Check Out Our New Look

Can ‘Cowboys & Aliens’ Lasso Youth?

Mike Fleming

Studios usually view Comic-Con as a venue to start momentum on projects that won’t be in theaters for up to a year. This Saturday, DreamWorks and Universal will try to turn the rabid youth demographic at Comic-Con into true believers for Cowboys & Aliens, a week before the picture opens. It’s crucially important to a movie that has a budget pegged by insiders at $163 million (whispers around town are it could be higher) big stars in Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford, and the god-fathering  presence of Steven Spielberg and Imagine’s Ron Howard and Brian Grazer. It is also directed by Jon Favreau, whose Iron Man films and past Comic-Con patronage has made him a hero to that crowd.

Despite this pedigree, Cowboys & Aliens has endured a tortured development history involving more than a dozen writers. (Just five writers got screenplay credit after the Writers Guild not surprisingly held an arbitration trying to figure who did what over 14 years.) Now the movie faces even bigger challenges. It’s a mash-up of two genres that usually don’t cross paths, Westerns and science fiction. Word around town is the film has a  cash break participation pool in the 35% range. In the wake of the behemoth opening of  Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 2, tracking has been soft, there is no 3D conversion to justify higher ticket prices, factors that could put the … Read More »

Comments 40

Will Dr. Strange Be Marvel’s First Superhero To Fly Under the Disney Banner?

Mike Fleming

dr20strangeEXCLUSIVE: Marvel Studios has hired Conan scribes Thomas Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer to write Dr. Strange, marking forward progress on a long-gestating superhero property which will likely be among the first Marvel films generated under the Disney banner.  Aside from Conan–the Marcus Nispel-directed Lionsgate film that stars Jason Momoa–Donnelly and Oppenheimer also scripted a live action adaptation of the vidgame Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune for Sony and producer Chuck Roven, and they wrote a draft of the Jon Favreau-directed Cowboys and Aliens for DreamWorks/Universal.

Originated in 1963 by Stan Lee and artist Steve Ditko, Dr. Strange was a self-centered New York surgeon robbed of his touch after a car accident. After a stint as a wandering derelict, he found his way to a healer in the Himalayas, where he learned to tap into psychic powers to battle evil wizards and other wrongdoers. His mind is his weapon, rather than the brute force that distinguish most memorable Marvel heroes.

Dr. Strange has had a long strange journey to the screen that included stints at Savoy Pictures, Columbia Pictures, Dimension Films and Paramount–with a parade of writers and directors that included Bob Gale, Wes Craven, David Goyer, Stephen Norrington and Guillermo del Toro. Marvel finally got the rights  and brought the property back into the fold.

Marvel Studios has four more films committed to be distributed through Paramount (including Iron-Man 3). Those will include Thor and The First Avenger: Captain America, with the last to likely be … Read More »

Comments 62