The Purge: Anarchy – Podcast 5:27

purge anarchy poster resize
The Cinefantastique Spotlight Podcast, Volume 5, Number 27 explores the dystopian horrors of THE PURGE: ANARCHY. This sequel takes the premise of THE PURGE (2013) and plays it out on a larger canvas, exploring territory that the original only suggested. Is that enough to satisfy those frustrated by THE PURGE’s home invasion scenario? Listen in to find out, as podcasters Lawrence French and Steve Biodrowski debate the merits of debate the merits of vicariously purging your anti-social tendencies by watching this moviefrom Blumhouse Productions and Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes.

World War Z sequel hopes boosted by box office

WWZ poster helicopterHollywood Reporter tells us that Paramount Pictures is reactivating their plan to turn WORLD WAR Z into a franchise, thanks to the strong box office opening: $66-million domestically and over $111-million worldwide. WORLD WAR Z had been conceived as the first entry in a trilogy, but after post-production trouble, the studio and the filmmakers had backed off making any promises for sequels. That changed as soon as the film earned star Brad Pitt his biggest opening weekend box office ever.
The rocky road from script to screen, including expensive additional shooting, suggested that WORLD WAR Z might emerge as an epic failure; instead, the film has been embraced by critics and audiences. The mix of male and female viewers is almost equal, and two-thirds of ticket-buyers have been over 25; in short, WORLD WAR Z is reaching viewers who do not necessarily go to zombie movies.
The Hollywood Reporter article offers no details on where the franchise will go, noting only that “Paramount actively will turn to developing a sequel.” While promoting WORLD WAR Z’s opening, Pitt (who is also a producer) noted that the film had only scratched the surface of Max Brooks’s novel, suggesting that future films would delve deeper into the source material

Blumhouse Productions will Purge again

THE PURGE 2013 smiling masksWhat do you do after you spend $3-million on a movie that makes back more than eleven times that much money on opening weekend? You make a sequel! Blumhouse Productions has already announced that they will be making a follow-up to THE PURGE. No details have been announced, but the basic premise of an annual 12-hour period of condoned criminality provides a wide canvas for stories that would explore aspects that did not fit into the fairly narrow focus of the first film.

Sequels That Surpass the Original: CFQ Roundtable Podcast 2:27.2

Toy Story 2 group shot with Woody, Buzz Lightyear, and the gang

In honor of HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS, PART 2, the Cinefantastique Podcast crew takes a look at sequels that surpass their predecessors, including TOY STORY 2, DR. PHIBES RISES AGAIN, and BATMAN RETURNS. Joined by special guest Andrea Lipinski (formerly of the Chronic Rift podcast), the regular CFQ crew of Dan Persons, Lawrence French, and Steve Biodrowski also take a look at superheros on screen this year and give a run down of this week’s home video release, including the director’s cut of LIMITLESS (featuring an alternate ending on Blu-ray), the most recent season of DOCTOR WHO (starring Matt Smith), and TEKKEN, a DTV title based on the popular games by Namco.


James Cameron talks Avatar novelization & sequels

James Cameron gave an an interview to the MTV Movie Blog, in which he discusses future plans for the mega-successful AVATAR franchise. No deals have been signed, and no definite plans have been set, but Cameron is developing ideas: in a nutshell, he wants to complete a novelization of AVATAR before making another film. In adapting his story to the print medium,  Cameron’s plan is not to simply translate the screenplay into prose; he wants to flesh out the story with background and details about the characters and their world that will lay the foundation for the expected sequels.

“I never had a chance to get the novel done while we were making the movie, and I always intended to. I didn’t want to do a cheesy novelization, where some hack comes in and kind of makes s–t up. I wanted to do something that was a legitimate novel that was inside the characters’ heads and didn’t have the wrong culture stuff, the wrong language stuff, all that.”
Once the novel is out there, Cameron hopes that others will help him in further fleshing out the universe. There are simply key bits of the ongoing story, such as the happenings on Earth and Jake & Grace’s personal arcs, that he wants to make sure are developed in specific ways. “I don’t mind opening the universe, but I just don’t want that to happen until I’ve got more meat on the bones. … That all needs to be filled in before other writers can come in and run with it.”

After finishing the novel, Cameron plans to turn AVATAR into a trilogy, possibly filming two sequels simultaneously. The computer-generated nature of AVATAR’s world should make this process easier, because the motion-capture performances of the cast can be shot relatively quickly, with the backgrounds and scenery being added later.

Sense of Wonder: Counting Horror, Fantasy & Sci-Fi Franchises on One Hand?

franchise combo copy

In this post about SAW 3-D, being touted as the finale installment in the Jigsaw saga, Lionsgate president Jason Constantine makes the following statement about the longevity of the SAW franchise:

“You can count on one hand the franchises that lasted seven years — and every year, no less,” says Jason Constantine, Lionsgate’s president of acquisitions and co-productions. “It became part of pop-culture discourse.”

This strikes my as slightly myopic in terms of the history of horror, fantasy and science fiction film franchise. Off the top of my head, here are several more than you can count on one hand – unless you are a polydactyl alien from a galaxy far, far away:

  • The Universal Pictures Frankenstein series began in 1931 with FRANKENSTEIN and continued through 1948 with ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN, totaling eight films.
  • Toho Studio’s original Godzilla franchise began in 1954 with GODZILLA (a.k.a. GOJIRA) and took a breather after TERROR OF MECHA-GODZILLA in 1974. The franchise revived in 1985 and lasted until GODZILLA VS. DESTROYER in 1996, then resumed again in 1999, wrapping up with GODZILLA: FINAL WARS in 2004, with 26 films on its resume.
  • The Hammer Films Frankenstein series began in 1957 with CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN and ended in 1974 with FRANKENSTEIN AND THE MONSTER FROM HELL, totalling six films (not counting the aberration known as HORROR OF FRANKENSTEIN)
  • Hammer’s Dracula series began in 1958 with HORROR OF DRACULA and ended in 1974 with LEGEND OF THE SEVEN GOLDEN VAMPIRES (a.k.a. THE SEVEN BROTHERS MEET DRACULA), totaling eight films (nine if you count BRIDES OF DRACULA, in which the Count does not appear).
  • The James Bond franchise launched in 1962 with DR. NO and continued until QUANTUM OF SOLACE in 2008, totaling over 20 films. (There was a haitus in the 1990s, but still this is a long-lived franchise).
  • HALLOWEEN started its reign of terror in 1978, which lasted through HALLOWEEN: RESURRECTION in 2002. The franchise started up again in 2008 with a remake.
  • FRIDAY THE 13TH began in 1980 and lasted through 2003’s FREDDY VS. JASON, before launching a remake last year.
  • A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET arrived in 1984 and officially ended with FREDDY’S DEAD: THE FINAL NIGHTMARE in 1991 – barely six years. But then the franchise started up again in 1996 with WES CRAVEN’S NEW NIGHTMARE, followed by FREDDY VS. JASON in 2003, and then a remake this year.

Well, that makes eight. I guess we’re not supposed to count the ALIEN franchise and George A. Romero’s sequels to NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (1968), because the films were spaced out at long intervals: the ALIEN films extend from 1979 through ALIENS VS. PREDATOR in 2007; Romero’s latest, SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD, arrived earlier this year.
If we include non-sequel franchise, we get the Vincent Price Poe movies from HOUSE OF USHER in 1960 through THE OBLONG BOX in 1969. Extending past the real of cinefantastique, we get lengthy franchises devoted to Sherlock Holmes and other screen detectives, not to mention such low-brow fare as Ma and Pa Kettle and Francis the Talking Mule.
Let me know if there are any I missed.

'Clash Of The Titans 2' Director Set?

According to The L.A. Times,
CLASH OF THE TITANS 2 is being fast-tracked, and Jonathan Liebesman (DARKNESS FALLS) is the lead contender for director.

Warner Brothers and Legendary Pictures have reportedly been meeting with a number of candidates, hoping to begin production in or near January 2011.
Liebesman appears to be the front-runner. His sci-fi actioner BATTLE: LOS ANGLES, starring Aaron Eckhart (THE DARK KNIGHT) and Michelle Rodriguez (LOST) from Columbia Pictures is due to open in March 2011, and he has ODYSSEUS lined up for the future.
The need for speed? They have to make sure star Sam Worthington is free, because he’s committed to James Cameron’s AVATAR 2.
TITANS 2 would be shot in 3-D from the get-go, rather than relying on the often unsastisfactory post-production conversion process.

Krueger Sequel Already in the Works

Still from the remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street
Still from the remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street

Talk about speedy work as The Wrap have the scoop that a sequel to the NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET remake is being planned a mere five days since its release. The news of a sequel doesn’t come as too much of a surprise, since the film has done so well at the box office, and neither does the news it’s possibly, that’s right, to be shot in 3D.

Distribution president at Warner Bros, Dan Fellman, tells The Wrap,

“We don’t have a story yet, but this is the largest horror opening in the April-May corridor, and it just proves there’s a lot left in the franchise”.

Meanwhile producer Andrew Form told Dread Central,

“Platinum Dunes is very open to the possibility of a NIGHTMARE sequel. It would be amazing to work with Jackie and the cast again. Unfortunately, as far as we know right now, Sam wouldn’t be back to direct the follow-up, but we’d love to come back to Elm Street because Freddy always has a story to tell. We definitely left ourselves open for a sequel so it would be a great privilege to get to do another NIGHTMARE film.”

Fellow producer, Brad Fuller, added,

I think that making the NIGHTMARE sequel in 3D is a bigger discussion than for right here. We think that 3D movies have to be designed and written as such. If Eric Heisserer and Wesley Strick came to us with a NIGHTMARE script that is for a 3D movie, we’d be fools not to make it.”

It’s seems  you can count on Hollywood for two things these days. First, it’s that they’ll milk a cash cow for all it’s worth if they think there’s mileage left in it. By all accounts the NOES remake is pretty terrible but since it’s made a lot of money they’re obviously going to drag the franchise out as long as they can. Secondly, any film that’s being made right now is at least being considered for 3D and hey, probably even one’s that have already been made (here’s looking at you, CLASH OF THE TITANS).

I think that making the Nightmare sequel in 3D is a bigger discussion than for right here in this room. We think that 3D movies have to be designed and written as such. If Eric (Heisserer) and Wesley (Strick) came to us with a Nightmare sequel script that is for a 3D movie, we’d be fools not to make it.”

Dark Crystal Sequel Officially Confirmed

Still from the original Dark Crystal
Still from the original Dark Crystal

Today The Jim Henson Company posted an official press release for the DARK CRYSTAL sequel, POWER OF THE DARK CRYSTAL, on their website. Rumours about a DARK CRYSTAL sequel have been abound for years now but it seems as if it’s actually happening as Paul and Michael Spierig (DAYBREAKERS, UNDEAD) have signed on to direct the film in Australia, and in 3D.

The script, written by Craig Pearce (MOULIN ROUGE!, ROMEO + JULIET), apparently takes place hundreds of years after the events of the original film, when when dark forces have once again fallen across the land. A girl made of fire must, with the help of a Gelfling outcast, to use a fragment of the titular crystal to re-start the sun. Legendary fantasy artist Brian Froud (DARK CRYSTAL, LABYRINTH) has already begun creating the conceptual design for the movie, which is to blend traditional puppetry and animatronics with CGI. The Spierigs, speaking of the project, state,

“We feel a tremendous amount of responsibility in telling this story with the same meticulous care that Jim Henson and Frank Oz gave the 1982 original. This is a chance to take the world of puppetry into the modern age by using modern techniques (like motion capture CGI) and the tried and true methods (like puppetry and animatronics) to create a one hundred percent real world that is unique to THE DARK CRYSTAL”.

While a sequel to such a beloved film is risky business, and the Spierig brothers don’t exactly have the best track record, the fact that Froud is involved and directors’ intentions to use animatronics as well as CGI is encouraging. We’ll have to see how this one pans out as more news comes our way.

Sharlto Copley Talks District 9 Prequel

Still from District 9
Still from District 9

Sharlto Copley, star of last years sci-fi sleep hit, DISTRICT 9, has been talking to Empire during the press tour for THE A-TEAM and sheds some light on its follow up. Copley explains how he and DISTRICT 9 director, Neil Blomkamp, are thinking of making a prequel rather than a direct sequel and plan to shoot it after Blomkamp is done with his next feature film.

Copley and Blomkamp are apparently determined to ensure that it’s not a typical sequel and mention the possibility that it could be a prequel,

“There’s a million ways you can go. Neil’s actually very interested in prequels as well; he’s said that a few times. We wouldn’t do the traditional Hollywood version of the sequel which would just be 100 aliens fighting humans.”

Copley adds,

“Neil wants it and I want it. Neil’s doing another film first. Then I think if everything goes according to plan we’ll do the second film in about two years time. That story can go in so many different ways. There’s a whole universe. I’m sure a lot of writers say that, but we actually have an entire universe.”

The first DISTRICT 9 told the story of how an extraterrestrial race, forced to live in slum-like conditions on Earth, suddenly finds a kindred spirit in a government agent who is exposed to their biotechnology. DISTRICT 9 was an amazingly fresh and exciting dose of sci-fi action so it’s good to hear that both the films star and director don’t want to go the obvious route with the sequel. As for a release date, it seems we’ll have to wait a while longer but you can be sure Cinefantastique Online will keep you updated on the project.

to ensure that it’s not a typical sequel – and the possibility that it could be a prequel.