Deadline bring word that ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ looks set to become the largest Christmas release of all time, with current weekend estimations looking at $96 million earned in the US - the biggest ever December weekend for the US box office - and possibly $200 million worldwide. Its estimated Friday earnings in the US, $37 million, shatter the December records for that particular day. ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ is already the #1 movie internationally and has taken in $27.3M from 42 international markets going into Friday. In North America, MovieTickets said box office advance tickets for the film accounted for nearly 91% of sales going into Friday, with nearly 18% coming from those wanting to see the film in standard 3D format, 8% in High Frame Rate 3D, and 7% in IMAX 3D. Expect official box office figures on Monday morning.
The adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s ‘The Hobbit’ was originally made as a two-part film, however Warner Bros, Peter Jackson, producer Fran Walsh and writer-producer Philippa Boyens announced a few months back that ‘The Hobbit’ films will now be a trilogy. The release schedule for the three films are as follows: ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ is set for a December 13th, 2012 release date; ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’ arrives in cinemas December 13th, 2013; and ’The Hobbit: There and Back Again’ concludes the trilogy on July 18th, 2014.
The good people over at Empire recently spoke with ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ co-writer and brother of director Christopher Nolan, Jonathan Nolan, to talk on a number of subjects relating to Batman and the future of the DC Comics world at Warner Bros. With ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ taking the superhero genre to a truly epic level, Nolan was asked if there was a sense that the filmmaking team could do anything they liked on that particular film after ‘Batman Begins’ and ‘The Dark Knight,’ replying, “The fun thing about writing in that environment is, with Emma [Thomas] and Chris and Wally [Pfister] and their team, whatever you want to do with a scene they would be able to achieve it. The beauty of that is you don’t have to sit there saying to yourself, ‘Well they’re not going to be able to do that!’ After Inception, Chris can do anything. You can write a sequence as huge as you like.”
Following up that answer, Empire raised the point of the Bane prologue in the context of this year’s films – ‘The Avengers,’ ‘Skyfall’ – in that there seems to be this trend of villains conspiring to get themselves captured. On that point, the Oscar-nominated screenwriter said, “Well, the Joker did that gag in The Dark Knight and that’s one of my favourite scenes in The Dark Knight! But I’m sure we were inspired by what went before — probably Bond movies or something else. There’s something great about it: in the face of certain defeat they have actually engineered the whole thing. There are similarities between Bane and The Joker in that sense. With both you think the shoe is on the other foot, and then you realise that the entire encounter has been engineered for them to get something they want. But The Joker has a particularly municipal aim. With this one, Bane’s out to do something really big. He is completely in charge of that situation. And unafraid, almost absurdly fearless. You’re never in any doubt with Bane. He is completely what he is. He’s absolutely… Out-of the box thinking. He does not take into consideration his fear.”
20th Century Fox has revealed their worldwide release calendar for ‘The Wolverine.’ Alongside Hugh Jackman as Logan/Wolverine, ‘The Wolverine’ stars Hiroyuki Sanada as Shingen, Hal Yamanouchi as Yashida, Tao Okamoto as Mariko, Brian Tee as Norubo Mori, Will Yun Lee as Kenuichio Harada/Silver Samurai, Rila Fukushima as Yukio, and Svetlana Khodchenkova as Viper. Scheduled for release on July 26th in the UK and US, ‘The Wolverine’ is directed by James Mangold (3:10 to Yuma, Walk the Line, Knight and Day), while the script is by ‘The Usual Suspects’ scribe Christopher McQuarrie and Mark Bomback. Describing ‘The Wolverine’ as a “Japanese noir picture with tentpole action in it”, Mangold recently said the film is set after the previous X-Men movies.
‘The Wolverine’ takes inspiration from Chris Claremont and Frank Miller’s Marvel miniseries from the 1980s dealing with the character’s adventures in Japan. There, samurai steel clashes with adamantium claws as Logan “confronts a mysterious figure from his past in an epic battle that will leave him forever changed.” Darren Aronofsky was originally tapped to helm ‘The Wolverine,’ however he dropped out to spend more time with his family as the film would shoot overseas for an extended period of time. I truly hope this film brings the best out of one of the Comic worlds most fascinating and best loved characters. Even though 2009’s ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’ was a financial success by earning over $400 million at the box office, the film was met unfavorably from both fans and critics. Fingers crossed ‘The Wolverine’ is a good’n! The official synopsis for the film can be read below the worldwide release schedule.
Variety bring word that Alicia Vikander is in negotiations to join Daniel Bruhl (Inglourious Basterds, Goodbye Lenin!) and Benedict Cumberbatch in DreamWorks as-yet-untitled WikiLeaks movie. To be directed by Bill Condon, Cumberbatch is set to play WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, while Bruhl will play Daniel Domscheit-Berg. Vikander is in talks to play Bruhl’s co-worker and eventual love interest. James McAvoy had been in negotiations for Bruhl’s role but talks broke down over scheduling regarding the actor’s commitment to ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past.’
Alicia Vikander was recently named one of Variety’s 10 actors to watch on the strength of her performances in Joe Wright’s ‘Anna Karenina’ and Nikolaj Arcel’s ‘A Royal Affair,’ which is Denmark’s entry in the foreign language Oscar race. The actress has been putting the work in over the last year to land some high-profile roles, including opposite Jeff Bridges in the fantasy flick ‘The Seventh Son.’ She’s also one of a handful of actresses linked to the lead role in Walt Disney’s revamping of ‘Cinderella.’
Seeing as we’re less than a month away from release, Warner Bros. Pictures has unveiled this large collection of images from Ruben Fleischer’s eagerly awaited ‘Gangster Squad.’ The 35 pics showcase excellent looks at the likes of Josh Brolin’s John O’Mara, Ryan Gosling’s Jerry Wooters, Sean Penn’s Mickey Cohen, Anthony Mackie’s Coleman Harris, Giovanni Ribisi’s Conway Keeler, Michael Peña’s Navidad Ramirez, Robert Patrick’s Max Kennard, Nick Nolte’s Bill Parker and Emma Stone’s Grace Faraday in the film.
The crime-drama, based on a series of articles by Paul Lieberman, is the fact-based tale of the crime fighting exploits of a squad of elite Los Angeles officers in the 1940s, led by Josh Brolin’s Sgt. John O’Mara and Ryan Gosling’s Jerry Wooters, charged with stopping ruthless Brooklyn-born mob king Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn). Screenwriter Will Beall is a former South Central Los Angeles cop who wrote the novel ‘L.A. Rex.’ Gangster Squad’ features a truly top-notch cast in Sean Penn, Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling, Josh Brolin, Anthony Mackie, Robert Patrick, Michael Pena, Mireille Enos, Giovanni Ribisi, and Nick Nolte. You can read the synopsis and production notes for ‘Gangster Squad’ below the new batch of images. The film is set for a January 11th, 2013 release. My interviews for ‘Gangster Squad’ will be on the site soon.
M.Markus has uncovered this new poster for Allen Hughes’ (From Hell) forthcoming noir-drama, ‘Broken City.’ The film centers on a private detective (Mark Wahlberg) who is hired by the mayor of New York (Russell Crowe) to find out the identity of the mayor’s wife’s (Catherine Zeta-Jones) lover. The lover turns up dead, and the detective finds himself deep into a much wider conspiracy involving his employer.
Mark Wahlberg, Russell Crowe and Catherine Zeta-Jones are joined in ‘Broken City’ by the likes of Barry Pepper, Alona Tal, Chance Kelly, Jeffrey Wright, Kyle Chandler, Justin Chambers, and Natalie Martinez. 20th Century Fox has pencilled in the film for a January 18th, 2013 release date in the US and a March 1st, 2013 release in the UK. The official synopsis for ‘Broken City’ is as follows: When disgraced cop turned private detective Billy Taggart (Mark Wahlberg) is hired by NYC’s mayor (Russell Crowe) to tail his wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones), he uncovers a city-wide conspiracy of corruption, sex, and murder. With his life threatened at every turn, Billy finds himself faced with an impossible choice, which could have disastrous repercussions for his career and family.