Mucho news from the Hollywood side of things.
§ First off, a court date has been set for the WATCHMEN trial and it’s January 6, giving Warners plenty of time to release the movie should things go their way:
With a March release date looming, U.S. District Court Judge Gary Allen Feess said Fox should forgo any attempt to get a preliminary injunction against Warners to stop the release of the film because the issues were far too complex to be resolved on an interim basis, sources said.
Instead, Feess told both sides to start building a factual record and start expedited discovery and depositions immediately.
Fox still could ask Feess to permanently enjoin Warners from releasing the film following the discovery phase.
Paramount vice chairman Rob Moore finds that the very accessibility of the heroes is what cinched the deal this summer.
“Neither Batman nor Iron Man have special powers — anyone can be that person,” Moore says. “What resonates for people is there’s someone out there who us their resources to help their fellow man. At a time when the economy’s not that great and we’ve got a war no one likes, it gives people a sense of hope.”
§ The bad news is, Geoff Boucher has rounded up the problems with making a Superman movie:
It was by nature a sunny film, sentimental and playful, never embarrassed while soaring with its John Williams score and (literally) with its special effects. But show it to a teenager today and he or she will snicker and roll their eyes. These are kids who have sat in dark theaters with Wolverine, Hellboy and Heath Ledger’s Joker. If they’re holding out for a hero, you can bet he’s not going to be plucking kittens out of trees, reciting patriotic mottos and chasing down bumbling bad guys named Otis
§ The good news is, Mark Millar has all the answers!
Mark Millar (Wanted) talked to G4 about his proposed Superman movie project which has a mysterious American director attached. They pitched the idea to Warner Bros. Pictures and hope to get word over the next few weeks. If the studio decides to go with their version, they’d like to be shooting by next summer: “I’ve had this plan for like 10 years for a big three-picture Superman thing, like a Lord of the Rings epic, starting over from scratch again with a seven-hour Superman story. One to be released each year.” Millar said.
§ This prompted Warren Ellis to write on his Bad Signal mailing list:
Amused by a news story the other day where Mark Millar appears to announce that he’s putting together a trilogy of Superman films. Leaving just enough wiggle room to claim he wasn’t fully quoted later. I love watching Mark play the game, and you can’t say it hasn’t worked out for him. A couple of years from now, he’ll have had something like three or maybe even four films produced from his graphic novels, and people in LA will be asking why he WASN’T brought in for meetings on Superman.
§ A new option. This time the Russo brothers, the directing duo behind YOU, ME AND DUPREE, are planning to make a film from their Oni book CIUDAD, which
has art by was co-developed and scripted by Ande Parks:
Story centers on a weary hostage extractor who travels to Paraguay’s Ciudad del Este, a border town considered one of the world’s most dangerous and corrupt locales, to save a kidnap victim.
The brothers have been researching this story for several years and visited Johannesburg, South Africa, as well as other gritty metropolises to flesh out the story. They will be traveling to the South American city of 250,000 inhabitants soon; they’re looking to return to their gritty filmmaking roots.
§ Related: a profile of Eric Gitter, Oni’s dealmaker. You’ll see Gitter’s name attached to all of Oni’s movie announcements…but who is he?
With more than 10 of Oni’s properties in development around town, Gitter’s company, Closed on Mondays, is supplying A-list producers with proven pulp alternatives to the same old superhero fare. “What’s so incredibly unique about Oni is they’re one of the very few comicbook companies that’s not genre-specific,” Gitter says. “When I looked at what they had coming out, it was almost like they were running a studio development slate in a different medium.”
§ Meanwhile, here’s a stunning headline: Jeff Katz leaves Fox production; Sources say his new job will involve comic books. Wait — who is Jeff Katz?
Katz declined comment on where he is going, but sources said his new job will involve comic books/graphic novels and movies.
The executive has on the side co-written DC Comics’ “Booster Gold” with Geoff Johns and has made a name for himself in the genre arena. He played key development roles in the development of the upcoming X-Men project “Wolverine” and the big-screen version of “The A-Team.”
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.