This week marks not only the 75th anniversary of The Hobbit, but also the shared birthday of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins. It’s Tolkien week so we’ve got lots of Hobbit and more in today’s Sequel Bits. After the jump read about the following:

  • Six new photos from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey have been revealed.
  • Peter Jackson reveals a new Hobbit trailer will be released Wednesday.
  • Winona Ryder is aware Beetlejuice 2 could possibly happen.
  • Check out a stunt from the set of Fast and Furious 6.
  • Two major stars will apparently have sex in Scary Movie 5.
  • Atlas Shrugged Part II gets a new poster, which is actually better than the last.
  • The Wolfpack is going to Arizona in The Hangover Part III.

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Michael Shannon is second to none when it comes to channeling intensity, but as the lead of Ariel Vromen‘s The Iceman he could be more frightening than ever. Shannon stars as real-life mob hitman Richard Kuklinski, whose touching devotion to his family masks a knack for cold-blooded killing. (Though he maintains a soft spot for women and children in both lives.) The brutally effective Kuklinski is believed to have murdered over a hundred people before his four-decade career ended in 1986.

There was a little back-and-forth on the film last year, when it looked for a while like it might fall apart altogether after James Franco dropped out of a major role. But they’ve managed to make it work, with Chris Evans taking over for Franco and Franco returning a smaller part. Winona Ryder, Ray Liotta, David Schwimmer, and Stephen Dorff are also among the supporting cast. Watch the first trailer after the jump.

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Tim Burton has been in something of a slump these past couple of years. Alice in Wonderland and Dark Shadows both received mixed to negative reviews, although the former went on to make tons of money anyway. And his latest producing efforts haven’t fared much better: 9 proved a forgettable flop, while this past weekend’s Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter left audiences rolling their eyes.

But there is one Burton movie on the horizon that could turn things around. Frankenweenie, a black-and-white stop-motion animated feature based on Burton’s own short film from 1984, looks like a return to the weird but warm Burton of old. The early promos focused mainly on young Victor Frankenstein (voiced by Charlie Tahan) and his attempt to bring his deceased dog Sparky back to life, but Germain revealed after watching a 26-minute preview that the story actually becomes much bigger than that. The newest trailer gives us a better idea of what exactly happens next. Watch it after the jump.

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For a while there it looked like Ariel Vromen‘s The Iceman was on the verge of falling apart, as James Franco dropped out of the project. But the hitman biopic is moving along with David Schwimmer and Chris Evans added to the cast in recent weeks, and now Winona Ryder has boarded the picture as well in a role once slated for Maggie Gyllenhaal.

Ryder will play the wife of mob contract killer Richard Kuklinski, a.k.a. The Iceman (Michael Shannon), who’s unaware of the true nature of her husband’s career. Ray Liotta and Ryan O’Nan will also star.

Based on interview footage and Anthony Bruno‘s book The Iceman: The True Story of a Cold-Blooded Killer, the picture is scheduled to begin production early next year in Louisiana. [Deadline]

After the jump, a former Everybody Loves Raymond star gets fired by a former The Office star, a Broadway adaptation casts a Broadway star, and a trio of rising Brit talents sign on for an artsy romance.

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In 1984 Tim Burton made a short called Frankenweenie, about a kid who uses Frankenstein-like science to bring his deceased pet back to life. Deemed too dark and family-unfriendly to release, the black and white short cost Burton his job at Disney, but ultimately turned into a sort of demo reel that helped him make Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure. In the quarter-century that followed the ’84 short, we’ve seen Burton’s friendly-goth style become hugely popular, and now Disney is bankrolling a feature-length remake of Frankenweenie. This new film is in 3D, but animated with stop-motion, and it is still shot in black and white.

Check out the first stills from the film below. Read More »

Back in 2009, the Polish Brothers, Mark and Michael, released two films on the festival circuit: The Smell of Success premiered at Sundance, while Stay Cool opened at Tribeca. Now, two years later, both films are finally getting released in theaters. The Smell of Success just got a very limited opening this month, and Stay Cool will be hitting theaters September 16. A new trailer’s just been released for the latter, and… well, I can see why no one was in a hurry to rush this out.

Stay Cool follows a successful writer named Henry McCarthy (Mark Polish) who returns to his high school as a commencement speaker at the request of Principal Marshall (Chevy Chase). Once Henry arrives, Marshall encourages him to “connect” with the graduating class, which apparently means sitting in on classes and passing notes with students. (I don’t know about you, but I have never had a commencement speaker that did this.) Winona Ryder plays Henry’s high school crush, who’s now a local pharmacist, while Hilary Duff plays a current student who’s got her eye on Henry. Sean Astin, Josh Holloway, and Jon Cryer also star. Watch the trailer after the jump.

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It’s been a couple months since it seemed like we couldn’t go two days without an announcement of a new James Franco project. And with the reception of his Oscar hosting gig, Your Highness and the Rise of the Planet of the Apes trailer, it might not be a stretch to say that the guy’s heat has cooled just a bit. Even so, he’s still one of the most ambitious guys working right now, and he seems to be consistently working toward a balance between mainstream and more personal work.

So he’s still working away, and is now set to co-star with Winona Ryder in the psychological thriller The Stare, which starts shooting next month. Yep, it looks like this James Franco film is actually happening, and will be in the can before he starts working with Sam Raimi on Oz the Great and Powerful. Read More »

Walt Disney Pictures have released the official plot synopsis for Tim Burton‘s big screen adaptation of his earlier short film Frankenweenie.

In Tim Burton’s “Frankenweenie” young Victor conducts a science experiment to bring his beloved dog Sparky back to life, only to face unintended, sometimes monstrous, consequences. A stop-motion animated film, “Frankenweenie” will be filmed in black and white and rendered in 3D, which will elevate the classic style to a whole new experience. From creative genius Tim Burton (“Alice in Wonderland,” The Nightmare Before Christmas”) comes “Frankenweenie,” a heartwarming tale about a boy and his dog. After unexpectedly losing his beloved dog Sparky, young Victor harnesses the power of science to bring his best friend back to life—with just a few minor adjustments. He tries to hide his home-sewn creation, but when Sparky gets out, Victor’s fellow students, teachers and the entire town all learn that getting a new “leash on life” can be monstrous.

They have also released a set of facts about the production. For example, over 200 puppets and sets were created for the film. Read the complete one-pager after the jump.

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What is Page 2? Page 2 is a compilation of stories and news tidbits, which for whatever reason, didn’t make the front page of /Film. After the jump we’ve included 46 (!?!) different items, fun images, videos, casting tidbits, articles of interest and more. It’s like a mystery grab bag of movie web related goodness. If you have any interesting items that we might’ve missed that you think should go in /Film’s Page 2 – email us!

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