Hercules will be battling some formidable foes at the box office. The Brett Ratner-directed, Dwayne Johnson-starring epic has just moved up two weeks on the calendar, from August 8, 2014 to July 25, 2014. While there are currently no other releases scheduled for that new date, the film will be up against the second weeks of The Hobbit: There and Back Again and X-Men: Days of Future Past, both due out July 18. [THR]

After the jump, read about new release dates for Will Gluck and Quvenzhané Wallis’ Annie, Woody Harrelson and Owen Wilson’s Turkeys, and the next Nicholas Sparks adaptation.

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Quvenzhané Wallis Confirmed for ‘Annie’

Quvenzhané Wallis went home empty-handed from last night’s Oscars, but here’s some good news for her. The Beasts of the Southern Wild star has just been confirmed for the title role in Annie, weeks after we learned that she was in the mix.

Though Wallis is the first confirmed actor, Sony’s remake of the classic musical already has some notable talent behind the scenes. Will Gluck (Easy A) is directing from a script written by Emma Thompson and rewritten by Aline Brosh McKenna, with Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Jay-Z producing. Hit the jump to keep reading.

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At 9 years old, Quvenzhané Wallis already has the kind of career many actresses would kill for. Her very first starring turn, in Beasts of the Southern Wild, netted her a Best Actress Oscar nomination, making her the youngest-ever contender in the category. Her next film, Twelve Years a Slave, puts her among a star-studded cast under renowned director Steve McQueen. Now she’s in the mix for the iconic title role in Annie, Sony’s remake of the beloved Broadway musical. Hit the jump to keep reading.

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Director Steve McQueen‘s last two films, Hunger and Shame, were relatively intimate affairs with smallish casts anchored by Michael Fassbender. In contrast, his upcoming Twelve Years a Slave, boasts a far more expansive cast — and what a cast it is. In addition to established names like Fassbender, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Brad Pitt, the lineup also includes up-and-comers like Pariah actress Adepero Oduye and Beasts of the Southern Wild star Dwight Henry. Now, with shooting already underway, Henry’s Beasts co-star Quvenzhané Wallis has apparently been added to the roster as well.

The first photo from the set shows Ejiofor and Wallis alongside an adult actress and a child actor. It looks like the foursome comprise the Northrup family, though we don’t have enough info at this point to say for sure. Check out the image and read more about the film after the jump.

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Editor’s Note: We’re re-running Germain’s review of this film from Sundance, as Beasts of the Southern Wild is in theaters now, and very much deserves your attention.

When the film world converged on Park City, Utah for the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, several movies were highly anticipated. Beasts of the Southern Wild was not one of them. But in the truest and most exciting tradition of this legendary film festival, word of mouth after the first screening spread like wildfire and Benh Zeitlin‘s directorial debut became the talk of the town. Fox Searchlight purchased the film for distribution and screenings later in the week all sold out.

So does Beasts of the Southern Wild live up to those wild expectations? Absolutely. It creates an entire new world where a six-year-old girl named Hushpuppy (Quvenzhane Wallis) lives in squalor with her father Wink (Dwight Henry). When Wink gets sick, Hushpuppy’s world is almost literally turned upside down and she must come to grips with her inner strength, her mortality, and a whole lot more.

After the jump, read more about this fantastic film or – if you aren’t in a reading mood – watch a video blog featuring Peter and myself. Read More »

Forget costumed heroes, vampire hunters, rogue assassins, and ’80s action stars — the summer flick I’m really dying to see centers around a six-year-old girl. Beasts of the Southern Wild, a fantasy drama from first-time director Benh Zeitlin, flew almost completely under the radar before it hit Sundance in January. In the months since, however, it feels like no one’s been able to stop raving about it.

That kind of buzz can get downright annoying when a film takes too long to jump from the festival circuit into theaters, but fortunately Fox Searchlight isn’t holding out too long for this one and has it slated to open later this month. The first trailer released last month offered a small glimpse of the movie’s magic, and now they’ve given us an enchanting new clip and an intriguing featurette to go with it.

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Fox Searchlight has become a big buyer at Sundance in the past couple years, and this year has already picked up two of the most acclaimed films playing the fest. Last night the company grabbed the rights to the John Hawkes/Helen Hunt film The Surrogate, which is already generating Oscar talk for next year thanks to the strength of Hawkes’ performance.

And now Fox Searchlight has finalized a deal to distribute the film Beasts of the Southern Wild. Neither Pete nor Germain has seen the film yet, so we haven’t covered it up until this point, but the movie quickly became one of the Sundance films I’m most interested in seeing, as early reviews have used language like “remarkable, beautiful, moving and astonishing” to describe the story that gets inside the head of a young girl worried about the end of her universe. Read More »

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