With this weekend’s holiday comes the official close of the 2013 Summer Movie Season. We’ve seen our share of flops (THE LONE RANGER), hits (IRON MAN 3), and surprises (NOW YOU SEE ME), and while there are definitely some exciting films on tap for next year, keen fans have already started looking excitedly at 2015. Why skip over an entire year, you ask? Well, if all goes according to plan, 2015 will see a perfect storm of sorts, as a crazy number of massive franchises are poised to launch some highly anticipated properties. Two years from now, THE AVENGERS follow-up will square off against BATMAN VS SUPERMAN, and a brand new STAR WARS film is poised to open alongside the long-promised JURASSIC PARK sequel.
As the Labor Day weekend is normally a time of relaxation, we thought it might be fun to look ahead to the craziness that will ensue two years from now. Read below as we run down the nutty release schedule for 2015, including what we know about each film thus far:
In theaters in IMAX November 22, 2013!
Legendary Pictures is hitting the ground running with its new distribution deal under Universal. After severing its relationship with Warner Bros., Thomas Tull’s Legendary Pictures is eyeing DRACULA as its first project with Universal. Production on the film is already underway in Ireland with Luke Evans taking on the titular role, but Variety reports that Legendary is in talks to come aboard and co-finance the project. Gary Shore directs the pic, which tells the origin story of the classic creature and is now slated for release on October 3, 2014.
The JURASSIC PARK franchise would make a nice fit for the genre-friendly Legendary, and now that the studio doesn’t have all the DC Comics characters from Warner Bros. at its disposal, dinosaurs and monsters seem like a fine substitute. Production on JP4 is expected to begin next year under director Colin Trevorrow in anticipation of a 2015 release date, and while Legendary won’t make a final decision with regards to co-financing until they’ve seen the final script, it would seem silly not to join such an promising project. Moreover, Legendary chipping in would benefit Universal, as Steven Spielberg’s gross participation on JP4 will take a hefty chunk out of the film’s profits.
Under Legendary’s deal with Universal, the studio will invest, on average, $275 million annually into Universal’s films and its own properties. Per Variety, this will continue for the first two years of the deal, after which Legendary will invest $350 million a year for the next three years of the deal. On the flipside, Universal has committed $175 million to a portion of Legendary’s films. The deal, however, does not allow Legendary to board any of the FAST AND FURIOUS movies or the Illumination Entertainment animated films.
While Legendary left the Superman franchise behind at Warner Bros., it did take with it a portion of Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi pic INTERSTELLAR. The studio also has GODZILLA, 300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE, and CRIMSON PEAK still set up under Warner Bros., but it brought SEVENTH SON with it to Universal.
The ONE DIRECTION concert movie is the only movie set to overcome THE BUTLER at this weekend’s box office. The other two titles, Ethan Hawke and Selena Gomez’ car chase film GETAWAY and Eric Bana and Rebecca Hall’s legal thriller CLOSED CIRCUIT will be lucky to bust $5 million. I do acknowledge the rabidity of the ONE DIRECTION fanbase, but the hype will not outlast this weekend. I also refuse to put a picture of a boy band on my website.
Here are the predictions for Labor Day weekend from Box Office Mojo:
Four-Day Forecast (August 30-Sept. 2)
1. One Direction – $20.6 million
2. The Butler – $15.1 million
3. We’re the Millers – $13.2 million
4. Planes – $9.4 million
5. The World’s End – $7.1 million
-. Getaway – $5.7 million
-. Closed Circuit – $2.9 million ($3.4 million six-day)
Marvel is continuing their streak of casting great actors in their films. The studio has announced that they’ve cast three-time Emmy winner James Spader as the villain Ultron in Joss Whedon‘s THE AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON. Naturally, there are no details beyond the casting. Since Ultron is a humanoid robot, will Spader do motion-capture, or will he just be providing the voice? How will it fit into Spader’s schedule if his new series “The Blacklist” (which looks quite good) is picked up for a full season? Obviously, we have no idea how Spader will voice the part, but he’s an actor I like, and I’ll be curious to see what he does with the role.
Here’s the press release via Marvel.com:
James Spader will face off against Earth’s Mightiest Heroes as the villain in Marvel’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” the sequel to 2012’s record-breaking “Marvel’s The Avengers.” The Emmy Award-winning actor will play Ultron in the Avengers’ much anticipated return to the big screen from writer/director Joss Whedon. The film comes to theaters on May 1, 2015.
Spader earned three Emmy Awards for his role as Alan Shore on “Boston Legal” and “The Practice,” and will return to television this fall in NBC’s highly anticipated series “The Blacklist.” Most recently Spader was seen in the critically-acclaimed film “Lincoln” directed by Steven Spielberg and has previously worked with a long list of accomplished film directors including David Cronenberg, Curtis Hansen, Sidney Lumet, Mike Nichols, Tim Robbins, Robert Rodriguez, Steven Soderbergh, and Oliver Stone. David Mamet also directed Spader in the Broadway play Race.
“Avengers: Age of Ultron” will bring the Marvel Universe’s biggest heroes together again to face one of their biggest villains, with “Marvel’s The Avengers” director Joss Whedon returning to write and direct the sequel. “Marvel’s The Avengers” was released in 2012 and went on to earn $1.5 billion worldwide, making it the third-largest grossing movie of all time.
THE AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON opens May 1, 2015.
For the love of the Force, just cast this movie already. Our long, slow descent into Star Wars: Episode VII casting speculation has begun with the report that Rachel Hurd-Wood (SOLOMON KANE) has read for the role of Leia and Han’s daughter while Alex Pettyfer (I AM NUMBER FOUR) has gone in for a meeting for an unknown role that could be “Skywalker’s son now that [Ryan] Gosling has declined,” according to Latino Review.
Latino Review stresses that other young actresses are also going in to read for the part of Leia and Han’s daughter, so Hurd-Wood doesn’t have the role yet. Obviously, if they’re still bringing in actresses, no one has the role yet, but LR’s source says Hurd-Wood is the only actress who has read for the part so far. Latino Review goes on to say that official announcements will start to come out around October, but there’s possibly some major casting news that could be released as soon as today, and it’s unrelated to Hurd-Wood/Pettyfer rumors. Hat tip to LR if that turns out to be true.
The Playlist has learned that Matt Damon has joined Christopher Nolan’s INTERSTELLAR in a small, undisclosed role. The character, like all of the roles in the film, is being kept under wraps, but sources close to the actor tell us he’ll only be shooting on the project for two weeks in Iceland (for comparison sake, the entire shoot is scheduled for four months). He joins the already massive and impressive cast of the science fiction film, including Matthew McConaughey, Jessica Chastain, Anne Hathaway, Casey Affleck, and Michael Caine.
Meanwhile, Damon looks to have found what will be his directorial debut: A MURDER FORETOLD, penned by Academy Award-winning ARGO screenwriter Chris Terrio. The film is based off a 2008 New Yorker article by David Grann, that tells the true story of a man who is gunned down in the escalating violence in Guatemala, and leaves behind a videotape after his death implicating the president, his wife, and other close aides in his killing. Of course, this rocked the nation, with a special prosecutor who digs deep to find the shocking truth behind the man’s murder.
INTERSTELLAR opens on November 7, 2014.