Warner Bros

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Pontius Pilate, like Benedict Arnold after him, lived in a time of great political and social unrest. Big things were happening, many sides were battling against each other, feelings were running deep, and tempers were flaring. Each was faced with a fateful decision that forced them to choose which side to come down on, which warring faction to appease, and in the end the decisions they made were so poor that they didn’t just make them failures or losers, they made them into history’s most despised villains, the sorts of names who will never be forgotten due to their infamy. Bad for a guy like Pontius Pilate, sure, but a dissection of the political and religious turmoil that led to his decision of whether or not to authorize the crucifixion of Jesus Christ sounds like it could make for a really good movie. Or, at least, that’s what Warner Bros has been hoping ever since they bought Vera Blasi’s script for the period drama Pontius Pilate. By all accounts Blasi’s script is rich, complicated, and full of character, which would suggest the title role is going to require not a movie star like most big budget period pics, but a real actor capable of giving a rich, nuanced performance. The good news for Pontius Pilate is that it looks like it might be getting both.

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Justice League Alex Ross

Development has really been heating up the over that Justice League movie. A few months ago, Gangster Squad writer Will Beall was hired to handle script duties, there was word Warner Bros. was eying Ben Affleck to direct, and then we got a director short list including the Wachowskis, Ruben Fleischer, and, who could forget, Brett Ratner. Today the project became even more real, thanks to a resolved legal dispute. The Los Angeles Times is reporting the studio is gearing up fast for a 2013 shoot and a 2015 release, which would pit the film up against The Avengers 2. After that, mostly depending on whether the film’s a hit or not, Warners would then follow up the film with a reboot of Batman and solo films following whatever heroes they decide to put in the movie. So if any of you have been holding your breath for a Hawkman movie, then perhaps your big dream may finally come true.

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Looney Tunes

Given the shoddy treatment Jim Henson’s Muppets characters got through much of the ’90s and the ’00s, last year’s refresher of their property, The Muppets, was welcomed as a huge breath of fresh air. Finally somebody with true affection for these beloved characters gave them a big screen vehicle that skillfully treated them with the respect they deserve. Things are arguably looking worse for Warner Bros.’ Looney Tunes franchise than they ever did for the Muppets though. The last time these characters hit the big screen was in 2003’s already-forgotten Looney Tunes: Back in Action, and the last time they felt remotely relevant was when they appeared in Space Jam in 1996. Here is a stable of characters that was beloved for decades, whose earliest animated works are still held up in knowledgeable circles as being enduring pieces of modern art, and we can’t even get them a decent Space Jam sequel? What gives? Hopefully all this is about to change, because the brothers Warner are putting together a new feature for Bugs, Daffy, and crew, and it sounds like they’re taking the The Muppets approach that resulted in that property enjoying newfound relevance. What are the similarities here? Well, according to THR [via Slashfilm], the studio is looking outside the insular animated world and giving the job of putting this film together to people who are known for doing other things, but still have a deep, abiding affection for animated weirdness.

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Tom Hardy, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Tobey Maguire are primarily known for being three of the most famous actors in the world, but did you also know that they’re all animal lovers? Well, they are. Or, at least, they’re looking to market a new movie to animal lovers. THR is reporting that the trio has teamed up to produce a new (still untitled) feature for Warner Bros. that will detail the horrific world of animal trafficking. Reportedly the film will look at the grizzly business from all the different angles, from the poaching of the animal out of the wild, to the way it gets chopped up and turned into boots or whatever (See my loafers? Former gophers). It’s going to be kind of like how Steven Soderbergh took an extensive look at drug trafficking in Traffic, or how The Wire looked at how Baltimore street crime affected every aspect of the city, only more horrific because of the inclusion of cuddly things that get mistreated. Why are these three guys the ones who are involved? Well, apparently the idea for the film comes from Hardy, who has friends who are former Special Forces operatives turned anti-poaching mercenaries in South Africa. And Maguire and DiCaprio? They’re just best buds who have done a lot of animal rights stuff in the past. Combine all three and you don’t quite get Captain Planet, but it’s close.

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Leonardo DiCaprio

Despite a Black List and an apparently-attached big star, the J. Blakeson-directed and Graham Moore-penned The Imitation Game will not be getting made at Warner Bros. Variety reports that the film’s “progress-to-production option had expired, and Warners has decided to not move forward,” which is Hollywood legalese for “the film was supposed to have started by this time, did not, and whoopsie, that was a clause in our agreement.” Producers Nora Grossman and Ido Ostrowsky will now take the script to other studios in hopes that someone else will pick up the tragic story of the “father of computer science.” Warner picked up the film’s script back in October (paying a reported seven-figure sum), mainly under the assumption that Leonardo DiCaprio would star in it and that they film could be fashioned as an awards season contender. THR reports that DiCaprio’s interest in the project has now waned, and that was another factor in Warner’s decision to not renew their agreement. However, Moore and DiCaprio are still in business with WB for another project – Moore was set to pen an adaptation of “The Devil in the White City” for DiCaprio’s Appian Way and Warners back in December.

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WWE Studios has had an interesting history. First set up in the hopes that it would be able to develop theatrically released starring vehicles for WWE wrestlers in the action and horror genres, this fledgling wing of Vince McMahon Jr.’s empire has since gone through myriad strategy changes. It’s gone from making R rated films to making PG and PG-13 rated films exclusively, from giving its movies wide releases to giving them straight to video releases, it’s moved away from action and tried its hand at family films and comedies, and most recently it’s even teamed up with Lionsgate to re-boot the Leprechaun franchise. And today the studio announced that they’re going to be adding yet another type of film to their repertoire, by creating an animated feature. Which is an historic announcement indeed, as this new project will be the first time wrestlers have appeared in animated form since Hulk Hogan’s Rock ‘n’ Wrestling hit the television airwaves in the early ’80s.

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Gangster Squad Theater Scene

Whether they needed to or not, Warner Bros. went into something of a panic after last month’s tragic theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado and made plans to scrap a key scene from their upcoming release Gangster Squad. You see, their crime film’s climax also concerned a shooting taking place in a movie theater, and the studio figured that creating a fantasy tragedy that so closely resembled a recent, real-life tragedy would have been in bad taste. After a bit of deliberation, the plan was to completely rewrite and reshoot the sequence, a process which would push the film’s release from September 7 to sometime in 2013 (now confirmed as January 11). Of course, given that reshoots necessarily pushed back the release date of the film, further discussion was created around the issue of whether or not a movie coming out in 2013 would need to change its content because of a shooting that happened in 2012. It’s an interesting line the studio is straddling between acting in good taste and censoring art. But, no matter where your opinion on the issue lies, what’s been decided has been decided, and director Ruben Fleischer and crew are going forward with the reshoots.

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Gangster Squad Reshoots

It didn’t take long after the recent shootings in an Aurora Colorado movie theater for Warner Bros. to realize that they had a problem on their hands with Gangster Squad. Seeing as their upcoming crime drama—which is currently set for a September 7 release—so prominently features a scene where a bunch of machine gun wielding gangsters open fire on a theater full of moviegoers, a decision about the potentially offensive scene needed to be made. Yes, it’s unfortunate that a real life tragedy can lead to self-censorship when it comes to art, but good taste is good taste. The trailers for the film were immediately pulled after news of the shooting broke, and the studio’s initial plan was to rush some re-writes and re-shoots to have the theater scene replaced with something else before Gangster Squad’s release. That was the initial plan. Now Variety is reporting that making major changes to a film when there are only six weeks until its scheduled release might not be a possibility.

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Gangster Squad Reshoots

Real life tragedies affecting film releases isn’t a new phenomenon. There was a period after the terrorist attacks on 9/11 where films shot in New York City before the World Trade Center went down had to go back and edit scenes out or use digital trickery if even a glimpse of the Twin Towers appeared in a shot. And, more recently, upcoming comedy The Watch had its title changed and one of its trailers pulled after content in the ad too closely echoed the killing of Florida teen Trayvon Martin. People don’t like to be reminded of horrible things when they’re trying to go out for a night of entertainment. So, it comes as no surprise that in the wake of the theater shooting that took place during a screening of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colorado, some films are going to be making adjustments to their content and marketing efforts in order to not inappropriately echo the tragedy that took place. So far the studio that’s most immediately affected is Warner Bros. Not only did they have millions of dollars worth of violence-filled TV ads for The Dark Knight Rises pulled from the airwaves over the weekend, but they also cancelled several special screenings where the stars of the film were scheduled to make personal appearances. And another of their upcoming releases, the Ruben Fleischer-directed Gangster Squad, is making it necessary for them to make even more adjustments.

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The Flash

With Batman in the bag and Superman on the way, Warner Bros. is still in the kind of long-term trouble a superhero team understands all too well. Like a group of heroes blindsided by a syndicate of villains that pulled off a world domination ploy, Warners is scrambling to come up with a plan to challenge Marvel Studio’s $1.5 billion The Avengers world take-over. We all know what that plan is: assemble the Justice League movie. We also know the big question Warners is frantically facing right now is how they’re going to do that. The studio can balk at mimicking a competitor’s model all they want, but the way to get everyday non-comic reading people to really care about a Justice League movie is to roll out the individual hero projects first. Warner Brothers can’t assume people want a Justice League movie simply because everyone knows who Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman are, or that post-The Avengers there is a guaranteed appetite for superhero mega-mixes. For a team-up flick to have maximum impact – i.e. maximum box office returns – without sacrificing integrity or quality, Warners needs to build a demand. The only way to do that is construct a road paved with exciting, entertaining, excellent movies (give or take an Iron Man 2 or two) that compound anticipation and audience faith.

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Zack Snyder

Superman doesn’t look all that happy in these first two (near identical) teasers for Zack Snyder‘s Man of Steel. If you thought Bryan Singer‘s Superman was an unbearable mope, wait until you get a peak at Snyder’s, who has apparently made one of our greatest heroes in the galaxy a bearded, lonely and sad fisherman. You can’t get more “gritty” and “real” than that shocking transformation. Check both teasers out below, one with Kevin Costner narrating and one featuring Russell Crowe’s melodic grumbling.

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Superman

The Mayans, the wise race of ancients who created hot cocoa, set December 21st, 2012 as the end date of their Calendar, which the intelligent and logical amongst us know signifies the day the world will end, presumably at 12:21:12am, Mountain Time. From now until zero date, we will explore the 50 films you need to watch before the entire world perishes. We don’t have much time, so be content, be prepared, be entertained. The Film: Superman (1978) The Plot: Many light years away, the planet Krypton is doomed to explode, so the scientist Jor-El (Marlon Brando) and his wife launch their infant child Kal-El into space to find safety on the distant planet Earth. The young child’s spaceship crashes in a Kansas field, and he’s taken in by the older couple Jonathan and Martha Kent. The Kents raise the boy, whom they name Clark, as their own. However, he knows he’s different from other people, possessing amazing and superhuman powers. After finding a link to his Kryptonian past, Clark goes on a twelve-year journey to discover his destiny. He moves to Metropolis to become the city’s hero known as Superman (Christopher Reeve), all the while living a double life as a mild-mannered reporter at the Daily Planet. Superman catches the eye of the fiendish criminal Lex Luthor who plans for the hero’s destruction so he doesn’t interfere with Luthor’s plot to make a fortune in real estate.

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Culture Warrior

Part of the appeal of Christopher Nolan’s Batman films is that the basic conceit informing their aesthetic seems so natural. Batman is one of few major superheroes that isn’t actually a super-hero. Batman mythology, then, lends itself to a degree of plausibility more than, say, Superman or Spider-Man, so why not manifest a vision of Batman that embraces this particular aspect that distinguishes this character from most superhero mythologies? But realism has not been a characteristic that unifies Batman’s many representations in the moving image. Through the eyes of Tim Burton and Joel Schumacher, the Batman of tentpole studio filmmaking has occupied either a world of gothic architecture and shadowy noir, or one of schizophrenic camp. From 1989 to 1997, Batman was interpreted by visionary directors with potent aesthetic approaches, but approaches that did not necessarily aim to root the character within a landscape of exhaustive Nolanesque plausibility.

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Warner Bros at Comic-Con

Guillermo Del Toro with his ‘giant monsters vs. giant robots.’ Zack Snyder and his fresh take on one of the most iconic superheroes in history. Peter Jackson returning to Middle Earth. There’s a reason why fans stood outside Hall H at the San Diego Convention Center for hours-on end, many not getting in after waiting 9-hours in the sun. Today was the big day of movies at Comic-Con 2012, and the Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures panel was its centerpiece. To get you up to speed with everything that happened, we take a tour around the web with our favorite blogfriends to see what everyone had to say about the high-expectation pieces and the big surprises alike.

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What to Expect at Comic-Con 2012

Check out a preview of what the Rejects will be up to this year at the San Diego Comic-Con, beginning with SDCC virgin Brian Salisbury… Having never been to Comic-Con, in fact having never before set foot in the state of California, I can’t help but feel a tinge of trepidation as I pack for San Diego. Chief among these concerns was whether I’d even get an adequate feel of the Con on my first outing as I darted from roundtable to roundtable, from press screening to blogger party. Would I leave my first Comic Con with no legitimate understanding of what keeps people coming back year after year? It was then I decided that, as a noob, it was best to experience the convention as a fan and not an industry professional. I needed to separate these two factions of my personality, to make a clean break from the behind-the-scenes journalism aspect and the intrepid geeks who walk the floor without the benefit of credentials. That’s when the idea of wearing a mask came into the picture, to disguise myself and resist the temptation of professional perks. I will walk the floors, stand in lines for panels in the various halls, and talk geek shop with the other attendees; providing journal entries for each day. This seems doubly fitting given the amount of cosplay that I’ve heard takes place at Comic Con. I will blend in even under fantastical vestments. So what character would I choose? What hero, outlaw, […]

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Though the idea of making a movie about Legos initially sounded like a really bad one, once Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller pitched their take on the material it actually sounded pretty promising. Could a movie about little plastic blocks tell an engaging story that teaches children an important message? That’s a question that we won’t be able to answer for quite some time, but thanks to a report from Variety we now know a whole lot more about what this upcoming Lego movie will look like. First of all, the project’s working title has now been confirmed as the project’s official title – that would be Lego: The Piece of Resistance. Thematically this makes sense, as Lord and Miller’s initial comments said that their main character would be an average guy living in Lego City who has to unlearn the town’s strict rules of always building things according to the instructions and figure out how to create something wholly original. It would seem that The Piece of Resistance’s protagonist is being set up as something of a revolutionary; both figuratively and literally according to new information from the Variety report.

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Last week, the utterly shocking news broke that not only was Warner Bros. pursuing a Justice League movie, but it also was in no way at all ever influenced by the unbridled financial success of Marvel’s The Avengers. We can all believe that, can’t we? After all, we read it on the internet. With Man of Steel coming out next year and a no-brainer Batman reboot coming now that Christopher Nolan’s movies are wrapping up this summer, this is an opportunity for Warner Bros. and DC to set a new stage. Plus, with adaptations of The Flash and Lobo, and the potential for a Green Lantern reboot, Warner Bros. and DC have things laid out for them to work out very similar to the pre-Avengers line of films. But this is Hollywood, and so many things can go potentially wrong with a project like this. Here are seven ways Warner Bros. can avoid a potential disaster as they develop this film series.

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Twilight Zone

According to Variety, Matt Reeves‘s Twilight Zone has captured another writer who is no doubt currently wondering why he’s back in Abraham Lincoln’s time and unable to convince anyone of the assassination. Jason Rothenberg wrote the original draft, which was tackled by Anthony Peckham (Sherlock Holmes), and now Joby Harold (All You Need is Kill, Awake) will take an ink-filled stab at it. The most fascinating thing about the Warner Bros. project is the idea that Rod Serling‘s show will essentially be stretched into a feature film. Previous movies based on the iconic television show were serials, and the show itself got paper thin when it tried to fill an hour-long time slot, so two full hours of being in the Zone could be a bigger challenge than most expect. After all, how much clever brow-beating can we handle? The answer to that question lies in watching every episode. Tread carefully, but there’s still hope for this project. Despite Hayden Christensen’s strange take on playing a motionless guy, Awake was a clever little flick (that Harold also directed). With any luck, his talent will be the final polish it needs to get shoved in front of cameras.

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Justice League Alex Ross

Sure, The Avengers being really awesome probably had a lot to do with the fact that it’s now the third most money-making movie of all time. But, more than that, the film probably has Marvel’s long term planning to thank for its extreme level of success. Instead of just making a movie about a team of superheroes, Marvel first introduced each member of the team in their own films, they dropped hints about the fact that they would all be coming together at some point, and, when it was all said and done, The Avengers finally premiered after six years of build-up and anticipation. That’s pretty unprecedented. Seeing as they own DC Comics, Warner Bros also has a fairly impressive stable of superheroes at their command. And they’ve even managed to leverage their properties into a bunch of successful animated television shows in the past. But, in recent years, the only character they’ve had any real success with in the live-action feature format is Batman. They’re not even close to doing something with DC’s premier superhero team, The Justice League, that could be on par with what Marvel did with The Avengers.

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Nic Mathieu Cadillac Turbulence

Paramount and J.J. Abrams are planning a super secret sci-fi project, but they’re not the only ones in the game. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Warners is staying in the science fiction business with The Wind – a script from David Koepp (Jurassic Park, War of the Worlds). It takes place in a space colony, and that’s all that’s known, which means we know more about it than the Abrams gig. It will be the feature directing debut for commercial talent Nic Mathieu. In checking out his work, The Wind will most likely involve a healthy amount of fantastic CGI concepts (see link and above). As for the hiring, conventional wisdom says that studios like commercial directors because they’re more easily controllable, but Warners is remarkably hands-off with projects like this. Although, that also depends on the budget. The studio hasn’t been exploding with sci-fi in the recent past, but their future looks spacey. Gravity, Pacific Rim and Cloud Atlas are on the horizon, with this and hopefully more to come. The science fiction Renaissance continues.

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published: 12.19.2014
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published: 12.18.2014
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published: 12.17.2014
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