Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Warner Bros. is betting big on J.K. Rowling and the world of Harry Potter. We already knew the first spin-off, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, written by Rowling and directed by David Yates, would be out on November 18, 2016. We also knew it was the first in a planned trilogy. But Wednesday, we learned much more.

Kevin Tsujihara, the CEO of Warner Bros., announced Wednesday the series will be “at least” a trilogy and that the second and third installments will be released in 2018 and 2020. Read more about the Fantastic Beasts trilogy below. Read More »

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Briefly: The new film from Babel, 21 Grams, and Biutiful director Alejandro González Iñárritu is a comedy of sorts, Birdman, about a washed-up superhero. But since we haven’t seen that yet it’s difficult to think of the director outside the dour confines of his major features. And so it’s weird to think about him making a version of The Jungle Book, based on Rudyard Kipling‘s novel about a young boy who is raised by animals.

Granted, this isn’t the Disney version, which has Jon Favreau attached to direct. This Jungle Book is at Warner Bros. — a studio that likes its big movies to be a lot more serious than what Disney would be after — and has a script from Callie Kloves with Steve Kloves (Harry Potter) producing. How will it be different from the Disney version? There’s no doubt that the tone will be darker, or more “realistic,” but otherwise we don’t have much indication.

At this point Iñárritu is not signed, and there’s no indication of how the film will be cast. [Deadline]

You’d think that Disney had the screen rights all sewn up for adaptations of Rudyard Kipling‘s story collection The Jungle Book. But in fact the book is public domain. (It was when Walt Disney set the animated film into motion, too.) And there have been a few live-action films over the years, some by Disney, some not. Now we may soon see a new version of the story of the boy Mowgli, raised in the Indian jungle by Baloo the bear and Bagheera, a black panther.

Meanwhile, in an interesting turn of events, today also sees a deal through which Disney will produce and distribute a film based on Neil Gaiman‘s novel The Graveyard Book. That novel was written with the express inspiration of The Jungle Book, though in Gaiman’s text the jungle is replaced with — you got it — a cemetery.

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For years, Imagine Entertainment and Universal worked to make a biopic about Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, with Brett Ratner attached to direct and actors like Robert Downey, Jr. and Hugh Jackman mentioned as possible picks to play the magazine mogul. But the closest Hef has come to creating a starring role on the big screen is a James Franco cameo in Lovelace, which has Amanda Seyfried as porn star turned anti-porn icon Linda Lovelace.

But that Hugh Hefner biopic has now moved to Warner Bros., where it will be produced by Jerry Weintraub, the producer who once worked with Elvis, Sinatra and Dylan, and helped make Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean’s films at WB. Read More »

As Zack Snyder is hard at work once again making us believe a man can fly, rumor has it Warner Bros. is already flying towards a follow up. Man of Steel, Snyder’s Superman reboot starring Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon and Russell Crowe is still filming in Vancouver aimed at a June 14, 2013 release date. One site is reporting executives are so happy with the results, they’ve put together a list of writers to tackle a sequel. The list, reportedly, includes Steve Kloves, Travis Beacham and Lawrence Kasdan. Read more after the jump. Read More »


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 is the biggest movie of the year, with a $1.1 billion-dollar take worldwide. We’ve known for years that Warner Bros. was anxious about this point in time because, without Potter, what will the studio be able to rely upon as a guaranteed cash cow? And with the afterglow of that billion-buck figure starting to fade like the taillights of a truck hauling off WB’s money-printing press, it is time to take action.

The action is this: put director David Yates and screenwriter Steve Kloves, the architects of Potter‘s success, together on a new project. Something big. Something sprawling enough to generate a couple movies. Something like Stephen King‘s own thousand-page viral outbreak, end of the world, showdown-between-good-and-evil doorstop The Stand. I think it’s a great idea. Will the moviegoing public? That remains to be seen. Read More »

What happens when a studio dedicates a decade to adapting one of the most popular novel series in the world, and does so with an eye for quality? In the case of Harry Potter, the result is a massive payoff. Warner Bros. upset its own record for the biggest domestic opening weekend box office take, set by The Dark Knight in 2008, as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 opened to a $168.5 million domestic haul and earned nearly half a billion dollars worldwide. Read the numbers below. Read More »

Is the live-action Akira dead, or is it not? That status has been a big question mark more than once in the past couple years as directors and screenwriters have tried to develop a new Americanized live-action version of the classic manga and anime by Katsuhiro Otomo.

Now we know that the new version is very much alive, as WB is looking to Jaume Collet-Serra, the director of Orphan and the Liam Neeson action thriller Unknown, to direct Akira. Read More »

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