Len Wiseman Will Not Reboot ‘The Mummy’


Since last year, Universal’s been working hard to get a reboot of The Mummy off the ground. The studio first hired Jon Spaihts (Prometheus) to write a screenplay, brought Len Wiseman on board to direct, and then commissioned a second screenplay by Billy Ray (The Hunger Games) this past winter in case Spaihts’ version wasn’t up to snuff.

But progress has been pretty quiet since then, and now it’s hit a big speed bump. Wiseman has just departed the project, leaving producers Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, and Sean Daniel scrambling to find a replacement. Hit the jump to find out what happened.

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Universal is in an interesting position now. The studio is free of the contract with Hasbro that had it dedicated to developing board-game properties for some time, and has started to settle into a place where it floats on the performance of big comedies (Ted), the occasional well-chosen pop-culture adaptation (Les Miserables), and affordable franchise installments (Fast & Furious, Bourne) rather than massive tentpoles.

And so Universal is working on sequels to the giant hit Ted and horror performer Mama. In a new interview, studio chairman Adam Fogelson explains that he also may made an Identity Thief sequel (“we created great characters, so we’ll discuss how to re-pair Jason [Bateman] and Melissa going forward”) and an “at long last” film version of Wicked (“I believe that we are collectively moving toward Wicked coming to the screen sooner rather than later”).

But the real focus is on those franchise installments, including another Snow White and the Huntsman movie, and the new Mummy and Van Helsing films. Read More »

Universal really, really wants their The Mummy reboot to work. Last spring, the studio set Prometheus co-writer Jon Spaihts to pen a modern-day reboot of the classic franchise. Now, they’re bringing in some extra help in the form of Hunger Games scribe Billy Ray.

While it’s pretty typical for a high-profile tentpole pic to go through multiple writers, this is a special case. Ray isn’t doing a rewrite of Spaihts’ script. Instead, he’s putting together a totally separate screenplay with an unrelated storyline. You know, just in case the other one totally sucks. Hit the jump to keep reading.

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UPDATE: We’ve added three new images.

It’s the gallery show they were was born to do. In the past, Mondo has released posters for all the Universal Monsters: Dracula, Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein, The Wolf Man, Creature from the Black Lagoon, Phantom of the Opera, The Invisible Man and The Mummy. Obviously, they’re monster fans, and after Mondo opened their own gallery, it was only a matter of time before the monsters took over that space. That time is now.

The Universal Monsters show at the Mondo Gallery opens on Friday October 19 and it’ll feature new work not only by top Mondo artists such as Martin Ansin, Kevin Tong, Ken Taylor, Jason Edminson, Rich Kelly, Phantom City Creative and JC Richard, living legends Rick Baker and Drew Struzan will also have work in the show. Yes, the Oscar winning makeup artist and greatest poster artist ever, returning just as we said he would.

After the jump, check out three of Struzan’s seven original pieces from the show, three of the additional posters that’ll be on display, and find out what the next show might be. (Hint: In England. Olly Moss.) Read More »

When Universal first remade The Mummy with Brendan Fraser in the late ’90s, the franchise retained the period setting of the original film. That ended up being the right decision as the remade Mummy franchise spawned multiple sequels, spin-offs and was a runaway hit at almost every turn. It has since gone cold, however, and with the help of producers Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Prometheus co-writer Jon Spaihts, Universal hope to breathe life into the walking dead one more time.

The trio has now settled on a director to make the movie: Len Wiseman, who recently remade Total Recall with Colin Farrell. This time though, The Mummy will have a modern setting. Read more after the jump. Read More »

Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci‘s Cowboys & Aliens may not have been much of a hit, but things haven’t soured between the pair and Universal. The studio has signed a two-year first-look deal with the studio, and they’re now part of the new version of The Mummy that Prometheus writer Jon Spaihts is putting together with producer Sean Daniel.

There’s something else interesting in the announcement of the deal, however: Kurtzman and Orci are the latest producers to take part in developing and producing a new Van Helsing, with Tom Cruise producing alongside them and currently attached to star. Actually, we should make that “still attached to star,” as Cruise has been a part of Van Helsing for a couple years now; the project just hasn’t had any big public profile for a while. Read More »

Cool Posts From Around the Web:

When Universal rebooted The Mummy as an action-movie franchise in the Indiana Jones mold, the film made a star out of Brendan Fraser and did phenomenally well overall, especially given that it opened just two weeks before Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. (Looking at the numbers I wonder how many people saw The Mummy instead when they went to the theater to see Star Wars and shows were sold out, but I know that’s how I saw the first Fraser film.)

Now, with the series kicked off in ’99 having run its course through two sequels, three Scorpion King spin-off films, an animated series, and video games and amusement part rides,  Universal is going to try again. Read More »

If you’re a fan of Universal Monsters, you might need to change you pants after you see this work by Kevin Tong and Martin Ansin. They’re the artists behind the latest posters from Mondo and their interpretations of The Invisible Man and The Mummy are gorgeous. Versions of these posters first went on sale (and sold out) at the Mondo booth at Comic Con and now you all have a chance to get them starting Thursday, August 11. Check out the full posters and specs after the jump. Read More »

This Week in DVD is a column that compiles all the latest info regarding new DVD releases, sales, and exclusive deals from stores including Target, Best Buy, Circuit City, and Fry’s.

Please don’t take the commentary on the movies and TV shows too seriously, as they’re meant not to be reviews but rather previews that include the general thoughts and ramblings of a twice-committed DVD addict. The categories represent solely the author’s intentions towards the DVDs at hand, and are in no way meant to be a reflection on what he thinks other people should rent or buy. So if he ends up putting a movie you like in the “Skip it” section without having seen it, please keep in mind that the time you could spend leaving a spiteful but ultimately futile comment could instead be used for more pleasant things in life. Like buying DVDs.

Buy It

“From the creator of The Wire.” That’s all I need to hear to convince me to blind-buy this set, and this is coming from somebody who has blind-bought less than five movies/TV shows his entire life. This time around, David Simon tackles the Iraq war, and although I’ve grown a little tired of all the recent films that have attempted (and mostly failed) to accurately depict the subject, I’m looking forward to seeing if Simon has managed to imbue the same harsh realism and poignancy in this HBO series as he did for The Wire. Stay tuned to future /Filmcast episodes to find out.
Blu-ray? No.
Notable Extras: Commentary (from creators David Simon and Ed Burns, and from the author Evan Wright), Eric Ladin’s Video Diaries, and featurettes (‘Making Generation Kill’, ‘Generation Kill: A Conversation with the 1st Recon Marines’).

TargetBest BuyCircuit CityFry’s
Amazon – $34.99

Many Aqua Teen fans have commented that season 5 (aka Vol. 6) of Aqua Teen is the show’s worst outing to date. I would take their word for it, but I seem to recall similar complaints about season 4 (aka Vol. 5) and even the Aqua Teen movie, both of which I later ended up loving. Is it actually possible that some people out there are over-analyzing a TV show that features a talking milkshake and meatball? I’ll let you be the judge.
Blu-ray? No.
Notable Extras: Carl’s sports blogs, 15-minute “short” Terrorphone, comedy bits/outtakes from the ATHF video game, and 3D video game cinematics from Russia.

TargetBest BuyCircuit CityFry’s
Amazon – $22.99

Rent It

(Available as single-disc and 2-Disc Special Edition)
I want so badly to hate this movie, but after having to endure several songs on the Mamma Mia! soundtrack due to the eagerness of some of my female compatriots, I found myself forced to contend with a painful realization: I… like ABBA. Yes, it’s true. And as such, it’s only natural to assume that enjoying the movie that accompanies the songs isn’t out of the realm of possibility, regardless of whether or not my manhood is willing to accept that. But I suppose admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery, right?
Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: The single-disc release includes a commentary with director Phyllida Lloyd, an all-new musical number “The Name of The Game”, and a sing-along function. The 2-disc includes that, plus 3 featurettes (‘The Making of Mamma Mia!’, ‘Becoming a Singer’, ‘On Location’), Amanda Seyfried’s “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!” music video, deleted scenes, outtakes, and a digital copy of the film.

TargetBest BuyCircuit CityFry’s
Amazon – $16.99

*Does not include 2-Disc Edition, which costs $22.99 at each of the listed stores (including Amazon, and excluding Target — see below).

What? Limited deluxe edition ($24.99) includes CD soundtrack and behind-the-scenes footage.
Where? Target.

(Releases December 19, 2008)
I was pretty disappointed with this film after seeing it in theaters. It was presented as a spy thriller, but it’s really more of a drama, and a rather generic one at that. As competently made and acted as it is, there’s nothing to make it stand out against the several dozen other films that cover very much the same territory. It’s a worthwhile rental, certainly, but nothing you need to buy.
Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: An audio commentary and behind the scenes footage.

TargetBest BuyCircuit CityFry’s
Amazon – $15.99

(Releases December 19, 2008)
The only reason this movie isn’t being thrown into the “skip it” section is because I adore Anna Faris, and even if it means having to endure such a formulaic comedy as this, I’m willing to give anything she stars in a chance. Naturally, this hasn’t been working out too well for me, what with a large portion of her movie credits coming from the Scary Movie series. C’mon Anna! You deserve better than this!
Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: Deleted scenes and featurettes (‘Anna Faris: House Mom’, ‘Colin Hanks: Mr. Nice Guy’, ‘House Bunny Style’, ‘The Girls of Zeta’, ‘Calendar Girls’, ‘House Bunny Memories’, ‘From Song to Set: Katherine McPhee’).

TargetBest BuyCircuit CityFry’s
Amazon – $16.99

Skip It

(Available as single-disc and 2-Disc Deluxe Edition)
There comes a point in some films where you stop paying attention to what’s happening on screen and start thinking about the many more worthwhile things you could be doing with your time (like eating a bowl of nails, for instance). With The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, I experienced that point at about the scene where a group of Yetis cheer in celebration after punting a human over a Chinese temple as if they had just scored a touchdown. This is a film so unbelievably stupid, so devoid of personality, so blandly artificial, it defies all reason for existence. Even expecting the mildest sense of “dumb fun” from this piece of trash is asking way too much. It’s by far one of the worst movies I’ve seen all year.
Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: The two-disc includes a commentary with director Rob Cohen, deleted and extended scenes, featurettes (‘Jet Li: Crafting the Emperor Mummy’, ‘From City to Desert’, ‘Legacy of the Terra Cotta’, ‘Creating New and Supernatural Worlds’, ‘A Call to Action: The Casting Process’, ‘The Making Of Tomb of the Dragon Emperor’), and a digital copy of the film.

TargetBest BuyCircuit CityFry’s
Amazon – $15.99

*Does not include 2-Disc Edition, which costs $22.99 at each of the listed stores (including Amazon).

What? Free Exclusive Mummy Lithography when you buy any version of The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor.
Where? Best Buy.

What? Free collectible interactive CD with purchase of 2-disc DVD.
Where? Circuit City.

Other noteworthy DVDs available this week…

The Specials
NOTE: Some deals may be in-store only.

$17.99 – Dexter (Season 1 – 2), 24 (Season 1 – 6)
$19.99 – Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (Season 1)

Exclusive: Free $20 Best Buy Gift Card when you buy 5 of these $9.99 movies…
$9.99 – Bourne Ultimatum, Simpsons Movie, Superbad, American Pie: Threesome Pack, Hot Rod, Scarface, Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, E.T., Knocked Up, Evan Almighty, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, Hoosiers, Big (Extended Edition), Kingdom of Heaven, Match Point, Charlie Wilson’s War, Walk the Line (Extended Cut), The Devil Wears Prada, Mr. Brooks, The Blues Brothers, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, 2 Fast 2 Furious, Lars and the Real Girl, Mrs. Doubtfire (Behind the Seams Edition), Blades of Glory, Walk Hard, Zodiac, Casino Royale, Across the Universe, 30 Days of Night, Spider-Man 3, American Gangster, We Own the Night, Dead Space: Downfall, and more…

$19.99 – Rambo: The Complete Collector’s Set, Speed Racer: The Complete Classic Collection
$34.99 – The Godfather Trilogy: The Coppola Restoration
$48.99 – Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventure Collection
$79.99 – Family Guy: Freakin’ Sweet Party Pack, Fraggle Rock: Complete Series
$119.99 – That ’70s Show: Complete Series, MASH: Complete Series
$124.99 – Charmed: Complete Series
$139.99 – Seinfeld: Complete Series

$29.99 – The Godfather Trilogy: The Coppola Restoration

$4.99 – Crash, American Psycho, Vanilla Sky, The Manchurian Candidate, Monster’s Ball, Super Troopers, There’s Something About Mary, Waiting, Enemy of the Gates, The Monster Squad, The Score, Sliding Doors, Hunted, and more…

$16.99 – The Shield (Season 1 – 6)