Weekly Ketchup: Batman and Superman Join Forces for LEGO Movie
Plus, lots of Marvel news, Aaron Eckhart gets presidential, and Tyler Perry does sci-fi...?
This Week's Ketchup has a lot of comic book related news (4 of the ten, three of which involve Marvel characters), as well as a Think Like a Man sequel, and remakes of About Last Night... and Highlander.
This Week's Top Story
BATMAN AND SUPERMAN FINALLY JOIN FORCES ON THE BIG SCREEN IN... THE LEGO MOVIE
Warner Bros has been trying to get Batman and Superman together in a big screen feature film for about a decade now. These efforts include the Justice League movie, and a World's Finest movie (a poster for which can be seen in the near future Times Square of I Am Legend). Following the success of The Avengers, the notion of a Justice League movie is back on the front burner at Warner Bros, but unless it gets made by 2014, it now appears likely that Batman and Superman will be uniting before Justice League comes out. Channing Tatum and Will Arnett are in talks to provide the voices of Superman and Batman, respectively, in LEGO: The Piece of Resistance, the CGI animated film that Warner Bros has scheduled for February 28, 2014. Batman and Superman are not the lead characters in the LEGO movie (Chris Pratt from Parks and Recreation is voicing the lead character). Batman and Superman both appear as LEGO characters as part of the DC Universe Super Heroes line, and Batman also starred in the LEGO Batman videogame. There's no word yet as to what the premise of LEGO: The Piece of Resistance is exactly, or whether other DC Comics characters, or other characters from LEGO licenses, will also appear in the film. Phil Lord and Chris Miller (codirectors of 21 Jump Street, which also featured Channing Tatum, and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs) are codirecting with Chris McKay (Robot Chicken), and Lord and Miller also adapted the screenplay.
Fresh Developments This Week
#1 MARVEL'S MYSTERY MAY 2014 RELEASE IS REVEALED TO BE... GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY
A few weeks ago, there was an online story about Black Panther being Marvel's other 2014 release after Captain America 2. That story got spread all over the 'Net, but what didn't go as widely reported was Marvel's quick debunking of that story. This week, the same site (Latino Review) went with a different story, and this time, Marvel is not denying anything. At Comic Con next month, Marvel Studios is expected to officially announce Guardians of the Galaxy as the next super team to get a movie, and a release date of May 16, 2014. In explaning who the Guardians of the Galaxy are, it's important to note that there are actually two groups with that name, and a lot of the stories online (like this one) sort of mix up the two teams. The original Guardians of the Galaxy were introduced in 1969, and they were from an alternate future where the alien race the Badoon are the big baddies. The team that appears to actually be getting its own movie, however, is much more recent (introduced is 2008). This second Guardians of the Galaxy is more like a Cosmic Avengers, comprised of popular spacefaring characters from other stories, such as Adam Warlock, Drax the Destroyer, Gamora, Moondragon, Star-Lord, Groot (a tree who only says his own name), and Rocket Raccoon, who is pretty much exactly what his name suggests. This version of the team also recently appeared in an episode of Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes. The Guardians of the Galaxy script was adapted by Nicole Perlman, an as-yet-unproduced screenwriter who first received attention in 2006 for Challenger, a script about the space shuttle disaster. As for what Guardians of the Galaxy will be about, the general presumption seems to be that it will follow up on Thanos' cameo at the end of The Avengers, and will then lead into The Avengers 2, which is expected to be released in 2015 (or so).
#2 MARVEL'S OTHER 2014 MYSTERY PROJECT... IS IT BIG HERO 6?
One might think that Marvel would only be planning on one ambitious movie based on a fairly obscure super team with an elaborate back story and easily confused unrelated lineups. But, alas, perhaps not. In the same week that gave us news of Guardians of the Galaxy, the mystery of what project Marvel Studios and Disney Animation might be collaborating on was also apparently revealed. First introduced in 1998, Big Hero 6 is a super hero team officially sanctioned by the government of Japan (much like Alpha Flight in Canada). The line up has changed in the years since, and that is an important point because two of the original members of Big Hero 6 seem unlikely to appear in a Marvel Studios movie. The reason for this is that both Sunfire and Silver Samurai are Marvel mutants, which means that 20th Century Fox still retains the rights to them appearing in feature films (and indeed, Silver Samurai is expected to be a major character in The Wolverine). The Big Hero 6 members that Disney and Marvel can use include Fredzilla (who can transformer into a giant lizard), GoGo Tomago (who can explode herself), Honey Lemon (who has a magical purse), Hiro Takachiho (a 13-year-old genius with a super flight suit), Baymax (Hiro's robot friend), and Wasabi-No-Ginger, a sword-wielding super chef. Big Hero 6 remains fairly obscure, even among comic book fans, but like Guardians of the Galaxy, it appears to be an example of how Marvel is looking at its properties for feature film adaptations not entirely based upon any already existing popularity. According to the Blue Sky Disney blog, Big Hero 6 will be the next Disney Animation project for director Don Hall (Winnie the Pooh), and is expected to fill the studio's 2014 slot, coming after 2012's Wreck-It Ralph and 2013's Frozen. Like those films, Big Hero 6 will probably be computer animation, rather than traditional animation.
Rotten Ideas of the Week
#7 MOVIE FOR MARVEL CHARACTER THE HUMAN FLY BEING MADE OUTSIDE MARVEL
It might seem difficult to imagine it now, but the 1970s really were a time when daredevils like Evel Knievel and that French guy from Man on Wire were instant celebrities on par with movie and TV actors. It was within that context that in 1977, Marvel Comics started publishing a licensed comic book inspired by real life daredevil Rick Rojatt, that ran for 19 issues, and had the tagline, "The Wildest Super-Hero Ever --- Because He's Real!" The premise was almost always the same: The Human Fly would be performing a stunt somewhere, someone would need rescuing, and then he would rescue them using fancy gadgets and perfectly set up equipment. To make The Human Fly even more definitely "Seventies," the Marvel character was also augmented by metal implants after a car accident, which you can either credit towards the popularity of Logan or Steve Austin (or maybe both). Anyway, since the comic book was based on a real person, the rights eventually reverted back away from Marvel, and so now an independent movie is being developed based on that real character. The situtation remains a little bit complicated, however, because who exactly the Human Fly was appears to be in dispute. Stuntman Rick Rojatt is who Marvel Comics has said was actually in the Human Fly outfit, but it is another stuntman, Joe Ramacieri, who is now licensing the character for this movie. Unless, of course, Rick Rojatt and Joe Ramacieri are the same guy. Anyway, The Human Fly getting a movie deal this summer smacks more than just a little of someone trying to take advantage of the Marvel Comics brand name, post The Avengers, so it's one of the week's Rotten Ideas.
#6 THINK LIKE A MAN, ACT LIKE A SEQUEL
The mostly African American cast romantic comedy Think Like a Man has brought in $91 million domestically in the two months since its April 20 release, on a budget of just $12 million. And so, the Screen Gems movie which was an adaptation of Steve Harvey's relationship help book Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, is getting a sequel. Screenwriters Keith Merryman and David A. Newman, who cowrote the first film in addition to last year's Friends with Benefits, have already been hired to start working on the sequel. There's no word yet as to whether director Tim Story (who also directed the two Fantastic Four movies) will be returning for this sequel. As for a title, one has to presume that Act Like a Lady would be the most obvious title? This is one of the week's Rotten Ideas because the RT Tomatometer score for Think Like a Man currently stands at 54% (Rotten).
#5 THE WORLD REALLY NEEDS MORE JIM BELUSHI REMAKES LIKE ABOUT LAST NIGHT...
Also from Screen Gems comes another movie starring comedian-turned-actor Kevin Hart (who was also in Think Like a Man). Hart is the first actor to sign on with Screen Gems for their remake of the 1986 romantic dramedy About Last Night..., which was itself based upon the David Mamet play Sexual Perversity in Chicago. Hart will play the role played by Jim Belushi in the original film, which also costarred Rob Lowe, Demi Moore, and Elizabeth Perkins. There's no director attached yet, but the screenwriter is Leslye Headland, who wrote and directed the upcoming Kirsten Dunst movie Bachelorette, as well as writing several episodes of Terriers. Although no official statement has been made by Screen Gems on this subject, the casting of Kevin Hart opens up the question of whether this remake will feature a mostly African American cast, as Think Like a Man did. This remake is one of the week's Rotten Ideas because the 81% RT Tomatometer-rated original film still stands up, even 26 years later, and doesn't really need to be remade.
#4 MEATHEAD FROM ALL IN THE FAMILY IS STILL MAKING MOVIES
Sometimes, a director's career that was formerly almost entirely "Fresh" on the Tomatometer becomes "Rotten" at a certain point, but those early films were so great and beloved, that people still give the director the benefit of the doubt. Rob Reiner is sort of the classic example of this phenomenon, and for Reiner, the line in the proverbial sand is 1995, the year The American President came out. Rob Reiner has directed six films in the 17 years since, and not a single one scored above the 54% of 2010's Flipped. What people remember instead are the films from 1984 to 1992 that include This is Spinal Tap, Stand by Me, The Princess Bride, When Harry Met Sally, Misery, and A Few Good Men. This week (just before the death of WHMS writer Nora Ephron, coincidentally), Reiner signed on to direct his first thriller since 1990's Misery. Compared to Cape Fear (presumably the Martin Scorsese version), You Belong to Me is described as a psychological thriller about what happens when a psychiatrist tells a patient too much about their own lives. Filming is scheduled to start this fall in New York.
#3 THE 2013 MOVIE PRESIDENTIAL RACE WILL BE BETWEEN AARON ECKHART AND JAMIE FOXX
Now that the two dueling Snow White movies are in theaters, our collective eyes can turn towards one of the next sets of dueling movies: White House siege movies. The film that has thus far received more attention is Roland Emmerich's White House Down, which will star Channing Tatum and Maggie Gyllenhaal as Secret Service agents, and Jamie Foxx as the President of the United States. This week, there was more casting news for Olympus Has Fallen, the movie from Antoine Fuqua (Shooter, Training Day, Tears of the Sun) about terrorists attacking the White House. In Olympus Has Fallen, it will be Aaron Eckhart who will be playing the President, with Angela Bassett cast as the head of the Secret Service sworn to protect him. Olympus Has Fallen is one of this week's Rotten Ideas based mostly on the RT Tomatometer scores for director Antoine Fuqua, whose non-documentary features are almost entirely Rotten, except for Training Day.
#2 TYLER PERRY THREATENS TO MAKE A SCIENCE FICTION MOVIE
What did Snooki think of The Iron Lady? What are Guy Fieri's opinions about The Avengers? Did Tim Tebow enjoy Cabin in the Woods? Those questions make about as much sense as this story, which started with someone asking Tyler Perry what he thought of Prometheus (answer: "disappointed"). I personally don't share Perry's disappointment, but that's not really what this story is about. Nope, it's the part where Tyler Perry reveals that he is "writing a sci-fi movie that I'm really excited about." There's nothing more to know about it right now, so I'll just point to Tyler Perry's RT Tomatometer scores as evidence, and leave you with the following question: Would Tyler Perry's sci-fi project be made worse or better by also being the next Madea project? Because, come on, one could argue... Madea in Space is just enough like a Tracy Jordan poster to potentially be ridiculous fun. But probably not.
#1 FUNNY, RYAN REYNOLDS DOESN'T SOUND SCOTTISH... BUT HE IS THE NEW HIGHLANDER
This one got sort of lost in the mix this week, but Ryan Reynolds has officially been cast as the new Connor MacLeod in the new remake of Highlander. Highlander was of course the 1986 fantasy action film about a centuries old race of sword-wielding immortals locked in a battle to the death ("there can be only one"), that also inspired a popular TV series, some sequels, books, etc. The Highlander remake will be directed by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo (Intacto, 28 Weeks Later). As for why this is the most Rotten Idea of the week, this one has nothing (well, nothing much) to do with RT Tomatometer scores, and is all about this writer's own gut reaction. I'm just thinking that maybe Connor MacLeod should be played by someone, you know... Scottish. Go get the voice cast list of Brave, throw a log at it, and hire whomever it points to (Kevin McKidd, Billy Connelly, heck, even Kelly Macdonald would have been a better choice...).
For more Weekly Ketchup columns by Greg Dean Schmitz, check out the WK archive, and you can contact GDS via Facebook.