Paramount

In a New York living room, sometime in the early 1970s, a young boy is sitting in front of his television (possibly watching an episode of Monty Python’s Flying Circus) and playing with plastic toy figures of Earth’s mightiest heroes. He smashes The Hulk into Thor, zooms Iron Man around at incredible speed and makes Captain America leap over an H.R. Pufnstuf doll. Because, you know, he’s got one of those too. Forty some odd years later, that same little boy named Joss Whedon got a chance to slam those toys together again, and he achieved something that’s made up equally of the magic of childhood and the craftsmanship of a seasoned filmmaker. It was an impossible dream, a crazy call-out to the far left field bleachers, but The Avengers is the best movie that Marvel has made.

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International superstar singer Katy Perry and the various things that spin upon or spray out of her breasts are the latest to get a concert movie. No doubt it will be full of uplifting platitudes about achieving your dreams and working hard as well as the glorious benefits of whip cream and other delights. The new trailer for Part of Me 3D shows exactly what you might imagine. All this and more. At its heart, it looks to tell the story of a young woman who was raised in a very religious family who would go on to struggle through the music world only to come out on the right side of success by singing about kissing a girl and liking it. Check it out for yourself:

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For some reason, Paramount has been trying to remake Carl Reiner’s Summer School for more than a few years. Amongst the 1980s teenage, sexy, goofy romps, this one is at least in the higher realm of notability. The story of a gym coach who is forced to cancel some sweet summer plans to teach a bunch of dumb kids in an English class, it’s now found a willing champion in Adam Sandler‘s Happy Madison Productions. The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that they’re going to team with Paramount on the remake. There’s nothing more to the story except speculation and whatever Sandler jokes can be mined from it. Of course, there’s also the movie nerd subplot to the movie where two of the students are obsessed with Texas Chainsaw Massacre and horror movies. So will the remake feature two students obsessed with found footage horror? With Paranormal Activity? Or will they scrap it all together? These are the questions we all have when there’s no real information to go around.

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anchormanfight

Back in 2010, Paramount punted Anchorman 2 off a bridge, but after Conan O’Brien teased an appearance by Ron Burgundy on his show, it became clear that something big was afoot. Anchorman 2 is happening with Will Ferrell getting back behind the news desk alongside director Adam McKay and co-stars Paul Rudd and Steve Carell. Right now, a ton of people are having to walk off their comedy erections in whatever office they’re about to be fired from. Fortunately, I work from home. This is great, great news. Does it seem a bit like going back to the well? Absolutely, but it’s a well worth diving back into and one that will represent a real challenge for its cast and crew. Catching scotch-covered lightning in a bottle twice will be tough, but hot damn is it ever a goal worth shooting for.    

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Over time, Mark Twain’s characters Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn have proven to be two of the most enduring in the entire history of American literature. And by enduring, I mean that they keep getting dug back up for new adaptations and interpretations. Though it was largely agreed by all that Jonathan Taylor Thomas and Brad Renfro had finally given us the quintessential versions of the rapscallions with Disney’s 1995 film, Tom and Huck, Paramount has decided that it isn’t too late for them to get into the game themselves. To that end they’ve picked up a spec script written by Andrew Burg that goes by the name of…Huck and Tom. There isn’t much creativity going on out there with these Mark Twain adaptations is there? Snarkiness aside, Paramount’s new vision of the trouble-making duo does sound like it’s going to be taking the traditional Huck and Tom story in a new direction. Said to be a darker imagining of the material similar in tone to Snow White and the Huntsman, Huck and Tom will follow the titular characters not in their youth, as is usually the case, but instead it will give us a glimpse into their adult lives. And it’s also said to be throwing some supernatural stuff our way. Given recent trends, that probably means we’ve got a 50/50 chance that they’re either going to be fighting vampires or zombies. If Paramount throws in a female character for a love triangle then they’ll really have something that […]

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There are few types of movie news stories that feel better to read than those reporting on an original spec script has been bought by one of the big studios, and that’s exactly the sort of story this is. Variety has word that comedy writer Rodney Rothman (Late Show With David Letterman, Undeclared) has sold a script to Paramount. Being ludicrously billed as the “first interracial police pairing in law enforcement history,” Rothman’s still untitled police comedy is notable not just because it’s an original work without any ties to a pre-existing property, but because it’s landed a couple of big names as its interracial police pairing. Seth Rogen and Kevin Hart are on board to not only star in the picture, but they will both produce alongside Rothman as well. With Rogen being one of the few working actors that seems to be a proven box office draw and Kevin Hart’s stand-up career getting more and more monstrously successful by the second, this movie has to instantly be considered one of the big upcoming comedies in Hollywood.

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Although it would be awesome to see zombies literally fighting with the monsters of Monsters, Inc, the battle they’ll be engaged in is purely metaphorical and box office based. According to Aint It Cool, Paramount has pushed World War Z back from its slot in December 2012 to a summer date in 2013. Instead of hitting theaters a week after The Hobbit and a few days before Django Unchained and The Great Gatsby, the Brad Pitt-starring flick will open on June 13, 2013 against Pixar’s Monsters University. Does the move make sense? Sort of. The holiday season is crowded, and more important it’s crowded by the hairy feet and fast-talking Tarantino of movies that some might consider “Geek Properties.” Maybe there was no more room at the inn for the zombie epic. Or perhaps Paramount is punting – making a shrewd move to get the flick out from the pile and into a counter-programming position. At any rate, World War Z remains a movie that no one in the outside world is aware of. With no trailers, and no publicity, the average movie-goer in charge of boosting up ticket sales doesn’t even know they should be expecting it this holiday, so the move doesn’t change all that much. Plus, perhaps it will get them some time to launch some of those things you put on the television to let people know about your existence. Whatever those things are called.

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Wal-Mart Entertainment

Five of the six major movie studios (Paramount, Sony, Universal, Twentieth Century Fox, and Warner Bros.) have partnered together to create a service called UltraViolet, which is an authentication system that gives you the rights to a digital copy of all their movies that you buy on DVD and Blu-ray. The problem with UltraViolet is that it’s kind of a clunky system full of vague and complicated rights issues, it doesn’t utilize any of the content delivery systems that people are already watching their movies on, and it hasn’t done a good enough job educating the public on how to use it. After five minutes spent rooting around their FAQ section I still don’t know what the process of getting an UltraViolet copy of a movie onto my phone or tablet is. All of that is set to change due to a new partnership between those same five studios and Walmart, however.

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The Motion Picture Association of America must die. It’s a monopolistic behemoth that poisons creativity and commerce while hiding behind the failed task of educating parents about film content, and the time has come to call for its dissolution. The above logo is what we, as movie fans, are most familiar with when it comes to the MPAA because we see it on trailers and home video, but that symbol is really a trick of PR. The goal of the MPAA is not to rate movies, even if that’s the product we know and loathe best. The MPAA’s founding, fundamental aim is to maintain the corporate dominance of its members – the six largest studios. It does not serve fans. It does not serve families. It does not serve filmmakers.

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Internationally loved cologne salesman, Charles Bronson, was already a massive star by the time he made Death Wish, but it’s his role as Paul Kersey that might be his most famous simply because he owns it completely. Sure he’s rugged and charismatic in The Dirty Dozen, he’s surprisingly vulnerable in The Great Escape, but in the Death Wish movies he’s in command and the streets bow down to him. So maybe a remake is in order? According to the LA Times, that’s the thinking of MGM and Paramount, and the partnership wants Joe Carnahan to clean up from fighting wolves for The Grey and come help them out with it. It must be tough coming out of bankruptcy, but MGM really has nothing except remake concepts going for them. That’s pretty damned sad. Of course, the big question with a remake like this (beyond the fact that remakes aren’t doing good business currently) is how to re-create something that tapped into a social feeling in the 1970s. The same heat just isn’t there, there is no grand panic in society of rising crime rates and a feeling of helplessness in the face of a bewildered law enforcement culture. In fact, police are so good at doing their jobs now, they even find time to pepper spray people in the face at random. So who becomes the villain here? And even better, who could possibly replace Charles Bronson as Paul Kersey? Jason Statham did the job recently for The Mechanic, but […]

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On January 11, 1991, the then-head of Disney studios, Jeffrey Katzenberg, circulated an incredibly important memo about the state of the movie industry and the products they were making. It was called, “The World is Changing: Some Thoughts on Our Business,” and it had a simple purpose: to locate the root of a growing problem and to take steps to avoid falling victim to it. Katzenberg began the memo by stating: “As we begin the new year, I strongly believe we are entering a period of great danger and even greater uncertainty. Events are unfolding within and without the movie industry that are extremely threatening to our studio.” As we begin a new year two decades after this memo was written, it’s critical to look back at the points Katzenberg made to see that his period of great danger is now our period of great danger, to note that the same events unfolding within and without the industry still threaten the entire studio system in 2012, and to predict our future based on the past.

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Recently, Paramount sent around one of those pat-yourself-on-the-back sorts of press releases announcing that they made more money worldwide than any other studio last year. Of course, not one to dwell too long in the past, they also managed to slip in a little paragraph bragging about how good their upcoming 2012 looks as well: “In 2012, Paramount’s release slate highlights include World War Z, a zombie thriller starring Brad Pitt and directed by Marc Forster, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, the next installment in the global franchise starring Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Channing Tatum, a new chapter in the Paranormal Activity franchise, and The Dictator, starring Sacha Baron Cohen and directed by Larry Charles, the team behind Borat.” The interesting part of this paragraph is that, in addition to mentioning a bunch of high profile projects that we already knew about, the studio is also claiming that they have another Paranormal Activity movie in the works, which is news. All of these other movies are in various stages of post-production, but Paranormal Activity 4 is naught but a glimmer in some profit-minded executive’s eye.

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With $1.1b in international revenue for the third film alone, it’s not really news that Hasbro is drooling for another Transformers flick, but The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that the company is currently in talks with Steven Spielberg and Michael Bay about moving forward. This also isn’t a surprise, and since it’s widely known that Bay and star Shia Labeouf have been unenthusiastic about returning to the franchise, it won’t be a surprise when they pass on the director’s chair and the star trailer respectively. However, there’s something important to consider here. With Bay gone, the biggest force in the franchise is gone, and without Labeouf, its face is gone as well. That means that someone can pull out the old drawing board and start again on creating a franchise that does a better job of focusing on the cool part of Transformers (the Transformers) and on crafting a better sci-fi story. Meanwhile, Hasbro continues fruitless development on their other projects. Battleship is storming the beaches in the near future, but Candyland, their Ouija Board movie and several other projects are still not nearly as far along as they should be for the amount of time that’s been spent promising them. That’s probably a good thing. The world doesn’t need another Clue movie, but another shot at getting transforming robots might be just the thing humanity is crying out for.

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There’s no clue as to who exactly is describing Hyperdrive as The Fifth Element meets 48 Hrs, but the combination sounds fantastic, and that’s the two films The Hollywood Reporter is tossing out for context. According to them, Paramount just bought the script for the film, written by David Daniels and Tucker and Dale vs. Evil co-writer Morgan Jurgenson. The story focuses on a science fiction author who is asked by a cop to help track down a murder witness, but during the hunt, they “find themselves in the middle of a space opera playing out on Earth.” It sounds like it has the potential to be a big adventure, and it could have a lot of fictional science of a little, but the Hollywood sales pitch of tough crime meeting head on with insane sci-fi is definitely enough to perk some ears up. Plus, at a baser level, it’s always nice to see original sci-fi given a chance.

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A lot of movie-goers liked J.J. Abrams’ reboot of the Star Trek franchise because it introduced a modern aesthetic to the property, injecting it with exciting action sequences, while also making it feel less like a bunch of people standing around spewing jargon in a space ship (something for nerds only), and more like a big budget adventure that everyone could enjoy. I just liked it because it was Abrams finally paired up with some material that he couldn’t treat like a great big mystery. It was Star Trek, we know what Star Trek is, so sorry, Mr. Abrams, no super secret viral ad campaign there. Of course, once he got a chance to start marketing the “what’s in the train” aspect of his next film, Super 8, he was back up to his old tricks. And now Deadline New Suffolk reports that Abrams has yet another top secret project in the pipeline, which has just been picked up by Paramount. This one pairs him with red hot screenwriter Billy Ray, a guy who not only is scripting a Peter Pan movie called Pan for Joe Roth, but also a Tom Hanks-starring vehicle directed by Paul Greengrass called A Captain’s Duty, the long-awaited 24 movie for Fox, and a remake of The Secret in Their Eyes, which he will also direct. Busy guy. The film that Abrams and Ray are working on is said to come from an idea that they brainstormed together, and it’s going to be a mystery adventure of […]

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When an adaptation of “World War Z” was first announced back in 2008 with Marc Forster at the helm, a major question was how they would take an oral history that recounts a globe-spanning amount of zombie action and turn it into a workable movie. After all, the conversations of the book take place after the war and deal closely with survival and societal themes. As it turns out, the answer is apparently to redo the entire thing. According to the synopsis sent out by Paramount, the movie will look a little something like this: “The story revolves around United Nations employee Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt), who traverses the world in a race against time to stop the Zombie pandemic that is toppling armies and governments and threatening to decimate humanity itself.  [Mireille] Enos plays Gerry’s wife Karen Lane; [Daniella] Kertesz is his comrade in arms, Segen.” Aside from nitpicking that they didn’t use the word “decimate” correctly, that description looks more than a bit different than the book…

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You wouldn’t expect that a movie about an Indian burial ground that brings dead pets back to life in rabid, vicious zombie form could be considered an untouchable classic, but horror fans are very protective about what they like. And Stephen King, while a horror icon on the literary shelf, has a much spottier record when it comes to film adaptations. That 1989’s Pet Sematary turned out to be one of the best King adaptations adds to its status as modern classic meant to be cherished. By now it should be clear though that nothing is sacred in Hollywood, especially horror properties. So of course a remake of Pet Sematary has been in the works for a while. The last time we heard about the project, Paramount had hired Matt Greenberg to write a script for a remake. He already had some experience adapting King work with 1408, so I guess the choice made sense. And it turns out Greenberg took Paramount’s request pretty seriously, this isn’t a goof, the man has now turned in his script. So the next step toward getting this thing off the ground is finding a director. Enter Piranha and The Hills Have Eyes director Alexandre Aja. Twitch reports that Aja is close to taking on the job. Paramount is actively pursuing him, and while Aja has a project called Cobra: The Space Pirate he’s looking to do, that film has yet to find adequate funding, and isn’t scheduled to start shooting until 2013. A […]

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The future of J.J. Abrams’s Star Trek sequel has been a mystery for a while now. The movie industry has turned into a brand name driven environment where as soon as a film makes ten bucks over its budget, a release date gets set for the sequel. And it’s usually a date that’s closer than the filmmakers would like. So what’s been going on with Star Trek? Are we going to get a sequel? And if not, why not? Who does J.J. Abrams think he is? Recently a clue surfaced in the ongoing mystery when co-writer/producer Roberto Orci said that while a script wasn’t finished, they had a big ol’ outline done, and they were just waiting for Abrams to get done with his current projects before they pushed production into high gear. And now a second clue has come to light. While talking to Cinema Blend, Abrams himself confirmed that Star Trek 2 would in fact be his next project; and he even talked a bit about its release date and whether or not he’s looking to make it in 3D. He started off by saying, “The next thing we’re working on, and hopefully we’ll be able to pass information out sooner or later, is the next Star Trek.” When asked about the too close for comfort release date that Paramount has the film penciled in for, June 29th 2012, Abrams was less than committal. “I care much more that it be good than it be ready,” he said, “I’m, obviously […]

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While Warner Bros. is busy confusing themselves about what they’re going to do with Batman, Superman, and the rest of the entire Justice League up on the big screen, Paramount has been busy raiding their coop, and they’ve come away with the rights to one of their lesser known properties. Normally all of the rights to things published by DC Comics goes to their parent company Warner Bros by default, but apparently “The Mighty” started off as creator owned work and rights to the big screen adaption were still controlled by creators Keith Champagne and Peter Tomasi. This has allowed them to cut a deal and cash in on their creation.

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Yesterday we got to see some poster goodness from The Adventures of Tintin, and, as promised, the teaser trailer has followed suit. It’s quick, but it spends its precious few seconds creating some suspense and teasing the action. A young man chasing a car into the street with a gun, a bi-plane crashing in the desert, a ship pounding its way through the seas. See it for yourself:

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published: 12.23.2014
B+
published: 12.22.2014
C-
published: 12.19.2014
A-


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