Friday, February 26, 2010

Batman Beats Superman at Auction

A near-mint copy of Detective Comics #27 (1939), Batman’s first appearance, just sold for $1.075 million. The sale broke the comic book auction record set just days earlier with the $1 million sale of Action Comics #1 (1938), the first appearance of Superman.

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s official: Batman is better than Superman.

The record-breaking sale was made online via Heritage Auction Galleries, and the comic’s buyer is not yet known.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Batman Begins Writer David S. Goyer to Pen The Man of Steel

Warner Bros. has hired Batman Begins and The Dark Knight scribe David S. Goyer to write The Man of Steel, a new Superman film, Latino Review reports. The franchise reboot will involve Supes baddies Lex Luthor and Brainiac, and will not be an origin story. It will also reportedly feature a struggling Daily Planet newspaper—accurately reflecting the state of the industry—and will set up a vast Kryptonian mythology.

Earlier this month, Deadline Hollywood broke the story that Begins/Dark Knight director Christopher Nolan has been tapped to oversee production on the next Superman film in a “godfather” capacity. While there hasn’t been any word on who will direct The Man of Steel, Superman Returns director Bryan Singer is not expected to helm the project.

This could be the best Superman film since Richard Donner’s 1978 original. Here’s hoping the filmmakers up the ante in terms of action set pieces and really cut lose. And while this is a reboot, they should really stick with the John Williams theme. That music is as legendary as the character himself.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Our Defense Can’t Repel Outside Runs of That Magnitude!

The Force is apparently strong with the University of Mississippi.

I read on Topless Robot earlier today that Ole Miss is in search of a new mascot after retiring longtime Rebels mascot Colonel Reb in 2006. On February 23, the school turned to the student body to vote on a replacement. The current favorite? Admiral Ackbar, the Mon Calamari leader of the Rebel Alliance fleet who led the assault against the second Death Star in Return of the Jedi.

I can’t help but crack a smile at the thought of collegiate football players being forced to wear uniforms emblazoned with a Star Wars character. And, indeed, having Admiral Ackbar march up and down the sidelines at a bowl game would definitely count as a major geek victory in our eternal struggle against the jocks. But, ultimately, it all comes down to whether or not Ole Miss would be able to work out a deal with Lucasfilm to use the character. I’m no economist, but I’m guessing it wouldn’t be cheap.

Still, it would be all kinds of awesome if we could one day witness packed stadiums chanting “it’s a trap!” in anticipation of a blitz. Make it happen, Rebel Nation.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Did Bruce Willis Confirm Die Hard 5?

In a recent interview, Cop Out star Bruce Willis more or less confirmed that he’s ready to reprise his career-making role of John McClane in yet another Die Hard film.

“I think we’re going to do a Die Hard 5 next year.” Willis told MTV’s Josh Horowitz. He added that the next logical step for the series—after McClane found himself “trapped by the Internet” in 2007’s Live Free or Die Hard—would be to send the hard-nosed detective on a globe-trotting adventure.

“Well it’s got to go worldwide,” Willis said. “That would be my contribution to [the next movie].”

He also mentioned that he would love to work with Live Free or Die Hard director Len Wiseman once again.

Let’s hope the filmmakers and the studio don’t “cop out” (ha!) this time around and that the fifth Die Hard gets the R rating this series deserves. As you might remember, the theatrical cut of Live Free or Die Hard was rated PG-13, and the watering-down was pretty obvious at certain points in terms of violence and language. When your main character’s catchphrase demands that he drop an f-bomb, he’d better be able to do it.

Until next time, yippee-kai-yay, melon farmers!

Cop Out
hits theaters February 26.

Monday, February 22, 2010

James Cameron on Terminator Sequels: “The Soup’s Kind of Been Pissed In”

Remember Terminator Salvation? Neither do a lot of people. But, believe it or not, a fourth Terminator film actually came out last summer. And you know what? It wasn’t terrible. But when the highlight of your multi-million dollar Hollywood blockbuster is a pseudo-cameo by 1980s-era Arnold Schwarzenegger, it might be time to reroute.

Rights to the Terminator sequels were recently acquired by Pacificor, a hedge fund. David Wisher, who wrote Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day, has since revealed that he’s sketched out some ideas for two more films, which would take place after Salvation. Evidently, the series isn’t ready to say “hasta la vista, baby” just yet.

So what does Terminator creator James Cameron think about all of this renewed interest in the franchise he kicked off 26 years ago? The Avatar director told MTV that, in his opinion, the series has “run its course” and he has zero interest in being involved in any future Terminator films.

“[T]he soup's kind of been pissed in a little bit by other filmmakers, so I don’t have any personal desire to go back to it,” Cameron explained. “So I certainly wouldn't want to be a dog in the manger and disallow my friends from making a little money off it. Why would I do that?”

Why indeed. Click here to watch MTV’s interview with Cameron.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Carrie Fisher Strikes Back

Carrie Fisher, Princess Leia herself, is feuding with the producer of her hit autobiographical Broadway show Wishful Drinking, saying that he owes her more than $60,000, the New York Post reports.

Fisher, who wrote and performed the one-woman show, claims that since her producer, Jonathan Reinis, did not fulfill certain contractual obligations during its run at New York’s infamous Studio 54, all of the rights to the show revert back to her.

“As you can imagine, Jonny seems to be a bit cranky, which I figure is why he still hasn’t paid me the remaining money he owes me,” she told the newspaper via e-mail.

Ronald Feiner, a lawyer representing Reinis, says Fisher’s claims are false. “It is our belief that she owes us a substantial amount in lost profits from what could be a lucrative tour,” he told the Post. “We have offers from Australia, Canada and theaters around the United States, but we are unable to close the deal because she will not perform the show.”

Fisher also says that Wishful Drinking was to be moved to a “first-class” Broadway house by December 31 of last year, which would mean a substantial salary increase. Reportedly, Fisher earned only $2,500 a week from the show at Studio 54.

“For whatever reason, [Reinis] was unable to get it done,” she said. “I don’t know why, since I was told there was plenty of theater availability. So, his rights reverted back to me under our contract.”

Unfortunately, I never got around to seeing Wishful Drinking, but I did read the book, which is loaded with behind-the-scenes Star Wars anecdotes. Apparently, according to George Lucas, Fisher could not wear a bra in A New Hope because there is no underwear in space. We later learned, thankfully, that gold bikinis are plentiful there.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Tony Starch Steals the Show at Toy Fair 2010

Iron Man 2 hits theaters on May 7 and, as one must surely expect at this point, it’s going to be accompanied by a veritable tidal wave of merchandise based on the film and comic books. At Toy Fair 2010 in New York, Hasbro debuted a wide variety of Iron Man 2 action figures, accessories, games and other playthings, but the most bafflingly incredible item in the lineup is surely Tony Starch, who is lovingly staring at you from the top of this post.

Yes, Hasbro is releasing an Iron Man Mr. Potato Head, who joins the ranks of Darth Tater, Optimash Prime, Spider Spud and other licensed side dishes-turned collectibles. Did I say collectibles? I meant toys. Yep. Toys are for kids, right? Why would I, a 26-year-old man, have any interest in buying an Iron Man-themed Mr. Potato Head? That’s just dumb…

Oh, who am I kidding? I’ll take two.

Head over to MTV’s Splash Page for a look at Hasbro’s entire Iron Man 2 line.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Hasbro Debuts Rocket-Firing Boba Fett at Toy Fair

If you’re not a hardcore Star Wars geek or an avid action figure collector, news that Hasbro will be releasing a vintage-style rocket-firing Boba Fett toy this year probably isn’t all that exciting. But for the rest of us, the figure is a pretty cool bit of fan service. Well, it’s probably not “cool” in the conventional sense, but you know what I mean.

At Toy Fair 2010 in New York, Hasbro debuted the rocket-firing figure as part of its product lineup commemorating the 30th anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back. In 1979, Kenner (a company later acquired by Hasbro) advertised a rocket-firing Boba Fett as a mail-away offer, but the company eventually scrapped the spring-loaded missile feature citing safety concerns. Children of the 1970s never got their rocket-firing bounty hunter. Heartbreaking, I know.

More than three decades later, those kids—now grown-up fanboys and fangirls—can send away for a rocket-firing Fett (pictured) with the purchase of five specially-marked Star Wars action figures this fall. The toy is nearly identical to the 1979 version.

For more on Hasbro’s Fett-centric offerings—including a Boba Fett helmet you can wear—check out the Official Star Wars Blog.

Friday, February 12, 2010

New Toy Story 3 Trailer Hits the Web!

Disney and Pixar have debuted the third trailer for Toy Story 3, which introduces some new characters—including an ascot-wearing Ken doll, voiced by Michael Keaton—and gives us a better idea of the story and tone of this second and presumably final Toy Story sequel.

While I’m sure we’d all much rather get something fresh and original from Pixar this summer (or at the very least, a much-needed sequel to The Incredibles), let’s not forget that its one sequel to date, Toy Story 2, is one of the best films to come out of the studio. Try not to get misty-eyed when Jessie the Yodeling Cowgirl (Joan Cusack) sings “When Somebody Loved Me.” I dare ya.

In Toy Story 3, which hits theaters June 18, Andy goes off to college, so his mom donates Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) and the gang to a daycare center loaded with grabby toddlers. But the toys soon learn that Andy is looking for them, inspiring his former playthings to stage a breakout attempt to reunite with their former owner.

Let me reiterate: Michael Keaton is playing a Ken doll that wears an ascot. That’s worth the ticket price right there.

The trailer is available at Apple. Click here to watch it.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Sony: Spider-Man Reboot Will Be 3D

Following the commercial and critical success of James Cameron’s Avatar, Sony Pictures announced February 9 that its forthcoming Spider-Man reboot, helmed by (500) Days of Summer director Marc Webb, will be shot in 3D, MTV’s Splash Page reports. The new Spidey flick hits theaters on July 3, 2012.

Sony announced last month that the reboot will take Peter Parker back to high school. While a fourth installment in Sam Raimi’s wildly popular Spider-Man series was in the planning stages, the director parted ways with the studio due to creative differences. This new film wipes the continuity slate clean with a new, younger cast.

Spider-Man is the ultimate summer movie-going experience, and we’re thrilled the filmmakers are presenting the next installment in 3D,” Jeff Blake, chairman of Sony Pictures Worldwide Marketing and Distribution, said in a statement. “Spider-Man is one of the most popular characters in the world, and we know audiences are eager and excited to discover Marc’s fantastic vision for Peter Parker and the franchise.”

This still seems like a bad idea. If Sony needs to reboot the Spider-Man movie franchise just 10 years after it started, why not simply pick up where Raimi’s Spider-Man 3 left off with a new cast and a new director?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Will Christopher Nolan Oversee a Superman Reboot?

Mike Fleming and Nikki Finke over at Deadline Hollywood are reporting that Warner Bros., which said last year it had no plans to revisit the Superman film series after Superman Returns underperformed in 2006, is asking Christopher Nolan (Batman Begins, The Dark Knight) to oversee production of a reboot in a “godfather” capacity. According to the article, this “godfather” role does not mean he’ll be directing. Rather, he will essentially guide the project and ensure it moves in the right direction.

While I don’t think anyone wants a Nolan-esque “dark and gritty” take on the Man of Steel—that’s Batman’s territory, after all—the acclaimed director has already proven that he knows a thing or two about approaching comic book properties with the proper tone. I’m optimistic, if this turns out to be true.

The Deadline Hollywood piece also mentions that Nolan has “hatched an idea” for a Dark Knight sequel, and that his brother Jonathan is already scripting the film with David Goyer. Let the villain speculation resume!

EA Has “Far-Reaching” Plans for Mass Effect in 2011

Gaming blog Kotaku reports that Mass Effect 2 publisher Electronic Arts is planning “something far-reaching” for the Mass Effect franchise in early 2011.

Is this “far-reaching” something a spinoff? Downloadable content? Or could we be getting Mass Effect 3 next year? After finishing the second game—which is one of the most satisfying titles I’ve ever played—I immediately wanted to dive into the final installment.

BioWare project manager Casey Hudson has reportedly said the developers “definitely want to make Mass Effect 3 a fairly short turnaround.”

However, unless BioWare began working on the third game immediately after finishing the second—which is possible—getting it shipped next year could prove challenging even for them. The last thing we want is a rushed wrap-up to the so-far stellar Mass Effect trilogy.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Bill Murray Talks Ghostbusters 3 (Spoiler Alert! Mass Hysteria!)

Funny, I was under the impression that Peter Venkman would be very much alive in Ghostbusters 3, but Bill Murray recently told the Daily Mail that the only way he’ll return for Ghostbusters 3—which will be directed by franchise veteran Ivan Reitman—is if he gets to appear as a ghost. This seemingly confirms earlier rumors that Venkman would be killed off in the highly anticipated sequel, which will reportedly team the original Ghostbusters with younger rookies.

“I said to them, ‘I’ll do it if you kill me off in the first reel,’” Murray told the newspaper. “So now they are going to have me as a ghost in the film.”

I’m really not sure how to take this news. To quote Dr. Venkman, “I feel so funky.”

(via /Film)

Friday, February 5, 2010

In Response to the Watchmen 2 Rumor

Ugh. I really, really didn’t want to weigh in on this, but since the Internet has been buzzing over the last day or so about a rumored sequel to Watchmen, I’m compelled to comment.

Okay, so Bleeding Cool’s Rich Johnston reported on February 3 that DC Comics is considering a sequel to Watchmen, the company’s best-selling publication. As you might remember, there was some restructuring at DC last year, with president and publisher Paul Levitz being relegated to a contributing editor/consultant role as Warner Bros. brand manager Diane Nelson stepped in as president of the newly created DC Entertainment. The website notes that Levitz has been against the idea of Watchmen offshoots, sequels or prequels, and with him gone, the company is free to pursue such projects under the leadership of Dan DiDio, DC’s senior vice president and executive editor. Reportedly, Watchmen creators Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons must be offered first refusal before any additional Watchmen material can be published. But since it’s pretty much a given that Moore and Gibbons would never agree to this (especially in Moore’s case), DC is pursuing other writers and artists to continue the Watchmen story. Again, this is still a rumor at this point until we receive official confirmation from DC.

But what about another movie? Sure, Zack Snyder’s Watchmen film adaptation didn’t do so well at the box office last year, but sequels were included in the contract language during the legal battle between Twentieth Century Fox and Warner Bros. leading up to that film’s release. Thankfully, Nikke Finke at Deadline Hollywood confirmed on February 4 that a second Watchmen film won’t be happening.

“There is no truth to anything related to a movie sequel. Not a chance by a longshot,” an unnamed insider told Finke. “With regards to the comics, well, I guess anything is possible. I’ll keep my opinion to myself as to whether it's a smart idea to do so.”

Hurm. Even if we entertain the idea that there’s some truth to this rumor, and that DC is actually considering more Watchmen comic books—which is very, very unlikely—what self-respecting artist or writer would dare sign on to a Watchmen sequel? That’s career suicide. DC would never find the kind of (willing) talent this project would require, and actively pursuing such a doomed enterprise makes no sense at all.

So, Internet, let’s file this under “unsubstantiated, unlikely rumor” and move on.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Darth Vader Actor David Prowse Beats Cancer

Former bodybuilder David Prowse, best known for playing Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy, has made a full recovery after a yearlong struggle with prostate cancer, the U.K.’s Daily Mirror reports. Indeed, “The Force is strong with this one.”

The 74-year-old—whose brother has also beaten prostate cancer—was diagnosed after a worker from the Prostate Cancer Support Association suggested that he ask his primary care physician for a blood test.

“I’ve won the fight and I’m feeling better than ever,” Prowse told the Mirror. “Everyone was shocked by how well it all went.”

Prowse advises that all men over the age of 50 get tested for the disease.

Mass Effect 2 Sells Two Million Units in First Week

BioWare’s Mass Effect 2 is officially the first video game blockbuster of 2010, selling more than two million copies in its first week of release. The anticipated second chapter in the Mass Effect trilogy—which hit shelves on January 26 for Xbox 360 and PC—has also earned an average review score of 96 on Metacritic and is the second-highest rated Xbox 360 game of all time. So yeah, people are digging it.

Mass Effect 2 is poised to be one of the biggest games of 2010,” Ray Muzyka, MD, co-founder of BioWare and group general manager of Electronic Arts’ RPG/MMO branch, said in a statement. “We could not be more proud of the game’s universal acclaim and early commercial success.”

As for me? I. Love. This. Game. The sprawling, operatic Mass Effect saga—which began in 2007 with the release of the first installment—is a defining moment in video game history that further cements the medium as an art form. Mass Effect 2 allows players to import their Commander Shepard character from the first game, carrying over each of his/her decisions, no matter how small. You’re not just working your way through scripted interactive fiction, you’re shaping the overall experience as you go. The gorgeous visuals, visceral combat and engaging characters only add to that level of immersion. I completed the game two nights ago (on February 2) and I’m still geeking out about it. I can’t wait for my second playthrough.

I could go on and on about how incredible Mass Effect 2 is, but if you’re an Xbox 360 owner you need this game (and the first one). Storytelling rarely gets as satisfying as this.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Oscars: Avatar, Inglourious Basterds and District 9 Nominated for Best Picture

This year’s Academy Award nominations were released on February 2, and I’m pretty excited that Avatar, District 9 and Inglourious Basterds—my top three films of 2009—received best picture nods.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Avatar winds up taking home a few Oscars on March 7—it’s nominated in nine categories, including best director—but I’m kind of hoping the relative underdog District 9 wins best picture. I finally caught this film last month and was frankly blown away by how much Neill Blomkamp accomplished with a budget of just $30 million. I’m also rooting for Inglourious Basterds, which might be Quentin Tarantino’s best film since Pulp Fiction.

Click here for the full list of nominees.