MACBETH director Justin Kurzel to helm ASSASSIN’S CREED!

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New Regency and Ubisoft are in talks with Justin Kurzel to direct ASSASSIN’S CREED, the live action adaptation of the Ubisoft video game that has Michael Fassbender attached to star. The original game involves Desmond Miles, captured by a secret organization with ties to the Knight Templar who repeatedly send Miles back in time into the body of his assassin ancestors to retrieve valuable historical artifacts, the first time going back to the Crusades.

Kurzel isn’t a household name in the action arena just yet, but he and Fassbender just finished respectively directing and starring in MACBETH. They wrapped that Weinstein Company film, with Fassbender in the title role, and the actor must have really liked what he saw. Regency and Ubisoft are also moving quickly on SPLINTER CELL, which Doug Liman will direct with Tom Hardy starring.

ASSASSIN’S CREED is due in theaters on August 7, 2015.

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STAR WARS EPISODE VII announces cast: Original stars returns, many new stars added!

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Official word from StarWars.com:

The Star Wars team is thrilled to announce the cast of Star Wars: Episode VII.

Actors John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, and Max von Sydow will join the original stars of the saga, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, and Kenny Baker in the new film.

Director J.J. Abrams says, “We are so excited to finally share the cast of Star Wars: Episode VII. It is both thrilling and surreal to watch the beloved original cast and these brilliant new performers come together to bring this world to life, once again. We start shooting in a couple of weeks, and everyone is doing their best to make the fans proud.”

Star Wars: Episode VII is being directed by J.J. Abrams from a screenplay by Lawrence Kasdan and Abrams. Kathleen Kennedy, J.J. Abrams, and Bryan Burk are producing, and John Williams returns as the composer. The movie opens worldwide on December 18, 2015.

STAR WARS News: Ford has “gigantic” role in EP. VII, Oscar Isaac up for role?

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We know Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford will return for STAR WARS: EPISODE VII. Perhaps you, like me, assumed the original trio would make extended cameos that launched the new cast on a fresh trilogy’s worth of adventures. But director J.J. Abrams is as big a fan of the original STAR WARS trilogy as the rest of you. Deadline hears he and Disney planned a “gigantic role” for Ford in the first film of the trilogy. We know nothing about the EPISODE VII story other than all the expanded universe tales it won’t tap.

Disney chairman Alan Horn promises casting is nearly complete and a table read tomorrow in London should help put an end to the casting rumor mill. But we’re not done yet: Deadline confirms that Adam Driver is likely on board, suggests John Boyega emerged from this shortlist, and revisits the Maisie Richardson-Sellers rumor. The report also adds Oscar Isaac to the mix, indicating the actor is “in line for a major role.” Isaac is awesome, but alas, may not be able to join due to theater commitments.

STAR WARS: EPISODE VII lands December 18, 2015, but expect some sort of announcement on Sunday, May the Fourth of this year, otherwise known as STAR WARS day. “May the Fourth be with you…”

Asia’s International Trailer for GODZILLA is best one yet!

If you think the other trailers for GODZILLA were cool, you haven’t seen anything yet. This international trailer for Asian markets finally shows off the villainous kaiju of the film and some of the epic showdown between them and the King of Monsters.

An epic rebirth to Toho’s iconic Godzilla, this spectacular adventure, from Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures, pits the world’s most famous monster against malevolent creatures who, bolstered by humanity’s scientific arrogance, threaten our very existence. Starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Bryan Cranston, Ken Watanabe, Juliette Binoche, and David Strathairn and Bryan Cranston, Godzilla is directed by Gareth Edwards from a screenplay by Max Borenstein, Frank Darabont, and Dave Callaham.

GODZILLA hits 2D, 3D, and IMAX 3D theaters on May 16, 2014.

UPDATE: BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN to lead into JUSTICE LEAGUE, Zach Snyder to direct!

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It was bound to happen eventually. We’re still over two years away from BATMAN VS SUPERMAN (unofficial title), but Warner Bros. is chomping at the bit to get to JUSTICE LEAGUE. With the MAN OF STEEL sequel, what began as a pairing of DC’s most popular superheroes has grown to include Wonder Woman and even Cyborg, although we don’t know how big their roles will be. Warner Bros. president of worldwide production Greg Silverman says that BATMAN VS SUPERMAN will lead into JUSTICE LEAGUE, which means that the earliest we’ll probably see the famous superhero team on screen is 2018.

Beyond Superman (Henry Cavill), Batman (Ben Affleck), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), and Ray Fisher (Cyborg), Silverman wouldn’t specify which superheroes would appear in JUSTICE LEAGUE. For those wondering, the founding members in the comics were Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Flash, Green Lantern, and Martian Manhunter. Since details on BATMAN VS SUPERMAN are still scarce, it’s possible some of these heroes might pop up in the upcoming sequel.

And who will be the visionary behind the Justice League movie? Director Zack Snyder.

The Wall Street Journal also reports that Zack Snyder can now look forward getting questions about two superhero movies instead of just one (although I suspect he still would have gotten “Are you directing JUSTICE LEAGUE?” on a semi-regular basis). It also means that the tone Snyder established with MAN OF STEEL will remain through both pictures.

But what about other aspects of the DC Movie Universe? Wonder Woman still hasn’t received her own movie, and according to WSJ, “Warner executives said they are warm to the idea.” Sue Kroll, president of worldwide marketing (always be sure to consult the marketing people), says “That is our hope. With the right script, that could be viable. The world is ready for her.”

It doesn’t sound like WONDER WOMAN or even BATMAN will get a movie in between BATMAN VS SUPERMAN and JUSTICE LEAGUE, but there’s room for another hero to squeeze into 2017. But with Marvel set on releasing at least two movies every year, I doubt Warner Bros. wants to leave a vacuum when they could keep their superhero properties rolling.

BATMAN VS SUPERMAN opens May 6, 2016.

UPDATE: Latino-Review is reporting that WB is planning on releasing JUSTICE LEAGUE on May 5, 2017, just one year after BATMAN VS SUPERMAN and on the same date Marvel Studios has carved out for an untitled project. Time will tell!

Box Office: CAP loses to THE OTHER WOMAN, Marvel to reclaim crown next week!

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One week before THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 kicks off the official summer movie season, the box office was predictably underwhelming. Three new titles debuted but only one, THE OTHER WOMAN, left an impression. Fox’s female-centric revenge comedy earned an estimated $24.7 million from 3,204 locations to easily lock down first place while fellow new releases BRICK MANSIONS and THE QUIET ONES struggled.

Here are the numbers from Collider:

1. The Other Woman $24.7M
2. Captain America 2 $16.04M
3. Heaven is for Real $13.8M
4. Rio 2 $13.65M
5. Brick Mansions $9.6M
6. Transcendence $4.1M
7. The Quiet Ones $4M
8. Bears $3.61M
9. Divergent $3.6M
10. A Haunted House 2 $3.26M

BEN-HUR remake set for February 26, 2016!

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MGM and Paramount Pictures’ BEN-HUR remake now has a release date and a pair of interesting producers. WANTED and ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER director Timur Bekmambetov is onboard to helm the epic, and MGM and Paramount have now slated the film for release on February 26, 2016. Moreover, SON OF GOD producers Mark Burnett and Roma Downey have come aboard the project as producers, which could potentially mean the redo might bridge the gap between Hollywood tentpole and the recent flurry of successful faith-based features. Based on Lew Wallace’s novel of the same name, Bekmambetov’s film focuses on the nature of faith as it follows a falsely accused nobleman who sets out to take vengeance on the best friend who betrayed him.

Wallace’s novel was, of course, adapted to the big screen in 1959 by director William Wyler, and his Charlton Heston-led iteration went on to win 11 Academy Awards. The script for Bekmambetov’s version was originally penned by Keith Clarke (THE WAY BACK), but the most recent draft was written by Oscar-winning 12 YEARS A SLAVE writer John Ridley.

Previous reports have said that this new BEN-HUR will be more faithful to the book by telling the parallel story of Jesus Christ in addition to the Judah Ben-Hur story, and the addition of Burnett and Downey to the production team would appear to confirm that this will be a more faith-driven film than the original epic.

Faith-based films have been doing solid business as of late, catering to an audience that feels underserved, and it appears that MGM and Paramount are hoping to mount a “cooperative effort”, as it were, for BEN-HUR by combining the big-budget spectacle of a studio film (and a genre-experienced director) with a faith-focused storyline, not to mention the religious clout that comes with having Burnett and Downey as producers.