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.
Thor: The Dark World opened to an estimated $7.1 million for Thursday preview showings in advance of today’s North American opening in 3,841 theaters — including more than 3,100 3D locations. Overseas, the Marvel/Disney sequel starring Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman added another $10.9M in box office yesterday from key markets including the UK, Russia, and France, boosting its international cume to $152.8M. That’s before today’s expected big opening in China and other smaller markets, which will put the pic out in 92% of the world. Last night’s domestic preview grosses topped previous Thursday grosses for Thor ($3.2M) and Captain America: The First Avenger ($4M), both in 2011. The first Thor opened domestically in May of that year with $65.7M in its first weekend, on its way to $181M here and $268M overseas.
Related: Hot Trailer: ‘Thor: The Dark World’
Last Wednesday, Disney opened Thor 2 to $109.4M in 36 overseas territories, helping the distributor break its all-time international box office record of $2.302B for a calendar year with two months to go.
Disney said Thor 2‘s 3D shows will include an exclusive extended sneak peek of fellow Marvel superhero pic Captain America: The Winter Soldier ahead of its April 2014 bow.
‘Thor: The Dark World’ Scores Superhuman $109M Overseas, Boosts Disney To Another All-Time Int’l Record
Disney scored a Marvelous haul opening Thor: The Dark World overseas early Wednesday to $109.4M in 36 territories. The film opens stateside next Friday and is already making history. Thor 2‘s early take helped bump Disney’s international box office on the year beyond its previous all time $2.302B record with two months of global cash-collecting to go. The studio brought the Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman Marvel sequel early and at #1 in key territories France, the UK, Korea, Germany, Spain, Taiwan, Australia, Russia, Mexico, and Brazil and still has Argentina, Italy, China, and Japan on the docket; at this pace it’s hurtling towards a better run than the first Thor flick overseas.
EXCLUSIVE… UPDATE: Disney and Marvel Studios‘ Thor: The Dark World opened in a handful of territories on Wednesday taking in $8.2M. The pic starring Chris Hemsworth was the #1 film in each market which represented only 28% of its eventual international footprint. It had stronger starts in the UK and France than the 2011 first installment. The North American opening is November 8th. Disney and Marvel see what they call “tremendous room for growth” at the box office from the first Thor which grossed just under $450M worldwide. “All signs indicate we’ll have a much higher result,” an exec tells me. “I can’t put a number on it, but by the time we report domestic numbers on November 10th, we should be in really great shape.” Thor opened to $65M in May 2011 and went on to earn $181M domestic and $268.3M international. By contrast, the Thor sequel opens in November in the majority of its international footprint this weekend starting with major territories UK, France and Korea, then Australia, Germany, Spain, Taiwan and Hong Kong a day later, and Russia, Mexico and Brazil on Friday. Next week China and India open day and date with the domestic opening November 8th. The overseas release follows the world premiere on October 22nd and global press junket in London with director Alan Taylor, producer Kevin Feige, and stars Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Natalie Portman, Idris Elba, Stellan Skarsgard, Kat Dennings, Christopher Eccleston, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje and more. The U.S. …
It’s two years since The Avengers, and Steve Rogers is still adjusting to a contemporary existence in Marvel‘s Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Here, Chris Evans is paired with Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Sundance icon Robert Redford, in his first superhero effort. Marvel has just released a trailer for its April 4 release. Trailer timing coincides with the November 8 release of another Marvel sequel, Thor: The Dark World.
EXCLUSIVE: The notorious secrecy that surrounds Marvel‘s projects has been heightened to the nth degree for this one. No one would breathe a word, with rumors that everyone from top to bottom is bound by strict nondisclosure agreements, but I hear that Marvel is quietly putting together a package of four drama series and a miniseries — a total of some 60 episodes — that would be taken out to the VOD and cable space, with Netflix, Amazon and WGN America rumored as potential candidates. Feelers had been sent out, and I hear there’s already interest from digital platforms and traditional cable networks in the package, which I hear is in very early stages with very little talent attached. Reps for Marvel refused any comment. The company has been so adamant about keeping its projects under wraps that ABC topper Paul Lee joked at TCA in August that critics who wanted to attend a screening of the Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. pilot — the only one in ages to not be distributed in advance — could expect to be asked to submit “a sample of your grandmother’s urine or the Marvel guys won’t let you in.”
EXCLUSIVE: The “one shot” short films featured as extras on Marvel movies’ DVD releases are becoming a hotbed for TV series ideas. After one such short, Item 47 on The Avengers DVD about the agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., led to the new ABC/Marvel series, another one may also spawn a series project for ABC. Marvel is notoriously secretive about their development, and no one would comment, but I hear the company is working on a concept for a potential TV series inspired by Agent Carter, a one shot, which will be featured on the upcoming Blu-ray release of Iron Man 3. Directed by Marvel Studios co-president Louis D’Esposito, Agent Carter brings back Captain America’s girlfriend Peggy Carter, played by Hayley Atwell, and chronicles her life as a budding secret agent after her boyfriend is stranded in ice. (Watch a clip below.) I hear the project is in very early stages, one of several in the works at Marvel, and is in the process of locking in a writer. It is unclear if Atwell would reprise her role if Agent Carter comes to fruition. A Marvel action series with a female lead would fit right into ABC’s wheelhouse of female-skewing dramas with a strong lead and would be a throwback to such network series as Alias. The Iron Man 3 …
Bradley Cooper has made his deal with Marvel Studios to join Guardians Of The Galaxy to voice furry gun-toting hero Rocket Raccoon. The news was made official on Marvel’s website just now. Talk first surfaced last week that Cooper and Marvel were in deep negotiations. The casting marks Cooper’s first foray into the superhero world and his debut voicing an animated character. Cooper would also be the final addition to the James Gunn-directed pic, which has already started filming in the UK. He joins Chris Pratt, Benicio Del Toro, Zoe Saldana, Glenn Close, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker and John C. Reilly in the cast, and Vin Diesel has been talking about coming on board to voice the tree-like Groot. Disney is set to release Guardians on August 1, 2014. Cooper, who earlier this month joined Warner Bros’ Lance Armstrong pic as a producer and potential star, is repped by CAA. He’s next up in Sony’s American Hustle in December, a pic that reunited him with his Silver Linings Playbook director David O Russell. Cooper earned an Oscar nom for that pic.
The Avengers sequel has its villain. James Spader will play Ultron in The Avengers: Age Of Ultron, Marvel announced today online. A fixture of the Marvel universe for decades, the evil robotic Ultron has repeatedly fought the Avengers collectively and individually in attempts to take over the world. At Comic-Con this year, Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige announced the title of the upcoming Avengers tentpole and who the villain would be. Disney will release the Joss Whedon-directed sequel on May 1, 2015. Last seen on the big screen in Lincoln, Spader returns to the small screen September 23 as the star of NBC’s new drama The Blacklist. Spader is repped by ICM Partners and attorney Melanie Cook at Ziffren Brittenham.
Missed them first time round? Check them out:
Squash Those Petitions! Why Ben Affleck As Batman Is Good Move For Warner Bros
By Mike Fleming Jr - OPINION: I was as surprised as anyone when Ben Affleck was named the new Batman by Warner Bros.
EXCLUSIVE: Relativity Naming New Film Marketing Team; Russell Schwartz And Dana Precious In, Terry Curtin Out
By Nikki Finke - EXCLUSIVE: I understand that New Line veteran Russell Schwartz is already signed to become President of Theatrical Marketing. And Marvel veteran Dana Precious is in final talks to assume the newly created position of President of Creative Advertising and Research.
Fox Makes Epic First-Look Deal With Online Venture For Film-Centric Journalism
By Mike Fleming Jr - EXCLUSIVE: 20th Century Fox has made a two-year first-look pact with Epic, a fledgling online platform designed to be a catalyst for film-centric investigative longform journalism that had formerly been the domain of national magazines.
EXCLUSIVE: Relativity Sets ‘Act Of Valor 2’: Scott Wiper To Write/Direct About SWATs
By Nikki Finke - EXCLUSIVE: Relativity and the Bandito Brothers scored a #1 domestic opening when they brought Act Of Valor about U.S. Navy SEALS to the big screen in February 2012 and grossed over $70M all in.
Clint Eastwood In Negotiations To Direct ‘American Sniper’ For Warner Bros
By Nikki Finke - I’ve learned that Warner Bros wants to fast-track production for the first quarter of 2014 and is in “tentative negotiations” with Clint Eastwood to direct.
‘The Butler’ #1 Again, ‘Mortal Instruments’ #3, ‘The World’s End’ #4, ‘You’re Next’ #6
By Nikki Finke - As Summer 2013 …
Days after director James Gunn took his Guardians of the Galaxy cast to Comic-Con, production has officially begun in the UK. As Deadline reported, Glenn Close will play the Nova Corp. leader Marvel and Disney confirm is Nova Prime in the August 1, 2014 release:
BURBANK, CALIF. (July 23, 2013) – “Guardians of the Galaxy,” the next epic adventure from Marvel Studios has started shooting at the UK’s Shepperton Studios. Directed by James Gunn (“Slither,”“Super”) from his screenplay, with a story by Nicole Perlman and Gunn, the film will introduce audiences to a whole new side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The all-star cast includes Chris Pratt (“Zero Dark Thirty”, “Moneyball”) as Peter Quill aka Star-Lord, Zoe Saldana (“Star Trek Into Darkness”, “Avatar”) as Gamora, Dave Bautista (“Riddick”) as Drax the Destroyer, Lee Pace (“The Hobbit,” “Lincoln”) as Ronan the Accuser, Michael Rooker (AMC’s “The Walking Dead”) as Yondu, Karen Gillan (BBC TV’s “Doctor Who”) as Nebula, two-time Academy Award® nominee Djimon Hounsou (“Amistad”, “Gladiator”) as Korath, with Academy Award® winner Benicio del Toro (“Traffic”) as The Collector, Academy Award® nominee John C. Reilly (“Chicago”) as Rhomann Dey, and six-time Academy Award® nominee Glenn Close (“Albert Nobbs,” “Fatal Attraction”) as Nova Prime. Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” is slated for an August 1, 2014 release in the U.S.
Marvel Studios’ President Kevin Feige is producing the film. The executive producers are Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso,
In the final moments of Marvel’s rousing panel at Hall H, Marvel chief Kevin Feige brought out Joss Whedon, who showed a very early teaser of the sequel The Avengers and revealed that the film will be called Age Of Ultron with a May 1, 2015 release date. Marvel Comics aficionados might know that the title and the baddie Ultron are the subject of 10-issue limited series comic book crossover storyline published by Marvel Comics that involves the return of Ultron and his conquest of the earth. Ultron and his Sentinels should prove a worthy antagonist for the Avengers and it looked like all will be back though there was no mention of Vin Diesel, who is rumored to be in line to play The Vision. The comic series was published between March and June 2013 and features a storyline by Brian Michael Bendis. Artist Bryan Hitch provided the art for issues one through five, and Brandon Peterson for issues six through eight. Other artists who contributed to the series include Carlos Pacheco and Joe Quesada, the latter of whom drew part of the final issue.
After DC’s announcement earlier today that the sequel to Man of Steel would be a Superman/Batman team up, the pressure was on for Marvel to top that bombshell during their own Hall H Comic Con panel. Marvel delivered with the announcement of The Avengers: Age of Ultron, but it wasn’t just Avengers news that electrified the assembled throngs of fanboys and fangirls. Marvel put on a highly theatrical presentation that featured never before seen footage of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Thor: The Dark World, and Guardians of the Galaxy, as well as some of the most elaborate fan service seen at this year’s Comic Con courtesy of Loki actor Tom Hiddleston.
After a brief introduction from panel moderator Chris Hardwick and Feige, Hiddleston came onstage dressed in character as Loki to present new footage from Thor: The Dark World. “Silence, you mewling quims,” a scenery chewing Hiddleston said, referencing The Avengers‘ most notorious line of dialogue. Delivering a speech based heavily on his lines from the blockbuster, Hiddleston exhorted the crowd to shout his name. The Thor footage included scenes previously seen in the recent teaser, but mainly offered a much expanded look at the film’s larger scope. It was small on actual plot details but demonstrated that Marvel intends to keep doing what has worked for them for the last 5 years.
Comic-Con: Marvel Bringing ‘Thor 2,’ ‘Captain America 2′; Sony To Present ‘Amazing Spider-Man 2,’ ‘RoboCop,’ ‘Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2′
Get ready to see a whole lot of spandex in Hall H. Ahead of Comic-Con‘s official lineup announcement, Marvel and Sony have confirmed their plans for 2013′s edition. Marvel will present its sequels Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: The Winter Soldier on Saturday, July 20. Marvel head Kevin Feige is the only currently announced panelist, but he’s expected to be joined by “many special guests,” according to the studio. Don’t forget, Comic-Con’s Hall H stage is where Marvel first assembled its Avengers in a star-studded photo stunt. The studio’s already got a head start on Comic-Con marketing around downtown San Diego.
Meanwhile Sony’s also hitting Comic-Con in full force. They’ll preview Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2 with directors Cody Cameron and Kris Pearn, Anna Faris, and Terry Crews. Then Jose Padilha, Joel Kinnaman, Abbie Cornish, and Samuel L. Jackson will take the stage with a peek at RoboCop. The studio’s Friday July 19 panel in Hall H will be centered around Spidey sequel The Amazing Spider-Man 2 with director Marc Webb, Andrew Garfield, Jamie Foxx and Dane DeHaan in attendance.
The lucrative brand integration of Disney and Marvel is hardly exclusive to the big screen. The latter’s superheroes are already familiar faces in such TV shows as Ultimate Spider-Man and Avengers Assemble on Disney’s XD. Now those super-characters are set to cross over into Disney Channel‘s most popular animated series in “Phineas And Ferb: Mission Marvel,” in which the titular stepbrothers team with Spider-Man, Iron Man, Thor and Hulk to battle a gaggle of supervillains and Phineas And Ferb baddie Dr. Doofenshmirtz. The episode will premiere August 16 on Disney Channel, be available for download the next day, and bow August 25 on XD.
The live-action Cinderella directed by Kenneth Branagh will be released on March 13, 2015, Disney said today as the studio continues to square away its film slate for the next few years. Lily James, Cate Blanchett and Richard Madden star in the pic produced by Allison Shearmur, David Barron and Simon Kinberg. Disney also added another Marvel movie to its release schedule, slotting an untitled one for July 8, 2016. It joins two other Marvel untitled pics set for May 6, 2016 and May 5, 2017.
The news was announced a few minutes ago on Marvel.com. Robert Downey Jr reprises his role as Tony Stark in a 2-picture agreement for Marvel’s The Avengers 2 (May 1, 2015) and Marvel’s The Avengers 3 (undated). The sequel will start production on March 2014 led again by writer and director Joss Whedon. Downey had been involved in tough negotiations with cheapskate Marvel as I’ve previously reported; now the question is which other Avengers 2 actors will solve their contract disputes. Downey is represented at CAA by Bryan Lourd, Jim Toth and Matt Leaf and by his attorneys Tom Hansen and Stewart Brookman of the firm Hansen Jacobson. Downey’s past two Marvel films, 2012’s Marvel’s The Avengers and this year’s Iron Man 3, rank as two of the top five grossing films of all time, collectively earning over $2.7 billion worldwide to date. Marvel.com said it will be revealing additional casting updates, new characters coming to Marvel movies, and more in coming weeks.
Marvel’s Iron Man 3 became Disney’s 5th release to cross the $400 million mark at the domestic box office. The film has now earned over $1.2 billion and is the #5 film of all time globally. It also recently passed Disney’s Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and is currently the #6 film of all time at the international box office with more than $803 million. After the 2nd biggest domestic opening in history with $174.1 million, Iron Man 3 crossed the $1 billion threshold globally in 23 days, making it Disney’s 6th billion dollar and 2nd highest-grossing release of all time, behind only Marvel’s The Avengers. It has surpassed the total gross of The Avengers in China, Finland, Hong Kong, Korea, Russia, Poland, Switzerland, Thailand, and Ukraine, as well as Malaysia and Vietnam, where it is the highest grossing film of all time.
UPDATE: I got it backward. John C. Reilly will play Rhomann Dey, leader of the Nova Corps, in Marvel Studios‘ Guardians Of The Galaxy, the James Gunn-directed franchise launch that stars Benicio Del Toro, Glenn Close, Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Lee Pace, and Michael Rooker. He’s not playing Ronan the Accuser, the Kree Empire’s badass juror and military governor in space. According to Comicvine.com, here’s the deal on Rhomann Dey: