Final poster for THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PART 2 is here, tickets on sale Oct. 1!

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Lionsgate has released the final poster for THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PART 2, and it…looks a whole lot like what we’ve seen before. Don’t get me wrong, the folks behind the HUNGER GAMES publicity campaign have come up with some really cool imagery over the years, and some of the recent MOCKINGJAY 2 posters have been visually striking — like the image of Katniss standing tall on a fallen President Snow, or Katniss working the hell out of an ivory throne. This is just essentially leaning really hard into the flaming Mockingjay motif and retreading familiar ground. But hey look, Katniss is straight up the Mockingjay now.

I guess you could say the poster is a return to the franchise roots, and really, they could release the lamest poster of al time and I would still be excited for MOCKINGJAY PART 2. The final installment promises to be an absolutely epic conclusion to the story of Katniss and her hard-won revolution.

Francis Lawrence brings the franchise to a close when THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PART 2 arrives in theaters on November 20th, starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jeffrey Wright, Sam Claflin, Jena Malone, and Donald Sutherland.

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Universal officially delays PACIFIC RIM 2 as development continues, PITCH PERFECT 3 takes slot!

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I recently reported that pre-production on Guillermo del Toro’s PACIFIC RIM 2 had been halted due to turbulence between Legendary Pictures and Universal Pictures. The latter studio, which is currently the distributor for the sequel, confirmed the film’s removal from its release date calendar in a press release today. Rather than addressing the behind-the-scenes bean-counting that led to PACIFIC RIM 2 being shelved for the moment, Universal says that they’ve delayed the production and release of the film in order to provide a bigger and better experience for fans.

In the same announcement, Universal shifted the release date for the next installment in the a cappella comedy series, PITCH PERFECT 3. That film has moved from July 21, 2017 – which just so happens to be the same release date as Christopher Nolan’s mystery film – to Friday, August 4, 2017. That’s the date previously occupied by PACIFIC RIM 2, which will be hopefully be dated at another time in the near future.

Here’s Universal’s exact wording on the reason behind the delay of PACIFIC RIM 2:

Legendary’s PACIFIC RIM 2, originally scheduled for release on August 4, 2017, will be redated at a later time. The filmmakers, Legendary and Universal Pictures are committed to having PACIFIC RIM 2, the sequel to 2013’s PACIFIC RIM, which generated more $411 million at the global box office, be the vanguard, fully-immersive experience that the franchise deserves. To this end, the decision was made to delay the production and release of PACIFIC RIM 2 so that the creative team can continue in its efforts to exceed the amazing experience of the first film.

PACIFIC RIM 2 is the follow-up to Guillermo del Toro’s 2013 epic action-adventure, with a script penned by del Toro, Jon Spaihts (Passengers, Prometheus) and Travis Beacham. Universal Pictures will release the film worldwide in 3D and IMAX.

While that certainly sounds promising, keep in mind that it’s in Universal and Legendary’s best interests to keep a hopeful outlook for the picture, especially since it remains an international hit with franchise potential.

As for PITCH PERFECT 3, Anna Kendrick and Rebel Wilson will headline the returning cast of the follow-up to this summer’s blockbuster hit, which just so happened to be the highest-grossing movie-musical opening of all time. Writer Kay Cannon also returns to the team to pen the next chapter.

I AM PILGRIM: Matthew Vaughn to direct adaptation!

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After the surprise, sleeper success of KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE, director Matthew Vaughn is sticking to the spy genre with his next project, I AM PILGRIM. THR reports Vaughn will direct and produce the feature adaptation of Terry Hayes‘ best-selling espionage thriller for MGM, as well as co-financing through his company MARV films.

Vaughn will direct from a script by Hayes, who adapted his own novel for the screen. Before penning I AM PILGRIM — his first novel — Hayes had an accomplished career as a screenwriter, including the films MAD MAX 2: THE ROAD WARRIOR, MAD MAX BEYOND THUNDERDOME, DEAD CALM and PAYBACK.

Here’s the I AM PILGRIM synopsis from the report.

Based on 2014’s mammoth best seller, the story follows “Pilgrim,” code name for a man who doesn’t exist. The adopted son of a wealthy American family, he once headed up a secret espionage unit for U.S. intelligence. Now in anonymous retirement, he is called upon to lend his expertise to an unusual investigation but ultimately becomes caught in a terrifying race against time to save America from a cunning terrorist.

I AM PLIGRIM saw massive success as a novel, translated into more than 30 languages after landing on a number of U.S. best-seller lists including the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, and earning the title of best-selling debut of 2014 in the U.K.. Haynes is currently working on a follow-up novel featuring the same protagonist, and MGM is keen to see I AM PILGRIM spawn a film franchise.

With only five films under his belt as director, Vaughn has proven himself the right guy to kick off franchises, first with KICK-ASS, which garnered a sequel directed by Jeff Wadlow. Vaughn followed that up by reviving Fox’s X-MEN franchise with the mega-hit X-MEN: FIRST CLASS, before heading off to adapt Mark Millar‘s KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE. KINGSMAN received a sequel greenlight back in April, with Vaughn hard at work on the screenplay. With a 2016 start date projected for I AM PILGRIM — a date that seems likely to overlap with production on KINGSMAN 2 — It looks like Vaughn will continue his track record of getting a franchise off the ground only to head on to the next big thing.

Box Office: HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 2 breaks September record!

  

HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 2 was not the only new release this weekend, but it was the only one that set box office records. The animated sequel has claimed the all-time highest debut for September with an estimated $47.5 million. Appropriately enough, the former record holder was HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA, which opened on this same frame in 2012. The first film went on to earn $148.3 million in North America and $358.3 million worldwide. In terms of animated titles, Hotel Transylvania doesn’t even crack the all-time top 50. But for September – one of the lowest-grossing months of any year – the film, and now its sequel, are genuine blockbusters.

Warner Bros.’ THE INTERN debuted in second place with an estimated $18.2 million. That’s pretty much where projections had the latest feature from writer/director Nancy Meyers opening – between her previous releases SOMETHING’S GOTTA GIVE ($16 million) and IT’S COMPLICATED ($22.1 million). CinemaScore audiences gave The Intern a promising A- (the same grade as HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 2), though reviews have been more mixed (56% on Rotten Tomatoes). Even so, the comedy has the potential to play well in the coming weeks, especially as a counterbalance to fall’s typical feast of dramas.

Here are the numbers from Collider:

1. Hotel Transylvania 2 $47.5M
2. The Intern $18.22M
3. Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials $14M
4. Everest $13.09M
5. Black Mass $11.51M
6. The Visit $6.75M
7. The Perfect Guy $4.75M
8. War Room $4.27M
9. The Green Inferno $3.49M
10. Sicario $1.77M

PROMETHEUS sequel to be titled ALIEN: PARADISE LOST!

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In recent chats with director Ridley Scott, he spoke a bit about the state of his ALIEN franchise and how his 2012 sci-fi prequel PROMETHEUS – and its upcoming sequel(s) – fit into it. Scott, who confirmed that the unofficially titled PROMETHEUS 2 would be his next film, had previously said that:

“Prometheus has its own story to tell before it eventually ties into the movie that started it all…it won’t be in the next one. It will be in the one after this one or maybe even a fourth film before we get back into the ‘Alien’ franchise.”

All well and good, except that in a recent interview with HeyUGuys, Scott revealed the sequel’s title to be ALIEN: PARADISE LOST. No mention of PROMETHEUS (and any negative connotations that audiences may bring along with them) and an obvious tie to the hit ALIEN franchise. Maybe we’ll be getting closer to the Xenomorphs sooner than we thought?

Slightly less obvious, except to the learned among you, is the nod to John Milton’s epic poem, “Paradise Lost,” which tells of the Biblical Fall of Man. The tale of Satan’s temptation of Adam and Eve, and God’s resulting expulsion of the duo from the Garden of Eden is certainly rich territory for Scott to mine when it comes to very mortal humans seeking to learn the secrets of the Engineers. Scott himself confirmed that the sequel will indeed explore the reasoning behind the alien creatures’ “evil biology” and what caused them to create such monsters. Another question that begs to be asked in light of the new title is … what did humanity do to deserve such cruelty?

ALIEN: PARADISE LOST is Ridley Scott’s next project, as his current film, THE MARTIAN, hits theaters on October 2, 2016.

MEN IN BLACK reboot trilogy in the works at Sony, Will Smith not involved!

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It looks like Will Smith’s Agent J may have accidentally looked into the Neuralyzer without his protective Ray-Bans because the actor is not expected to be involved with Sony’s MEN IN BLACK reboot. Though many of you out there may currently be griping that Hollywood is out of new ideas, etc, etc, the good news with this reboot is that it seems like the studio is at least going back to the franchise’s most basic beginnings. In other words, there shouldn’t be any continuity problems to worry about, or egos, or demands for a bigger paycheck.

News of the reboot comes courtesy of THR, who caught up with veteran producers Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald during TIFF 2015. Not only did they reveal that Sony has a MEN IN BLACK reboot in the works, but that it would be a trilogy. The duo previously shepherded each film in the existing trilogy, as well as the animated series adaptation, so you can rest assured that they know what they’re talking about. Here’s the relevant section of the interview:

You produced Men in Black. Has there been talk of reviving that franchise with the new Sony regime?
PARKES We’re in the middle of it. It’s very active.
Is Will Smith going to be part of it?
PARKES Most likely no.
MACDONALD It will be reinvented as a trilogy.

At this point it’s unclear whether this new trilogy will include the rumored crossover event with Sony’s 21 JUMP STREET franchise, or if the three new films will stand apart from the spin-off feature. Can we expect to see Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill engage in some extraterrestrial hijinks as part of their next action comedy? No idea, but that’d certainly be a fun extension of their existing movie universe, and one that will allow audiences to segue into a new MEN IN BLACK trilogy. The state of studio films is all about universe-building these days, so just because 21 JUMP STREET and MEN IN BLACK don’t need to exist within the same world doesn’t mean Sony won’t try to make that happen.

Trailer for THE ANGRY BIRDS MOVIE actually looks fun, film due May 20, 2016!

Video game adaptations are the “Lucy and the football” of the movie world. We’ve yet to see an honest-to-goodness good movie based on a video game despite Hollywood’s insistence on trying and trying again, and next year Sony Pictures is entering the 21st century with not just a video game adaptation—a mobile game adaptation. That’s right, THE ANGRY BIRDS MOVIE is upon us, and the first teaser trailer has been unveiled.

As was to be expected with a film based on a mobile game, the story bears little resemblance to the addictive source material. Jason Sudeikis voices an angry bird named Red, who lives on an island populated almost entirely by flightless birds that is upended by the arrival of mysterious green piggies. Josh Gad voices the speedy bird Chuck and Danny McBride fills the role of the explosive Bomb in the film’s attempt to put a spin on the various types of birds one can control in the game.

It really doesn’t matter whether this movie looks good or not (it looks fun) because it’s going to make a ton of money anyway. Kids everywhere obsessed with Angry Birds are going to flock to this thing, so prepare yourself for a new franchise. Directed by Clay Kaytis and Fergal Reilly, the voice cast also includes Maya Rudolph, Kate McKinnon, Tony Hale, Keegan-Michael Key, Bill Hader, and Peter Dinklage. THE ANGRY BIRDS MOVIE opens in 3D on May 20, 2016.