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TrekMovie.com Sci-Fi Movies: Transformers, Man of Steel, The Dark Knight Rises, The Hobbit, Prometheus, Pacific Rim, The Wolverine + more

Cross-posted at TrekMovie.com

In this week’s Sci-Fi Movies column we get ready for giant robots of Transformers 3, find out who is Superman’s daddy, get a look at The Hobbit, ponder a Green Lantern sequel, learn how Prometheus is related to Alien, and reveal a Batman 3 casting spoiler. All that plus more, including the latest casting bites, images and videos.

 

GENRE MOVIE NEWS

Transformers: Dark of the Moon opens early today in 3D and Imax 3D

Although its official release is tomorrow, Michael Bay’s “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” is releasing a day early today into 3D and Imax 3D theaters. Screenings begin at 9PM tonight across the nation. Speaking of the 3D, star Shia LaBeouf says it’s “the greatest 3-D film ever made”:

“We took the 3-D cameras out of the Avatar stages and put them on the head of a dude jumping out of a plane in Chicago while a building is exploding. For real. Four or five dudes, actually. It’s the greatest 3-D film ever made.”

By all accounts the final hour of the movie is filled with intense action, but as LaBeouf notes, it’s not done in a disconnecting or completely overwhelming way:

“You don’t breathe for the last hour. There’s just no letup, but it’s also not completely overwhelming and disconnected, as the second movie was. You didn’t know what was fighting what or where you were geography-wise. There was no way to be able to tell a story, whereas this is very Black Hawk Down action. The geography is very clear. There’s only four or five dudes you need to be following. The enemy is very clear. The second movie was so … complicated. The best movies are simple.”

In the past we’ve seen statements from LaBeouf and Bay seeming to all but confirm this will be their last “Transformers” film. LaBeouf re-iterated that belief in an interview with MTV News: “I just don’t think right now there’s anywhere to take Sam.” Bay, meanwhile, has issued a Thank You note to fans:

I just want to take the opportunity to thank all the fans around the world for letting me have fun with the Transformers franchise. It has been a wonderful opportunity to have worked with about 4000 crew members around the world. These artists are some of the very best in the entire film business. I’m honored to have had you work along side me. We had an amazing time.

‘Dark of the Moon’ has some of the most technically challenging sequences ever shot. And shot in 3D. I must urge you to find the very best theatre and see this movie in that format. 3D was a forethought, not an afterthought in this movie. I’m glad Jim Cameron and Steven Spielberg really convinced me to shoot in this new technology. We used and invented many new techniques to make the 3D sharper, brighter and more color contrast. I think theatre owners heard their audience that they need to respect the specs of the projectors and not dim the bulbs to save money.

Many theaters are presenting it in the brand new 7.1 sound, which is awesome. This is the most complex, intricate sound track that me and my Academy Awarding winning sound team have done. They really out did themselves to make this a big picture experience. Hopefully you will have as much fun watching this movie as we all had making it.

Thanks,

Michael Bay

Did you watch “Transformers: Dark of the Moon”? What did you think? 2D or 3D, or Imax? Let us know in the comments below.

Final movie trailer [via Film School Rejects]

Clip: “I Know His Name” [Yahoo! Movies]

 

Watch another new clip here

Linkin Park “Iridescent trailer” [Trailer Addict]

TV spot [YouTube]

Russell Crowe playing Jor-El in Man of Steel + Christopher Meloni in talks for unknown role

Russell Crowe is in talks to play Superman’s Kryptonian father Jor-El in the Zack Snyder’s “Man of Steel”. In related news, Julia Ormond is in talks to play Superman’s mother Lara Lor-Van. Superman / Clark Kent will be played by British actor Henry Cavill in the Christopher Nolan-produced reboot. And in other casting news, Deadline reports that Christopher Meloni is in negotiations to play a “major” role. Details are scarce about who he’ll be playing, but Vulture was able to discover that it won’t be Lex Luthor, but it will be a General. “Man of Steel” is scheduled to hit theaters in December 2012 and co-stars Kevin Costner as Jonathan Kent, Diane Lane as Martha Kent, Amy Adams as Lois Lane and Michael Shannon as Zod.

Set images (Plano, Illinois will represent Smallville in the film) [more at Comic Book Movie]

The Hobbit First Look: Martin Freeman as Bilbo + New cast additions

Here are our first official looks at Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins and Ian McKellen as Gandal the Grey in the two-part feature “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” and “The Hobbit: There and Back Again” [via EW + click here to see another image from the set]:

Here’s another look at the two characters on the cover of the latest issue of Empire:

There’s also some casting news to report this week. Luke Evans has joined the cast and will be playing the character Bard, while Benedict Cumberbatch, who is already voicing the character Necromancer, will also be lending his voice to portray the dragon Smaug via motion capture. Peter Jackson also took to his official Facebook page to announce that Evangeline Lilly will be playing a new character (a Woodland Elf named Tauriel) while Barry Humphries will be playing the Goblin King. Here’s an excerpt from the announcement:

Evangeline Lilly will be playing a new character—the Woodland Elf, Tauriel. Her name means ‘daughter of Mirkwood’ and, beyond that, we must leave you guessing! (No, there is no romantic connection to Legolas.) What is not a secret is how talented and compelling an actress Evangeline is; we are thrilled and excited she will be the one to bring our first true Sylvan Elf to life.

I’m also highly excited that Barry Humphries will be portraying the Goblin King, in much the way Andy Serkis created Gollum. Barry is perhaps best known for his business and social connections as the long-time manager of Dame Edna Everage. He has also been an ardent supporter of the rather misunderstood and unfairly maligned Australian politician, Sir Les Patterson. However, in his spare time, Barry is also a fine actor, and we’re looking forward to seeing him invest the Goblin King with the delicate sensitivity and emotional depth this character deserves.

“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” is scheduled to hit theaters on December 14, 2012. “The Hobbit: There and Back Again” will follow on December 13, 2013. Both films will be released in 3D.

Warner Brothers moving forward with Green Lantern sequel?

It’s no secret that “Green Lantern” is performing considerably weaker than expectations (with critics, comic fans and critics). With rumored production ($200M) and worldwide marketing ($175M) budgets near $400M total, Warner Brothers was hoping to kick-start a new franchise with the Ryan Reynolds / Blake Lively-starrer. $118.4M worldwide through Sunday is no where close to what a “blockbuster” needs to be at. Having said that, however, THR initially reported that despite the weak box office, Warner Brothers was moving forward with a sequel. But now THR has updated their article with a clarification from a studio spokesman that no decision has been made on a potential sequel. Given they’ve already spent so much launching the property and will see additional revenue through Green Lantern merchandise such as more than 100 global licenses, an animated series, games and theme park rides, it’s possible WB will overlook the weak performance (treating it more as an investment), and try again with a more effective sequel. There’s also the fact that a script for the sequel was already being developed by writer Michael Goldenberg even before “Green Lantern” hit theaters (Goldenberg was hired last August after the first film wrapped). Warner Brothers not only wanted this to be the start of a new successful franchise, they basically expected it to be. We’ll see what happens from here.

Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim monster movie set for July 12, 2013

Warner Brothers will release Guillermo del Toro’s sci-fi creature feature “Pacific Rim” on July 12, 2013. Idris Elba will star in the project — a role originally developed for Tom Cruise — alongside Charlie Hunnam [via Deadline]:

“Travis Beacham wrote the script, which is set in a future where giant malevolent creatures threaten to destroy the earth, and the planet must band together and use advanced weapons technology to eradicate the growing threat.”

Shooting on what del Toro calls “the biggest giant monster movie ever made” is scheduled to begin this November. In other casting news, Charlie Day has confirmed that he has been approached for a role, but is still in negotiations.

Director set for next ‘Percy Jackson’ movie + Logan Lerman reprising lead role

20th Century Fox has hired Thor Freudenthal to direct a sequel to “Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief”, 24 Frames | LA Times reports. The sequel will be based on Rick Riordan’s second book ‘The Sea of Monsters” and original star Logan Lerman will reprise his role as Percy Jackson. ‘The Sea of Monsters” is being fast tracked and could be ready for release by early 2012.

James Mangold tapped to direct The Wolverine

In other directing news at Fox, the studio and ‘Wolverine’ star Hugh Jackman have reportedly selected James Mangold to direct the “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” follow-up “The Wolverine”. Mangold will replace Darren Aronofsky who dropped out of the film this past March. Negotiations are expected to get underway shortly. Meanwhile, ‘X-Men’ writer Chris Claremont has revealed that he has read the script to the film and gives it his personal approval [via Spinoff Online]:

“[I like it] very much,” Chris told NYC Graphic. “That’s all I can say. Chris McQuarry is brilliant.”

Batman Begins actor reprising role for The Dark Knight Rises [SPOILER]

The following ‘Dark Knight Rises’ casting news bite will be hidden for those who don’t want to be spoiled about the return of a certain character that was featured in “Batman Begins” [HIGHLIGHT TO VIEW]:

Liam Neeson will be reprising his “Batman Begins” villain role of Ra’s al Ghul in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises and has actually already filmed a scene in London. [Variety]

END Spoiler. In considerably less spoilerly casting news, Variety reports that Josh Stewart has joined the cast in an unknown role. “The Dark Knight Rises” is scheduled to hit conventional and Imax theaters on July 20, 2012.

Set images (Wollaton Hall in the UK–doubling as the rebuilt Wayne Manor) [more at Batman-News.com]

300 prequel Xerxes gets new title + Director list narrowed to two

The “300” prequel/spinoff film previously known as Xerxes has been retitled “300: Battle of Artemisia”, Deadline reports. The site also says that the producers have narrowed their list of potential directors down to just two names: Noam Murro and Jaume Collet-Serra. The project was originally going to be directed by “300” director Zack Snyder, but he backed out after being offered “Man of Steel”. Snyder, however, remains involved in the project including the director selection process. He also wrote the script with his “300” co-writer Kurt Johnstad. Like the original, it’s based on a graphic novel by Frank Miller. Here are some plot details courtesy Deadline:

Xerxes was the Persian leader seen in 300. Miller’s graphic novel told the story of how Xerxes became this peculiar god-like entity. That mythology goes back to the death of his father, Darius, from injuries sustained at the Battle of Marathon in 490 B.C. Darius had told his son not to attack the Greeks because they can only be punished by a god, and so Xerxes tried to transform himself into a deity to gain revenge.

Damon Lindelof explains Aliens connection to Ridley Scott’s Prometheus

Before it became “Prometheus”, the Ridley Scott-directed / Damon Lindelof-scripted project was a prequel to “Alien”. Lindelof appeared on The Kevin Pollak Chat Show and gave an explanation on the connection of the project to the “Alien” films. Note that this is the same interview we posted on TrekMovie.com yesterday in which Lindelof discusses multiple topics. You can watch that interview in full here. However, courtesy /Film, here are some quotes relating only to Lindelof’s discussion on “Prometheus”:

It started as an Alien prequel. That is what everybody wanted it to be. Obviously, Ridley Scott has not made a science fiction movie in 25 years, since Blade Runner, so the idea that he’s returning to this genre is huge. But there is a real issue which is — what is the state of the Alien franchise at this point in our lives? There has been Alien vs. Predator and all these things, and its been completely and totally diluted. I’ve always felt that really good prequels should be original movies….

And truth be told, it wasn’t script doctoring in the strictest sense because the draft that existed before I came on was written by this guy named Jon Spaihts and it was very good. And there were a lot of things in the movie, Prometheus, which were Jon Spaihts and I feel like somewhere in the media reconstruction of this story, the tale is that I come in, I pitch an entirely new story, and its so original that everything else gets thrown out and that’s what we’re doing. In my brain, that’s not exactly what happened. But I also do feel that this movie is the movie I would want to see as a fanboy, take place in that Alien universe, which precedes the events of the original Alien, but is not necessarily burdened by all the tropes of that franchise with Facehuggers and Chestbursters, and all that stuff that I love… but its sorta like, we’ve seen it before, can we do something different this time? And thats the movie that Ridley wanted to make. And when you’re working with an auteur, you basically just shut your mouth and listen and try to transcribe and channel the vision of that person, and get out of the way…

Moving on to other topics, there’s a rumor that the teaser trailer will be attached to “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”. Also, Fox will be bringing the film to Comic-Con this year. No details on what will be presented / who will be in attendance. Starring Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba and Guy Pearce, “Prometheus” is scheduled to hit theaters on June 8, 2012.

Merchandising artwork (featured at the 2011 Licensing Expo) [ComingSoon.net]

PREVIEW Videos & Images

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

Merchandising artwork (featured at the 2011 Licensing Expo) [ComingSoon.net]

Apollo 18

Movie trailer [Yahoo! Movies]

 

The Avengers

Merchandising artwork (featured at the 2011 Licensing Expo) [via The Daily Blam]

Battleship

Merchandising artwork (featured at the 2011 Licensing Expo) [ComingSoon.net]

Brave

Teaser poster [EW]

Teaser trailer [YouTube]

Captain America: The First Avenger

Promotional stills [more at ComingSoon.net & Marvel.com]

Movie poster [ComingSoon.net]

Final movie trailer [Yahoo! Movies]

 

Conan the Barbarian

Red band trailer [IGN]

TV spot [MovieWeb]

Cowboys & Aliens

Movie poster [IGN]

Movie trailer [Trailer Addict]

Behind the scenes featurette [YouTube]

Fright Night

Character posters [more at Hey U Guys]

G.I. Joe: Cobra Strikes

Merchandising artwork (featured at the 2011 Licensing Expo) [ComingSoon.net]

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II

Movie poster [more at IMP Awards]

Final theatrical trailer [Trailer Addict]

The Hunger Games

Merchandising artwork (featured at the 2011 Licensing Expo) [ComingSoon.net]

Immortals

Character posters [more at RyanSeacrest.com]

Movie trailer [RyanSeacrest.com]

John Carter

Movie poster [Bleeding Cool]

Men in Black 3

Merchandising artwork (featured at the 2011 Licensing Expo) [ComingSoon.net]

The Muppets

Movie trailer [YouTube]

Puss in Boots

Movie trailer [Yahoo! Movies]

 

R.I.P.D.

Merchandising artwork (featured at the 2011 Licensing Expo) [ComingSoon.net]

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Promotional stills [more at ComingSoon.net]

International movie trailer [Trailer Addict]

RoboCop

Merchandising artwork (featured at the 2011 Licensing Expo) [ComingSoon.net]

Snow White and the Huntsman

Merchandising artwork (featured at the 2011 Licensing Expo) [ComingSoon.net]

Untitled Snow White Project

Merchandising artwork (featured at the 2011 Licensing Expo) [ComingSoon.net]

Stretch Armstrong

Merchandising artwork (featured at the 2011 Licensing Expo) [ComingSoon.net]

MOVIE BITES

  • MGM has tapped Seth Gordon to direct a reboot of the 1983 thriller “War Games”. [Deadline]
  • “Watchmen” scribe Alex Tse has been hired by Relativity Media to write the screenplay for “The Crow” remake. Bradley Cooper is attached to play Eric Draven, with Carlos Fresnadillo directing. [Variety]
  • FX has acquired the premiere rights to “Green Lantern”. The pick-up comes on the heels of a recent slate of impressive pick-up’s including Paramount’s “Super 8″, Disney’s “Tron: Legacy” and Sony’s “The Green Hornet”. [the live feed | THR]
  • The Weinstein Company has set a April 20, 2012 release date for “Scary Movie 5″ and a October 26, 2012 release date for “Halloween 3D”. [TWC]
  • Disney is reportedly interested in David O. Russell to direct the studio’s live-action fantasy film “Maleficent”. The “Sleeping Beauty” project, which still has Angelina Jolie attached to star in, was originally to be directed by Tim Burton, but Burton exited it earlier this year. Linda Woolverton wrote the story. [THR]
  • DreamWorks will screen “Fright Night 3D” at this year’s Comic-Con. [ScreenRant]
  • The Star Wars MMO “Star Wars Galaxies” will shut down on December 15, 2011. [TheForce.net]
  • Producer Dean Devlin says possible sequels to the 1994 “Stargate” movie remain a possibility, with the films expected to continue the storyline with the original cast and a focus on potentially more Stargates on Earth and other places the Stargates could go. [Collider]
  • Disney will release “The Muppets: The Green Album” on August 23. The album will feature songs from “The Muppets” movie covered by artists such as Weezer, My Morning Jacket and OK Go. [AICN]
  • Writer/director Nicolas Winding Refn — whom Warner Brothers has tapped to direct the “Logan’s Run” remake which is currently in pre-production — says his dream project is a big screen version of “Wonder Woman” and if given the opportunity he’d cast Christina Hendricks in the lead role. [Blastr]
  • Universal Studios Home Entertainment has announced that the “Jurassic Park” trilogy will be released on Blu-ray on October 25, 2011… [ComingSoon.net]
  • …Speaking of “Jurassic Park”, Steven Spielberg has reportedly met with screenwriter Mark Protosevich brainstorming ideas on how to reboot the franchise… [Heat Vision | THR]
  • “Captain America: The First Avenger” writers Stephen McFeely and Christopher Markus have revealed that they recently closed their deal to write the sequel, but they haven’t advanced far enough to decide on who the villain will be… [ScreenJunkies]
  • …Check out interviews with “Captain America: The First Avenger” stars Chris Evans (Captain America / Steve Rogers) and Sebastian Stan (Bucky) at Comic Book Movie. [CBM, (2)]
  • 20th Century Fox is in early talks with James Cameron, Lorenzo Di Bonaventura and Sam Worthington for a sci-fi action project called “Myth”. All that’s known about the project, written by Will Staples, is that it’s “big” and has “lots of action”. Cameron won’t be directing and Worthington isn’t attached to star, at least not at the moment. [Heat Vision | THR]
  • Tom Hanks says Pixar is working on “Toy Story 4″: “I think there will be [another one]. Yeah, yeah, think they’re working on it now.” [BBC News via Bleeding Cool]
  • Despite the project being dropped by Universal, Guillermo del Toro says he hasn’t given up on making “Mountains of Madness”. [Hero Complex | LA Times]
  • Andrew Niccol’s big screen adaptation of Stephenie Meyer’s novel “The Host” will be released on March 29, 2013. Niccol also wrote the screenplay. [HitFix]
  • Dimension Films has announced that Robert Rodriguez’s “Spy Kids: All the Time in the World” will be released in “4D” with “Aromascope”. Audience members “will have 8 opportunites throughout the movie to access the action interactively through smell.” [FilmDrunk]
  • Universal Pictures has set a July 3, 2013 release date for “Despicable Me 2″ and a July 19, 2013 release date for Joseph Kosinski’s Tom Cruise-starrer “Oblivion”. [Box Office Mojo]
  • Paramount Pictures is nearing a deal to distribute Darren Aronofksy’s $100M “Noah’s Ark” project. The original draft was written by Aronofsky, but it’s being rewritten by John Logan (“Gladiator”, “Star Trek: Nemesis”). [Deadline]
  • “Hellboy” creator Mike Mignola doesn’t think Guillermo del Toro will return to direct a third “Hellboy” movie: “Last I heard he said he would not make it. Guillermo — who I love — in every interview there’s a new story on what his next movie is and he honestly believes he’s going to do all these things. But last I heard, he said ‘I’m never gonna get back to Hellboy.”… [The Daily Blam]
  • …Del Toro responded to the comments saying he still wants to make it, but it won’t be happening anytime soon because he’s just too busy. [Shock Till You Drop]
  • Simon Pegg (Star Trek’s Scotty) says he’s open to a sequel to “Paul” and even has a title worked out: “Pauls”. [Collider]
  • Danny Elfman revealed that will be reuniting with Sam Raimi to score his upcoming “Oz, The Great and Powerful” and will also be scoring Gary Ross’ adaptation of the Suzanne Collins novel “The Hunger Games”. [Buzzine via The Playlist | indieWIRE]
  • “The Avengers” star Mark Ruffalo (Bruce Banner / The Hulk) revealed on his Twitter account that the movie “is not being shot in 3D”. That likely means Disney will convert the film to 3D in post-production. [Mark Ruffalo | Twitter]
  • Michael Chabon has been hired to write Jon Favreau’s family adventure project “Magic Kingdom” for Disney. [Heat Vision | THR]
  • Mark Strong offers this explanation as to why Disney dropped the ‘Mars’ from the title of “John Carter”: “The reason is that he has to earn that title. Again, it’s a franchise or a number of books; a series of books that people may or may not know, but if you call him John Carter of Mars, I think at the very beginning, all the work’s been done and what [director] Andrew [Stanton] wants to do, I think, is introduce people to this first film, and by the end of it, he becomes John Carter of Mars, but not at the beginning.”… [Movies.com]
  • …Check out the official synopsis for the film at Movies.SpoilerTV.com. “John Carter” is scheduled to hit theaters on June 8, 2012.
  • Warner Brothers has shifted the Steven Soderbergh deadly virus outbreak 3D drama “Contagion” from October 21, 2011 to September 9, 2011. The film stars Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Jude Law and Marion Cotillard. [Box Office Mojo]
  • “Captain America: The First Avenger” director Joe Johnston discussed the process of creating the 90-pound version of Steve Rogers and more about the movie in an interview with Film Journal.
  • 20th Century Fox is bringing Craig Gillespie’s big-screen adapation of Seth Grahame-Smith’s “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” to Comic-Con 2011. No details on what will be shown have been released. [Alien Prequel News]

CASTING BITES

  • Emma Stone has passed on Lionsgates’ offer to play the lead role in the adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith’s novel “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies”. The film will be directed by Craig Gillespie. [Deadline]
  • Ray Winstone is in negotiations to play a warrior dwarf in Rupert Sanders’ “Snow White and the Huntsman”. He joins previously cast members of the warrior dwarfs including Ian McShane, Eddie Izzard, Bob Hoskins, Toby Jones, Eddie Marsan and Stephen Graham. [Heat Vision | THR]
  • Matthew Fox and Ed Harris are in talks to join Brad Pitt in Marc Forster’s adaptation of the Max Brooks novel “World War Z”. [Deadline]
  • Universal Studios is reportedly interesting in Jodie Foster to play the part of Proctor in Robert Schwentke’s adaptation of “R.I.P.D.”. If cast, she’ll star opposite Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges for the film, which is scheduled to hit theaters on June 28, 2013. [Bloody Disgusting]
  • Don Cheadle (Lt. Col. James ‘Rhodey’ Rhodes) says his contract had an option to appear in “The Avengers”, but Marvel “hasn’t exercised” it yet. Cheadle also confirmed “there’s talk of a War Machine spinoff,” and he’ll likely star in it…unless he gets recast. [Collider]
  • Dwayne Johnson, rapper-turned-actor RZA and D.J. Cotrona have joined the cast of the Jon Chu-directed “G.I. Joe: Cobra Strikes”. Cotrona will play Flint, RZA will play a martial arts master named the Blind Master and Johnson will be playing Roadblock. [Heat Vision | THR]

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