Lordy! This Watchmen mess between Fox and Warner Brothers just goes on and on, doesn't it? Back in September, it looked like everyone had been placated when Fox said they didn't want to tank the project and got Adam West's Batman in return. But no, the mess continued and Judge Gary Feess decided Fox does, indeed, have the right to distribute Warner Brothers' Watchmen. Now the latest scuffle has the producers and Feess trading letters and barbs on the Internet and beyond. I can't help but think this would be so much quicker (not to mention more amusing to watch) if everyone just got into the ring and took turns slapping the crap out of each other. Last person standing wins!
Seth Green has built up a long résumé as actor, writer and producer in a relatively short time, and he's about to add first-time movie director to the list. He tells Moviehole that he plans to direct The Freshmen, an adaptation of a comic book he and Hugh Sterbakov created for Top Cow Productions. (Hey, that's my old alma mater, too!) The story, as Green describes it, is a cross between Revenge of the Nerds and X-Men, and revolves around a group of misfit kids just starting off in college only to find themselves beset by mostly minor super powers. One guy compulsively hoards nuts, another has intoxicating belches, and another guy's lengthy endowments suddenly give "freshman fifteen" a whole new meaning.
A scene in Iron Man teased the possibility of Tony Stark's right-hand man Jim Rhodes some day donning a suit of armor of his own to become War Machine. The role was played by Terrence Howard, who, thanks to Marvel Studios' success, looked to have a long franchise ahead of him, as well as possibly a spin-off movie of his own. That's all changed, according to The Hollywood Reporter, which is reporting that Howard is out of the sequel. Don't worry, though -- Jim "Rhodey" Rhodes will still be there. It's just that he'll be played by Don Cheadle, instead.
Although in many parts of the country it's still sweatier than a sumo wrestler in a sauna, the U.S. summer box office will be wrapping up the season as we head into Labor Day weekend. How did things go over the last few months? Better than expected, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Going into this weekend, "Nielsen EDI data showed domestic tallies of $3.96 billion that are sure to rise to beyond $4 billion by the Monday holiday." The box office was surprisingly strong "thanks to unsurprisingly robust sequels and a shockingly lucrative performance by the latest installment in a 19-year-old superhero franchise." The latter refers, of course, to The Dark Knight, although I have to wonder why its success is considered so shocking. Was anyone expecting, say, Meet Dave to siphon off some of the Bat's profits?
From the perspective of someone who works in an industry where most of the professionals couldn't tell you where their next job is coming from, most people in Hollywood are probably sitting around the dinner table tonight discussing how Robert Downey Jr. is like, totally set for life. The Iron Man actor has signed on to play Tony Stark in three more films. With Iron Man being, well, let's face it, the second-biggest movie of the summer, Marvel Studios nevertheless has about five hundred and seventy eight million ($!) reasons to get him back for a sequel. And while reports aren't out yet as to just how much of that juicy box-office gross they used to lure RDJ back, they got him, and not just for one sequel, but two. Oh, and also what could technically be called a spinoff.
I come bearing some comic book movie news for Moviefile readers. Back in August, I wrote about the slightly disturbing possibility of a fun-n-bouncy X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Back then, the whispers on the wind were saying that Fox CEO Tim Rothman went so far as to have one of the dark, moody sets repainted to be something altogether brighter. If these rumors were giving you unwanted visions of a cheery Logan, an interview at Coming Soon with producer Lauren Shuler Donner reveals that the movie is actually "darker and sadder and it's kick-ass."
Call it "How the Grinch Stole Watchmen." After initially deciding that it would be impossible for him to make a ruling, Judge Gary Allen Feess (not a typo) has changed his mind and decided -- on Christmas Eve -- that Fox does have the right to distribute Warner Bros'. Watchmen movie. What the...? I'm willing to bet someone on the Warner Bros. legal team made fun of his name. Well, now Warner Bros. is going to have to pay out the nose to get it released, or actually give Fox the distribution rights, assuming Fox even wants either of those things.
Lee Falk's comic strip about a seemingly immortal jungle hero and foe of pirates got an entertaining serial in the 1940s. In 1996, Billy Zane put on a purple body suit for his turn as Kit "The Phantom" Walker. (Did that movie really only come out in 1996? Doesn't it seem like it came out in like 1988 or something?) Now the story is getting a reboot from scriptwriter Tim Boyle, whose credits up till now include movies you've likely never seen. Do The Plex and Fink! ring a bell for you? No? Yeah, same here. An Australian production company has secured the rights for Falk's tale, and expects the budget to be $87 million. Ironically, they will have to become pirates to get the money.
When you think of the upcoming Thor movie from Marvel, the first director that comes to mind is probably not someone best known for his Shakespeare adaptations, right? But that's exactly who might end up with the job, since Kenneth Branagh is in talks to direct the movie. Not that Shakespeare can't be a big-old action film (after all, Branagh's own Henry V was plenty action-packed and bloody) and big-old action films can't be Shakespearean. But it's not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of part of the Avengers, of which Iron Man is a part. And Iron Man is awesome and everything, but definitely not Shakespearean. He's too futuristic, and he's a superhero in a suit and all of that. Not exactly Shakespeare's specialty.
As if to say "you must not know 'bout me and my love of superheroes," Beyoncé Knowles has declared that she would like to play Wonder Woman should a film version ever get off the ground, according to an interview with the L.A. Times. She's so serious about it, in fact, that she's already met with people at Warner Bros. and DC Comics to discuss the possibility. Now, I haven't seen many of Beyoncé's movies -- I intentionally missed Dreamgirls and Pink Panther -- but I have seen her in Austin Powers: Goldmember, and if that was all she'd been in, I would have to say that I don't think she's ready for the JLA. (The JLA, of course, being the Justice League of America, of which Wonder Woman is a charter memb-- oh, never mind.) But considering she's about to play a threatened wife in Obsessed and Etta James in Cadillac Records, she must be doing something right, right?