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Warner Bros. Discovery: Discovery Stockholders Approve Acquisition Of WarnerMedia To

Discovery announced on Friday that its stockholders have approved the acquisition of WarnerMedia, which also includes the DC movie brand, TV, and DC Comics.  The acquisition of WarnerMedia plus Discovery is said to be worth $43-billion. It’s currently unknown what changes, if any, will take place on both sides, but the below press release states the …

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Warner Bros. Reveals New Logo Ahead Of 100 Year Anniversary

Ahead of its 100 year anniversary in 2023, Warner Bros. and new CEO Ann Sarnoff have revealed a brand refresh and an updated logo. The new logo is a refinement and modernization of the iconic Warner Bros. shield that has been part of the company’s visual identity since its founding in 1923. “As we approached …

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WB Gives Their Water Tower A DC TV Makeover

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Warner Bros. has given their iconic water tower a makeover – the first since 1927 – featuring the TV shows Supergirl, Gotham, Arrow and The Flash.

Supergirl Melissa Benoist was in attendance at the event along with EP Marc Guggenheim.

“Such a crazy feeling,” Benoist posted on her Instagram. “I mean really. Kara on the water tower at @warnerbrostv w/Flash, Arrow and Gotham @dccomics.”

The banners will be on display for the next 90 days.

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A photo posted by Melissa Benoist (@melissabenoist) on

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Godzilla Vs. King Kong Officially Announced

Following Legendary’s and Warner Bros. Pictures’ 2014 success with the global reinvention of the Godzilla franchise, the companies have come together to create an epic, new shared cinematic franchise. All-powerful monsters become towering heroes for a new generation, revealing a mythology that brings together Godzilla and Legendary’s King Kong in an ecosystem of other giant …

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WB Going A Different Route Than Marvel Studios: Announcements Coming Soon

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At an annual meeting for Time Warner, it’s stated that announcements regarding the future of the DC movies will be coming soon.

DC Comics President Diane Nelson responded to questioning regarding WB’s strategy, and the fact that it is lagging behind Disney and Marvel, by stating Warner Bros. is “trying to differentiate from Marvel” adding their strategy “will become apparent soon.” 

Nelson also said DC is aiming to create properties that will appeal to young girls, which is a priority for them.

WB CEO Kevin Tsujihara is said to have acknowledged that DC has not done as well as Marvel, but he promised that shareholders will be “happy and proud” down the road (via LA Times).

It’s speculated and rumored that Warner Bros. will be announcing their upcoming slate of DC Movies at Comic-Con, which may include movies for Wonder Woman, Man Of Steel 2 and more.

Batman Vs. Superman comes out in 2016 followed by Justice League (both directed by Zack Snyder), with it thought character specific movies will then be launched, which is different than the “Marvel Way” of building up to a big event movie.

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Warner Bros. Developing Minecraft Movie

Following the hugely successful The LEGO Movie, it is now learned that Warner Bros. will be creating a movie based on the Minecraft video game.

Markus Persson, creator of Minecraft, let the news be known on Twitter:

About Minecraft

Minecraft is a sandbox building game which allows players to build, construct and craft objects in a cubic world. Users have uploaded more than 300,000 videos to YouTube of creations they have made in the game.

Update: The new Minecraft is said to be live action. Roy Lee, producer on The LEGO Movie will be producing with Dan Lin and Jill Messick.

Correction: We’re told Dan Lin is not producing or attached to the Minecraft movie by reps of Lin.

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Who Leads DC’s and Marvel’s Cinematic Realities?

Divergent Adaptation

Who Leads DC’s and Marvel’s Cinematic Realities?

By Lawrence Napoli

 

Ah!  What a great time to be a fan of comics and movies.  The cinematic creation of characters once thought far too larger than life to portray on the silver screen due to the limitations of technology has become one of (if not the best of) the marquee staples of Americana Pop Culture in recent years.  Comic book film adaptations have not only set this country on fire, but they have been fascinating the global audience as well, and it shows at the box office.  Those who know DC and Marvel as comic book companies primarily know them for their characters, fewer know them by the individuals that created their respective icons and fewer still know them for the writers and artists that make their characters relevant today.  Regardless of where the comic book industry has been financially from the distant past and/or recent past, there is no question that the movement of Hollywood adaptations of super-heroes continues to be a boom for everyone that owns the rights.  So if these films are so popular and continue to boost the visibility of various franchises, which individual is ultimately responsible?

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We know Christopher Nolan masterminded The Dark Knight Trilogy, we know Joss Whedon is behind Avenger films as well as Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., we know that Robert Downey Jr. is Iron Man, and we know that Bat-Fleck is happening for Batman vs. Superman or World’s Finest or [insert title here] and we know that both companies are aiming at an expanded universe where their respective characters coexist in an ever-evolving reality.  But who’s really in command?  Who’s bringing it all together?  Sure, all the businesses involved with super-hero adaptations each have their nameless-faceless board of directors that are held responsible for decisions by their stock holders, but the choice to go in one direction or the other, veto power, day to day operations, coordination, communication and unification of this cellular network of films is being made by real individuals.  These individuals bridge the gap between the corporate conglomerate and the artists of production.  Without their knowledge of the material, business savvy, political skills and organizational aptitude, none of these films get made – or rather, none of these films get made well.  These people are the most responsible for pleasing (or inciting) fanboys and girls around the world, and they are also the first to be fired or rewarded when the receipts are all tallied up.

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Marvel’s man is Kevin Feige.  He got his start as an associate producer for the first X-Men film due to his extensive knowledge of the Marvel Universe and has gone on to produce virtually every Marvel character adaptation since 2000: Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy, Daredevil, the X-Men trilogy, The Punisher, Blade: Trinity, Elektra, both Fantastic Four films as well as all of Marvel’s recent Avenger “Phase X” films.  We could debate the merits and failings of each and every one of these films, but they all (basically) made money and were obviously successful enough for those doing the hiring to continue to involve Feige at the highest level of decision-making for film production.  Simply glancing at his résumé suggests that Feige was thinking about birthing a unified cinematic reality for Marvel’s characters long ago, and he would be one of the few individuals to have enough production experience to think about its creation in practical terms.  When Iron Man was released in 2008, this theory took its first steps into reality.  Despite the fact that the screenplay was written by the collective of Mark Fergus, Hawk Ostby, Art Marcum and Matt Holloway, it was this film’s post credit scene that paved the way for The Avengers.  This must be attributed to Kevin Feige because none of Iron Man’s writers have gone on to be involved with any level of production for any subsequent Marvel film. 

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Of course, the eventual wunderkind that would be Marvel’s Avengers was only a glimmer in the eye of anyone who knew Nick Fury and what “The Avengers Initiative” could possibly represent.  But it was also beyond a foregone conclusion for Feige himself because there was no public knowledge of contractual obligation for franchise expansion in any direction outside of Robert Downey Jr. which meant nothing more than more Iron Man films.  Who knows what was really agreed to behind closed doors (and at what point in time?), but the future teasing in the post credits of The Incredible Hulk (2008), Thor (2009), Iron Man 2 (2009) and Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) continued to prove in each film that audiences liked the interconnectivity of these (seemingly) unrelated plots and characters.  In many ways, the teases overshadowed the fact that all of these films from different directors and writing teams were successful by themselves, but had they not been, fewer would care about any sort of unification.  One of Kevin Feige’s best attributes as a leader in this industry is the respect and courtesy he shows for the writers, directors, cast and crew he works with and has done so with the “Phase 1” films.  More often than not, studio execs will throw their weight around to the point that it denigrates the production, but Feige is constantly credited (most notably by Joss Whedon) for providing leadership and direction without slapping on the creative shackles.

Introducing a massive franchise like The Avengers has proven to be successful in being introduced a bit at a time to audiences in a crescendo that built towards a pretty standard-issue “alien invasion of Earth” scenario, but let’s be frank.  The whole movie could have been the Avengers going out for shwarma and people would still have fan-gasmed because there they are: all together.  Big name actors playing big name characters and all in the same movie is a huge deal and completely beyond the minds of studio executives of yesteryear.  Feige organized this effort between multiple films as intuitively as possible and as practically as possible. Simply acknowledging their existence in the same space as in “by the way, this too is happening over here,” is much less maintenance than designing a complex plot from the very first film as the “unifying force.”  This too might have worked, but would unnecessarily marry one film to the other and the problems experienced in one might be inherited by a future production. 

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Yes, that’s right; I’m talking about the Ed Norton recast for the Dr. Banner/Hulk character.  This situation is one likely reason for the audience not having seen a second Hulk film prior to The Avengers, and recasting a major role could have been a significant monkey wrench to the gears of this unified franchise. Who knows if that problem was ultimately money, politics or ego; the man was replaced by Mark Ruffalo, and he did a great job.  Had Ruffalo whiffed, we’d all be hearing no end of it from every critic working in every media outlet in the Western world.  I like Ruffalo as an actor, but I didn’t really have an opinion of him replacing Norton other than I’d rather have established continuity maintained, but The Avengers film put the actor into many successful opportunities for the audience to like his Banner to the point that this recast has been practically forgotten.  This is thanks to Joss Whedon, who in turn thanks Feige, who was knee-deep in the Norton situation, and their combined efforts made the necessary adjustments in the subsequent film to reconcile everything.  That’s some uncharacteristically efficient leadership in Hollywood which is known for dragging its feet through the political muck of “creative differences.”  Kevin Feige may be the unifying force for the Avengers Initiative, but he shows his leadership almost every day with interviews and public appearances and whenever people have questions, he has answers.  I’m not sure his position as President of Marvel Studios requires him to do this, but his visibility and confidence suggests a master plan at work.

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So what about DC?  They have every bit the intriguing roster of characters as Marvel and (so far) have demonstrated an equally high dedication to enlist big Hollywood names and attach them to franchise pillars for multiple films.  This seems to be carbon-copied right out of Marvel’s playbook, but casting news for the Man of Steel sequel and its elusive title is evidence that the strategy for introducing its characters in a unified reality to audiences will be taking a completely different approach than Marvel Studios.  It remains to be seen if audiences will buy into this strategy or not because the first film hasn’t been made, but who’s there to answer that question?  Who’s there to lay our insecurities to rest?   This person was a tad more difficult to track down due to the fact that this DC movement is only in its infant stages and the only news out there to comment on is a growing cast for a film years from completion.  At first I looked at the closest corporate counterpart to Kevin Feige.  Diane Nelson is President of DC Entertainment and President & Chief Content Officer of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.  According to DC’s website, “Nelson is charged with leading the efforts to fully realize the power and value of DC Entertainment’s rich portfolio of stories and characters, including such cultural icons as Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman, across all media and platforms.”

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First, I’d like to point out the order in which “DC’s icons” are placed as per Nelson’s title description (yep, Batman is #1).  Second, her title and description sounds like someone ideal in bridging the gap between the comic book people and the movie making people, right?  As it turns out, someone established more firmly on the Warner Bros. side of the equation will be overseeing DC’s adaptation expansion.  He is Greg Silverman the President of Creative Development and Worldwide Production for Warner Bros. and according to the WB’s website, “In this role, he has full oversight of Warner Bros. Pictures’ development activities, global production and budget.”  He began in Hollywood as a lowly craft services worker for indy films but eventually became an assistant at Tri-Star and Mandeville Films and eventually a production executive at Mad Chance.  He got his start at Warner Bros. in 1997 being a junior production executive for The Matrix, A Perfect Murder and Cats & Dogs.  WB credits him for “shepherding” the success of 300 (2006), The Dark Knight (2008), The Hangover (2009), and Inception (2010).

Silverman’s visibility is still on the low end with only his interview with Variety being his major public comments regarding “Batman vs. Superman?” and/or the franchise moving forward in which he addresses several concerns.

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Regarding Ben Affleck:

“We knew going in that we had more information than the general public had.  We knew what the take of the movie was; we knew what the character was going to be.  We don’t take these decisions lightly.  We thought about everybody – brand new people, established people.  Ben is the perfect guy to play this role.”

Regarding Batman and Superman’s interaction:

“They both will be wearing suits, there are capes involved, there will be action, there will be excitement.”

Regarding Wonder Woman:

“Wonder Woman is an amazing character.  I think it’s a great opportunity both for box office success, but also to have an amazingly powerful female superhero.” 

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Again, I note that this is merely the beginning for DC adapted unification and based on that, Silverman seems to be saying all the right things so far.  Nothing’s too committal, nothing’s specific and everything is going to turn out all right.  It’s your standard politician or rather, executive response.  If however, one is looking for a more personalized commentary regarding this next production, Zack Snyder is your man and has been at every stage of this production because every cast member revealed thus far has been a hot button topic.  Personally, I don’t care for some of the decisions that have been made so far, but I do respect Snyder stepping up to the plate when it really isn’t, technically, his job to do so.  When I first started hearing Snyder defend Affleck, I wondered if Snyder was the guy who really had all the answers or if he was just simply the only guy that had any authority in this new DC filmic reality to date.  If Silverman has been in place prior to Man of Steel and Snyder’s involvement moving forward will only be related to Superman related films then the latter is true and Snyder was the only one at the time to face the firing squad of public scrutiny.  If, however, Zack Snyder’s role expands to even that of a producer for any additional DC ancillary films, the significance of Greg Silverman as an individual directing this movement is greatly diminished and the true maestro will be revealed.

As a fan of movies and comics, I could care less about who’s making what call in regards to which movie, but I do care about seeing good movies, and I care even more when I see bad ones (especially when the potential was there for greatness).  If things go well, the right individuals ought to be praised.  If not … well you know what happens then.  So far, DC’s and WB’s leadership is feeling itself out and being only so forthcoming with the details this early, and that’s as it should be.  However, it still feels like this whole thing rests on Zack Snyder’s shoulders and many out there have him and Goyer fitted for pine boxes (figuratively, of course) should all of these interesting production and casting choices result in what is assumed to be a sub-standard envisioning of the Dark Knight and the Blue Boy Scout getting their hero on in the same movie.  Studio exec’s (unlike Kevin Feige) that stay out of the limelight tend to reap rewards with zero risk because their association with given productions is obscured.  I think Greg Silverman would be doing his own projects and people a big favor by getting out there a little more and putting on the best face he can to charm the pants off some reporters.  Then, if in two years time, whether Batman vs. Superman booms or busts, no one will accuse him personally of not making a better effort to sell the film.  But again, maybe this is what separates the Kevin Feiges from the Greg Silvermans?  It’s not for me to tell him how to run his business, but I don’t want him to fail, I don’t want this franchise to fail, and I certainly don’t want this film to fail.  The Justice League can be every bit as amazing as The Avengers.

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That being said, here is where I personally stand in regards to this Batman vs. Superman film as of 2/8/2014.  This is my unlucky 7:

1) I don’t like most of the cast decisions regarding the newcomers to this franchise.  Everyone returning from Man of Steel is fine and Jeremy Irons couldn’t mess up Alfred even if he showed up completely drunk and high for every day of principal photography (that would sure be a different take on Mr. Pennyworth).

2) I think Henry Cavil is being done a great disservice by having to play second fiddle to a bigger actor and a better character in Bat-Fleck for the sequel that used to be his franchise.

3) I think another chapter in Superman’s tale (solo) would have done more to establish the perils of this new DC cinematic universe than teasing the rest of the Justice League sooner than later.

4) I think Warner Bros. studio executives are forcing this massive cameo extravaganza prematurely because they see the X-Men franchise doing it for 20th Century Fox and the Spider-Man franchise doing it for Sony Pictures – and they want that money ASAP!

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5) If someone were to describe Jesse Eisenberg’s character based on the fact he’s playing it and how he’ll be a tattooed skinhead that will “earn” his wealth and intelligence on the mean streets of Metropolis, there’s no way I would have guessed him to play Lex Luthor.  Every previous manifestation of that character is much higher status than that of a street thug – and then there’s the whole Jesse Eisenberg is playing a street thug, thing (editor’s note: rumored).

6) With each new development, I lose more and more interest with this franchise because decisions are seemingly being made just for the sake of being different: different from Marvel, different from its comic book roots, different from Tim Burton, Chris Nolan and Richard Donner.  

7) I would reiterate Kevin Feige’s advice to the DC/WB powers that be in regards to their adaptation movement and that is: “have confidence in the characters, believe in the source material, don’t be afraid to stay true to all of the elements of the characters no matter how seemingly silly or crazy they are.”  

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Amazing Spider-Man 2 Superbowl Spot Announced

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Amazing Spider-Man 2 will be swinging into this season’s Superbowl as it has become known that Sony has purchased a spot to show off new footage.

Deadline has it that the Superbowl ads cost upwards of $4 million for a 30-second spot.

Paramount will also reveal a spot for Michael Bay’s Transformers: Age of Extinction.

It’s reported that Disney has purchased a spot as well, but is undecided as of yet which movie to showcase. It’s possible it could be a Marvel Studios film as Captain America: The Winter Soldier debuts in April and Guardians of the Galaxy has an August 1st release.

Lionsgate has purchased a spot in the Superbowl pre-game show, and it’s said once again that Warner Bros. has opted out.

As Superbowl XLVIII airs on Fox, maybe we’ll get a spot for Bryan Singer’s X-Men: Days Of Future Past as well.

Superbowl XLVIII airs February 2nd.

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San Francisco Transformed Into Gotham City For Batkid & Make-A-Wish

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Miles Scott, a five-year-old diagnosed with Leukemia, had a dream to become his favorite superhero, Batman, and fight crime.

That dream became a reality today thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation and over 5000 volunteers as San Francisco was transformed into Gotham City.

Miles Scott’s day started out with an exclusive front page article in a special edition of the San Francisco Chronicle, which was written by none other than Superman’s alter ego, Clark Kent.

From there, the police chief went on the local news asking for assistance from Batkid!

Batkid answered the call as Miles saved a damsel in distress as well as put a stop to the villain, The Riddler!

The Penguin’s plans were also thwarted by Batkid as the criminal mastermind attempted to kidnap the San Francisco Giants mascot!

Miles Scott was then presented with the key to the city on the steps of City Hall where the mayor and police chief thanked Batkid for saving their city.

The good news is that Gotham City is safe once again thanks to Batkid, and Miles Scott’s Leukemia is currently in remission.

You, too, can be the hero that Miles is by going to BeTheMatch.org, a website that matches bone marrow donors with leukemia patients.

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(Batman images via USA Today) 

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(Penguin image via San Francisco Police Dept.)

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Warner Bros. Making Plans For Entire DC Movie Universe Says Guillermo Del Toro (Video)

Guillermo del Toro updates Justice League Dark and lets it be known that Warner Bros. is making plans for the entire DC movie universe.

When asked about Justice League Dark, Guillermo del Toro offers in the following video:

“We’re still on it, writing, and hopefully it will happen but there are no developments that are new. We’re still at Warner Bros. They are making plans for the entire DC universe. All the superheroes, all the mythologies, and part of that is Justice League Dark. They’re planning on TV, movies, and all the media, so we have to fit within that plan.”

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Ben Affleck’s “Runner, Runner” Bombs At The Box Office; Gravity Takes Top Spot

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Ben Affleck’s new movie also starring Justin Timberlake, Runner, Runner, under performed at the box office on Friday bringing in only $2.8 million, which sets up the movie to have an $8 million weekend gross, well under the 10-12 mil Fox was hoping for.

Affleck, who will be paired up with Henry Cavill in Batman Vs. Superman, stars in Runner, Runner as a gambling tycoon with Justin Timberlake a college student who things he’s been swindled.

The big news this weekend is that Alfonso Cuarón’s science-fiction thriller starring George Clooney and Sandra Bullock, Gravity, is doing better than expected. Friday saw Gravity bring in $17.5 million leading to an estimated $47 million weekend gross, which is above the initial $40 mil predicted. This also puts Gravity within the top five October openings on record (via Variety).

Cosmic Book News movie reviewer Lawrence Napoli had good things to say about Gravity as well with: “You probably won’t see a prettier movie all year. Regretting not seeing it in IMAX 3D. It takes a mundane idea and turns it into more. Not best picture worthy, but best effects and sound; you betcha.”

Look for Lawrence’s full review up later on CBN.

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Harry Potter Spinoff Movies Announced With “Fantastic Beasts And Where to Find Them”

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With the billion dollar Harry Potter franchise ending with Deathly Hallows Part 2, Warner Bros. went and did the obvious and went back to the source of the movies, author J.K Rowling, and are now adapting her spinoff novel “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.”

Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara announced today a new film series inspired by Harry Potter’s Hogwarts textbook “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” that follows the adventures of the book’s fictitious author, Newt Scamander

WB also announced J.K. Rowling will be writing the screenplay for the film, with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them said to be more of an extension of the Harry Potter Universe that is set 70 years before the first Potter film; though described as not a prequel or sequel, but still very familiar to Potter fans.

In addition to new movies, video games and other digital initiatives are planned.

See the press release below for more including comments from both Tsujihara and Rowling.

If you are not familiar with the book, head on over to Amazon to pick up “Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them.”

 

Press Release

Warner Bros. Entertainment today announced an expanded creative partnership with world-renowned, best-selling author J.K. Rowling. At the center of the partnership is a new film series from Rowling’s world of witches and wizards, inspired by Harry Potter’s Hogwarts textbook “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” and the adventures of the book’s fictitious author, Newt Scamander. The announcement was made by Kevin Tsujihara, Chief Executive Officer, Warner Bros. Entertainment.

“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” will be an original story and will mark Rowling’s screenwriting debut. It is planned as the first picture in a new film series. Set in the wizarding world, the story will feature magical creatures and characters, some of which will be familiar to devoted Harry Potter fans.

“Although it will be set in the worldwide community of witches and wizards where I was so happy for seventeen years, ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ is neither a prequel nor a sequel to the Harry Potter series, but an extension of the wizarding world,” said Rowling. “The laws and customs of the hidden magical society will be familiar to anyone who has read the Harry Potter books or seen the films, but Newt’s story will start in New York, seventy years before Harry’s gets underway.”

“We are incredibly honored that Jo has chosen to partner with Warner Bros. on this exciting new exploration of the world of wizardry which has been tremendously successful across all of our businesses,” said Tsujihara. “She is an extraordinary writer, who ignited a reading revolution around the world, which then became an unprecedented film phenomenon. We know that audiences will be as excited as we are to see what her brilliant and boundless imagination conjures up for us.”

In addition to the film series, “Fantastic Beasts” will also be developed across the Studio’s video game, consumer products and digital initiatives businesses, including enhanced links with Pottermore.com, Rowling’s digital online experience built around the Harry Potter stories.

The Studio’s expanded partnership with Rowling also covers the continued expansion of its Harry Potter activities, including the wonderful Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme parks in conjunction with partner Universal Parks and Resorts (currently in Orlando, FL; opening in Hollywood, CA and Osaka, Japan), digital initiatives (including Pottermore), video games, consumer products and visitor attractions.

In addition, Warner Bros. will serve as the worldwide TV distributor (excluding the U.K.) of J.K. Rowling’s upcoming television adaptation for the BBC of “The Casual Vacancy,” her best-selling first novel aimed at adult audiences. This miniseries begins production in 2014.

The relationship will be managed in London by Neil Blair of The Blair Partnership, Rowling’s literary agency, and Josh Berger, President & Managing Director, Warner Bros. UK, Ireland and Spain, who will serve as Warner Bros.’ chief business contact for all J.K. Rowling initiatives going forward.

Rowling’s expanded quote regarding “Fantastic Beasts” is below:

“It all started when Warner Bros. came to me with the suggestion of turning ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ into a film. I thought it was a funidea, but the idea of seeing Newt Scamander, the supposed author of ‘Fantastic Beasts,’ realized by another writer was difficult. Having lived for so long in my fictional universe, I feel very protective of it and I already knew a lot about Newt. As hard-core Harry Potter fans will know, I liked him so much that I even married his grandson, Rolf, to one of my favourite characters from the Harry Potter series, Luna Lovegood.

As I considered Warners’ proposal, an idea took shape that I couldn’t dislodge. That is how I ended up pitching my own idea for a film to Warner Bros.

Although it will be set in the worldwide community of witches and wizards where I was so happy for seventeen years, ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ is neither a prequel nor a sequel to the Harry Potter series, but an extension of the wizarding world. The laws and customs of the hidden magical society will be familiar to anyone who has read the Harry Potter books or seen the films, but Newt’s story will start in New York, seventy years before Harry’s gets underway.

 

I particularly want to thank Kevin Tsujihara of Warner Bros. for his support in this project, which would not have happened without him. I always said that I would only revisit the wizarding world if I had an idea that I was really excited about and this is it.”

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Ben Affleck Revealed As Batman: Official Warner Bros. Press Release

Below you can check the official info that Warner Bros. released regarding the announcement that Ben Affleck is the new Batman.

Update: Cosmic Book News has also learned that Lex Luthor has been cast.

 

Press Release

BEN AFFLECK REVEALED AS BATMAN IN WARNER BROS. PICTURES’ NEW SUPER HERO FEATURE FILM, NOW SLATED TO OPEN JULY 17, 2015
 

The Oscar®-winning star joins Henry Cavill in the first ever onscreen match-up of DC Comics’ most iconic characters.

 

BURBANK, CA, August 22, 2013 – Ending weeks of speculation, Ben Affleck has been set to star as Batman, a.k.a. Bruce Wayne.  Affleck and filmmaker Zack Snyder will create an entirely new incarnation of the character in Snyder’s as-yet-untitled project—bringing Batman and Superman together for the first time on the big screen and continuing the director’s vision of their universe, which he established in “Man of Steel.”  The announcement was made today by Greg Silverman, President, Creative Development and Worldwide Production, and Sue Kroll, President, Worldwide Marketing and International Distribution, Warner Bros. Pictures.

The studio has slated the film to open worldwide on July 17, 2015.

Last month’s surprise announcement of the new movie featuring both Superman and Batman created a wave of excitement and immediately fueled discussion and debate—among fans as well as in the media—about who would put on the cape and cowl of Bruce Wayne’s alter ego.

Snyder successfully re-imagined the origin of Clark Kent/Superman in the worldwide blockbuster “Man of Steel,” which has earned more than $650 million worldwide to date, and climbing.  The director will now create an original vision of Batman and his world for the film that brings the two DC Comics icons together.

Affleck will star opposite Henry Cavill, who will reprise the role of Superman/Clark Kent.  The film will also reunite “Man of Steel” stars Amy Adams, Laurence Fishburne and Diane Lane.

In the announcement, Silverman stated, “We knew we needed an extraordinary actor to take on one of DC Comics’ most enduringly popular Super Heroes, and Ben Affleck certainly fits that bill, and then some.  His outstanding career is a testament to his talent and we know he and Zack will bring new dimension to the duality of this character.”

Snyder also expressed his excitement about the casting of Affleck, noting, “Ben provides an interesting counter-balance to Henry’s Superman.  He has the acting chops to create a layered portrayal of a man who is older and wiser than Clark Kent and bears the scars of a seasoned crime fighter, but retain the charm that the world sees in billionaire Bruce Wayne.  I can’t wait to work with him.”

Kroll added, “We are so thrilled that Ben is continuing Warner Bros.’ remarkable legacy with the character of Batman.  He is a tremendously gifted actor who will make this role his own in this already much-anticipated pairing of these two beloved heroes.”

Affleck recently starred in the Academy Award®-winning Best Picture “Argo,” which he also directed and produced, earning acclaim and a BAFTA Award nomination for his performance in the film, as well as a number of directing honors.  In 2010, he starred in and directed the hit crime thriller “The Town.”  His recent acting work also includes “The Company Men,” “State of Play,” and “Hollywoodland,” for which he received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor.  Earlier in his career, Affleck starred in and co-wrote (with Matt Damon) “Good Will Hunting,” for which he won an Oscar® for Best Original Screenplay.

The new Super Hero film is being scripted by David S. Goyer from a story he co-created with Zack Snyder.  Charles Roven and Deborah Snyder are producing, with Benjamin Melniker, Michael E. Uslan and Wesley Coller serving as executive producers.

Production is expected to begin in 2014.

The film is based on Superman characters created by Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster, and Batman characters created by Bob Kane, published by DC Entertainment.

Read More about Ben Affleck Revealed As Batman: Official Warner Bros. Press Release

Exclusive: Tyler Hoechlin Up For New Batman; Screen Test With Henry Cavill; Plot For New Superman/Bats Movie

Last Saturday at Comic-Con following the Warner Bros. panel, attendees were graced with a surprise visit by Man of Steel director Zack Snyder and Harry Lennix announcing the next Superman movie. 

Lennix read text from Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns graphic novel, and then a Superman/Batman logo was revealed to a stunned audience.

The audience quickly erupted with cheers of enthusiasm as Snyder revealed that the new Batman will be a part of the sequel to Man of Steel.

Our DC Entertainment source who provided us with first draft script details for Man of Steel, which included mention of LexCorps in the Metropolis skyline as well as the bus scene with Lana Lang witnessing a young Clark Kent using his super powers, has sent over some information on the upcoming as-of-yet untitled Superman/Batman movie.

Our DC Entertainment source also previously provided us with information on the Batman reboot, which was said to be in part based on the popular Batman Arkham video game franchise. That now looks to be adapted into the recently announced Batman: Arkham Assault animated movie slated for 2014.

We’re told Warner Bros. didn’t go forward with the Arkham adaptation because they want to get both Batman and Superman out into the cinema quickly. Also, that Snyder and Goyer plot-wise initially didn’t have Batman vs. Superman, but since WB wanted to move things along they essentially are combining two films in one, with the movie having been in pre-production for a couple months (merchandising underway as well etc.). We’re told, “Snyder is really loving building the DC Cinematic Universe.”

Regarding the new Batman, Tyler Hoechlin (Teen Wolf, Lincoln Heights, 7th Heaven, Road To Perdition) is being heavily considered for the part and will be getting a screen test alongside Henry Cavill. Warner Bros. and Snyder are looking at somebody to play the new Batman with a reputation similar to Cavill’s, when Cavill was testing for Superman. It’s also said that better known actors could also be testing for the role. As filming is expected to begin in early 2014, screen tests should be happening soon. 

Cosmic Book News is also told that the Superman/Batman movie will features villains (in the plural), with it currently thought that the Joker and Lex Luthor team up; however, the source said the villains are only known by a select few, but Luthor is all but guaranteed.

Regarding the plot of the film:

“The sequel is set a year after Man of Steel, and the world is still getting used to having this powerful god on the planet who isn’t fully trusted by everybody. Batman certainly doesn’t trust Superman. Superman doesn’t trust Batman; either of which causes the two to clash when they initially meet. They do however pair up to defeat the villains (not 100% confirmed who the villains are). COULD be Luthor and Joker, but only a select few really know that. Luthor is definitely in the sequel and he doesn’t like Superman, believing him a threat to the planet.”

Previous to Comic-Con there was also rumor of a Justice League movie and a film for The Flash; however, Snyder only announced Superman/Batman.

We’ve been told there is a lot in the works being built up to Justice League, which will take place after Superman/Batman with The Flash possibly spinning out of that (the previous rumor said Flash before JL). Also, expect a lot of Easter Eggs to the Justice League members in Superman/Batman with characters like Wonder Woman, The Flash and Green Lantern getting referenced.

Our DC Entertainment Source also says it looks as if the Justice League movie will feature the DC Comics New 52 characters, which could mean no Martian Manhunter, but Cyborg.

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Wonder Woman A Top Priority At Warner Bros. & DC Comics Says Diane Nelson: Up There With Superman & Batman

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A big question amongst fans of the DC Comics is what movies will Warner Bros. be going with after the Man of Steel.

Man of Steel is currently heading toward the studio projected $700 million mark, and while a sequel is a sure bet as well as most likely a Justice League movie and the Batman reboot, fans are wondering which of the DC characters will get their chance to shine next on the silver screen.

Wonder Woman has been a name that has come up in the past many times with the defunct Joss Whedon movie as well as most recently the two television series that never came to be with the NBC Adrianne Palicki show and the CW Amazon series that is said to still be in development.

Now, president of DC Comics Diane Nelson once again mentions Wonder Woman while talking about the future of DC movies, and says the character is a top priority, hinting that the Amazonian princess is as important as Superman and Batman.

Via The Hollywood Reporter:

We have to get her right, we have to. She is such an icon for both genders and all ages and for people who love the original TV show and people who read the comics now. I think one of the biggest challenges at the company is getting that right on any size screen. The reasons why are probably pretty subjective: She doesn’t have the single, clear, compelling story that everyone knows and recognizes. There are lots of facets to Wonder Woman, and I think the key is, how do you get the right facet for that right medium? What you do in TV has to be different than what you do in features. She has been, since I started, one of the top three priorities for DC and for Warner Bros. We are still trying right now, but she’s tricky.

We see how Diane Nelson stressed that they have to get Wonder Woman right. Regarding the Adrianne Palicki NBC series, that seemed to be more of a homage to the Linda Carter 70s Wonder Woman (which didn’t work for Bryan Singer and Superman Returns), and the Amazon series was described at one point as having a teenage Diana eating ice cream.

More than likely WB needs something more akin to their hit show on the CW with Arrow, which is a more realistic take on Green Arrow. The same worked for Christopher Nolan on The Dark Knight Trilogy and Zack Snyder on Man of Steel. Not too long ago writer on both the Batman and Superman movies, David Goyer, said he would like to do a Wonder Woman feature film.

Perhaps it’s already in the works.

Announcements regarding DC Movies are thought to be coming at this week’s Comic-Con.

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WB & Legendary Part Ways; Robinov’s Successors Named

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As expected, Thomas Tull, and his Legendary Entertainment, have parted ways with Warner Bros. and is currently in talks with Sony, Fox Studios and Universal for a new distribution and co-financing deal.

The news isn’t that surprising as there has been mention of a rocky relationship between the two for the past few months, as well as the fact that Tull hired former Warner Bros. Television chief Bruce Rosenblum, who joined Legendary as president of TV and digital media.

Current WB CEO Kevin Tsujihara is said to be responsible for Rosenblum’s departure.

Variety cites the reason for Legendary leaving is DC Entertainment, specifically the movies, as Warner Bros. wants to retain control of the future DC movies.

Tull’s Legendary Entertainment shared in the success of Nolan’s Batman franchise as well as the Man of Steel, as Tull co-financed the productions.

It’s said WB wants to retain the profits, something similar it has done with other tentpoles like Harry Potter.

Regarding the future of Legendary Entertainment, it’s being reported that Universal looks to be the best option as Universal has more of what Tull wants, which is a studio that has access to more than just films, with TV shows, digital content and comic books as well.

A deal with Universal could give Tull and his future productions access to the likes of Universal Studios Theme Parks as well as NBC.

While it hasn’t been stated that outgoing WB film president Jeff Robinov’s departure was a part of the reason, Robinov backed projects that Legendary co-financed with WB including the Nolan films as well as The Hangover. Nolan’s latest big-budget film, Interstellar, is now at Paramount, with WB only partially involved.

Warners recently announced Robinov’s replacement, which is a “new leadership team” that will directly report to Tsujihara; see below for more.

 

 

Press Release

Warner Bros. Entertainment Announces New Leadership for Warner Bros. Pictures Group

 

(June 24, 2013 – Burbank, CA) – Warner Bros. Entertainment today announced a new leadership team to run Warner Bros. Pictures Group, capitalizing on the proven strengths of a number of longtime Studio executives. Sue Kroll will now serve as President, Worldwide Marketing and International Distribution, Warner Bros. Pictures; Greg Silverman will now serve as President, Creative Development and Worldwide Production, Warner Bros. Pictures; and Toby Emmerich will continue as President and COO, New Line Cinema, while adding responsibility for Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures. The announcement was made today by Kevin Tsujihara, CEO, Warner Bros., to whom all three executives will report.

Working closely with the management team, Dan Fellman, whose contract has been extended, will continue in his role as President, Domestic Distribution, reporting directly to Tsujihara. Veronika Kwan Vandenberg will continue as President, International Distribution, and ultimately assume responsibility for worldwide distribution, taking on the domestic distribution function upon the planned retirement of Fellman. Kwan Vandenberg will report to Kroll who, in addition to her marketing and distribution responsibilities, will continue to be involved in all aspects of Warner Bros. Pictures’ and New Line Cinema’s releases.

“Warner Bros. is the world’s preeminent motion picture studio with one of the most talented executive benches in the industry,” said Tsujihara. “Collectively, this team has more than 100 years at the company and broad experience across the film business, which will ensure that Warner Bros. Pictures continues as a respected leader in production, marketing and global distribution. I have every confidence that we will continue to deliver the industry’s most compelling, popular and successful movies.”

“This marks an exciting new chapter in the storied history of Warner Bros. Pictures,” said Barry Meyer, Chairman, Warner Bros. “We are in the midst of another terrific year, and our film division will continue to thrive well into the future under this realigned organization.”

Kroll was named President, Worldwide Marketing, Warner Bros. Pictures in January 2008 and has led enormously successful campaigns for a broad range of motion pictures, including most recently “Man of Steel,” “The Great Gatsby” and last year’s Academy Award Best Picture winner, “Argo.” Other prominent campaigns include the billion-dollar blockbusters “The Dark Knight” and “The Dark Knight Rises,” as well as “Inception” and the final installments of the Harry Potter series.

Silverman has been President, Production, Warner Bros. Pictures since April 2011 and played a key role in recent box-office successes, including “The Great Gatsby,” directed by Baz Luhrmann, “Argo” from director Ben Affleck and “The Dark Knight Rises,” directed by Christopher Nolan. As a creative executive, Silverman also shepherded the commercially successful and critically acclaimed “300,” “The Dark Knight,” “The Hangover” and the global phenomenon “Inception,” among other films.

As President and COO of New Line Cinema since March 2008, and President of Production for seven years prior to that, Emmerich has overseen such diverse features as the Academy Award-winning blockbuster “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King,” “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” and 2005’s highest-grossing comedy, “Wedding Crashers,” as well as “He’s Just Not That Into You,” “Horrible Bosses,” the “Journey” franchise and the “Final Destination” films.

Read More about WB & Legendary Part Ways; Robinov’s Successors Named

WB Gives Up Rights To Friday The 13th & South Park For Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:8383:]]We already know that Paramount and Warner Bros. are teaming up for Christopher Nolan‘s next epic sci-fi movie, Interstellar, but now we learn more about the details surrounding the agreement.

THR has it that Warner Bros. gave up rights to Friday the 13th and South Park in order to be on board Interstellar.

The original Friday the 13th saw both studios involved as Paramount had domestic distribution rights and WB the international rights.

Eventually, the rights went back to Sean Cunningham, the creator, who went on to New Line Cinema.

Well, New Line was eventually brought into WB’s fold, but Paramount would have to be brought back on any Friday the 13th movie in a 50-50 capacity due to previous agreements.

So WB gave Paramount its own rights to co-finance Friday the 13th in exchange for being a part of Nolan’s Interstellar.

That’s not all, though, as WB also gave Paramount its share of certain rights to a South Park movie; back in 1999, WB distributed South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut internationally.

There is also one last catch.

Also part of the deal was an agreement to let Paramount co-finance a to-be-determined A-list Warners property.

Regarding the next Friday The 13th movie, as Paramount only has 5 years to make one before the rights revert, more than likely we’ll be hearing about news for the next one soon.

The last rebooted Friday The 13th from 2009, produced by Michael Bay, raked in over $90 million on a budget of less than $20 million.

Any chance one of the A-List WB properties Paramount could be attached to is one of the DC Comics movie properties? Justice League?

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Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar Gets Release Date; WB & Paramount Team-Up; No Legendary Attached

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:6019:]]Warner Bros. and Paramount jointly announced the release date to Christopher Nolan‘s new science-fiction film, Interstellar.

Interstellar will have a November 7, 2014 release date with Paramount distributing the movie domestically and Warner Bros. internationally.

As Deadline notes, the announcement is rather surprising as Paramount and WB generally don’t work together on movies; however, the property being so “hot” is cited as the given reason.

Also as somewhat of a surprise is that Legendary Entertainment is not attached to the movie, as they previously helped bank roll Nolan’s InceptionThe Dark Knight Trilogy as well as the Man of Steel.

There’s even been previous mention and/or rumor that Thomas Tull may be taking Legendary elsewhere, away from associating with Warner Bros.

Christopher Nolan will direct and he also wrote the script based on his brother, Jonathan’s, original.

Interstellar is described as a “film [that] will depict a heroic interstellar voyage to the furthest reaches of our scientific understanding.”

Statements were released from Paramount and Warner Bros. as well:

Brad Grey, Chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures said, “As a filmmaker and storyteller, Chris has continuously entertained the world with his extraordinary and unparalleled talents. I am pleased beyond measure to welcome him to the Paramount Pictures family. Partnering with Chris, Emma, Lynda and Warner Bros. to release this original idea next November is the perfect way to start the Thanksgiving and holiday movie season for audiences around the world.”

Jeff Robinov, President, Warner Bros. Pictures Group, said, “Christopher Nolan is truly one of the great auteurs working in film today, and we’re extremely proud of our successful and ongoing collaboration with him and Emma Thomas.  We are excited to be teaming with Paramount, and look forward to working with the Nolans, and producer Lynda Obst, on this extraordinary new project.”

Read More about Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar Gets Release Date; WB & Paramount Team-Up; No Legendary Attached