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    Martin Freeman Admits to Hobbit Candidacy

    It's a moot point, right now, but interesting to note.

    A couple of weeks back, The Sun reported an offer had been extended to Martin Freeman for the lead Bilbo Baggins role in The Hobbit, but was forced to turn it down. Few to none of us believed it on face value because the UK tabloids do have that "making shit up" reputation.

    So it was a surprise to hear Entertainment Weekly not only confirm the news-item as truth, but state a second offer was sent to the British actor to accommodate both the epic Hobbit shoot (reported to be around 13-14 months long) and a second season of the BBC hit Sherlock next year.

    No word on how it was received by Freeman and his representation. But it must not have worked out as the actor confirms to Empire that he did indeed have to reject the initial deal from Warner Brothers, MGM and the key Hobbit decision-makers like Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh. Although he remains upbeat something can be arranged, the fact that he's come out and publicly acknowledged any of this suggests it fell through and we won't see him follow in the foot-steps of Sir Ian Holm.

    That is once the dust settles and The Hobbit actually gets made. That isn't exactly a sure-thing at the moment, anyway.


    Mad Max: Fury Road Delayed Indefinitely

    George Miller's two planned Mad Max sequels (Fury Road and Furiosa) won't be ramping for production anytime in the near-future. According to The Australian (via Movie Hole), filming has been delayed for a second time and the soonest cameras will roll won't be until early 2012.

    This comes despite hundred of vehicles having been designed and built, a full cast locked down (headlined by Inception's Tom Hardy as Max and Charlize Theron) and second-unit photography already underway. No explanation for the hold-up was given.

    I can only assume financing fell through – I believe they were being independently funded with a distribution lined up with Warner Brothers. If they're not expecting to get up and rolling again until two years from now, I can't honestly expect these Mad Max films to happen at all. That's one Helluva long wait, and it's only a matter of time before people like Hardy and Theron throw in the towel.


    The Bourne Vacation

    When it was announced a few days ago Tony Gilroy would step into the director's chair for The Bourne Legacy (he was first commissioned to write the script), it still didn't answer the big question on everyone's mind. Will Matt Damon return as Jason Bourne?

    He's made it crystal-clear (on several occasions) he won’t return without director Paul Greengrass. But it appears the filmmakers and Universal has found a suitable route to go on the fourth installment: just don't include the Bourne character at all and have an entirely new character as the lead.

    Gilroy confirms that's the plan to Hollywood Elsewhere:

    "The easiest way to think of it is an expansion or a reveal. Jason Bourne will not be in this film, but he's very much alive. What happened in the first three films is the trigger for what happens. I'm building a legend and an environment and a wider conspiracy...the world we're making enhances and advances and invites Jason Bourne's return [down the road].

    Everything you saw in the first three films actually happened, and everyone who got into will be rewarded for paying attention. We're going to show you the bigger picture, the bigger canvas. When you see what we're going and see what we're doing it'll be pretty obvious....but Jason Bourne's activities in the first three films is the immediate trigger."

    Creatively speaking, I'm quite intrigued. Can't say audiences will be nearly as interested though. I can already imagine angry movie-goers wanting to know where Jason Bourne is when his name is clearly on the title of the film.


    Weekend Box Office: October 8-10

     Courtesy of Box Office Mojo:

    1.  The Social Network - $15.5 million

    2.  Life as We Know It - $14.6 million

    3.  Secretariat - $12.6 million

    4.  Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole - $7 million

    5.  My Soul to Take - $6.9 million

    6.  The Town - $6.3 million

    7.  Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps - $4.6 million

    8.  Easy A - $4.2 million

    9.  Case 39 - $2.6 million

    10.  You Again - $2.4 million

    David Fincher's The Social Network survived this weekend's new releases to hold on to the top spot, dropping only 31% from its opening last weekend to earn $15.5 million.  The film has grossed $46 million in just under ten days.

    Life as We Know It, starring Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel, opened slightly lower than expected, landing in second place with $14.6 million, although that's still a healthy opening weekend for a romantic comedy.  While it didn't have a spectacular opening weekend, Disney's Secretariat opened decently with $12.6 million. 

    The weekend's other new release, Wes Craven's My Soul To Take, didn't have such a great weekend, despite opening in 3D at most theaters.  In fact, the horror film's $6.9 million opening couldn't even beat out Piranha 3D's $10.1 million opening a few weeks ago.

    Zack Snyder's animated Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole earned another $7 million, bringing its total to an okay, but not great $39 million.  Better news for holdovers The Town and Easy A, which have brought their domestica totals up to $73 million and $48 million, respectively. 

    Fading steadily from the top ten are Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, which dropped 53% to earn $4.6 million, the much-delayed horror film Case 39, which has yet to cross the $10 million mark after two weeks of release (the same could be said for Let Me In, which fell out of the top ten completely in its second weekend), and Disney's comedy You Again, which even Betty White couldn't save from a tenth place finish with only $2.4 million. 

    Next weekend should bring some excitement back to the box office, with the sequel Jackass 3D and the geezer action film Red opening in theaters.


    New Red Band Trailer "Faster"

    IGN has released the new red band trailer for the Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson action thriller Faster which opens November 24.

    The film is a straight up revenge shoot em' up action flick with The Rock at the center of it kicking ass and takin' names, killing anyone who gets in his way. This is a nice change of pace for the once wrestling stars film career, as of lately he's been feratured predominantly only family friendly Disney flicks as opposed to the kick ass action we really wanted to see him in.

    Here's the synopsis:

    A stint in prison usually has one of two effects on a man – it either breaks him down or makes him stronger. For Driver (Dwayne Johnson), a 10-year sentence proved the latter. His strength was not just fueled by time, but also by a hunger to avenge the murder of his brother during the botched bank robbery that led to his own imprisonment. Untouchable on the 'inside,' he made plenty of enemies in prison - men who were counting the days until his release so they could exact their own revenge on the outside. Now, on the day of his release, he is hell-bent on reaping vengeance upon the four men responsible for his brother's murder. With a list of names and addresses in hand, he sprints out of the prison gates and is immediately on his mission.

    No regard for witnesses. No finesse to the acts. One down. Check. Within hours of Driver eliminating the first name on the list, two men are on his trail – Cop (Billy Bob Thornton), a veteran police officer just days from retirement, and Killer (Oliver Jackson-Cohen), a young egocentric hitman with a flair for the art of killing. The hunter is now also the hunted.

    Without hesitation, Driver methodically continues down his list while the mystery deepens surrounding his brother's murder and who might have tipped off those responsible to their robbery plans. With each killing, Driver finds himself face to face with Cop or Killer and he evades them every time. Killer wants Driver now more than ever – he's finally met a worthy opponent. Thus begins a do or die race to the list's finish with new details in the decade old murder emerging along the way...hinting that Driver's list may be incomplete and his life in further danger.


    DC Comic Films To Take Place of Harry Potter Franchise

    After what seems to be eons after Marvel found the right formula to successful film franchises WB is finally trying their hand at one or two DC Comic related properties to be released each year in the absence of the Harry Potter franchise. DC Comics Creative Chief Officer, Geoff Johns, announced the news at  this years New York Comic Con.

    No doubt WB is banking on Green Lantern to be a pretty big property in the same way Iron Man was for Marvel. They have had great success with the Batman franchise but other works like Superman Returns and especially Jonah Hex have fallen way below expectations. Expect to see characters like Flash, Wonder Woman, and possibly even Aquaman to follow the recent Green Lantern boom of interest. 

    I assume the ultimate goal is to eventually produce a Justice League film much like Marvel has done for The Avengers and has an avid DC Comics fan, this news has me pumped for the potential future of these properties. 


    Green Lantern Trailer Confirmed for Potter

    It was only rumored earlier, but now official from Geoff Johns own Twitter account.

    The Green Lantern trailer will indeed be debuted with Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 1.  Its not really a huge bit of news more so than an official confirmation.

    Potter is in theatres November 19th this year, while Green Lantern bursts onto screens June 17th 2011.


    Green Lantern Animated Series Poster

    And the Green Lantern news continues...

    DC announced earlier in the year that a Green Lantern animated series would begin with the upcoming film and now TV Guide has the first exclusive photo from the series. Its pretty basic and doesn't reveal much other than a tease that the series is coming.

    This follows other big news from DC and announcements at the New York Comic Con. The series will air in 2011 with Bruce Timm producing who has headed all the major DC animated related projects.


    Still No Greenlight on The Hobbit

    In the same fashion I ignore Dan Aykroyd chatting up Ghostbusters 3 and everything coming outta Mark Millar's big mouth, The Hobbit is a topic I pay little to no attention to. Despite what anyone claims until MGM settles their mullah-woes (or sells off their share of the rights, and of course, that'll never happen), nothing will become of the two-movie Lord of the Rings prequel.

    That's why I just shook my head and opted not to cover the "Hobbit will get the greenlight in a day or so and filming will start in January" story originating at the start of this week. It smelled like bullshit especially when paying attention to what's been going on.

    Thankfully, I wasn't the only one as Peter Jackson admitted to Empire that there's no greenlight in sight on The Hobbit:

    "We've seen these reports before, reports saying there was going to be a greenlight in a couple of days — well, a week's gone by and there isn’t one. You can't believe everything you read. There is only one thing you want to believe and that’s when the studio announces a greenlight. As far as I'm aware that's not going to be today."

    Jackson (who also claims he's not secured a deal to direct – not sure I believe him though) remains optimistic this'll all work out. To be fair, the long-talked about Spyglass deal is inching closer to a reality. If things goes smoothly (and enough creditors approve), the studio could return refreshed from a pre-packaged Chapter 11 bankruptcy plan as early as Christmas. That's assuming there aren't any more pot holes on the road towards their reemergence.

    But that's going to take time either way and this constant insistence of making those December 2012 and 2013 release dates on The Hobbit flies directly in the face of common sense and logic. 2012 isn't doable under these circumstances, folks.


    Harry Potter Casts Spell Against 3D!

    Let's be honest here. Harry Potter doesn't need that extra 3D bump anyway to bust the $1 billion cherry. Hell, the franchise averages around $950 million per film. And with all the press it'll get about these being the final installments, that'll only help push it past ten digits.

    Warner Brothers has officially nipped their 3D plans in bud for Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows – Part I due to hit cinemas next month. THR has the details.

    Well, at least they're being honest. They just can't it ready in time for next month. Notice how not a word is uttered about Deathly Hallows – Part II. AKA come Hell or high-water, the final Harry Potter movie will have 3D slapped on it.