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The Hush-Hush News Report: 06.27.12: The Avatar Business

June 27, 2012 | Posted by Jeremy Wilson



Before you start reading, have you bookmarked yet? It’s the easiest thing in the world to do, and it’ll get you your daily dose of entertainment news that much quicker! Typing the URL out in the address bar is such a pain, don’tcha think? Hell, make it your home page and it’ll be that much easier for you!

Also, do you Twitter? If not, you should! And while you’re at it, add these to your list of people that you follow so that you can get the latest updates! Come on Peeps, I and 411 need Twitter followers to validate our existence. Or something like that.

Allow me to plug some of our 411 film reviews here including reviews of:
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
Rock of Ages [Jeremy Wilson]
Rock of Ages [Tony Farinella]
Comic-Con IV: A Fan’s Hope
Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted
Comic-Con IV: A Fan’s Hope
Snow White and The Huntsman
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Men in Black III
The Dictator
Dark Shadows
The Avengers

We’d still write them if no one was reading, but to be honest it’s better and more worthwhile when people do. Something about a tree falling in a forest. Anyway, on with the news….


Not 2, Not 3, Not 4…
When James Cameron said he was now “in the Avatar business, period” he apparently wasn’t kidding around.

Sigourney Weaver has told Showbiz 411 that the plan is for the second, third and fourth editions of the series to film all at or around the same time. As Roger Friedman writes:

“… she goes right into a new Christopher Durang play for a short run at Lincoln Center. Then she films Avatar(s) 2, 3, and 4 with James Cameron. That’s right: they’re making three sequels to the blue 3D phenom all at the same time. Weaver says she has no idea how long it will take, or how it’s going to work. “I just show up,” she said.

Originally, Avatar 2 and Avatar 3 were given very tentative release dates of December 2014 and 2015 respectively. However, I would be absolutely shocked if we saw Avatar 2 anytime before very late in 2015 and that is going on the assumption that production and shooting would start before the end of this year (and that’s a big assumption). We also have no idea how long a production cycle/shoot involving three Avatar sequels would be and we’re really too early in the process to even come up with reasonable estimates.

It obviously makes sense to shoot these kind of sequels back-to-back; there are essentially no sets, location shoots or costumes needed other than the mo-cap suits the cast has to wear. Post-production will obviously take awhile and shooting them all at the same time will give everyone a clear, “normal” schedule in terms of releases. I would fully expect – if shooting started this year – to see these three films come out back-to-back-to-back form 2015-2017, although Fox may want to hold off on the fourth film for another year to avoid any potential Avatar fatigue. Obviously, things can change and Cameron does have other interests, but you know he’s probably itching to get back in the saddle and prove that he can take one of the industry’s biggest potential franchises and make it somehow bigger. With three films to come, one gets the feeling we’ve only just scratched the surface of what Cameron intends for this behemoth franchise.

The Avengers Passes $600 Million
Marvel’s The Avengers has become only the third film ever to reach the $600 million mark at the American box office, joining Avatar ($760.5 million) and Titanic ($658.6 million) as the only films to achieve that historic mark. In addition, The Avengers will actually pass the original run of Titanic which stood at $600.8 million before it subsequent 3D re-release brought that film’s total higher.

The film’s final tally is expected to end up around the $630-640 million mark. In addition, the film has raked in $837.9 million thus far in foreign markets. That is an obviously impressive number but not quite as large a total as Avatar or Titanic which took in $2 billion and $1.5 billion respectively in foreign markets alone. The Marvel epic is also currently fourth in all-time international grosses, behind the two Cameron films and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 which scored $947 million in international markets.

With the added domestic total back in though its current worldwide haul stands at a whopping $1.4 billion. The film also holds 28 records, including:

Biggest Opening Weekend: $207.4 million
Biggest Second Weekend: $103 million
Fastest to $100 Million: 2 days
Fastest to $150 Million: 2 days
Fastest to $200 Million: 3 days
Fastest to $250 Million: 6 days
Fastest to $300 Million: 9 days
Fastest to $350 Million: 10 days
Fastest to $400 Million: 14 days
Fastest to $450 Million: 17 days
Fastest to $500 Million: 23 days
Highest Saturday Gross: $69.5 million
Highest Sunday Gross: $57 million

For comparison, here are the 10 highest grossing films domestically:

1. Avatar – $760.5 million
2. Titanic – $658.6 million
3. The Avengers – $599.3 million
4. The Dark Knight – $533.3 million
5. Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace – $474.5 million
6. Star Wars – $460.9 million
7. Shrek 2 – $441.2 million
8. E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial – $435.1 million
9. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest – $423.3 million
10. The Lion King – $422.7 million

First Image of Angelina Jolie in Maleficent Movie
Last week Disney officially announced that production on Maleficent had gotten underway in England. The studio then smartly provided the Internet with the first official image of star Angelina Jolie in the title role a mere 24 hours before leaked set photos hit. Now we have even more photos available from the set, some showing Jolie in stunt/flying mode.











On playing the character, Jolie told EW:

“I hope in the end you see a woman who is capable of being many things, and just because she protects herself and is aggressive, it doesn’t mean she can’t have other [warmer] qualities. You have to figure out the puzzle of what she is.

“It sounds really crazy to say that there will be something that’s good for young girls in this, because it sounds like you’re saying they should be a villain. [Maleficent] is actually a great person. But she’s not perfect. She’s far from perfect.”

Co-starring with Jolie in the film are Sharlto Copley (District 9), Elle Fanning (Super 8), Sam Riley (On the Road), Imelda Staunton (Vera Drake), Miranda Richardson (The Hours), Juno Temple (Atonement) and Lesley Manville (Secrets & Lies).

Maleficent is being touted as “the untold story” of the villainous Maleficent, the frightening foe from the 1959’s Sleeping Beauty. The film will show the events that hardened her heart and drove her to curse baby Aurora (aka “Sleeping Beauty”).

The film is the directorial debut of two-time Oscar®-winning production designer Robert Stromberg (Avatar, Alice in Wonderland), with a script by Linda Woolverton (The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast). Joe Roth is producing, while Angelina Jolie, Don Hahn, Matt Smith and Palak Patel will serve as executive producers.

Other behind-the-scenes talent includes Academy Award®–winning cinematographer Dean Semler (Dances with Wolves, In the Land of Blood and Honey), production designer Gary Freeman (Saving Private Ryan, The Bourne Supremacy), two-time Oscar® nominated costume designer Anna B. Sheppard (Schindler’s List,The Pianist) and seven-time Academy Award–winning makeup artist Rick Baker (Planet of the Apes, Men in Black).

Maleficent is scheduled for a March 14, 2014 release and evidently will be in 3D. Photos courtesy spoilertv, E! Online, Daily Mail and Rumor Fix (via CBM).

The Amazing Spider-Man
That above is the new IMAX poster for the midnight screenings of The Amazing Spider-Man. With only a week-plus to go before the film arrives in theaters, the deluge of Amazing Spider-Man previews, trailers, clips, posters and featurettes has reached critical mass. I’ve collected below just a few of the newer ones including the IMAX poster above, a 25-minute “Super Preview,” and three featurettes about Spidey skateboarding, his suit and Connor’s lab at Oscorp.

**Please recognize there are major SPOILERS in the 25-minute “super preview below.”**


The official synopsis for The Amazing Spider-Man is as follows:

One of the world’s most popular characters is back on the big screen as a new chapter in the Spider-Man legacy is revealed in “The Amazing Spider-Man.” Focusing on an untold story that tells a different side of the Peter Parker story, the new film stars Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Denis Leary, Campbell Scott, Irrfan Khan, with Martin Sheen and Sally Field. The film is directed by Marc Webb from a screenplay written by James Vanderbilt, based on the Marvel Comic Book by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. Laura Ziskin, Avi Arad, and Matt Tolmach are producing the film in association with Marvel Entertainment for Columbia Pictures, which will open in theaters everywhere in 3D on July 3, 2012.

“The Amazing Spider-Man” is the story of Peter Parker (Garfield), an outcast high schooler who was abandoned by his parents as a boy, leaving him to be raised by his Uncle Ben (Sheen) and Aunt May (Field). Like most teenagers, Peter is trying to figure out who he is and how he got to be the person he is today. Peter is also finding his way with his first high school crush, Gwen Stacy (Stone), and together, they struggle with love, commitment, and secrets. As Peter discovers a mysterious briefcase that belonged to his father, he begins a quest to understand his parents’ disappearance – leading him directly to Oscorp and the lab of Dr. Curt Connors (Ifans), his father’s former partner. As Spider-Man is set on a collision course with Connors’ alter-ego, The Lizard, Peter will make life-altering choices to use his powers and shape his destiny to become a hero.

Will We See Damon and Renner Team Up In Bourne 5?
In an interview with Empire the folks behind the upcoming action film The Bourne Legacy had some interesting tidibits about this film, the new character and their hopes for the future of the franchise.

Writer-Director Tony Gilroy on how The Bourne Legacy fits into the framework of the previous films:

“You thought you were seeing something you weren’t. What if there’s a much larger story? What if Treadstone wasn’t the only black-ops programme?

“I had never spent one moment thinking about how to do a sequel to Bourne Ultimatum. I first came in for two weeks just to spitball. I had a very random idea…so we started with that and it got more and more exciting. All of a sudden I was staring at something that had a great deal of resonance and was soulful and uncynical and was also gonna kick ass. So that was good.”

Star Jeremy Renner explains how his character differs from Jason Bourne (Matt Damon):

“He’s coming from a completely different background to Jason [Bourne]. He knows exactly who he is; he signed up to this…He wants to be part of a team. I can tell you he was in the military then he joined the programme. He’s a person who wants to be part of something… to have a sense of purpose. But then it’s taken away.”

But perhaps the most interesting quote from the entire piece came from producer Frank Marshall, who told the magazine:

“You see there are several different programmes in the movie with different skill sets. All possibilities are open. My dream is that in the next one we see Matt and Jeremy team up.”

A lot of folks were upset when the series seemed to move on from Damon and the Bourne character. However, I think many were hoping – even before this quote – that there’d be a good chance Damon could come back on board for later films. What a way to move the franchise in a different direction, with not one but TWO kick-ass super-assassins. Obviously though, The Bourne Legacy would have to do at least somewhat decent business to get a Damon-Renner dream pairing green-lit for the fifth Bourne movie.

Nora Ephron Dead At 71
Earlier today, Nora Ephron passed away at the age of 71. Ephron had been reportedly battling cancer for some time. Her son Jacob Bernstein said the official cause of death was pneumonia brought on by acute myeloid leukemia.

Among many things, Ephron was, as The New York Times put it, “a journalist, a blogger, an essayist, a novelist, a playwright, an Oscar-nominated screenwriter and a movie director – a rarity in a film industry whose directorial ranks were and continue to be dominated by men.” Her most famous works were her directorial efforts which usually were romantic comedies. Ephron delivered some of the most famous and most quotable romantic comedies in Hollywood history, writing films such as Silkwood, My Blue Valentine and When Harry Met Sally… and writing and directing films such as Sleepless in Seattle, Michael, You’ve Got Mail and most recently, Julie & Julia. Ephron was Oscar-nominated three times for Best Original Screenplay for Silkwood, When Harry Met Sally… and Sleepless in Seattle.

For much of her career and at the time of her death, Ephron was considered one of the most powerful women in Hollywood, one of the few women who could get a movie made and sell it (at least partially) on her name. Ephron was once married to Watergate scandal reporter Carl Bernstein, but eventually divorced him (the basis for her novel and screenplay of Heartburn which starred Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep) and later remarried screenwriter Nicholas Pileggi.

For much of her career, Ms. Ephron wrote acerbically about relationships, the individual woman, the women’s movement itself, city living as well as the ups and downs of aging in essays, novels, plays and movies. While she had devoted fans and an extensive list of achievements, critics tended to view many of her films lightly. Whatever critics may have said, Ephron definitively established herself as Hollywood’s leading force of the modern romantic comedy. Many of her works are infused with the escapist, fast-paced style of 1930’s screwball comedies (You’ve Got Mail is ostensibly a remake of The Shop Around the Corner) but she was able to make them modern by tackling subjects like divorce and technology. Ms. Ephron had previously said that all romantic comedies were essentially just mash-ups of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew and Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, but Ephron’s works had a more populist, sentimental slant that undoubtedly appealed to the masses and gave her box office success.

Ephron’s survivors include Pileggi and her sons from her second marriage, Jacob and Max Bernstein.

Trailer Face-Off:
Huge slate of movies coming out this week as studios try to beat The Amazing Spider-Man by a week and get any kind of traction they can. R-rated fare such as the directorial debut of Seth MacFarlane, Ted, which stars Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis. Joining that film in theaters is Magic Mike the somewhat-sorta biographical stripper story starring Channing Tatum (who was a stripper before becoming an actor). That film also stars Matthew McConaughey, Alex Pettyfer, Olivia Munn, Wendi McLendon-Covey. Matthrew Bomer and Joe Manganiello. Tyler Perry returns as Madea in Madea’s Witness Protection and Chris Pine and Elizabeth Banks star in the light family drama People Like Us. On the indie front, Sundance and Cannes smash hit Beasts of the Southern Wild makes its highly anticipated debut in theaters as does the Michelle Williams-Seth Rogen drama Take This Waltz.

What are you planning on seeing this weekend






From The Great Capt. Smooth (Guest):
I love “The Dent Act”! It adds to the scope of the movie. You know some shit is about to go down.

Some of the recent viral stuff for TDKR has been pretty cool, with The Dent Act and those pages of The Gotham Observer being among them.

From APrince66 (Guest):
Another Snow White related project…
Once Upon a Time, Snow White and the Huntsmen, that one with Julia Roberts… wth lol
Angelina Jolie does make a mean looking Maleficent however

From scotty anton’s clap (Guest):
uh….Sleeping Beauty and Snow White are seperate stories right??

Yeah, honest mistake from our friend Aprince66. But that’s alright; his underlying issue is still sound. Hollywood is a copycat industry. Fantasy adaptations are the “it” thing of the moment and whie the past 6 months have been Snow White material, the next year or so will be about The Wizard of Oz projects, which at this point actually seem to outnumber Snow White projects.

From wylun (Guest):
man im actually excited for VHS.. i havent been hyped for a scary movie in a long time

V/H/S got very strong buzz a few months ago during festival season and a lot of horror fans are definitely looking forward to it. I’ll definitely check it out as well, even though I’m not the biggest horror fan in the world.

Trailer of the Week: Frankenweenie Trailer #2

Funny Video of the Week: “Sorkinisms – A Supercut”

That’s all for this week. As always, let me know what you think in the comments section. For now, this is Jeremy Wilson, off the record, on the QT…

…and definitely, “Hush Hush!”


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