Briefly: It is probably shallow to become more interested in a movie when the rating is R rather than PG-13. But then, the action/comedy/romance This Means War looks fairly shallow, so my slightly elevated interest in the movie might be a perfect match for it. The film stars Chris Pine and Tom Hardy as best friends who are also partners in the CIA. But their friendship is torn asunder when they fall for the same woman, played by Reese Witherspoon.

While Fox was hoping to get the film on screens with a PG-13 rating, the MPAA gave it an R, and upon appeal the board upheld the rating. Why is the film R? Does Chris Pine’s head explode? Nope — it is just R for “some sexual content.” Oh, that repressed MPAA! I can’t imagine the sex in the movie being all that crazy, but we’ll see what the story really is when the film is released on Tuesday, February 14. Or, the Valentine’s Day release was the plan; now that the film will go out with an R, perhaps it will be pushed back tpo the 17th once again.

UPDATE: Deadline now reports that “a couple of racy jokes” were cut, and the film was granted a PG-13 rating.

Check out the trailer again after the break. Read More »


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Briefly: Figured out your Valentine’s Day plans yet? Well, here’s one idea for you. Fox has moved McG‘s romantic action-comedy This Means War from Friday, February 17 to Tuesday, February 14. The film stars Chris Pine and Tom Hardy as a pair of best friends and CIA partners whose relationship torn apart when they fall for the same woman (Reese Witherspoon). It doesn’t strike me as the most romantic premise in the world — actually, it kind of sounds like all three of them are being assholes — but between Witherspoon’s chick flick pedigree and the promise of Captain Kirk and Bane running around with high-tech weapons, I suppose the movie’s date night appeal is obvious.

This Means War is the only movie currently scheduled to open on the 14th, but it’ll be up against the previous weekend’s films including The Vow, Safe House, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, and the 3D rerelease of Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. Ghost Rider Spirit of Vengeance and Studio Ghibli’s The Secret World of Arrietty will hit theaters three days later, on the 17th.

Relive the magic of the first This Means War trailer after the jump, and let us know which of these films you’ll be taking your date to when the holiday rolls around.

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This is the first edition in a new regular series where I attempt to answer your questions about the film industry. We’ll be taking a look at the box office, forgotten Hollywood landmarks, the marketing process and more. Sometimes I’ll attempt to answer the question myself, and other times I will contact experts in the particular field to give a more detailed answer. Please feel free to send your questions to I decided to start off this series with an easier question, and use it as a jumping-off point to delve into the more complex world of screen credits.

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McG Signing to Direct ‘Puzzle Palace’ For Summit

Briefly: Early last year screenwrier David Guggenheim sold Puzzle Palace, a cop drama pitch to Summit. That sale came on the heels of Guggenheim selling Safe House, which has since been filmed by Daniel Espinosa with Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds in the lead roles.

Now Puzzle Palace is written, and it looks like the director will be McG. He’s just finishing This Means War for Fox — we just saw that trailer in the past couple weeks — and this could be his next film, though he’s also got some other projects and television developments to juggle. All we’ve got on the story in Puzzle Palace is this, from THR:

The story centers on the son of a veteran police officer  who learns his father is framed for murder. When he finds out that there is evidence hidden that could free his father, he is determined to find it, even though it means breaking into One Police Plaza, the most secure building in all of New York City. He ends up being locked inside the police HQ with crooked cops on his tail.

Do the stereotypical tough guy friends who are total bros until a blonde gets between them really exist? I’ve never seen that particular personality in the wild, but I imagine that McG has. Maybe he sees that guy every time he looks in the mirror. His new film This Means War, in which Chris Pine and Tom Hardy are best friends until they realize they’re both dating Reese Witherspoon, feels like it might be a document of McG’s own friendships and dating experiences. I don’t mean to make any personal assumptions, but I don’t know how else to explain the fact that this film exists. See the trailer below. Read More »

Universal Says Goodbye To ‘Ouija’

Back in May, a rumor broke on Twitter that Universal was halting pre-viz work and shutting down production on Ouija, the big budget, board game adventure film that was to be directed by McG and written by Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz. Inquires to Universal at the time denied this rumor and we didn’t run the story. Turns out that was most likely the final few gasps of breath before the true ending.

Now Vulture is reporting Universal has officially dropped the Hasbro board-game adaptation. McG and producer Michael Bay are free to shop the project around but, according to reports, Paramount has already passed. There’s more after the break. Read More »

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Briefly: Universal and Platinum Dunes continue to develop a movie based on the Ouija board, that supernatural telegraph that is somewhere between a board game and parlor trick. Making a good movie out of Ouija will certainly a hell of a parlor trick, and to help with the process the companies have just hired Simon Kinberg, the guy who wrote Mr. and Mrs. Smith, X-Men: The Last Stand, and co-wrote a draft of Sherlock Holmes. (Not, sadly, the BBC’s Sherlock.) He also wrote This Means War, which Ouija director McG just finished.

He’ll be polishing the previous draft by Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis (Tron Legacy). What happened to the work done by the last reported hire, Evan Spiliotopoulos? Not sure if his work is playing into the new draft going forward. But given that, as the LA Times says, Simon Kinberg’s “specialty is big, upscale — and sometimes comedic — action pieces,”this hire makes sense. After all, we’d already heard that Ouija is planned as a family adventure movie with a tone akin to an Indiana Jones movie.

McG’s ‘Ouija’ Gets a New Writer

Perhaps you were hoping that the Universal collaboration with Hasbro would somehow fail to produce the Ouija Board movie that we’ve been promised. (Or warned of, take your pic.) But the Platinum Dunes-produced, McG-directed film is very much alive. Tron Legacy writers Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz were originally on the script, but they’re now dealing with their TV show Once Upon a Time and Ouija consequently needs a new writer. That the new guy has a lot of Disney experience might surprise you, until realizing that he also worked on Universal’s Wanted 2. Read More »

Fox set release dates for two films today: the McG action/comedy/romance This Means War will get a Valentine-ish bow on February 17, 2012. The film has Chris Pine and Tom Hardy as CIA agents literally fighting over Reese Witherspoon. Til Schweiger, Angela Bassett, Chelsea Handler and David Koechner are all in the film, too. Can the idea of Chris Pine and Tom Hardy trying to destroy one another overcome the disdain some of you might have for McG? Only a trailer will tell, but I’m eager to see some footage.

And then Chronicle got a February 3 2012 date. That one is written by up and coming writer Max Landis, and has Big Fan editor Josh Trank set to direct. It follows “three Portland teens after they develop powers from exposure to a mysterious substance.” We don’t know much more, but will present any further info as it comes along.