be the first time John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Michael Palin and Terry Jones have performed together since 2009 at their 40th anniversary celebrations in New York.

★ The Doctor Who 50th anniversary celebration, The Day of the Doctor, was a box-office hit in the US. It screened in 3D in more than 660 cinemas, setting a new record of $4.77 million for a one-night release – it was  joint venture between BBC America and NCM Fathom Events. Overall at the weekend it made it to number two in the box office chart, being beaten to the top spot by The Hunger Games: Catching Fire – which took $12.3 million. The Day Of The Doctor also racked up impressive pre-sales of 175,000+ tickets. In the UK it settled nicely into third place behind The Hunger Games sequel and Gravity.

Family Guy fans have launched an online petition to bring back Brian the dog after he was hit by a car and killed the the latest episode. Fan Aaron Thompson launched the campaign and within two days more than 27,000 fans had already signed it – 309,000 have joined the “R.I.P Brian Griffin from Family Guy” page on Facebook. The petition claims Brian is “an important part of our viewing experience” and that "Family Guy and Fox Broadcasting will lose viewers if Brian Griffin is not brought back".

Mark Tonderai has been hired to direct a modern-day remake of George Romero's Day of the Dead. The new version will be set years after the zombie plague has wiped out most of Earth's population, a group of scientists and survivors attempt to find a cure, and instead cause chaos. Millennium Films brought the House At the End Of The Street director in this week and casting is due to get under way very soon, with filming due to kick off next summer. Millenium has already had one go at remaking the 1985 film back in 2008 with Steve Miner at the helm and starring Mena Suvari and Nick Cannon.

★ MGM is planning to remake Road House. Rob Cohen, perhaps best known for action fests The Fast and the Furious and xXx, will direct. Patrick Swayze starred in the 1989 original about a tough bouncer with a mysterious past who is hired to tame a dirty bar in Missouri. At the time it only took $430 million at the US box office however it became one of Swayze's most popular films alongside Ghost, Point Break and Dirty Dancing. No word yet on who will take the lead, but fans on Twitter have already suggested Jason Statham, Channing Tatum, Sam Claflin or Tom Hardy – all great options in our book.

★ Bad news for Alec Baldwin's late-night talk show – it’s been cancelled. This comes a few weeks after claims he allegedly used an anti-gay slur against a journalist. He was reportedly suspended for two weeks, but now the show has simply been killed off. MSNBC, which aired the show in the US, confirmed in a statement that: “We are jointly confirming that Up Late will not continue on MSNBC. This is a mutual parting and we wish Alec all the best."

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Taking Out the (Trailer) Trash

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Tue, 26/11/2013 - 22:04

By Norman Quarrinton

Trailers can sometimes spoil a film, but most of the time they fill you with a sense of anticipation, excitement and awe. So here is this week's roundup of what is coming soon to a cinema near you ...

Cuban Fury

Nick Frost is back, but Simon Pegg is nowhere to be seen. This time he's teaming up Chris O'Dowd, who appears to be playing world's biggest douchebag. Frost plays Bruce, a lonely office worker who rediscovers his passion for dancing in order to impress his sexy new American boss, played by Rashida Jones. A film about dancing staring Nick Frost? It's a stroke of genius. Frost is brilliant when he's doing the slacker stuff, but he's also great at utilizing his physique for comedic purposes, like a modern day Oliver Hardy. The trailer for this Brit-rom-com definitely provoked a few sniggers and with a supporting cast that includes Ian McShane, Kayvan Novak and Olivia Coleman , things look promising.
UK Release: February 14, 2014
US Release: not announced

Noah

A movie about a boat big enough to carry two of every animal on the planet?  That's a preposterous idea, where did they get it from. Russell Crowe is back in "Non-specific accent" territory for Darren Aronofsky's big budget adaptation of the Noah's Ark story (the one from the Bible). I waited my whole life for a film about Noah, and then Evan Almighty came out, and I was content, even though it's not really about Noah and it's awful. I'm not sure what to make of this one to be honest. Ray Winstone's the bad guy in it which is cool but I don't remember there being a bad guy in the bible version. Emma Watson and Jennifer Connelly also star, as do a few animals.
UK & US Release: March 28

Maleficent

Prequels and remakes are always brilliant. Always. This movie is a prequel and a remake. It's the best of both worlds. Angelina Jolie plays Maleficent, the villain from the Disney classic Sleeping Beauty, in Oscar winning production designer Robert Stromberg's directorial debut.  This trailer doesn't give too much away, but it does have CGI fairies, CGI birds and GIANT CGI THORNBUSHES! 
UK & US Release: May 30

Muppets Most Wanted

Woah! It's like a Pink Panther Bond film with Muppets. I'm sold. Kermit and his crew are back again, but this time they're going global. 2011's The Muppets was well received by critics and movie goers alike, it also made a tonne of money, so a sequel was pretty much a no brainer. There's no Jason Segel or Amy Adams this time around, but Tina Fey and Ricky Gervais look like worthy replacements. Expect Cameos, lots of them. James Bobin returns to direct and Oscar winning Conchord Bret McKenzie is back as musical supervisor.
UK Release: March 28
US Release: March 21

Divergent

Based on a book. Dystopian future. Female lead. Not Hunger Games.
UK Release: April 4
US Release: March 21

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US Box Office Report

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Mon, 25/11/2013 - 07:50

Hunger Games 2 is Catching Fire while Vince Vaughn fails to deliver

By Rich Matthews

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire set new November box office records this weekend by sprinting to a $161.1m opening gross, beating previous record holder The Twilight Saga: New Moon's $142.8m. It gave Lionsgate's sequel the fourth biggest opening weekend of all time, behind The Avengers with $207.4m, Iron Man 3's $174.1m and Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2's $169.2m.

And thanks to an international opening of $146.6m, Catching Fire has already grossed $307.7m, putting it on course to easily best the first Hunger Games total of $691.2m, with the international numbers doing double the business of the first film. If Catching Fire matches Hunger Games' US domestic total of $408m and continues to outperform it globally, the final tally could be in sights of the magic $1bn club.

With Liam Hemsworth co-starring alongside Jennifer Lawrence in the number one film, his big brother Chris held strong at number two with Thor: The Dark World grossing $14.1m, to take the Marvel/Disney sequel to a domestic total of $167.8m, closing in on the first Thor's $181m final gross. Internationally the God of Thunder is nearing the $400m threshold and has a a worldwide gross of $548.8m, topping the original by just shy of $100m.

Meanwhile, Universal's The Best Man Holiday took $12.5m at number three, climbing to a domestic tally of $50.4m. Then at number four came a big disappointment for Vince Vaughn and Disney, with Delivery Man delivering the worst opening of Vaughn's career with $8.2m. This comes hot on heels of other failures The Internship and The Watch for Vaughn.

From five on to nine looks the same as it has for the past few weeks, with turkey cartoon Free Birds at five ($5.3m, US total $48.6m), De Niro/Douglas and co old geezers reunion wheezer Last Vegas at six ($4.4m, US total $53.9m, global $62.6m), Johnny Knoxville punking in old-age make-up in Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa at seven ($3.5m, US total $95.5m, global $128.5m), Alfonso Cuaron's space blockbuster Gravity at eight ($3.3m, US total $245.5m, global $577m) and Steve McQueen's hard-hitting slavery drama 12 Years A Slave at nine ($2.8m, US total $29.4m). Finishing out the chart, acclaimed Matthew McConaughey/Jared Leto AIDS drama Dallas Buyers Club expanded to take in $2.8m and build it's total to $6.5m.

While Catching Fire is expected to dominate it does face a challenge next weekend from Disney's latest animated effort, Frozen, but then it's a straight cruise to December 13 when The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug hopes to generate enough special dragon heat to scare off the Christmas hopefuls such as Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, Walking With Dinosaurs 3D and Saving Mr Banks.

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Screenjabber Podcast: The guys get Windy about Who?

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Sat, 23/11/2013 - 18:39

Join Mark Searby, Doug Cooper and Stuart O'Connor for this week's Screenjabber Podcast, in which the guys review The Family, Parkland and the remastered rerelease of the classic Gone With The Wind. Plus a bit of a chat about the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who.

You can listen to and download the podcast here – or subscribe to it on iTunes ... plus you can follow us on Twitter and join us on Facebook.

PubQuest: We're looking to take the Screenjabber Pubcast on the road, and want your input. Know a great pub in London we should visit to record the show? Drop us a line and let us know.

WriterQuest: We're seeking some more writers, particularly those who want to cover video games for us. Please get in touch if you're keen.

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