Josh Brolin cast as Thanos is GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY and AVENGERS sequels!

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We got our first look at Thanos (aka The Mad Titan, Avatar of Death) in a tag scene at the end of THE AVENGERS, strongly suggesting that the Marvel villain would be making appearances in future films. Now, we have word that none other than Josh Brolin is set to voice the big bad. Fans will likely get their next look at (and listen to) Thanos in James Gunn’s GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, which greatly expands the current Marvel Cinematic Universe beyond its terrestrial boundaries. Thanos has been confirmed to also appear in AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON (even more than he will in GUARDIANS), with The Avengers 3 a likely place to feature the antagonist.

Latino-Review reports that Brolin will be voicing Thanos in GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, with confirmation coming via Variety and THR. The Mad Titan is expected to show up in the third act of the space-based actioner opening August 1st.

Since the tag in The Avengers, and probably well before that, Feige and Marvel have been planning big things for the big bad. Here’s what Feige had to say a couple of years ago when the scene originally played out for audiences:

“Clearly, there’s a purpose to us putting him in the end of that movie. We do have plans for him. I wouldn’t say we ever feel the need to rush anything one way or the other. We succeeded in Phase One because we stuck to our guns and stuck to the plan. That plan took place over many, many years and it ultimately paid off. I see Phase Two unfolding in the same way of us taking our time, us doing what’s right for each individual movie, while folding in elements that will not only build up to the culmination of Phase Two, but even Phase Three.”

Though Whedon and Marvel cast actor/stuntman Damion Poitier to portray the baddie at the end of The Avengers, Feige admitted they’d recast the role when he reappears:

“I think we feel pretty free to recast. That was cast for literally that one shot. Depending on what the role requires from future movies, we’ll go from there.”

Looks like Brolin is what the role required. You’ll get your first look and listen in GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY when it opens August 1, 2014 and an even better look in AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON on May 1, 2015.

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Potential ANT MAN directors: McKay, Fleischer, and Thurber

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To say fans are dismayed at the abrupt exit of director Edgar Wright from his long-planned Marvel adaptation ANT MAN is an understatement. The filmmaker departed the film last week after the studio heavily rewrote his script, leaving the studio scrambling to find a replacement with just under a year before the film’s release. Since filming had already been pushed back to address issues Marvel had with the script by Wright and Joe Cornish, we knew a replacement announcement would be coming soon, and now a list of filmmakers that are meeting with the studio has surfaced. With contenders like Adam McKay (ANCHORMAN, THE OTHER GUYS), Ruben Fleischer (ZOMBIELAND, GANGSTER SQUAD), and Rawson Thurber (WE’RE THE MILLERS. EASY A) in the mix, it’s clear that Marvel is keen on landing a director well-versed in the comedy genre.

We’ve been hearing over the past couple of days that a director replacement announcement on ANT MAN is imminent, and Heat Vision reports that Adam McKay, Ruben Fleischer, and Rawson Thurber are among the directors that are meeting with the studio. Wright—who had been working on ANT MAN since 2006—envisioned the film as a caper comedy, and since most of the pic is likely already storyboarded and pre-vized, much of his central premise likely remains intact. As such, Marvel is looking at filmmakers who have experience handling comedy.

McKay is the most interesting filmmaker on this shortlist, and he also seems the most likely. He has experience with more action-oriented features like THE OTHER GUYS and has a close relationship with ANT MAN star Paul Rudd. He’s been hoping to next tackle a remake of UPTOWN SATURDAY NIGHT with Will Smith and Denzel Washington, but as far as we know that hasn’t been firmed up yet. He’s also attached to direct the financial crisis drama THE BIG SHORT, but he only just started working on the screenplay. As such, one imagines the prospect of helming a big Marvel movie—with the familiarity of Rudd in the lead, no less—is enticing. Moreover, McKay’s heavy improvisational style on his films means he’s comfortable rewriting on the fly, which will no doubt be necessary as cameras roll soon on the film. This is also a “best of a bad situation” scenario for Rudd, who undoubtedly signed on to star in an Edgar Wright film as much as he did a Marvel movie.

Fleischer and Thurber are interesting as well, though Fleischer’s last two films (30 MINUTES OR LESS, GANGSTER SQUAD) have failed to live up to the promise of ZOMBIELAND. And Heat Vision also mentions Jonathan Levine as a potential contender, though he’s gearing up to direct an untitled film with Seth Rogen and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, so it seems unlikely this could fit in his schedule.

At the end of the day, though, there’s simply no “replacing” Edgar Wright on a project that was unabashedly his, and since this project is already brushing up heavily on a deadline, whoever is brought in will mostly be executing a vision dictated by Marvel. We should hear an official announcement regarding Wright’s replacement soon.

ANT MAN is scheduled for release on July 17, 2015 and also stars Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly, and Patrick Wilson.

Box Office: MALEFICENT to reign this weekend!

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On the final weekend of May, MALEFICENT faces off against Seth McFarlane’s A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST. The Disney fantasy, starring Angelina Jolie, will likely wind up in first place ahead of strong holdover X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST.

Here are the predictions from Box Office Mojo:

Forecast (May 30-June 1)
1. Maleficent – $55 million
2. X-Men: Days of Future Past – $39 million
3. Million Ways – $26 million
4. Godzilla – $13 million

TERMINATOR: GENESIS set pics with Mom, Dad, Son and Uncle Bob!

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The first set pics from TERMINATOR: GENESIS are here and time travel is…confusing. The photos below feature Emilia Clarke as Sarah Connor & Jai Courtney as Kyle Reese pointing a gun toward Jason Clarke as John Connor while Arnold Schwarzenegger, the T-800, stands by and watches the situation unfold. So Mama Connor stands with baby-daddy Reese and aims a gun at her own son (who is older than them both) as Uncle Bob (TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY reference there) casually enters the scene.

To explain how the Terminator ages, in an interview with MTV, Schwartzenegger said: “Terminator deals a lot with time travel, so there will be a younger T-800, and then what that model does later on when it gets reprogrammed, and who gets a hold of him. So it will be all kinds of interesting twists in the movie, but I feel so good. The way that the character is written, it’s a machine underneath. It’s this metal skeleton. But above that is human flesh. And the Terminator’s flesh ages, just like any other human being’s flesh. Maybe not as fast. But it definitely ages.”

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I’m pretty sure we’re in for some interesting time-travel shenanigans with a killer cast. TERMINATOR: GENESIS lands July 1, 2015.

First trailer and poster for THE DAY OF THE DEAD!

20th Century Fox has released the first THE BOOK OF LIFE trailer and poster. Inspired the Mexican holiday “Day of the Dead”, the film revolves around three childhood friends—Manolo (Diego Luna), Maria (Zoe Saldana), and Joaquin (Channing Tatum)—who find themselves in a love triangle as the gods wager on who will win Maria’s heart. While the story of the gods interfering with the lives and loves of mortals is one of the oldest tales in human history, it’s refreshing to see a feature that pulls from Mexican mythology.

Equally appealing is the unique visual style of the film. I’m sure there’s a proper term for it, but characters and settings already feel 3D in a 2D viewing experience. They seem carved, or crafted from papier mache, more reminiscent of games like “Little Big Planet” than anything we’ve seen in the animated world lately. A gorgeous, eye-catching, and colorful introduction to this bold take on Dia de los Muertos. The film also features the voices of Hector Elizondo, Danny Trejo, Ice Cube, and Placido Domingo.

THE BOOK OF LIFE opens in 3D on October 17, 2014.

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Carter Blanchard to doctor INDEPENDENCE DAY 2 script!

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The upcoming INDEPENDENCE DAY sequel is undergoing some script work before production begins. Director Roland Emmerich and producer Dean Deviln penned the initial draft of the follow-up before turning over scripting duties in earnest to Emmerich’s WHITE HOUSE DOWN scribe James Vanderbilt. That iteration of the script has remained for some time, but,as the July 1, 2016 release date approaches, it appears that there’s still more work to be done. Deadline reports that 20th Century Fox has tapped Carter Blanchard to pen a new draft of the screenplay while Emmerich shoots his gay rights period drama STONEWALL.

Blanchard doesn’t have many credits to his name, but he has a number of projects in development. He’s currently adapting Mark Millar’s comic KINDERGARTEN HEROES, he recently penned a draft of the video game adaptation SPY HUNTER for Ruben Flesicher to direct, and he sold his spec GLIMMER to DreamWorks.

As for the INDEPENDENCE DAY sequel, Emmerich and Devlin have previously stated that the story takes place 20 years after the events of the first pic and follows the now-adult children of the original film’s characters. We also know that Will Smith has declined the opportunity to return, but Bill Pullman is expected to be back. A production start-date hasn’t been announced just yet, but I expect filming will begin either very late this year or sometime in the first quarter of 2015, once Emmerich completes post-production on STONEWALL.

INDEPENDENCE DAY 2 is planned for release on July 1, 2016.