Jessie Eisenberg is Lex Luthor, Jeremy Irons is Alfred in BATMAN VS SUPERMAN!

jesse-eisenberg-jeremy-irons-batman-superman-slice

While we continue to wait with bated breath for some official casting news concerning the new STAR WARS film, Warner Bros. has just dropped a bomb by announcing the casting of both Lex Luthor and Alfred in director Zack Snyder’s Batman-infused follow-up to MAN OF STEEL. The incredibly talented Jesse Eisenberg will be playing the villainous Luthor in the untitled Batman vs. Superman film, while Jeremy Irons will be assuming the role of Batman’s trusted companion Alfred.

Though Warner Bros. recently pushed the release date of BATMAN VS SUPERMAN from July 2015 to May 2016, production is still aiming to get underway in the next couple of months, and Snyder has now filled two big roles in the sequel. Academy Award nominee Jesse Eisenberg will play nemesis Lex Luthor to Henry Cavill’s Superman, while Oscar winner Jeremy Irons will fill the role of Alfred opposite Ben Affleck’s Batman. The younger-skewing casting of 30-year-old Eisenberg is a bit surprising seeing as how many were dream-casting the role with older actors like Bryan Cranston (novel idea: the actor doesn’t have to be bald to play Lex Luthor), but it makes sense given the age of Cavill and I think it’s an inspired choice; Luthor is cerebral and cunning, and I can see Eisenberg absolutely nailing the role.

Snyder had this to say about Eisenberg tackling his first franchise film:

“Lex Luthor is often considered the most notorious of Superman’s rivals, his unsavory reputation preceding him since 1940. What’s great about Lex is that he exists beyond the confines of the stereotypical nefarious villain. He’s a complicated and sophisticated character whose intellect, wealth and prominence position him as one of the few mortals able to challenge the incredible might of Superman. Having Jesse in the role allows us to explore that interesting dynamic, and also take the character in some new and unexpected directions.”

As for the role of Alfred, an older actor makes sense given that Affleck’s incarnation of Batman is planned as a seasoned veteran rather than another origin story. Snyder said the following with regards to Irons taking on the iconic role:

“As everyone knows, Alfred is Bruce Wayne’s most trusted friend, ally and mentor, a noble guardian and father figure. He is an absolutely critical element in the intricate infrastructure that allows Bruce Wayne to transform himself into Batman. It is an honor to have such an amazingly seasoned and gifted actor as Jeremy taking on the important role of the man who mentors and guides the guarded and nearly impervious façade that encapsulates Bruce Wayne.”

Affleck’s Oscar-winning ARGO scribe Chris Terrio is currently rewriting the screenplay for the untitled superhero pic based on an original draft from David S. Goyer, and with the casting of Eisenberg and Irons in addition to Affleck, Cavill, and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, it would appear that the bulk of the main roles in the highly anticipated DC movie have been filled. We still have quite a while to wait before we see any footage though, as the sequel will arrive in theaters on May 6, 2016.

CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER releases Super Bowl teaser, poster!

Yesterday, Marvel released new posters for CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER. Today, Marvel has released another poster for the movie along with a teaser for their Super Bowl ad. I usually find ads for ads obnoxious, but I suppose if you’re going to spend $4.5 million for 30 seconds of airtime, it doesn’t hurt to try and ramp up anticipation among the people who aren’t tuning into the Super Bowl for football.

Check out the poster and “Big Game” teaser (it’s adorable how they can’t say “Super Bowl”). The film also stars Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Cobie Smulders, Anthony Mackie, Georges St-Pierre, Frank Grillo, Hayley Atwell, Toby Jones, Emily VanCamp, Maximiliano Hernández, Robert Redford, and Samuel L. Jackson.

CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER opens on April 4, 2014.

captain-america-the-winter-soldier-final-poster

Channing Tatum wanted for solo GAMBIT movie!

gambit-channing-tatum-slice

I’ll always have a soft spot for GAMBIT. I became an X-Men fan through the 90s TV series, and he was my favorite character. I understand where his critics are coming from, but I still think he’s a lot of fun, and if I had to say one nice thing about X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE it would be that they didn’t ruin the card-flinging mutant. Sadly, with ORIGINS being the black sheep of the franchise, it seemed like Gambit was one-and-done.

However, producer Lauren Shuler Donner hasn’t given up on the character yet, and she sees a future for Gambit as a stand-alone movie. And who does she want for the charming Cajun? Channing Tatum. Speaking to Empire, Donner said about the film:

“I’m dying to do a Gambit movie with Channing Tatum,” Shuler Donner reveals. “That doesn’t have to be a great big movie. It’s a thief in New Orleans, it’s a whole different story. He’s on board, and I have to get the studio on board. How can anyone resist Channing? He’s such a sweetheart.”

Post-21 Jump Street, it is very hard to resist Tatum. And I like Donner’s thinking. While Fox is obviously chasing AVENGERS by putting a heavy emphasis on superhero teams with X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST and X-MEN: APOCALYPSE, they should remember that Marvel’s engine is powered by stand-alone pictures. There are hundreds of mutants, and they don’t all have to be together in one film. While DEADPOOL will probably never get over its R-rated hurdle to reach a greenlight, there’s no reason a Gambit movie would need more than a PG-13 rating.

Usually, these “I want” stories aren’t worth reporting because desire is cheap; there has to be an actual possibility. But it just so happened that while doing a press conference for White House Down last year, Tatum expressed his love for the character:

“I would like to play Gambit. Gambit’s my favourite. I’m from New Orleans, around that area. My dad’s from New Orleans, and I like to do a Cajun accent. I could do it for real. No knock on Taylor Kitsch, though, ’cause I actually like his Gambit, but I’ve always lived around Cajun people. Gambit was always like the woman-loving, cigarette-smoking, drinking guy. He was the punk rock of all the superheroes. He’s a thief. He kind of rode the line.”

Now you can argue all day whether or not you think Channing Tatum would make a good Gambit, but we have no idea how the character would be written or how he would play him. Personally, I hope that Donner, Tatum, and Fox can get on the same page, and then we’ll see where the project goes from there.

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 debuts half of Super Bowl trailer!

This year, studios have taken to releasing the extremely expensive Super Bowl spots for their films days ahead of Sunday’s big game. Sony is a bit of an exception when it comes to THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2, as they’ve only released part of the Super Bowl spot for director Marc Webb’s superhero sequel. This ad is tailor made for the widest audience possible, as it showcases the massive amount of action that will be onhand in the follow-up.

Moreover, those curious as to the fate of Emma Stone’s Gwen Stacy should be sufficiently tantalized by the final shot of this teaser, ensuring that many will be paying attention Sunday to see how the rest of the trailer plays out. The film also stars Andrew Garfield, Jamie Foxx, Dane DeHaan, Paul Giamatti, Felicity Jones, Chris Cooper, and Sally Field.

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 opens in 2D, 3D, and IMAX 3D on May 2, 2014.

Box Office: AWKWARD MOMENT might touchdown on Super Bowl weekend

20140130-201503.jpg

Counterprogramming is the name of the game over Super Bowl weekend this year. Both new releases—THAT AWKWARD MOMENT and LABOR DAY—are targeted at female audiences that may not be completely consumed by the insanely popular sporting event. Neither movie is poised to really break out, though, and it would be surprising if any title earns over $15 million this weekend.

Here are the predictions from Box Office Mojo:

Forecast (Jan. 31-Feb. 2)
1. That Awkward Moment – $12.1 million
2. Ride Along – $12 million
3. The Nut Job – $7.9 million
4. Frozen – $7.7 million
5. Lone Survivor – $7.3 million
6. Labor Day – $7.2 million

Release Dates: Universal sets PITCH PERFECT 2, CRIMSON PEAK, EVEREST and more!

universal-pictures-100th-anniversary-logo-slice

Universal Pictures has announced a slew of release dates for some of its upcoming films, unveiling the first synopses for some highly anticipated pics (including the latest from Guillermo del Toro) in the process. Briefly:

OUIJA – Universal’s adaptation of the popular board game produced by Michael Bay is slated for October 24, 2014.

EVEREST – Director Baltasar Kormakur’s (2 GUNS) survival drama starring Jason Clarke, John Hawkes, and Jake Gyllenhaal will be released in 3D and IMAX 3D February 27, 2015.

PITCH PERFECT 2 – The music-centered sequel, directed by Elizabeth Banks, will be aca-released May 15, 2015.

CRIMSON PEAK – From Legendary Pictures, filmmaker Guillermo del Toro’s next directorial effort, starring Mia Wasikowska, Jessica Chastain, Tom Hiddleston, and Charlie Hunnam, will haunt traditional theaters and IMAX on October 16, 2015.