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Marvel has had an impressive run at the box office since the debut of Iron Man in 2008, leading up to the billion-dollar success of The Avengers last year. The company is in its self-defined “phase two” right now, which began with Iron Man 3 earlier this year, and will continue with Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians the Galaxy, and conclude with Avengers: Age of Ultron in 2015.

We know that phase three kicks off with Edgar Wright’s Ant-Man, also in 2015. And as Feige did press for the new Thor film this past weekend, he was asked many questions about the further development of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Will we see characters such as The Punisher, Daredevil, and Doctor Strange on screen? How about a solo film for a female character? When will we know the titles for the “mystery movies” dated for┬áMay 6, 2016, July 8, 2016, and May 5, 2017? And what’s up with James Spader being cast as the title villain in the Avengers sequel? Read More »

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We know that Marvel recently got the rights to The Punisher back in rather quiet fashion, and it looks like Thomas Jane wants to play the character again. Or he is playing the character once more, only on his own terms. Gotta wonder if there’s some hope that Marvel will look to him once more to play the gun-toting street vigilante Frank Castle.

So here’s Dirty Laundry, the short Jane unveiled at Comic Con, which also features Ron Perlman. This is classic late ’80s Punisher action, featuring unambiguously evil guys going about bad deeds in over the top fashion, before Castle comes in to stop them with extreme violence. This is hard-R stuff, which for fans of the character is probably the only thing that matters. Read More »

The Punisher is moving to the small screen. Fox has given a pilot commitment to a show called The Punisher, which will be developed as an hour-long procedural.

The show will feature Marvel’s angry vigilante Frank Castle, but this won’t be the version of the character you’ve seen in almost any other incarnation. The TV version of the Punisher will be Frank Castle, NYPD detective by day, and vigilante by night. Think of The Equalizer, only with many more guns. Read More »

In case that mouthful of a headline didn’t tip you off, we have a plethora of comic book movie news to sort through, so let’s get cracking. After the break, you’ll find an update on the new 3D technology being used for The Amazing Spider-Man, Chris Hemsworth‘s response to the first cut of Thor, news on Ray Stevenson‘s potential reprisal of the role of Frank Castle for the The Punisher franchise, final talks of Summit Entertainment acquiring the feature rights to the comic Crosshair, a teaser trailer, new images and a poster for the upcoming X-Men anime, and Stan Lee‘s deposition for the ongoing Kirby family vs. Marvel court case. Read More »

Celebrating the release of the trailer for Thor, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige took part in a web chat with the LA Times and Marvel fans. He discussed — very briefly in all cases — a few impressions of Captain America, and some vague possibilities for the future of Marvel Studios. There’s no hard and fast news here, but if you’ve been curious about the status of the Marvel slate, and of possibilities for films like Black Panther, Ant-Man, Moon Knight and more, read on. Read More »

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Confident female action movie directors with veddy dirty mouths rock. Lexi Alexander (above), the candid director behind Punisher: War Zone, has posted an update for the semi-quiet Marvel reboot on her tidy official site. She informs that the film was screened for studio brass this month, that it went reasonably well, and she seems cool with the flick now moving from its original September 12th release to December 5th.

Ms. Alexander on the “studio experience”…

“Well, thank God [the screening] went well and, although I’ll probably have to compromise on a few minor notes, it’s not nearly as bad as some of my filmmaker friends predicted it would be. I guess I got away with an actual okay studio experience (knocking on wood since it’s not quite over yet).”

And her NSFW thoughts on Frank Castle (played by Rome‘s Ray Stevenson, above right with his stunt double) now raining/reigning blood during the jolly holidays; she includes a nice shout to the comic book/action fans rah-rahing for a hard R-rating (the kids are getting restless)…

“[The studio] also moved our release date to December 5th, which is, according to my reps, a much, much better date. I myself would have thought that people will think twice about going to see an extremely violent movie the closer it gets to Jesus’ B-day, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or whatever other holy holiday you’re celebrating. Well, the box office records prove different and instead, all you sick fucks get more blood thirsty that time of year. (And I say that with lovingly affection, cause I’m relying on all the sick fucks to show up).”

We haven’t seen much at all from the latest Punisher, but I really like Alexander’s attitude thus far. She just kinda gives ‘r and if I had to choose, after being strapped to a lawn chair, between watching Punisher: War Zone or the similar Max Payne (which is rumored to be going PG-13: Rockstar Games, wassup with that?) 100 times in a row, I’d choose the former off loony intuition. Crush much?

Punisher: War Zone Website Launches

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The official website for this September’s Punisher re-do Punisher: War Zone is now online. The site is pretty bare right now, offering a mere two stills from the film, but the presentation is heavy on tone, with hushed police sirens, faint voices and a buzzing drone of dread all present as gunshots pierce glass and guns smoke on the image above. Actor Ray Stevenson (Rome) definitely has the character’s stare of forthcoming death down. Check it out, and there’s an option to register for updates as well.

Buzz on the Lionsgate/Marvel film is not the greatest, a lot of that due to the last craptastic Punisher with Tom Jane, but hearing that War Zone uses all of the fuel in its R-rated tank, is set in a gritty metropolis and not Floriduh, and then peeping the site makes me hopeful. And the fact that the director, Lexi Alexander (Hooligans) is a cool gal and a bad ass in her own right (re: karate champion)…I dunno, it seems to be clicking to me.

Discuss: When you think about Punisher: War Zone, what crosses your mind? What’s the gnarliest R-rated comic book movie? The Crow? Sin City? Dolph’s naked-meditating-in-sewer Punisher?

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Screenwriter Kurt Sutter has removed his screenwriting credit from Marvel and Lionsgate’s superhero reboot, Punisher: War Zone, due in September, and he’s explained his decision quite frankly on his personal blog, while alluding to dissonance with the flick’s creative direction as well. He says that he didn’t “deserve” credit for the screenplay, as little of his script remains, and he follows that by saying he doesn’t “want” credit because his vision for Frank Castle/The Punisher will not appear on screen.

“My pitch, my vision, for the Punisher franchise was something much different. I tried to rip Frank Castle from the comic book world and place him in the real streets of NYC. Castle is the only superhero without powers. He’s a tortured, highly skilled soldier with a really bad anger problem. I always felt we should see Frank in some place uber-real and gritty. I threw away the first draft written by Nick Santora and did a page one rewrite. I changed the locations, the characters, the story. I dropped Frank in a real New York City with real villians, real cops, real relationships. To me, the Punisher deserved more than the usual comic book redress. It shouldn’t just follow the feature superhero formula. Apparently, I was the only one who shared that vision.”

What’s odd is that Sutter’s vision here shares the same grittier, darker tone that director Lexi Alexander has mentioned and played up in interviews for the film, so what might the final product be like…

“The final script, rewritten almost completely by Holloway and Marcum was the perfect comic book formula — simple story, very obvious dialog and the inclusion of as many characters from the anthology that a movie will allow (this is not a spoiler, all the characters were announced when they began shooting). I’m sure true fans of the Punisher comic books will enjoy this movie. It will do exactly what a comic book movie should do — fill seats, set up a sequel. …I wish Marvel and the producers all the success. If I had to make a wager, I say it will open huge. Be ready for Punisher 3.”

He goes on to say his comments aren’t “sour grapes,” but what I find bothersome is that Punisher: War Zone‘s R-rating and the character’s lack of superpowers frees this project up to break the very mold Sutter finds utterly predictable. I mean “simple story, very obvious dialogue” has a little bite in it, no? I always pictured The Punisher’s ideal cinematic world as being similar to the underworld in The Crow, and while many fanboys are shouting “direct to DVD” on this, casting Dominic West (The Wire) as Jigsaw was inspired and a great way to distance the flick from the terribly mismanaged 2004 version. And Sutter’s work on The Shield would lend itself to a fresh direction as well. I’m not sure whether we should read between the lines here, but it’s interesting to get this info straight from the screenwriter, one who’s becoming known for not holding back.

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