Big movies are in the news today.
* James Cameron apparently won’t be directing the latest iteration of legend of Egyptian queen Cleopatra. Instead, he’ll spend the next few years doing the inevitable: “Avatar 2” and “Avatar 3.” Apparently, the commitment now is partially in return for Fox making a large donation to green causes Cameron supports.
* Christopher Nolan gave Geoff Boucher the title of the next Batman installment “The Dark Knight Rises” — not very inspiring. Having previously eliminated Mr. Freeze as the film’s big bad, he also eliminated the Riddler. That leaves Catwoman, the Penguin, and…Man-Bat?
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Regular readers might have noticed that I’ve taken a couple of days off, and with the TCM Film Festival kicking off tomorrow night, and some other things possibly brewing, I might not be following my exact usual schedule for the next several days, though I’m sure I’ll be posting stuff, but we’ll have to see. In the meantime, there’s plenty going on and I’m sure I’ve missed something.
* We eventually did get a clear, but narrow, victor in the weekend box-office battle, but nobody’s too excited about the performance of “Kick-Ass.” The film will make money, $19.8 million is not bad for a $30-40 million dollar movie, and it should help everyone’s career, but I wouldn’t bet on a sequel unless it holds really extremely well and also cleans up in home video. Also, it should be noted that the superhero comedy had a slightly unfair advantage because of its late Thursday night opening getting included in the take — at least I think it was. Steven Zeitchik, who thought the film would break out in a major way, offers a post-not-quite-mortem.
* James Cameron‘s new interview with the L.A. Times will annoy conservative anti-environmentalists and climate deniers as well as fans of contemporary written science fiction. (It’s too complicated and self-referential to make a movie out of, Cameron states, apparently unafraid of the sweeping generalization.) However, “Avatar” fans will be delighted to know that two more movies appear to be in the offing along with that extended August 3-D/Imax re-release. Cameron’s cast and crew will be, I imagine, much less happy to learn that “Avatar 2” will involve water, and lots of it. What is it with this guy and moisture? (H/t the Playlist.)
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* <Shock!> “Avatar” has crossed the finish line to become the biggest moneymaker in film history (not at all adjusted for inflation).
* <Shock!> Fox superhoncho Rupert Murdoch has confirmed there will be an “Avatar 2,” though it won’t be arriving terribly soon. Just as predictable: his Fox News commentators and viewers will complain about its politics — assuming James Cameron doesn’t have any road to Damascus conversion to conservatism from someone like, say, “24” creator Joel Surnow.
* 3-D mania continues. Nikki Finke confirms that the final 2 Harry Potter films and, as previously mentioned everywhere, “Clash of the Titans,” will be released in the process as an assortment of less well known films. And that’s not all, how did I miss this story from a couple of weeks back? Highbrow 3-D porn…now that’s the future.
* Johnny Depp, who has not directed a movie since the 1997 obscurity, “The Brave,” is putting his helmer’s hat back on for a documentary on his friend and ultimate rock and roll wild man Keith Richard, writes the Playlist. (H/t Christopher Campbell and Brian Prisco.)
* Nikki Finke has been on fire (metaphorically, I mean) the last 24 hours or so. La Finke has the scoop on the latest about the sale of MGM and the suspense over whether Leo the Lion will be roaring in an independent fashion in the fure. She also the muckrakey details of the departure of the now former head of the Motion Picture and Television fund earlier today and its relationship to the closure of an acute care hospital and elder care facilities.
* For his part, Finke’s new partner, Mike Fleming, covers the latest on the fascinating niggling info regarding which producers of Oscar Best Picture nominees are real enough producers to actually collect Oscars should their films win.