New Line

Dan Trachtenberg

According to Deadline Hollywood, New Line has chosen internet sensation Dan Trachtenberg to direct the long-gestating adaptation of “Y: The Last Man.” It comes as a huge surprise because of how much sense it makes. There was a way for the production company to play it safe (especially considering D.J. Caruso was once attached), but they’ve picked an untested young talent with a fresh perspective and a comic book shelf full of geek credibility instead. In the interest of full disclosure, I know Trachtenberg personally, but his talent speaks for itself. He rose to prominence on the Totally Rad Show and then made a name as a director with the short film Portal: No Escape. He’s shown he can handle action, but he must have also proved to New Line that he has the chops for something on this scale.

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Lord of the Rings Slot

According to Variety, the estate of J.R.R. Tolkien is filing suit against Warners, New Line and the Saul Zaentz Company for what they claim is a breach of their original 1969 licensing agreement. The estate is seeking $80m. At issue here is the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit-flavored slot machines and online gambling games that the estate claims violate the limited use terms of their agreement (they probably couldn’t have anticipated internet gambling or video games in 1969, and the contract apparently doesn’t cover rights for media not yet devised at the time of signing). The good news here is that this scrape between partners shouldn’t at all affect their ability to make movies together. They have a symbiotic business relationship that creates vast amounts of money, so it’s easy to imagine that even if this creates some soreness, both have a vested interest in continuing to mine for gold together.

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Jim Carrey

Jim Carrey – presumably the only person on the planet excited about Dumb and Dumber 2 – just quit the movie. According to Entertainment Tonight, the actor was unhappy that New Line and Warners weren’t energetic about making it happen, despite a tentative Fall start date. The easy thing to do here is mock the project, but it’s far more important to note the level-headed actions at work here. There was no momentum to the movie, but unlike others in similar situations, the studios themselves couldn’t muster the kind of fabricated fire it takes to get a boulder uphill. The world wasn’t clamoring for a sequel, and the world has been served exactly what it asked for. Thanks to the studios and to Carrey for reading the situation correctly and moving away from something that could have been a big mistake. Of course, Warners can still muck everything up by moving forward with it despite Carrey’s leaving. Will Sasso’s basically the same caliber comedian right? Right?

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On Charlie Rose last night, Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes explained his desire to shorten the time between theatrical releases and home entertainment availability. His reason? It’s great for everyone ever. It makes sense that Time Warner (which owns New Line, Warner Bros., HBO, DC Comics, Castle Rock Entertainment, and other media ventures) would want to shorten the window. Bewkes evoked the dreaded P-word in his initial rationale for getting movies to television screens sooner, but he also recognized that there’s an audience beyond pirates that wants to have home-viewing options. “Everyone in the business, including theater owners, has an interest,” said Bewkes. But what exactly is in the theater owners’ best interest? And what will broadband bundled with shorter waiting periods mean for DVD and Blu-ray?

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The flames are hot here in development hell, and there’s way too much cocaine. Way, way too much. So why wouldn’t we come back? When we first examined 8 Promised Movies That Still Haven’t Been Made, it was an exploration of the complex world of filmmaking where the smallest issue can derail an entire project potentially worth millions. Nervous executives, scheduling conflicts, hangnails. Getting a movie made is a miracle, and even those that get hailed in the press as moving forward are sometimes abandoned. Considering our national grand obsession with hypotheticals, here are 8 more movies we were told would happen that haven’t (including some that won’t).

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Remember a time before 1995 when movies were loaded with rainbows and puppies? Strawberry ice cream poured out of every frame. Then Se7en came along. Then things got really interesting. David Fincher‘s second effort at feature filmmaking caught a storm, and it was one filled with melancholic grime and depressing endings. Also there was something about a box and what was in it. The state of thrillers changed forever, and, while many copycats tried to pick up the scraps Se7en left in its wake, none would recapture that initial sense of dread when John Doe screamed at Detective David Mills, the killers hands covered in blood. Paints a pretty picture, doesn’t it? Well, with this week’s Commentary Commentary, we’re hoping the track we’ve selected paints a couple of dozen more. David Fincher, Brad Pitt, and Morgan Freeman lend their voices and insight into this commentary track for Se7en. If for no other reason, this track should already be looked into for including Freeman, who has one of the greatest voices this side of a certain Sith. So, without any further ado, here are all 25 items we learned from listening to the Se7en commentary. Now to find out what’s in that box.

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Andrew Ferguson’s book “Crazy U: One Dad’s Crash Course In Getting His Kid Into College” details the painstaking, nerve-racking process of sending a kid off to college in this modern world of fierce competition and neurotic paranoia. There are how-to books, prep courses, meetings with counselors, financial aid applications, campus tours, application essays, and who knows how many other things that need to be taken care of. Ferguson’s book details the story of an obsessive dad who is going to every length to make sure his kid gets in the best school, and the bonding that occurs between father and son as they collectively lose their minds. Sounds like it could make for a funny movie, no? Well, New Line seems to think so, as they’ve optioned the book and are producing it alongside Gary Sanchez Productions as a starring vehicle for Will Ferrell. Playing the dad of a college-aged kid is a bit of a new role for Ferrell to be in, as we’re more used to watching him do things like go back to school himself in comedies like Old School, but his dramatic work in things like Stranger Than Fiction and Everything Must Go points to the fact that he should be able to handle portraying the dramatic weight of parenthood while simultaneously maintaining an appropriate level of hilarity. It seems like the next logical question to ask is, which young actor would be most believable as Will Ferrell’s son? [Deadline Bloomington]

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Speaking of Development Hell, New Line is back to the drawing board on Y: The Last Man. The good news? There’s a drawing board. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the production company has hired seasoned television writers Matthew Federman and Stephen Scaia to craft a new script. The pair have experience born from shows like Jericho, Warehouse 13 and Human Target and they inherit a project with a lot of baggage to it. Presumably their hiring drops that baggage completely so that everyone can come to it with fresh eyes that have seen a lot on the small screen, but are just getting started on the big. Arguably, that’s a good thing. It’s a stunning comic book series from the brilliant mind of Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra. It demands to be made into an equally impressive film. So far, no one involved has been up to that task, so it’s great that the torch has been passed. As for this latest attempt at finding an anchor, it’s unclear. There’s something exciting about that. Hopefully this is the combination that makes it happen, and makes it happen in the right way.

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In the summer of 2010, a Michael Jai White-starring short film set in the “Mortal Kombat” video game universe hit the Internet. Nobody really knew what it was at first, but it ended up being a proof of concept short that Kevin Tancharoen directed in order to prove that there was room for a new Mortal Kombat movie that would take a different approach than New Line’s original take on the material. That short has since become known as Mortal Kombat: Rebirth, and though it didn’t immediately land Tancharoen an offer to do a full-length film, it did garner him some additional studio change from Warner Bros. to fund an entire series of web shorts, which were called Mortal Kombat: Legacy. I guess they were another toe dipped in the water to see if there was any interest in a new series of Mortal Kombat films. Stretching the original short out to a series of them had mixed results in this reviewer’s eyes, but the reaction to them must have been positive and large enough to prove something to someone, because it’s looking like Tancharoen is finally going to get to direct his feature. Heat Vision is reporting that New Line is picking up this ball and running with it, as they’ve hired Tancharoen and his writerOren Uziel to come and make a new feature-length Mortal Kombat for them. New Line’s last attempt at a full length Mortal Kombat movie was 1997’s Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, which was pretty much a giant bomb.

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New Line and Mandaly Pictures are the heroes the day because they announced through Variety that they plan to make Furry Friday, the exact movie that you’re imagining right now in your mind based on the pun title. A dog and a cat swap bodies. It’s live-action. It cannot be a bad idea. Mandaly producer (and Oscar winner) Cathy Schulman’s script is getting a rewrite from writer David H. Steinberg. It’s an interesting choice considering that much of his work has been in the teenage world of American Pie 2 and the slightly out of teenage world of Slackers (which remains an underrated gem). He’s also the writer responsible for the forthcoming Puss in Boots movie. To reiterate: this is a movie about a dog and a cat switching bodies. You may scoff, but to the right is photographic proof that live-action animal movies can work incredibly well. Furry Friday will undoubtedly be a family-focused flick, and there’s nothing wrong with that. At the very least, we should be glad they aren’t trying to pun off of the Schulman-produced Darfur Now. Seriously. It would be so easy. They must have at least had a meeting about it.

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Brendan Fraser was threatening to leave the production of Journey 2: The Mysterious Island even before his latest family friendly flick fell flat, but now that he’s gone for good (since director Eric Brevig left to deliver this magnum opus), the production has decided to go to the man most well known for children’s movies: The Rock. Dwayne Johnson has officially been named as the replacement to star in the film. It’s a great marketing tactic considering his Sesame street cred, and it probably won’t hurt the creative integrity in anyway unless they run out of ways to throw yo-yos at the screen (in 3D!). Josh Hutcherson is reprising his role (as, most likely, a Plan B to missing out on Spider-Man), and as with the first, the movie will take Jules Verne’s work and weave it into a story that mirrors the plot to his novel “The Mysterious Island.” [Cinematical]

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With a heavy hit at the box office, we might be seeing a glove full of knives coming at us in 3D soon.

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Badass for Hire

New Line films have recently optioned the screenplay “Dan Mintner: Bad Ass for Hire” by writer Chad Kultgen (Average American Male).

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published: 12.22.2014
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published: 12.19.2014
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published: 12.18.2014
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