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Can ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy’ Help Rescue The Summer Box Office?

By | Sunday July 20, 2014 @ 2:48pm PDT

Can ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy’ Help Rescue The Summer Box Office?Image (1) box_office_weekend_3202008-12-22-1229966765_20110417092737.jpg for post 123287This weekend’s domestic box office was off a whopping 28 percent, which has people wondering why. Could it be the quality is just not there? “Yeah, what the hell is going on, right?” said one distributor when I asked. “It’s content driven. We’re in a slump at the moment, but next year will be better. This year, I don’t think it’s any indication that problems are anything but the  content.” As in quality, or lack thereof, and I think that most Deadline readers would concur that though this summer has seen some gems (like The Fault in Our Stars, Apes, Heaven is For Real), they’ve wrapped around some real stinkers (A Million Ways to Die in the West, Moms Night Out).

By the way, Paramount’s Transformers:Age of Extinction has made $659.1M internationally and around $228M to date domestically, is on track to become the 19th picture ever to move past the $1B mark and could end up in the Top Ten all-time worldwide grossers. But others have fallen flat. As we’ve noted in the past, it’s a cyclical business. Some of the pictures from 2014 moved to 2015 to avoid having to deal with the World Cup. Next summer looks more promising: the April 3rd release of Fast and Furious 7, followed in May by the highly-anticipated The Avengers: Age of Ultron and then The Fantastic Four, Jurassic World, Ted 2, Minions and Terminator.

But here’s the question: When will the industry see a movie that will go four consecutive weekends in a row at No. 1? (see chart below, courtesy of Rentrak). And could Disney/Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy do it?  Read More »

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Dinesh D’Souza’s ‘America’ Slams Google Again Over Missing Search Results

By | Friday July 18, 2014 @ 1:20pm PDT

Dinesh D’Souza’s ‘America’ Slams Google Again Over Missing Search ResultsDinesh D’Souza and the team behind the recently released documentary America: Imagine The World Without Her still want to know why Google won’t display the show times for their movie. Earlier this week, lawyers for the conservative author/filmmaker sent a second letter to the tech giant’s chief legal officer David Drummond trying to get the situation resolved, I’ve learned. The July 16 letter from Sheppard, Mullin attorney Kelly Crabb requested “that Google correctly display information for America: Imagine The World Without Her in the same way it displays information for other movies currently in theaters.”

americaYou’d think that would be a simple enough request for one of the world’s top search engines. But in this case, you’d be wrong. “I don’t know what the point of a search engine is if people can’t access the information they’re looking for,” a frustrated D’Souza told me today. In addition to no showtimes listed, no click-through poster for the pic appears in the Google banner search result — though 2004′s Team America, Fox’s The Dawn Of The Planet Of The ApesTransformers: Age Of Extinction, Disney/Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier and the as-yet-unreleased The Avengers: Age Of Ultron do. Read More »

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Marvel Unveils ‘Avengers: Age Of Ultron’ First Look Ahead Of Comic-Con

By | Wednesday July 16, 2014 @ 12:13pm PDT

Marvel Unveils ‘Avengers: Age Of Ultron’ First Look Ahead Of Comic-ConMarvel has introduced its new Avengers: Age Of Ultron baddie in a splashy EW cover spread, which also reveals the superhero sequel’s backstory tweak: Tony Stark creates Ultron to help the Avengers fight crime, only to see the self-aware A.I. bot (James Spader) turn on humanity itself. Here’s the first-look cover image that’s stoking anticipation for more Marvel superhero reveals at next week’s Comic-Con:

Avengers Age Of Ultron EW

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Holy Odin! Marvel Just Announced A Gender Change For Thor On ‘The View!’ Has Comic Empire Jumped Shark?

By | Tuesday July 15, 2014 @ 11:09am PDT
Mike Fleming

Holy Odin! Marvel Just Announced A Gender Change For Thor On ‘The View!’ Has Comic Empire Jumped Shark?Marvel Comics‘ PR teased yesterday that it would be revealing an explosive new comic book title on The View. Why would Marvel choose that girly gab fest to unveil a superhero? Turns out they had good reason. They seem to have fired the Mighty Thor (in the comics at least; don’t worry, Chris Hemsworth, you haven’t been axed from tentpole duty) and are introducing a female replacement for the venerable God Of Thunder. It’s a new female superhero creation who has been handed the baton, or rather the mighty hammer, and will swing it against evil. Explained Marvel editor Will Moss: “The inscription on Thor‘s hammer reads ‘Whosoever holds this hammer, if HE be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor.’ Well, it’s time to update that inscription. The new Thor continues Marvel’s proud tradition of strong female characters like Captain Marvel, Storm, Black Widow and more. And this new Thor isn’t a temporary female substitute. She’s now the one and only Thor, and she is worthy.” Wow, Chris Hemsworth, call your agent quick! The new comic will be written by Thor: God Of Thunder‘s Jason Aaron with art from Russell Dauterman. Read More »

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Marvel Wants SCOTUS To Reject Jack Kirby Heirs’ “Bizarre” Rights Petition

By | Monday July 14, 2014 @ 2:18pm PDT

Marvel Wants SCOTUS To Reject Jack Kirby Heirs’ “Bizarre” Rights PetitionEXCLUSIVE: No big surprise that today Marvel and Disney asked the Supreme Court to deny a petition from the heirs of Captain America, The Avengers and X-Men co-creator Jack Kirby. “This case presents a factbound application of a test uniformly adopted by the lower courts under a statute that does not apply to works created after 1978,” said a response filed today (read it here). “It implicates no circuit split, no judicial taking, no due process violation, and no grave matter of separation of powers. It does not remotely merit this Court’s review,” added the media giant’s main attorney in the matter, R. Bruce Rich. In case, Marvel’s rejection of the heirs desires were not clear enough, the Disney-owned company really hits it hard elsewhere in today’s response. “In likely recognition of the fact that the statutory question does not satisfy the requirements for this Court’s review, petitioners turn to a series of bizarre constitutional arguments raised for the first time in this Court,” says Marvel. “Those arguments only underscore that none of the questions presented merits this Court’s plenary consideration.”

DJP LEGAL BADGEIn a move that could have huge copyright implications for the entertainment industry if it went before the nine justices and they found in the heirs’ favor, Lisa Kirby, Neal Kirby, Susan Kirby and Barbara Kirby petitioned the SCOTUS this spring to hear their much-denied case. The heirs contended they had the right in 2009 to issue 45 termination notices to Marvel and others including Fox, … Read More »

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Pacific Ocean Post Closing Today; Up To 20 Jobs Lost

Pacific Ocean Post Closing Today; Up To 20 Jobs LostEXCLUSIVE: Pacific Ocean Post, the postproduction sound facility in Santa Monica, is closing its doors for good at the end of business today, throwing some 15-20 employees out of work. The company did post sound for blockbusters including The Avengers, Iron Man 3, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Despicable Me 2 along with Best Picture Oscar winner Argo.

Pacific Ocean PostPOP Sound’s closure is the latest chapter in the collapse of a once-vast empire of sound mixing and editorial facilities owned by Empire Investment Holdings. Empire-owned Soundelux, Hollywood’s largest independent post house, recently filed for bankruptcy, and its facilities in Hollywood, Burbank and Santa Monica have been closed, resulting in the loss of more than 100 jobs.

Related: Soundelux Files For Chapter 11 Bankruptcy; Pink Slips For 30

“Everything is being closed,” Soundelux bankruptcy attorney Leslie Cohen told Deadline. “It’s moving into equipment liquidation mode under Chapter 11.” And a POP sound mixer said: “I’ve never seen so many companies going down all at once. I absolutely loved working here, and to see it all going down is incredibly sad.” Read More »

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Top Box Office Performers For First Half 2014; Summer Off 14.9%

Top Box Office Performers For First Half 2014; Summer Off 14.9%The Very Big Opening of Transformers: Age Of Extinction did nothing to lift the box office for the first half of the year. It’s basically flat when compared to 2013, down .8%. The box office summer — which semi-officially begins the first Friday of May — is way off, down 14.9% from 2013, when the box office was plumped up by such films as Iron Man 3 and Monsters University. We have neither a $300M grosser nor do we have a $100M opening weekend yet. It would be great to see Fox’s The Dawn of the Planet of the Apes pull it off, but expectations are that we won’t see it until November, when Lionsgate bows its adaptation of the first part of the last book of Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games‘ trilogy, Mockingjay.

Last year was a record year at the box office. “Comparing to last year’s record, you have to keep up and hit it of the park every time and that’s difficult to do. It’ll happen next year, but it a cyclical business,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media anaylst with Rentrak. “People can talk about all these external forces going on like The World Cup and weather, but when you have the product, it delivers.”

Right now, Warner Bros./Legendary Pictures Godzilla is the only picture in history to have had an opening weekend larger than $90M that has yet to cross $200M mark for its domestic cume. This past weekend … Read More »

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Movie Academy Invites 271 New Members

Movie Academy Invites 271 New MembersThe Oscar organization has unveiled its annual invitees list for 2014. Check out the release below:

LOS ANGELES, CA – The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is extending invitations to join the organization to 271 artists and executives who have distinguished themselves by their contributions to theatrical motion pictures. Those who accept the invitations will be the only additions to the Academy’s membership in 2014. “This year’s class of invitees represents some of the most talented, creative and passionate filmmakers working in our industry today,” said Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs. “Their contributions to film have entertained audiences around the world, and we are proud to welcome them to the Academy.”

The 2014 invitees are:

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Latest ‘Daredevil’ Casting: ‘Hunger Games’ Elden Henson Joins Netflix Series

By | Thursday June 26, 2014 @ 10:51am PDT

Latest ‘Daredevil’ Casting: ‘Hunger Games’ Elden Henson Joins Netflix SeriesMarvel continues to staff up for its Netflix series Daredevil. It unveiled today via Twitter that Elden Henson will play Foggy Nelson, the best friend and legal partner of Matt Murdock, the alter ego of superhero Daredevil. Henson, repped by Talentworks and manager Jelani Johnson, is in both Hunger Games: Mockingjay pics and is known for his place in the Mighty Ducks franchise. In Daredevil – set to premiere in 2015 as the first of four 13-episode superhero series Marvel is producing for the streaming service – Nelson is tight with the Hell’s Kitchen community, making him a friend to many in all walks of life. Read More »

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‘Glee’s Melissa Benoist Joins ‘The Longest Ride’; ‘Sicario’ Adds ‘Captain America 2′s Maximiliano Hernandez; Shane Black Rebooting ‘Predator’

By | Tuesday June 24, 2014 @ 2:54pm PDT

‘Glee’s Melissa Benoist Joins ‘The Longest Ride’; ‘Sicario’ Adds ‘Captain America 2′s Maximiliano Hernandez; Shane Black Rebooting ‘Predator’Glee‘s Melissa Benoist has landed a role in Fox 2000′s The Longest Ride. Benoist, who plays Marley on Fox’s singing drama, will play Marcia, the well intentioned roommate of Sophie, in the Nicholas Sparks adaptation. Britt Robertson and Scott Eastwood lead the cast as a young couple whose romance parallels the the intertwined love story of a local elderly man and his lady love. Alan Alda and Jack Huston recently boarded the project under helmer George Tillman, Jr. Benoist, meanwhile, plays opposite Miles Teller in Sony Classics’ Sundance darling Whiplash and recently filmed Imagine opposite Al Pacino and Jennifer Garner. She’s repped by UTA, Authentic and Frankfurt Kurnit. Read More »

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DeadlineNow: ‘Avengers 2′ And The Great Movie Gridlock Of 2015 (Video)

By | Thursday June 19, 2014 @ 5:15pm PDT
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Tentpoles Battle For Supremacy In 2015

Think 2014 was a big year for tentpoles? Just wait until next year. Deadline's David Lieberman and Dominic Patten look ahead to 2015 and a promised explosion of megamovies.

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Tom Hiddleston To Play Country Icon Hank Williams, And Will Sing As Well

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: The Avengers star Tom Hiddleston will play Tom Hiddleston Hank Williams MovieCountry & Western legend Hank Williams in I Saw The Light, a film that Marc Abraham will direct and which has come together as a co-production between RatPac Entertainment, Bron Studios, and Creative Wealth Media Finance, all of which will fund the film. Abraham wrote the script based on the Colin Escott biography of Williams and Aaron L. Gilbert will produce with Brett Ratner, G. Marq Rosell and Abraham. Ratner’s partner, James Packer, will be exec producer.

hankwProduction will begin in Louisiana in October, and Hiddleston will sing such Williams standards as “Your Cheatin’ Heart”, “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” and “Hey Good Lookin’,” after the film’s backers made a deal with Sony ATV to secure rights to the Williams music catalog. The film will tell the story of Williams’ meteoric rise to fame, and the price that fame took on his personal life. He died at age 29 of heart failure. Read More »

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Radius-TWC Promises “Surprising” Launch Against ‘Transformers’ For LA Film Fest Opener ‘Snowpiercer’

Pete Hammond
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Snowpiercers And Jersey Boys And Everything In Between

The Los Angeles Film Festival kicked off its 20th edition with the arty action pic from Bong Joon-ho. Deadline's Pete Hammond and Dominic Patten discuss what's in store at Hollywood's hometown fest leading up to Clint Eastwood's closing-night film just ahead of its box office bow.

Radius-TWC co-president Tom Quinn told me Wednesday night’s Los Angeles Film Festival opener Snowpiercer is going to 7ddd396b0cbae471e84f83c1797e9c96have a unique rollout when it launches against formidable competition, Transformers: Age Of Extinction, on June 27. Although that sounds like a suicide mission for another action-oriented picture, Quinn, speaking at the after-party, calls his film from Korean director Bong Joon-ho an “intelligent tentpole” made for a thinking audience who likes its thrills delivered with smarts. He says they will open in 10 markets and follow up the next week on about 150 screens. That’s chump change for the opening Paramount plans for Transformers, but Quinn and co-president Jason Janego were pumped by the LA Fest response and hope to gain attention with a series of premieres, including train trips (for a film that’s set on the ultimate train trip) to Seattle, San Francisco and Austin, plus four separate premieres across New York state. “And when this film, which only could have been made by Bong Joon-ho, opens on the 27th, the only place you will be able to see it in America is on a theater screen,” he said, emphasizing that the company — an offshoot of The Weinstein Company, which opens most of its films day-and-date with VOD — will not be making it 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival - Opening Night Premiere Of "Snowpiercer" - Red Carpetinstantly available for home viewing. “We are plotting a surprising and different way of opening this film,” he said while not committing to any specific date as to when it actually will be available on VOD.

I would guess the VOD date won’t lag too far behind, but Quinn clearly wants to get the word out first that this is a big-screen experience. You might recall that Radius released its Oscar-winning documentary Twenty Feet From Stardom theatrically first and that worked out, as it became the top docu at the 2013 box office before hitting home screens.

After seeing the film, which also played the Berlin Film Festival, and LAFF2014which Harvey Weinstein pre-bought and later turned over to his Radius team (Quinn had worked with the director on The Host and Mother), I can say if ever there was a big-screen must-see, it’s this riveting story of the last humans alive after Earth is completely frozen-over and humanity wiped out — except for a few riding aboard a train that never stops and has every conceivable level of class, from its tail section to its super engine, as it continuously circles what’s left of the world. Although it is dark, grimy and claustrophobic, the director clearly knows how to make a classic train picture and his superb cast includes a hilarious Tilda Swinton, chewing the scenery like no one’s business, and Ed Harris in an extended cameo as the Master of this particular world. Both turned up for what was billed as the pic’s U.S. premiere. Read More »

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Vincent D’Onofrio To Play Villain Wilson Fisk In Netflix’s Marvel Drama Series ‘Daredevil’

By | Tuesday June 10, 2014 @ 12:36pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

donofrioMarvel is adding some serious acting chops to its 13-episode Netflix series Daredevil. Law & Order: Criminal Intent alum Vincent D’Onofrio will co-star opposite Charlie Cox in the series, set to premiere in 2015, Marvel announced today. (It is unclear why the company chose a mugshot-style photo of D’Onofrio, right, to accompany its announcement). D’Onofrio will play Wilson Fisk (known as supervillain The Kingpin in the Marvel Comics universe), a powerful businessman whose interests Kingpinmin the future of Hell’s Kitchen will bring him into conflict with the blind attorney Matt Murdock (Cox) and his alter ego Daredevil. In the 2003 movie starring Ben Affleck, the role of Fisk/Kingpin was played by Michael Clarke Duncan. The Daredevil series was written by executive producer Drew Goddard, with Steven S. DeKnight recently hired as executive producer/showrunner. Daredevil is the first of four 13-episode superhero series set in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of New York City, which Marvel is producing for Netflix. It will be followed by Jessica Jones, Iron Fist and Luke Cage, with the characters from each show then coming together for an Avengers-type superhero teaming in a chapter-closing miniseries.

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Regal Gears Up To Add Large Screens And Recliner Seats

By | Thursday June 5, 2014 @ 6:13am PDT

regal cinemas“It’s crucial for our industry to invest” in premium movie experiences, Regal CEO Amy Miles told investors today as she kicked off the Gabelli & Co Movie and Entertainment Conference. It’s a subtle shift in message in an industry that has spent the last few years focusing on paring down debt, consolidation, and keeping shareholders happy with dividends and share repurchases. But Miles says that Regal leads the exhibition industry in generating cash, and wants to seize the opportunity to boost revenues with venues that can charge higher prices for tickets and concessions. “We’re all going about this strategic objective of improving the premium experience,” she says. Regal plans to roll out as many as 25 of its large-screen RPX venues in each of the next four years. Regal also expects to have recliner seats at 25 sites with just under 300 screens by the end of 2014. The chain has been helped by the struggles that many mall owners are having maintaining traffic as shoppers buy goods online. “Our landlords are becoming very good partners” for example with co-financing. “That’s been a positive.” Read More »

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UPDATE: Trio Added To Cast Of The Black List Event In LA

By | Wednesday June 4, 2014 @ 2:58pm PDT

blacklistUPDATED, 2:58 PM: Three more actors are set for the Black List‘s June 14 table read of 1969: A Space Odyssey, Or How Kubrick Learned To Stop Worrying And Land On the Moon. Clark Gregg (Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D., The Avengers) will play CIA Director Richard Helms, and Mad Men regulars Aaron Staton and Rich Sommer will portray astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, respectively.

PREVIOUSLY, May 30: The online community that connects moviemakers and writers plans a June 14 table read at the Los Angeles Theatre of Stephany Folsom’s 1969: A Space Odyssey, Or How Kubrick Learned To Stop Worrying And Land On the Moon The story involves a White House Public Affairs assistant who hires Stanley Kubrick to direct a fake moon landing in case something goes wrong with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin’s lunar visit. Kathryn Hahn of Parks And Recreation will play the assistant, Jared Harris of Mad Men will play Kubrick, Thomas Sadoski of The Newsroom will play NASA Public Affairs administrator Julian Scheer, and Shannon Woodward of Raising Hope will play Kubrick’s assistant, Kara Downs. “Our mission with the Black List has always been celebrating great screenwriting and the writers who do it, and presenting this script to an audience with actors like Kathryn, Jared, Thomas, and Shannon gives us an extraordinary opportunity to continue that mission in a very exciting way,” says co-founder Franklin Leonard.

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‘Huntsman 2′ Helmer Short List: Frank Darabont, Gavin O’Connor, Andy Muschietti

Mike Fleming

huntsmEXCLUSIVE: While all eyes have been on who’ll ultimately direct Ant-Man, Universal is getting down to finding a helmer for Snow White And The Huntsman 2. I’m hearing the shortlist consists of Frank Darabont, Gavin O’Connor and Andy Muschietti. Rupert Sanders helmed the first film, which grossed close to $400 million worldwide, a result that almost guarantees a second installment even if the first cost $170 million or so. This is an intriguing group of filmmakers. Darabont, after helming The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile, hatched The Walking Dead and helped forge it into cable TV’s top-rated drama before getting fired. He hasn’t helmed a feature since 2007′s The Mist. Then there is O’Connor, who directed the cult favorite film Warrior as well as Miracle and stepped in and saved the Natalie Portman starrer Jane Got A Gun. Then there is Muschietti, the Mama helmer who was tapped by Universal to reboot its The Mummy franchise, before he fell out of that project. Universal and Roth Films are trying to have the Huntsman movie for 2016 — Chris Hemsworth had to say no to the Legendary sci-fi film Brilliance because he’s slotted to reteam with Kristen Stewart and do this sequel after The Avengers 2 — so a decision should be made soon. Stay tuned. Read More »

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Will Smith Eyeing Gridiron Concussion Pic At Sony With Peter Landesman Directing

By | Tuesday June 3, 2014 @ 2:30pm PDT
Mike Fleming

willsmiNow that Will Smith has stepped off the pic Brilliance, the whole town is after him. I’m hearing he has aligned himself to that football concussions project that Ridley Scott and Giannina Facio have been developing. The pic, still untitled and inspired by the GQ article “Game Brain,” is at Sony, and Peter Landesman wrote the script and will direct. He made his helming debut on the JFK pic Parkland. Back when Deadline broke the story, Scott was looking to direct the concussions movie project after his massive Moses movie Exodus with Christian Bale and Joel Edgerton. Scott moved over and now will produce with Facio, along with Shuman Company’s David Wolfhoff and Larry Shuman. Landesman has completed the script, and the plan is to shoot this fall. Smith will play Dr. Bennet Omalu, the forensic neuropathologist who was a total outsider and made the first discovery of CTE, the concussion syndrome that has been fatal in contributing to the suicides of such former NFL superstars as Dave Duerson and Junior Seau.

Related: NFL Reaches $765M Settlement In Concussion Cases

nfAs I wrote in November, Scott got in early, intending to create a drama focusing on the debilitating effects that concussions are having on our sports heroes, and the role that league owners play in allowing it to happen. His plan is to create a morality tale on that issue, much the way that Michael Mann’s The Insider took on the tobacco industry’s complicity in covering up the addictive and cancer-causing effects of cigarette smoking. Smith’s camp denied this a couple of days ago, but things move quickly when an actor has a slot open. Smith met with the director this week, and the intention is to try and be first, as there are other concussion projects brewing. Read More »

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UPDATE: Will Risky ‘Ant-Man’ Be Marvel’s Waterloo Or Greatest Triumph?

By | Saturday May 31, 2014 @ 1:20pm PDT
Mike Fleming

UPDATE: Amid the morning news that Adam McKay has backed away from talks of directing Marvel‘s Ant-Man, the Anchorman director took to Twitter to say the following:

 

PREVIOUS, 8:04 AM ANALYSIS: Marvel and the reps of Adam McKay will spend the weekend trying to make a deal for the Talladega Nights helmer to replace Edgar Wright as the director of Ant-Man. McKay, the former Saturday Adam McKayNight Live writer who grew up on that show with Will Ferrell and moved with him to feature films, has become an accomplished director of comedies (Step Brothers is my favorite), but this seems to be a risky move (reports have him already deciding this is not for him). I was already skeptical of how serious to take the Ant-Man thing when Paul Rudd was cast as the title character, not because Rudd isn’t a good enough actor, but because he’s so identified as a comic actor. Setting McKay as director pushes the perception of this movie more towards, say, The Green Hornet than something like Captain America: Winter Soldier. I would have been less surprised had McKay been set to direct Ghostbusters, after Ivan Reitman bowed out, than a superhero film. One of the best things about these Marvel superhero movies under Kevin Feige is that they don’t take themselves too seriously in between giant action sequences. The blend of the occasional great comic line was particularly sharp in the Joss Whedon-directed Avengers film.

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