20th Century Fox

Before the Dawn

Tomorrow afternoon, 20th Century Fox will take the stage in Hall H of Comic-Con with several movies to show off. One is a movie that comes out next week and is already getting mixed reviews – The Wolverine. The other is a sequel to a critically praised rebirth of one of the most beloved sci-fi franchises of all-time. Yes, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes appears to be the centerpiece of Fox’s presentation even if they do bring X-Men related surprises. This first banner is an artful tease of what Con attendees should expect in return for waiting in line for hours on-end. Stay hydrated, friends, as the Matt Reeves-directed sequel could be one of the more talked-about presentations of the entire weekend.

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Robopocalypse No More

The idea of the world’s biggest director tackling a film that would feature man vs robot action on a large scale was an exciting one to be sure, but some things just aren’t meant to be apparently. Get ready to taste some conspicuously salty robot tears. Steven Spielberg knows his way around a science fiction film, and no one would argue that he lacks action chops too, but according to the man himself (in a recent 60 Minutes interview) action films no longer appeal to him. That lack of interest may be at least part of the reason why Spielberg has announced that he’s stepping away from what was expected to be his next directorial effort… an adaptation of Daniel H. Wilson‘s bestselling novel, “Robopocalypse.”

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Chuck Norris is the reason Waldo is hiding. Chuck Norris does not sleep. He waits. There is no theory of evolution. Just a list of creatures Chuck Norris has allowed to live. Chuck Norris is also coming to Blu-ray in a big way thanks to Twentieth Century Fox and MGM. His starring roles have been inexplicably unavailable in high definition until now (unless you count Forest Warrior, which no one should), but this summer sees the debut of five of his classic action titles. Delta Force and Missing In Action 1 & 2 all hit Blu-ray last month, and two more arrive on July 17th. Code of Silence and Lone Wolf McQuade are two of his best from the mid-eighties, and they can be yours if you play your cards right. The former is a fantastic Chicago-set action film with Chuck as a detective forced to fight corruption with nothing but his fists, his attitude and his bitching robot, Prowler. The latter sees him trying on his Texas Ranger shoes as he goes toe to toe with TV’s original Asian, David Carradine. Keep reading to see how you can win these two Chuck Norris classics on Blu-ray.

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Farrelly Brothers

There’s some good news and some bad news when it comes to Dan Ewen’s spec script Dear Satan. The first bit of good news is that it’s an original idea that sounds funny. The second bit is that its originality has been rightly rewarded by one of the big studios, as 20th Century Fox just bought it with intentions of putting it into development. Variety broke the story, and says that the script was inspired by a child the screenwriter was babysitting making a crucial misspelling when addressing her yearly letter to Santa Claus. Ewen says of the experience, “There was this cute little card, covered in candy canes and glitter. I fell in love with the idea of this note mistakenly being delivered to the Prince of Darkness and the fiery wackiness that would ensue.” In his script said wackiness actually does ensue, as Satan receives the letter by mistake and ends up bringing the little girl a toy.

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Dark Shadows and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter don’t fit the bill of your average summer blockbuster. An adaptation of a slightly obscure soap opera about a vampire? We don’t see those often enough in the summer season. A hard-R actioner featuring one of our greatest presidents shredding vampires to bits? That’s another unheard of type summer tentpole. Although Tim Burton and Johnny Depp’s names alone can create money out of thin air, Dark Shadows is not the sort of film we often see as a May release, and the same goes for June’s Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. The man partly responsible for these two going-against-the-norm pictures is author/screenwriter Seth Grahame-Smith. Grahame-Smith had to tackle some difficult tasks when it came to making these two projects – like making an accessible Dark Shadows film and adapting his own epic and tonally tricky novel, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Here’s what Seth Grahame-Smith had to say about writing for the screen, the soap-operatic tone of Dark Shadows, and the straight-faced badassery of Abraham Lincoln slaying vampires:

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Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter doesn’t exactly pop out as your typical summer blockbuster. To broadly compare it to this season’s offerings: it’s not based on a comic book, isn’t adapted from a toy line, and isn’t a reboot or sequel. All in all, pretty distinct, and I didn’t even mention that the film features one of our greatest Presidents kicking vampire ass. To further add onto that pile, Timur Bekmambetov‘s adaption of Seth Grahame-Smith‘s book is a hard-R summer movie. If you’ve read Smith’s book, then you know it has its fare share of violence. If you haven’t read the book, here’s a good example: it features a vampire slaughtering a baby. Today I spoke with author/screenwriter Grahame-Smith as a part of our summer preview, wherein we briefly discussed how far the film pushes the book’s violence and what type of R-rated material to expect.

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Giving movies limited theatrical runs alongside a day-and-date Video On Demand release is becoming more and more popular in our current landscape of digital media. We’ve never seen a big movie that has high hopes of pulling in huge box office dollars take the risk, but it seems like a strategy that’s been working out well for smaller budget arthouse and genre films. The latest movie to make such a deal is probably the one with the most star power to ever take the VOD plunge. Deadline Peekskill is reporting that Mel Gibson’s upcoming Get the Gringo (formerly known as How I Spent My Summer Vacation), a Mexico-set action film that he both stars in and financed through his Icon Productions, has signed a deal with 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment and DirecTV for its release and promotion. This deal is unique in that the movie will be available exclusively on DirecTV for a period, with wider VOD options coming later in the year. The film is set to hit DirecTV customers on May 1, the same day that it will be screening in at least 10 markets alongside a Gibson Q&A taking place in an Austin theater.

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If the fictional character of Walter Mitty were to regale us with his exploits in Hollywood, he might tell us about the time he both starred in and directed a big feature film. Seeing as Walter Mitty is a liar, it would have been a bunch of bullpucky, but for multi-talented Renaissance man Ben Stiller, it’s a reality baby. Stiller is no stranger to the director’s chair. We’ve seen him step behind the camera before for films like the highly underrated The Cable Guy, and the much lauded Tropic Thunder, And now it looks like his next directorial gig will be for a film that we’ve already heard he was looking to star in, Fox’s long in development “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” adaptation.

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Culture Warrior

Last week, as I watched Quentin Dupieux’s Rubber, I noticed that the trailers on the rental Blu-Ray were all of titles sharing space at the top of my queue: titles like Takashi Miike’s 13 Assassins, Kim Ji-woon’s I Saw the Devil, and Jason Eisener’s Hobo with a Shotgun. All, I quickly realized, had been released by the same studio, Magnet Releasing, whose label I recalled first noticing in front of Nicolas Winding Refn’s Bronson. After some quick Internet searching, I quickly realized what I should have known initially, that Magnet was a subsidiary of indie distributor Magnolia Pictures. The practices of “indie” subsidiaries of studios has become commonplace. That majors like Universal and 20th Century Fox carry specialty labels Focus Features and Fox Searchlight which market to discerning audiences irrespective of whether or not the individual titles released are independently financed or studio-produced has become a defining practice for limited release titles and has, perhaps more than any other factor, obscured the meaning of the term “independent film” (Sony Pictures Classics, which only distributes existing films, is perhaps the only subsidiary arm of a major studio whose releases are actually independent of the system itself). This fact is simply one that has been accepted for quite some time in the narrative of small-scale American (or imported) filmmaking. Especially in the case of Fox Searchlight, whose opening banner distinguishes itself from the major in variation on name only, subsidiaries of the majors can hardly even be argued as “tricking” audiences into […]

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bp-studios1

This week, studios have Robert Fure all riled up – but probably not in the way you think.

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fantastic-four

Today’s crazy rumor: Fox is looking to reboot the Fantastic Four franchise, again again. This time they are looking to make it more like Iron Man. As in, it will actually be a good movie that makes a lot of money.

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fox-devil

As if Watchmen isn’t getting enough press lately, the Web was flooded with reports this morning that the movie’s screenwriter, David Hayter, made some waves during the Watchmen press day in L.A. yesterday.

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sadwatchmen_1

Fox’s legal battle with Warner Bros. over Watchmen is starting to have the feel of a Red Sox vs. Yankees slugfest, but David Poland feels that all is fair in love and contract infringements.

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Watchmen Header

Despite the fact that Fox announced this week that intends to delay the release of Watchmen, Warner Bros. continues to release new video. It’s enough to make any fanboy cry…

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Watchmen Comedian Movie Poster

Santa left an early present in Warner Bros. stocking on Wednesday… a lump of coal in the form of an early ruling in 20th Century Fox’s Watchmen copyright lawsuit against them.

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Baz and Gatsby Roll Forward

F. Scott Fitzgerald will hit the big screen again soon, and we’re hoping there are no musical medlies.

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Hugh Jackman in X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Producer Lauren Shuler Donner teases the world with a little bit of Wolverine talk — she is also hopeful that a Deadpool spin-off will be possible.

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Daredevil

They just can’t leave well enough alone, can they? According to a report form Robert over at IESB yesterday, 20th Century Fox co-chairman Tom Rothman is still eyeing a reboot of the Daredevil franchise.

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The last time we saw Daredevil on screen, he was being played by Ben Affleck in Mark Steven Johnson’s 2003 adaptation. But now it appears that he might get another go. So the question is, what do you think about this?

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Mark Wahlberg in Max Payne

Max Payne has been hit with an ‘R’ rating by the Motion Picture Association of America, and director John Moore is more than a little irked.

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