Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Bits Journal #17

Expos, DreamWorks, DC, Spider-Man stuff… Bits again.

First up: Quite a few bits from the Licensing Expo, all images courtesy of ComingSoon.net

Surprisingly, a poster for a new computer animated film based on Asterix (a long-running French comic strip for those who don't know) showed up. Apparently this thing is set for a late 2014 or early 2015 release. This one is titled Asterix: The Land of the Gods

Since the late 1960s, many animated Asterix movies have been made, and some of them have found their way to the states. Actually, Disney brought a couple of them here via The Disney Channel and home video in the 1980s. They did the same with movies based on the Franco-Belgian comic Lucky Luke. Since this poster showed up at the expo, does this mean the film will get something of a domestic release? How well known is Asterix in the US? I don't know anyone who has heard of the series...

Here is the logo for Paramount Animation's second film, Monster Trucks

Not much to say, but the logo does look pretty cool. Since it's set to hit theaters next May, I imagine we'll be seeing a trailer sometime in the fall.

It looks like Blue Sky's Peanuts movie will be called The Peanuts Movie

I guess that title works, though Peanuts is fine too. The teaser referred to it as that, but the film is still listed as "Untitled Peanuts Movie" on Box Office Mojo. Maybe the three-word title is the official one, who knows.

Paramount also had this featured…

A while back it was announced that Kung Fu Panda director Mark Osborne was directing an adaptation of The Little Prince for a French animation house called Onyx Films. It's currently set for a fall 2015 release in France, but the logo being under Paramount's presentation banner implies to me that it'll get a wide US release. How couldn't it? The American dub's cast has the likes of James Franco, Jeff Bridges, Marion Cotillard and more. If something like that awful-looking Paddington movie can get a good-sized US release, so can this.

Also, a poster for Angry Birds

And that's about it as far as animated films go. Illumination had some stuff for Minions and the untitled pets movie, but no new images or anything. On the other hand, a certain someone showed up at the expo and made quite an announcement…

At the expo, Jeffrey Katzenberg revealed that DreamWorks now has all of the rights to Felix the Cat… Everything. I guess we could get a good Blu-ray release of all the classic silent shorts, if DreamWorks Classics is willing to release one. Maybe we'll get a new Felix the Cat TV series on Netflix, given DreamWorks' current deal with them, or maybe even a movie.

Lots of people know Felix thanks to the 1958 Pat Sullivan-Joe Oriolo TV series, and there have been different TV shows based on the wonderful, wonderful cat since. There was also an incredibly bizarre movie that was completed sometime in 1987, but it didn't get a theatrical release in North America. (Disney released it on video through their Buena Vista Home Video wing in 1991.)

More importantly, DreamWorks is expanding in other areas at a fast rate…

Oriental DreamWorks has a ton of stuff in the works, from live action films to animated films thanks to a deal they have struck with Dream of Dragons Pictures. There are five pictures in the works, one of which is an animated film based on a Chinese folk tale that'll be directed by Teng Hautao (Love Is Not Blind) and written by Ba Yue Chang An (The Stolen Years).

It's good that the studio is venturing out into live action production, the same way Walt Disney did in the late 1940s/early 1950s. I wonder though, will this folk tale-based animated feature make it to American screens? Will DreamWorks-US release it here in some form? I can only imagine how it'll be animated, and what the budget will be. I'd assume it'd be pretty low, but we shall see.

No mention of The Tibet Code (just to be clear, I know it's a live action film - I mistakenly assumed it would be animated back when it was announced), I guess that project is either on hold or it isn't happening. As we all know, Kung Fu Panda 3 will be a DreamWorks-US/Oriental DreamWorks co-production.

Everyone's been so quick to sound the death knell for DreamWorks, but they're doing fine. In fact reportedly, no one is upset over How To Train Your Dragon 2's opening weekend performance at the studio - the press is once again making it seem like everything's bad. DreamWorks has had flops in the past (Road to El Dorado, Sinbad, Flushed Away), so the trio of Guardians, Turbo and Peabody losing money is nothing new. Their Netflix deal, DreamWorks TV, theme parks, sequels (why else are they making Madagascar 4?) and the China studio are going to help them in many ways. That being said, How To Train Your Dragon 2 will make it all back. It's safe, it'll do just fine. Who cares what Wall Street says? The movie has pretty much the whole summer to itself. Watch it pull a Puss in Boots and gross over $200 million stateside…

On the superhero side, we've heard quite a bit…

Warner Bros./DC slate might look like this, based on a report from Nikki Finke...

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice - May 6, 2016
Shazam - July 2016
The Sandman - Christmas 2016
Justice League - May 2017
Wonder Woman - July 2017
Green Lantern / Flash Team-Up - Christmas 2017
Man of Steel 2 - May 2018

Kevin Smith even stated that the line-up might be true. What do I think?

I think these movies are definitely going to be made. WB/DC certainly has something of a game plan now, but I doubt those dates are accurate. As far as I'm concerned, WB/DC is ultimately going to end up moving Batman v Superman: The Courtroom Drama to July 22, 2016 because Marvel/Disney has had that 5/6/2016 date for a while and with Captain America 3 now in that spot, they sure aren't going to budge. Also, three movies in one calendar year? Marvel still hasn't moved into 3 movies a year…

I bet the actual dates, if WB/DC reveal them at Comic-Con next month, will be different.

Am I interested in this plan? Slightly. I still want to know what Batman v Superman will be like in terms of quality. Chris Terrio is writing script, but I'm cautiously optimistic. If it's mopey-dopey exposition-heavy Man of Steel all over again, my interest in the DCCU will sink like a stone. I'm still puzzled as to how they'll continue Supes' story, introduce Batman and have him fight Superman. and introduce multiple characters (Wonder Woman, Cyborg, Aquaman) at the same time successfully. Sounds like a huge clustercuss to me!

I would've been perfectly fine with the story being about Superman facing the consequences for his reckless destruction of Metropolis (that statue of him we've been seeing in the leaked set photos better not show up until the very end of this film, because Supes doesn't deserve it), and Batman helping LexCorp rebuild the city whilst kicking Superman's ass for the destruction and other things. Oh, and Diana Prince and Victor Stone making brief appearances to set up Wonder Woman and Cyborg for future movies... But no, gotta launch Justice League right away, ya know? Dawn of Justice indeed…

Please prove me wrong Warner Bros., DC, Zack Snyder and Chris Terrio… I want my current skepticism to be all for naught!

Reports say that Sony intends to push The Amazing Spider-Man 3 back to 2017. You know what I say to that?

Called it.

But I don't think it'll be pushed back to 2017… How about 2018?

The Sinister Six, ever since they announced that it was supposed to begin filming in January 2015, seemed like it would be Sony's 6/10/2016 release rather than a third Amazing Spider-Man. I had predicted earlier that the six-man villain team's movie would show up in summer 2016, with the third (and final) installment of Spidey hitting theaters 5/4/2018. That slot is currently holding an "Amazing Spider-Man 4", though many reports have said that there won't be a fourth one, but something else.

Basically, they'll have the other four Sinister Six members show up in the S6 movie. Peter Parker is not supposed to appear in this, so I suppose we won't see Spider-Man in it. Some have speculated that Spider-Man will go missing and the Sinister Six will take over New York which lead into the third film where Spidey takes them down in one epic battle. I can definitely see something like that happening, but I think that and three will be the last we'll see of Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man. This series needs to go back to Marvel/Disney, I feel that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (which I'll admit is now a guilty pleasure for me) has pretty much derailed everything. I simply don't care much for what happens next.

People are speculating that Marc Webb & co. are evaluating Amazing Spider-Man 2's problems and are hoping to make up for them in the third film. I doubt that, Avi Arad and those higher ups are going to mess this up. They're going to mess Sinister Six up as well, despite the fact that Drew Goddard is directing it. They didn't learn from their mistakes (*cough*Spider-Man 3*cough*) so I'm not convinced they're going to back off. Had they not interfered with Webb during production of the second film, I'm sure we would've gotten a solid sequel. But then again, this film hasn't done very well. Sony needed it to make $750 million to meet expectations, but they were thinking this would be a billion dollar smash… Well it barely cracked $700 million, so maybe, just maybe they back off… But there's a lot of fixing that needs to be done.

The Blu-ray, which arrives August 19th (conflicted on whether to pick it up or not), will have thirteen deleted scenes. No different from the first film's Blu-ray, but it'll be cool to see what they are. Maybe they are scenes that should've been kept in the movie; maybe scenes that elaborate on Max Dillon and who he is rather than just brushing over his problems. Maybe that extended Goblin attack on OsCorp, since the trailers showed a glimpse of that. Or how about that scene that was in pretty much every trailer where Peter asks Harry why he was under surveillance. "Isn't that the question of the day?"

The real question of the day is, did Marc Webb have a director's cut? We should see that instead of a good batch of deleted scenes! Hey, maybe if the director's cut is significantly better than the released film, I might even get a little interested in future installments.

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