D23: Alan Horn Jeered For Keeping Mum On ‘Star Wars’, ‘Maleficent’s Angelina Jolie Makes Surprise Appearance, Marvel Teases ‘Avengers 2′
Anthony D’Alessandro contributes to Deadline’s D23 coverage.
Disney’s live action panel today at D23 started off with Alan Horn being heckled by disappointed Star Wars fans and pretty much turned into a clipfest afterwards. Only a surprise appearance by Maleficent star Angelina Jolie at the Anaheim event raised the temperature anywhere near Friday’s news filled Animation panel. The newest jewel in Disney’s crown, Star Wars was dealt with by the studio boss with a list of old announcements of approximate release dates, JJ Abrams being on board and spinoff films. “I really wish I could tell you more. It will come soon,” Horn told the crowd as a big “awww” and boos emanated from around the convention center from fans expecting a bone to be thrown their way today.
That was in sharp contrast to Jolie’s sudden walk-on later in the two-hour panel. Then it was cheers not jeers. “Since I was a little girl, I was drawn to her. But I was also terrified by her, but she had this elegance and grace,” said Jolie about playing in the upcoming backstory to the Sleeping Beauty character. “When I heard Disney was making the film, my brother encouraged me to take the role.” Jolie’s appearance in front of the audience of 7,500, came after Walt Disney live action production head Sean Bailey spoke about casting her for Maleficent. “You can pencil out a list of all the amazing actresses in the world and for us this list only had one name for the role, Angelina Jolie,” exclaimed Bailey over as sketches from the film played on the big screen. After Jolie’s brief turn on stage, Bailey showed the audience exclusive footage from Maleficent. In the clip, Jolie’s British-accented wicked Queen appeared amidst CGI fairies and green steam rising to curse the baby Sleeping Beauty. “Without a doubt, Maleficent will be a powerful movie experience when it comes to theaters next summer,” Bailey told the crowd. Maleficent is set to be release on July 2, 2014.
Ryan Kwanten & ‘Knights Of Badassdom’ Director Team For Marvel Fan Film ‘Truth In Journalism’: Video
First unveiled at Comic-Con, the 17-minute short Truth in Journalism is scoring with the geek crowd after debuting online today with a Marvel-ous twist. Filmmaker Joe Lynch (Wrong Turn 2) tapped his Knights of Badassdom star Ryan Kwanten (True Blood) for the faux cinema verite pic, which is shot through the lens of a foreign docu crew shadowing a reporter from crime scene to crime scene a la 1992′s Man Bites Dog. That reporter is Eddie Brock, a name that should perk up comic book fanatics’ ears. (Hint: Topher Grace played the fan fave Venom in Sony’s Spider-Man 3.)
The original concept was conceived by producer Adi Shankar (The Grey, Dredd), then fleshed out by writer-director Lynch to include painstaking details from the Marvel comics universe. Those include crafting a NYC circa 1988 setting with a fan’s scrutiny for details, including references from “Amazing Spider Man #299-300 and some very iconic buildings in the background if you look very closely,” Lynch tells me. He shot with DP Will Barratt on the RED recreating the 16mm look and feel of Man Bites Dog. “This was totally for fun, a way to just do ‘one for us’ with little to no interference,” says Lynch, whose Knights of Badassdom is being released by EOne – without his involvement – after languishing in post/distribution hell for two years.
After DC’s announcement earlier Saturday that the sequel to Man Of Steel would be a Superman/Batman team up, the pressure was on for rival superhero factory Marvel to top the bombshell during its Hall H Comic-Con panel …
Anthony D’Alessandro contributes to Deadline’s Comic-Con coverage.
Joss Whedon blindsided the crowd at ABC-Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. panel announcing, “We wanted to bring a clip, but with the Disney lawyers there was a mix-up. So we’re going to show the entire episode,” to which the crowd lept to their feet, chanting “Whedon, Whedon.” The pilot, a hybrid of X-Files meets Heroes, focused on the super-agent team trying to pin down a black hooded superhero who saves a victim from a fire at the onset. They eventually learn, he is a combustible super soldier, much like James Badge Dale’s Savin henchman in the latest Iron Man 3. The big detail revealed quickly at the top of the show is actually how Clark Gregg’s lead spy guy Coulson survived his death in Avengers (“I stopped breathing for 40 seconds,” he says glibly during the show). Cobie Smulders guest stars and reprises her role as Agent Maria Hill from Avengers. After the episode finished, the panelists reassembled briefly where Gregg told fans, “I didn’t like being dead, but I loved my death. I don’t think anything topped that.” Jed Whedon also revealed to the crowd that Walking Dead composer Bear McCreary was handling the show’s score.
Opening-day highlights abound, including a 10th anniversary tribute to The Walking Dead comic with writer Robert Kirkman, South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone discussing their upcoming video game South Park: The Stick of Truth, and a panel titled Video Games to Movies: Is The Golden Age Upon Us?
There’s lots of TV in the Thursday spotlight, including sessions dedicated to such shows as Dexter, Sherlock — sans stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman — the 35th anniversary of Battlestar Galactica and Annoying Orange. Among the dozens of panels are several geared toward making it in the business, including Marvel: Breaking Into Comics the Marvel Way, The Secrets of Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy, The Writer’s Journey: Breaking Into Hollywood and Comic Scriptwriting, Breaking Into Comics and Staying In, and Indie Comics Marketing and PR 101. There also are programs on such potentially intriguing topics as Toys 101: An Evolution of the Modern Action Figure, The Legendary Animators of Classic ’60s Cartoons, Video Gaming: Where We’ve Been, Where We Are and Where We’re Going, and – especially — Not Guilty Due to Zombification? Law and Forensic Psychiatry in a Zombie Apocalypse.
See the complete opening-day rundown after the jump:
Eight jurors will decide this fall if Marvel actually owns the copyright to Ghost Rider or not. That was the order (read it here) issued today by a federal judge who set trial for November 4. The decision by District Judge Katherine Forrest in NYC comes just over two weeks after the Second Court of Appeals overturned a 2011 ruling of hers in Marvel’s favor in the legal battle with former freelancer Gary Friedrich over the fiery motorcycle-riding superhero. Marvel’s lawyers indicated today in a courtroom conference meeting on the case that while they will not challenge the Appeals Court decision, they would seek to have the case handled without a jury in a motion to be filed at a later date.
Friedrich first filed his suit against Marvel, Columbia TriStar, Relativity Media and others back in 2007, claiming that he owned the renewal term copyrights on the character and his origin story. The writer came up with the initial comic book idea for the Ghost Rider character 41 years ago, though Marvel claims it was part of a collaborative process. Friedrich filed his suit the very year the first Ghost Rider movie starring Nicolas Cage came out. In late 2011, just as the second Ghost Rider movie was about to be released, Judge Forrest ruled for Marvel and the other defendants.
Uber-secretive Marvel got its comeuppance when it started filming superhero sequel Captain America: The Winter Soldier in Cleveland. The 2014 pic has been shooting in the city for a month – and for a month local newspaper The Cleveland Plain Dealer has stalked and live-blogged the film’s public sets, turning the age-old practice of stealing spy pics into a communal cultural event. The paper even put a Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist on the case to snap a shot of Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson kissing in character that went viral. With set security this tight, can you blame the looky-loos?
Here’s a new poster for Marvel’s Iron Man 3 promoting the film’s IMAX release. This one doesn’t preview any new characters, but it is packed with all the major players. Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce, and Ben Kingsley star in the Shane Black-directed pic …
The Walt Disney Company has called Stan Lee Media’s multibillion-dollar lawsuit “flawed beyond cure.” In a motion to dismiss (read it here) filed last week, the company mocks SLMI’s legal claims that it actually owns rights to all the Marvel characters created by Stan Lee. “There is no conceivable basis on which Plaintiff can state a viable copyright claim against TWDC in this Court, or for that matter, any other,” the Disney motion says. “In sum, against the backdrop of Plaintiff’s six prior unsuccessful litigations on this topic, express judicial displeasure with Plaintiff clogging the courts with a repeated invocation of rights it does not possess, and the fact that TWDC conducts no business activities other than those of a holding company, this lawsuit is completely frivolous and should be dismissed,” Disney added. SLMI wants the profits from the $5.5 billion it says that Disney made from Marvel superhero movies and merchandise based on characters created by Lee, who no longer has anything to do with the company. The November 30 motion to dismiss, like the initial suit by SLMI in October, was filed in Colorado.
Disney announced a slew of tweaks to it film slate today, announcing that Marvel‘s Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World will now be released in 3D, and the comics studio’s Ant-Man will be released November 6, 2015. In addition, two more Marvel titles have official names: The Captain America sequel is titled Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and as expected the untitled August 2014 Marvel pic is Guardians Of The Galaxy. All wide release dates of the Marvel pics remain unchanged, but to refresh: Iron Man 3 is due May 3, 2013, Thor: The Dark World on November 8, 2013, Captain America: The Winter Soldier on April 4, 2014, and Guardians Of The Galaxy on August 1, 2014.