Disney & Fox shift their schedules; set dates for 'Apes' & 'X Men' sequels; also other stuff
Disney is shifting some of its releases for 2013. The Lone Ranger starring Armie Hammer and Johnny Depp has secured a July 3, pushed from May 31. Thor 2 will bow now on November 8, two weeks earlier than originally announced. Finally, the Steven Spielberg directed Robopocalypse (a co-production between Disney-Fox-DreamWorks) has been moved off 2013 altogether and bounced to April 25, 2014.
20th Century Fox, meanwhile, announced Independence Day will be upgraded to 3D and re-released on July 3, 2013. Other 2013 dates include Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, which is moving from March 15 to August 16, 2013. The animated film Epic (previously known as Leafmen), which stars the voice talent of Beyoncé Knowles, Josh Hutcherson, Amanda Seyfried, Johnny Knoxville, Aziz Ansari, Jason Sudeikis, Steven Tyler, Blake Anderson and Judah Friedlander will bow May 24. Fox also announced that their remake of fantasy classic The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, starring Ben Stiller and Kristin Wiig (directed by Stiller) is set for Christmas Day. For 2014, Fox announced that on May 23 they’ll release Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, the sequel to the $483 million grossing Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Rupert Wyatt, who helmed the 2011 smash, returns to direct. The untitled sequel to X Men: First Class will be released on July 18, 2014, Matthew Vaughn will return to direct.
Veteran character actor/playwright/director Steven Berkoff will guest star on Doctor Who for season seven. He’ll appear in episode 4. English born, but has worked steadily in Hollywood, playing mostly villains (Beverly Hills Cop, Rambo: First Blood II, Ocotopussy, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo). He also made an appearance in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode Business as Usual. He’s often said he takes Hollywood roles only in order to subsidize his theatre work. He regards many of the films he has appeared in as lacking artistic merit.
In merging with Summit, Lionsgate acquired a nice catalog of films. Wondering what to do with them, and knowing that as publically traded company, they need to keep the shareholders happy, are trying to franchise out Step Up, Red, and The Expendables as TV series. Yeah. Seriously. Honestly, The Expendables might work if it’s sold as a 21st Century version of The A Team. I’m sure there’s a bunch of 1980’s actors –now old, but still kept in shape by the their 24 year-old wives- like Lorenzo Lamas or Gerald McRaney or even David Hasselhoff who be willing to work a silly premise for some money.
Speaking of Lionsgate, as I’ve noted before, they’ve decided to reboot the Leprechaun franchise, which as far as I know, no one asked for in the first place. They’ve hired Harris Wilkins to pen it. Some WWE wrestler named Hornswoggle is starring in it, so you know that they’re not approaching this with any sense of credibility. The original franchise’s only notable aspect was the first one launched the career of Jennifer Aniston.
One guesses that with the success of the rebooted The Muppets, it should not be surprising that New Regency is looking at another Jim Henson Co. series from the 1980’s to revive as a big screen film. Rango co-writer Jim Byrkit and Alex Manugian have been hired to write a script for Fraggle Rock. This is the latest attempt to reboot the franchise, as ideas in some form or another have been bouncing around since 2006.
Steven Spielberg has said he “lived to regret” the infamous changes he’d made to E.T. upon its 2002 re-release, where he’d eliminated utterances of “penis breath” and replaced all guns with CGI walkie-talkies in some odd attempt at cleaning up what did not need cleaning up. He has decided for the 30th Anniversary Blu-ray edition coming in October, he’ll return everything to way it looked in 1982. So beyond cleaning up the film for its HD transfer, what all us remembered when we saw the film 30 years ago is being retained, while the deleted scenes he added will be part of an “extra” on the 2 disc set. He noted back in September of last year “that what I had done was I had robbed the people who loved E.T. of their memories of E.T. And I regretted that.” One wonders if Spielberg’s all-too-rare moment of clarity might have bled onto Star Wars nerd George Lucas. But I’m thinking Lucas will probably want to use those abandoned walkie-talkies and put them into Return of the Jedi, where Ewokes will use them instead of rocks and clubs.