It seems that the studios were not blind to what the release date watchers among us knew all along–either Need for Speed or RoboCop would have to move off of February 7, 2014. Word came down today from DreamWorks that they would be the ones to move as they are taking the Scott Waugh-directed feature to March 14. Based on the popular video game series, the big screen adaptation will center around a race from New York to LA with Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul in the starring role. Imogen Poots is supporting along with Dominic Cooper.
This is definitely not an admission of defeat by any means. The studio remains hot on the project, but it must be said that March is a lot better than it used to be as nowadays many films see blockbuster paydays in the first month of spring. Need for Speed is actually nestled between releases for Tom Cruise’s All You Need Is Kill and Lionsgate’s Divergent which are two big movies in themselves. Make no doubt about it, the competition for box office dollars one year from now will be a whole lot hotter than it has been these past few weeks.
HBO and Cinemax have Warner Bros. and Universal; Epix has Paramount, Sony, and Lionsgate; Starz has Disney; and now Showtime will have DreamWorks a little bit longer than previously thought. Word hit today via press release that the premium network home to shows like Dexter and Homeland has renewed their contract with Disney’s distribution arm for the DreamWorks film portfolio through 2018. The original agreement was set to expire in 2015, so this will definitely keep the Viacom-owned channel in feature programming for some time.
As for the cause of the early deal, Showtime is likely feeling pressure from online players like Netflix who would love to bolster their film library. We are not exactly seeing the word exclusive elaborated on in today’s announcement, but at the very least it assures that product from the Steven Spielberg-run company will continue landing on the network for several more years. Continue Reading
DreamWorks has just snagged the film rights to a hot new literary property that might be worth paying attention to. Harry Potter producer David Heymas is said to be on board to produce Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone–a young adult fantasy novel first published in June.
Of course, it would not be worth the studio’s time unless a trilogy was planned so that is certainly in the cards with follow-up novels coming in 2013 and 2014. The trilogy as a whole is dubbed the Grisha Trilogy and it follows a young woman having to control her new-found powers in order to save her country from the creature-filled Shadow Fold. Continue Reading
Over the past few months, there have been several reports pertaining to a prospective Need for Speed movie that was presumably going to make its way to DreamWorks. Today came confirmation that, that is indeed what happened as the studio released an announcement specifying the acquisition of a project reportedly packaged together through Electronic Arts.
Directing will be Act of Valor’s Scott Waugh who will be realizing a screenplay by George Gatins. The script was originally put together from a story by George and his brother John who worked on Real Steel, another DreamWorks’ property. That particular feature did fairly well with audiences and gross $85 million domestically despite an October release, so it goes without saying that the studio has confidence in the Gatins Brothers’ appeal.
The idea behind making Need for Speed into a full length feature film is something transcendent of what the goal was with Real Steel though as it is apparent that the studio would like their very own Fast and Furious franchise. The trouble there is that Paramount actually abandoned the street race genre in favor of a heist format in order succeed and any NFS movie might have difficulty doing that without looking like a complete rip-off. Maybe that is the goal though–to actually fill that now vacant spot with moviegoers with a format dedicated to high octane drag races down Main Street.
Things appear to be moving rather quickly around this project, so expect to hear more about it within the coming months.
Video games may not be what they used to be in terms of a mass market imprint outside of a handful of recurring properties, but nonetheless they still have legs when it comes to Hollywood wanting to adapt gaming franchises for the big screen. The news is today that DreamWorks is about to acquire the rights to Need For Speed –a series of racing games that has been around for nearly two decades.
Seeing how every year there is a new catch in order to stay fresh, it would appear that whatever is planned remains silent at this time. When Deadline first reported the news, they claimed the video game saga is about a race from San Francisco to New York which is only describing the series’ most recent iteration entitled The Run, so it remains unclear if that could be the movie’s premise or simply sloppy journalism.
If DreamWorks does go the route of The Run, it would not be too shocking considering it is one of the only versions of Need for Speed to contain a well-scripted story. It also does not hurt that there is a CGI version of Mad Men actress Christina Hendricks throughout much of the game’s campaign mode. On the other hand, it might be a move to create a Fast and the Furious-like series which would mean fast cars, a large recurring ensemble, and plenty of heists.
Real Steel director John Gatins will be tasked with producing the effort and his brother George will be writing. This will be his first screenplay credit, but George has worked in feature films before as he does have an executive producing credit for 2010′s She’s Out of My League–a relatively profitable comedy starring Jay Baruchel.
A mountain of news came out on Steven Spielberg’s Abraham Lincoln biopic today. It was announced that actors Tommy Lee Jones, Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Inception, 500 Days of Summer), and James Spader among others are currently in negotiations for roles in the film Lincoln which currently sports a cast with Daniel Day-Lewis and Sally Field as Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln respectively.
The movie will be based on the best-selling book, Team of Rivals, and “will focus on the political collision of Lincoln and the powerful men of his cabinet on the road to abolition and the end of the Civil War.”
Tommy Lee Jones will play Republican Congressman Thaddeus Stevens who was a leader in the abolitionist movement while Joseph-Gordon Levitt will fill role of Abraham Lincoln’s oldest son, Robert Todd Lincoln. Other cast members currently in negotiations include: John Hawkes, Tim Blake Nelson, Bruce McGill, Joseph Cross, David Costabile, Byron Jennings, Dakin Matthews, Boris McGiver, Gloria Reuben, Jeremy Strong, and David Warshofsky.
Filming for Lincoln is set to begin this fall, and will aim for theatrical release near the end of 2012.
Here is the teaser trailer for The Help. The film is based on a novel set in pre-Civil Rights era Mississippi and stars Emma Stone (Easy A, Zombieland). The Help is set for its theatrical debut on August 12 later this year. Continue Reading