Activision is going to make a mint with the latest Call of Duty game, Call of Duty, Black Ops II, so it can afford to spend a mint making and promoting it. In addition to the general slate of talent assembled to created the game (which includes screenwriter David S. Goyer and musician Trent Reznor) the company went big with a new commercial to make sure every possible buyer knows about the game.

Guy Ritchie (Snatch, Sherlock Holmes) directed a clever and fun TV spot for the game featuring an appearance by Ritchie’s own Sherlock, Robert Downey, Jr. The spot plays up the title’s online gameplay aspect, and the constant competitive one-upmanship it engenders. There’s even a nod (or two) to that other big-screen franchise that Downey anchors. Read More »

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Guy Ritchie to Direct ‘Treasure Island’

Briefly: Guy Ritchie and Warner Bros. have done well together with the Sherlock Holmes films, and the studio has now set the director to tackle Treasure Island.

Lionel Wigram, the producer who set up Sherlock, has been developing Treasure Island for some time, and since he’s taking the same sort of ‘period + modern style’ approach to the Robert Louis Stevenson story that worked for Sherlock, it makes sense that Ritchie would take the director’s chair.

Alex Harakis is the latest screenwriter to board the project. We don’t know if he’s going to work from previous drafts that Wigram and Warners had commissioned, or if this is a page one rewrite. We also don’t know where this lies on the priority list for Ritchie, Wigram, and WB. They’re working on that Man From U.N.C.L.E. update that Steven Soderbergh walked away from, and Ritchie may end up doing some new version of Cannonball Run, as well. [Deadline]

Over the summer, Warner Bros. put David Dobkin‘s Arthur & Lancelot on the fast track at the expense of two other adaptations of the legend, but now it’s looking like Dobkin’s project may not come together at the studio, either. Though the picture’s been moving at a brisk pace over the past few months, it’s now hit a huge roadblock in the form of budget troubles so bad that Warner Bros. has told Dobkin to go ahead and set it up elsewhere if he can.

The news comes right on the heels of Legendary’s decision to put Alex Proyas’ Paradise Lost on hold for similar reasons, just as Disney did with The Lone Ranger earlier in the year. More details after the jump.

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Briefly: There’s not much info right now, but it is sounding like Guy Ritchie is going to continue his partnership with Warner Bros. after making the two action-oriented Sherlock Holmes films. He and Holmes producer Lionel Wigram are forming a new company, and the two have just made a deal with Warner Bros. to board The Man From U.N.C.L.E., scripted by Scott Z. Burns and formerly set to be directed by Steven Soderbergh.

At this point Deadline just reports the deal, without specifying that Ritchie will direct. But this would be a pretty obvious big follow-up to Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. (Deadline later updated to say that “the intention is for Ritchie to direct the film.”

The question now would be casting. George Clooney was once cast in one of the two big roles, but left the gig because of concerns about his physical condition and the effect that would have on his ability to perform the film’s action. Warner Bros. was unable to come to new casting decisions, which was a big part of why former director Steven Soderbergh left the project just weeks ago. We’ll have more on this one as it develops.

It’s time for another round of Hypothetical Movie Contract Info. Early this year we heard that Warner Bros. is looking at making a new film called Cannonball Run. That is, of course, the name of an early ’80s racing comedy that spawned a sequel and one or two tenuously-connected DTV films. I probably wouldn’t call this a remake, as a new Cannonball Run is likely to bear as much resemblance to the 1981 film as Steven Soderberg’s Ocean’s Eleven did to the Rat Pack movie with which it shares a name.

That’s not an idle mention of Ocean’s Eleven. Not only did Rat Pack-ers figure into the original Cannonball Run; the current report is that Guy Ritchie, previously mentioned as a possible director, is still the studio pick for the film. And he wants to enlist Brad Pitt and George Clooney, the better to make an Oceans Eleven-style film.

Or perhaps we should say ‘commercial’ instead of ‘film,’ as General Motors is also nearing a deal to finance the movie, as a showcase for the best cars GM can build. Read More »

‘Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows’ Trailer #2

As we’re already halfway through October, we’ll soon see a deluge of new marketing materials for films being released in the coveted holiday window. Kicking things off is a new trailer for Guy Ritchie‘s Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. This one uses all the same light comedy and heavy speed ramping that was in the first trailer, and confirms that Rachel McAdams returns for at least a cameo. (Unless that is new co-star Noomi Rapace disguised as McAdams, which seems unlikely.) No glimpse of Stephen Fry as Mycroft Holmes, sadly, but we do get to see more of Jared Harris (Mad Men) as arch-villan Dr. Moriarty.

The trailer doesn’t show us a lot more of the interaction between Holmes and Watson (Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law) beyond what we saw in previous video, choosing instead to emphasize action. Check it out below and try to determine whether or not Ritchie and writers  Kieran Mulroney and Michele Mulroney have managed to inject a little more heart into this sequel.

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VOTD: ‘[the films of] Guy Ritchie’

If you read our site regularly, you’re probably familiar with Kees van Dijkhuizen‘s excellent “[the films of]” series by now. But in case you’re not: Each month, van Dijkhuizen selects a film director and showcases his style by cutting together a carefully edited montage of clips from the director’s oeuvre. For the eighth installment (out of a projected twelve) van Dijkhuizen’s decided to go with “[the films] of Guy Ritchie.”

Ritchie, of course, isn’t known for shying away from violence or language, so this month there are actually two variations of the video — a hardcore one for Vimeo, and a slightly more toned down one for YouTube. Watch them both after the jump.

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Briefly: It is very possible that you’ll read of Warner Bros.’ enthusiasm for the David Dobkin script Arthur & Lancelot and give a shrug. We know little about the story, after all, other than the fact that it comes from the Wedding Crashers and The Change-Up director and is a contemporary retelling of the Arthurian legend. We don’t even know much about the tone — is it comic, action-oriented, or something else? — but the fact that Sherlock Holmes producer Lionel Wigram is backing the project suggests a blend of action and comedy.

What might be interesting, however, is that Deadline reports two casualties of the process in which WB fast-tracked Arthur & Lancelot for a March 15, 2013 release. The Bryan Singer remake of Excalibur, and Guy Ritchie and John Hodge‘s other Arthur film are both dead, says the site.

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