Skydance interview

You probably don’t know Skydance Productions yet, but you probably should. The company is making a major play to become the next Legendary Pictures or Marvel Entertainment, and they already are making the next installments of a number of major franchises on both the big and small screens. Their portfoilo of brands include Terminator, Star Trek, Mission Impossible, World War Z, Jack Reacher, Top Gun, GI Joe and much more.

When I was in Berlin Germany this past week to cover the Terminator Genisys premiere, I had the amazing opportunity to sit down with Skydance Productions CEO David Ellison and Chief Creative Officer Dana Goldberg to talk about their company and what they are planning for the future. This extensive roundtable interview was conducted over the course of an hour alongside three of my colleagues. Over the course of the interview we talked about a number of topics, including:

  • How Skydance Productions came about
  • Why they decided to plan a trilogy of new Terminator films before the release of Terminator Genisys
  • How will the planned new Terminator tv series connect with the new films, will it be cable or network show?
  • Terminator Genisys: Did they ever consider brining back Edward Furlong as John Connor? How did they recreate young Arnold Schwarzenegger? CG vs. Practicle effects in the new film
  • What kind of television series are they developing?
  • What will the Three Days of the Condor tv series be about?
  • Steve Jobs was Ellison’s personal mentor since childhood, find out how Jobs and Pixar influenced the creation of Skydance.
  • Star Trek 3: Is the movie going to be titled Star Trek Beyond? When does shooting start and where are they filming? What is director Justin Lin and screenwriter Simon Pegg bringing to the sequel?
  • Will they be producing a new Star Trek tv series? What is preventing a new show from happening?
  • Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation: The film test screened even higher than Ghost Protocol. How do get insurance for Tom Cruise‘s crazy stunts? How did changing the release date impact getting that movie to the screen? Did Star Wars: Rogue One cause any title drama? Was any of the movie filmed in IMAX?
  • Top Gun 2: David Ellison’s history flying aerobatics, What is the sequel about? Will Tom Cruise be in the new film? How will modern technology and 3D change the dogfights?
  • Rebecca Ferguson will be a breakout star in MI5 and Skydance is already considering her for another one of their films
  • Jack Reacher: Never Go Back: What will the sequel be about?
  • How did James Cameron see Terminator Genisys? Was he paid for his endorsement in any way?
  • And some brief words on World War Z 2.

All this and more, after the jump.

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Top 15 Best Natural Disaster Movies

Best Natural Disaster Movies

This weekend, Dwayne Johnson faces his most deadly big-screen foe yet. After fighting Vin Diesel in Fast Five and Jason Statham in Furious 7, this time The Rock is doing battle with an almost unfathomable earthquake threatening the entire state of California. And in honor of San Andreas, we’re counting down the Top 15 Best Natural Disaster Movies.

Before you start building your own list in your head, however, keep in mind that we’re counting down natural disaster movies. That means you won’t find any movies about monsters attacking cities like Godzilla or Cloverfield. We’ve also chosen to exclude alien invasion flicks that have plenty of destruction like Independence Day and Mars Attacks!, and also transportation or vehicle centric disasters like Titanic or Apollo 13. And finally, movies where a disaster has already struck, like Mad Max or other post-apocalyptic flicks, don’t count either.

Below you’ll find movies featuring volcanoes, fires, tidal waves, epidemics, tornadoes and asteroids. So without further adieu, let’s count down the Top 15 Best Natural Disaster movies after the jump. Read More »

World War Z 2

One of the biggest movie surprises of 2013 was the success of World War Z. The film hit theaters carrying some significant behind the scenes baggage, but ended up grossing over $200 million in the US and over $500 million internationally. It was a massive hit and talk of a sequel began to heat up soon after the film’s release. Not much happened on that front during 2014 but now, we finally have a small update on World War Z 2, scheduled to be directed by Juan Antonio Bayona for a 2016 release.

Steven Knight, the writer and director of Locke, and writer of Eastern Promises, The Hundred-Foot Journey, Dirty Pretty Things and Seventh Son, is writing a treatment for the sequel. He suggested the film wouldn’t be what fans are expecting. He said he’s starting with a “clean slate.” Read more about World War Z 2 below. Read More »

A Monster Calls

Last December, Juan Antonio Bayona booked his highest-profile gig yet: the sequel to World War Z. But before he gets around to directing zombies, he’ll first be reckoning with tree monsters.

The Spanish filmmaker has signed on to direct A Monster Calls, a Black List script written by Patrick Ness based on his own acclaimed novel. The premise suggests a potent combination of fantasy, horror, and drama a la Pan’s Labyrinth — and what do you know, Pan’s Labyrinth producer Belen Atienza is on board as well. Hit the jump for plot details and more.

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Hobbit Unexpected Journey Bilbo

For illegal downloaders, the biggest film of 2013 wasn’t a 2013 film at all, but a big-budget fantasy epic from late 2012. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey topped the list of the most pirated movies of the past twelve months, beating out the likes of Django Unchained, Fast & Furious 6, and Iron Man 3.

The massively budgeted, insanely popular Hobbit is a far less surprising “winner” than last year’s champion, the found-footage party comedy Project X. However, that doesn’t mean there weren’t a few unusual results among the top 10 — like Gangster Squad, the little-seen, little-talked-about crime drama from January. Hit the jump to check out the list.

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World War Z Brad Pitt

Briefly: Brad Pitt is back to produce and star in the sequel to World War Z, but this one will have a new director as Marc Forster will not return. Juan Antonio Bayona (aka J.A. Bayona), who made The Impossible and The Orphanage, will direct the sequel. While there are arguments to be had over The Impossible, the disaster sequence in that film alone suggests that Bayona will be right at home with the big sequences in this film.

No one is set to write yet, and we don’t know how the plot of this sequel will jump off from the Wales-set finale of the first film, but Bayona will work with the writer to shape the script. (Which will hopefully be properly finished before cameras roll this time, to prevent some of that third-act scrambling that cost the first production so much time and money.)

Unusually for a tentpole release, Paramount has not yet set a release date, but expect that to happen soon. 2015 anyone? And this one has got to get a subtitle rather than a number, as World War Z 2 looks a bit like World War Zzz, and no studio wants to suggest we should snooze through the sequel. [THR]

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World War Z Forster Pitt

Despite World War Z being one of 2013’s biggest surprise hits, the road to get there was very bumpy. Years of development preceded a difficult production, and during post-production, a whole new ending was written and shot. That raised questions and concerns about the film, most of which were directed at one man: director Marc Forster. It was probably more than any one person should have to handle.

So it’s not a surprise that Forster, who also directed Quantum of Solace and Finding Neverland, will not be back for a sequel, should it come to fruitionRead More »

World War Z Brad Pitt

While many people despise the CinemaSins “Everything Wrong With” videos for being overly nit-picky and mean, it’s damn near impossible to argue with the Screen Junkies “Honest Trailers.” These serve a similar function, making fun of a well-known movie by pointing out its flaws. The tone is lighter and observations smarter, making the videos funnier and more, well, honest.

Their latest video, for the Brad Pitt zombie hit World War Z, might be the funniest yet. It makes light of the fact the film used so little of the source material, and included a ton of cliches, but still acknowledges that people liked it and the movie performed well.

And while we’re on the topic of World War Z, which is now on Blu-ray, director Marc Forster spoke at length at the scrapped Russia-set ending of the film. Read that, and watch the trailer, below. Read More »

World War Z

World War Z was the surprise blockbuster of the summer. It was a surprise because Marc Forster‘s adaptation of the Max Brooks novel had been in development for years. Then, once it started filming, the real problems began. Producers realized the ending didn’t work, so a new was written and shot, which ended up costing millions. The gamble paid off to the tune of $536 million internationally and counting.

The new ending had more closure than the original one, but also left a world of possibility ahead. And $500 million plus makes it pretty obvious that possibility will be explored in a sequel. But when? Brad Pitt was at the Toronto Film Festival and spoke about the status of a potential World War Z sequel. Read More »