UPDATE: Universal has formally announced the new 2015 release date for Fast & Furious 7, after Vin Diesel revealed it on his Facebook page. The studio has also given a sense that the late Paul Walker’s character will remain part of the movie, an outcome that was among the wildly speculative reporting that followed his tragic death in a car crash. “Continuing the global exploits in the franchise built on speed, Vin Diesel and Paul Walker lead the returning cast of Fast & Furious 7…” is how the studio put it. Universal, director James Wan, franchise scribe Chris Morgan and producer Neal R. Moritz postponed the film–the tragedy occurred Thanksgiving weekend, and work was supposed to begin that following Monday–and took an appropriate amount of time to give their cast a chance to grieve their very popular cast mate, and creatively come up with a way of continuing a storyline that was halfway done and has to be completed by writing around a main character that hadn’t finished his narrative arc. Expect to see shooting resume early next year. Some of this is sensitivity to business: Fast & Furious is by far Universal’s most lucrative billion dollar film franchise, and the studio is smart to allow some distance from one of the most tragic occurrences in the film business in 2013, which still would have been fresh in peoples’ mind had the film kept …
Universal Sets ‘Fast & Furious 7′ Release For April 2015; Paul Walker Remains Front And Center In The Sequel
Fox’s Red Tails, the Lucasfilm World War II action film inspired by the Tuskegee Airmen — the first African-American aerial combat unit — will be released Jan. 20, 2012, the companies announced today. The cast includes Terrence Howard, Cuba Gooding Jr, Bryan Cranston and David Oyelowo. Anthony Hemingway is directing; Rick McCallum and Charles Floyd Johnson produce, and George Lucas is executive producing. Here’s the teaser trailer unveiled this morning:
Sony Pictures has dated the untitled movie from The Hurt Locker team of Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal on the Navy SEAL Team 6 and its methodical hunt to kill Al-Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden. The picture will open Oct. 12, and the studio is using a strategy similar to the one employed on The Social Network, which also launched early in October.
When bin Laden was killed, Boal and Bigelow were well along on a project called Killing Bin Laden, about the so-far unsuccessful attempt to kill the mastermind of the 9/11 terror attacks. It immediately became the hottest project in town, and Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Films banner agreed to fund the film. Buyers materialized during the Cannes Film Festival even as Boal was rewriting the script to reflect a most satisfying third act. Deadline broke news around that time that Sony signed on as distributor. They’ve kept details close to the vest even as thesps like Warrior’s Joel Edgerton were rumored to be taking part.
TOLDJA! Relativity Taking Over Distribution Of ‘Machine Gun Preacher’ From Lionsgate; Release Date Set For Sept. 23
We reported last month that Relativity Media would acquire from Lionsgate the North American distribution rights to Machine Gun Preacher, the Marc Forster-directed fact-based drama that evidently features a big-time performance from star Gerard Butler. Forster wanted the film to be released this year, but Lionsgate said its schedule was too crowded (Lionsgate does retain international rights on the movie). Now Forster will get his wish. The Sept. 23 premiere in Los Angeles and New York before expanding wide also puts Butler’s performance squarely in the awards-season wheelhouse. Here’s today’s release:
Earlier today we told you that Sony was hot to make a deal for a new Roland Emmerich project with the working title Singularity. Well, we were right. The studio just confirmed the title and the release date: May 17, 2013. Harald Kloser, who co-wrote with Emmerich the Sony-released 2012 and 10,000 BC, also co-wrote this script with Emmerich and is co-producing. CAA made the deal.
Contrary to a UK tabloid article that pronounced the Madonna-directed W.E. a mess after a test screening that left Harvey Weinstein “thunderous and sour,” The Weinstein Company has dated Madonna’s directorial debut for Dec. 9. That means that it will be one of the pictures Weinstein pushes during Oscar season. Weinstein, who made Truth or Dare with Madonna, is bullish on the picture, I’m told. There was certainly a test screening. Weinstein was hardly demonstrative, especially since the woman sitting next to him incognito in black hat and sunglasses was Madonna. They’ve been working on the movie for some time, together. We’ll see how it all comes out. Just as intriguing is how Weinstein is going to handle the Oscar volume this year. Potentially, he’s got Oscar contenders in the black-and-white silent film The Artist that he bought right before the Cannes Film Festival, before the film became a rave on the Croisette; he’s got Iron Lady, with Meryl Streep playing British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, also bought at Cannes; and the John Hillcoat-directed The Wettest County in the World, which is expected to be platformed for Oscar and released in early 2012. They will push Michelle Williams for her work as Marilyn Monroe in My Week with Marilyn, and there are also talks about The Weinstein Company acquiring This Must Be The Place, the Paolo Sorrentino-directed drama that would put star Sean Penn in the Oscar hunt. All those pictures were bought in Cannes. Here’s the W.E. announcement:
Warner Bros said today that it will release Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim on July 12, 2013. The Legendary Pictures sci-fi action film stars Idris Elba (who just closed his deal to star in a role originally developed for Tom Cruise) and Charlie Hunnam; production is set to get underway in November. Travis Beacham wrote the script, which is set in a future where giant malevolent creatures threaten to destroy the earth, and the planet must band together and use advanced weapons technology to eradicate the growing threat.
Meanwhile, Warner Bros also said that Contagion, the Steven Soderbergh drama about the outbreak of a deadly virus that has Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Jude Law and Marion Cotillard starring, is getting a new release date: Sept. 9, 2011, instead of the previously announced Oct. 21.
When Deadline broke the story that Relativity Media had won an auction for Act of Valor by paying a $13 million minimum guarantee and $30 million P&A commitment for a Navy SEAL mission movie, we told you the film would open President’s Day. Relativity has just made the date official. Here’s the release:
(Beverly Hills, CA) June 23, 2011 – Relativity Media announced today that it will kick-off President’s Day weekend in 2012 by releasing its groundbreaking, intense, action-thriller Act of Valor, which showcases an elite group of active duty Navy SEALs in a fictionalized composite of actual events, in North America on February 17th. The studio recently acquired worldwide rights to market and distribute the film from the Bandito Brothers’. The film is set for a wide release.
Disney’s next Pixar pic is November 27, 2013. It’s an original project, not a sequel — and it doesn’t have a title yet. And that’s all Disney is saying. Now who knows more info? Meanwhile, Pixar’s Cars 2 opens Friday.
BREAKING: Disney will release Lone Ranger on December 21, 2012, giving the studio a big holiday entry in a crowding field. The film, directed by Gore Verbinski and starring Armie Hammer as the title character and Johnny Depp as Tonto, takes place in 1869. A Texas Ranger, left for dead, is saved by the Comanche Tonto, who gives his new partner the masked identity of Lone Ranger. Justin Haythe, Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio wrote the script and Jerry Bruckheimer is producing. The film begins production later this year.
The holiday corridor of 2012 is getting more competitive. Warner Bros recently set a December 14, 2012 release date for the Peter Jackson-directed The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, and on December 21, the Ang Lee-directed Life of Pi opens against Universal’s untitled Judd Apatow film as well as Relativity Media’s Hunter-Killer. Of course, date shifting is allowed.
Coming off the success of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, this is the second major film dated by Disney in the past two weeks. The Sam Raimi-directed Oz: The Great and Powerful was set for March 8, 2013 release.
Sony Pictures has slated Tristar’s action thriller Colombiana, which stars Zoe Saldana as a stone-cold killer, for wide release on Aug. 26, 2011. The film is directed by Olivier Megaton and written by the Taken team of Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen.
Universal has announced that American Reunion, the fourth installment in the studio’s American Pie franchise, will be released on April 6, 2012. All of the main original cast is expected back.
Paramount said today that it will release DreamWorks’ Eddie Murphy starrer A Thousand Words on Jan. 13, 2012. The comedic drama — directed by Brian Robbins, who previously teamed with Murphy on Meet Dave and Norbit — had been sitting around awhile.
Like Crazy, which won the U.S. dramatic grand jury prize at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, will bow Oct. 28 in limited release via Paramount Vantage, the studio announced. The coming-of-age drama stars Anton Yelchin, Felicity Jones and Jennifer Lawrence. Meanwhile, Paramount’s Insurge division, formed to generate micro-budget movies after the studio’s success with Paranormal Activity, has set a wide-release date for its first acquisition, William Brent Bell’s The Devil Inside: Feb. 24, 2012. Fernanda Andrade, Simon Quarterman, Evan Helmuth and Suzan Crowley star in the dramatic thriller.
DreamWorks Animation’s The Croods, previously scheduled for March 1, 2013, will now be released on March 22, 2013.
Summit Entertainment said it is moving back the release date of its sci-fi thriller The Darkest Hour from Aug. 11 to the holidays: Dec. 23. The film is directed by Chris Gorak and stars Emile Hirsch and Olivia Thirlby.
The Sony Pictures Animation 3D toon had been set for wide release on Wednesday, Aug. 3, but the studio today shifted it up in the calendar to the Friday before. The moves comes after Fox on Tuesday moved its prequel Rise of the Apes to Aug. 5, where it would have competed directly with the little blue dudes at multiplexes.
Lionsgate has confirmed that it is moving the release of its action comedy One for the Money from this July to Jan. 27, 2012. The film is based on the bestselling novel by Janet Evanovich about a bounty hunter, played by Katherine Heigl.
Freestyle Releasing has changed the release date for the Anthony Burns-directed, 1980s-set coming-of-age drama Skateland to May 13. The film, starring Shiloh Fernandez and Ashley Greene, played at Sundance in 2010.