Weekly Ketchup: Disney buys Marvel, WB announces Lobo & Deadman

Plus new projects for Tyler Perry, Keanu Reeves and Nicolas Cage

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This Week's Ketchup features an unusual number of "threequels," with plans being announced for the third entries to the Bad Boys, Big Momma's House and Halloween franchises. Disney's acquisition of Marvel is also big news, and is accompanied by news about other comic book movies like Lobo, Deadman and Fantastic Four.


#1 MARVEL/DISNEY: FROM THE HOUSE OF IDEAS TO THE MOUSE HOUSE

The big news this week that was pretty hard to miss was Disney's announced plans to buy Marvel for $4 billion, giving them access to the 5,000+ characters created and owned by the comic book company. This gives Disney access to hundreds of characters that appeal to boys (Disney already has plenty of properties that appeal to girls) in areas that include TV shows, video games, theme parks and of course, movies. It is the movie business, however, that is particularly complicated. Many of Marvel's characters are already licensed to other studios in deals that are likely to last anywhere from a few more to "in perpertuity", as long as the studio in question (Sony and Spider-Man, and Fox and X-Men, for example) keeps movies in development. Added to the mix is the word that John Lasseter of Pixar was on the publicity conference call that Disney held Monday, leading to speculation that Pixar might work with Marvel on an upcoming movie. It should also be interesting to see how the other studios react to Disney essentially becoming to Marvel what Warner Bros is to DC.

The first such reaction came from 20th Century Fox, which announced a screenwriter for its planned reboot of Fantastic Four, thus keeping the rights from lapsing back to Disney anytime soon. That writer is Michael Green, one of the cowriters of the upcoming Green Lantern movie, who has also written and produced episodes of TV shows like Heroes, Kings, Smallville and Everwood. Another interesting name that has been added to Fantastic Four is one Akiva Goldsman, who will be producing. Goldsman, however, is perhaps better known to comic book fans for his job as a screenwriter, taking full credit on the awful Batman & Robin and cowriting the nearly-as-bad Batman Forever. Those movies became famous for adding nipples to the costumes, but I guess my question is that if Akiva makes Fox add nipples to Sue Storm's costume, would we be able to see them? Or perhaps the Human Torch will have giant flaming nipples, and the Thing will have big orange rocky nipples. Or maybe this movie will never get made, and Fox will eventually have to give the rights back to Marvel. Make that... Disney.


#2 AND THE OTHER SIDE, DC COMICS, COUNTERS WITH LOBO AND DEADMAN

As might be expected in this week of big news for Marvel, Warner Bros and DC Comics themselves did some announcing. First up was the news that WB has hired director Guy Ritchie (Snatch, and WB's upcoming Sherlock Holmes) to direct a live-action movie based on the DC Comics character, Lobo. Lobo is a white-skinned alien bounty hunter known for riding a space motorcycle, chomping on a cigar and using wacky outer space swear words like "Fraggin." One could also argue that Lobo was sort of DC's 1980s answer to the growing popularity of Marvel's Wolverine. The Lobo script was adapted by Don Payne, who earned the sole screenwriting credit for the 2006 superhero flop My Super Ex-Girlfriend and also cowrote the critically reviled Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. Payne's script sees Lobo landing on Earth in pursuit of four fugitives and teaming up with a teenage girl from a small town in order to stop the creatures. Although Guy Ritchie is best known for R-rated movies, Lobo will be aiming for a PG-13 rating (aided, no doubt, by how often Lobo says "fraggin" instead of something very similar). Filming of Lobo is expected to start in early 2010.

Warner Bros also this week announced a director for their long-in-development Deadman movie, about a circus acrobat who lives on in the afterlife as he attempts to find his killer. The man for the job is Danish director Nikolaj Arcel, in what will be his English language debut, after directing movies whose titles translate as Island of Lost Souls and King's Game. At one point, Guillermo del Toro was expected to possibly direct Deadman, but he will be producing instead. Gary Dauberman, who wrote the Deadman script, doesn't yet have any big screen credits, but his TV and video credits include Swamp Devil, In the Spider's Web and BloodMonkey.


#3 MIGHT WILL SMITH AND MARTIN LAWRENCE PLAY BAD BOYS AGAIN?

Columbia Pictures is developing a third entry in their popular Bad Boys franchise, about two Miami detectives, starring Will Smith and Martin Lawrence. To get the project started, Columbia has hired screenwriter Peter Craig, whose first movie, The Town (starring Ben Affleck) is currently filming. Craig is also working with Keanu Reeves on the planned live-action movie version of Cowboy Bebop. The studio hopes to get director Michael Bay and producer Jerry Bruckheimer to return as well as Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, but as of yet, no one has signed. The first Bad Boys came out in 1995, and Bad Boys II was released in the summer of 2003, grossing $138 million.



#4 SYLVESTER STALLONE MAKING A BORDER RUN WITH RAMBO V

Sylvester Stallone has received a greenlight from Nu Image Films to direct and star in the fifth movie in the Rambo franchise. The character of John Rambo first appeared in 1982's First Blood, and most recently in last year's Rambo, which was released twenty years after the previous movie, 1988's Rambo III. This time around, Vietnam veteran John Rambo will be "fighting his way through human traffickers and drug lords to rescue a young girl abducted near the U.S.-Mexico border." Production of Rambo V is expected to start in the spring of 2010.



#5 ROB ZOMBIE IS OUT, 3D IS IN FOR HALLOWEEN 3D

After Halloween II got beat in a head-to-head showdown with the 3D horror of The Final Destination, the Weinstein Company announced this week that the next movie in the rebooted franchise will be Halloween 3D. In addition to making the transition to 3D, this movie will also be the first since the franchise restarted that will not be directed by Rob Zombie, who is instead focusing on remaking The Blob. Zombie's replacement director hasn't been announced yet, and neither has the premise of this third movie. Back in 1982, the original Halloween III, subtitled Season of the Witch, went off in a different direction, with a new story about a conspiracy to kill America's youth using killer Halloween masks, which didn't involve serial killer Michael Myers at all. The Weinstein Company is hoping to have Halloween 3D ready in time for a summer, 2010 release.


#6 RESIDENT EVIL DIRECTOR TAKING THE THREE MUSKETEERS TO 3-D

Apparently, anything with the word 3 in the title is nowadays destined to become a 3-D movie. Director Paul W.S. Anderson (Resident Evil, Mortal Kombat, Death Race) is developing a new movie based upon The Three Musketeers. Alexandre Dumas' classic 1844 novel tells the story of d'Artagnan, a young man who joins the French king's royal Musketeers, where he befriends Athos, Porthos and Aramis, the titular three Musketeers. There have of course been many movies based on The Three Musketeers, with the most recent being 2001's The Musketeer. Although Anderson's version will keep the 17th Century French setting, in addition to filming in 3-D, the movie will have a "contemporary feel... without compromising the fun of shooting a period piece." Anderson's cowriter on The Three Musketeers is Andrew Davies, cowriter of The Tailor of Panama and the Bridget Jones movies. Filming of The Three Musketeers is expected to start in 2010, aiming for a 2011 release.


#7 TYLER PERRY TO DIRECT A MOVIE THAT DOESN'T START WITH "TYLER PERRY'S"

Tyler Perry has signed a deal with Lionsgate to write, direct and produce an adaptation of the 1975 play For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf, which was also previously adapted as a 1982 TV movie. The original For Colored Girls... is a play that consists of 20 poems telling stories of "love, abandonment, domestic abuse and other issues" faced by young black women. For Colored Girls... will be the tenth movie for Tyler Perry in his successful collaboration with Lionsgate, and Perry's first film based on something he didn't come up with himself. Perry's upcoming movies include Tyler Perry's I Can Do Bad All by Myself opening on September 11 and Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married Too? opening on April 2. Filming of For Colored Girls... will start in Atlanta in November, and Lionsgate is expecting to release it sometime in 2010.


#8 NICOLAS CAGE ANGRY ABOUT ALL THESE NEW 3-D MOVIES

Hollywood's new love affair with the 3-D format is now starting to stretch outside animated kids' movies, big action blockbusters and horror movies with the news that Nicolas Cage has signed to star in Drive Angry, a revenge thriller that will be shot in 3-D. Drive Angry is the story of a man chasing the people who killed his daughter and kidnapped her baby down a highway in a bloody high speed pursuit. Drive Angry will be directed by Patrick Lussier, who, in addition to directing Dracula 2000 and its sequels, most recently directed the 3-D remake of My Bloody Valentine, from a script by Lussier and Todd Farmer (cowriter of Jason X and My Bloody Valentine). Filming of Drive Angry is scheduled to start in April, 2010 in Shreveport, Louisiana.


#9 KEANU REEVES GOING THE INDIE COMEDY ROUTE WITH HENRY'S CRIME

Keanu Reeves will be producing and starring in an independent romantic comedy called Henry's Crime, which will start filming in Buffalo, NY in November. In Henry's Crime, Reeves will play a "bighearted man" who is falsely accused of robbing a bank. Henry's Crime will be directed by Malcolm Venville, whose first movie, 44 Inch Chest, is still awaiting release, from a script by Sacha Gervasi (cowriter of The Terminal, The Big Tease).





#10 COLIN FIRTH TO PLAY KING GEORGE VI IN THE KING'S SPEECH

The Weinstein Company has acquired the rights to The King's Speech, an upcoming British production about King George VI (the current queen's father), who struggled with a speech impediment, and was thrust into the spotlight when his brother abdicated the throne. Colin Firth will star as the king, also known as "Bertie," while Geoffrey Rush will costar as his speech therapist. The King's Speech will be directed by Tom Hooper (HBO's John Adams) from a script by David Seidler (cowriter of Tucker: The Man and His Dream). Filming is expected to start later this year, and the movie is aiming for a 2010 release date.


ROTTEN IDEA OF THE WEEK: BIG MOMMA'S HOUSE 3

There were actually a lot of sort of crappy idea this week, so I don't really feel right just pointing out one, but I'm pretty sure that the one that I would hear the most about if I didn't label as "Rotten" is Big Momma's House 3. 20th Century Fox saw pretty big grosses for the first two movies ($174 million worldwide for the first, and $138 million for the second), and so it's actually not that surprising that the studio has hired a writer to start work on a third movie. The lucky writer is Randi Mayem Singer, who cowrote 1993's Mrs. Doubtfire, which also starred a man dressed up like a heavyset woman, and who also wrote the upcoming family comedy Tooth Fairy, starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. Anyway, there's obviously a market out there for movies starring Martin Lawrence in fat lady drag, but I'm just not part of that particular group.


For more Weekly Ketchup columns by Greg Dean Schmitz, check out the WK archive, and you can contact GDS through his MySpace page or via a RT forum message.

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