I’m sensing it’s the end of an era. You know I work really hard at keeping the faith, keeping the torch of Gerard Butler’s career lit (for all the thanks I get from him), but I have no idea what to make of this newest development. We’ve gone from a possible three films in 2015, to no films in 2015. Three films in the can. All three have now been pushed back from their original release dates.
London Has Fallen, the sequel to 2013’s surprise hit Olympus Has Fallen and the closest thing to a safe bet among the three, will, as of this writing at least, be released in January 22, 2016, pushed back from October 2015. I’ve already complained about the fact that the October 2 date was given to what will surely be an execrable remake of 80’s “classic” Point Break (sorry Edgar Ramirez, but I don’t think even you’ll be able to save it). The reason supposedly had something to do with a crowded fall schedule. The original date would have pitted the film, by a director, Babak Najafi, making his English language debut, against Victor Frankenstein with James McAvoy and Daniel Radcliffe and Robert Zemeckis’ The Walk with Joseph Gordon Levitt, among others.
Alex Proyas’ (RepoMan) Gods of Egypt is slated to follow in April 2016, back from an original date of February 12. Despite the fact that I’m a tad peeved that it won’t open on my birthday, The rescheduled date actually bodes well, on the face of it. February is the new January. While the first month of the year used to a wasteland of dumped films that studios had no confidence in, but figured might make a few bucks, and they had to put out something. These days, quite a few studios are “counter-programming” against the late end of December rush to release awards season fodder, by unleashing some films in January that are not meant to garner awards but just entertain those segments of the population that either have no interest in more high-brow fare, or who have already seen everything. So now February has become the dead space between end of year blockbusters and art films and new Spring films. An April date for Gods of Egypt might just signal a little more faith from its studio, Lionsgate/Summit. They’ll need some faith. They’ve got a huge nut to crack. Twelve special effects companies are expensive. $140 million expensive. (Although supposedly, Lionsgate/Summit’s ante was only around $10 million, because of the international pre-sales and Australia tax incentives.)
Lastly, there’s Geostorm which had originally been slated for an October 2016 release. Today it was announced that it has been pushed back to January 2017. Geostorm is the directorial debut of disaster flick maven, writer/producer Dean Devlin. The cast, in addition to Butler includes Jim Sturgess, Abbie Cornish, Mare Winningham, Kathryn Winnick, Ed Harris and Andy Garcia. In it, Butler is a “charming but stubborn satellite designer called in to help when the orbiting devices that control the Earth’s weather start to go haywire, leading to fears that the worst storm humanity has ever known could soon befall us all. Sturgess is his estranged brother, with whom he’ll have to work if he’s to stop the meteorological meltdown.”
No reason has been given for this latest move. It’s been deduced that it is to give Devlin (who is also at work on his TNT series “The Librarians”) more time in post-production (where it’s been since March 2015). So it was originally going to be a year and a half from wrap to release, now it’ll be closer to two years. The same can be said of Gods of Egypt, which when into post in July 2014. Both films are ultra- special effects heavy extravaganzas. The latter takes place almost entirely in front of a green screen.
I actually don’t think this will be the final move for Geostorm. Giving Devlin a few more months to tinker is one thing, but the new date is already crowded with the likes of the Magnificent Seven remake, DreamWorks Animation’s Boss Baby, the LONG gestating version of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower (which hasn’t even filmed yet) and the latest Power Rangers reboot. Regardless of what I think of those films, it’s likely that at least one of them will share ticket buyers with Geostorm. So we’ll see.
While all of this may be out of Gerard Butler’s control, probably yet another reason he’s taken to producing his own films (and he only has a hand in one of these, London Has Fallen), he’s been out of the movie-going public’s eye since October 2013. That’s a Hollywood lifetime. I think this was the point. I’d like to believe that even he had tired of the carnival that is his life. While no one has more fun, in terms of his career, it was time to take a step back and reassess. Or at least that’s what I want to believe. While I know it hasn’t all been endless vacations in between Hugo Boss campaigns, none of these three films add up to what I believe is his own (well-deserved) version of a McConaissance. I sincerely hope I’m wrong, but they appear, at first blush, to be more of the same. Perhaps his manager/producing partner Alan Siegel knew of where he spoke when, quite a few years ago, he said (and I’m paraphrasing) that eventually Gerard Butler will disappear completely from in front of the camera and reemerge behind it. Perhaps that’s where he’ll find true creative fulfillment.
Butler will likely be in Toronto this month to attend the Gala premiere of Septembers of Shiraz, during the Toronto International Film Festival. It is the first film he’s shepherded as producer from the purchase of the book’s film rights all the way to the screen, and the first that doesn’t have him in it. It stars the other half of my favorite bromance, Adrien Brody, as well as Salma Hayek and Shohreh Aghdashloo.
Here’s the first clip:
(clip first published on Deadline.com)
The film, directed by Wayne Blair (The Sapphires) and based on the novel by Dalia Sofer, is the true story of a secular Jewish family and the unexpected journey they face during post-revolutionary Iran.
The clip features Farnez Amin (Hayek), pleading for details on the whereabouts of her husband (Brody), who was taken into custody and accused of espionage. “It’s time you understood, sister Amin, that the times when people like you could demand things from us are over. Now, it is our turn,” forewarns Mohsen (Alon Aboutboul).
As events build toward a dangerous bid to escape, Farnez and her husband Isaac Amin must confront their fundamental identity and what their future may hold.”
Movie 43 it ain’t.
I don’t predict huge box office in the US after its as yet to be determined and probably limited release, but it’ll likely have legs overseas and I have no doubt tireless promoter Butler will hand carry it across the globe if need be.
My point, if I have one, is that as the time between films in which Gerard Butler appears on our screens grows longer and longer, and some might well wonder if by the time these films are finally released anyone will still care, we might also ask, will he?
Lionsgate UK has today released the first trailer for London Has Fallen, the sequel to 2013’s Olympus Has Fallen. I can only assume that the release of the trailer had been scheduled around the original October 2015 release date, before it was pushed back to January 2016*. Not that I’m complaining, It’s been a loooong time since I’ve seen Gerard Butler on the big screen (and no, animated voice acting does not count). Whether that is a good thing or a bad thing depends on your perspective. To quote Peter Quill, I’d say it’s a “bit’a both”.
Following the events of the original film, in which Mike Banning (Butler) single-handedly saved the President (Aaron Eckhart) from the clutches of a North Korean terrorist bent on our complete annihilation, Banning has been reinstated as not only a member of the Secret Service, but he’s back on his friend and President’s personal detail.
In the sequel, the two, travel to London to attend the funeral of the British Prime Minister. Terrorists come of the woodwork, seeking to capitalize on this confluence of world leaders.
This is only the first little teaser, but it would appear that President Asher doesn’t have to play the damsel in distress in this one, and gets to assist Banning with the world-saving. Call me crazy, but I like the on-the-nose use of “London Bridge is Falling Down” underneath it.
Radha Mitchell is back as Banning’s wife Leah. Maybe he’ll take her along for that long-delayed honeymoon. (A little snogging would be nice, Butler. Throw your distaff fans a bone.) My guess is that the other returning players, including Head of the Secret Service, Lynn Jacobs (Angela Bassett), Speaker of the House Trumbull (Morgan Freeman), Secretary of Defense McMillan (Melisso Leo)NSA Deputy Director Ray Monroe (Sean O’Bryan) and even blowhard General Clegg (Robert Forster) are probably all left at home manning the switches.
The sequel to the worldwide smash hit Olympus Has Fallen begins in London, where the British Prime Minister has passed away under mysterious circumstances. His funeral is a must-attend event for leaders of the western world. But what starts out as the most protected event on earth, turns into a deadly plot to kill the world’s most powerful leaders, devastate every known landmark in the British capital, and unleash a terrifying vision of the future. Only three people have any hope of stopping it: the President of the United States, his formidable secret service head (Gerard Butler), and an English MI-6 agent who rightly trusts no one.
Directed by Babak Najafi ( Easy Money II: Hard to Kill, “Banshee”), written by Katrin Benedikt and Creighton Rothenberger (who penned the original) and Christian Gudegast (A Man Apart, Den of Thieves**) with Chad St. John, the sequel also stars Charlotte Riley, Colin Salmon, Patrick Kennedy, Shivani Ghai, Mehdi Dehbi and Andrew Pleavin*** and will be released on January 22, 2016.
More will surely follow.
*I know, I know. The rule is “beware the films of January” – but I’ve also said January is not the wasteland it used to be. I’m holding onto a kernel of hope. It’s Gerard Butler after all. I’m nothing if not loyal. I’m more perturbed by the fact that this film’s date was usurped by the Point Break remake.
**Den of Thieves is in pre-production and also stars Gerard Butler. I have to wonder whether or not it’s in jeopardy, like the oft-rescheduled Hunter Killer, due to Relativity’s financial woes.
***3rd time Pleavin will have appeared with Butler, following the made-for-television mini-series “Attila” and then 300
Remember, oh say twenty years ago, when Will Smith wasn’t known primarily as a smart-ass action hero? Smith burst onto the scene in playing a con man in Six Degrees of Separation, way back in 1993. Then of course he met Michael Bay and diverged from the path marked “actor” and chose the prettier, shinier one that pointed to “movie star”. It’s a crowded road; he had a lot of company.
It would appear, with the release this week of Focus, that Smith is now trying to get back on track. Oh sure, there have been a couple of side trips over the years, like when he made The Pursuit of Happyness and Eight Pounds for director Gabriele Muccino (you know, the two films that sold Gerard Butler on Playing for Keeps. Yes, I know. I liked it. I have my reasons.), or Ali for Oliver Stone or even the under-rated Hancock for Peter Berg. But all of those films were made when Smith, one of the biggest movie stars on the planet, was riding high. Today we see an older and wiser Smith trying to recover from a string of box-office bombs, culminating in last year’s M. Night Shyamalan mess, After Earth, an ego project if ever there was one.
Watch the trailer below. I’m getting a strong “George Clooney in Steven Soderbergh‘s Out of Sight” vibe. If Smith is truly on a mission to reshape his career, George Clooney’s is not a bad one to emulate. (Especially since Clooney doesn’t seem to be very interested in being “Geoge Clooney” at the moment.)
In the midst of veteran con man Nicky’s latest scheme, a woman from his past – now an accomplished femme fatale – shows up and throws his plans for a loop.
We don’t often see Will Smith in any sort of romantic setting. (I would not count Hitch as romantic. It’s rare that a so-called “rom-com” generates any actual sparks, but I see plenty between Smith and costar Margot Robbie.
Not many had even heard of Robbie before Martin Scorsese gave her the female lead in The Wolf of Wall Street opposite Leonardo DiCaprio (another actor who doesn’t get to do romance very often. You probably had to stop and think about that, Titanic fans, but it’s true), but she managed to more than hold her own and at the tender age of just 21. Yeah, that’s right. Robbie is only 24 years old. Doesn’t it seem like she’s always been around? (I liken her to a young Cathy Moriarty, who was also in her early twenties and playing women older and more mature than her age.)
Throw in Rodrigo Santoro (yes, please) as the villain of the piece and the third point in romantic triangle, and the always terrific Gerald McRaney as his capo cum bodyguard, and it looks like Glen Ficarra and John Requa, the duo responsible for Crazy, Stupid, Love., have created another improbable soufflé that just might rise, this time in the vein of Elmore Leonard or John D. MacDonald.
I don’t expect that anyone’s reinvented any wheels here, but that’s okay. You buy a shiny new car, you don’t expect it to come with anything less than four tires, an engine, seats and a steering wheel, right? It’s all about how those things are crafted. Just judging from this trailer, Focus looks like a well-crafted romantic thriller with all of the right accessories. I’m in. Are you?
Also starring BD Wong, Adrian Martinez and Robert Taylor, Focus opens wide in the US (in IMAX in some places!) on February 27.
I have no idea how to feel about this.
The good news is that four months after the announcement that Olympus Has Fallen was getting a sequel, with the catchy title London Has Fallen, which one would think would be a HUGE clue as to the plot line, Millennium has finally signed a director for the project.
The bad news is that his name is NOT Antoine Fuqua. I had been convinced that the reason the director of the original had not signed on for the sequel yet was that he was holding out for more money. After all not only was OHF a huge box office hit, but he’s got The Equalizer (with his Training Day star, Denzel Washington) in the can, a film with such high expectations a sequel to THAT film has already been green-lit. But it seems that Fuqua is moving ahead with his passion project Southpaw, with Jake Gyllenhaal. Or maybe the producers didn’t meet his price.
Either way, London Has Fallen will now be helmed by Fredrik Bond, a director of music videos with one other feature to his credit, the festival favorite (and uber-indie) The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman, with Shia LaBeouf, Evan Rachel Wood and Mads Mikkelsen. (And they weren’t even action &/or violence-laden heavy metal videos. We’re talking Moby.)
Yeah, that’s a head scratcher. Maybe Melissa Leo recommended him, assuming she’s coming back for LHF (hey, she didn’t die in OHF), since she’s in TNDoCC as well.
This actually doesn’t disturb me as much as the fact that Creighton Rothenberger and Katrin Benedikt’s script has been rewritten by Christian Gudegast. One of the reasons I was ready to buy a ticket to this sequel, which in my humble opinion, with the rare exception of films like Jaws and The Godfather, are generally not a good idea, was that the husband & wife team responsible for the first film was back on board for the second. Again, just my humble opinion, but that their script is being redone by a writer whose biggest claim to fame is the Vin Diesel vehicle, A Man Apart does not inspire confidence. Although in all fairness, it might be the best Vin Diesel vehicle. But having said that, need I say more? (More proof that all roads lead to Gerard Butler – A Man Apart was directed by F. Gary Gray who directed Law Abiding Citizen. Just a bit of trivia.)
As it stands now, the only things London Has Fallen will have in common with Olympus Has Fallen will be its stars Gerard Butler (who will again produce) as Secret Service Agent Mike Banning, Aaron Eckhart as President Asher and Morgan Freeman as Speaker of the House Trumbull.
The plot has them in London to attend the British Prime Minister’s funeral. Of course some brain-trust with an evil bent thinks that they can use this occasion to kill all of the world’s leaders and “unleash a terrifying vision of the future”. Of course. This premise is no more preposterous than that of Olympus Has Fallen, which I believe I’m on record as having enjoyed enormously. So, at least on that score, my disbelief is still safely suspended…for now.
London Has Fallen has a release date of October 2nd, 2015 and production is scheduled to begin in October. Butler is supposed to be in Louisiana in October to film Geostorm for Dean Devlin. Millennium is based in Louisiana, so maybe it’s possible. (Hey, London is expensive.) More to come.
**Edited to add: London IS expensive so London Has Fallen will, if the sets being constructed are any indication, be filmed in Bulgaria. Production may still begin in October, but filming is set to begin in December. (Hopefully indoors.) I knew that.
So, what do you think of the latest development? Does the selection of this particular director have any influence on your interest in London Has Fallen?
My apologies for calling it soccer, but not for nothin’, if Dynamo is still a go (hey, that rhymed!), then they’d probably better get on it.
Way back in October of 2012, it was announced that Gerard Butler was set to star in Dynamo, based on the true story of a football (soccer) game that took place between an occupied Ukrainian soccer team and their Nazi captors during World War II. Butler would play Nikolai Trusevich, the all-star goalie who served as a cornerstone and leader for his team, and ultimately inspired the entire battered city of Kiev, Ukraine.
To stem a rising tide of resistance and establish Aryan superiority, the Nazi’s set up a match pitting the starving Ukrainians against a ‘super team’ of German players that to this day is still known as “The Death Match”.
Dynamo is based on the novel “Dynamo: Defending The Honour Of Kiev” by Andy Dougan, with a screenplay by Eli Richbourg. A director had never been announced (given Richbourg’s long association as asst. director to Joel Schumacher, I have to wonder if the latter isn’t or wasn’t in the mix), but Riviera Pictures, Beau Flynn of FlynnPictureCo., and Jeremy Garelick were already in place to produce, along with Pathé, which would distribute the film worldwide. That was a lot of the requisite puzzle pieces in place…and then nothing. It was supposed to shoot in Europe in 2013. Obviously, that did not happen. In December 2012 and early January 2013, during promotion for Playing for Keeps, Butler was still talking about Dynamo, although he did make it sound like it would film in the distant future. After all, he’d just made his second film as a soccer player (after 2005’s Miracle Match aka The Game of Their Lives).
So, what’s the story? Has the future come and gone as well? I have no answers.
Some months ago there was talk that director Doug Liman was interested in remaking John Huston’s 1981 film, Victory, which starred Sylvester Stallone, Michael Caine and Pelé. It is also based on Trusevich’s story, although is not a faithful adaptation. Now, thanks to the Hollywood Reporter, we have confirmation that Gavin O’Connor, writer/director of Warrior, is writing the script. Producers attached are Bernie Goldmann and Gianni Nunnari as well as Warner Brothers exec.’s Jon Berg and Racheline Benveniste.
Liman’s back on the action-adventure A-list after Edge of Tomorrow (okay, few – in the US – have seen it, but the reviews have been stellar) so this could get fast tracked, especially if the suddenly omnipresent Tom Hardy is truly attached to star.
It could be down to World Cup Mania, but this is not the first time, by any stretch, that there have been two, or more, films in development that revolve around the same subject matter. Of course, sports of all varieties are good film fodder, especially when you tack on a good human-interest angle.
Just on paper, there are a lot of things to recommend either one of these projects, but all things being equal, the first one off the starting block will probably fare better than any others. This is something to which Gerard Butler can certainly attest, given the fact that Olympus Has Fallen is getting a sequel, while White House Down will become a minor blip on Channing Tatum’s resume.
I have not heard that Dynamo is a no-go, so does that mean it’s still in the works? Having already seen Victory, which I enjoyed, I’d like to see a version of the real story. As of this moment, it’s still a “50/50 ball”*, but it won’t be for long. A red card could be looming.
Your thoughts? Which film piques your interest: Dynamo? Victory? None of the above?
*50/50 ball – Just what it sounds like. A loose ball as near to one team as it is to the opposing team, allowing both an equal chance of controlling it.
…with the first full-length trailer for How to Train Your Dragon 2, the sequel to the wildly successful original from 2010.
As the trailer opens, we see that things have changed in Berk. At the beginning of the first film Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) wanted to be from anywhere but there. The sequel picks up five years later and the young Viking is obviously proud of his homeland where man and dragon harmoniously coexist. (A good bridge between films is the short, 2011’s How to Train Your Dragon: Gift of the Night Fury. It’s not a coincidence that it aired on television again mere days before the release of this trailer.)
Hiccup and Toothless, his pet dragon, their relationship obviously grown richer, are, of course, still adorable. They’re also still spending their time exploring and soaring above land and sea. During one such adventure, they discover hundreds of wild dragons living in an ice cave inhabited by the mysterious Valka (Cate Blanchett), who seems to be running a sort of dragon sanctuary.
trailer via JoBlo.com’s YouTube Channel
“A mother never forgets.” What was that? Mother? Whose mother?? Hiccup’s? Or could it be she was referring to Toothless’ mother? As it stands we have six months to wait for an answer. Hopefully we’ll get more clues with the next trailer. In any case, HTTYD2 is definitely on my “must see” list for 2014.
The official synopsis:
The thrilling second chapter of the epic HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON trilogy returns to the fantastical world of the heroic Viking Hiccup and his faithful dragon Toothless. The inseparable duo must protect the peace – and save the future of men and dragons from the power-hungry Drago.
Directed by Dean DeBlois (although this time without his creative partner Chris Sanders), who is also the only credited screenwriter this time around, the cast includes voices from the original Gerard Butler (Stoik the Vast), Craig Ferguson (Gobber), America Ferrera (Astrid), Jonah Hill (SnotLout), Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Fishlegs), T.J. Miller (Tuffnut), and Kristen Wiig (Ruffnut), as well as newcomers Blanchette, Djimon Hounsou (Drago Bludvist), and Kit Harington (Eret).
The score of the first film was, in my humble opinion, a key factor contributing to its lasting popularity. Let it be known that composer John Powell has returned to score this film as well.
The first film was released in 3D, as well as conventional 2D, and I saw it both ways. I’ve said many times that I’m not generally a proponent of 3D, but there are some movies that I do believe deserve the technology, as well as your extra ducats. The original How to Train Your Dragon was one such and I believe, judging from the aerial scenes in this trailer alone, that the sequel will also qualify. We’ll find out when How to Train Your Dragon 2 opens in 3D in the US on June 13 and 4th July in the UK. By the way, HTTYD3 already has a release date: June 18, 2016.
Watch this space for more!