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Most of the deals to come out of Sundance have been fairly small, from a monetary perspective. There’s just not much cash in indies these days, so the glory days of massive buys at the fest seem to be gone for the time being.

And now along comes this reported deal for Vincenzo Natali‘s film Splice, which is all the more odd as the gene-warping creature feature certainly seemed like one of the more niche films at the fest. When the early films of David Cronenberg are regularly referenced by reviews that go on to insist that Splice gets more and more crazy, you don’t think of a massive summer release. But that’s what Joel Silver is reportedly planning. Read More »

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We’ve recently received word that a couple of productions have hit some pretty major road bumps. First up, according to Variety, Warner Brothers has pulled out of the Masters of the Universe project. Universe has had a pretty troubled history all around: When a script review for Justin Marks Grayskull: Masters of the Universe script first hit the web over a year ago, there was much rejoicing. Peter even wrote  about five reasons why Marks’ live action He-Man might be cool.

Shortly afterwards, we learned that the project was basically dead, before it was resurrected with Kung Fu Panda director John Stevenson at the helm, along with producer Joel Silver. Now, Variety says, it turns out that “Mattel and WB didn’t see eye to eye over the direction of the project and made a mutual decision to let the option lapse this month.” Mattel is expected to shop the property elsewhere with Stevenson still attached. If I had to guess though, I’d say they won’t have the easiest time of it; in this economy, studios want sure bets, and a big expensive action/adventure flick based on a moribund property with a fairly unproven director could be a huge risk. Box office wise, you could either end up with Transformers, or Land of the Lost, and I might even lean more towards the latter possibility in this case.
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Joel Silver May Revive Swamp Thing In 3D

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Just last night I killed some time with the trade paperback of Alan Moore’s first issues on Swamp Thing. Despite some clunky, overwrought lines those stories remain a landmark for smart horror comics. The tone is just so perfect and nuanced despite the tidbits that fail. I’d love to see a Swamp Thing movie that worked, one that could be quiet and creepy and feel like elemental forces of the green were rumbling beneath the theater. Now Collider is reporting that Joel Silver is developing a Swamp Thing movie, with an eye for 3D. That probably dashes my hopes. Read his comments after the jump. Read More »

Let’s get past the 3D (you probably already know I’m a staunch supporter) and the CG (you’ve seen the trailer, I’m guessing and know how… um… odd it is) and actually think about some of the other elements of the Avatar Day footage for a moment. Just for a moment…

Perhaps the least unexpected element of the presentation is how well executed the action moments are. James Cameron is one of the masters of the running, jumping, chasing scene. Of the scenes previewed, a healthy half featured some kind of ‘action’ and all of these played like a dream. My particular high point was a confrontation between the Avatars of Jake Sulley and Dr. Grace Augustine, amongst others, and some of the indigenous wildlife of Pandora. The confrontation escalates smoothly and naturally, is staged with great flair but no needless flash and the typical Cameron grasp of kinetics, composition, camera movement and montage. When it ended, I felt genuinely cheated, wanted more badly, and felt that if this sequence was all I had seen, then I’d have been unreservedly sold on the picture.

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Later this week we’ll be publishing our full interview with director James McTeigue (V For Vendetta, Ninja Assassin), but until then I’ve been posting some of the more newsworthy bits to come out of our discussion. Yesterday, McTeigue revealed his next project, a Se7en-stlye thriller titled The Raven, and he gave us an update on the development of the sci-fi adaptation Altered Carbon. You can read about both projects in our previous post.

James also took the time to address three comic book movie related rumors that have been circulating the interwebs recently, including Plastic Man, X-Men Origins: Magneto and a Superman reboot. Rumors debunked and quotes after the jump.

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There was a time in the ’90s when derelict kids were consuming entire packets of Big League Chew and ravaging through violent garbage comics like Trencher and the motherlode, DC ComicsLobo.

Try as I might to better myself, the possibilities of a long-planned R-rated Lobo movie adaptation remain irresistible. A proper cinematic depiction of  Lobo’s day-to-day would ideally blend the Star Wars cantina with Road House‘s Double Deuce. Certain scenes might need to be lifted wholesale from Bob Guccione’s Caligula. Of course, is there a leading actor today who could embody this gutter-minded, intergalactic bounty-hunter (Juggalo forefather)? Calling Shia LaBeouf.

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Last we heard, Shane Black‘s treatment for a new Lethal Weapon film was shot dead in the water by series star Mel Gibson. IGN was able to talk to producer Joel Silver, who claims that the project might still happen, eventually.

“We talked about it, but it was something that Mel didn’t want to do now,” Silver explained. “It doesn’t mean that he doesn’t want to do it ever, but as of right now, he doesn’t.” … “If we can do it, it would be fun. Shane [Black] had a great take on it, a great idea, a great feeling about it. He did a really complex kind of treatment or outline, very complicated, very good. The idea that they wanted to get it up right away, we couldn’t do that, but we’ll see what happens.”

So, according to Silver, Mel just isn’t interested in returning to the series right now. But series director Richard Donner previously inferred that another installment isn’t likely to happen without his involvement. And from what I understand, Black wanted to helm a film based on the extensive treatment that Silver mentioned above. Shane Black is a great director, and an even better writer. Let Donner produce, but I’d rather see a fifth Lethal Weapon film with Black at the helm.

Warner Bros has hired J. Michael Straczynski to write a remake of Forbidden Planet. The original saw a group of Earth scientists who are sent some 17 light years away to investigate what happened to a colony of settlers on Altair-4. They find a man with a secret and his daughter who somehow survived a hideous monster attack on their planet. Gene Roddenberry has noted that Fred Wilcox’s original 1956 sci-fi film was one of the inspirations for Star Trek.

Loosely based on William Shakespeare’s The Tempest, the movie was nominated for best special effects Oscar, and was noted for its groundbreaking use of an all-electronic score, and the first appearances of Robby the Robot and the C-57D starship (which was subsequently used in a number of productions, including the Twilight Zone’s “To Serve Man”). The movie’s poster was listed as the fifth best Movie Poster ever created by Premiere Magazine.

Straczynski is probably best known as the creator of Babylon 5, but in recent years he has transitioned into an A-list Hollywood writer. He wrote Clint Eastwood’s most recent film, Changeling, The Wachowski Brothers’ Ninja Assassin, and the big screen adaptation of World War Z. Many names have been attached to the project over the years including James Cameron. Joel Silver is producing the latest try.

Discuss: Do we really need a Forbidden Planet Remake?

source: THR

Mel Gibson Passes on Lethal Weapon 5

Last we heard, Joel Silver was waiting on Mel Gibson to approve Shane Black‘s treatment for Lethal Weapon 5. Now word comes from original series director Richard Donner (via: the Los Angeles Times) that Gibson turned down the idea and the project is dead.

“Mel turned it down. I would like to think that Mel turned it down because I wasn’t involved. Knowing Mel, I would like to think that. Would that be the kind of thing he does? It sure would be,” Donner said. “It’s too bad, actually, because Channing Gibson, who wrote the fourth one, and Mike Riva, a designer on three of them, and myself and Derek [Hoffman, an associate at The Donner Company] had an incredibly strong story for the fifth movie. But we weren’t given the opportunity and I think maybe I could have convinced Mel to do it. But Warners chose to go with Joel Silver.”

And if that leaves any room for speculation, Donner concluded “Yes, the project is pretty much dead in the water unless someone had the sense to come to me.” I was a big Donner fan back in the 80’s, especially after Superman, but I would really like to see what Black has up his sleeve. Besides having written the original Lethal Weapon screenplay, Black made a huge splash with his 2005 directorial debut Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (which was one of my favorite films of that year). I have faith that Black’s film would be so much more than the last couple sequels in the series. It’s too bad that Warner Bros can’t get Donner on board as a producer, which to me sounds like the only possible resolution.