Comic-Con: 'Dark Matter' Marks New Start For DC's Comic Line


The new imprint is DC’s “most aggressive push towards new concepts,” according to co-publisher Jim Lee.

A year after DC Entertainment re-energized its main superhero comic book line, the publisher is ready to build out something altogether new — and it all starts with this summer’s big summer storyline, Dark Nights: Metal.

“This is about a new cosmology in the DC Universe,” Metal writer Scott Snyder teased about the six-issue series beginning next month during the Friday afternoon panel at San Diego Comic-Con. “We wanted you feel as if it’s an engine of new. New villains, new territory to explore.”

The storyline for Metal follows the introduction of something called the “Dark Multiverse,” which Snyder described as an ever-changing reality that responds to the viewer’s subconscious fears — which will produce the villains of the piece, a group of evil Batmen called the “Dark Knights.” (Those characters, which mix Batman together with other members of the Justice League, will face off against the regular heroes in a spin-off storyline called Justice League: Bats Out of Hell.)

“I’ve never felt as confident and not nervous about a story as I do about this,” Snyder told the crowd. “I love it that much. It’s just what I’d want to pick up and read this summer.”

Spinning out of the Metal storyline will be seven new comic book series under the banner Dark Matter; five of the titles (and the overall banner) have been previously announced, but there are two new additions — Brimstone by Justin Jordan and Philip Tan, and The Terrifics by Jeff Lemire and Ivan Reis.

“This is a snapshot of the future of the DCU,” DC co-publisher Dan DiDio said about the new line, which launches its first titles in December. (Titles will launch at a rate two per month, priced at $2.99.) “This is the way we push out and explore new concepts and new ideas.”

The new line will take place in the central DC Universe, and creators explained how that will work in practice; Damage will focus on a creature who has always been in the background of the universe, but is now “on the loose,” said writer Robert Venditti, while The Immortal Men is, according to James Tynion, “the secret history of heroes and villains in the DC Universe… These are new characters, but they exist in the same tapestry.”

The Dark Matter line is, according to DiDio, “the most aggressive push towards new concepts we’ve done in some time.” Co-publisher Jim Lee said that the line was the result of a desire to reintegrate artists in core creative decisions at the publisher. “We were kind of lamenting the fact that artists were being pushed off to the sidelines and we wanted to bring them back into the creative process,” said Lee, the artist of Dark Matter series Immortal Men.



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New 'Spawn' Movie In the Works From Todd McFarlane, Blumhouse


The comic book creator is due to make his directorial debut with the low-budget horror project.

Jason Blum and his Blumhouse Productions are teaming up with Todd McFarlane to develop a new movie based on the comic book icon’s creation, Spawn.

McFarlane has written the first draft of the script and is set to direct the project, marking a rare foray of a comic creator into the director’s chair.

McFarlane became a comics superstar and one of its first artists-millionaires in the 1980s thanks to his work on Amazing Spider-Man and later was one of the founding artists of Image Comics with his creation, Spawn.

Spawn told of a black ops agent who is betrayed and killed, his soul sent to Hell for all the innocents he had killed. While there, he makes a deal with a demon who allows him to return to the Earthly plane and his wife. However, five years have now past and his wife has moved while he is a disfigured and super-powered spawn of Hell.

The comic was adapted into a New Line horror action movie that starred Michael Jai White, as well as an HBO cartoon series in the late 1990s.

McFarlane, who also became an entrepreneur with a high-end toy company, has been developing the new movie for some time and was shopping it in the spring, only recently bringing it to Blumhouse. The company is envisioning the new Spawn project as a low-budget horror movie.

 



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Weekend Box Office: 'Dunkirk' Heads for $45M-$50M U.S. Debut; 'Valerian' Bombing


Elsewhere, Universal’s ‘Girls Trip’ is breaking the R-rated comedy curse with a projected $25M-plus opening.

Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk is easily winning the Friday box-office battle for a projected $45 million-$50 million debut, marking the best opening for a World War II movie in recent times.

Dunkirk is expected to earn $17 million or more on Friday, including $5.5 million in Thursday night previews. The critically acclaimed film, from Warner Bros., is playing in 3,720 locations and is getting a wide berth in Imax theaters and on 70mm screens.

Nolan’s last film, Interstellar, debuted to nearly $50 million over the long Thanksgiving holiday in 2014, including $47.5 million for the three-day weekend. The Dark Knight Rises (2012) was his biggest opening ($160.9 million), followed by 2008’s The Dark Knight ($158.4 million), 2005’s Batman Begins ($73 million, including a three-day weekend of $48.7 million) and 2010’s Inception ($62.8 million).

Dunkirk, recounting one of World War II’s most famous battles, stars Fionn Whitehead, Mark Rylance, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, Tom Hardy, Jack Lowden, One Direction’s Harry Styles and Aneurin Barnard. At 106 minutes, it is the shortest film of Nolan’s career, outside of his first movie. The production budget was $150 million or more, although Warners insiders insist it was notably lower.

Overseas, Dunkirk has earned $8.6 million in its first two days after beginning to roll out in select markets on Wednesday.
 
Elsewhere, Universal’s Girls Trip is laughing loudly in North America. The femme-centric pic looks to earn $11 million or more from 2,591 theaters on Friday, including $1.7 million in previews, for an opening in the $26 million range — the best showing of the year so far for an R-rated comedy, a genre that’s been decidedly challenged.

Directed by Malcolm D. Lee, who also produced alongside Will Packer, Girls Trip stars Regina Hall, Tiffany Haddish, Jada Pinkett Smith and Queen Latifah as lifelong friends who go to New Orleans for a wild weekend of fun.

The news isn’t good for the weekend’s third new release, Luc Besson’s Valerian and the City of Thousand Planets. The sci-fi epic, costing at least $180 million to produce, is projected to gross $7 million on Friday from 3,553 theaters and $17 million for the weekend.

From Besson’s EuropaCorp and U.S. distributor STXfilms, the film stars Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevinge as a duo who must travel through space and time to save the universe. Besson’s EuropaCorp put together financing for the movie and provided marketing funds.

At that pace, Valerian won’t be able to beat holdovers Spider-Man: Homecoming and War for the Planet of the Apes. Among other holdovers, Universal and Illumination’s Despicable Me 3 jumped the $200 million mark at the domestic box office on Thursday.



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Charlie Sheen, Whoopi Goldberg Star in First Trailer for '9/11' Movie


Gina Gershon and Luis Guzman round out the cast for the indie centered on a group of individuals trapped in an elevator in the upcoming indie film.

The trailer for 9/11, a fictional story about a group of people stranded in an elevator during the September 11 attacks starring Charlie Sheen, Whoopi Goldberg and Gina Gershon, has arrived.

In the short trailer, Sheen, sporting a suit and tie, enters an elevator in one of the towers alongside Gershon and Luis Guzman. As the doors close, text appears onscreen asking, “Where were you…” before transitioning to a befuddled Goldberg in a control room, counting lights off of a large circuit board before her.

Underscored by a dramatic orchestral arrangement, footage from the 2001 attacks and news coverage are interspersed with scenes of Sheen and company trapped in a North Tower elevator. Gershon and Sheen speak to their young son via cellphone as Goldberg explains to a group of firefighters that the elevators are down.

“I need you to try and get the hell out of there,” Goldberg tells Sheen’s group via intercom. 

As the trailer draws to a close, Sheen, Guzman and company lie on the floor of the elevator cart. “They say it’s not the fall that kills you,” Sheen tells Guzman.

“What is it then,” Guzman asks, before the wire holding the cart snaps and the group is suspended in weightless dispension as they plummet down the shaft. 

9/11 opens in theaters on Sept. 8. 

Watch the trailer below.



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Edward Norton Speaks Out About Climate Change and Trump


At a festival in Poland, the actor says citizens can meet environmental commitments “without the permission of the U.S. government.”

Edward Norton said Friday that citizen activism had the power to neutralize Donald Trump’s opposition to global climate change accords.

The actor and environmental campaigner said the U.S. President’s decision in early June to formally pull the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Accord was irrelevant when states such as New York and California had committed to tackling global warming at a local level.

The actor was speaking in Poland, where he noted the power of citizen activism in a reference to current mass nationwide demonstrations against moves by the government to undermine judicial independence. He said the environmental commitments of New York state and California would fill the hole left by Trump’s decision to walk away last month from the climate accord.

Giving a Master class in Lodz, Poland, where Norton was due later Friday to be honored with a “Glocal Hero” award at the closing of the 7th edition of the Transatlantyk Film Festival, Norton said between them, New York and California represent the “third largest economy in the world.” The commitment of those two states, along with a further “40 or 50” mayors and municipalities across the United States, would more than make up for the formal abandonment of the climate change treaty by the U.S. government, he said. 

“The truth is that the citizens of the U.S do not need Donald Trump to stay in the Paris Climate Accord,” the actor told an audience of more than 1,000 at a Masterclass hosted by the festival in the Grand Theater in Lodz.

Referring to mass protests across Poland over moves to replace the country’s independent judiciary with politically appointed judges, Norton added: “Talking about what is taking place in Poland today, we are at a moment when people are shocked about the apparent deconstruction of democratic principles, but we must remember that with technology and the network effect of the global community, it is much harder now for the political matrix to isolate people and control them.”

Norton, who is the UN’s Goodwill Ambassador for Biodiversity, added: “Whether it is individuals or cities or states, our capacity to create a shift through lots of determined local personal efforts, is real and it is actually happening.”

Dubbing Trump’s opposition to action on climate change “unbelievably regressive,” he said: “The truth is, that if you look, despite how terrifying the prospect of global environmental collapse is, looking at it from a slightly more optimistic angle, we have really only been aware of this for a few decades.”

“The truth is that out awareness and global generational acceptance that this is happening on a historic scale is moving fairly fast. I do think the era of denial is falling behind us.”

Norton said he was confident that, given the speed of change over the past two decades, he was confident positive change would come in the next 20 years: “It is a weird and frightening moment now, but there are also lots of signals that a global citizenry can make things happen. Ultimately, Exxon will suffer more. I think we are going to win.”



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Dwayne Johnson Won't Appear in 'Shazam!,' DC's Geoff Johns Says


The studio exec confirmed the news that Johnson’s Black Adam will not appear in the upcoming film.

Dwayne Johnson will not appear in the upcoming superhero film Shazam!, according to DC chief creative officer Geoff Johns.

“We haven’t announced any casting yet,” Johns told Yahoo Movies. “But Dwayne isn’t going to be in this movie. He’s still doing Black Adam, but he won’t be in Shazam!”

News of Shazam!, which follows a young boy who transforms into Earth’s mightiest mortal, being the next DC film in line to shoot was reported Thursday by The Hollywood Reporter. The film is yet to cast its leads, but Johnson has been attached to the role of Shazam’s main antagonist, Black Adam, since 2008.

Due to Johnson’s meteoric rise to one of the most bankable actors in Hollywood, however, a stand-alone Black Adam film was announced to showcase the star, with Johnson leading and producing. 

The plan at the moment seems to be making concurrent films, both Shazam! and Black Adam, with the intention of the two characters sharing the screen together further down the line. 



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'Mr. Robot' Creator Sam Esmail to Write, Direct Bermuda Triangle Movie


Universal’s film be tied to the Caribbean area where several ships and planes have disappeared under mysterious circumstances.

Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail will write, and is attached to direct, a new take on Universal’s Bermuda Triangle project.

Earlier drafts of the untitled project were written by Miles Millar & Alfred Gough, and Juliet Snowden & Stiles White. Details of the plot are being kept under wraps. The mysterious Caribbean area known as the Bermuda Triangle stretches between the Florida Straits, Bermuda and Puerto Rico. Over the years, several ships and planes have disappeared while in the area under mysterious circumstances. Theories about paranormal or alien causes have long swirled around these strange disappearances.

Dylan Clark (Planet of the Apes series) is producing for his Universal-based Dylan Clark Productions, along with Esmail and Chad Hamilton for their Esmail Corp.  Millar and Gough will executive produce.

Executive vp of production Jon Mone and vp Jay Polidoro will oversee the project on behalf of Universal. Beau Bauman will oversee on behalf of Dylan Clark Productions.

Esmail is known for creating created USA’s hacker thriller series Mr. Robot, which depicts an underground society of hackers with access to private, government and corporate secret. The series was nominated for six Emmys, with star Rami Malek winning for lead actor in a drama series. The third season is slated to premiere in October. Recently, Amazon ordered two seasons of Esmail’s series Homecoming starring Julia Roberts. He’s repped by CAA, Anonymous Content and McKuin Frankel Whitehead LLP.
 
 



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John Corbett, Lana Condor Join 'To All the Boys I've Loved Before' Film (Exclusive)


The Awesomeness Films project, based on the novel by Jenny Han, also stars Noah Centino, Janel Parrish, Israel Broussard and Andrew Bachelor.

Awesomeness Films has found the cast for its newest teen flick. 

X-Men: Apocalypse actress Lana Condor has signed on to star in To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before alongside John Corbett. The film, based on the novel by Jenny Han, is being directed by Susan Johnson and was written by Sofia Alvarez. Production on the film, which is also being produced by Awesomeness and Overbrook Entertainment, has begun in Vancouver. 

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before tells the story of Lara Jean Covey (Condor), a high school junior who spends her lunch reading and imagining her life as a fantasy. Then, one day her secret box of love letters is unexpectedly delivered to the boys she has had crushes on over the years. To avoid confrontation, she begins a fake relationship with one of them. Corbett will star as Lara’s father, a single dad trying to raise three daughters on his own. 

Rounding out the cast of the project are Noah Centineo (The Fosters) as Peter, a popular boy at school who receives one of Lara’s letters; Janel Parrish (Pretty Little Liars) as Lara’s older sister Margot; Israel Broussard (Happy Death Day) as next door neighbor Josh; Anna Cathcart (Descendants 2) as Lara’s younger sister Kitty; and social media star Andrew Bachelor, aka King Bach, as life of the party Greg. 

The To All the Boys casting comes a month after Netflix released Awesomeness Films’ thriller You Get Me starring Bella Thorne. The company, a division of youth media company Awesomeness, had its first theatrical release this spring with Before I Fall



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Rights Available! The Life of a Tragic Dance Legend


Amelia Gray’s ‘Isadora,’ about ballet great Isadora Duncan, and Rachel Caine’s ‘Stillhouse Lake’ are both ripe for optioning.

Isadora (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, May 23) by Amelia Gray
Agency: WME

With ballet movies in vogue (Red Sparrow, Swan Lake), this well-reviewed novel about tragic dance legend Isadora Duncan is well-timed. Gray picks up her story in 1913, just after her two children drowned when their car plunged off a bridge into the Seine.

Stillhouse Lake (Thomas & Mercer, July 1) by Rachel Caine
Agency: CAA

Perfect for an actress looking for a challenging role, this suspense thriller follows a shy housewife who, after discovering her husband is a serial killer, morphs into a gun-toting warrior who tries to build a new life for her kids — only to have trouble follow her.

This story first appeared in the July 19 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.



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