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Bravo, Joss Whedon, For Online Launch Of Tribeca Pic

By | Monday April 21, 2014 @ 7:40am PDT
Mike Fleming

joddAs a guy who has covered features my whole career, I find it distressing that the only time feature folks do risky things seems to be when they are making TV projects. Because theaters and studios can’t figure it out, films are frozen in an arcane system where you wait six months for a DVD and those who don’t want to wait, or see it in a theater, have no choice but to steal it. When they work in TV, these writer-directors play in a sandbox that gives viewers the ability to see that work, whenever and wherever they want to. Joss Whedon premiered a Brin Hill-directed micro-budget relationship film In Your Eyes at Tribeca, and announced right after that he’s making it available on Vimeo for five bucks. Obviously, Whedon makes a fortune on Marvel’s The Avengers movies, but he is onto something here, and other star filmmakers should take notice and empower new filmmakers by offering small-budget films directly to their audiences. Maybe it’s going to take mavericks like this guy to hasten the glacial pace of the evolution of the way consumers digest feature films. Here is his announcement:

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Best Box Office Ever? Biggest Hollywood Franchises Explode In 2015 On Historic Collision Course

star-wars-logoIn 2011, Iron Man (I and II) director Jon Favreau called the summer of 2011, “a bloodbath for Hollywood” because of the number big-budget special effects films, remakes and sequels. Pfft! Wait until you get a load of next year. The amount of big-budget sequel fare and remakes set for 2015 from the major studios is mind-boggling and add to that highly anticipated films such as Fifty Shades Of Grey and another Quentin Tarantino film in the same year and you have all the makings for the biggest movie going year in history. The year is even going to start out hitting the ground running with audience-familiar titles, but it’s the summer and holiday season of 2015 that will be packed like no other — which brings up serious questions about what will happen as some of the biggest franchises in history collide? Remember, these films need major market exposure on over 2,500-3,000 screens or more to open big and some of them hope to play for weeks. This is going to be a star-studded war. I guess it was inevitable when studios ride out the franchises as far as they do now … what are we on Mission: Impossible 5 and Fast & Furious 7 now? And we have another Star Wars on our hands.

Related: Top 10 Domestic Box Office Grossers Of 2013 (Slideshow)

Mockingjay Book CoverThe year 2015 will go down in the books as the World Cup of franchise players: Superman vs. Batman vs. The Avengers vs. Mad Max vs. Fast & Furious vs. Jurassic Park vs. Terminator vs. Fantastic Four 3D, Marvel’s Ant-Man vs. Assassins vs. Untitled Bourne Identity, and then James Bond vs. Star Wars vs. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2 vs. Mission Impossible for top film of the year.

In kid fare, parents should be ready to be pulled to the theater time and time again (sacrificing much-needed sleep) with Cinderella, Monster Trucks, The Penguins Of Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda 3, The Jungle Book, Alvin And The Chipmunks 4, Peanuts, The Smurfs 3, Tomorrowland, and SpongeBob 2.

Practically every genre in 2015 is looking at proven titles: The year will start with the typical early year horror film fare — again no stopping franchise names — Amityville from Dimension and Frankenstein starring Daniel Radcliffe both in January, and Friday the 13th and Poltergeist. That will be followed by Fifty Shades Of Grey, based on the mega-selling book by EL James, which bows in February before the floodgates open again on sequels and remakes.

Related: Despicable Me 3′ Set For June 2017 Release

The plethora of franchise titles will likely push the 2015 box office to record-breaking heights as this year’s holdovers from the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday fare — such as The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 (which bows on November 21), Fox’s Night At The Museum 3 and Sony’s Annie and Warner Bros’ The Hobbit: There And Back Again (or should it be called The Hobbit: Here It Comes Again) will also add to the huge overall gross numbers of 2015. Read More »

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James Spader Joins Marvel’s ‘Avengers’ Sequel As Ultron

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.

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Comic-Con: Marvel Announces ‘Avengers 2′ Villain & Title: ‘Age Of Ultron’

Mike Fleming

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.

Related: Official: Superman Sequel Will Feature Batman

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.

Related: Comic-Con: Loki Crashes Marvel Panel (Video) Read More »

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Comic-Con: Andrew Garfield Wants Spider-Man To Join The Avengers – Gasp!

By | Friday July 19, 2013 @ 9:25pm PDT

Ross Lincoln contributes to Deadline’s Comic-Con coverage.

Andrew Garfield revealed today that the Spider-Man story he’d most like to see made into a film is one that is legally impossible, at least for the moment. “I’d love to see [Spider-Man] with The Avengers,” he said, to audible gasps, during the Sony Pictures panel discussion of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 at Comic-Con. “Wouldn’t that just be awesome? Just saying.”

Sadly for everyone drooling at the prospect of Spider-Man joining that Marvel superhero squad, it’s not going to happen as long as Sony retains the rights to the character. And judging by the presentation during tonight, the company expects to retain them for the foreseeable future. Sony clearly expects Amazing Spider-Man 2 to be a huge hit. During the first half of the discussion, the participants — co-stars Jamie Foxx, Dane DeHaan and, eventually, Garfield, along with director mark Webb and producers Ari Avad and Matt Tolmach — didn’t even attempt to sell the movie; instead, after a short film depicting him attempting to sneak into Hall H, Garfield appeared dressed and in character as Spider-Man, then spent 10 minutes wisecracking with the cast.

Related: Comic-Con: Jamie Foxx’s ‘Electro Arrives’ Clip

Read More »

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TOLDJA! Paramount Pocketing $190M From Disney For Marvel ‘Iron Man 3′ + ‘Avengers’

By | Thursday May 23, 2013 @ 2:31pm PDT

Previous: Paramount Makes Money Off ‘Avengers’ Too

ParamountA year ago I was first to toldja about Paramount‘s big payday from The Avengers and Iron Man 3 - the two movies left on its 6-pic distribution deal with Marvel. Now I can tell you how much Disney moolah it pocketed. According to calculations I’ve received from insiders, Paramount receives 9% of Disney’s take on what is expected to be $1.2 billion worldwide gross theatrical receipts plus projected ancillary (like homevideo, VOD, television) for Iron Man 3. So that works out to be about $90 million to the Melrose Avenue studio. Paramount also pockets 8% of Disney’s take on the $1.5 billion worldwide gross theatrical receipts plus ancillary for The Avengers. So that works out to be about $100 million. In other words, the total dollars equal $190M. “It’s very nice,” a Paramount exec deadpanned. Oh, and did I mention that, when I first wrote about this deal, Disney was spitting mad at me?

Marvel DisneyTo remind you, The Avengers was the first Marvel Studios film marketed and distributed by The Walt Disney Studios which took over those duties from Paramount in 2012 after Bob Iger bought the comics entertainment company for $4 billion in 2009. Then in 2010 Disney bought Paramount out of the final two films and paid a premium to put everything … Read More »

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‘The Avengers’ Marketing Chiefs Assemble For New Golden Trailers Nod

By | Wednesday May 1, 2013 @ 5:38pm PDT

Avengers, Golden Trailer AwardsIf your trophy show is going to inaugurate its first new category since the Clinton administration, not a bad idea to dole it out to the third-biggest film of all time. Deadline has learned exclusively that the Golden Trailer Awards will lay its spanking-new Top of the Box Office prize for the year’s top-grossing film on the marketing superheroes behind Disney/Marvel’s superflick The Avengers. The trailer-topped statuette will go to Walt Disney Studios’ Asad Ayaz, SVP Marketing, Live Action and Marvel, and John “Ibby” Ibsen, SVP Creative Film Services. While saving the world, The Avengers made off with $1.51B worldwide last year, beating the No. 2 title, Sony’s Skyfall, by more than $400M. The 14th annual Golden Trailers — which honor achievement in movie marketing, including film trailers, posters and TV spots — will be handed out Friday at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills. Rob Schneider and Aisha Tyler are your hosts.

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MTV Movie Awards Ratings Up Double Digits From 2012

By | Monday April 15, 2013 @ 2:07pm PDT

Rebel WilsonBig winner Jennifer Lawrence didn’t show up at last night’s 2013 MTV Movie Awards and Parks & Recreation’s Aubrey Plaza got thrown out but that didn’t stop viewers from watching.  With 3.8 million total viewers watching and a 3.4 rating,  the show was up from the 2012 show in both viewership and among the network’s core 12-34 demographic.The awards show was hosted by Pitch Perfect’s Rebel Wilson, who also won a Breakthrough Performance award as well. Last year’s MTV Movie Awards pulled in 3.2 million viewers and a 2.8 rating in the 12-34 demo. That was down 28% in the demo from the 2011 show. This year, the show’s 12-34 demo rating was up 21% from 2012. Additionally, the show was up 45% among Adults 18-34 and up 44% with Adults 18-49.

Related: ‘Avengers’, ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ Top 2013 Movie Awards

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‘Avengers’, ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ Top 2013 MTV Movie Awards

By | Sunday April 14, 2013 @ 8:41pm PDT

The Weinstein Co.’s Silver Linings Playbook and leading duo Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper came up big at the 2013 MTV Movie Awards, nabbing Best Female Performance, Best Male Performance, and Best Kiss at the annual fan-driven ceremony. Marvel’s The Avengers took home three awards including Movie Of The Year, while host Rebel Wilson and her breakout summer pic Pitch Perfect also garnered kudos. Meanwhile, Taylor Lautner of Summit’s The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 2 snagged a win out of the film’s lone nomination: Best Shirtless Performance. Here’s the full list of winners, highlighted in bold:
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UPDATE: Disney Confirms Layoffs At Studio Following Internal Review

By | Wednesday April 10, 2013 @ 9:25am PDT

UPDATE, 9:25 AM: Disney has just released a statement confirming our scoop about job cuts at Walt Disney Studios, which are now underway.

As part of an ongoing review to ensure that the Studios’ operational structure and economics align with the demands of the current marketplace, we have made the difficult decision to reduce our staffing levels in several divisions of the Studio.

PREVIOUS, MONDAY AM: Disney shares are trading around their all-time high. But Wednesday looks like the day Disney will drop the ax for its expected layoffs. I have learned that about 150 people at Walt Disney Studios will receive pink slips. Sources say the cuts will come from across all of Disney Studios businesses, including the music and NYC-based theatre departments. At this point it looks like a one-time round of layoffs, but an overall reorganization affecting other divisions is planned for later this year and that could include more cuts. They’re coming as a result of an internal review ordered late last year by CEO Bob Iger and CFO Jay Rasulo to pinpoint superfluous positions and increase efficiency. But the company is already doing well with mega-blockbusters including The Avengers. Net profits for the fiscal year that ended in September increased 18% to $5.7 billion on revenues of $42.3 billion.

Related: Disney Fiscal Q1 Earnings & Revenues Beat Expectations Read More »

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Mark Ruffalo Rules Out Solo ‘Hulk’ Movie

By | Thursday March 7, 2013 @ 10:58am PST

Ross Lincoln is a Deadline contributor.

After the huge success of Disney and Marvel Studios‘ The Avengers, the continuation of the Marvel movie universe has been a fait accompli. In addition to Iron Man 3 and the sequels to Captain America: The First Avenger and Thor, already planned prior to The Avengers, several new films exploiting lesser known Marvel Characters, most notably Guardians Of The Galaxy and Ant Man have been greenlit. Left untapped is a third attempt to make a successful Incredible Hulk movie, particularly noticeable after Mark Ruffalo‘s performance as Bruce Banner/The Hulk in The Avengers emerged as that film’s most celebrated success. There’s been a wave of speculation and rumor that a Ruffalo-starring Hulk film is under consideration, but that conversation can be put to rest – for now – as Ruffalo took to Twitter to pour cold water on the prospect. “A lot of folks have been asking about the Next Hulk. The next time you see my Hulk it will be in the Avengers2. No plans for stand alone.” In a follow up to that tweet, he did make it clear that the door isn’t closed, adding “I am not giving up on another stand alone HULK. But it’s not in the works right now. One never knows what the future will bring.” Regardless, it would seem, for now, that a new Hulk film is not in the cards. Read More »

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Samuel L. Jackson Lets Loose On ‘Django’, Tarantino, Slavery, Oscars And Golden Globes – Interview

Pete Hammond

With a filmography that includes roles in some of the highest-grossing movies of all time including The Avengers, Iron Man and the Star Wars series Samuel L. Jackson clearly knows how to pick ‘em. And that is entirely intentional. His current film Django Unchainedin which he is reunited with frequent director Quentin Tarantino opened to strong grosses on Christmas Day and is already looking like another solid box office hit.

In the film he plays Stephen, the conniving house slave for Leonardo DiCaprio‘s despicable character Calvin Candie. As the manipulative slave, Jackson says he is playing perhaps the most hated negro in cinematic history. He’s fine with that. “At least he’s a memorable character. I mean Quentin writes interesting characters. I’ve been pretty despicable in most of his films. People loved Jules (Pulp Fiction) but he’s a murderer. People loved Ordell (Jackie Brown) but he’s a murderer. Stephen has an unusual take on slavery. He’s okay with it,” he says and is not worried about what African American audiences might think (Spike Lee has already chimed in to express his displeasure with the film’s depiction of slaves). “I hope he’s reviled, and people want to see him die. People enjoy him, but it’s strange. He’s a funny guy in a way, despicably funny. People laugh at Stephen and what he does, but you know they do want to see him dead.” But still slavery is a serious subject and Jackson … Read More »

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SNL: Jeremy Renner Mocks ‘The Avengers’

By | Sunday November 18, 2012 @ 2:20am PST

Considering that Marvel pays its actors next to nothing, this must be ‘Hawkeye’ Jeremy Renner’s revenge. Too bad this skit isn’t more badass:

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Stan Lee’s Former Company Claims Disney Doesn’t Own Marvel Superheroes; Wants Billions in Damages

By | Tuesday October 9, 2012 @ 6:47pm PDT

Stan Lee Media, Inc. wants the profits from the $5.5 billion it says the Walt Disney Company has made from superhero movies and merchandise based on characters created by Stan Lee. Those characters include Iron Man, Spider-Man, most of The Avengers, The X-Men and more. “Defendant The Walt Disney Company has represented to the public that it, in fact, owns the copyright to these characters as well as to hundreds of other characters created by Stan Lee. Those representations made to the public by The Walt Disney Company are false,” says the company’s copyright infringement complaint filed today (read it here) in a Colorado court. SLMI, which Lee himself has nothing to do with nowadays, is seeking “the maximum statutory damages allowable” plus full control over Iron Man, Spider-Man and other characters. A failed party to past litigation with Lee himself and Marvel, SLMI also is seeking a jury trial in this case. Read More »

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Marvel Studios Heading To Disney’s Backyard

By | Wednesday September 19, 2012 @ 10:34am PDT

It been over three years since Disney announced they were buying Marvel for $4 billion but the superhero studio is finally moving in. Or at least closer. And Marvel’s move to Glendale from Manhattan Beach next year is all about getting closer to Disney, literally and figuratively. “Proximity can only help when it comes to collaboration,” said a studio insider today about Marvel’s planed relocation to be nearer the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank. Marvel has been housing its executive and film production offices at the Manhattan Beach Studios Media Campus, which is managed by Raleigh Studios, for nearly four years. Thor reshoots as well as parts of The Avengers and Captain America: The First Avenger was done at MBS Media Campus. However, with successive Marvel sequels shooting out of state due to more favorable tax incentives, the need for MBS Media Campus’ soundstages and other production facilities became unnecessary, Deadline has been told. “It wasn’t the only reason for the move, but it played a role. They just don’t need all that space,” said an insider. The move to Glendale of about 160 Marvel employees is scheduled to be completed by next April, says another source close to the situation. Marvel Animation Studios, a unit of Marvel Television, is already in Glendale.

RELATED: Marvel’s ‘The Avengers’ Passes $1.5B Mark

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Scarlett Johansson & Kerry Washington Urge Democrats To Get Out The Vote

“What has been accomplished and what is at stake, whether we can get health care, afford to go to college, be guaranteed equal pay, all of these things are at great great risk,” The Avengers star told the DNC today after a short speech by Scandal star Washington. “And that’s why I’m here today to use whatever attention I’m fortunate enough to receive to shed the spotlight on what’s at stake for all of us,” she added. Johansson’s less than five minute speech was short on Hollywood talk and long on policy and politics, as was Washington’s. “We want you to know that tonight, even as this convention is coming to a close, a movement is building is around our country,” said the Scandal star earlier. While not quite the secret or surprise that Clint Eastwood was at the Republican Convention last week, Johansson and Washington were last minute confirmations to the Democrats speaker schedule. Both the actresses who are long time supporters of Barack Obama, are reaching out to younger voters and potential voters by discussing women’s issues, student loans and employment. Johansson and Washington, who followed a performance by the Foo Fighters, are two of a number of stars taking center stage tonight at the convention before the Vice-President and the President speak.

RELATED:Read More »

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‘The Avengers’ Goes Even Wider For Labor Day Weekend

By | Thursday August 30, 2012 @ 11:49am PDT
Mike Fleming

Marvel’s The Avengers will try to raise its gross tally by expanding to about 1,700 theaters on Labor Day weekend, its 18th week of domestic release. The worldwide gross is nearly $1.5 billion, already making it the third biggest grossing film ever. They’ll have to stay at that many screens for the rest of the year if Marvel hope to crack James Cameron territory: both Titanic and all-time box office champ Avatar did upwards of $2 billion. The film will continue to rake it in when the DVD is released. This franchise alone (a sequel is in the works) makes that $4 billion Disney purchase of Marvel look pretty smart.

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Marvel Announces New ‘Avengers’ Mobile Game (Sort Of): First Look

By | Wednesday August 15, 2012 @ 3:32pm PDT

Marvel proclaimed today that “something massive is smashing into mobile”. That was the mega-secretive company’s way of an announcement on their website in the Games News section. Beyond that, this illustration, and a “stay tuned” message, there are few details. No clue  if this is related to the Marvel: War of Heroes mobile game announced earlier this month for the Mobage social games platform. But if you look on this image, you can clearly see the majority of The Avengers - Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, Captain America. And recently Marvel announced that Joss Whedon to write and direct The Avengers 2, and that ABC and Marvel are eying an Avengers-themed TV series or that Marvel has big plans for the Hulk as a hero.

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ABC And Marvel Eying ‘Avengers’-Themed TV Series

By | Friday July 27, 2012 @ 5:07pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: After scoring huge at the box office with its Avengers movie, Marvel is looking to explore the mythology on the small screen too. I’ve learned that Marvel’s TV division is in conversation with ABC and ABC Studios about doing a drama series in the Avengers world. I hear that the connection to the Avengers franchise would be light as the project is expected to be set in the universe and feature some of its themes and feel, but may not include any characters from Joss Whedon’s blockbuster. I hear the project is in a nascent stage, described as “a kernel of an idea,” with a number of scenarios being explored, including a high-concept cop show. It is unclear whether Whedon would be involved in the TV project, referred to as Shield. Marvel has already given the Avengers the animated treatment with Disney XD’s The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and the upcoming Avengers Assemble.

Related: Comic-Con: Marvel TV Previews New ‘Avengers Assemble’

Establishing a primetime foothold has been a priority for Disney-owned Marvel. The company has developed several projects for ABC Studios over the last couple of years, one of which, a Hulk series, is still in the works. Search is under way for a new writer to pen the project.

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