ZOMBIELAND 2 in the works, Ruben Fleischer up for directing!

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Could it be that ZOMBIELAND 2 might actually happen after all? The 2009 comedy was a big hit with both audiences and critics, putting a smart spin on the zombie genre with an excellent ensemble and one of the best-used cameos in recent memory. Sony Pictures was keen on making a sequel, as was some of the cast (most notably Woody Harrelson), but they were never able to come up with a script that everyone was happy with. Last we heard—which was nearly two years ago—director Ruben Fleischer said there were no immediate plans for ZOMBIELAND 2, and Amazon even attempted a Zombieland TV series that was met with a resounding “no thank you.”

But now it appears that there’s life in the follow-up yet, as Sony has hired a new screenwriter to pen a script under the supervision of Fleischer, who intends to return as director. Per Deadline, Sony has hired THE EXPENDABLES and DOOM screenwriter Dave Callaham to pen ZOMBIELAND 2 with Fleischer poised to return as director. The report notes that a deal hasn’t yet been made with Fleischer, but there is urgency on the part of Sony to finally get this thing going. There’s also no word on if the cast will be back, and seeing as how in-demand they have become—Jesse Eisenberg is Lex Luthor in BATMAN V SUPERMAN, Emma Stone joined the SPIDER-MAN universe and is one of the most popular actress around, and Woody Harrelson is a key player in the HUNGER GAMES franchise—I wouldn’t be surprised if ZOMBIELAND 2 featured a mostly new cast.

But there’s always the possibility that Eisenberg, Stone, and Harrelson take a liking to this screenplay, or maybe Abigail Breslin will take over as the lead of the franchise. When we spoke to Fleischer previously, he said the initial take on ZOMBIELAND 2 found the characters in a ‘Walking Dead’-esque premise:

“Needless to say it was a continuation of the original story with the same characters. I guess the only thing I could really say is that the threat to our heroes wasn’t only zombies, like they encounter other people that they’re all jockeying for positions.”

Fleischer has yet to really capitalize on the promise of ZOMBIELAND, as his follow-up 30 MINUTES OR LESS was a funny yet slight comedy and his third film, the ambitious period crime drama GANGSTER SQUAD, was a misfire. Here’s hoping Callaham is able to come up with an exciting and fresh take on ZOMBIELAND 2 that can put Fleischer back on top.

Sigh…there’s a live-action TETRIS movie in the works

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There was BATTLESHIP in the summer of 2012, OUIJA’s on the way and there were attempts to give STRETCH ARMSTRONG the big screen treatment as well. At this point, why would anyone be surprised that someone’s determined to turn TETRIS into movie, too?

Apparently Threshold Entertainment is joining forces with the Tetris Company to bring the iconic 80s game to the big screen live-action-style. The film’s got no director or actors attached, but the companies do have the story figured out. After the painfully uninspiring approach to the Battleship film that was barely reminiscent of the source material, the idea of going live-action with a TETRIS movie feel like quite the stretch. However, Threshold CEO Larry Kasanoff told The Wall Street Journal:

“Brands are the new stars of Hollywood. We have a story behind ‘Tetris’ which makes it a much more imaginative thing.”

Of course brands have a place on the big screen, but it’d still be a mind-blowing achievement if Kasanoff and co. do manage to deliver a TETRIS film with a riveting story that also rouses memories of playing the game, especially with this nondescript and formulaic tease Kasanoff gave:

“It’s a very big, epic sci-fi movie. This isn’t a movie with a bunch of lines running around the page. We’re not giving feet to the geometric shapes.”

Well, that’s good, but would anyone expect them to make a movie with walking, talking tetrominoes? Perhaps it isn’t fair to jump to conclusions so early on, but after BATTLESHIP and with the way OUIJA looks, the whole game/toy fad is becoming one big waste of time. Hopefully whoever Kasanoff and his team recruit to pen the script and helm the film take a cue from what Phil Lord and Chris Miller achieved with THE LEGO MOVIE because, to me at least, the whole point of turning a beloved game or toy into a movie would be to stir some serious nostalgia while also broadening the concept with an innovative narrative.

And naturally, should this TETRIS movie hit it big, Kasanoff already has plans to do more with the property. I’m not entirely sure what “location-based entertainment” entails, but here’s what he hopes to do if the film is a winner:

“We certainly have the canvas for location-based entertainment based on the epicness. What you [will] see in ‘Tetris’ is the teeny tip of an iceberg that has intergalactic significance.”

Hopefully Kasanoff will attach some top talent or release more promising plot details soon.

The TAKEN 3 trailer is all I ever wanted in the world!

The first trailer for TAKEN 3 has arrived, showing off Liam Neeson in familiar fighting form. This trailer marks the first time we’ve seen Neeson back in the role of Bryan Mills for what will be the third and final time. Famke Janssen and Maggie Grace also are starring in TAKEN 3, returning as Mills’ ex-wife and daughter, respectively. TAKEN 2 director Olivier Megaton is also back at the helm for the third film.

TAKEN 3 is slated to hit theaters January 9, 2015. I don’t sleep, I wait.

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Rumor: AVENGERS 3 to be split into two films?

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What’s good enough for HARRY POTTER, THE HOBBIT, TWILIGHT and THE HUNGER GAMES (among others) is apparently good enough for Marvel Studios, as a rumor coming out of a fan news page called the Daily Marvelite claims that the third AVENGERS film will an epic story split across two movies. They admitted that all their source has told them is that the battle with Thanos will play out over two films; it could simply be that AVENGERS 4 will be needed to win the day, or that the third film will be subdivided. The latter seems more likely if, as the report claims, the May 2018 and May 2019 “untitled” Marvel movies turn out to be AVENGERS 3 and 4.

How that would work, in terms of contracts, isn’t clear; at least Robert Downey, Jr. and Chris Evans’ deals will expire after one of those two films, and neither have expressed an interest in renewing their deal. That said, perhaps they’ll shoot the movie all in one go and then split it into two films in post-production? Either way, it seems like they’d have to kick a little extra cash the actors’ way, since knowing this far in advance that they were going to split it would seem like acting in bad faith otherwise.

The assumption on the part of most fans is that the film will be an adaptation of the Jim Starlin graphic novel The Infinity Gauntlet, which spawned a number of sequels in the Marvel Comics Universe that could serve as a thematic “second half” to the film without actually being Infinity Gauntlet, Part 2.

First AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON trailer attached to INTERSTELLAR!

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If Disney’s marketing strategy for the highly-anticipated AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON is planned similar to the original superhero assembly, then we should have an official trailer, among other things, sometime next month. In fact, Warner Bros. Russia announced today (via @antovolk) that the teaser will be attached to Christopher Nolan’s INTERSTELLAR (and most likely BIG HERO 6), which will hit theaters on November 7. But given that trailers are usually released online about a week before their theatrical runs, it’s pretty safe to say we should be dissecting and analyzing the AGE OF ULTRON trailer by the end of October.

Box Office: THE EQUALIZER opens big, BOXTROLLS in third!

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As expected, THE EQUALIZER came out on top this weekend, earning an estimated $35 million from 3,236 locations. That’s surprisingly strong for a September debut – especially considering the movie is based on a TV series few people remember. THE EQUALIZER is Denzel Washington’s best box office debut since 2012’s SAFE HOUSE and it also gives director Antoine Fuqua the highest opening of his career. Laika’s THE BOXTROLLS opened in third after the sophomore weekend of THE MAZE RUNNER had a great (-46%) hold. Also, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY passed the first IRON MAN film’s $319M gross at the domestic box office.

Here are the numbers from Collider:

1. The Equalizer $35M
2. The Maze Runner $17.5M
3. The Boxtrolls $17.25M
4. This Is Where I Leave You $7.01M
5 Dolphin Tale 2 $4.83M
6. No Good Deed $4.6M
7. A Walk Among the Tombstones $4.23M
8. Guardians of the Galaxy $3.78M
9. Let’s Be Cops $1.51M
10. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles $1.45M