Marvel 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.
EXCLUSIVE: Marvel Studios is negotiating with Jon Spaihts to write the script for Doctor Strange, the franchise-launching film which will be directed by Scott Derrickson. Doctor Strange was hatched by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko during that Marvel Comics heyday of the early 1960s. He’s a neurosurgeon who becomes Sorcerer Supreme, protecting Earth against magical and mystical threats with powers of sorcery, mysticism, and martial arts. Marvel’s Kevin Feige is producing.
Spaihts is writing Universal’s The Mummy reboot as well as the New Regency alien invasion pic The Darkest Hour and The Black Hole. His script Passengers has Keanu Reeves attached and made the 2007 Black List, but he is probably best known in the genre crowd for being the first writer of Prometheus, which rebooted Ridley Scott’s Alien franchise.
Marvel 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 in 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.
EXCLUSIVE: Here’s some hot superhero dish to take into the weekend. There are reports tonight that Peyton Reed and David Wain are being considered for Ant-Man, but man, we are progressing down the comedy director food chain, and this is starting to feel stale. So how about Doctor Strange? Marvel is putting together its cast list, and I’m hearing that Tom Hardy and Benedict Cumberbatch are on it. While Marvel has teased this property with mentions in films including Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the film solidified and felt urgent when Scott Derrickson tweeted this week that he will direct the script by Thomas Dean Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer.
The character has been around since the early 1960s, during that crazy period where just about all the spandex-clad heroes in all the Hollywood blockbusters were hatched at Marvel Comics headquarters (that might be a movie). Stan Lee and Steve Ditko created the character in 1963 as a neurosurgeon who serves as the Sorcerer Supreme, protecting Earth against magical and mystical threats with powers of sorcery, mysticism, and martial arts. Marvel’s Kevin Feige is producing. These two guys aren’t the only ones in the mix, but let’s face it, they are both poised to become major stars.
We’re hearing that the relationship between Marvel and Edgar Wright has been going south for about the past two weeks, though the parties said in a statement today that their Ant-Man split was “amicable.” Either way, the director of The World’s End and Shaun Of The Dead won’t be telling the tale of the superhero who can shrink and communicate with insects after all. The studio and the helmer said today in a joint announcement that — after three years including an unexpected postponement — they have parted ways “due to differences in their vision of the film.” Marvel said the move won’t affect the planned July 17, 2015, release date for the pic and that it will announce a replacement helmer soon. But no one is talking about today’s news on holiday getaway Friday.
Related: The History Of Marvel’s ‘Ant-Man’
Wright, known for his collaborations with actor-writers Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, wowed the 2012 Comic-Con crowd with some early Ant-Man footage. But he then pushed the film — starring Paul Rudd as the diminutive title character along with Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly, Patrick Wilson, Corey Stoll and Michael Pena — to work on the pub-crawl pic World’s End, which grossed $46 million worldwide for Focus Features last summer. He explained the move during a Q&A with Deadline at Comic-Con last year:
Based on the phenomenal grosses from Frozen and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Disney (which crossed $1BM worldwide earlier this month) now can boast that it crossed $1B internationally in record time. Frozen has just surpassed Ice Age 4 to become the worldwide leader as the highest-grossing animated film of all time in international markets with a total tally of $729.3M. In comparison, Ice Age: Continental Drift grossed $715.9M in 2012. In addition, Frozen is hovering at $400M domestically and should reach that watermark next weekend. It just skated across the $100M in Japan while Captain America 2 opened there as its final territory in its international run. Disney boasts the No. 1 and No. 2 spots in the country now with Frozen leading the way.
So far this year, the studio also commands the top two positions internationally of all films in the marketplace … Frozen is No. 1 with $462M and Captain America is $385.1M for the second spot. To show the dominance internationally, the No. three movie – The Wolf of Wall Street — is $122.6M behind the Cap.
Marvel’s Captain America 2 has now grossed over $500M. In China alone, it is on the verge of passing $100 million. The sequel, 199% ahead of what the first installment did in its full run of $194M, has already passed the total international box office cumes for Iron Man 2 ($312M) and Iron Man ($267M) as well as Thor ($268M) and it did so in four weeks. In Japan, it grossed $2M, more than doubling the opening weekend of the first installment. It is still No. 1 in Korea four weeks running, too.
UPDATED: So which superhero will blink first? Disney has officially set the next film in Marvel‘s Captain America franchise, dating Captain America 3 for May 6, 2016. That’s the same date staked out by Warner Bros’ Superman-Batman tentpole that stars Henry Cavill and Ben Affleck. A lot can happen with jockying dates especially this far out on the schedule, but it does seem as though Disney/Marvel is drawing a line in the sand against its DC Comics rival as the studios jostle for positioning for their superhero franchises.
The latest film in the Captain America cycle starring Chris Evans, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, debuted this weekend to between $93 million-$95 million (update final Disney reported figure is $95.02M) based on Sunday’s estimates. That broke all previous daily and opening-weekend April records previously held by Fast Five in 2011, and it is roaring overseas with an estimated $300M in global gross on a $177.6M budget. It also was the year’s No. 1-ranked movie to date across the entire social media universe. It’s the latest of those untitled Marvel movies on the slate to get a name; there’s another unknown one that Disney has set for May 5, 2017.
The final trailer for Sony and Marvel’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2 dropped today, setting up the battle between Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker and bad guys Henry Osborn (Dane DeHaan) and Electro (Jamie Foxx). The 3D pic is due out May 2 and remember it will help set the baseline for all those spinoffs planned involving Venom and the Sinister Six, with helmer Marc Webb, five writers and two producers charged with crafting the expanded universe.
Marvel‘s superhero team-up Guardians Of The Galaxy unveiled a first-look trailer tonight on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live. Chris Pratt stars alongside Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Benicio Del Toro, and Vin Diesel in the cosmic tale of Peter Quill (Pratt), who becomes the target of bounty hunters after stealing a mysterious orb and links up with a ragtag band of misfits with the fate of the galaxy at stake. James Gunn directs the pic, which hits theaters August 1. Check out the trailer:
Seoul, South Korea will play host to Marvel‘s Avengers: Age of Ultron, the studio announced today. Key elements of the superhero sequel will be shot in the South Korean capital in addition to other international locations including Johannesburg, South Africa and Aosta Valley, Italy and London. The Joss Whedon-helmed Avengers: Age of Ultron hits theaters May 1, 2015.
Related: James Spader Joins Marvel’s ‘Avengers’ Sequel As Ultron
Marvel Studios has proven to be worth Disney’s $4 billion acquisition by tapping its library for film franchises. Now, the company has found the writer of its third installment of Thor by looking inward. Craig Kyle, senior vice president of Production and Development for Marvel, has gotten the job of co-writing with Christopher Yost. It’s a good way to start his foray into full-time screenwriting, and he has been signed by CAA. Yost cowrote Thor: The Dark World with Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely from a story by Don Payne and Robert Rodat. That picture became Marvel’s highest grossing film behind The Avengers and Iron Man 3. Kevin Feige is producing. Kyle was exec producer of Thor: The Dark World and has worked in exec capacities at Marvel since 2001. Yost is repped by Verve and Industry.
“I am proud of Craig and have enjoyed working with him over these past years,” Feige said. “His creative instincts have helped shape Thor and Thor: The Dark World at every level of the filmmaking process. The entire team at Marvel is very happy to continue collaborating with Craig as he continues as a screenwriter working with Christopher on the forthcoming chapter of Thor’s adventure.”
The History Of Marvel’s ‘Ant-Man:’ Troubled Wife Beater, Creator Of Avengers And Ultron; Maybe Marvel Is On To Something?
Even though Comic-Con god Edgar Wright is directing, and Paul Rudd set as Scott Lang and Michael Douglas playing Hank Pym, Marvel Studios‘ Ant-Man movie still has me wondering if a guy capable of shrinking and communicating with insects warrants a movie franchise — especially with Rudd, who is so identified with comedy. The folks at IGN.com have helpfully sent me an Ant-Man primer, featuring the character’s various incarnations from the Marvel comics. From what I observed, the Pym version is a certifiable basket case, a complicated dude with inadequacy problems, a temper, and penchant for hitting women. And the Hank Pym version of the character, in helmet and costume, looks vaguely phallic. I remain unconvinced. What do you think?
Marvel’s Ant-Man starring Paul Rudd has moved up its release date two weeks to July 17, 2015, Disney said today. That’s the date just vacated by Warner Bros’ Superman Vs. Batman movie (it has moved back 10 months to May 2016). Now Ant-Man will face off against Warners’ Pan, which last month was moved to fill the Superman-Batman slot.
Last season, Marvel‘s first series for ABC, Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D., sailed through development to the schedule surrounded in secrecy. The company’s new ABC effort, Agent Carter, is taking the same route. While it has never been officially announced, the project already has a finished script awaiting green light, and “the script is great,” ABC’s Paul Lee said at TCA this morning. Like with S.H.I.E.L.D. – from Joss Whedon, the man behind Marvel’s blockbuster The Avengers that featured the S.H.I.E.L.D. organization – Agent Carter too was written by writers of the Marvel tenpole that spawned the TV project: Captain America: The First Avenger‘s Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely. Inspired by a Marvel one shot, Agent Carter brings back Captain America’s girlfriend Peggy Carter, played in the movie by Hayley Atwell. The period drama chronicles her life as a budding secret agent after her boyfriend is stranded in ice. As we reported, Reaper creators Tara Butters and Michele Fazekas are shepherding the project as executive producers/showrunners. “She is such a strong character,” Butters said of Peggy. “I think this is a great premise that would make a great series.” In other Marvel-ABC TCA news, Lee announced that a Thor character, Lady Sif, played by Jaimie Alexander, will make an appearance on Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. later this season.
Here’s a first look at the short film Marvel One-Shot: All Hail The King, which will be available exclusively with Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World on Digital 3D and Digital HD release February 4, and on 3D Combo Pack and Blu-ray discs when they street February 25. It features Ben Kingsley reprising the role of his fabulous Iron Man 3 character Trevor Slattery, with the short in the guise of a documentary filmmaker’s jailhouse interview with Slattery that we’re hearing acts as something of an epilogue to that blockbuster. Drew Pearce makes his writer-director debut with the 14-minute pic, which picks up where Kingsley’s character was left at the end of Iron Man 3.
I’m told by Marvel moles there is really nothing to this rumor about Johnny Depp playing Steven Strange in Dr. Strange for Marvel Studios. The story’s being bannered by Variety online, but don’t dress for it. I’m told that Depp was approached eons ago, and it never went anywhere.
Michael Douglas has become the second major casting for Ant-Man, the Disney/Marvel movie that stars Paul Rudd. Douglas, fresh off his Golden Globes win last night for Behind The Candelabra, will play Hank Pym, who first appeared in the comic in 1962. Pym is a scientist who was first Ant-Man then became Giant-Man, Goliath, and Yellowjacket in the comic’s mythology; no word on which persona Douglas’ Pym will take per the announcement unveiled today on Marvel.com. “With Hank Pym’s rich history in the Marvel Universe, we knew we needed an actor capable of bringing the weight and stature to the role that the character deserves,” said Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige in the post. “We felt incredibly relieved when Michael Douglas agreed to step into the part with the charm and fortitude he brings to every character he inhabits, and couldn’t be more excited to see what he will do to bring Hank Pym to life.” Edgar Wright is directing the superhero pic, which is due out July 31, 2015.
Marvel is notoriously tight-lipped about its movies, so even after we told you yesterday that Paul Rudd has been tapped to play Ant-Man, it took the company until just now to admit the casting is true. Said producer Kevin Feige in a post this evening on Marvel.com: “When [director] Edgar Wright came to us with the idea of Paul Rudd, we felt a huge sense of relief because the first step in creating any Marvel Studios film is finding the right star. We knew early on that we had found the right person in Paul. When he not only agreed to do it but became as enthusiastic as any actor we’d ever met with about doing the work, we knew we’d found the right guy. We couldn’t be more excited for our audiences to see what he’s going to do to bring Ant-Man to life.” The pic is set for a July 31, 2015 release.