Briefly: This probably won’t be exactly the theme park you’re looking for — we presume there will be no killing — but everyone wants to be a victor, and theme park companies know it. Lionsgate announced today that it is considering a new theme park attraction based on The Hunger Games. In the same conference call that brought us the news of Ender’s Game possibly migrating to television, Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer said that the company has had offers in “two territories about potential theme park opportunities” based on The Hunger Games. We don’t know what territories, or what parks.
Still, for certain types of film series, the theme park attraction can be a great money machine that goes beyond what disc media sales and other licensing can create. And so Feltheimer says “We’re excited about those opportunities and we’re pursuing them.”
Maybe someone will design a great attraction that puts attendees not in the Games, but in the crowd during the Reaping, or just throws visitors into the poorest District areas, and has them try to feed a family. That would be a neat twist. Because otherwise a shiny theme park attraction seems like a really weird and even inappropriate way to keep The Hunger Games going. [The Wrap]
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Briefly: ‘Tis the season for the corporate earnings call, and we’re getting a lot of interesting news out of a couple of these conferences between execs and shareholders. Disney had its call yesterday, and opened the day by announcing four new Marvel shows and an “event miniseries” on Netflix — a good way to keep shareholders happy on the important day.
Lionsgate did its own call today, and one question concerned the future of Ender’s Game as a possible franchise. The film directed by Gavin Hood hasn’t performed in quite the way a company might hope a big sci-fi piece would, with $41m in global earnings so far, but that’s not so bad for a film that has a story and ending like Ender’s. The film, which hews close to the source material in many ways, isn’t quite a big crowd-rousing spectacle.
So there’s no instant sequel green light. Asked about the future of Ender today, Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer said the company plans to “wait another week or two” before making the decision. But there’s a wrinkle, as he also said that Ender’s story could spin off to TV. [Variety]
After almost a decade of Jigsaw, torture and traps, the Saw franchise took a hiatus back in 2010. The seventh film, Saw 3D, was a bigger financial success than the previous installment, but critically it was trampled and producers felt after seven years in a row, it was time to take a break.
Three years have now passed sans-Saw and this past Halloween was the first in a while without a proper horror film for audiences to enjoy. Lionsgate executives have acknowledged a desire to bring the franchise back and it seems those wheels have now started to turn. An eighth Saw film has been put into active development. Read More »
Next month’s release of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire has an interesting parallel to the film itself. When the original movie came out, expectations were high but impressive results raised them even higher. Because of that success, the release of the second film has fans and executives alike expecting nothing short of a mega-blockbuster. Sounds a lot like the film’s characters. Katniss and Peeta were thrust into the spotlight out of obscurity but after ultimate victory, their second trip to the arena is magnified one hundred fold.
To film something with huge expectations both on, and off, screen, director Francis Lawrence reportedly spend about $50 million more than Gary Ross did on the original film. One of those budget bumps was because of filming with IMAX cameras and, below, you can read about the budget and see the new IMAX poster. Read More »
Since the announcement of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, all of the marketing has carefully avoided one major thing: what happens in the second half of the movie. Well, with a few weeks to go before the November 22 release, and the release of the final trailer, the cat is out of the bag. Yes, Katniss and Peeta (Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson) go back into the games. This time, though, they’re not just fighting other tributes. They’re fighting a full roster of former winners.
The final final trailer for Francis Lawrence’s sequel, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, is now out and you can see it below. Read More »
Lionsgate has picked up a pitch for a low-budget horror film from Mike Flanagan and Jeff Howard, and the story has kind of a strange Silent Hill meets The Purge sorta slant. It’s based on a short story by Irish novelist Kealan Patrick Burke, and finds a couple characters trapped in a town in which the entire population has been replaced by grinning dopplegangers who like to hide around corners. That’s where the title Peekers comes from, and while it sounds a bit sill, the original story has enough of a creepy tone that, adapted and expanded properly, it might make for a good film. Read More »
Briefly: Johnny Depp‘s last couple years haven’t been so hot when it comes to broad success. He’s had some measure of financial success, and critical acclaim, but rarely for the same project. The Pirates franchise and stuff like The Tourist hasn’t done much to burnish Depp’s star, and smaller films like The Rum Diary haven’t found much of an audience. Rango is among the rare highlights of the last couple years for the actor.
Now he’s in production on Mortdecai, based on the first of three connected novels by Kyril Bonfiglioli. In addition to Depp, the cast features Gwyneth Paltrow, Ewan McGregor, Paul Bettany and Olivia Munn. In addition to the last couple names, a press release announcing the start of production notes that Guy Burnet, Michael Byrne, Michael Culkin, Jonny Pasvolsky, Ulrich Thomsen, and Paul Whitehouse have also signed on.
David Koepp is directing from a script written by Eric Aronson. The film sounds like a bit of a throwback — based on story outline alone, this might be scratching the same itch Depp had when he was trying to put a new version of The Thin Man into action a couple years back. The story is described as: “Juggling some angry Russians, the British Mi5, his impossibly leggy wife and an international terrorist, debonair art dealer and part time rogue Charlie Mortdecai (Depp) must traverse the globe armed only with his good looks and special charm in a race to recover a stolen painting rumored to contain the code to a lost bank account filled with Nazi gold.”
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Jennifer Lawrence is currently rivaling Guillermo del Toro in the “projects in development” department. Seemingly every month, the most recent Best Actress Oscar-winner lines up a few new books or scripts she’ll hopefully make in the future. Now, one of the many just jumped ahead of the pack with a new director.
That director is Destin Daniel Cretton, the writer and director of this year’s masterpiece Short Term 12. The film is The Glass House, based on a memoir by columnist Jeannette Walls. It’s a Lionsgate property to which Lawrence attached herself last year. Read More »