Box Office: AMERICAN SNIPER to hat trick this weekend!

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For the third weekend in a row, AMERICAN SNIPER is going to easily take the top spot at the box office. Even with the Super Bowl monopolizing attention on Sunday, SNIPER should still easily add at least $30 million over the three-day period. Among the weekend’s new releases, found footage time travel movie PROJECT ALMANAC should provide decent counterprogramming for teen moviegoers, while BLACK OR WHITE and THE LOFT will be lucky to earn a combined $10 million.

Here are the predictions from Box Office Mojo:

Forecast (January 30 – February 1)
1. American Sniper – $37.4 million
2. Project Almanac – $16 million
3. Paddington – $7 million
4. The Boy Next Door – $6.9 million
-. Black or White – $6 million
-. The Loft – $2.7 million

Trailer for Soviet-Era serial killer thriller CHILD 44, due April 17, 2015!

Summit has released the first CHILD 44 trailer for director Daniel Espinosa‘s (SAFE HOUSE) politically charged serial killer thriller. Based on the novel by Tom Rob Smith, the film takes place in 1953 Soviet Russia and stars Tom Hardy as a secret police agent who comes under fire when he refuses to denounce his wife (Noomi Rapace) as a traitor. Another Tom Hardy movie, another crazy Eastern European accent. The guy simply does not do half measures when it comes to his dialects, which makes sense since he’s not really “half measures” kind of actor.

Beyond the accent, the movie looks promising. Child murder is a gritty subject, maybe the grittiest, and CHILD 44 looks appropriately grim without getting lost in the darkness of that subject matter. The most intriguing element is the struggle within the communist regime – they can’t acknowledge that such horrible things happen under their watch, but they also simply can’t overlook the murder of 44 children, even if “murder is a capitalist disease”. CHILD 44 has the architecture of a great thriller, an outstanding cast, and a goofy Tom Hardy accent. That’s a pretty great combination.

Gary Oldman, Paddy Considine, Joel Kinnaman, Jason Clarke, and Vincent Cassel also star. CHILD 44 opens in theaters on April 17th.

GHOSTBUSTERS reboot gets cast, set for July 22, 2016 release!

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Just as cast details have been confirmed for Paul Feig‘s upcoming GHOSTBUSTERS reboot, Feig added more fuel to the fire by solidifying a release date on Twitter: July 22, 2016. The movie’s all-female cast will star Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones (Saturday Night Live, TOP FIVE) and Kate McKinnon (Saturday Night Live, LIFE PARTNERS).

Rumor Rounds: Hemsworth in ID4:2, Bruhl’s CIVIL WAR role, Pratt as INDIANA JONES!

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Another reboot, and another rumor. According to The Wrap, THE HUNGER GAMES‘ Liam Hemsworth is being considered as a potential candidate to lead the INDEPENDENCE DAY sequel, the terribly named ID FOREVER (which is dangerously close to sounding like an off-brand clothing tag). 20th Century Fox has no comment on the casting at this time.

This is the first major casting news for ID Forever since rumors of Michael B. Jordan being considered for a role back in 2013. It also would appear that the movie is no longer being shot back-to-back as two films (Part One and Part Two), but has been scaled back. Probably a smart choice.

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We know that CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR will highlight the tension between Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) and Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), but what about the actual bad guys in the film? Based on how CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER wrapped up, we know that Winter Solider (Sebastian Stan) and Brock Rumlow/Crossbones (Frank Grillo) are still in play, but then there’s also Daniel Brühl’s character. He scored the role of the CIVIL WAR villain back in November, but there’s been no word on who that might be until now.

A casting call just surfaced that flat out lists Brühl as Baron Zemo. Here’s the blurb:

“Golden Globe Award nominee Daniel Brühl has joined the cast as Baron Zemo.”

The post also comes with this description of the plot of the film:

“In Captain America: Civil War, billionaire Tony Stark is pitted against Captain America aka Steve Rogers in an ethical face-off over the U.S. government’s Superhuman Registration Act, which requires all superpowered individuals register their powers and report to S.H.I.E.L.D.”

Hopefully we’ll get additional details on Baron Zemo soon, but, for the time being, Marvel hasn’t confirmed the news so it’s best to consider Brühl’s role in the film a rumor. CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR goes into production in April and is scheduled to hit theaters May 6, 2016.

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Here’s your rumor warning: this is a rumor, and a rumor in the very early development stages at that. That being said, this is an awesome rumor and one I hope is true. Deadline reports that Chris Pratt is being eyed to take over the leading role in an INDIANA JONES reboot as the swashbuckling anthropologist made famous by Harrison Ford. Pratt has long proved the power of his charisma on Parks and Recreations, and finally established his leading man status last year with GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY.

We’ve been waiting for word of forward motion on an INDIANA JONES revival since Disney and Paramount struck a deal back in 2013, and then quickly told fans not to expect a new film for two to three years while the writers worked out a good story. This casting rumor fits in perfectly within that timeline and hopefully that means they figured out a story everyone feels passionate about. If the story’s good, then Chris Pratt is absolutely the right man to bring the beloved snake-fearing adventurer back to the big screen. He’s got the charm, the pelvic sorcery and the ruggedness, and while Pratt is best known for playing goofy, less-than-brilliant characters, I have no doubt he could drop the shtick and play an earnest and intelligent man. Look, there’s always going to be outcry about why this shouldn’t be remade, but the fact is they’re going to do it, and if they’re going to do it, at least rumor has it they’re looking in the right direction.

First trailer and poster for Josh Trank’s THE FANTASTIC FOUR!

Fresh off the heels of Collider’s reveals last night where director Josh Trank (CHRONICLE) and producer Simon Kinberg spoke at length about the film, 20th Century Fox has finally released the first FANTASTIC FOUR trailer, which reveals Trank’s superhero adaptation to the world at large. The film stars Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Michael B. Jordan, and Jamie Bell as the titular foursome who are left physically transformed after teleporting to an alternate and dangerous universe, with Toby Kebbell (DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES) filling the villainous role of Dr. Doom. This is very much a teaser trailer as it does a nice job of conveying tone and mood without giving much away, but we do get to hear Kebbell’s voice as Doom for the first time. Judging by this footage, I’d say Trank’s statement that the films of David Cronenberg were a big inspiration for this superhero adaptation is spot on.

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FANTASTIC FOUR, a contemporary re-imagining of Marvel’s original and longest-running superhero team, centers on four young outsiders who teleport to an alternate and dangerous universe, which alters their physical form in shocking ways. Their lives irrevocably upended, the team must learn to harness their daunting new abilities and work together to save Earth from a former friend turned enemy.

THE FANTASTIC FOUR opens in theaters on August 7th.

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 5 moved up to July 31, 2015!

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In a piece of good news that actually makes sense MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 5 will now open five months earlier than expected. Originally scheduled for a Christmas release, it likely became apparent to Paramount that pretty much everyone would still be seeing STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS (probably for the fifth time) over the holidays. As someone who’s looking forward to both movies, it’s nice to know that both of them have a chance of getting a lot of eyeballs.

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 5 will now open on July 31st, 2015. Christopher McQuarrie directed the film which of course stars Tom Cruse alongside Simon Pegg, Jeremy Renner, Ving Rhames, Sean Harris, and Rebecca Ferguson. Oh yeah, and Alec Baldwin for the win. I really liked the last few Cruise and McQuarrie teamings (JACK REACHER and, with McQuarrie as a writer, EDGE OF TOMORROW) so I think it’s reasonable to be totally excited for this one. Especially since the franchise is on an upward tick with GHOST PROTOCOL being the best installment thus far. All of this probably means we’re getting a trailer a lot sooner than expected, and I’m expecting some impressive stunts.

Emma Watson cast as Belle in Disney’s live-action BEAUTY AND THE BEAST!

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In an interesting bit of casting news, Emma Watson has been cast as Belle in Disney’s upcoming live-action adaptation of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. The film is set to be directed by Bill Condon (TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN) from a script by Stephen Chbosky (THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER). Between Watson, Condon and Chbosky that’s some serious royalty of the “young adult” genre, and they’re a team that’s poised not only to speak to a young audiences interests, but also to deliver a film well-tuned Disney’s sensibilities. Production is slated to begin later in 2015.

The interesting part about this is that Emma Watson was previously set to play the role of Belle in Guilldermo del Toro‘s adaptation of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST over at Warner Brothers. Del Toro dropped out of directing that film back in June of last year, and it seems Watson had her heart set on the part regardless of studio. Personally, I don’t care who’s making the film (though I would have loved to see Del Toro’s interpretation of the dark love story), as long as Watson stays on as Belle. I grew up on the animated feature, adoring the songs and Belle’s character, and Watson is the exactly the classy young actress to bring Belle’s gumption and intelligence to life on the big screen.

The re-imagining of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST follows on the heels of Disney’s other recent live-action successes including ALICE IN WONDERLAND in 2010 and MALEFICENT in 2014. Disney currently has two other live-action re-imaginings in the works: CINDERELLA, directed by Kenneth Branagh, and THE JUNGLE BOOK, directed by Jon Favreau.