This Week's Ketchup sees an unusual number of pairs: two remakes, two prequels to beloved sci-fi movies, two movies based on recent video games and two movies based on 1971 children's books with environmental themes. In this Noah's Ark of industry related news, there are some gems, a handful of puzzlers, and maybe one or two that might leave one at a loss for words (whether in a good way or bad way remains to be seen). Oh, and of course, there's the Rotten Idea of the Week, which this time involves a possibly unnecessary adaptation that's indicative of the state of the relationship between Hollywood and the comics world. Click through to read the full article!
This is the week of Comic-Con International 2009 in San Diego, and so the world of movie news, and in particular, big fan-friendly projects, is quite active. Weekly Ketchup writer Greg Dean Schmitz unfortunately didn't get the opportunity to visit the mega convention this year, but he was still able to combine some of its biggest and juiciest news items with others that actually happened in Hollywood, a hop, skip, and a jump away from San Diego. Since this column has been written midway through the convention, it's possible some hot items might get missed this week, but as of publication, here's how the week stands.
This Week's Ketchup includes the requisite toy movie, but thankfully there are no remakes (although there is one movie based on an old TV show and two different movies based on young adult book series). Included in the original concepts are two comedies about today's economic hard times, a biopic about a classic children's book author, a historical epic about King Henry V and a time travel sci-fi action movie called Arena.
The film development news leading up to the 4th of July was relatively slow, but this week's Ketchup is overflowing hot news items, including several superhero movies, two TV show adaptations, the requisite relaunch of a 1980s movie, a SNL skit-turned-movie and new projects for Will Smith, George Clooney, Mel Gibson and Jason Statham.
#1 T.J. HOOKER TO RIDE A WINDSHIELD RIGHT INTO YOUR LOCAL MOVIE THEATER
Although Hollywood is still mostly infatuated with remakes, the industry hasn't forgotten old TV shows, with the latest wave coming mostly from the 1980s (The A-Team, MacGyver, Magnum P.I.), following the previous batch of TV show adaptations that was mostly from the 1970s (Charlie's Angels, Starsky & Hutch, The Dukes of Hazzard). The latest 1980s TV show to get put into development as a movie is the 1982-1986 ABC (and then CBS) cop drama, T.J. Hooker.
This Week's Ketchup features one of the most bizarre video game adaptation concepts ever announced (Asteroids?), news about Predators and Resident Evil 4, new projects for Seth Rogen and Julianne Moore, a couple of movies based upon interesting sounding books and we take you into the Independence Day weekend with one of the worst ideas for a remake ever, ever, ever announced.
#1 UNIVERSAL PICTURES HITS THE THRUST BUTTON FOR ASTEROIDS
Sometimes, things are called classic because they are just plain old, but rarely, the title is truly earned. Citizen Kane and Casablanca are classic movies, for example, while I Accuse My Parents is just plain old.
Most of the entertainment media's attention is focused on the deaths of Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson, but there were still interesting film development news this week, including two new video game based projects, a surprising new movie for director David Fincher (Fight Club), an even more surprising remake of a Coen brothers classic, and new movies for Daniel Craig, Adam Sandler and Kevin Spacey. And oh yeah, the Academy is totally changing the way the Oscars works.
#1 THE ACADEMY AWARDS DOUBLES THE BEST PICTURE FIELD AND HALVES THEIR IMPORTANCE. In a surprising move, this week the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences that they are doubling the number of movies that will be nominated for Best Picture (from five to ten) reverting to the way the awards were nominated back in the 1930s and early 1940s, up until 1943.
This Week's Ketchup brings you the usual news about sequels (James Bond, Mission: Impossible) and remakes (Conan, Bride of Frankenstein, Meatballs) as well as a refreshing number of original concepts, including news about fan favorite directors Darren Aronofsky (The Wrestler), John Carpenter (The Thing) and Andrew Stanton (WALL-E).
#1 THE NEW CONAN HAS BEEN FOUND, AND HE'S A LOT LIKE THE OLD ONE
Lionsgate and Nu Image/Millennium have apparently settled upon their choice for the star of the new Conan movie, and he bears a lot of similarities to the original movie Conan, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
This Week's Ketchup includes the requisite remake news (The Incredible Mr. Limpet, The Funhouse and... Saturday Night Fever?), casting news for The A-Team, director news for Conan and Heavy Metal and three different biopic projects.
This week's Ketchup sees Hollywood continuing its love affair with remakes, sequels, and movies based upon old toys and comic strip orange cats, as well as yet another Hamlet movie.
#1 THE GOVERNATOR'S MOVIES CONTINUE ON (MOSTLY) WITHOUT HIM: TOTAL RECALL, PREDATORS AND... COMMANDO
Arnold Schwarzenegger might not be making movies anymore, but his filmography is quickly becoming one of the most mined resources for remakes and sequels. First up, there is the news that Columbia has chosen Total Recall remake writer: Kurt Wimmer, writer/director behind Equilibrium and Ultraviolet, and scripter behind in-production projects Salt (starring Angelina Jolie) and Law Abiding Citizen (Jamie Foxx and Gerard Butler). Next up is a Moviehole report of Robert Rodriguez supposed interest for Schwarzenegger reprising his Dutch Schaefer role for Predators cameo. (That's the Predator sequel Rodriguez is producing, scheduled for a July 2010 release.) And finally, there's a rumor from JoBlo that 1985's Commando is being eyed for the remake treatment.
It's been a slow post-Memorial Day news week, but our top 11 stories still have some doozies, including four remakes, two movie projects based on British television shows and the news of what DreamWorks Animation plans to be releasing for the next few years.
#1 BUFFY THE TWILIGHT SLAYER
In 1997, writer and producer Joss Whedon took the idea of a TV show version of the 1992 Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie and turned it into a cultural and generational sensation, making Sarah Michelle Gellar a star and launching a rabid fanbase that is still among the largest and most dedicated that television has ever seen. The show, however, ended six years ago. Meanwhile, Twilight has come along and given today's young girls a new franchise of human-vampire canoodling to fantasize about...
This week's Ketchup has is very biopic heavy (six out of eleven stories), four of which are coincidentally themed around important events in the history of African Americans. There's also new movies for George Clooney and Ralph Fiennes, and the big Thor news we've been waiting weeks for.
#1 THE NORSE GODS OF THUNDER AND MISCHIEF, THOR AND LOKI, HAVE FOUND THEIR MORTAL FORMS
One of the most memorable scenes, and performances, in the new Star Trek is the opening sequence, in which George Kirk (James T.'s dad) is forced to take the helm of his ship after his captain's death, and make a very difficult command decision. Playing George Kirk was a young unknown actor named Chris Hemsworth, but in his brief role, he came across, in my opinion, as someone that it felt like I had seen in movies before, and frankly, wanted to see do more stuff in the future.
The Cannes Film Festival started this week, and as always, the associated film market has led to an unusual amount of high profile movie announcements, making for a very sensational Weekly Ketchup. Included in this week's top stories are two remakes (Cliffhanger and Fright Night), three movie adaptations of TV shows, yet another Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde movie and confirmation that Martin Scorsese will indeed direct a biopic of Old Blue Eyes. A year ago this week, the Weekly Ketchup reported Nancy Sinatra's negotiations with Universal Pictures on a biopic of her father, crooner and actor Frank Sinatra, that she hoped Martin Scorsese would direct.
This week's Ketchup features five new projects for Hugh Jackman following the success of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, two new movies each for Ben Stiller and Ray Stevenson, and new movies for Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Samuel L. Jackson, Keanu Reeves and even... Peter Griffin???
After X-Men Origins: Wolverine opened last weekend to $85 million, it's not surprising that 20th Century Fox is already developing a sequel. On half of the prints in theaters there is a scene after the credits that shows Wolverine drowning his sorrows in a Japanese bar. That scene is indeed intended to be a teaser for Wolverine 2, which will see Logan heading to Japan, a popular and long-running setting for his adventures in the comics.
This week's Ketchup features a slate full of 1980s nostalgia, including sequels or remakes of movies like Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Wall Street, Videodrome and even Drop Dead Fred.
#1 OLIVER STONE TO MAKE HIS FIRST SEQUEL WITH WALL STREET II
Earlier this year, Oliver Stone was quoted as saying that he had given up on Money Never Sleeps, the sequel to Wall Street, but the Los Angeles Times now reports that 20th Century Fox has signed the director back on to the project, which is now known as the more obviously sequel title, Wall Street 2. Michael Douglas is on board to reprise his role as Gordon Gekko. Shia LeBeouf is in talks to costar as a "young Wall Street trader under Gekko's spell," which also describes Charlie Sheen's character in the original movie. The details of the plot aren't known, except that it will focus again on Gordon Gekko, "whose exploits will closely reflect much of the greed and chicanery seen in the past year on Wall Street." The original sequel script was written by Stephen Schiff (The Deep End of the Ocean, 1997's Lolita), but a new rewrite is being done by Allan Loeb (Things We Lost in the Fire; co-writer of 21). 20th Century Fox is hoping to get Wall Street 2 ready for production as soon as this summer, 2009.
This week's Ketchup has sequel news for The Da Vinci Code, relaunch news for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and potential new movie franchises to follow for lovers of Angelina Jolie and post-apocalyptic first person shooter video games. #1 THE DA VINCI CODE 3: THE SEARCH FOR MORE MONEY
Although Angels & Demons, the second movie starring Tom Hanks as author Dan Brown's Robert Langdon character, isn't in theaters until May 15th, the author has already written a third novel and Columbia Pictures is trying to secure the rights. Unlike Angels & Demons, which was actually the first book featuring Langdon (adapted as a film sequel after The Da Vinci Code proved so popular), Brown's next book, entitled The Lost Symbol, is a true sequel to The Da Vinci Code, or the second sequel to Angels & Demons, to state it most accurately.
This week's Ketchup has news about sequels to Nanny McPhee, remakes of Piranha and Little Shop of Horrors, a movie version of Father Knows Best and new movies for Kristen Bell, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Megan Fox.
X-Men franchise producer Laura Shuler-Donner clarified this week one of the big mysteries and confusions about the upcoming X-Men: First Class project, although given the title and source material, it shouldn't have been a mystery at all. The confusion started when Variety a while back speculated that the movie would focus on the young mutants from the previous movies, like Kitty Pryde, Rogue, Iceman, etc.
This week, Hollywood seemed to actually be listening to our usual complaints, as most of the new projects that were announced could be described as genuinely original concepts, except for a couple of sequels, both of which are for movies that aren't even out yet, and one videogame adaptation that is based upon a game that is more of a critic's favorite than just your typical dumbed down fan favorite.
Right smack in the middle of this week was April Fool's Day, so some stories this week had to be always be viewed with a grain of salt, but there was indeed real movie news. And as usual, being true didn't stop some stories from still seeming ridiculous and incredible. In that spirit, starting this week, the Weekly Ketchup will be ending with the Rotten Story of the Week, the story that's just so weird that it would have to be an April Fool's Day joke (but isn't).
This week's first few days, mostly because of the annual Entertainment Exhibitors Expo in lovely Palm Springs, has brought a surprising amount of movie news, so this is an extra early edition of Weekly Ketchup just to keep up with everything. Your regular diet of sequels, remakes and disastrous career decisions is all here for you to enjoy, as usual. Spider-Man 4 & 5: Villains Revealed!
Last week, director Sam Raimi revealed that on Spider-Man 3, he didn't have complete control over what villains to include, but for the next two movies he does. For Spider-Man 4 and Spider-Man 5, which are expected to film back-to-back...
This Week's Ketchup is chock full of casting news (over 15 actors and actresses), as well as the expected comic book adaptations, biopics and a remake. #1 OSCAR WINNERS IN TALKS TO PLAY THE THREE STOOGES Two time Academy Award winner Sean Penn, Golden Globe nominee Jim Carrey and Academy Award winner Benicio Del Toro are MGM's choices to star as Larry, Curly and Moe in their Farrelly Brothers-directed relaunch of The Three Stooges. Yes, really. Sean Penn, who might have seemed the least likely of the three, is the first to be signed, and Carrey and Del Toro are in negotiations. Jim Carrey is also planning on gaining 40 pounds to acquire the physical look of Curly. These casting choices are remarkably inspired, with Penn in particular actually bearing a remarkable facial resemblance to Larry Fine.