Weekly Ketchup: World War Z and This Is the End Getting Sequels?
This Week's Ketchup includes sequel news for Taken 3, the fifth Terminator, and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1; movies based on Captain Planet, Encyclopedia Brown, and Knight Rider; and new roles for Leonardo DiCaprio, Jamie Foxx, and (maybe) Vin Diesel.
This Week's Top Story
SEQUELS POSSIBLE FOR APOCALYPTIC HITS WORLD WAR Z AND THIS IS THE END
Destruction is a big thing this summer. Man of Steel is the most obvious, and where most of the press goes, but it's not the only movie to score well at the box office in June with calamitous events, and it's not the only such movie with sequel buzz either. After months of pre-release bad buzz about reshoots (and a six month release delay), World War Z opened this past weekend to $66 million in North America, and $111.8 million worldwide. Paramount Pictures is claiming it as "the best opening for an original live-action tentpole since Avatar," which is a bit weird because it was based on a bestselling novel. Anyway, there's been talk for a while of a possible World War Z trilogy, and those numbers were enough for Paramount and Brad Pitt's Plan B to officially start development on a sequel. All of this is arguably at least partly due to the surprisingly positive reviews for World War Z, and they were possibly due to the drastic changes to the film's plot. This link tells you about added scenes in the first hour of the film, and this detailed article describes the completely different third act. It also explains why that one guy looked like Matthew Fox. The quasi-reality-based apocalyptic comedy This is the End has also been quietly doing well (opening to over $20 million against Man of Steel), and Seth Rogen's codirector Evan Goldberg is already talking up his idea for what a sequel could be like, which sounds like it veers crazily off into movie-within-a-movie territory. Which is not to say that a sequel has actually been greenlit, of course (but it's at least being talked about).
Fresh Developments This Week
#1 DJANGO UNCHAINED STARS TO REUNITE FOR MEAN BUSINESS ON NORTH GANSON STREET
After playing opposing roles in Django Unchained, Jamie Foxx and Leonardo DiCaprio are now attached to costar in a new project for Warner Bros called Mean Business on North Ganson Street. The movie will be an adaptation of an upcoming crime novel by S. Craig Zahler about two disgraced and/or demoted detectives who are reassigned to a crime-riddled town in Missouri. The title of the movie bears some noting as Leonardo DiCaprio's next movie is called The Wolf of Wall Street, with director Martin Scorsese, who himself had early success with Mean Streets, which is one letter off from being the first and second word of this movie. When you add it all together, what you get is... yeah, it's a complete coincidence.
#2 JULIANNE MOORE MIGHT LEAD THE REBELLION IN THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PART 1
We might still be almost five months away from the November 22, 2013 release of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, but that's probably not really a reason for Lionsgate not to proceed with plans for the final two movies adapting The Hunger Games: Mockingjay (ie, few people are really expecting the audience for the first movie to stop showing up for the three sequels). And so, we learned this week that negotiations have begun with Julianne Moore for her to play Alma Coin, who is an important figure in the growing rebellion against the evil President Donald Sutherland Coriolanus Snow. If she signs, Moore will appear in both parts of Mockingjay, which are scheduled for release on November 21, 2014 and November 20, 2015, respectively.
#3 VIN DIESEL HEADLINES THIS WEEK IN MARVEL NEWS... BUT WHY?
The biggest news this week involving Marvel Studios is that Vin Diesel revealed that he will be meeting soon with them. That, however, is basically where the story begins and ends. Why does Marvel want to talk to Vin Diesel? Is it for Thanos, the expected big bad in The Avengers 2, or perhaps for an entirely different superhero project? At one point years ago, his name came up concerning a possible Sub-Mariner movie, but as far as we know right now, Marvel's not actively pursuing that (though he could certainly appear in another character's film). This writer thinks it's probably Thanos, but for the most shallow of reasons (Vin Diesel's jawline sort of resembles the way Thanos is often drawn). In a similarly mysterious vein, we also learned this week that Australian actor Josh Helman has been cast for several weeks of work on X-Men: Days of Future Past, but that's again, about all we know. He might be playing any one of dozens of Marvel's mutants, or he might be playing "Sentinel Technician #2." You say you just absolutely love Marvel news stories with very few details to go on, and just two such stories aren't enough? Alright then: Also this week, Marvel announced another mystery movie for the release date of July 8, 2016. What movie that might be, in between mystery movies on May 6, 2016 and May 5, 2017, is anyone's guess. And finally, here's another release date which is only sort of Marvel-related. Focus Features and Universal Pictures have announced a release date of August 1, 2014 for their adaptation of the "Mommie Porn" novel Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James. And the reason that's relevant here? That's the same release date as Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy.
#4 WARNER BROS DEVELOPING LEGO SPINOFF NINJAGO
This past weekend saw the debut of the trailer for The LEGO Movie in theaters with Monsters University, preparing audiences for the film's release on February 7, 2014. Warner Bros is apparently happy with the big screen prospects for all things LEGO, as the studio has hired two of the writers of The LEGO Movie to work on an adaptation of the LEGO toy line Ninjago. As you can guess from the title, the Ninjago line revolves around ninjas and other types of warriors and monsters inspired by both Japanese and Chinese mythology. Ninjago was also the inspiration for the Cartoon Network animated series Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu which has aired on the network since January, 2011. Warner Bros is reportedly close to finding a director for Ninjago, who will be someone other than Phil Lord and Chris Miller, the directors of The LEGO Movie, who also directed Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs. With little more to base an opinion on, consider this Ninjago story a true borderline "???" this week.
Rotten Ideas of the Week
#5 ENCYCLOPEDIA BROWN AND THE CASE OF THE UNREQUESTED MOVIE DEVELOPMENT
It's been an ongoing theme in Hollywood since the 1990s that studios love going to the material of their own childhood for material for movies for tomorrow's kids. Listing all of the examples would take too much space, but since this entry is mostly about Warner Bros, let's use Yogi Bear and Where the Wild Things Are as examples (Garfield and The Smurfs are good examples at other studios). The latest example of this strategy is Encyclopedia Brown, the 28 volume series of boy detective books by Donald J. Sobol which were first published in 1963 (until his death in 2012). Warner Bros is now developing an Encyclopedia Brown movie, which is the latest effort in a franchise history of film attempts that goes back to the early 1980s and Chevy Chase. This story comes just two weeks after a similar announcement at 20th Century Fox for plans for the Choose Your Own Adventure franchise. Encyclopedia Brown is a borderline "Rotten Idea" just because as noted before, do kids today even know who he is?
#4 LIVE ACTION CAPTAIN PLANET BACK IN DEVELOPMENT AGAIN
My, how time flies when you're not really paying much attention. As this writer prepared to report this week on the idea of a live action Captain Planet movie, it was with some surprise that I realized that it was actually almost two years ago now that we last reported on it. Anyway, now it's Sony Pictures that is picking up the rights to a movie based upon the early 1990s kids cartoon Captain Planet and the Planeteers about a blue skinned superhero with green hair who fights crime... as long as it's environmental crime. Let that contradiction sink in a bit. Captain Planet was aided by five teenagers, four of whom wore rings representing the elements of Earth, Fire, Water, and Wind, and the fifth was stuck with... Heart. Don Cheadle has also starred in a series of Captain Planet short films for FunnyorDie. Attempts at a live action Captain Planet movie date back to the 1990s.
#3 PARAMOUNT ANNOUNCES NEW TERMINATOR TRILOGY (AND LEAVES SOMEONE OUT)
In advance, every upcoming year has lots of big movies tentatively scheduled, but 2015 is some sort of crazy special example. It might be easier to list franchises that don't have entries planned for 2015 than those that do. The list of possible/likely "big movies" for 2015 got even longer this week with the official announcement by Paramount Pictures of a June 26, 2015 release date for the next Terminator movie. What's especially curious about the news is that the film is being described as "the first in a stand-alone trilogy," and nowhere in the announcement is there any mention of Arnold Schwarzenegger starring in this new film, which will be the fifth entry in the franchise (#4 was 2009's Terminator: Salvation). This movie, whatever it ends up being called, has made the news in recent weeks amidst talk of both Schwarzenegger and Dwayne Johnson appearing in it, but officially, Paramount Pictures isn't mentioning any of that just yet. The 33% Rotten score on the RT Tomatometer for Terminator: Salvation is why this new movie is still a "Rotten Idea" until we hear reasons to think otherwise.
#2 LIAM NEESON TO RECEIVE NEARLY THE BUDGET OF TAKEN TO STAR IN TAKEN 3
This story is mostly about math and the Taken franchise, but let's start with the math. In 2008, Liam Neeson starred in a little movie called Taken, which had a reported budget of $25 million. The movie ended up bringing in over $226 million internationally, so yeah, to little surprise, there was a Taken 2. That movie was released in October, 2012, and for his particular set of skills, Liam Neeson earned $15 million of the film's $45 million budget that time around. The investment paid off even better for the sequel, which now has an international total of over $376 million. And so, once again, to little surprise, there will be a Taken 3. And that finally brings us to this week's actual news, which is that Liam Neeson's deal this time is in the $20 million range, or in other words, a number close to the entire budget for the first movie. Deals will now be sought for Famke Janssen and Maggie Grace, who play his wife and daughter, respectively. As for why this is one of the week's most Rotten Ideas, here's one last bit of math for you: 21% on the RT Tomatometer for Taken 2.
#1 KNIGHT RIDER: THE MOVIE FROM THE WRITER OF... WILD HOGS?
Not every movie based upon an old TV show is inherently a bad idea. We've actually gotten several pretty great movies from old TV shows (The Fugitive, The Untouchables, and the Mission: Impossible franchise, for some examples). Any movie needs the right parts, and in the case of this week's Most Rotten Idea, the part that really makes it rotten involves the 2007 "comedy" Wild Hogs, which has a Tomatometer score of just 14%. Screenwriter Brad Copeland wrote that movie, and now he's been hired by the Weinstein Co. to work on their adaptation of the hit 1980s TV science fiction-tinged adventure show Knight Rider. The motivation behind a Knight Rider movie seems mostly to be based on the success of the Fast and the Furious franchise, but those cars also don't talk, or require someone to write lines for them to deliver. And that brings us back to Wild Hogs.
For more Weekly Ketchup columns by Greg Dean Schmitz, check out the WK archive, and you can contact GDS via Facebook.