People Tell Me I Look Like Han Solo.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
  The Hobbit, live-action Ant-Man and a new DC studio
Man. Today is the official launch of the Toronto International Film Festival, considered the unofficial kickoff of the Oscars season, and here I am, writing once again about geek movies. Funny how that works. Anyway, time to get down to it...

A few days ago the news came out that the estate of autor J.R.R. Tolkien had settled its lawsuit with New Line Cinema over its cut of the profits from the Lord of the Rings films. The good news here is that this means the planned two-part Hobbit movie helmed by Guillermo del Toro can move forward (despite the fact that they're apparently well into pre-production, the suit meant the film was still technically up in the air). Del Toro is fantastically talented, and up until he was officially signed on, I was pretty underwhelmed by the prospect of a Hobbit movie; it sort of sets up the world and introduces some concepts that the Rings trilogy really runs with –it's got all the big, epic battles – so going back to do a Hobbit movie seemed like a literal step backwards, but del Toro's involvement, and the fact that the second film will apparently more directly connect the events in The Hobbit to those in Lord of the Rings, which sounds like a pretty cool idea. I guess casting news should be coming down the pipe relatively soon; I have to suspec this news means The Hobbit will soon find itself on the production fast-track.


I guess while covering the Marvel/Disney deal (click here for my thoughts), Entertainment Weekly mentioned something offhand about a possible Pixar version of Ant-Man, which has long been attached to director Edgar Wright (he made the utterly brilliant Shaun of the Dead), but Wright, currently finishing up his adaptation of another comic book, the indie sensation (and Toronto-set) Scott Pilgrim with Michael Cera, went online to quash that rumor. As much as I'd love to see Pixar do just about anything Marvel-related, if Wright wants to do Ant-Man in live action, great. Hell, if he wants to make it using sock puppets and cardboard sets I'll still be there opening day.

Check out Wright's Ant-Man statements in full on


In related news, Warner Bros. is still reacting to the Marvel/Disney deal, this time announcing the formation of DC Entertainment and restructuring how DC Comics fits into the larger Warner machine. I like it, especially with Diane Nelson at the head; she was behind the marketing for WB's Harry Potter franchise, a little series you may have heard of, as well as the Warner Premier direct-to-DVD line, which has been producing some good-to-excellent animated movies based on DC characters for a few years now (the latest, Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, is out Sept. 29), so she seems like a pretty awesome choice for the gig.

As I mentioned in my Marvel/Disney post, Warner has traditionally taken a fairly hands-off approach to its comics publisher, but I guess the one-two punch of Marvel establishing itself as a serious presence on the movie scene with Iron Man and then further cementing that with the Disney deal, Warner felt like it needed to respond somehow.

It certainly makes sense, as Marvel's really working on a cohesive cinematic universe, while Warner's strategy for its DC properties seems more one-off and random, so a more structured approach seems like a good idea. DC's next big superhero movie is Green Lantern, which is slated to start filming early next year with Canadian beefcake Ryan Reynolds in the lead and Casino Royale director Martin Campbell at the helm, and presumably Warner will use it as the tip of the spear for the newly created DC Entertainment, though they also have the supernatural western Jonah Hex, with Josh Brolin and Megan Fox, and The Losers, sort of a cross between a spy flick and an Ocean's Eleven-style heist/con movie, both due next year.

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