12 items from 2007
- Just like Universal's attempt to reboot their green muscle superhero franchise of The Incredible Hulk, Lionsgate Films is doing the same with their piece of the Marvel pie. Fans of the character are indeed hoping for a fresh start to the mangled 2004 film The Punisher - but sources close to Ioncinema.com have personally confided in me that the character is once again being passed through a let's-give-them-what-we-think-they-want meat-grinder. Fans be warned: if you are looking for something significantly better in Punisher: War Zone, don't hold your breath. Though I have zero authority on the subject matter, (in my teen years, I've read only read about 20 issues of the comic book) and have very little interest in seeing the film, I thought I'd deliver a soft blow to those who really have larger-than-life expectations for the franchise. Currently in the final hours of production in the city of Montreal »
12 September 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »
TORONTO -- Toronto's film production industry on Tuesday unveiled plans to go green, a move that will include everything from serving food in biodegradable containers to transporting stars in hybrid cars.
The voluntary Green-Screen initiative -- spearheaded by studio operators, unions and guilds -- aims at identifying ways to reduce waste and energy use for all productions shooting in Toronto.
Candida Paltiel, director of the Planet in Focus International Environmental Film & Video Festival, said the industry alliance didn't want to single out offenders, just reduce everyone's carbon footprint.
"The longer a production goes on, the more energy it uses, the more people are transported, and the more food is eaten or thrown out," she explained.
Morgan said that Hulk production crews are electronically communicating information where possible, printing paper double-sided, renting hybrid cars and using a pine wood in place of rainforest woods when building sets. »
The movie, which Louis Leterrier is directing, sees Bruce Banner/Hulk on the run, trying to avoid capture long enough to cure the condition that turns him into a monster.
Nelson will play a scientist named Samuel Sterns. In Hulk lore, Sterns, aka "The Leader", is one of the Hulk's major antagonists, a menial worker in a chemical research plant who is bombarded with gamma radiation. He emerges from his accident not only green-skinned but also superintelligent, with an oversized brain.
Nelson joins a strong comic book movie cast that includes two-time Oscar nominee Edward Norton (Banner), Liv Tyler (Betty Ross), Tim Roth (villain Emil Blonsky/the Abomination) and William Hurt (General Ross, Betty's father).
NEW YORK -- Licensing Show opens Tuesday amid concern that there are few, if any, major blockbusters slated for 2008 that can match the enormous merchandising success of this summer's megahits "Spider-Man 3", "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" and "Shrek the Third" as well as the highly anticipated "Transformers".
But with CBS hosting its first booth ever at Licensing Show and increased primetime offerings from NBC and ABC, the major networks are making their strongest showing yet, with more opportunities for primetime licensing. Fox, which through 20th Century Fox Licensing and Merchandising has had a strong presence at the show for years with "The Simpsons", is back in full force as "The Simpsons Movie" opens in theaters in July.
"It's going to be very, very difficult across all product categories to match the (retail) numbers against this year," said Jonathan Samet, publisher of the Licensing Book and the Toy Book. "There are just not that many 'Spider-Mans' and 'Pirates' out there. A lot of the studios really just don't have anything new on the horizon from a merchandising standpoint. With the lineup that's coming out next year, I don't see anything that's going to match the merchandising numbers from this summer."
One sign of the less robust film merchandising slate for 2008 is the decline in studio ads in the Licensing Book, he said. "I don't have as much movie advertising in my publication. Our advertising is up, but it's not from the same big studios that used to take four, six and eight pages at a time because they don't have the properties to be promoting at this time."
Charles Riotto, president of LIMA, the licensing industry's worldwide trade organization and sponsor of the Licensing Show, said he was expecting 2007 to be "the biggest year ever for sales of entertainment-based licensing merchandise because of all the blockbuster movies we've had this year and all the ones that are still to come like 'Transformers, ' 'The Simpsons Movie, ' and 'Ratatouille.' I don't think we've ever had a year like this where we've had so many great movies with such significant licensing sales potential."
Riotto is also set to report at the show Tuesday that U.S. retail sales of licensed product were up 1.5% in 2006 to $108.7 billion, a slightly smaller increase than the 1.8% rise reported in 2005. Entertainment licensing fared better but still experienced a bigger percentage gain in 2005. U.S. retail sales of entertainment-based licensed product rose 2% in 2006 to $48.2 billion, up from $47.3 billion in 2005, when sales rose 2.4%.
Of all the major studio offerings, the two films drawing the most interest so far are both from Warner Bros. –- the Batman sequel "The Dark Knight" and "Speed Racer", a live-action movie based on the TV series created by anime pioneer Tatsuo Yoshida. The film, set for release in May, marks a reunion for directors Larry and Andy Wachowski and producer Joel Silver, who last worked together on the "Matrix" trilogy. But with the "Batman" sequel being described as a bit dark, there was concern it could limit sales among younger children who may not see the film. "The Incredible Hulk" from Marvel also is attracting some interest going into the show.
But for the most part retailers and licensees will be working very hard at the show this year to figure out the best bets for boxoffice and merchandising success in 2008. "I think retailers are going to be looking to figure out how to anniversary some pretty significant sales they had in 2007," said Vince Klaseus, senior vp franchise development and marketing at Disney Consumer Products. »
On the eve of the opening of Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Marvel Studios has begun the process of bringing another of its comics to the big screen: the elite superhero team the Avengers.
On the other side of town, Warner Bros. Pictures is developing its superhero superteam, Justice League of America, with Kieran Mulroney and Michele Mulroney having submitted a draft adapting the DC Comics series.
While Penn has not begun his screenplay, those who have read the Mulroneys' draft give it a thumbs-up, and a search for directors is about to begin.
One challenge facing the writers is which heroes to include in their scripts.
While the roster for the Avengers has changed since its inception in 1963, growing to include the likes of Spider-Man and X-Men hero Wolverine, the classic iteration of the team consisted of Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and the diminutive Ant-Man and Wasp. »
The movie, which Louis Leterrier is directing, sees Bruce Banner/Hulk on the run, trying to avoid capture long enough to cure the condition that turns him into a monster. Hurt will play Gen. Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross, the man who has dedicated his life to capturing the Hulk -- and who also is the father of Banner's love interest, Betty Ross.
Hulk is shaping up to having one of the stronger comic book movie casts in quite a while as Hurt joins two-time Oscar nominee Edward Norton, who is playing Banner, Liv Tyler as Betty and Tim Roth as villain Emil Blonsky/the Abomination.
Actor Eric Bana has praised movie bosses for replacing him with Edward Norton in upcoming sequel The Incredible Hulk. Bana, who played Bruce Banner in filmmaker Ang Lee's original 2003 movie Hulk, is pleased he wasn't offered the role as he may not have subsequently landed critically acclaimed parts in movies such as Munich. He tells Australia's Herald Sun newspaper, "If it came up in the right amount of time I might have (done it) but, you know, in an ideal world it has not been a bad thing for me. I think it's even better that they've got a new guy and better again that they've got someone of the caliber of Edward Norton. You know, I can't wait to see it. And I suppose if they had come back in the right amount of time I wouldn't have been doing films like Munich." But Bana insists he never considered making more than one Hulk movie when he signed up to appear in the original film. He adds, "I never went into the first one thinking I was going to do three films. I didn't think the word franchise, or the word sequel. To me it always appeared as a one-off opportunity." Shooting on The Incredible Hulk is scheduled to begin this summer in Toronto, Canada. »
Universal Pictures is distributing.
Roth would play Emil Blonsky, a vicious mercenary who turns into the Abomination, a gamma-spawned being stronger than the Hulk. Louis Leterrier is directing the latest big-screen rendition for the jade juggernaut from a Zak Penn screenplay.
The story begins with Hulk-houser Bruce Banner on the run, trying to avoid capture long enough to cure the condition that turns him into a monster.
In comic book annals, the Abomination was a KGB agent who deliberately exposed himself to radiation to gain strength. The character, who was created in the 1960s, did not appear in the 2003 Ang Lee movie "Hulk".
Shooting for the new "Hulk" is slated to begin in June in Toronto.
Hollywood actor Edward Norton may be set to play comic hero The Hulk in a new movie, according to media reports. The Fight Club star is rumored to take over the role from Troy actor Eric Bana, reports Hollywood film publication Variety. The 2003 film, which starred Bana alongside Jennifer Connelly and directed by Ang Lee, was a commercial flop and received mixed reviews. Marvel Studios insist the sequel, which is tentatively set to be released next summer, will "be less serious than the first one and more in tune with the comic book series." The new installment will be directed by The Transporter's Louis Leterrier. Norton, twice nominated for an Oscar, was seen last year in both The Illusionist and The Painted Veil. »
The Hulk is getting a makeover.
Rhythm & Hues Studios said that it has been named the lead visual effects house on "The Incredible Hulk" from Marvel Studios, which is scheduled to start production in June in Toronto. Louis Leterrier will direct.
Rhythm & Hues was selected after several months of R&D that included the creation of a CG Hulk.
The company is well known for its character animation. For "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," the studio's work included the film's well-received CG lion Aslan. Earlier character work included "Babe", which won an Academy Award for achievement in visual effects.
Pointing to the company's history with creating animals, Rhythm & Hues film division president Lee Berger sees "Hulk" as a great next project. "It's the first time Rhythm & Hues has been able to take a human-like character to its full exposition," he said. »
The news follows last week's settlement of Canada's actors strike and a turf war in Montreal between IATSE locals 667 and 514 and AQTIS, the Quebec technicians union (HR 2/28).
Provincial film commissioner Hans Fraikin of the QFTC, in Los Angeles on Wednesday to brief the major studios on the freshly-inked IATSE-AQTIS agreement, was not available for comment.
But a spokesman for the council confirmed that the Rob Cohen-directed Mummy 3 will shoot at the Cite' du Cinema Studio in downtown Montreal.
But labor peace in Canada has helped spur the return of Hollywood shooting beyond Quebec. Another Universal project, The Incredible Hulk, announced this week that it will shoot this summer in Toronto.
28 February 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »
TORONTO -- Monday's announcement that Universal/Marvel Entertainment's The Incredible Hulk will shoot in Toronto this summer came as welcome news for a city whose production cupboard has been bare recently.
The Hulk shoot marks the first major signing of a U.S. movie shoot here since North American producers and striking Canadian actors reached a new labor deal last week (HR 2/21).
Other projects headed to Toronto are Twisted Pictures and Lionsgate's Saw 4, which begins shooting in mid-April, and Rogue Pictures' and Universal's American Pie 6. And Toronto-based producer Don Carmody (Chicago) said Monday that he's planning to move ahead with shooting in Winnipeg and Montreal for White Out, an action thriller from Silver Pictures and Warner Bros. about a U.S. marshal who pursues a serial killer to Antarctica.
The return of Los Angeles producers to local sound stages comes amid a major offensive by the Canadian film and TV production industry to woo back displaced or disgruntled U.S. studios and independent producers after settlement of the country's first-ever actors strike.
Richard Perotto, the Toronto-based business representative for IATSE local 667 in Toronto, cautioned that it was still early but said he saw encouragement from the phone calls fielded from Los Angeles since the settlement.
"They want to use Toronto. It's a big empty cavern now," Perotto said, pointing to vacant studio space looking for tenants.
Even during the six-week ACTRA strike, Universal and Marvel were scouting in Toronto for the second installment of the Hulk franchise, according to city officials. »
12 items from 2007
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