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The Zocalo Today

Wordle Welcome and thank you for dropping by. Babylon 5 brought many of us together -- and it remains with us, despite the fact that is no longer in production. The good thing is that the internet gives a LOT of ways to stay in touch. Don't be shy. Join in the discussion today or drop by Facebook or Twitter.

If you have questions or items for the news, drop me a line at sgbruckner@aol.com.

Latest

NEWS FROM AUGUST 2015

MONDAY, AUGUST 31, 2015


WES CRAVEN DEAD AT 76
Legendary horror movie director Wes Craven died Sunday, Aug. 30, following a battle with brain cancer. He was 76. The news comes from The Hollywood Reporter, who received word from his family of his passing. Shortly after the announcement, Craven’s Twitter account tweeted a photo of the director, confirming the death.

Craven’s first directorial effort, “The Last House on the Left,” was released in 1972, paving the way for an iconic career that included horror franchises “The Hills Have Eyes,” “A Nightmare on Elm Street” and “Scream” — the latter two becoming box office hits that spawned multiple sequels and, in the case of “Nightmare,” a remake. The last movie he helmed, “Scream 4,” hit theaters in 2011 and starred Emma Roberts and Neve Campbell.

At the time of his death, Craven was serving as executive producer to MTV’s “Scream” series. He is survived by his wife Iya Labunka and two children from a previous marriage.


MINIONS BOX OFFICE CROSSES $1 BILLION
Minions has crossed the $1 billion mark at the worldwide box office, a rare feat for an animated film.

The movie, from Illumination Entertainment and Universal, has grossed $321.9 million domestically and $682 million internationally to become the No. 3 animated film of all time and the top grossing of 2015 to date, not accounting for inflation.

This milestone also marks the first time any studio has had three films cross $1 billion at the worldwide box office in a single year. Furious 7 has earned $1.51 billion for Universal, while Jurassic World has earned $1.628 billion to date.

The only other animated titles that have crossed $1 billion are Disney's Frozen ($1.274 billion) and Pixar's Toy Story 3 ($1.06 billion).

Pixar and Disney's Inside Out, the summer's other animated tentpole, has earned $701 million to date. It's ahead of Minions in the U.S. with $343 million in earnings, and has yet to open in many international markets.


SUICIDE SQUAD WRAPS
The movie remains a year away from release, but director David Ayer marked the end of principal photography for Warner Bros' Suicide Squad on Twitter Friday with a portrait of the entire cast and crew.

There are some fun details to be picked out of the shot, including two Harley Quinns and Deadshots — Margot Robbie, Will Smith and, presumably, stand-ins or stunt doubles.

Much of the core cast is still in costume (including Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje standing tall — literally — as Killer Croc in the left of the photo), while Common is notably either not in costume or in a costume that's not particularly recognizable. There's also cast chairs with the title "Bravo 14," the fake name the movie shot under.

With a cast that also includes Joel Kinnaman, Viola Davis and Jared Leto as the Joker, Suicide Squad will be released Aug. 5, 2016.

AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.
n related Marvel news, visual effects company FuseFX has brought online a VFX reel from the second season of “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”

“Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” returns for an action-packed third season, with Director Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) and Agent Daisy Johnson (Chloe Bennet) leading the charge as S.H.I.E.L.D. searches the world for more powered people in the aftermath of their epic battle with Jiaying and her army of Inhumans. However, Coulson and the team soon find out that they are not the only group looking for these new Inhumans. Many months after their war with a rogue group of Inhumans, the team is still reeling. Coulson is again trying to put the pieces of his once revered organization back together while also dealing with the loss of his hand. His confidante and second in command, Agent Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen), has yet to return from an impromptu vacation with ex-husband Andrew (Blair Underwood); deadly superspy Agent Bobbi Morse (Adrianne Palicki) is recovering from her traumatic torture at the hands of Grant Ward (Brett Dalton); Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) is obsessed with discovering the truth behind the mysterious disappearance of Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge); and all are on high-alert for the next move from Ward and Hydra.

“Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” Season Three premieres on September 29 at 9:00 on ABC.

AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON
Following the featurettes earlier this week, Marvel Studios has debuted a new Avengers Powers featurette that looks at the process of translating unique new powers from script to screen. Avengers: Age of Ultron, which has earned $1.401 billion at the worldwide box office, will be available on Digital HD September 8 and on 3D Blu-ray, Blu-ray, DVD, Digital SD and VOD October 2.

Written and directed by Joss Whedon, Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron stars Robert Downey Jr., who returns as Iron Man, along with Chris Evans as Captain America, Chris Hemsworth as Thor and Mark Ruffalo as The Hulk. Together with Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow and Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, and with the additional support of Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Don Cheadle as James Rhodes/War Machine, Cobie Smulders as Agent Maria Hill and Stellan Skarsgård as Erik Selvig, the team must reassemble to defeat James Spader as Ultron, a terrifying technological villain hell-bent on human extinction. Along the way, they confront two mysterious and powerful newcomers, Wanda Maximoff, played by Elizabeth Olsen, and Pietro Maximoff, played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and meet an old friend in a new form when Paul Bettany becomes Vision.

GOOSEBUMPS
A new Goosebumps international trailer has been released today and you can check it out in the player below, thanks to Sony Pictures India (via /Film)! This one features even more Goosebumps monster mayhem from the October release.

Directed by Rob Letterman, the big screen adaptation of R.L. Stine‘s classic YA books stars Jack Black, Amy Ryan, Ken Marino, Dylan Minnette, Odeya Rush, Jillian Bell and Ryan Lee.

Upset about moving from a big city to a small town, teenager Zach Cooper (Dylan Minnette) finds a silver lining when he meets the beautiful girl, Hannah (Odeya Rush), living right next door. But every silver lining has a cloud, and Zach’s comes when he learns that Hannah has a mysterious dad who is revealed to be R. L. Stine (Jack Black), the author of the bestselling “Goosebumps” series. It turns out that there is a reason why Stine is so strange… he is a prisoner of his own imagination – the monsters that his books made famous are real, and Stine protects his readers by keeping them locked up in their books. When Zach unintentionally unleashes the monsters from their manuscripts and they begin to terrorize the town, it’s suddenly up to Stine, Zach, and Hannah to get all of them back in the books where they belong.

“All the early monsters that are in the books [are in the film],” the real life R.L. Stine told ComingSoon.net in an exclusive interview last month. “They all come out, they’re all there. The real evil one is Slappy the Dummy, he’s there, the Abominable Snowman from Pasadena is there, and lawn gnomes, HUNDREDS of lawn gnomes. They’re great, they’re really good.”

THE FLASH
Australian network FOX8 has debuted another quick promo for The Flash featuring a new bit of footage from the upcoming second season. Check it out in the player below and don’t forget to read our latest feature, 25 Villains We Want to See on Arrow, The Flash and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow.

The Flash stars Grant Gustin as Barry Allen/The Flash, Candice Patton as Iris West, Rick Cosnett as Eddie Thawne, Danielle Panabaker as Caitlin Snow, Carlos Valdes as Cisco Ramon and Jesse L. Martin as Detective Joe West. It’s executive produced by Greg Berlanti, Andrew Kreisberg, David Nutter and Sarah Schechter.

Following the defeat of Barry Allen’s arch-nemesis Eobard Thawne (aka Reverse Flash), Team Flash quickly turned their attention to the singularity swirling high above Central City, which fans last saw consuming everything in its path. Armed with the heart of a hero and the ability to move at super speeds, Barry charged into the eye of the singularity, but will he actually be able to save his city from impending doom?

The Flash will premiere its second season on Tuesday, October 6 at 8 p.m. EST.

STAR WARS REBELS
Ahsoka gives the Ghost crew some easy advice as they set out to find her mysterious ally in an all-new preview from Star Wars Rebels. Season 2 gets under way this fall, and it picks up with right where Season 1 left off. Ahsoka brings her new friends the head of a tactical droid, telling them to trust her old friend when they finally find him (is it Obi-Wan?). She, on the other hand, is off to hunt for a Sith Lord who holds some all-too important answers in her quest to restoring justice to the galaxy.

Star Wars: Clone Wars fans were surprised and shocked when Ahsoka made her appearance on the Star Wars Rebels Season 1 finale Fire Across the Galaxy. Over the course of six years, we got to see Ahsoka Tano grow from Anakin's padawan to a kickass Jedi. In the final episodes of Star Wars: Clone Wars, Tano was framed for terrorism, put on trial, and eventually booted from the Jedi order. She managed to cleared her name, but the Jedi counsel never felt they could fully trust her. She refused to be reinstated as a member of the Jedi counsel, and instead said good-bye to Anakin. This probably saved her when Emperor Palpatine instilled the great Jedi purge with Order 66.

When Ahsoka reemerged on Star Wars Rebels, fans learned that Tano was an early member of the Rebel Alliance. She put her skills as one of the few remaining Jedis to good use, helping to gather the army that would eventually take down the first Death Star. In this summer's Star Wars Rebels special titled The Siege of Lothal, we see that Ahsoka senses something off in Darth Vader, and that the Sith Lord may be her old master.

As we see in this sneak peek, Ahsoka's suspicions are leading her on an investigation into the backstory on this Sith Lord known as Darth Vader. A confrontation between Darth Vader and Ahsoka is inevitable, but it isn't known if this will happen in Star Wars Rebels new season, or if this relationship will continue to spread throughout the series as it carries on for many seasons into the future. Ahsoka is never mentioned or seen in the original trilogy, so we have to assume that she died at some point before the action seen in Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope. And if she's going to die, wouldn't it make sense for her to finally be murdered by her former master? That certainly adds another layer of angst to Anakin's harrowing history.

In Star Wars Rebels Season 2, past lives will be revealed and the destiny of our heroes will be changed forever. The transformative new season resumes with Imperial oppression on Lothal growing stronger and the rebels seeking out new allies and additional resources to sustain their fight against the evil Empire. With the help of Ahsoka Tano, the crew of the Ghost enlists some old friends: ex-clone troopers who fought in the Clone Wars. As the rebels grow in number, so do their enemies. New Inquisitors are dispatched by Darth Vader and sent to crush any threat of rebellion. Through dangerous rescue missions, thrilling space chases, and spectacular lightsaber duels - the bond of our rebel crew will be put to the test like never before. Along with this special preview, we also have a new poster. Enjoy. New episodes of Star Wars Rebels begin Wednesday, October 14 (9:30 p.m., ET/PT) on Disney XD.

FRIDAY, AUGUST 28, 2015

STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS
“There’s been an awakening, can you feel it?”

That’s the primary question posed in the new “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” trailer that debuted on Instagram on Thursday (Aug. 27). If you can’t feel the awakening maybe you can feel the excitement of a closer look at Finn (John Boyega) with a lightsaber.

A new poster for the film revealed at D23 shows that Finn will be wielding the chosen weapon of the Jedi, but the teaser takes it to a new level by pumping up a showdown between him and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). There’s also a quick glance at Rey (Daisy Ridley) and BB8.

Feel the force fully awaken on Dec. 18, 2015 when “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” flies into theaters.


GALAXY QUEST TV SERIES
There have been rumblings of a Galaxy Quest revival for a while, and now the project has apparently found a home: Amazon Prime.

Entertainment Weekly reports the 1999 cult hit has landed at Amazon, after being shopped around to several different suitors by Paramount. Even better? The streaming service has tapped the film’s co-writer, Robert Gordon, to write and produce, along with the film’s director Dean Parisot also back behind the camera. Executive producers Mark Johnson and Melissa Bernstein are also set to return.

As for the star-studded cast of Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Alan Rickman, Sam Rockwell, Tony Shalhoub, etc.? It’s far too early to say whether or not Amazon plans to bring the cast back for a revival series, or reboot and recast the concept with a new group of actors. But, considering this motley crew would be a hard one to bring back for a TV series. So, no word on exactly which (in-story) washed-up actors will be heading into deep space to save us all.

Best guess? They’ll probably go the recasting route, which we have to note, didn’t work out so well with that aborted Zombieland pilot a few years ago. But, Amazon has come a long way since then with buzzy projects like Transparent and The Man in the High Castle, so maybe the studio is at a point now where they could actually pull it off. But, could you imagine how great it would be if they could actually get the original cast back 15 years later? Let’s keep dreaming.

IRON GIANT
One of the greatest animated films in modern history, The Iron Giant, is coming back to the big screen — and here’s a stunning new trailer to prove it.

Subtitled the Signature Edition, this remastered cut of Brad Bird’s animated classic will include improved animation and additional scenes not previously shown in theaters. The film originally opened in 1999 to little fanfare, but has become an acclaimed cult classic in the decade and a half since. Plus, the director went on to make a few more classics (see: The Incredibles).

The film is set to play in select theaters nationwide, with screenings at 7:30 p.m. (local times) on Sept. 30, and again at midnight on Oct. 4. That’s it, so go ahead and get your tickets now. Along with the nationwide release, the Signature Edition is also headed to the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival next month. If you can’t make it out to a theater, Warner Bros. is also planning a home release at some point in the fall.

So, how does it hold up? In an age of overblown CGI, the clean (and now remastered) animation/CGI hybrid look of Iron Giant seems like a throwback to a forgotten era. In a good way.

STAR TREK: RENEGADES
Fan films are sophisticated enough that they now rival television shows in terms of acting talent and special effects. The most recent fan-tacular Star Trek film, Star Trek: Renegades, which hit YouTube today, is no exception.

According to Trek Renegade’s YouTube channel, below is the pilot episode in what producers hope is an ongoing series. Walter Keonig (Chekov) has signed on as a member of the recurring cast, and the episode contains Star Trek: Voyager alumni Tim Russ (Tuvok), Robert Picardo (the Doctor), Manu Intiraymi (Icheb) and Richard Herd (Admiral Paris).

In addition, Renegades includes other recognizable names such as Edward Furlong (Terminator 2), Sean Young (Blade Runner, Dune), Adrienne Marie Wilkinson (Xena: Warrior Princess), Herbert Jefferson Jr (original Battlestar Galactica), Gary Graham (Alien Nation) and others.

So, what’s it all about? In 2388, it seems that the dilithium-crystal-producing planet of Reuel Seven had been folded into the fabric of space-time, as has a planet in the Gamma Tauri system. To quote one Lt. Masaru, “These are not natural phenomena.”

Admiral Chekov pins the blame on an alien named Borrada. But for some reason, the council isn’t calling the hue and cry. Perhaps because one of Borrada’s allies sits on the council? It’s up to Chekov to gather a ragtag band of outsiders to do what the Federation will not -- and learn who's behind Borrada's machinations.

The fan film suffers from some extreme closeups and lighting that’s just a bit too harsh. But the makeup is spectacular, the protagonists are engaging, and the antagonists are nicely threatening.

We’re looking forward to seeing more from the Renegades team.

GOTHAM
FOX has just released a new Gotham tv spot that teases an exploration of the mysterious cave discovered by Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) and Alfred Pennyworth (Sean Pertwee) at the end of season one. It was recently revealed by Mazouz that, while this isn’t the Batcave, it will have a life-changing impact on the future caped crusader. Check out the video in the player below and catch the first new Gotham since early May when season two premieres Monday, September 21.

Everyone knows the name Commissioner Gordon. He is one of the crime world’s greatest foes, a man whose reputation is synonymous with law and order. But what is known of Gordon’s story and his rise from rookie detective to Police Commissioner? What did it take to navigate the multiple layers of corruption that secretly ruled Gotham City, the spawning ground of the world’s most iconic villains? And what circumstances created them – the larger-than-life personas who would become Catwoman, The Penguin, The Riddler, Two-Face and The Joker?

“Gotham” is an origin story of the great DC Comics super villains and vigilantes, revealing an entirely new chapter that has never been told. From executive producer/writer Bruno Heller (“The Mentalist,” “Rome”), “Gotham” follows one cop’s rise through a dangerously corrupt city teetering on the edge of evil and chronicles the birth of one of the most popular super heroes of our time. The series stars Ben McKenzie, Donal Logue, Sean Pertwee, Robin Lord Taylor, Erin Richards, David Mazouz, Camren Bicondova, Zabryna Guevara, Cory Michael Smith, Victoria Cartagena, Andrew Stewart Jones, and John Doman. Newcomers for the second season include Natalie Alyn Lind, Jessica Lucas, James Frain, and Michael Chiklis.

HEMLOCK GROVE
Netflix has revealed the Hemlock Grove Season 3 trailer for what will be known as “The Final Chapter.”

The series is from Gaumont International Television and executive producer Eli Roth. Hemlock Grove is based on Brian McGreevy’s novel of the same name. Showrunner Charles H. (Chic) Eglee will return for the ten-episode final season, which is slated to stream exclusively on Netflix beginning October 23.

In the second season, the town of Hemlock Grove continued to come to grips with the shocking massacre incurred by one of its deadliest creatures. Roman (Bill Skarsgard) and Peter (Landon Liboiron) faced new responsibilities and the realities that come with adulthood. Roman struggled with his relationship with his mother (Famke Janssen) as he wrestled with his unwanted Upir birthright and the disappearance of his sister, Shelley (Madeleine Martin). Peter moved in with Destiny (Kaniehtiio Horn) and was forced to get a job after his mother was sent away.

Meanwhile, in search of a new life, newcomer Miranda Cates (Madeline Brewer), embarked on Hemlock Grove with an unknowingly profound effect on Peter and Roman. And Norman (Dougray Scott), still reeling from the loss of his family, faced the harsh truth about those he loved.


THE ASSASSIN'S CREED
20th Century Fox and New Regency (Via Yahoo!) have revealed the first official look at Michael Fassbender in the upcoming Assassin’s Creed movie.

Fassbender plays Callum Lynch in the film, an original character not from any of the many games in the series. The film is officially described as follows:

Through a revolutionary technology that unlocks his genetic memories, Callum Lynch (Michael Fassbender) experiences the adventures of his ancestor, Aguilar, in 15th Century Spain. Callum discovers he is descended from a mysterious secret society, the Assassins, and amasses incredible knowledge and skills to take on the oppressive and powerful Templar organization in the present day.

Assassin’s Creed stars Academy Award nominee Michael Fassbender (X-Men: Days of Future Past, 12 Years a Slave) and Academy Award winner Marion Cotillard (The Dark Knight Rises, La Vie en Rose). The film is directed by Justin Kurzel (Snowtown, Macbeth); produced by New Regency, Ubisoft Motion Pictures, DMC Films and Kennedy/Marshall; co-financed by RatPac Entertainment and Alpha Pictures; and distributed by 20th Century Fox. The Assassin’s Creed movie opens in theaters worldwide on December 21st, 2016.

Production is set to begin on Assassin’s Creed tomorrow with photography taking place in Matla, London, and Spain.

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 26, 2015


THE FLASH
The cast for The CW’s The Flash continues to swell for the eagerly-anticipated second season, and now we have yet another speedster — and villain — added to the mix.

TV Line reports newcomer Violett Beane has signed on to play DC Comics speedster Jesse Quick, aka Jesse Chambers, a speedster first introduced to the comic canon in 1992. Beane is signed on for a multiple episode arc, and her character is described as a “brilliant but quirky college student who gets caught up in the battle between The Flash and Season 2 Big Bad (the not-yet-cast) Zoom.” Along with Jay Garrick and Wally West, the second season is looking a whole lot faster than year one.

In addition to Beane’s Jesse, the series has also cast Demore Barnes as the comic villain Tokamak, aka Henry Hewitt, who is best known as a recurring villain for Firestorm. The casting news comes from ComicBook.com. The character is described as "a charming, but cocky scientist who was affected by the same Particle Accelerator explosion that created the Flash. When Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker) recruits him to join the team at S.T.A.R. Labs, Hewitt jumps at the opportunity to fulfill his destiny as a powerful meta-human."

His story is a bit different in the comics, as the character has typically been portrayed as the head of a corrupt energy conglomerate. As Tokamak, he also has powers similar to Firestorm and has used an armored suit. Again, since this is the TV adaptation, who knows how much (or little) they’ll use from the comic lore.


MAN OF STEEL 2
Although Warner Bros. Pictures is rolling out an ambitious slate of DC Comics-based movies over the next five years, the fate of one film remains uncertain.

That movie is Man of Steel 2, which cannot be found anywhere on the list of films that the studio has mapped out between now and 2020 -- a list that includes Suicide Squad, two Justice League pictures, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Cyborg, Green Lantern Corps and Shazam.

Nevertheless, a rumor broke last week that Man of Steel 2 was in fact in the works and that Mad Max: Fury Road genius George Miller was being wooed to direct it. Now, however, a source has told Den Of Geek that Miller is indeed in talks to direct a movie for Warner Bros. -- and that it is not Man of Steel 2, which is apparently on "permanent hold."

On the surface that makes sense. As played by Henry Cavill, Kal-El's next screen appearance will be in March's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, with Justice League Parts 1 and 2 scheduled to start filming fairly soon after that for release in 2017 and 2019. With all those and the other DC movies in production, there might not even be room to make Man of Steel 2 for a good long while.

Then again, Warner Bros. is allegedly planning to make three more solo Batman movies with Ben Affleck, so could it be that the studio simply doesn't feel like another standalone Superman movie is warranted? Man of Steel was a hit ($668 million worldwide), but not the billion-dollar blockbuster Warner was hoping for.

That responsibility now falls upon Batman v Superman, and its success or lack thereof will have a major impact on the rest of the DC Cinematic Universe -- including the future of Superman. If Batman v Superman and the Justice League two-parter are huge enough, then perhaps the studio will feel more comfortable with doing Man of Steel 2.

STAR TREK TRIBUTE
The final entry in the Star Trek Beyond promo campaign for the Omaze charity project has arrived, and it’s a fond farewell to a legend.

Hosted by Zachary Quinto, the featurette finds the cast and crew of Star Trek Beyond honoring the legacy of the late Leonard Nimoy and the impact he made in the decades he played Spock. In a move Nimoy would certainly be proud of, the campaign spotlights one of Nimoy’s favorite charities: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

The Omaze campaign has the Star Trek Beyond team working with the charity group to raise money and awareness for several different charities. For a $10 donation, fans are entered to win a grand prize walk-on role in Star Trek Beyond, and each week they are randomly selecting an additional winner to visit the set, hang with the cast and watch the sequel as it's made.

Even though Nimoy can’t be there, it’s nice to see the cast and crew include his favorite charity. If nothing else, he’s there in spirit. LLAP.


MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE
Sony Pictures has brought on Thor: Ragnarok screenwriter Christopher Yost to take a crack at the Masters of the Universe script, according to a new report at Variety. The project has been in development for years, but fans hoped that it may finally get off the ground earlier this year, when the studio released a new Masters of the Universe logo, and it was revealed that Jeff Wadlow's (Kick-Ass 2) script was complete. It seems the studio is going back to the drawing board with yet another writing coming on board.

The franchise is set on the planet Eternia, following a young man named Adam who has the power to turn himself into a mighty warrior named He-Man. Adam becomes the planet's last hope to defeat the evil Skeletor, who has devastated the entire planet on his quest to conquer castle Greyskull. It isn't known how much the plot of this adaptation will be altered with another writer on board, or whether it will be set on Earth or Eternia.

Masters of the Universe was first launched as a toy line from Mattel in 1982, which quickly spawned He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, an animated series that debuted in 1983. The spin-off She-Ra: Princess of Power debuted in 1985, with the Masters of the Universe live-action feature debuting in 1987, starring Dolph Lundgren as He-Man and Frank Langella as the nefarious Skeletor.

Throughout the years, writers such as Evan Daugherty (Divergent), Alex Litvak and Michael Finch (Predators), Richard Wenk, Terry Rossio and Jeff Wadlow have been attached to the project. The director's chair has been a revolving door as well, with John Stevenson (Kung Fu Panda), and, most recently, Jon M. Chu set to direct. Escape Artists' Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal and Steve Tisch are producing.

Christopher Yost started his writing career on the small screen, working on animated shows such as X-Men: Evolution, Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes and Iron Man: Armored Adventures. After writing the animated feature Hulk Vs., and doing some uncredited work on the first Thor, he was brought in to write the script for 2013's Thor: The Dark World. He is currently writing Thor: Ragnarok with Craig Kyle. Masters of the Universe is in development.


UNDERWORLD 5
Now that Screen Gems' Underworld 5 has brought back franchise star Kate Beckinsale to reprise her role as the vampire Selene, the studio is starting to round out the supporting cast. Deadline reports that Outlander star Tobias Menzies has signed on to play a new Lycan leader named Marius. Theo James is also confirmed to star, reprising his role as David from 2012's Underworld Awakening.

The project reunites Tobias Menzies with director Anna Foerster, who is making her feature directorial debut with Underworld 5. The filmmaker directed the controversial Outlander season finale, where Tobias Menzies' character Frank Randall tortured and sexually assaulted Sam Heughan's Jamie Fraser. Deadline reports that this deal wasn't easy to make, but Outlander is a Sony-produced show, and since Screen Gems is a sister company to the studio, they most likely facilitated the deal.

Little is known about the Underworld 5 story, except that it is said to center on younger vampires and werewolves who are stuck in a long-standing war between the two species. The project was initially conceived as a reboot, with a script by Cory Goodman (Priest, Apollo 18), but it was later revealed that the story will instead center on Theo James' David. The initial report from last year revealed the studio is seeking actresses to play two new female characters, but they have not been cast yet.

The Underworld franchise has never been a massive box office juggernaut, but they have always performed fairly well, for the budget they are given. The first Underworld, which hit theaters in 2003, earned $51.9 domestic and $95.7 million worldwide from a $22 million budget. The 2006 follow-up Underworld: Evolution fared a bit better, earning $62.3 million domestic and $111.3 million worldwide. Underworld 3: The Rise of The Lycans, the first movie in the franchise that Kate Beckinsale didn't star in, earned $45.8 million domestic and $91.3 million worldwide, from a $33 million production budget. The last installment, 2012's Underworld Awakening, brought back Kate Beckinsale, earning a franchise-best $160.2 million worldwide ($62.3 million domestic).

Tobias Menzies most recently starred in Black Sea alongside Jude Law on the big screen. Along with his role as Frank Randall in Outlander, the actor played Edmure Tully in HBO's hit series Game of Thrones.

Underworld 5 comes to theaters October 21st, 2016.

MONDAY, AUGUST 24, 2015


HAVEN CANCELLED AFTER SEASON 5
The upcoming second half of Season 5 will be the last for Syfy’s “Haven.” The network has canceled the series, based on Stephen King’s short story “The Colorado Kid,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Before the show calls it a day, it has 13 more episodes in its expanded fifth season to get through, which showrunner Gabrielle Stanton believes will give “Haven” a proper ending. Speaking with The Wrap, Stanton says, “We really looked at these 13 episodes as if … If we were indeed going to end, what would be the best ending we could possibly do for ‘Haven’?”

“Haven” will return for the second half of Season 5 in October on Syfy.

GOTHAM
Jim Gordon (Ben Mackenzie) might be looking forward to a “new day,” but so are the villains of “Gotham.”

“Villains will rise” is the tag line of the show’s Season 2 trailer that predominantly features Cameron Monaghan’s Jerome stirring up trouble. Theo Galavan (James Frain) certainly seems interested in the ginger’s intense laugh — and seems to be pulling the strings when it comes to the evil powers that be in the sophomore season.

Galavan’s sister Tabitha (Jessica Lucas) is also there to help as Tigress, with Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor) and Edward Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) also making appearances to join in the fun.

Will Jim be able to cope with this uprising? Find out when “Gotham” returns Sept. 21.

ASH VS. EVIL DEAD
Starz has released the new trailer for their upcoming series “Ash vs Evil Dead,” which is set to premiere on Halloween night.

“Ash vs Evil Dead” is the long-awaited follow-up to the classic horror film franchise The Evil Dead. The 10-episode first season of the half-hour series executive produced by Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert and Bruce Campbell, the original filmmakers of the franchise, and Craig DiGregorio, who will serve as executive producer and showrunner.

Campbell will be reprising his role as Ash, the stock boy, aging lothario and chainsaw-handed monster hunter who has spent the last 30 years avoiding responsibility, maturity and the terrors of the Evil Dead. When a Deadite plague threatens to destroy all of mankind, Ash is finally forced to face his demons –personal and literal. Destiny, it turns out, has no plans to release the unlikely hero from its “Evil” grip.

The cast is led by Bruce Campbell (Evil Dead, “Burn Notice”) in the role of Ash Williams, Lucy Lawless (“Salem,” “Spartacus”) as Ruby a mysterious figure who believes Ash is the cause of the Evil outbreaks, Ray Santiago (“Touch,” Meet the Fockers) as Pablo Simon Bolivar, an idealistic immigrant who becomes Ash’s loyal sidekick, Dana DeLorenzo (A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas) as Kelly Maxwell, a moody wild child trying to outrun her past and Jill Marie Jones (“Sleepy Hollow”) as Amanda Fisher, a disgraced Michigan State Trooper set to find our anti-hero Ash and prove his responsibility in the grisly murder of her partner.

Raimi is directing the first episode of “Ash vs Evil Dead” that he wrote with Ivan Raimi (Darkman, Army of Darkness, Drag Me to Hell), and Tom Spezialy (“Chuck,” “Reaper,” “Desperate Housewives”). Raimi will also serve as executive producer, with Rob Tapert (Evil Dead, “Spartacus,” “Xena: Warrior Princess”) and Bruce Campbell (Evil Dead, “Burn Notice”) along with Craig DiGregorio (“Workaholics,” “Chuck”) who will serve as executive producer/showrunner. Ivan Raimi will co-executive produce and Aaron Lam (“Spartacus”) and Chloe Smith (“Spartacus”) will serve as producers.

PROJECT GREENLIGHT RETURNING
With its first new season in a decade, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon’s Project Greenlight is returning to HBO next month. In the player below, you can check out a Project Greenlight trailer for the new, fourth season. Then, in the gallery below that, we’ve got a first look at the show’s new poster design.

Spanning the entire filmmaking process, Project Greenlight takes a revealing, uncensored look at the challenges facing a first-time director. The show begins with a digital competition, following the winner from pre-production and casting through principal photography and post-production. Equipped with a Hollywood-vetted script and surrounded by a team of industry professionals, the fledgling director must learn to cope with pressure from the studio and producers, survive on-set politics and lead a veteran cast and crew, all while trying to deliver a viable movie – on schedule and on budget.

“‘Project Greenlight’ was ahead of its time,” said Affleck when the new season was announced in April 2014. “Now that technology has caught up to the concept, we thought it was a perfect time to bring it back. A whole new generation of filmmakers has grown up sharing everything, and the next big director could be just an upload away. It is really great having ‘Project Greenlight’ back at HBO.”

“‘Project Greenlight’ works,” added Damon. “Careers have been launched and sustained as a direct result of this contest. Pete Jones, John Gulager, Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan are just a few of the PGL alums who’ve gone on to do great things in Hollywood, and Ben and I are really proud of that.”

The new season of Project Greenlight will have its season premiere Sunday, September 13. It is produced for HBO by Adaptive Studios, Affleck and Damon’s Pearl Street Films, and Miramax Executive producers also include Adaptive’s Marc Joubert, TJ Barrack, Perrin Chiles and Marshall Lewy, and Miramax’s Zanne Devine.

FRIDAY, AUGUST 21, 2015


DAREDEVIL
The official “Daredevil” Twitter account posted a photo of Matt Murdock’s (Charlie Cox) hero outfit, along with the line, “The suit makes the man,” to get fans excited for Season 2.

In the Netflix-Marvel collaboration, Murdock originally wore an all-black ninja-like outfit during his adventures defending Hell’s Kitchen. It was only toward the end of Season 1 that he upgraded to a more traditional “Daredevil” red suit.

While some excited fans jumped to assume that this Twitter photo is teasing a new Daredevil costume in Season 2, Marvel confirms that it is still the same outfit Murdock wore in Season 1.

Season 2 is currently in production, and it is delving deeper into the Marvel comic books by adding Elektra (Elodie Young) and The Punisher (Jon Bernthal). Deborah Ann Woll, Rosario Dawson and Elden Henson also star.

With “Marvel’s Jessica Jones” hitting Netflix later in 2015, “Daredevil” Season 2 is due in theaters in 2016.

FALLING SKIES
Few actors have as eclectic a resume as Doug Jones. A former contortionist, Jones has become best-known for his movement work, particularly done with his features obscured by makeup or prosthetics. You've seen him as Abe Sapien in Hellboy and Hellboy II: The Golden Army, as the Faun and the Pale Man in Pan's Labyrinth, as the body of the Silver Surfer in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, and as a list of creatures and critters too long to list here in other sci-fi, horror and fantasy fare.

I recently had the chance to chat with him about two of his more recent efforts -- his turn as Cochise in Falling Skies and his recent addition to the cast of The Strain -- and what we could expect from them, working with Guillermo del Toro, and whether there actually is a dark side lurking below that gentle exterior.

THE MARTIAN
The second full-length trailer for Ridley Scott’s The Martian has landed, and Matt Damon is definitely going to have his hands full on the Red Planet.

The film is based on Andy Weir’s 2011 novel of the same name, and follows astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) after he is presumed dead and left behind during a fierce storm on Mars. Things get interesting when Watney wakes up a few hours later, all alone, forced to find a way to survive with limited resources. We get a look at Watney’s journey on the planet, as well as a potentially dangerous and unauthorized rescue mission to save him. Along with Damon, the film also stars Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Kate Mara, Michael Pena, Jeff Daniels, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Donald Glover.

There’s a decent bit of new footage here, and the entire package seems to do a much better job of balancing the action, comedy (“In your face, Neil Armstrong!”) and drama. Yes, the first trailer looked great, but this one really sells the concept a bit more. You get a better feel for Watney’s wit, and see a bit more of the ground mission aiming to save him. They also get immediate cool points for using “All Along the Watchtower” in the trailer. Fits the tone quite well.

The Martian opens Oct. 2.


AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.
Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen) is one of toughest female characters on television, with the body count and nickname (“the Cavalry”) to prove it. But in Season 3, we may be seeing more—or, sadly, less—of the Cavalry.

According to TV Guide, Melinda may be leaving the team we know and love.

We learned in the fabulous episode “Melinda” about the toll her work has taken on her marriage and her emotional state. When last we saw her, May was working on repairing her relationship with ex-husband Andrew Garner. This becomes the starting-off point for May’s emotional journey in Season 3.

TV Guide writes,

This season will find May struggling over whether S.H.I.E.L.D. still deserves her focus or if she should instead rebuild her personal life. “In any situation when someone is so devoted to their work as May was, but then realizing over the last two years that S.H.I.E.L.D. isn’t really what she dedicated her life to,” Wen tells TVGuide.com. “That there was definitely a lot of corruption to S.H.I.E.L.D., as well as uncertainty now with the Inhumans being brought in by Coulson. It’s going to be figuring out her final decision in Season 3 and I think Andrew will probably play a part in it.”

It would be a shame to lose May. She doesn’t just provide the muscle. She also acts a surrogate mother to Skye/Daisy—perhaps more so now, since Daisy’s birth mother Jiaying is now deceased. And evil.

Will she stay or will she go? Only the writers know for certain. And as we know from Wade's betrayal and Jiaying's manipulation of Cal, they’re sadistic bastids.


MARVEL'S MOST WANTED
ABC and Marvel are changing course on their former Agents of SHIELD spinoff.

The network has handed out a pilot order to a Marvel drama starring Adrianne Palicki as Bobbi Morse (aka Mockingbird) and Nick Blood (Lance Hunter), The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.

Titled Marvel's Most Wanted, the drama was rumored to be in early development last pilot season and was originally conceived as an Agents of SHIELD spinoff featuring both characters. However, Marvel and ABC have instead picked up a pilot for what's being described as a new take focusing on the same duo and their continuing adventures.

Sources tell THR that it's too soon to determine how — or if — the potential new series would be launched as a backdoor pilot in the upcoming third season of Marvel's first ABC scripted drama.

Marvel's Most Wanted hails from the same producers as last year's similarly conceived spinoff: SHIELD executive producer Jeffrey Bell (Angel, The X-Files) and series writer Paul Zbyszewski (Lost), with Marvel TV head Jeph Loeb also attached as an EP.

For ABC, Marvel has remained a priority at the network with both SHIELD and midseason bridge series Agent Carter scoring renewals. The companies are also teaming for a top-secret project from American Crime mastermind John Ridley.


KONG: SKULL ISLAND
Toby Kebbell, who is coming off a villainous turn as Dr. Doom in Fantastic Four, is in negotiations to join the cast of Legendary and Universal’s monster movie, Kong: Skull Island.

Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson and Corey Hawkins are starring in the project, with Samuel L. Jackson and John C. Reilly circling the roll call.

Jordan Vogt-Roberts is sitting in the director’s chair to tell the tale of a team of explorers venture into the mysterious, creature-laden isle that is also the home of the king of the apes.

As The Hollywood Reporter reported Tuesday, screenwriter Derek Connolly has been brought on to work on the project as it heads towards a late October production start in Hawaii.

Legendary’s Thomas Tull and Jon Jashni are producing with Mary Parent. The movie is scheduled for a March 10, 2017 release.

Legendary is already a fan of Kebbell’s, having hired him for it fantasy movie Warcraft. The actor is also one of the stars of MGM’s Ben-Hur and will appear in J.A. Bayona’s A Monster Calls.


STAR WARS REBELS
Star Wars Rebels is set to return to television this fall, and Lucasfilm and Disney XD have announced today that fans attending New York Comic-Con will get a sneak peek of the new season as two brand new episodes will screen.

The Star Wars Rebels panel will take place on the Empire Stage from 1:30-2:30 p.m. and be followed by an exclusive screening of two new episodes on the same stage from 5:30-6:30 p.m. These episodes will feature the series debut of Captain Rex, Captain Gregor, and Commander Wolffe — three clones from the hit animated series, Star Wars: The Clone Wars. They join another fan favorite from the show, Ahsoka Tano, who made her Star Wars Rebels debut in the final episode of Season One.

As the second season of Star Wars Rebels opens, the crew of the Ghost is now a very real threat to the Empire. That’s bad news, because Darth Vader’s been assigned with the task of mopping them up. Undeterred, the rebels seek out old friends and new allies, hoping to rally the formidable alliance which began to crystallize at the end of Season One. Vader will dispatch new agents to counter their growing coalition, but the Sith Lord’s battle with the Rebels could be more personal than anyone realized.

The cast for the series is made up of Freddie Prinze, Jr. as Kanan, Vanessa Marshall as Hera, Tiya Sircar as Sabine, Steve Blum as Zeb, and Taylor Gray Ezra. In addition, the series has brought back a number of classic characters with Stephen Stanton voicing Grand Moff Tarkin (played by Peter Cushing in the original film) along with Phil LaMarr as Bail Organa and other original actors for some characters including Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian, Frank Oz as Yoda, and Anthony Daniels as C-3PO.

The first season of Star Wars Rebels will debut on DVD and Blu-ray September 1.


VALERIAN
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Clive Owen (Inside Man, Children of Men) will join Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne in Luc Besson’s big budget sci-fi epic Valerian. Owen will play a character known as Commander Arün Filitt.

In the story, Valerian (DeHaan) and Laureline (Delevingne) are exploring Syrte, capital planet of a system of 1,000 worlds. Their mission is to discover whether the Syrtians could present a danger to Earth. What they find is a decaying empire led by decadent aristocrats, a population ripe for revolution, and a mysterious caste of masked wise men who discreetly pull the strings from hidden fortresses. Swept up by the winds of history, the agents of Earth will have to choose a side.

Adapted for the screen and directed by Besson (Lucy, The Fifth Element), the film will be the most expensive film yet produced and distributed by his EuropaCorp banner. It is based on the French comic series “Valerian and Laureline” by Pierre Christin and artist Jean-Claude Mézières. Created in 1967, the comic has since sold over 10 million copies in 21 languages.

While he has not made a big splash in features for several years, Owen is currently starring in Steven Soderbergh’s hit Cinemax series “The Knick,” and will next be seen opposite Maria Bello and Patton Oswalt in the indie comedy The Confirmation.

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 19, 2015


BATGIRL - YVONNE CRAIG HAS DIED Yvonne Craig, the sexy actress who originated the role as the high-kicking crime fighter Batgirl on the iconic 1960s ABC series Batman, has died. She was 78.

A former ballerina, Craig died Monday night at her home in Pacific Palisades, her nephew, Christopher Carson, announced. The cause was breast cancer that had metastasized to her liver, he said.

Craig also was known for playing Marta, an insane green Orion Slave Girl who wanted to kill Captain Kirk (William Shatner), in a 1969, third-season Star Trek episode, “Whom Gods Destroy.”

Craig joined Batman for its third season and final season (1967-68) as Batgirl/librarian Barbara Gordon, the daughter of Gotham City Police Commissioner Gordon (Neil Hamilton).

Batman producer William Dozier, for whom she had done an unsold sitcom pilot years earlier, called and asked her if she would come in for an interview, she once recalled.

“When I got there, he said, ‘We’re thinking of adding a new character to the Batman series — Batgirl. Would you be interested in doing it?' I said, ‘Very!’ ”

Craig said they put her character on the show “because they needed someone who could encourage an over-40 male audience and a prepubescent female audience. That’s the real reason why they hired me!"

Craig did all of her own stunts and all of her motorcycle riding on the show. Her leatherette-clad character accessed her sleek Batgirl Cycle from an old, unused elevator that was hidden behind a revolving wall in her apartment and led to the street below.

On the series, only the Wayne butler Alfred (Alan Napier) knew her secret identity — not even Batman (Adam West) or Robin (Burt Ward)!

Batman was an immediate sensation when it debuted in January 1966 but ran out of steam by the time Craig joined the series for its final 26 episodes.

The dark-haired beauty, a native of Taylorville, Ill., began her theatrical career at age 17 as the youngest member of The Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. She traveled the U.S. and was with the troupe for three years when she was discovered by director John Ford’s son Patrick and cast for the lead in the movie The Young Land (1959).

She then starred opposite Elvis Presley in the films It Happened at the World’s Fair (1963) and Kissin’ Cousins (1964). The two dated for a spell.

Her film résumé also included The Gene Krupa Story (1959), John Sturges’ By Love Possessed (1961), 7 Women From Hell (1961) — with future Joker villain Cesar Romero — Ski Party (1965) and Mars Needs Women (1967).

On television, she appeared on The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Fantasy Island, The Six Million Dollar Man, Kojak, Land of the Giants, Mod Squad, The Wild Wild West, Emergency! and many other shows.

Most recently, she provided the voice of Grandma in the 2009 cartoon series Olivia for Nickelodeon, served as executive producer for the documentary feature BIRTH and worked as a real estate broker.

Yvonne and her sister, Meridel, went into the prepaid phone card business at its inception, producing phone cards as fundraisers for many charitable organizations as well as promotional phone cards for the 1995 Paramount film Clueless — starring Alicia Silverstone, who played Batgirl in 1997's Batman & Robin. They also did Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny cards for Warner Bros. stores, her nephew noted.

In 2000, she wrote a memoir, From Ballet to the Batcave and Beyond.

In addition to her sister and nephew, survivors include her husband, Kenneth, and another nephew, Todd.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to The Angeles Clinic Foundation.


SUICIDE SQUAD
Suicide Squad cast members Will Smith and Margot Robbie put some new ink on co-star Joel Kinnaman and writer/director David Ayer, respectively!

Suicide Squad stars Will Smith (The Pursuit of Happyness, Focus) as Deadshot, Joel Kinnaman (RoboCop, Easy Money) as Rick Flagg, Margot Robbie (The Wolf of Wall Street) as Harley Quinn, Jai Courtney (Divergent, The Water Diviner) as Captain Boomerang, Cara Delevingne (Anna Karenina, upcoming Pan) as Enchantress, Karen Fukuhara as Katana, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Killer Croc, Jay Hernandez as El DIablo, Adam Beach as Slipknot, Viola Davis as Amanda Waller and Jared Leto as the Joker. There’s also mystery roles for Ike Barinholtz, Scott Eastwood, Raymond Olubowale, Alex Meraz, Jim Parrack, and Common.

Created by Robert Kanigher and Ross Andru back in 1959, the Suicide Squad team has included countless DC villains among its ranks, including Deadshot, Captain Boomerang, Bane, Killer Frost, Poison Ivy, Count Vertigo, Deathstroke, and Harley Quinn. The CW’s “Arrow” introduced their own version of the team in the most recent season of the series and the recent animated film, Batman: Assault on Arkham, offered another version of the team.

Suicide Squad will shoot until September for an August 5, 2016 release.

VICTOR FRANKENSTEIN
20th Century Fox has debuted the UK Victor Frankenstein trailer, which you can watch below! The trailer contains lots of new footage not seen in this morning’s domestic version. You can also check out the new poster in the gallery underneath.

James McAvoy and Daniel Radcliffe star in a dynamic and thrilling twist on a legendary tale. Radical scientist Victor Frankenstein (McAvoy) and his equally brilliant protégé Igor Strausman (Radcliffe) share a noble vision of aiding humanity through their groundbreaking research into immortality. But Victor’s experiments go too far, and his obsession has horrifying consequences. Only Igor can bring his friend back from the brink of madness and save him from his monstrous creation.

Directed by Paul McGuigan (Lucky Number Slevin) and adapted by Max Landis (Chronicle), Victor Frankenstein co-stars Jessica Brown Findlay, Andrew Scott, Mark Gatiss and Freddie Fox, and will be released on November 25. The film is produced by John Davis.


THE CIRCLE
Deadline is reporting that Attack the Block and Star Wars: The Force Awakens star John Boyega is set to join stars Tom Hanks and Emma Watson in James Ponsoldt’s upcoming feature adaptation of Dave Eggers’ novel The Circle. Production on the film is set to begin this September in California.

Eggers’ novel focuses on a young woman (Watson) who is hired for a big job in an Internet monopoly called the Circle, which links users’ personal emails, social media, banking, and purchasing with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of civility and transparency. Boyega will play Ty, the young visionary behind the Circle who develops a relationship with Watson’s character.

The novel turns into a contemporary thriller about the perils of life in a digital age where personal data is collected, sifted and monetized and used for surveillance, rendering privacy obsolete.

The feature adaptation has been written and will be directed by Ponsoldt (The Spectacular Now). The Circle is being produced by Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman for Playtone, Anthony Bregman for Likely Story, and Ponsoldt.

Although unconfirmed, Boyega is expected to reprise his role of First Order Stormtrooper-turned-Resistance fighter Finn in Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: Episode VIII, which will begin lensing in Pinewood Studios, England sometime next year.

MONDAY, AUGUST 17, 2015


ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY
Want to see what the cast of the first standalone Star Wars film looks like? Of course you do.

Disney president Alan Horn announced today that the first Star Wars spinoff, titled Rogue One (and from the new logo above, it seems to now be called Rogue One: A Star Wars Story), started filming last week under the direction of Gareth Edwards (Godzilla), who delivered a brief video greeting from the set before a photo of the principal cast was flashed on the screens at the D23 Expo.

The cast includes Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything), Diego Luna (Milk), Ben Mendelsohn (The Dark Knight Rises), Donnie Yen (Blade II), Forest Whitaker (The Butler), Riz Ahmed (Nightcrawler) and the newly announced Mads Mikkelsen (Hannibal) and Alan Tudyk (Serenity). As rumored, the movie takes place before A New Hope and the plot follows a band of resistance fighters who have united to steal plans to the Death Star.

Lucasfilm's Kathleen Kennedy was not in attendance but said in a press release that Rogue One "will be a departure from the saga films but have elements that are familiar to the Star Wars universe. It goes into new territory, exploring the galactic struggle from a ground-war perspective while maintaining that essential Star Wars feel that fans have come to know."

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens on December 16, 2016.

COLONY
The USA network is getting into the sci-fi game with Colony, and producer Carlton Cuse has opened up about why the series may not be exactly what viewers expect — and why that’s a good thing.

Speaking at the Television Critics Association (TCA) press tour, Cuse (Lost) said the series has essentially been billed as an alien invasion story. But it doesn’t actually follow the alien invasion. Instead, the series focuses in on what happened after the invasion and the effect it has on the humans caught in the middle. For Cuse, it doesn’t seem to really be the sci-fi angle that attracted him to the project. Instead, it’s the social deconstruction that really sells the concept.

Here’s an excerpt from his comments via Entertainment Weekly:

“Ryan and I felt like that show had been done. The story of colonization is really an espionage thriller with a sci-fi backdrop … If you look at the history of the world, almost every country has either been a colony or a colonizer. The social dynamic of one group of people having absolute power over another group of people is something we wanted to explore. We wanted to find a contemporary way to do that.

The mystery of what is this mysterious occupied force, what do they want, what exactly are they doing here, how are they operating, the’ve installed this proxy government that’s running the colony, and that’s what the show’s really about. There is definitely a mystery element because we’re trying to, as an audience, learn exactly what the new rules of this world are and what these people want and why they’re here, what’s outside the walls and what’s happened to the rest of the world. Those questions will get answered over time.”

Cuse is a veteran TV producer, and it seems a project like this will let him combine his skills honed in psychological thrillers like Bates Motel and sci-fi mysteries like Lost. If he can strike the balance, this could be one of the more unique genre shows of the year.

Colony debuts Jan. 14 on USA.

HEROES REBORN
The rise and fall of NBC’s Heroes has been well documented, as a dynamite debut season collapsed under the weight of its own ambition into a mess of muddled stories and contrivances that left even the most stalwart fans reaching for the remote.

With the revival Heroes Reborn set to hit the network this fall, series creator Tim Kring has opened up about how they plan to avoid the creative terribleness that doomed the series the first time. While chatting at the Television Critics Association (TCA) press tour, the producer was quite frank about what killed the series the first time around — and he promises they know where the pitfalls are, and how to avoid them, this time.

Here’s an excerpt from his comments via TV Line:

“The biggest pitfall was always the amount of story that we had to tell. Our [episode] order was for 23 the first year, then 26 in the second year, 25 in the third year. We were facing a mathematical difficulty, an uphill battle. [The 13-episode order will give] the show and the audience this exhilarating feeling. When you log onto this show for the very first time, you know that you’re going to get an end, and it will be at that point in time.”

Anyone who actually slogged through the entire original run of Heroes must be ecstatic to hear there’s an endgame in place. The original series was marred by everything from, as Kring noted, too many episodes to alleged network interference that pushed the writers to keep fan-favorite characters far beyond their creative expiration date.

But just because this is technically an event series, that doesn’t mean there can’t be more Heroes to come. Kring teased that “the brand [is] elastic enough and with a broad enough premise” that he feels they could always find new stories to tell within this universe. Considering the pitch is basically “People Get Superpowers,” we’d be inclined to agree.

Of course, let’s just get through Reborn first. It has a whole lot of awfulness to make up for before we start thinking about Season 2.

Heroes Reborn debuts Sept. 24 on NBC.


RESIDENT EVIL 6
While actress Ali Larter’s fan-fav character Claire Redfield has been confirmed to return in Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, the actress has double confirmed the truthiness of the title to IGN, explaining that the sixth film in the post-apocalyptic cycle is indeed the last.

“I know it is,” said Larter of the finality of “The Final Chapter.” “We are not allowed to say one thing. I am held to secrecy, but what I can tell you is that the script is amazing. They’re really wrapping up the whole series, so that just makes it a little more poignant. To be able to come back and reprise my role as Claire and my relationship with Alice, with Umbrella Corp. — you know, I’m excited to get back in it. I think the fans are just going to be beyond excited.”

Larter joins a cast that includes Milla Jovovich as lead protagonist Alice in addition to Wentworth Miller (who, as of late, has been menacing “The Flash” as Captain Cold) in the role of her brother, Chris Redfield. Larter previously played her character in Resident Evil: Extinction and Resident Evil: Afterlife, and is thrilled to be returning to the franchise.

“How many movies have this kind of fanbase and get to be made six times?” Larter said. “I think that’s extraordinary. It’s a total testament to [series star] Milla [Jovovich] and Paul. I’m so grateful to them, that they chose me to be a part of it halfway through, and they’ve kept me along for the ride. I love that it’s not seven men and one woman. I mean, these are two women, and they’re not competing with each other. You know, there are such easy clichés these two could fall into, but this is definitely a female power movie.”

Production is slated to begin later this month on Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, with Cape Town, South Africa being one of several locales used for the sixth and (supposed) last part in the long-running Resident Evil franchise. Paul W.S. Anderson is set to return for his fourth outing as director and writer of the Screen Gems franchise.

Currently the series is the highest-grossing franchise based on a video game, with over $915 million at the global box office across the five films. The last film to see release was Resident Evil: Retribution in 2012.

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 12, 2015


CONSTANTINE ON ARROW
NBC’s short-lived Constantine series might be officially dead, it seems the namesake Hellblazer will be getting a reprieve this fall on The CW's Arrow. The small screen DC universe is getting a whole lot bigger.

It has now been confirmed that Matt Ryan's Constantine will be guest starring in at least one episode of Arrow this fall, following up on a long-planned move to combine the shows into a shared universe (which was shelved when Constantine was cancelled). Now, through sheer force of geeky will, Constantine will live on. Kinda. Here's hoping he can grow into a recurring player in Starling City.

The actor previously chatted with DC Comics Movie about reports indicating his Hellblazer could pop up in the fourth season of Arrow, which is heading down a mystical road that would be an excellent fit for his trademark brand of demon fighting. Ryan obviously said had said he was excited about the potential buzz. As for how he’ll fit in with the costumed heroes? Well, he thinks they could use a bit of Constantine’s trademark wit when it comes to the tights and masks:

“I don’t know, I think the one thing–What would be interesting, in the comics John always calls all the superheroes costumers. It’ll be weird to just turn around and go: ‘Hey, nice leather pants, if I don’t say so myself’.

That’s what I love about John, is that he’s a real, fleshed out, three-dimensional human being, you know? He’s like not your average superhero, he’s like a jerk, you know? And I love the way he reacts in the comics, in the DC Universe with all those other characters. It’ll just be a little bit of fun, to see how he would react to The Flash, the Arrow…”

DOCTOR WHO MARATHON
Marathon special! - The ninth season of Doctor Who's revival begins in just a few weeks, and to commemorate the event BBC America is launching "The Doctor's Finest" this Saturday. The marathon series, hosted by YouTube and Electra Woman and Dyna Girl star Hannah Hart, will feature essential episode from throughout the revival series, along with interviews from special guests. This week's offerings include the essential David Tennant episode "Blink" and the special "The Waters of Mars."


TWIN PEAKS THE MOVIE
We’ve known for a while now that Twin Peaks, the surreal soap opera from 1990-1991 will be getting a new life on Showtime, with David Lynch returning to the helm. But what we didn’t know until now: There may be more than nine episodes. Or perhaps less.

Lynch and co-creator Mark Frost are writing the television show as one lengthy film. After filming, Lynch and Frost will be editing the film down into separate episodes. In other words, they won’t know how many episodes the Twin Peaks redux will be until the editing is complete.

What’s the advantage of filming every scene at once? I have a theory that it compresses shooting schedules. So instead of actors filming for one week on/one week off, actors and filmmakers may be able to work for a solid chunk of time—likely around the clock. This may inspire creativity and/or insanity.

And isn’t that what Twin Peaks is about?

According to the Verge, Twin Peaks will begin shooting in September. Showtime has yet to announce a release date.


OUTCAST
Robert Kirkman’s new exorcism drama series Outcast has landed six new major stars for its upcoming first season set to air on premium cable channel Cinemax.

Based on Robert Kirkman and Paul Azaceta’s Image Comics series, Outcast is the Walking Dead creator’s next big horror project. The new cast members will be joining main star Patrick Fugit in the role of haunted investigator Kyle Barnes, who “has been plagued by possession since he was a child. Now an adult, he embarks on a journey to find answers, but what he uncovers could mean the end of life on Earth as we know it.”

Life on Mars’ (the UK one) Philip Glenister plays hard-drinking Reverend Anderson, and Gabriel Bateman (Stalker) plays Joshua Austin, an 8-year-old boy who may well be in the clutches of a demonic possession.

The new players for Outcast include Star Trek: The Next Generation alum and fan favorite Brent Spiner (who'll be back on the big screen for Independence Day: Resurgence), David Denman (13 Hours), Melinda McGraw (The X Files, Mad Men), Grace Zabriskie (The Killing), Catherine Dent (The Shield, Astronaut Wives Club) and Lee Tergesen (The Americans, The Get Down). Here are the character descriptions, as per the official press release:

Married to Kyle Barnes’ sister Megan, Mark Holter (David Denman) is a husband and father first – but a by-the-book small town cop a close second. He loves his wife deeply, but his innate sense of justice is challenged by her loyalty to Kyle, whom Mark can't forgive for his past transgressions.

Janet Anderson (Catherine Dent) is the ex-wife of Reverend Anderson. Their marriage was shattered by Anderson's obsession with battling the forces of darkness, but she still can't help but feel affection and sympathy for the man she once loved, the father of the her child.

Single mother Patricia MacCready (Melinda McGraw) is a devout member of Rome’s Light of God Baptist Church and a regular at Reverend Anderson’s church teas.

Mildred (Grace Zabriskie) is one of the old guard of parishioners at Anderson’s church. Full of spit and vinegar, Mildred lives alone and says what’s on her mind.

Blake Morrow (Lee Tergesen) is a former police officer on death row for murdering his partner’s wife.

The man who calls himself Sidney (Brent Spiner) first appears in Rome soon after Kyle and Reverend Anderson successfully exorcise little Joshua Austin. But Sidney's dapper appearance and smiling demeanor hide a malevolence.

Outcast will premiere on Cinemax in 2016.


THE X-FILES
The X-Files has recruited another familiar face for Fox's upcoming revival.

Annabeth Gish (Pretty Little Liars) will reprise her role of FBI agent Monica Reyes in an episode of the six-part event series, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

She appeared in 23 episodes of the original run's final two seasons as an agent who worked with Scully (Gillian Anderson) and Doggett (Robert Patrick). She was seen last in The X-Files' series finale after she and Doggett helped Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully go on the run. She first recurred in season eight before being promoted to series regular in the ninth and final season.

Gish joins returning stars Anderson, Duchovny, Mitch Pileggi and William B. Davis. The revival also has tapped new guest-stars Robbie Amell, Lauren Ambrose, Joel McHale, Annet Mahendru, Rhys Darby and Kumail Nanjiani.

Gish's other credits include Sons of Anarchy, The Bridge and The West Wing. She is repped by Innovative Artists and Thruline.

The X-Files returns Jan. 24, 2016, on Fox.


FRIDAY THE 13TH SERIES
It was reported last year that the Friday the 13th franchise was eyeing a potential return to the small screen. Today, Deadline confirms that the new Friday the 13th series has found a home at The CW, where it is being actively developed by “The Pretender” creators Steven Long Mitchell and Craig W. Van Sickle. Speaking with the former talent, Legion of Leia learned quite a bit about the shape the new Friday the 13th series plans to take.

Unlike the late ’80s television show that borrowed only a name from the slasher film franchise, the new Friday the 13th series will have a direct tie to Jason Voorhees and Crystal Lake.

“I don’t think we really wanted to do a show about a guy with a machete chasing girls in tube tops,” Long Mitchell tells the outlet. “We couldn’t do that on a weekly basis… So what ends up happening is, a cop comes into town, looking for his brother. He realizes his brother was there searching into the past murders, and realizes that his personal story is tied into Jason’s personal story.”

It sounds like the new Friday the 13th series will take place in a world where there was an actual Friday the 13th film franchise. The films were simply inspired by actual events.

“What we’re going to do is basically acknowledge that the people came to this town after these killings happened,” Long Mitchell explains, “and they made all these movies. And now the town has a stigma. Our show is, ‘Here’s the true story. Here’s the real story of Jason.’ It’s been taken and exploited. So we have the young crowd who doesn’t know who he is except for what they’ve seen in the movies. The older crowd is afraid of him. We have a lot of people who have scars from him. The underlying thematic of the whole thing is that Jason is a monster in this town. He openly wears a mask. But everybody in this town wears a mask. Underneath those is the monster.”

Friday the 13th is also headed to the big screen with an untitled 13th chapter slated to hit the big screen on May 16, 2016.


FLASH
A new piece of promotional art for the upcoming season season of “The Flash” has debuted online, straight from The CW’s TCA presentation, and it features our first look at Teddy Sears (“Masters of Sex,” “Raising the Bar”) as Jay Garrick in a live-action recreation of “The Flash” #123.

Sears joins a growing list of new stars for the series also including Keiynan Lonsdale as Wally West, Michael Ironside as Lewis Snart, and Shantel VanSanten as Patty Spivot.

“The Flash” stars Grant Gustin as Barry Allen/The Flash, Candice Patton as Iris West, Rick Cosnett as Eddie Thawne, Danielle Panabaker as Caitlin Snow, Carlos Valdes as Cisco Ramon and Jesse L. Martin as Detective Joe West. It’s executive produced by Greg Berlanti, Andrew Kreisberg, David Nutter and Sarah Schechter.

Following the defeat of Barry Allen’s arch-nemesis Eobard Thawne (aka Reverse Flash), Team Flash quickly turned their attention to the singularity swirling high above Central City, which fans last saw consuming everything in its path. Armed with the heart of a hero and the ability to move at super speeds, Barry charged into the eye of the singularity, but will he actually be able to save his city from impending doom?

“The Flash” will premiere its second season on Tuesday, October 6 at 8 PM EST.


THE LAST SHIP RENEWED
TNT has renewed the hit action-adventure “The Last Ship,” basic cable’s top scripted series this summer with adults 25-54. Currently airing Sundays at 9 p.m. (ET/PT), “The Last Ship” stars Eric Dane (“Grey’s Anatomy”), Rhona Mitra (“Strike Back”) and Adam Baldwin (“Firefly,” “Chuck”). Season 2 will climax with a gripping cliffhanger on Sept. 6. TNT has ordered 13 episodes of “The Last Ship” Season 3, which is slated to launch next summer.

Based on William Brinkley’s popular novel, “The Last Ship” chronicles a global catastrophe that nearly decimates the world’s population. Because of its positioning, the Navy destroyer U.S.S. Nathan James avoided falling victim to the devastating tragedy, forcing Captain Chandler (Dane), XO Slattery (Baldwin) and the ship’s crew must confront the reality of their new existence in a world where they are among the few remaining survivors.

In the second season of “The Last Ship,” the crew of the Nathan James has begun disseminating the cure developed by paleomicrobiologist Dr. Rachel Scott (Mitra). Their arrival back on U.S. soil, however, has been met with opposition in the form of a new world order under the leadership of Amy Granderson (guest star Alfre Woodward). To make matters worse, Chandler and his crew now face a new enemy: the Immunes, a group of naturally immune survivors bent on taking over the world.

Also starring in “The Last Ship” are Travis Van Winkle, Charles Parnell, Christina Elmore, Marissa Neitling, John Pyper Ferguson and Jocko Sims. The series is produced by Platinum Dunes, with its partners – blockbuster filmmaker Michael Bay, Brad Fuller and Andrew Form – serving as executive producers. Co-creators and showrunners Hank Steinberg (creator of “Without a Trace,” “The Nine”) and Steven Kane (“The Closer”) are also executive producers, along with Jack Bender (“Lost”).

“The Last Ship” launched last year as basic cable’s #1 new series with total viewers and adults 25-54. In its second season, the show is basic cable’s #1 scripted series this summer with adults 25-54 and ranks as one of the the Top 3 with adults 18-49 and total viewers. This summer, the show is reaching an average of 9 million viewers across TNT’s linear, VOD, digital and mobile platforms.

MONDAY, AUGUST 10, 2015


On Saturday, Netflix announced that a Sense8 Season Two is coming! The streaming service announced, via a special birthday message from the cast of the series, that we’ll be getting more episodes. The characters on the show are called sensates and are the same age, sharing the same birthday – August 8th.

All twelve episodes of Season One are now available on Netflix in all Netflix territories around the world. From the unparalleled creative minds of The Wachowskis (The Matrix trilogy, Cloud Atlas) and J. Michael Straczynski (Clint Eastwood’s Changeling, World War Z), as well as executive producer Grant Hill (The Matrix trilogy, Cloud Atlas), “Sense8″ is a gripping story of eight people from around the world whose lives are suddenly and inexplicably connected in a fight for their own survival.

The international cast includes Brian J. Smith, Tuppence Middleton, Jamie Clayton, Miguel Angel Silvestre, Tina Desai, Doona Bae, Aml Ameen and Max Riemelt. Also starring are Daryl Hannah, Naveen Andrews, Terrence Mann, Freema Agyeman, Alfonso Herrera , Erendira Ibarra, Adam Shapiro, Ness Bautista and Joe Pantoliano.

WESTWORLD
HBO fans who tuned in early for the season 2 finale of “True Detective” got a sneak peek at the network’s upcoming dystopian drama “Westworld,” starring Anthony Hopkins, Ed Harris, Evan Rachel Wood, James Marsden, Thandie Newton, Jeffrey Wright and Rodrigo Santoro.

HBO released the 30-second teaser on YouTube shortly thereafter providing fans a first brief look at the sci-fi drama, which is based on the 1973 film written and directed by Michael Crichton.

Unlike the lengthy reel of footage unveiled during the recent 2015 TCA press tour, this teaser seems to be similar to what executive producer Jonathan Nolan (“Person of Interest”) showed fans at San Diego Comic-Con last month. There is an exchange between Wood’s robot character Delores and a mysterious voiceover during which Delores says she wants to wake up from this “terrifying” dream, which is the reality of a trippy theme park under the control of Dr. Robert Ford (Hopkins). There are quick cuts to dusty, Wild West elements like spurs and gunfights as well as sci-fi elements such as robotics and lab experiments.

“I think in the film, you were very invested in one particular group of humans that were enjoying the park and their experience with the robots,” HBO president of programming Michael Lombardo says of the differences between the movie and the new series. “This is not that. This is very much told from the POV of the robots. The corporate world is as dimensionalized as the park. I think the visitors to the park are really not the primary focus of our show at all.”

“Westworld” is set to premiere on HBO in 2016.


CRIMSON PEAK
With the summer movie season winding down quickly, let's remind ourselves of Guillermo del Toro's lavish-looking gothic horror tale, Crimson Peak, coming in October with its rich mix of supernatural terror and ghostly romance. Check out this atmospheric new international poster featuring Jessica Chastain, Tom Hiddleston and Mia Wasikowska standing inside the haunted Allerdale Hall amid an encroaching flow of blood. Take a peek and tell us if you're planning on entering del Toro's macabre Victorian mansion.

Directed and co-written by Guillermo del Toro, Legendary Pictures' Crimson Peak haunts theaters starting on Oct. 16, 2015.


WEEKEND BOX OFFICE
Controversial director Josh Trank's Fantastic Four is off to a dismal start at the North American box office, where it's headed for one of the lowest openings for a Hollywood studio superhero title.

Playing in 3,995 theaters, Fantastic Four opened to $11.3 million Friday for a projected weekend gross of $28 million, putting the movie in an unexpectedly close race with holdover Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation, starring Tom Cruise, for the box-office crown.

Fantastic Four's showing is a blow for Fox as it goes about trying to reboot one of its marquee franchises. The movie is no doubt being hurt by scathing reviews and a C- CinemaScore, as well as drama whipped up by the director. On Thursday, Trank tweeted that the final version of the superhero was not his own and that his version would have gotten better notices. (He later deleted the tweet.) Fox has not commented on Trank's barb.

The Hollywood Reporter revealed in May that Trank's behavior and unusual conduct on set was a cause of great concern for the studio and producers Simon Kinberg and Hutch Parker. There were also reshoots to shore up the third act, according to insiders.

Heading into the weekend, Fantastic Four was expected to clear at least $40 million, although many expected it to approach $50 million.

Fantastic Four's debut is coming in well behind the first two films, Fantastic Four ($56.1 million) and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer ($58.1 million). The $120 million film, starring Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara and Jamie Bell, will mark one of the worst debuts for a Marvel Comics film adaptation. In 2012, Ghost Rider: The Spirit of Vengeance, from Sony, launched to $22.1 million (that movie cost notably less to make).

In terms of a big-budget superhero movie, Marvel or otherwise, the last studio film to open to less than $40 million was The Green Hornet in 2011 with $33.5 million.

Elsewhere, The Gift, Joel Edgerton's directorial debut, looks to beat the Meryl Streep-starring Ricki and the Flash with a $10 million-$11 million debut, putting it at No. 3 (The Gift is playing in many more theaters). Both are competing for female attention.

Streep returns to theaters as a rocker with dashed dreams and a troubled family life in Sony's Ricki and the Flash. Jonathan Demme's film, costing $18 million, is only opening in 1,603 theaters and grossed $2.3 million Friday for a projected $7.2 million debut. That's one of the lowest nationwide openings for a Streep film. The movie, which could come in No. 7, intends to grow its theater count in the coming weeks, and hopes to be a draw for adults.

Ricki nabbed a solid theater average of $1,403 Friday.

The Gift — a throwback to psychological thrillers including Fatal Attraction — is the first test for Bob Simonds' STX Entertainment. The movie, boosted by stellar reviews and grossing $4.1 million on Friday, is playing in 2,503 theaters. Edgerton also stars in the Blumhouse film as a man with an unhealthy fixation on an old schoolmate (Jason Bateman) and his wife (Rebecca Hall).

Both Ricki and The Gift received B CinemaScores.

This weekend's fourth new offering is animated film Shaun the Sheep, from Aardman Entertainment and Lionsgate. A spinoff of the hugely successful, dialogue-free British TV series, the film, which opened Wednesday and earned a B+ CinemaScore, may not even crack the top 10 with an estimated weekend take of $4 million from 2,320 theaters and a five-day total of roughly $5.5 million.

Back in the top 10, Vacation is tipped to come in No. 2 in its second weekend with an estimated $8.6 million for a domestic total $36 million through Sunday. Disney and Marvel Studios' Ant-Man should follow with roughly $8 million for a domestic cume of approximately $150 million, while Universal and Illumination Entertainment's Minions will jump the $300 million mark domestically this weekend.

FRIDAY, AUGUST 7, 2015


X-FILES
FOX screened a scene from upcoming “X-Files” miniseries for the 2015 TCA summer press tour audience, and it gave an emotional glimpse into where the limited series picks up with Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson).

In the scene, Scully arrives at Mulder’s house in a panic.

“Mulder, you hang up on me, I don’t hear from you all day, you’re on some jag about the X-Files?!” says Scully.

“I finally figured it out, all these years we’ve been deceived,” says Mulder “I couldn’t call you because it’s gonna sound crazy. Scully, you gotta trust me on this.”

But Scully says Mulder is “on fire believing” that he’s onto “some truth that will save the world.” She cautions that it’ll be his undoing. “You want to believe, you so badly want to believe!”

Mulder insists that newscaster Tad O’Malley (Joel McHale) is right, it’s not “an alien conspiracy.” “The truth is out there and Tad O’Malley’s gonna broadcast it,” says Mulder.

“Mulder, listen to me — as your friend and as a physician, you are on dangerous ground here,” pleads a concerned Scully.

But she is stopped dead in her tracks by Mulder revealing Sveta (Annet Mahendru, “The Americans”), a victim of alien abduction, is in his house. “She’s the key to everything,” says Mulder. “Sveta is the key.”

“The X-Files” premieres Jan. 24, 2016.


PRISON BREAK RETURNING
FOX revealed Thursday (Aug. 6) at the 2015 TCA summer press tour that a “Prison Break” sequel is in the works.

“[Creator Paul Scheuring] is in the middle of writing it right now,” says FOX Television Group chairman and CEO Dana Walden. “I would describe it as a bit of a sequel. It picks up the characters several years after we left them in the last season of the show.”

Walden also confirms that both Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell will be back.

“The brothers will be back. Some of the iconic characters from that show will be back,” says Walden. “I don’t think Paul knows exactly where he’s going over the 10-episode arc, but it definitely will address some questions that were set up at the end of the series.”

Co-chairman and CEO Gary Newman adds that Scheuring pitched a “very detailed,” “great story” and they’re “pretty confident we’re going to straight to series with it.” Newman also says that the sequel will pick up after Season 4. While it won’t be ignoring the straight-to-video episode wherein Michael (Miller) died, Walden says there will be a “logical, believable” explanation “for why our characters are alive and still moving around the world.”

As for a timetable for the “Prison Break” sequel, Newman tells Zap2it it’s still being decided.

“I think the likelihood is, if all goes smoothly, we’ll be shooting it sometime after the first of the year,” says Newman. “In theory it could be ready for summer, but it maybe something we want to hold for the 2016-17 broadcast season.”

THE LAST WITCH HUNTER
If you thought The Last Witch Hunter looked like a trip before, just check out the latest trailer for Vin Diesel’s newest would-be franchise. This might be just crazy enough to work.

The new trailer shows off a ton of new footage, and also offers up some fun scenes from co-star Elijah Wood (Lord of the Rings) as a young priest who joins Diesel’s witch hunter on his crusade. We also get a peek at Diesel, armed with a shotgun and sword, heading to the dream world to fight...some crazy, evil-looking stuff. My God, and that giant beard is insane, right?

This trailer also goes a long way to set up the story of an immortal warrior facing off with the netherworld’s biggest baddies, and it seems to take pieces from a whole lot of different things we like. Tonally, this thing looks like a mishmash of Constantine, Fast and the Furious, Sleepy Hollow, Nightmare on Elm Street and a half dozen other influences — and we mean that in the best way possible. They just threw cool stuff in a blender, and gave Vin Diesel a sword. Not the worst idea, admittedly.

This is either going to be a schlocky masterpiece, or perhaps the final nail in the coffin for Diesel to have a shot at fronting a big-time franchise that isn’t focused on high-speed racing and scantily clad ladies.

The Last Witch Hunter opens October 23.

HARBINGER DOWN
We first delivered you an impressive trailer for the indie sci-fi horror film Harbinger Down last summer, and were sufficiently blown away by the awesome practical effects used in the production. Now, check out the new trailer + stills from StudioADI, revealing even more magnificent monster mayhem as a team or college researchers experience the worst boat ride of their lives. Director Alec Gillis and his Amalgamated Dynamics FX team were responsible for the creature design for AVP: Alien vs. Predator and Starship Troopers and had created the practical effects for 2011's The Thing remake before the studio decided to switch to CGI alien monsters instead.

The crowd-funded Harbinger Down also benefits from a stellar crew of award-winning special effects wizards, including Pat McClung (Armageddon, True Lies) and Robert and Dennis Skotak (The Abyss, Aliens, Terminator 2)

Here's Harbinger's official synopsis:

A group of grad students have booked passage on the fishing trawler Harbinger to study the effects of global warming on a pod of Orcas in the Bering Sea. When the ship’s crew dredges up a recently thawed piece of old Soviet space wreckage, things get downright deadly. It seems that the Russians experimented with tardigrades, tiny resilient animals able to withstand the extremes of space radiation. The creatures survived, but not without mutation. Now the crew is exposed to aggressively mutating organisms. And after being locked in ice for three decades, the creatures aren’t about to give up the warmth of human companionship.

Written and directed by Alec Gillis, Harbinger Down hatches August 7, 2015 and stars Lance Henriksen, Camille Balsamo, Reid Collums and Matt Winston.


iZOMBIE
The CW’s breakout hit series iZombie has nabbed Robert Knepper to play dad to baddie (and former zombie) Blaine in Season 2.

According to EW, the Prison Break star will play Angus, "a polished, articulate and successful businessman, who regards Blaine (David Anders) as a lifelong disappointment. Having cut check after check to help fund a series of Blaine’s business failures, Angus is unhappy to find Blaine once again asking for financial help—which is likely due to the fact that Blaine is once again human now."

Knepper has an impressively long list of TV roles that mostly include playing villains. The actor appeared in a boatload of genre series, which include Arrow, The Flash, Cult, SGU Stargate Universe, Carnivale and Heroes. He also had roles on The Blacklist, Mob City, Hawaii Five-0, Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D. and Texas Rising. On the big screen, Knepper has most recently appeared in R.I.P.D., Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 and the upcoming The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 alongside X-Men's Jennifer Lawrence.

Since the actor is mostly known for his villainous roles, does that mean he’ll play another rotten bad guy on Rob Thomas’ critically acclaimed iZombie? Would meeting Angus explain (but not excuse) Blaine’s disturbingly bad behavior? We'll soon find out as Knepper’s character is set to appear early in the second season. Fun fact: Both Robert Knepper and David Anders have appeared as villains on Heroes.

iZombie returns Tuesday, Oct. 6, at 9 p.m. on The CW.


THE FLASH
We’d heard The CW’s The Flash would be expanding its cast in Season 2, and now they’ve officially added fan-fave DC character Wally West to the roster.

The studio has confirmed Keiynan Lonsdale, best known for his role as Uriah in Insurgent, has signed on to play Kid Flash/Wally West on the hit CW series. The character is set to make his debut this winter. Executive producer Andrew Kreisberg likened the casting to that of Grant Gustin as Barry Allen, noting they “instantly knew” Lonsdale “embodied all the heart and courage” of Wally West.

Though we know who’ll be playing the role, we still don’t know (exactly) how Wally West will fit into the Arrow-verse canon. In the comics, Wally is the nephew of Iris West (played by Candice Patton in the series) and eventually becomes a speedster himself as Kid Flash (and eventually the full-fledged Flash for a while). That origin would make sense enough, though we’d imagine the TV version might see a tweak or two. Plus, will this version of Wally actually be a speedster, or just a supporting character? We don’t know.

It’s worth noting: The producers confirmed Wally West would be joining the series back at San Diego Comic-Con, along with the casting news that Teddy Sears would be playing the Golden Age version of The Flash, Jay Garrick.


X-MEN TV SERIES
Back in January, it was revealed that FOX was looking to expand their X-Men franchise from solely feature films into television as well. Now, following the FOX TCA presentation, Fox Television Group chairman and CEO Dana Walden says they’re still pursuing the deal for what they hope will be a “long-running” series.

“[For] X-Men, we’re in negotiations with Marvel. We’re hopeful we’ll be able to announce something soon. We’re not closed on a deal yet but it’s something we’re definitely pursuing,” Walden tells The Hollywood Reporter. “The characters from the X-Men franchise are with Fox on the feature side so we won’t be including Marvel characters that are at ABC with Disney. This will be exclusively the franchise as it has existed at Fox.”

“24” producers Evan Katz and Manny Coto are developing the live-action series with screenwriters Patrick McKay and JD Payne penning the pilot episode. All four will share the “Created by” credit with Katz and Coto set to serve as showrunners.

Though things are slow moving on the television side, the feature side of “X-Men” has never been bigger. Currently the spin-off film Deadpool is set for release February 12, 2016 with X-Men: Apocalypse debuting that summer on May 27. The Channing Tatum-starring Gambit is scheduled for October 7, 2016 with Hugh Jackman’s final Wolverine film set to debut March 3, 2017. A New Mutants spin-off is also in development with The Fault in Our Stars director Josh Boone at the helm, though no release date has been set.

FEAR THE WALKING DEAD
AMC has released a new video for their upcoming companion series “Fear the Walking Dead” featuring both a behind-the-scenes look at the show as well as some brief new footage.

“Fear the Walking Dead” was greenlit back in March for two seasons. The series will debut in the U.S. Sunday, August 23rd at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT with an extended 90-minute episode. The premiere will also air on AMC Global channels around the world simultaneously and will then re-air in local time zones during primetime. A special episode of Talking Dead, hosted by Chris Hardwick, will follow the season one finale on Sunday, October 4th at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT (U.S. only).

Living in the same universe as “The Walking Dead,” “Fear the Walking Dead” is a gritty drama that explores the onset of the undead apocalypse through the lens of a fractured family. Set in a city where people come to escape, shield secrets, and bury their pasts, a mysterious outbreak threatens to disrupt what little stability high school guidance counselor Madison Clark (Kim Dickens) and English teacher Travis Manawa (Cliff Curtis) have managed to assemble. The everyday pressure of blending two families while dealing with resentful, escapist, and strung out children takes a back seat when society begins to break down. A forced evolution, a necessary survival of the fittest takes hold, and our dysfunctional family must either reinvent themselves or embrace their darker histories.

“Fear the Walking Dead” is executive produced by Robert Kirkman, Gale Anne Hurd, Greg Nicotero, David Alpert and showrunner David Erickson and produced by AMC Studios. The series stars Kim Dickens as Madison, Cliff Curtis as Travis, Frank Dillane as Nick, Alycia Debnam-Carey as Alicia, Elizabeth Rodriguez as Liza, Ruben Blades as Daniel, Mercedes Mason as Ofelia and Lorenzo James Henrie as Chris.

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 5, 2015



LEGENDS OF TOMORROW
One of the newest additions to DC's TV universe has been cast.

According to The Wrap, actor Falk Hentschel has been cast as Carter Hall, aka Hawkman, on DC's Legends of Tomorrow. Hentschel's previous credits include the TV series Reckless as well as movies like Transcendence, White House Down and Knight and Day. He has also dipped his toes into the Marvel Universe, playing HYDRA agent Marcus Scarlotti on an episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Although the character has been retconned rather confusingly throughout the years in the comics, Hall was the original Hawkman, a reincarnation of an ancient Egyptian prince who harnessed the power of the mysterious "ninth metal" and used it to build large wings with which he could fly. Hawkman was a charter member of the Justice Society of America and later joined the Justice League as well, often working with his partner Hawkgirl, who will be played by Ciara Renee.

Hentschel joins a cast that also includes Wentworth Miller (Captain Cold), Dominic Purcell (Heat Wave), Arthur Darvill (Rip Hunter), Caity Lotz (White Canary), Brandon Routh (Ray Palmer/The Atom) and Victor Garber (Martin Stein/half of Firestorm).

As is becoming standard practice for the DC shows, Hentschel will make his debut as Hawkman on crossover episodes of Arrow and The Flash before turning up on Legends of Tomorrow, which will premiere in mid-season 2016.

Haw

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY
A first official teaser trailer for Disney XD’s new animated Guardians of the Galaxy TV series is finally here. Released by Marvel, the new promo sees the whole gang of the Milano returning, alongside some familiar faces.

The one-hour, two-episode series will take us back to Knowhere, where the galaxy’s biggest idiots set out to uncover the secrets of Peter Quill, aka Star-Lord’s, past. The team will also begin a quest for the Cosmic Seed.

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy follows the newly-formed team who finds a strange artifact keyed only to the DNA of Peter Quill. Upon opening it, Quill unleashes a treasure map leading to a powerful weapon known as the Cosmic Seed which is capable of giving birth to the next universe. It’s up to the Guardians to find, protect and ultimately destroy the Cosmic Seed in order to keep it out of the hands of those who would abuse its power, from galactic big boss Thanos, to the conniving brothers the Collector and the Grandmaster, to a resurrected Ronan, to the ultimate trickster, Loki, in order to save the universe.

The Guardians will be voiced by Will Friedle as Star-Lord, Vanessa Marshall as Gamora, Kevin Michael Richardson as Groot, Trevor Devall as Rocket and David Sobolov as Drax the Destroyer. Returning familiar faces include Yondu, voiced by James Arnold Taylor, and Nebula.

The whole TV promo is, of course, set to Blue Swede’s "Hooked on a Feeling," which has now probably become forever synonymous for a whole generation of moviegoers with Marvel’s blockbuster movie, whether we like it or not.

Marvel’s animated Guardians of the Galaxy TV series will premiere on Disney XD on Sept. 26, 2015, at 9:30 PM ET.


DUNGEONS & DRAGONS
In the year 2000, I sat in a dark movie theater and witnessed one of the worst things I've ever seen on the big screen -- and I saw Mission to Mars in its theatrical run. I'm talking, of course, about Dungeons & Dragons, the epic (cough) fantasy film that attempted to capitalize on the world's most popular tabletop role-playing game. Starring Justin Whalin (who? exactly), Marlon Wayans and Thora Birch, the film was ... well, it was really something. I can remember exactly two highlights: 1) the audience bursting into applause when (SPOILER, I GUESS) Wayans' annoying character (ostensibly one of the heroes) was impaled on the villain's sword, then exploding into cheers as he was subsequently thrown off a cliff, and 2) the power going out for five minutes during one of the story's climactic moments and not feeling like I'd really missed anything when everything started up again.

I tell this story because it appears that the people at Warner Bros., purveyors of more than a few quality pieces of cinematic entertainment, have decided to ignore the lessons of the past and take on the Dungeons & Dragons license for production as a major motion picture. The announcement comes 10 months after the settlement of a legal battle over who owned the film rights to the franchise. There's already a script, courtesy of The Conjuring 2's David Leslie Johnson, and everyone involved is just SO EXCITED.

"We are so excited about bringing the world of Dungeons & Dragons to life on the big screen," said Greg Silverman, Warner Bros. president of creative development and worldwide production. "This is far and away the most well-known brand in fantasy, which is the genre that drives the most passionate film followings. D&D has endless creative possibilities, giving our filmmakers immense opportunities to delight and thrill both fans and moviegoers new to the property."

Meanwhile, producer Courtney Solomon (who directed the 2000 film) had this to say:

"We are thrilled that this beloved property can finally make its way to the big screen after 20 years, and that it can be realized by Warner Bros., which has been responsible for the biggest fantasy franchises over the past two decades."

Is it possible that Solomon forgot that he directed a D&D movie 15 years ago? Or that he just can't count? How will he calculate THAC0 with that kind of arithmetical handicap?

OK, maybe I'm being unnecessarily negative. After all, Dungeons & Dragons has a vast and compelling mythology that is fertile ground for the telling of epic stories. And, thanks to Peter Jackson and J.K. Rowling, fantasy filmmaking has come a long way since the turn of the century. Perhaps the team at WB can turn out a quality film that'll please both the grognards and the moviegoer who doesn't know a Lurker Above from a Gelatinous Cube. I'll be crossing my fingers and hoping for natural 20s as this thing gets off the ground.


SLEEPY HOLLOW
After a breakout freshman season, Sleepy Hollow hit the creative skids in year two, and the ratings took a dip. The producers are trying to right the ship in Season 3, and they’ve decided to drop a component that’s been there since the show’s conception.

TV Guide reports new showrunner Clifton Campbell has confirmed there will be no Headless Horeseman in Season 3 as the writers work to establish a less dense mythology that will make the adventure series more accessible for new viewers. The character was the baddie who launched the insanity in the pilot episode and grew into a major force for the first two seasons, as his identity and close connection to Crane (Tom Mison) was revealed.

Considering where they left Headless’ story in Season 2, it’s not much of a surprise to see him put on the sidelines for (at least) a year. Along with the Horseman, the series has also axed regular and recurring co-stars Orlando Jones (Irving), Katia Winter (Katrina), John Noble (Henry) and Matt Barr (Hawley). It’s an ambitious creative reboot, to say the least. All that remain are Tom Mison (Crane), Nicole Behave (Abbie) and Lyndie Greenwood (Jenny).

To help fill some of the void left by Irving and Hawley, the series will reportedly bring back the character Joe Corbin (Zach Appelman) to round out the ranks. He was last seen as a Wendigo, before being cured by the team. He’ll be working with Jenny, giving her a partner akin to how Crane and Abbie work together.

We’re morbidly curious to see how the third-season Sleepy Hollow comes together, and it’s no easy task to try and make this show fun again. The first season was the perfect mix of insane adventure and taut mythology — all of which collapsed into itself in Season 2. Recapturing that magic is much easier said than done.


PROMETHEUS 2
Back in March 2014, 20th Century Fox set a March 4, 2016 release date for the highly-anticipated sci-fi sequel Prometheus 2, while bringing on Michael Green (Green Lantern) to write the screenplay. But soon after, the sequel got delayed. We haven't heard much about the production since then. Director Ridley Scott has revealed to Total Film magazine that he is scheduled to start shooting Prometheus 2 in January 2016. 20th Century Fox has not issued a new release date quite yet, but the studio announced last year that Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children has taken over the March 4, 2016 release date.

The director wouldn't divulge any plot details for Prometheus 2, but Ridley Scott did add that he is interested in making sci-fi movies again, stating, "I've got back into the sci-fi thing, I kind of adore it." The filmmaker's last movie, the Biblical epic Exodus: Gods and Kings, only took in $65 million domestically, but earned $268 million worldwide from a $140 million production budget. His next film, which is firmly rooted in the sci-fi genre is The Martian, which hits theaters this October. It follows Matt Damon as an astronaut stranded on Mars.

Ridley Scott teased last year that Prometheus 2 will feature a new alien, and it is believed that original Prometheus stars Noomi Rapace and Michael Fassbender will be back to reprise their roles as Elizabeth Shaw and the android David. The original movie followed Elizabeth Shaw, an archaeologist tasked with finding the Engineers, aliens who were responsible for the creation of humanity. Now that we know Ridley Scott plans to shoot Prometheus 2 next year, it raises questions about another intriguing project: Alien 5.

20th Century Fox announced earlier this year that it is developing Alien 5, which has Neill Blomkamp set to direct, with Ridley Scott producing. The concept artwork released by Neill Blomkamp featured characters such as Sigourney Weaver's Ripley and Michael Biehn's Corporal Hicks. While it is believed that these characters will be featured in the sequel, no actors have been confirmed yet. The studio is reportedly targeting Alien 5 for a 2017 release, so it's possible that fans could see both Alien 5 and Prometheus 2 in 2017, since a 2016 release seems unlikely, given the production schedule. It's worth noting that Ridley Scott recently signed on to direct The Cartel for 20th Century Fox, but it isn't known when that adaptation will move forward.

At the end of Prometheus, both Shaw and David set off on a journey to the Engineers' home planet, but it isn't known if there will be a large jump in time between the original and this sci-fi sequel, or if it will take place directly after Prometheus ends. Ridley Scott has also said in the past that Prometheus 2 won't feature any of the classic Xenomorph creatures. Now that a shooting schedule has apparently been worked out, hopefully we'll learn a lot more about this project soon. What do you think about these new details?

Prometheus 2 comes to theaters in 2016.


STAR WARS SERIES
Disney and Marvel Studios are currently enjoying massive success with their Marvel Cinematic Universe, due to enter its third phase with next years Captain America: Civil War, with two highly successful Television serials, and many more movies and serials planned over the coming years. Following Disneys acquisition of Lucasfilm and their plans to produce new movies set within the legendary Star Wars Saga, both episodic and anthology, it will come as no surprise that the animation giant is also planning on releasing a set of live action Star Wars Television serials.

A report from Cinelinx suggests that as with Daredevil, a Disney/Marvel Studios Television serial that has enjoyed huge success on streaming service Netflix, shedding the unsavoury shadow of the poorly recieved 2003 movie, Disney are looking to recreate the same success by airing up to three new TV serials on the service, all set within the Star Wars universe. The move away from traditional TV networks is in line with current viewing trends showing that most households now use on-demand and streaming services to watch TV shows, a trend that has led to the cancellation of popular shows such as Hannibal, Fringe and Constantine; because traditional viewing figures (which networks use to determine a shows renewal) do not take into account on-demand/streaming viewership figures.

Reportedly these live action Star Wars TV shows will be filmed in between production of the movies, allowing the shows cast and crew to use sets and assets from the movies within the shows, adding to the cinematic feel of the shows. A continuation of the Star Wars saga, following the events of Star Wars Episode VI. Official plot synopsis for Star Wars 7 has yet to be revealed.

Directed by J.J Abrams, written by Michael Arndt, J. J. Abrams, Lawrence Kasdan and starring John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Max von Sydow, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, Kenny Baker, Star Wars: The Force Awakens releases December 18th, 2015.

MONDAY, AUGUST 3, 2015

NETFLIX
Every month, Netflix makes changes to its ever-popular Watch Instantly streaming service, and while that always means we have to say goodbye to some movies and shows, it also means new ones will arrive throughout the month. So, every month or so, we like to give you a heads-up about the various sci-fi, fantasy and supernatural horror movies and shows that'll be coming your way.

August brings with it a pretty good crop of new stuff, led by the most recent season of Doctor Who. Plus, catch up on Once Upon a Time before the new season, revisit classic Reading Rainbow, watch a couple of horror movies and more.

Take a look at the list below to see August's genre additions on Netflix.

DOCTOR WHO 8
Doctor Who, Series 8 (2014), Available August 8

If you missed Peter Capaldi's first year in the TARDIS the first time around, you'll be able to catch it now, just in time to be ready for Series 9.

WING COMMANDER
Is this adaptation of the classic space pilot game as bad as you remember it being? It might be time to find out.

BYZANTIUM
Director Neil Jordan mastered vampires with Interview With the Vampire, but he returned to the concept with this thriller about a mother/daughter pair of bloodsuckers that has a good chance of drawing you in with its beautiful darkness.




GAMBIT
Channing Tatum has closed a deal to star in Gambit, 20th Century Fox’s X-Men spinoff movie.

The move, which was widely expected, contradicts reports that appeared last week suggesting the actor would exit the project after failing to come to terms with Fox.

Sources say that Tatum and the studio did hit a sensitive spot in negotiations, but such back-and-forth is a normal part of top-level talent dealmaking. The Magic Mike star's participation hardly was in any real danger because the actor already had invested quite a bit in the superhero part. Tatum has been attached to the movie (loosely then officially) as both actor and producer for a few years and even made a surprise appearance at Fox’s X-Men panel at Comic-Con in July.

One thing that needed figuring out was the extent of Tatum’s involvement in the X-Men universe. Fox sees Tatum’s Gambit, a mutant who harnesses kinetic energy, as one of the anchor characters of the X-universe, akin to Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine, someone who would anchor his own movies and appear in numerous others. It’s a commitment that could theoretically last more than a decade. (Jackman has been portraying Wolverine since 2000, for instance.)

Sources say that backend compensation was also a sticking point.

Rupert Wyatt, who directed Fox’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes, will direct Gambit.

Josh Zetumer penned the script for the film, based on a treatment by Gambit co-creator Chris Claremont. Tatum, Reid Carolin, Lauren Shuler Donner and Simon Kinberg are producing.


WEEKEND BOX OFFICE
The Mission: Impossible franchise continues to deliver big returns for Tom Cruise.

Over the weekend, Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation opened to a better-than-expected $56 million in North America in a needed win for Cruise, whose star status has diminished outside of the spy series over the past decade. The movie, fueled by males (62 percent) and older moviegoers, easily came in No. 1. More than 80 percent of ticket buyers were over the age of 25

Cruise remains much more of a movie star overseas. Internationally, the $150 million tentpole launched to $65 million from 40 territories (or 40 percent of the marketplace) for an early world cume of $121 million for partners Paramount and Skydance, including a record-breaking launch of $17.1 million in South Korea.

Rogue Nation almost boasted the best three-day weekend opening of any title in the franchise. Alex Gibney's recent Scientology documentary Going Clear didn't seem to hurt Cruise and, by extension, the film, with nearly 40 percent of the North American audience saying they turned out for the actor, a strong number.

The Mission: Impossible movies have never opened to huge numbers, outside of the second title, which took in $70.8 million over the long Memorial Day weekend in 2000, including $57 million for the weekend itself. And Rogue Nation delivered Cruise his third-best domestic opening of all time after Mission: Impossible II and War of the Worlds ($64.9 million), not accounting for inflation.

The critically acclaimed film, buoyed by an A- CinemaScore, is the fifth installment and continues the goodwill that Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol generated. Written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie, Rogue Nation sees Ethan Hunt and his team attempting to prove the existence of (and then stop) the Syndicate, an international criminal consortium. Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg and Rebecca Ferguson also star.

"This weekend shows that Tom Cruise continues to be a popular star and that Mission continues to be one of the most popular franchises in the U.S. [and] globally," said Paramount vice chairman Rob Moore, who confirmed that a sixth installment is being developed for Cruise (the actor revealed the project to Jon Stewart last week).

Ghost Protocol, directed by Brad Bird, revitalized the spy-action franchise, earning $694.7 million globally after its release in 2011, a series best. That included an international total of $485.3 million.

Overseas, Rogue Nation came in ahead of Ghost Protocol, or any Mission title, in a number of key markets, including South Korea, where it scored the second-best opening of all time for Paramount after Transformers: Dark of the Moon, the U.K. ($8.7 million), Mexico ($5.1 million) and Taiwan ($5 million). The movie doesn't open in China until Sept. 8.

The weekend's other new wide player, Vacation, missed the mark in its U.S. debut after opening Wednesday. The reboot earned $21.2 million for the Wednesday-Sunday stretch, including $14.9 million for the weekend (it had been expected to clear $30 million).

If there's any solace, it's that New Line and Warner Bros. spent a modest $30 million to make Vacation, starring Ed Helms, Christina Applegate, Leslie Mann and Chris Hemsworth.

The movie — skewered by critics and earning only a B CinemaScore from audiences — is a sequel of sorts to the first National Lampoon's Vacation, directed by Harold Ramis, and picks up as Rusty Griswold (Helms), now grown, takes his own family on a vacation. Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo make cameos.

Not surprisingly, Vacation, placing No. 2, skewed older, with 36 percent over the age of 35. Females made up the majority of the audience (53 percent).

Warners executive vice president of domestic distribution Jeff Goldstein said there are several promising signs. "Younger audiences gave it the best scores, and the movie also over-indexed in the South and in the middle of the country," he said.

Holdovers Ant-Man and Minions ended the weekend in a close race. Disney put Ant-Man's earnings at $12.6 million for a domestic total of $132.1 million and global haul of nearly $300 million. Disney and Pixar also announced that Inside Out has crossed the $600 million worldwide.

Universal and Illumination's Minions grossed $12.2 million domestically for a North American total of $287.3 million and mammoth global total of $854.6 million.

Adam Sandler tentpole Pixels tumbled to No. 5 in its second weekend with $10.4 million domestically, a 57 percent decline. Pixels' 10-day North American total is $45.6 million. John Green YA film adaptation Paper Towns also took a big hit in its second weekend, falling more than 60 percent to $4.6 million for a domestic total of $23.8 million.

Jake Gyllenhaal's boxing drama Southpaw, from The Weinstein Co., crossed the $30 million mark in its sophomore session, earning $7.5 million for a domestic total of $31.6 million.

James Ponsoldt's The End of the Tour, starring Jason Segel as the late author David Foster Wallace, impressed at the specialty box office, opening to $126,459 from four theaters in New York and Los Angeles for a location average of $31,615, the best box-office showing of any 2015 Sundance Film Festival title. Segel stars opposite Jesse Eisenberg.


SHERLOCK
"The BBC has been a beacon and an icon, and to damage that for temporary political gain is vandalism of the worst kind," Steven Moffat said Saturday at TCA.

Watson's impressive mustache isn't the only change viewers will notice in the upcoming Sherlock special.

"Sherlock is a little more polished, he operates like a Victorian gentlemen instead of like a posh, rude man," executive producer Steven Moffat said at the Television Critics Association summer press tour Saturday. "He's a lot less brattish when he's back then and Doctor Watson is a bit more upright."

The special, for which footage was unveiled at Comic-Con last month, will be a stand-alone set in Victorian times. Moffat offered a cheeky response when asked how the decision came to change periods to when the original books take place. "Just because we can," he said. "It’s a mistake we've been a long time rectifying."

Moffat offered one more (minor) tease about what to expect. "Ghost stories work better in a Victorian setting," he said. "Other than that it's remarkably similar."

Looking ahead beyond the special, Moffat said the fourth season will go into production in the spring and said that the new season will return to present time. Said Moffat with a laugh, "[We'll] go back to doing Sherlock normally next year unless I'm lying or we change our minds."

However, the big question on fans' minds is just when they'll get to watch the special. PBS has yet to announce a premiere date for the special — which, despite earlier reports, Moffat said is not a Christmas special — because the BBC has yet to announce a premiere date.

"We are in very close touch with the BBC," said Rebecca Eaton, executive producer of Masterpiece on PBS, Sherlock's stateside home. "We are trying hard not to frustrate the fans."

Speaking of the BBC, Moffat did not hold back when asked about the possible BBC policy change that could affect the availability of Britain's globally beloved series like Sherlock.

Instead of having British households pay an annual license fee for free TV, the U.K.'s new Conservative-ruled British government declared last month that the BBC would soon have to foot the bill for those fees as part of ongoing "savings." That tab is expected to exceed $1.15 billion by 2020.

"They must have something more important to do," Moffat said of the government. "The BBC has been a beacon and an icon, and to damage that for temporary political gain is vandalism of the worst kind."

Take care and I look forward to hearing from you.
Sandra Bruckner (sgbruckner@aol.com)
Editor/Publisher
ISN News: The Zocalo Today

http://www.isnnews.net
Copyright - SBruckner, 1999-2015

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