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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.

News

LATEST NEWS FOR MAY

FRIDAY, MAY 30, 2014

Arrow-Barrowman ARROW
"Arrow" Season 3 will feature John Barrowman as a series regular for the first time. What does this mean for the character of Malcolm Merlyn? For now, the actor is keeping his secrets closely, but he did spill just a few teases when talking to Zap2it.

"Oh yeah, I know lots," Barrowman first replies when asked about upcoming "Arrow" plots. Unfortunately, he follows with, "But if I told you, I'd have to send somebody out there to kill you."

So that's it for a chance to get every last detail on the return of Merlyn to the show. At least Barrowman was willing to tease that it's going to be great. "I know some of what's going to happen," he says. "And for 'Arrow' fans, it's going to be an amazing Season 3."

One thing Barrowman would talk about was Malcolm's apparent resurrection from the dead after Oliver Queen seemed to have killed him back in the Season 1 finale.

"What you have to understand is that Malcolm Merlyn, he might not have died," Barrowman explains. "He just knows how to do things -- in the same realm as 'Sing Your Face Off' [Barrowman's new ABC show] -- to do an impression of being dead. It's not always what it looks like and things are explained later."

Thus, whatever is coming for Malcolm Merlyn and for "Arrow" in the fall, at least fans are likely to get some answers.

SNOWPIERCER
If you feel like you didn’t have enough Chris Evans (who looks delightfully grimy here) with Captain America: The Winter Soldier, then you’ll be thrilled to see the actor again in Snowpiercer, a sci-fi flick with a very intriguing premise.

Directed by The Host's Bong Joon-ho, this apocalyptic sci-fi thriller "is set in a future where, after a failed experiment to stop global warming, an Ice Age kills off all life on the planet except for the inhabitants of the Snowpiercer, a train that travels around the globe and is powered by a sacred perpetual-motion engine. A class system evolves on the train but a revolution brews."

Along with Chris Evans Snowpiercer stars Song Kangho, Tilda Swinton, Jamie Bell, Octavia Spencer, Ewen Brewmner, Alison Pill, John Hurt and Ed Harris.

The film is finally set to hit U.S. theaters in limited release on June 27.

EARTH TO ECHO
What do you get when you make a movie about children who discover an alien among them and try to hide their secret? If you do it well, you get E.T. But if you do it in 2014, with characters who film their adventures on their cameras and cell phones as they go, you get Earth to Echo.

As far as we can tell from the most recent trailer, below, Earth to Echo looks like it shares some cinematic DNA with Steven Spielberg's 1982 sci-fi classic (of course, you could say the same thing about Super 8, which, although an extremely likable film, didn't have the emotional staying power of E.T.). We won't know until July 2, but so far, Earth to Echo looks like a movie that will make us smile.

Earth to Echo is a PG movie, which means the kids it's aiming at will actually be able to see it. Plus, if the movie manages to keep up its humor, its intelligence and its eye-catching effects, adults will be more than happy to take them.

According to Relativity's press release,

Tuck, Munch and Alex are a trio of inseparable friends whose lives are about to change. Their neighborhood is being destroyed by a highway construction project that is forcing their families to move away. But just two days before they must part ways, the boys begin receiving a strange series of signals on their phones. Convinced something bigger is going on, they team up with another school friend, Emma, and set out to look for the source of their phone signals. What they discover is something beyond their wildest imaginations: a small alien who has become stranded on Earth. In need of their help, the four friends come together to protect the alien and help him find his way home. This journey, full of wonder and adventure, is their story, and their secret.

Stargate STARGATE
MGM and Warner Bros. are launching a new feature film trilogy based on the 1994 film Stargate.

Roland Emmerich, who directed and co-wrote the original film with Dean Devlin, will direct and Devlin will produce.

MGM will be running production on Stargate, with Jonathan Glickman, president of the motion picture group, overseeing the project on behalf of MGM and Greg Silverman, president of creative development and worldwide production, overseeing for Warner Bros. Pictures.

Worldwide distribution will be handled by Warner Bros. Pictures, with select international territories to be handled by MGM. At the time of its release, the sci-fi film Stargate, starring Kurt Russell and James Spader, set the record for the highest-grossing opening weekend in October and went on to gross nearly $200 million worldwide at the box office.

Emmerich is currently shooting gay rights drama Stonewall, which is set amid the 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York. He is also in pre-production on ID Forever Part I and Part II, back-to-back sequels to his film, Independence Day. He's repped by CAA.

Devlin is currently in pre-production on Warner Bros.' Geostorm, his feature directorial debut, which he co-wrote with Paul Guyot.

EDGE OF TOMORROW
Warner Bros. Pictures and Village Roadshow have released the final trailer for director Doug Liman's Edge of Tomorrow.

Opening in 3D, 2D and IMAX 3D theaters on June 5, the sci-fi thriller stars Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton, Jeremy Piven, Ciaran Hinds, Noah Taylor, Kick Gurry, Dragomir Mrsic, Charlotte Riley, Jonas Armstrong, Franz Drameh, Masayoshi Haneda and Tony Way. The movie is based on the acclaimed novel "All You Need is Kill" by Hiroshi Sakurazaka.

The action unfolds in a near future in which an alien race has hit the Earth in an unrelenting assault, unbeatable by any military unit in the world. Lt. Col. Bill Cage (Cruise) is an officer who has never seen a day of combat when he is unceremoniously dropped into what amounts to a suicide mission. Killed within minutes, Cage now finds himself inexplicably thrown into a time loop—forcing him to live out the same brutal combat over and over, fighting and dying again…and again.

But with each battle, Cage becomes able to engage the adversaries with increasing skill, alongside Special Forces warrior Rita Vrataski (Blunt). And, as Cage and Rita take the fight to the aliens, each repeated encounter gets them one step closer to defeating the enemy.

Gray Man THE GRAY MAN
The Captain America: The Winter Soldier directing pair of Anthony and Joe Russo have lined up a new project at Sony Pictures. Variety reports that the brothers will tackle a big screen version of Mark Greaney's 2009 novel The Gray Man. The book, the first in Greaney's "Court Gentry" series, was initially published in 2009 with the following official description:

Court Gentry is known as The Gray Man - a legend in the covert realm, moving silently from job to job, accomplishing the impossible, and then fading away. And he always hits his target. But there are forces more lethal than Gentry in the world. And in their eyes, Gentry has just outlived his usefulness.

Now, he is going to prove that for him, there's no gray area between killing for a living-and killing to stay alive.

The novel was previously planned for the big screen some years ago with James Gray attached to direct and Brad Pitt rumored to be eyeing the lead role. New Regency Pictures held the screen rights at that time and had Adam Cozad (Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit) attached to provide the screenplay.

The Russos will both write and direct The Gray Man with the hopes of launching a new big screen franchise. Palak Patel and Joe Roth are producing.

The Russos remain attached to helm a third Captain America film, targeting a May 6, 2016 release.

THURSDAY, MAY 29, 2014

STAR TREK TNG
First it was an app, but now Reading Rainbow is going to be coming to PCs and schools all over the world. With your help, naturally.

Reading Rainbow is one of the most important children's programs ever produced. Its goal is simple -- get kids to read. For decades it made little readers out of so many of us. Plus, I think we all remember that amazing Star Trek: The Next Generation episode, right?

Short version: Reading Rainbow is great.

But the show hasn't been on since 2006. It's had an unbelievably successful app for tablets, but only around 30 percent of kids have access to that kind of technology. That's why LeVar Burton wants to expand that app to PCs all around the world. And he wants to make sure that this new version of Reading Rainbow continues to be free for everyone, and he wants it to be in as many schools as possible.

But making a thing free is, well, really expensive. And so Burton and his team have taken the project to Kickstarter, and they've set their funding goal at a manageable $1 million. That Kickstarter, by the way, just went up this morning, but is well on its way to hitting its goal.

We love LeVar, and we love Reading Rainbow. And we've got a funny feeling a lot of you feel the same way.

So here's the deal -- if Reading Rainbow hits that million mark, it'll mean the program will be available in over 1500 classrooms at no cost to the schools. And that is great. But, call us greedy, we want more. So let's show LeVar Burton, his team, and kids around the world we care about them reading enough to fund that $1 million today. As of this writing, the project is nearly halfway funded, so, really, it's hardly unthinkable.

If the Kickstarter is funded by day one, then the opportunity to spread Reading Rainbow much farther becomes exponentially more possible.

And if you want Star Trek-related incentives, there's plenty to go around.

UPDATE:
The kickstart campaign for Reading Rainbow topped $1million in just one hour.

THE CONGRESS
Based on the trailer alone, The Congress looks set to be one of the weirdest and most distinctive films coming out in 2014.

Drafthouse Films is releasing the movie later this year after it made the festival rounds in 2013, and the first trailer gives us a glimpse into the surreal world that director Ari Folman (Waltz With Bashir) has cooked up.

Robin Wright (The Princess Bride) plays a version of herself, an actress who sells all the rights to her name, image and voice to a movie studio in exchange for financial security for herself and her son, who is battling an illness. Some time later, that likeness of Wright becomes a star all over again and is invited to join something called "The Congress."

The hook is that the initial scenes, in which Wright signs the deal with the head of Miramount Studios (Danny Huston) is played out in live action, while the latter portion of the film switches to animation as it follows the "new" Wright.

The trailer is striking, odd and I dare say pretty darn relevant, what with holograms of Michael Jackson and Tupac Shakur popping up on concert stages and images of tons of dead celebrities showing up in TV commercials all the time.

Read the official synopsis below, check out the trailer, and let us know if you'll be tracking down what certainly looks like a fascinating exploration of identity, memory, fame and virtual reality. The Congress opens Aug. 29.

(via Slashfilm)

More than two decades after catapulting to stardom with The Princess Bride, an aging actress (Robin Wright, playing a version of herself) decides to take her final job: preserving her digital likeness for a future Hollywood. Through a deal brokered by her loyal, longtime agent (Harvey Keitel) and the head of Miramount Studios (Danny Huston), her alias will be controlled by the studio, and will star in any film they want with no restrictions. In return, she receives healthy compensation so she can care for her ailing son and her digitized character will stay forever young. Twenty years later, under the creative vision of the studio’s head animator (Jon Hamm), Wright’s digital double rises to immortal stardom. With her contract expiring, she is invited to take part in “The Congress” convention as she makes her comeback straight into the world of future fantasy cinema.

Inside Out INSIDE OUT
We still have to wait more than a year to see it, but now we've got a synopsis for the next ambitious film from Pixar Animation Studios.

It's a bit of a sad year for fans of the now-iconic studio that gave us modern classics like Toy Story, Finding Nemo and The Incredibles, as 2014 marks the first year since 2005 that we haven't had a Pixar film to look forward to. The Good Dinosaur was supposed to be released this year, but back in 2013 the studio pushed its release back to November 2015, so we'll get two films next year to make up for zero films this year. The first of those films: Inside Out, from Oscar-winning director Pete Docter (Monsters Inc., Up) and Oscar-winning screenwriter Michael Arndt (Little Miss Sunshine, Toy Story 3).

We've known for some time that the film will take us inside the mind of a little girl, that her emotions will be characters in the story, and that the film will feature an all-star voice cast that includes Amy Poehler, Bill Hader and Lewis Black. Now, at last, we've got an official look at the plot.

From the tepuis of South America to a monster-filled metropolis, Academy Award®-winning director Pete Docter has taken audiences to unique and imaginative places. In 2015, he will take us to the most extraordinary location of all – inside the mind of an 11-year-old named Riley.

Growing up can be a bumpy road, and it’s no exception for Riley, who is uprooted from her Midwest life when her father starts a new job in San Francisco. Like all of us, Riley is guided by her emotions – Joy (Amy Poehler), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black), Disgust (Mindy Kaling) and Sadness (Phyllis Smith). The emotions live in Headquarters, the control center inside Riley’s mind, where they help advise her through everyday life. As Riley and her emotions struggle to adjust to a new life in San Francisco, turmoil ensues in Headquarters. Although Joy, Riley’s main and most important emotion, tries to keep things positive, the emotions conflict on how best to navigate a new city, house and school.

There's a look at each of Riley's emotions above. You can probably guess which is which.

So now the wait begins for a trailer to give us an even better picture of what this very ambitious-sounding film will be. We've still got a long wait to see, but with Inside Out, it looks like Pixar could be poised to answer its critics who've labeled the studio as over-reliant on sequels these days.

Inside Out will be released on June 19, 2015.

World War Z WORLD WAR Z SEQUEL
Steven Knight, the screenwriter whose credits range from Eastern Promises to the current Tom Hardy drama Locke, has closed a deal to pen the sequel to World War Z for Paramount and Skydance.

The project already has a director in Juan Antonio Bayona (The Impossible), who came on board in December and will work closely with Knight on the script.

Z, based on the novel by Max Brooks, was one of the summer's surprise hits, grossing $202 million domestically and $540 million worldwide.

Z starred Brad Pitt (who also was a producer via his Plan B shingle) as a United Nations employee who travels the world as he tries to stop a zombie plague, all the while trying to communicate with his family.

The take on the sequel, to be produced by Plan B, is being kept under wraps.

Knight, who is British, wrote tight thrillers such as Pretty Little Things and David Cronenberg’s Eastern Promises before working on Martin Scorsese’s Leonardo DiCaprio vehicle Shutter Island.

While Knight has several projects in development (Larklight at Warner Bros., for example), he does have Locke, which he wrote and directed, in theaters now. The indie drama stars Hardy as a man trying to keep his life from unraveling from the backseat of a car.

Cole-Hurst HOT AIR
Gary Cole and Drop Dead Diva actor Jackson Hurst have joined indie Hot Air as the project begins shooting.

The comedy stars Jere Burns as Harold "Major" Patterson, who fakes his own death to escape a life sentence in jail, only to learn that he has a son he's never met. Matthew Gray Gubler, Christa Miller and Schuyler Fisk also star in the film.

Derek Sieg (Swedish Auto director) will helm the project from a script he wrote with Jeremy Goldstein. Kyle Fischer, Dave Szamet and Goldstein are producing the film, which will shoot in Austin, Tex., in May and June.

Cole will play “The Aviator,” a real-life historical figure manifested as Patterson's imaginary friend, while Hurst will play a city councilman.

Cole, who's repped by Gersh, stars on HBO’s Veep and will appear in the Melissa McCarthy comedy Tammy, out in theaters July 2.

Hurst starred as Grayson Kenton on Lifetime's Drop Dead Diva, and his film credits include The Tree of Life and The Mist. He's repped by Innovative Artists.

WEDNESDAY, MAY 28, 2014

Shipp-Flash THE FLASH
We've known for a while that the original TV Flash would be joining The CW's new series about the character. But who will he play?

Back in February, The CW announced that John Wesley Shipp -- who played the Flash, Barry Allen, in the one-season CBS Flash series in 1990 -- would join the network's new adventures of Barry Allen as a "mysterious character." Speculation over who Shipp might play -- be it a supervillain or just Barry Allen's dad -- has been ongoing for three months, and now we have finally have an answer from the network. So what's Shipp's role?

Well, as some fans may have already guessed, he'll be Barry's father, Henry Allen.

"Given his history with The Flash, Andrew [Kreisberg], Geoff [Johns] and I could only think of one person we wanted to play Barry's father and that was John Wesley Shipp," executive producer Greg Berlanti said in a statement. "He gives a fantastic and emotional performance in the pilot and we are looking forward to his presence in many more episodes. Also, personally, it was just wonderful to work with him again since my days at Dawson's Creek. He's a great actor and a great guy."

According to TV Guide, Henry's story on television will closely resemble his most recent comic-book appearance, in which he was falsely accused of the murder of his wife and Barry's mother, Nora Allen. While dealing with all of his other new superhero problems, Barry will also be working to prove his father's innocence.

So Shipp's got a recurring role on The Flash that looks like it's got plenty of dramatic promise, and which reflects one of the most important Flash comic-book stories of recent years. Now that we know who Shipp's "mysterious character" is, bring on some villain casting news!

Sleepy Hollow SLEEPY HOLLOW
Filming on the second season of Sleepy Hollow is currently well underway.

Fox’s surprise hit series — which started filming on May 5 — is bound to return with more supernatural shenanigans (along with a creepy dollhouse) as Lt. Abby Mills (Nicole Beharie) and Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison) must resume the hunt for the First Horseman of the Apocalypse, Death, who was last seen taking off with Ichy’s wife Katrina (Katia Winter), freshly plucked out of Purgatory, in the intense season-one finale.

That is, if Abbie can get our Ichy out of his dire predicament first! (From the looks of things she does. Were there any doubts?)

All of this thanks to the evil machinations of Ichabod and Katrina's long-lost son Jeremy (formerly known as Henry Parrish, aka the Sin Eater, and played by John Noble, who is now a series regular), who shockingly became the Second Horseman, War, by episode's end.

They’ll be joined in the good fight against evil by Abbie’s sister Jenny (Lyndie Greenwood — also bumped to regular status), Capt. Frank Irving (Orlando Jones) and none other than ... Benjamin Franklin! (Timothy Busfield).

Also returning (from the looks of it) is Star Trek's John Cho as Andy Brooks.

The second season of Sleepy Hollow will air on Fox in the fall of 2014.

DOCTOR WHO
Now here, friends, is how you tease a new season of Doctor Who.

We've all seen the teaser for Capaldi's first season on Doctor Who, yes? It was pretty good, kind of menacing, vaguely intriguing, if you will. But what this fan did without any actual actors to work with is astonishing and, we think, a more exciting tease by every metric.

If this style of fan creation feels familiar, that's because it was put together by the same person who made both that awesome Weeping Angels short and the fake Doctor Who 50th trailer that had almost everyone fooled. All three are just incredibly strong work.

And now we can't help but think there ought to be a Doctor Who episode called "Rain."

Charlie Cox DAREDEVIL
Marvel and Netflix's Daredevil has found its leading man: Boardwalk Empire alum Charlie Cox.

Sources confirm to The Hollywood Reporter that Cox will star as Matt Murdock, the blind lawyer by day and crime-fighting hero by night at the center of the 13-episode drama.

Cox becomes the first person cast in the drama series based on the Marvel Entertainment comics of the same name. Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Lost alum Drew Goddard was set to serve as showrunner on the series. After signing on to Sony's Spider-Man spinoff Sinister Six, Goddard was replaced over the holiday weekend by Spartacus (and Buffy) alum Steven S. DeKnight, who will now oversee the show. Goddard will remain on as an exec producer and serve as a consultant on the drama. Marvel and Netflix declined comment on Cox's casting. Official confirmation is expected to come shortly.

For his part, Cox has been a sought-after actor for the past two pilot seasons. He most recently was attached to topline CBS' untitled Wall Street drama from exec producer John Cusack. That pilot did not move forward at the network. Last year, he starred on CBS' drama pilot The Ordained, which also did not move forward. That would have served as his TV follow-up to HBO's Boardwalk Empire, where he recurred as Owen for two seasons. Repped by WME and United Agents in the U.K., Cox's credits include Moby Dick, Hello Carter and the starring role in another comics-to-screen adaptation, Neil Gaiman's feature Stardust.

Netflix picked up Daredevil -- as well as Jessica Jones, Iron Fist and Luke Cage and miniseries The Defenders -- in a massive pact with Marvel. Daredevil is first out of the gate with 13 episodes.

Daredevil arrives as Marvel continues to expand its relationship with ABC, adding Captain America spinoff Agent Carter as a bridge series between the fall and spring runs of the sophomore season of Agents of SHIELD.

THE STRAIN
FX has debuted the trailer for "The Strain," the upcoming FX series based on the novels by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan, which is set to premiere on Sunday, July 13 at 10pm ET/PT.

"The Strain" is described as being a high concept thriller from del Toro, Hogan and writer/producer Carlton Cuse. It tells the story of Dr. Ephraim Goodweather, the head of the Center for Disease Control Canary Team in New York City. He and his team are called upon to investigate a mysterious viral outbreak with hallmarks of an ancient and evil strain of vampirism. As the strain spreads, Eph, his team, and an assembly of everyday New Yorkers, wage war for the fate of humanity itself.

Co-creators, executive producers and writers del Toro and Hogan co-wrote the pilot, which was directed by del Toro. Cuse serves as executive producer/showrunner and writer. Gary Ungar also serves as Executive Producer. The series is produced by FX Productions and is set for a 13-episode first season.

Book of Life Book of Life Book of Life THE BOOK OF LIFE
USA Today has debuted new images from 20th Century Fox's The Book of Life, featuring the voices of Channing Tatum, Zoe Saldana, Diego Luna, Christina Applegate, Ice Cube, Kate del Castillo, Ron Perlman, Cheech Marin, Hector Elizondo, Placido Domingo, Ana de la Reguera, Eugenio Derbez, Gabriel Iglesias, Ricardo ("El Mandril") Sanchez and Danny Trejo.

Guillermo del Toro is producing the October 17 release. An animated comedy with a unique visual style, The Book of Life is the journey of Manolo, a young man who is torn between fulfilling the expectations of his family and following his heart. Before choosing which path to follow, he embarks on an incredible adventure that spans three fantastical worlds where he must face his greatest fears. Rich with a fresh take on pop music favorites, The Book of Life encourages us to celebrate the past while looking forward to the future.

TUESDAY, MAY 27, 2014

Gareth Edwards STAR WARS NEWS
Prior to the release of Godzilla, Gareth Edwards was best known for his 2010 film Monsters. But Legendary Pictures gave his career a boost when they hired him to take over the Godzilla franchise. The film was released last week and thus far has earned over $216 million worldwide.

Now Edwards is adding another huge title to his resume. Thursday, The Hollywood Reporter confirmed that he would direct one of the upcoming Star Wars spinoffs. They haven't revealed what the film will entail, but the script is being written by Gary Whitta (Book of Eli).

There are rumors that it could focus on specific characters from the original trilogy. For example, it could explore the origins of Han Solo and his family. Or delve deeper into Yoda's history. Maybe even Luke Skywalker has more story to tell? The possibilities are endless.

"Ever since I saw Star Wars I knew exactly what I wanted to do for the rest of my life - join the Rebel Alliance! I could not be more excited and honored to go on this mission with Lucasfilm," said Edwards in a statement.

Disney CEO Bob Igar explained that they have at least three spinoffs planned for the Star Wars series. Each one could debut between the regular film installments. This is quite the get for Edwards, who's also attached to the recently announced Godzilla sequel. The Star Wars spinoff is scheduled to hit theaters Dec. 16, 2016, following Star Wars: Episode VII, which opens Dec. 18, 2015.

X-Men - Days WEEKEND BOX OFFICE
Bryan Singer's critically acclaimed X-Men: Days of Future Past soared at the Memorial Day weekend box office, nabbing a stellar four-day debut of $111 million from 3,996 theaters. Internationally, the 20th Century Fox tentpole took in $191 million through Monday, putting its global total at a whopping $302 million -- the best debut of any X-Men film.

Days of Future Past bested the $203 global opening of X-Men: The Last Stand, although in North America, The Last Stand still sports the top debut of all time for an X-Men title ($122 million).

Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore's comedy, Blended, wasn't so lucky. The Warner Bros. film, placing No. 3 after Days of Future Past and Godzilla, grossed $18.2 million from 3,555 locations over the four-day holiday weekend, one of the worst openings for a Sandler in recent years. The film's poor performance played a major role in box-office revenue being down more than 26 percent from Memorial Day weekend 2013.

Days of Future Past is a victory for Fox and Singer, who withdrew from promoting the film after a sex abuse lawsuit was filed against him.

"This record-breaking result reflects the incredible work done by the film makers and cast on this X-Men saga, together with the passion and diligence of the new global distribution and marketing team at Fox," said Fox's Paul Hanneman, the studio's relatively new co-president of worldwide marketing and distribution. Overseas, the tentpole opened in virtually every major market, save for Japan and Spain.

The movie, costing $200 million-plus to produce, features actors from the original X-Men trilogy of films and X-Men: First Class, including Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Halle Berry, Anna Paquin, Ellen Page, Peter Dinklage, Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen.

Singer, who directed the first two X-Men films, also produced Days of Future Past alongside Lauren Shuler Donner, screenwriter Simon Kinberg and Hutch Parker.

Overseas, Days of Future Past took in $171.1 million through Sunday and $191 million through Monday. That includes $37.7 million in China, marking the studio's second-best opening of all time after Titanic 3D, which went on to earn a massive $150 million. Additionally, Days of Future Past marked Fox's biggest opening in 11 markets, including South Korea ($13.5 million). Elsewhere, it debuted to $14.2 million in the U.K. and to $13.5 million in France, the biggest launch of the year to date for a Hollywood title.

In North America, Days of Future Past scored the fifth-best Memorial Day opening ever after Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End ($139.8 million), Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull ($126.9 million), X-Men: The Last Stand ($122.9 million) and last year's Fast & Furious 6 ($117 million).

Blended, the weekend's other new nationwide offering, reteamed Sandler with Barrymore for the third time after The Wedding Singer and 50 First Dates. While the comedy about two single parents who end up together on an African safari with their kids got a critical drubbing, audiences were more forgiving, awarding it an A- CinemaScore. One saving grace is the film's relatively modest $45 million budget.

The comedy marks Sandler's second-lowest opening of the last five years after That's My Boy, which posted a three-day debut of $13.5 million two years ago. (Blended's three-day gross was $14.2 million.) His previous box-office outing, last July's Grown Ups 2, opened to $42.5 million domestically over three days.

Warner Bros.' president of domestic distribution Dan Fellman said good weather across the country kept many people away from the multiplex over Memorial Day weekend. Last year, in addition to the strong showing of Fast & Furious 6, The Hangover: Part III debuted to $50 million.

"Blended was hampered from maximizing its potential. The A- CinemaScore will help grow our box office as we continue into the lucrative summer playtime," Fellman said.

Facing fierce competition from Days of Future Past, Legendary Pictures and Warners' Godzilla fell steeply in its second weekend. The tentpole, coming in No. 2, posted a four-day gross of $39.4 million and a three-day gross of $31.1 million, down 67 percent from last weekend.

Globally, the tentpole has now taken in $323.4 million, including $156.8 million domestically and $166.6 million internationally. Over the weekend, Godzilla helped Warners cross the $1 billion mark in foreign box-office revenue for the 14th consecutive year.

Universal's R-rated comedy Neighbors continued to shine, coming in No. 4 in its third weekend with a four-day gross of $17.2 million and a three-day gross of $13.9 million from 3,266 locations. The Seth Rogen and Zac Efron film crossed the $100 million mark over the long holiday weekend, ending Monday with a domestic total of $116.9 million and a global haul of $184.3 million.

Sony's The Amazing Spider-Man 2 rounded out the top five, reporting a three-day gross of $7.8 million and a four-day gross of $10 million from 3,160 theaters for a domestic total of $187.1 million through Monday. Internationally, the sequel took in another $11.2 million for an international cume of $489 million and worldwide total of $676.1 million.

Jon Favreau's Chef moved into the top 10 in its third weekend as it expanded into a total of 498 theaters. The indie food truck comedy grossed $2.3 million for the three-day period and an estimated $2.9 million for the four, putting its domestic total at $4.2 million. Open Road Films is distributing the movie in the U.S.

Here are the top 10 estimates for Memorial Day weekend at the domestic box office (four-day):

Title, Weeks in Release/Theater Count, Studio, Weekend Total, Cume
1. X-Men: Days of Future Past, 1/3,996, 20th Century Fox, $111 million.
2. Godzilla, 2/3,952, Warner Bros./Legendary, $39.4 million, $156.8 million.
3. Blended, 1/3,555, Warner Bros., $18.2 million.
4. Neighbors, 3/3,311, Universal, $17.2 million, $116.9 million.
5. The Amazing Spider-Man 2, 4/3,160, Sony, $10 million, $187.1 million.
6. Million Dollar Arm, 2/2,154, Disney, $8.7 million, $22.2 million.
7. The Other Woman, 5/2,154, Fox, $4.5 million, $78.6 million.
8. Rio 2, 7/1,701, Fox/Blue Sky, $3.5 million, $122.3 million.
9. Chef, 3/498, Open Road Films, $2.9 million, $4.2 million.
10. Heaven Is for Real, 6/1,720, Sony/TriStar, $2.8 million, $86.6 million.

THE EQUALIZER
In the first trailer for Sony's upcoming movie version of the '80s TV show The Equalizer, Denzel Washington tries to be the knight in shining armor to a black-haired Chloe Grace Moretz.

Washington plays McCall, a former black ops commando who faked his death to live a quiet life in Boston.

The trailer opens with him reading a book in a deserted diner where he watches Moretz get beaten up by a group of thugs. McCall comes out of retirement to save her.

But when he takes out what he believes to be Moretz's character's pimps, he ends up engaging a larger enemy: the Russian Mafia, which wants to know who he is and who he's working for.

The film also stars Melissa Leo and Bill Pullman and is directed by Washington's Training Day helmer Antoine Fuqua, who most recently directed Olympus Has Fallen.

The Equalizer is set to hit theaters on Sept. 26

EDGE OF TOMORROW
Warner Bros. Pictures and Village Roadshow have released four clips from the Doug Liman-directed Edge of Tomorrow, as well as almost five minutes of behind-the-scenes footage.

Opening in 3D, 2D and IMAX 3D theaters on June 6, the sci-fi thriller stars Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton, Jeremy Piven, Ciaran Hinds, Noah Taylor, Kick Gurry, Dragomir Mrsic, Charlotte Riley, Jonas Armstrong, Franz Drameh, Masayoshi Haneda and Tony Way. The movie is based on the acclaimed novel "All You Need is Kill" by Hiroshi Sakurazaka.

The action unfolds in a near future in which an alien race has hit the Earth in an unrelenting assault, unbeatable by any military unit in the world. Lt. Col. Bill Cage (Cruise) is an officer who has never seen a day of combat when he is unceremoniously dropped into what amounts to a suicide mission. Killed within minutes, Cage now finds himself inexplicably thrown into a time loop—forcing him to live out the same brutal combat over and over, fighting and dying again…and again.

But with each battle, Cage becomes able to engage the adversaries with increasing skill, alongside Special Forces warrior Rita Vrataski (Blunt). And, as Cage and Rita take the fight to the aliens, each repeated encounter gets them one step closer to defeating the enemy.

Latest

MONDAY, MAY 26, 2014

DOCTOR WHO
Who fans have been waiting and waiting for season eight to begin -- when will it end?! Well, now we know.

The BBC has released a teaser trailer for Doctor Who's eighth season since the show returned in 2005. Hint -- there's not much to it. But it does give us one thing we've been wanting to know for a while: When the show will start airing again.

So there you are. August. That's sooner than we dared hope. For a while, the rumor was that it wouldn't start until well into autumn so there would be no gap between the series proper and the Christmas special. Thank goodness that didn't turn out to be true. The wait's been endless as is.

Bitten cast BITTEN RENEWED
The battle between the Mutts and the Pack is about to escalate as Space orders a second season of Bitten.

It was announced yesterday that the hit werewolf drama series would be back for a brand-new 10-episode run (season one had 13 episodes) that is bound to be filled with even more drama and plenty of sexy times.

This news should make genre fans happy, as many were waiting with bated breath to hear whether the series would return for a second season -- especially after that action-packed, jaw-dropping season-one finale!

The series is said to have reached nearly 5 million viewers, with celebrities and Bitten fans alike taking to Twitter for an intense #RenewBitten campaign.

Below is the official press release:

Space announced today it has ordered a second season of the sexy, high-octane thriller, BITTEN, Space’s most-watched original series ever. Picking up after an exhilarating Season 1 finale, Space has ordered 10 additional, one-hour episodes from No Equal Entertainment, Entertainment One Television, and Hoodwink Entertainment. Production is expected to begin this summer and will once again be shot on location in Toronto, Hamilton, and Hespeler. Viewers who have yet to join The Pack can catch encore episodes Sundays at 11 p.m. ET on Space following new episodes of the bewitching series SALEM at 10 p.m. ET. Full episodes of BITTEN are also available 24/7 at space.ca. The entire first season of the werewolf thriller encores on CTV this summer.

“BITTEN has been such an exciting addition to Space,” said Phil King, President - CTV, Sports, and Entertainment Programming. “When we signed on for Season 1 we knew it was a unique series and when fans and critics agreed with us, we knew we had a hit. Here’s to another season of making great television with our terrific production partners.”

“BITTEN has been such a rewarding and collaborative experience,” said J.B Sugar, Executive Producer, No Equal Entertainment. “We are looking forward to producing another fantastic season with partners at Bell Media, Entertainment One Television, and Hoodwink. The Pack is so ready and thankful for the opportunity to run again!”

“We’re thrilled to be a part of the killer team bringing another season of BITTEN to the fans,” said Margaret O’Brien, President (Canada), Entertainment One Television. “This action-packed series has resonated extremely well with viewers and across social media. We look forward to building upon the success and excitement established in Season 1.”

Since its debut in January, BITTEN has amassed a loyal following with an average weekly audience of 347,000 viewers on Saturdays at 9 p.m., making it Space’s #1 original series of all time and the #1 program on Space this broadcast year. Each week, BITTEN reached more than 1 million viewers, and to date has reached nearly 5 million viewers. The series also gained a loyal social media following with 903 million estimated impressions from 364,430 Twitter mentions, by 288,071 users using the hashtag #Bitten. Celebrities also took to Twitter to rally for the return of BITTEN with the #RenewBitten campaign, which included supporters Lance Bass, Stacey Dash, Nikki Reed, and Dean Cain. This campaign alone generated 18.1 million estimated impressions, from 29,446 Twitter mentions, by 3,212 users.

Based on the critically-acclaimed series of novels by Kelley Armstrong, BITTEN stars Laura Vandervoort (SMALLVILLE, Ted) as Elena, the world’s only female werewolf along with Greg Bryk (A History Of Violence, ROOKIE BLUE) as The Alpha pack leader Jeremy Danvers, and Greyston Holt (ALCATRAZ, Durham County) as passionate Clayton Danvers. The series also stars Steve Lund (BEING ERICA, HAVEN) as Nick Sorrentino and Michael Xavier (THE BEST YEARS) as Dr. Logan Jonsen.

Filming is set to begin this summer in Toronto, Hamilton and Hespeler (standing in for Bear Valley).

SPARTACUS
The premium cable network Starz scored a major hit with the swords-and-sandals series Spartacus, and now the action-packed journey of a gladiator-turned-revolutionary is heading to Syfy.

No, Syfy isn’t producing new episodes of the series — which wrapped up last year with an ending mapped out by series producer Steven S. DeKnight (Angel, Smallville) — but the network has acquired the basic cable rights to the entire series, which should open it up to a whole new audience.

The series was like a trashier mishmash of Game of Thrones, in the best way possible, and featured a ton of action and sexiness focused on a group of gladiators and the internal politics and drama surrounding the place. The show was a blast, and it should be fun to relive the series’ brief but epic 39-episode run.

The cast list was also littered with genre alums, include Man Bennett (Arrow), Lucy Lawless (Xena), Andy Whitfield, Liam McIntyre, John Hannah, Nick Tarabay, Viva Bianca and Dustin Clare.

Spartacus is slated to debut on Thursday, June 26, packaged with returning original series Defiance and new addition Dominion.

WEDNESDAY, MAY 21, 2014

LOST RIVER
Whovians have been keeping an eye on the Cannes Film Festival for one very specific reason. The directorial debut of Ryan Gosling, "Lost River," premiered and features former "Doctor Who" star Matt Smith in a lead role.

As you can tell by the trailer above, the movie, and Smith's part in it, are a bit strange. The plot revolves around a single mother ( "Mad Men's" Christina Hendricks) and her son ( "Agents of SHIELD's" Iain De Caestecker), both of whom are on very different roads in life. The son's takes him to an underwater world, somehow.

Critical response to the film has been less than positive, with many flat out hating it. Even the positive reviews, if you can call them that, are lukewarm at best. Quite a few are drawing a connection between "Lost River" and the works of "Twin Peaks" mastermind David Lynch. For some there could be no bigger compliment. Unfortunately, it doesn't sound like it's meant in a good way.

Defiance DEFIANCE
The second season of Defiance is soon upon us and, in order to whet our appetites, we’ve got 26 awesome cast portraits to share.

We’ve got about a month left to wait until we return to Defiance (the town formerly known as St. Louis) but, in the meantime, it’s good to see the returning cast and characters, as well as some brand new faces.

Below is the Season 2 synopsis:

As the story of Defiance resumes, the lives of the townspeople are in drastic turmoil. The Earth Republic has assumed control of the town, with far-reaching consequences including a new mayor. Nolan (Grant Bowler) traverses the badlands to find a lost Irisa (Stephanie Leonidas), Amanda (Julie Benz) has an unexpected new role in the town as she searches for Kenya and the Tarr family desperately tries to keep control of their criminal empire in the midst of dramatic changes. Joining the cast this season are James Murray as new mayor Niles Pottinger, Anna Hopkins as Earth Republic soldier Jessica “Berlin” Rai and William Atherton as Earth Republic official Viceroy Mercado.

Created by Rockne S. O'Bannon (Farscape), Defiance will return to Syfy on June 19.

Birds of Prey DC COMIC UPDATE
The list of survivors from DC’s New 52 relaunch just got a little smaller, as the comic publisher has pulled the plug on six ongoing books.

According to Digital Spy, New 52 launch titles Birds of Prey, Superboy, Batwing and All-Star Western will end with their upcoming, respective #34 issues. Along with those four books, Trinity of Sin: The Phantom Stranger will wrap up with issue #22, and Trinity of Sin: Pandora is calling it quits as of issue #14.

Though it’s always tough to say goodbye, the company does have a few new titles on the way to help fill in the gaps. New launches of Grayson, New Suicide Squad, Infinity Man and the Forever People and a revamped Teen Titans are all scheduled to hit shelves in August.

For those keeping count, just 21 of DC’s original 52 relaunch titles will remain in publication as of September.

JUPITER ASCENDING
Warner Bros. Pictures and Village Roadshow have debuted a new international trailer for the Wachowskis' Jupiter Ascending, starring Channing Tatum, Mila Kunis, Sean Bean, Eddie Redmayne, Douglas Booth, Tuppence Middleton, Doona Bae, James D'Arcy and Tim Pigott-Smith.

In the July 18 release, Jupiter Jones (Kunis) was born under a night sky, with signs predicting that she was destined for great things. Now grown, Jupiter dreams of the stars but wakes up to the cold reality of a job cleaning other people's houses and an endless run of bad breaks. Only when Caine (Tatum), a genetically engineered ex-military hunter, arrives on Earth to track her down does Jupiter begin to glimpse the fate that has been waiting for her all along—her genetic signature marks her as next in line for an extraordinary inheritance that could alter the balance of the cosmos.

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2
DreamWorks Animation has released a new featurette for How to Train Your Dragon 2, titled "Dragon Races."

Opening in theaters on June 13, the sequel features the voices of Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, Kit Harington, Cate Blanchett, Djimon Honsou, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, T.J. Miller and Kristen Wiig.

The thrilling second chapter of the epic "How to Train Your Dragon" trilogy returns to the fantastical world of the heroic Viking Hiccup and his faithful dragon Toothless. The inseparable duo must protect the peace – and save the future of men and dragons from the power-hungry Drago.

FRIDAY, MAY 16, 2014

Syfy is serious about expanding its original programming, and the network presented three new dramas -- "12 Monkeys," "Ascension" and "Dominion" -- to prove it at the 2014 upfronts in New York on Thursday (May 15).

Find out about the three upcoming dramas here.

ASCENSION
Starring Tricia Helfer ("Battlestar Galactica"), "Ascension" could most simply be described as "Mad Men" in space. The premise has an ultra-secret spaceship launched in 1963 for a 100-year voyage to a new planet. Halfway through the journey (aka, 2014), murder puts the very survival of the mission in question. And in space, there's no one to hear you scream.

"12 Monkeys"
Based on the Bruce Willis/Brad Pitt movie of the same name, "12 Monkeys" is a messy, dark time-travel story. Most of the world has died of disease in the future, so a time traveler heads to his own past in order to make sure that humanity's doom never happens.

If "12 Monkeys" can make time travel work, this could be a good dystopian bit of science fiction. If not, it may disappear as quickly as a non-existent time traveler.

DOMINION
Angels have come to Earth, and it turns out they're really horrible. Humanity has been decimated by the angel-incited genocide and clings to the hope of a Chosen One who might be able to turn the tide. The resulting look is rather Byzantine, with angels familiar to anyone who watches "Supernatural." Also, "Buffy" star Anthony Stewart Head is in it. "Dominion" premieres Thursday, June 19 at 9 p.m. ET/PT

THE FLASH
"The Flash" is coming!

The CW unveiled the first extended trailer for its upcoming "Arrow" spinoff during the network's upfronts presentation in New York City. Several minutes long and featuring footage from the "Flash" pilot, it's safe to say that this is going to be incredible.

Unlike its parent show, "The Flash" looks to have more of a science-fiction feel to it, with both good and evil "meta-humans" and rifts in reality popping up all over Barry Allen's Central City. It's also possibly going to be more light-hearted and funny than the dark "Arrow."

One of the highlights, however, may be the moment in which it becomes clear that Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) will pop up in the first episode, probably to give Barry a pep talk.

Grant Gustin, Candice Patton, Rick Cosnett, Danielle Panabaker, Carlos Valdes, Tom Cavanagh and Jesse L. Martin will star in the show that will air Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.

MONSTERS: DARK CONTINENT
Before he was the guy rebooting Godzilla, Gareth Edwards was an aspiring filmmaker cranking out the ultra-indie sci-fi flick Monsters. Now we have a look at its bigger-budget sequel.

Sadly, Edwards doesn’t return to helm the sequel (he’s been a bit busy with his own monster movie), though he did stick around as a producer on Monsters: Dark Continent to help out newcomer Tom Green.

Where the original told a story on the fringes of a monster-filled world, the sequel looks to take the alien menace head-on from a more militaristic point of view. The plot of Dark Continent is set seven years after Monsters, and it seems the infected zones have expanded across the globe. Basically, the planet has become an all-out human-vs.-alien-creature war zone.

The film finds seasoned soldier Noah (Johnny Harris) sent to track down an American soldier who has gone rogue deep in the Infected Zone, but when his unit is destroyed, Noah has to team up with the rogue soldier’s brother to survive. From there, the duo will take a “life-altering journey through the dark heart of monster territory, accompanied by a young local woman to guide them.”

It seems like a nice spin on the original, and the trailer shows a noticeable increase in the effects budget. But, judging by the synopsis, the story shouldn’t skew too far from the stories that made the original such a thoughtful, entertaining ride. Here's hoping it hits the balance.

Monsters: Dark Continent is tentatively set to open in September in the U.K. Still no word on a U.S. release date.

X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST
20th Century Fox has released the latest of their character-centric videos from next week's X-Men: Days of Future Past. This one explores Professor Charles Xavier, played in the 1973 segments by James McAvoy and in the 2023 scenes by Patrick Stewart.

Opening in theaters on May 23, the Bryan Singer-directed movie also stars Ian McKellen, Hugh Jackman, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Halley Berry, Nicholas Hoult, Ellen Page, Shawn Ashmore, Peter Dinklage, Omar Sy, Daniel Cudmore, Fan Bingbing, Boo Boo Stewart, Adan Canto, Evan Peters, Josh Helman, Lucas Till and Evan Jonigkeit.

The ultimate X-Men ensemble fights a war for the survival of the species across two time periods in X-Men: Days of Future Past. The beloved characters from the original "X-Men" film trilogy join forces with their younger selves from X-Men: First Class, in an epic battle that must change the past – to save our future.

THURSDAY, MAY 15, 2014

THE FLASH
The much-anticipated "Arrow" spinoff, "The Flash," has its first trailer, and it's pretty awesome. Featuring the stars of both shows -- Stephen Amell and Grant Gustin -- the short video has humor, sci-fi and adventure packed into less than a minute.

The promo was released during the "Arrow" Season 2 finale.

Set in some undisclosed location, the entire action consists of Oliver Queen firing an arrow at a target. The Flash, meanwhile, runs in from far away to catch the arrow before it can reach its mark. A cheerful Barry Allen is mostly excited while Oliver makes a sarcastic comment on the younger man being a show-off.

If this is the tone and result of "The Flash," it's going to be amazing.

NEW TNT DRAMAS

TRANSPORTER: THE SERIES
Fall 2014
Chris Vance ("Rizzoli & Isles") steps into Jason Statham's shoes as Frank Martin, the very best driver your illicit money can buy. TNT has picked up two seasons of the show, which debuted abroad in 2012.

THE LIBRARIANS
Winter 2014
Three new recruits (Lindy Booth, "Leverage's" Christian Kane and John Kim) join the group of librarians tasked with finding and protecting the world's legendary and mythical treasures. Rebecca Romijn and John Larroquette also star, and Noah Wyle will recur, reprising his role from TNT's "Librarian" movies (footage from the films is heavily featured in the trailer). Wyle is also an executive producer.

PROOF
2015
Jennifer Beals stars as a surgeon who takes on an unusual new assignment: At the behest of a terminally ill billionaire (Matthew Modine), she goes on a quest to find scientific proof of an afterlife. Kyra Sedgwick ("The Closer") is among the show's exec producers.



Heroes HEROES: REBORN
We don’t know much about NBC’s upcoming miniseries Heroes: Reborn, but the network's upfront presentations this week have brought some major intel on the (former) hit series’ revival.

NBC's entertainment chairman, Robert Greenblatt, told reporters in New York that "some familiar faces from the show are bound to drop in” during the 13-episode event series, which will reportedly try to recapture the early magic from the show’s acclaimed debut season.

Greenblatt went on to note original creator Tim Kring’s involvement, confirming Reborn is essentially a “reboot” of the original series, but set in the same universe. He also pointed to the original online series we’d heard about and confirmed it will “ramp into the show” prior to its launch.

So who could come back? The show had more than a dozen stars during its run, so there are more than a few options. What we do know is that Hayden Panettiere made it pretty clear that she is likely not involved, since the first she heard about the revival was when a friend told her it was happening.

DELIVER US FROM EVIL
A New York police officer walks the beat from hell in the nightmarish new trailer for Deliver Us From Evil.

If The Conjuring was last summer's big horror hit, then Deliver Us From Evil looks like it's angling for the 2014 crown. Eric Bana (Star Trek 2009) plays real-life Big Apple cop Ralph Sarchie, who begins encountering the supernatural in case after case and finally teams up with a priest (Edgar Ramirez) to stop an encroaching wave of demonic evil.

The movie is based on Sarchie's book, which detailed his encounters and chronicled his journey from skeptic to full-blown investigator for the Vatican. Apparently Sarchie also has a collection of videos of real-life exorcisms that were so terrifying that Bana recently said at WonderCon that he couldn't sleep for days after seeing them (Olivia Munn, who plays his wife, was so freaked out that she had to stop watching after barely a minute).

While the trailer goes for a mix of both slow-burn scares and jump shocks, director Scott Derrickson has brought a lot more of the former to his previous movies The Exorcism of Emily Rose and Sinister, both of which creeped out this writer -- and believe me, it takes a lot to do that these days.

Interestingly, this is the first horror movie ever produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, the mega-producer behind massive franchises like Pirates of the Caribbean and National Treasure as well as TV hits like the CSI franchise.

Deliver Us From Evil opens on July 2.

TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION
Paramount Pictures has released the new trailer for Transformers: Age of Extinction, hitting theaters on June 27.

Transformers: Age of Extinction is the fourth film in director Michael Bay’s global blockbuster franchise. Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, Li Bingbing, Kelsey Grammer, Sophia Myles, T. J. Miller, Nicola Peltz, Jack Reynor and Titus Welliver star.

The film begins after an epic battle that left a great city torn, but with the world saved. As humanity picks up the pieces, a shadowy group reveals itself in an attempt to control the direction of history… while an ancient, powerful new menace sets Earth in its crosshairs. With help from a new cast of humans, Optimus Prime (voiced by Peter Cullen) and the Autobots rise to meet their most fearsome challenge yet. In an incredible adventure, they are swept up in a war of good and evil, ultimately leading to a climactic battle across the world.

WEDNESDAY, MAY 14, 2014

Gotham-1 Gotham-2 Gotham-3 Gotham-4 GOTHAM
"Batman vs. Superman" director Zack Snyder has revealed the first photo of Ben Affleck as Batman, alongside his Batmobile, and it's pretty cool. It's not necessarily the best imagery from the Batman universe released this week, though.

When FOX announced their fall 2014 TV schedule, with it came stills from the "Gotham" pilot, giving a glimpse at what to expect from the Batman prequel series. While cast photos are nice to look act, seeing actual pictures from an episode paint a much better picture of the show's tone.

The image that stands out most is James Gordon getting in the face of Oswald Cobblepot, the man who will become Penguin. The sneer on Gordon's face as he deals with the scum of Gotham City is a good indicator of the character's approach to his work. In a world before Batman, Gordon was the protector of Gotham at any cost. It looks like he'll do that by force if needed, based on Cobblepot's bloody nose.

The still of him with a young Bruce Wayne shortly after the murder of his parents, is also notable. With the bond formed between them being such a driving force in the series, seeing their first interaction, Wayne as a terrified child and Gordon as an inexperienced detective, is a special moment.

The other images feature Gordon's partner Harvey Bullock and Fish Mooney, gangster boss in Gotham. You can see more photos in our gallery. "Gotham" premieres in the fall.

GALAVANT
"Galavant" is an odd show. A musical comedy set in medieval times, the show is more or less "Spamalot" meets "Game of Thrones." Maybe they're not the most obvious two things to combine, but it just might be crazy enough to work.

Starring Joshua Sasse as the valiant knight, Galavant, the comedy is a story of lost love and revenge and singing. Timothy Omundson ( "Psych"), Mallory Jansen, Vinnie Jones, Karen David and Luke Youngblood also appear in the show.

Need some credentials for the singing and dancing parts? Alan Mencken -- the composer behind "The Little Mermaid," "Aladdin," "Beauty and the Beast" and more -- provided the music and Glenn Slater ("Tangled") wrote the lyrics. Dan Fogelman ("Crazy, Stupid, Love," "Tangled," "The Neighbors") is the executive producer for the jokes and plot and whatnot.

"Galavant" will air Sundays in the winter on ABC.

THE WHISPERS
ABC released the first trailer for "The Whispers," a new horror drama coming to the 2014-15 midseason. In it, "American Horror Story" alum Lily Rabe tracks down a conspiracy where some entity speaks to children and convinces them to do horrible crimes as part of a larger conspiracy.

The official synopsis for the series reads: "Aliens have invaded Earth by using our most unlikely resource to achieve world domination -- our children. As the kids unwittingly help these unseen enemies, the clock counts down in this suspenseful race to save humanity."

That synopsis ultimately ruins all sense of suspense about what is controlling the children, but it's an interesting premise that is perfect for the shorter, event series-types of show being poised for the midseason. "The Whispers" looks great based on the above trailer, and it has a strong cast including Rabe, Barry Sloane, Milo Ventimiglia, Derek Webster, Brianna Brown, Catalina Denis, Kylie Rogers and Kyle Harris Breitkopf.

Audiences have shown an exhaustion with longer supernatural mystery shows like "Believe," which was canceled after one season. Maybe "The Whispers" will follow in the footsteps of CBS event series hit "Under The Dome," which is returning for its second season in summer 2014.

FOREVER
Here is a new clip from the pilot of "Forever," a new crime drama ABC will debut on Tuesday nights in fall 2014.

You'll learn that Dr. Henry Morgan (Ioan Gruffudd) is a medical examiner who knows his stuff -- he can see a dead rat and instantly tell it was poisoned. You'll learn that Detective Jo Martinez (Alana de la Garza) is a take-charge kind of person, and that Morgan apparently likes to dive headlong into things where Martinez thinks caution might be wise.

What you won't learn, though, is the hook of the show: Morgan is immortal, and through his job he hopes to figure out why. That seems like fairly important information, no?

"Forever" is set to air at 10 p.m. ET/PT Tuesdays in the fall.

LUCY
There’s a new action-packed international trailer for Luc Besson’s (The Fifth Element) upcoming sci-fi flick Lucy, starring Black Widow herself, Scarlett Johansson.

Last seen in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Johansson here plays a reluctant drug mule who — thanks to those very, very special drugs she’s carrying inside her and a well-placed kick — becomes one buttock-kicking, superpowered woman with some crazy @$! cool powers.

Lucy also stars Morgan Freeman and Analeigh Tipton and is set to hit theatres on August 8, 2014.

HIEROGLYPH
If you’ve ever wondered what Game of Thrones would look like reimagined in ancient Egypt, we have the answer right here. Yeah, this could be a new guilty pleasure come 2015.

The new Fox series Hieroglyph looks like an ambitious, sexy action thriller in the same vein of HBO’s hit, albeit with less skin than they can get away with on cable (but still an ample bit, apparently). From what we can glean from the first trailer, the series looks to have everything from magic scrolls to ancient vampires — and it couldn’t be more deliciously insane.

The series comes from the mind of executive producer Travis Beacham (Pacific Rim), and the action ramps up when a dangerous scroll is stolen from a secure vault. Hieroglyph looks to be swinging for the fences, and though it skirts into campiness a bit here and there, it looks like it could be a fun romp through pyramid times.

Sadly, the series has been bumped to midseason and won’t debut until 2015.

Orci STAR TREK NEWS
It appears to be official. Following a recent report that he was after the job, Variety is reporting that Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness screenwriter/producer Roberto Orci will direct the 13th franchise feature. Orci is joined on the project by screenwriters Patrick McKay and J.D. Payne, who will help him pen the next adventure of the Enterprise crew.

There's no announced timeframe for the next Star Trek film as of yet, but the franchise will be celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2016. If the plan is to have a film in theaters to tie into the occasion, expect official announcements on the film in the very near future.

GOTHAM
FOX has released a new "First Look" featurette that explores the world of their upcoming Batman-inspired series, "Gotham."

Before there was Batman, there was "Gotham." 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?

The cast includes Ben McKenzie as Detective James Gordon, Donal Logue as Harvey Bullock, Jada Pinkett Smith as Fish Mooney, Sean Pertwee as Alfred, Robin Lord Taylor as Oswald Cobblepot/The Penguin, Erin Richards as Barbara Kean, David Mazouz as Bruce Wayne, Camren Bicondova as Selina Kyle/the future Catwoman, and Zabryna Guevara as Captain Sarah Essen.

TUESDAY, MAY 13, 2014

AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.
Cybertek might be expanding now that SHIELD has fallen, but the events of the "Marvel's Agents of SHIELD" Season 1 finale, "Beginning of the End," probably aren't the best time to be a new hire at the company. One unlucky dude finds that out the hard way in the above opening scene from May 13's episode, which comes courtesy of TVGuide.com.

The synopsis for "Beginning of the End" reads: "Dark secrets are revealed as Coulson and his team put everything on the line to stop Garrett and the forces of Hydra."

"Marvel's Agents of SHIELD's" Season 1 finale airs Tuesday, May 13 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.

WAYWARD PINES
Welcome to Wayward Pines, Idaho, "a strange town" that's part "Twin Peaks," part "Push, Nevada" and all fun (dark, creepy fun).

FOX's new mystery event series, based on the best-selling book series by Blake Crouch, sees Secret Service agent Ethan Burke (Matt Dillon) on a mission to locate two missing federal agents, but every twist and turn he undergoes has him wondering if he'll make it out of Wayward Pines alive.

Dillon is joined by an all-star cast that includes Terrance Howard, Melissa Leo, Juliette Lewis, Shannyn Sossamon, Carla Gugino, Toby Jones, Reed Diamond and Tim Griffin.

We can't wait to find out if there's a man in a red suit who can tell us if the gum we like is going to come back in style.

The 10-episode event is set to premiere in 2015 on FOX.

GRACEPOINT
The first look at FOX's upcoming "Gracepoint" has been revealed, which means it's also time to hear exactly what former "Doctor Who" star David Tennant's American accent sounds like. Luckily, it's pretty good.

"Gracepoint," which also stars "Breaking Bad" alum Anna Gunn, is a US remake of the BBC series "Broadchurch." Tennant essentially plays the same character on both shows, a detective from a large city, hoping to find a simpler life in a small town.

That all goes out the window when a young boy is murdered, and the search for his killer begins. "Gracepoint" is a 10-episode event series and will air Thursdays in the fall at 9 p.m. ET/PT on FOX.

GOTHAM
Gotham is an upcoming American television series created by Bruno Heller, based on characters appearing in and published by DC Comics, specifically those of Detective James Gordon and Bruce Wayne, who were created by Bob Kane, and others in DC's Batman franchise. The series will star Ben McKenzie as the young Gordon. Heller serves as executive producer on the project along with Danny Cannon, who will also direct the pilot. Gotham received a series order from Fox on May 5, 2014, and is scheduled to premiere in the 2014–15 television season.

ARROW The Season 2 finale of "Arrow" airs this Wednesday, and with it comes a first look at "The Flash," The CW's spin-off series coming this fall. A new trailer for the finale has a quick tease at the very end.

"The Flash" arrives from co-creators Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg, who, along with Geoff Johns, wrote the pilot episode which was helmed by "Arrow" pilot director David Nutter. Grant Gustin will star as the titular hero along with Candice Patton as Iris West, Jesse L. Martin as Iris's father, Detective West, Michelle Harrison as Barry's mother Nora Allen and many others, including John Wesley Shipp, from the original "The Flash" TV series, in an unspecified role.

MONDAY, MAY 12, 2014

GOTHAM
A week after being picked up to series, Fox's Gotham has promoted three to series regular.

Cory Michael Smith, Victoria Cartagena and Andrew Stewart Jones -- who all guest starred in the pilot -- will now be series regulars, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

Smith (Olive Kitteridge) plays Edward Nygma, the eventual Riddler, in the Batman prequel that centers on the future Commissioner James Gordon (Ben McKenzie). Cartagena (Elementary) portrays Renee Montoya, a detective in the major crimes unit of the Gotham Police Department. Jones is Crispus Allen, another detective at Gotham PD.

They join a cast that includes David Mazouz as a young Bruce Wayne, Robin Lord Taylor as the Penguin, Camren Bicondova as Catwoman, Donal Logue as Detective Harvey Bullock and Jada Pinkett Smith plays villain Fish Mooney in the series from The Mentalist's Bruno Heller.

Smith is repped by Paradigm and Circle of Confusion; Cartagena is with Gersh and Sweet 180; and Jones is with Stewart Talent and Smith Talent Group.

CONSTANTINE
NBC have quietly released the first trailer for Constantine on their website, bringing the DC/Vertigo supernatural detective and con man to the small screen in a big way.

The trailer drop comes on the heels of an announcement that the series will air back to back with Grimm on Friday nights at 10 p.m. ET/PT.

CONSTANTINE – Based on the wildly popular DC Comics series “Hellblazer,” seasoned demon hunter and master of the occult John Constantine (Matt Ryan, “Criminal Minds”) specializes in giving hell… hell. Armed with a ferocious knowledge of the dark arts and his wickedly naughty wit, he fights the good fight — or at least he did. With his soul already damned to hell, he’s decided to leave his do-gooder life behind, but when demons target Liv (Lucy Griffiths, “True Blood”), the daughter of one of Constantine’s oldest friends, he’s reluctantly thrust back into the fray – and he’ll do whatever it takes to save her. Before long, it’s revealed that Liv’s “second sight” — an ability to see the worlds behind our world and predict supernatural occurrences — is a threat to a mysterious new evil that’s rising in the shadows. Now it’s not just Liv who needs protection; the angels are starting to get worried too. So, together, Constantine and Liv must use her power and his skills to travel the country, find the demons that threaten our world and send them back where they belong. After that, who knows… maybe there’s hope for him and his soul after all. The cast also includes Harold Perrineau and Charles Halford. Writer Daniel Cerone (“The Mentalist,” “Dexter”) serves as executive producer with David S. Goyer (“Man of Steel,” “The Dark Knight Rises”). “Constantine” is produced from Bonanza Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television. The show is based upon characters published by DC Entertainment.

X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST
20th Century Fox has brought online a new character video that spotlights Jennifer Lawrence's Mystique in X-Men: Days of Future Past.

The Bryan Singer-directed movie stars Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Hugh Jackman, Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Halley Berry, Nicholas Hoult, Ellen Page, Shawn Ashmore, Peter Dinklage, Omar Sy, Daniel Cudmore, Fan Bingbing, Boo Boo Stewart, Adan Canto, Evan Peters, Josh Helman, Lucas Till and Evan Jonigkeit.

The ultimate X-Men ensemble fights a war for the survival of the species across two time periods in X-Men: Days of Future Past. The beloved characters from the original "X-Men" film trilogy join forces with their younger selves from X-Men: First Class, in an epic battle that must change the past – to save our future.

SUNDAY, MAY 11, 2014

Dracula DRACULA CANCELLED
NBC continued to firm up its 2014-15 schedule on Saturday, canceling rookie drama Dracula.

NBC tried to use Grimm to launch Dracula earlier in the fall -- and the sophomore run of Hannibal when it moved from Thursdays during its second season. Dracula was never a huge performer in the hour, but it was quite consistent after dipping from a strong October launch. It saw significant time-shifting, 80 percent in the demo, to an average 1.8 rating among adults 18-49 and 5 million viewers.

The series was said to be a passion project for NBC Entertainment chairman BobGreenblatt, who courted lead Jonathan Rhys Meyers to play the titular vampire -- despite concerns over the actor's struggles with substance abuse. (Rhys Meyers, who required a sober companion accompany him to set, had part of his salary held until the first 10-episode season was completed.)

NBC remains committed to making Friday a destination for genre. The swashbuckling Crossbones, starring John Malkovich, sets up shop on the night in the summer. And don't expect Grimm to stray far from its 9 p.m. home when it returns for its previously announced fourth season in the fall. The fantasy procedural has continued to be Friday's biggest scripted draw in the key demographic and posted some of the biggest DVR gains.

Dracula joins freshman dramas Believe, Crisis and Ironside in the canceled heap at NBC. Of the network's rookie drama class, only The Blacklist and Chicago PD will return. The writing for Dracula had been on the wall after the network picked up Constantine, its take on DC Comics' Hellblazer, which is considered a likely companion to Grimm. For its part, Hannibal will also return for a third season.

Mentalist CBS CHOICES FOR THE NEW SEASON
Already having picked up six new dramas and two comedies for next season, CBS cleaned house Saturday, granting an eleventh-hour renewal for veteran The Mentalist and cancelling rookies Hostages, Intelligence, The Crazy Ones, Friends With Better Lives and Bad Teacher.

Simon Baker's The Mentalist will return for a seventh season after hitting series low ratings in its sixth run. It's unclear how many episodes the green light is for -- or if it will be the show's final season, though a shortened run to wrap it up. The Sunday night procedural was the only returning CBS series to not get an early renewal this year but was granted a pickup after producers Warner Bros. Television had been shopping the series around. With time-shifting, The Mentalist is averaging a 2.3 rating with adults 18-49 and 12.5 million viewers. That's a notch higher than the already renewed Good Wife. The news comes after a creative reboot that saw the Bruno Heller drama answer its seasons-long Red John mystery. Heller, meanwhile, will have two series on the 2014-15 schedule with WBTV's Batman prequel series Gotham already ordered to series at Fox.

As for the departing series, Hostages was essentially canceled months ago when it wrapped its limited event run with very modest ratings and after lead Dylan McDermott boarded the network's Kevin Williamson pilot -- in first position. (That's now been ordered to series, keeping McDermott in the CBS fold.) Heavily serialized, Hostages averaged a 2.0 rating with adults 18-49 after seven days of DVR use. It was CBS' first series to try to follow in the footsteps of Under the Dome's successful "limited" run, but it was hindered by never scoring a strong sampling out of the gate. Hostages'time slot heir Intelligence -- featuring the return of Lost's Josh Holloway -- saw a solid sampling in its Tuesday premiere but faltered when it moved to the 10 p.m. Monday hour. Season-to-date, it's taking a 2.2 demo rating and 10 million viewers. Both of those figures it owes to robust DVR growth.

The Crazy Ones was the real comedy wild card at CBS. Modest in the ratings, expensive with a big cast (Robin Williams, Sarah Michelle Gellar) and produced by 20th Century Fox Television, what it did have going for it was a warm critical reception and Williams' clout. The first season, which completed a full 22-episode order but left the schedule a little early to accommodate midseason comedy Bad Teacher, averaged a 2.8 rating in the key demo and 10.5 million viewers.

Friends With Better Lives, the new comedy from Friends scribe Dana Klein,had the benefit of How I Met Your Mother's record-breaking finale as its premiere lead-in, but subsequent episodes dropped with 2 Broke Girls opening its Monday hour. Season-to-date, the comedy starring James Van Der Beek and Kevin Connolly is averaging a 2.7 rating in the key demo and 7.8 million viewers.

Bad Teacher had a rough road making it to the air. Originally passed over during 2013 pilot pickups, CBS backpedaled and ordered it for midseason a week after its upfront presentation. An adaptation of the 2011 film, the Sony Pictures Television/CBS Television Studios production made one of the season's latest entries on the schedule. The Ari Graynor comedy debuted to a so-so 2.1 rating with adults 18-49 and 7.8 million viewers. Week two promptly fell 35 percent -- well below where comedy The Crazy Ones had been performing in the Thursday 9:30 p.m. time slot.

Of CBS' freshman class of six comedies and three dramas, the network has returned only two -- half-hours Chuck Lorre's Mom and Greg Garcia's The Millers. Still yet to be determined is drama Reckless, which bows in June.

The news comes after the network has already ordered dramas Battle Creek, NCIS: New Orleans, CSI: Cyber, Stalker, Madam Secretary, Scorpion as well as comedies The McCarthys and The Odd Couple. They join an impressive 20 returning scripted and reality series -- the most of any network.

As for the remainder of CBS' pilot crop, it's unclear if the network has completed its pickups yet. Still waiting for word is How I Met Your Mother spinoff How I Met Your Dad as well as comedies Cuz-Bros, Good Session, Alyson Hannigan's More Time With Family, Save the Date and Gaffigan. Remaining in the mix on the drama side are John Cusack's Wall Street entry, Jamie Lee Curtis' family medical/reality effort and Anthony LaPaglia's Red Zone.

Carter logo AGENT CARTER
Just days after ABC officially ordered the Hayley Atwell-starring "Marvel's Agent Carter" to series, Marvel Entertainment has debuted the official logo for the series which you can check out below. The drama is based on the One-Shot featured on the Iron Man 3 home release and is described as follows:

It's 1946, and peace has dealt Peggy Carter a serious blow as she finds herself marginalized when the men return home from fighting abroad. Working for the covert SSR (Strategic Scientific Reserve), Peggy must balance doing administrative work and going on secret missions for Howard Stark all while trying to navigate life as a single woman in America, in the wake of losing the love of her life – Steve Rogers.

"Marvel's Agent Carter" is executive produced by Christopher Markus, Steve McFeely, Tara Butters, Michele Fazekas, Kevin Feige, Louis D'Esposito, Jeph Loeb.

Sigourney Weaver AVATAR
It has been known for some time that, despite her character's death in the first film, Sigourney Weaver is planning to return to the world of Pandora for James Cameron's upcoming Avatar sequels. Today, she tells Vulture that not only will she appear in all three sequels (to be shot back-to-back), but teases that her character will "transform" in some way.

"It will be challenging for me," she tells the outlet. "I can't talk about it, but my part is a little different in each one. I'll transform somewhat."

Avatar 2 is scheduled for a December, 2016 release, Avatar 3 for December of 2017, and Avatar 4 for 2018. The original film remains the top grossing movie of all time with $2.782 billion at the worldwide box office.

SATURDAY, MAY 10, 2014

Revolution REVOLUTION CANCELLED
It looks like the revolution will not be televised. NBC has pulled the plug on its sophomore sci-fi drama of the same name. The series was executive-produced by Eric Kripke (Supernatural), Jon Favreau (Iron Man) and J.J. Abrams (Star Trek). Despite those big names it never became the genre hit they were hoping for.

Revolution was an ambitious apocalyptic undertaking, and the network deserves some credit for giving it a shot. Unfortunately, neither the story nor the characters were enough to engage viewers. According to EW, this "season averaged 7.3 million viewers and a 2.3 rating among adults 18-49 on Wednesday nights."

Mind you, Revolution moved timeslots multiple times and was pitted against The CW's Arrow, CBS' Survivor and Fox's American Idol. There must be something in the water at Bad Robot, though, because Revolution is the second Abrams series to get the ax. The first was Fox's Almost Human, which struggled to find its footing in its first and only season.

On a good note, NBC has picked up Hannibal for a third season, and Constantine was ordered to series. We can also look forward to the rebooted Heroes: Reborn series event.

Milo THE WHISPERS
A sci-fi project that’s been kicking around development for a while at ABC just got a series order, along with a somewhat strange new name.

The network has picked up the alien invasion drama The Whispers, previously known as The Visitors, with a series order. ABC had previously picked up the pilot for the potential series, which was developed by Soo Hugh (Under the Dome). Also working behind the scenes? Steven Spielberg, Justin Falvey (Falling Skies), Darryl Frank (Under the Dome) and Dawn Olmstead (Prison Break).

The Whispers is being pitched as a major sci-fi project, chronicling humanity’s race against the clock to defeat an unseen alien enemy out to destroy the world. The cast will also be filled out by some fan fave sci-fi alums, including Milo Ventimiglia (Heroes) Lily Rabe (American Horror Story) and Barry Sloane (Revenge).

We’re glad to see ABC take a shot on a nice, straight-up sci-fi series like this one. It sounds like an intriguing concept, and could be a nice cross between the short-lived V with shades of The X-Files. As for the name changes? Honestly, The Visitors sounded a little cooler. But we digress.

GOTHAM
Revolution On the heels of the show's trailer earlier this week, FOX has released a new official photo that shows off the cast of their upcoming Batman-inspired series, "Gotham."

"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.

"Gotham" is based upon characters published by DC Comics and is produced by Warner Bros. Television. Heller wrote the pilot, which will be directed and executive-produced by Emmy Award nominee Danny Cannon (the “CSI” series, “Nikita”).

Ben McKenzie, Sean Pertwee, Robin Lord Taylor, Zabryna Guevara, Erin Richards, Donal Logue, Jada Pinkett Smith, David Mazouz and Camren Bicondova are set to star with the first episode expected to debut this fall.

GODZILLA
Godzilla goes for a swim in the latest clip from Gareth Edwards' monster blockbuster, hitting theaters May 16.

Opening in 3D, 2D and IMAX theaters, Godzilla stars Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Ken Watanabe, Elizabeth Olsen, Juliette Binoche, Sally Hawkins, David Strathairn and Bryan Cranston. An epic rebirth to Toho's iconic Godzilla, the spectacular adventure pits the world's most famous monster against malevolent creatures who, bolstered by humanity's scientific arrogance, threaten our very existence.

FRIDAY, MAY 9, 2014

Carter-Shield AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D./AGENT CARTER
ABC is expanding its Marvel universe with two series from the comic book giant on the network's 2014-15 schedule. "Marvel's Agents of SHIELD" will return for Season 2, while "Marvel's Agent Carter," the top-secret pilot that's been in the works for some time, will officially go to series.

"Agent Carter" is set in 1946 and stars Hayley Atwell as her "Captain America" character. According to ABC's description, "peace has dealt Peggy Carter a serious blow as she finds herself marginalized when the men return home from fighting abroad. Working for the covert SSR (Strategic Scientific Reserve), Peggy must balance doing administrative work and going on secret missions for Howard Stark all while trying to navigate life as a single woman in America, in the wake of losing the love of her life - Steve Rogers."

Meanwhile, "Agents of SHIELD" will stick around for a second season. The Season 1 finale airs Tuesday (May 13) on ABC.

Flash-Zombie-Beast THE CW SERIES UPDATE
The CW seems to have firmed up its schedule for the 2014-2015 season. The network has renewed three series -- "Beauty and the Beast," "The 100" and "Hart of Dixie" -- while picking up "The Flash" (the spinoff of "Arrow"), "iZombie," "Jane the Virgin" and "The Messengers."

Here's a rundown of the network's new shows:

"The Flash" :Based on characters already introduced on "Arrow" as well as on the DC Comics stories, "The Flash" is the story of Barry Allen. He was last seen on "Arrow" falling prey to an accident that has left him in a coma and will eventually create a superhero. Grant Gustin, Jesse L. Martin, Rick Cosnett, Danielle Panabaker, Candice Patton, Carlos Valdes, Tom Cavanaugh, John Wesley Shipp, Michelle Harrison and Patrick Sabongui appear in the pilot.

"iZombie": From Rob Thomas ( "Veronica Mars"), a medical student-turned-zombie works in a coroner's office in order to eat brains (needed to maintain her humanity). She also inherits the corpses' memories and works with the medical examiner and a police detective to solve homicides. Rose McIver, Malcolm Goodwin, Alexandra Krosney, David Anders, Robert Buckley, Nora Dunn and Ruhul Kohli star.

"Jane the Virgin": Adapted from a Venezuelan telenovela, a series of surprising events causes a religious young Latina to become artificially inseminated. The cast includes Gina Rodriguez, Jaime Camil, Yael Grobglas, Brett Dier, Andrea Navedo, Justin Baldoni, Ivonne Coll and Ryan Devlin.

"The Messengers": When a mysterious object crashes to Earth, a seemingly unconnected group of strangers dies from the energy pulse. Then they reawaken to learn that they must prevent a coming apocalypse. Shantel VanSanten, Sofia Black-D'Elia, Joel Courtney, Jon Fletcher, Diogo Morgado and Craig Frank have been cast.

For the returning series, these renewals mean a Season 3 for "Beauty and the Beast," and Season 4 for "Hart of Dixie," while "The 100" will return for Season 2.

A spinoff from "Supernatural," "Supernatural: Bloodlines," was not included in the announcement. Other existing series on The CW -- including "The Tomorrow People," "Star-Crossed" and "The Carrie Diaries" -- have been canceled. The CW will announce its full schedule during its upfronts on May 15.

GODZILLA
Here's an intriguing short with Godzilla's director taking us through the 3D transformation of his momentous new monster movie. There are some sweet new shots of Godzilla rising from the ocean beneath a naval armada and raging against the humans, moments that will no doubt use the 3D enhancements to deepen the audience's experience. Whether you're a champion of the 3D conversion mania or not, it seems Edwards is putting all his effort and expertise into the project. Godzilla opens May 16, 2014.

Constantine CONSTANTINE
Good news for comic-book fans everywhere! Another series based on a DC Comics property is heading to the small screen. NBC has officially given Constantine a series pickup. The pilot, which was directed by Neil Marshall, features Matt Ryan as the title character. Earlier this year, we got our first look at the actor in constume, and the general consensus was positive.

Constantine centers on a supernatural detective battling inner and outer demons. Joining Ryan's Constantine is Harold Perrineau as Manny, Lucy Griffiths as Liv and Charles Halford as Chas. The series is executive-produced by Daniel Cerone and David S. Goyer. How Goyer balances all these projects, we'll never know.

Here's the official description from NBC:

Based on the wildly popular comic book series Hellblazer from DC Comics, seasoned demon hunter and master of the occult John Constantine (Matt Ryan, Criminal Minds) specializes in giving hell… hell. Armed with a ferocious knowledge of the dark arts and his wickedly naughty wit, he fights the good fight — or at least he did. With his soul already damned to hell, he’s decided to leave his do-gooder life behind, but when demons target Liv (Lucy Griffiths, True Blood), the daughter of one of Constantine’s oldest friends, he’s reluctantly thrust back into the fray – and he’ll do whatever it takes to save her.

Before long, it’s revealed that Liv’s second sight — an ability to see the worlds behind our world and predict supernatural occurrences — is a threat to a mysterious new evil that’s rising in the shadows. Now it’s not just Liv who needs protection; the angels are starting to get worried too. So, together, Constantine and Liv must use her power and his skills to travel the country, find the demons that threaten our world and send them back where they belong. After that, who knows… maybe there’s hope for him and his soul after all.

Carlton Cuse COLONY
The TV news is coming fast and furious this week as networks announce pickups and cancellations, but USA has quietly picked up a pilot for a very intriguing new sci-fi series.

Dubbed Colony, the series would be set in the near-future of 2015 in a version of Los Angeles that is now occupied by aliens. It comes from a good pedigree, with Carlton Cuse (Lost, Bates Motel) and Ryan Condal (Hercules) signed on to write and executive-produce.

As for the plot, the series would follow the residents of Los Angeles living under alien occupation, as some collaborate with the alien authorities and benefit from the new order, while others rebel and suffer the consequences. Zap2it describes the series as a “naturalistic drama about a family torn apart by those opposing forces.”

It’s an intriguing pitch, and could strike the balance between something like Falling Skies and the occupation years of Battlestar Galactica — with a bit more family drama thrown into the mix. With Cuse behind the scenes, it at least makes this project one to watch.

ARROW
We were wondering how the producers behind Arrow would up the ante after last season’s city-busting bomb, but a citywide attack of super-soldiers looks to fit the bill.

The first teaser for next week’s season finale, “Unthinkable,” has been released, showing an all-out war for the survival of Starling City. Judging by the footage here, it looks like Team Arrow are getting some help from a very surprising place as they race against the clock before ARGUS flattens the city. Yeah, those are some pretty good stakes.

Here’s the episode synopsis:

Slade moves forward with his plan to kill one more person in Oliver’s life. While Oliver has fought all year to be more than the killer he once was, when Slade kidnaps someone close to Oliver’s heart, Oliver is pushed to the edge and realizes sometimes it takes doing the unthinkable to stop the monster. Meanwhile, Diggle takes on Amanda Waller (guest star Cynthia Addai-Robinson) with a little help from some friends, and Thea turns to Roy in her time of need.

The second season of Arrow has been the highlight of the fall, and they’ve managed to perfectly nail the comic-book tone with a serious edge. They’ve been building to this since the start of the year, and we can’t wait to see the climax.

THURSDAY, MAY 8, 2014

SCIENCE FICTION NEWS STORIES:
Vampire Diaries VAMPIRE DIARIES
Calling all fans of "The Vampire Diaries": If one episode of The CW's hit show isn't enough for you this week, then DC Comics has you covered. Chapter 24 of "The Vampire Diaries" comic is available for download on Thursday (May 8), and Zap2it has your exclusive first look at the one-shot story now.

The issue is written by B. Clay Moore with art by Beni Lobel, and takes the action to Whitmore College. When Elena, Bonnie, and Caroline are about to leave a seemingly boring college party, one of the guests gets mysteriously attacked on the neck ... which is quite a familiar wound to these three Mystic Falls grads. The girls stay to investigate whether there's a vampire hiding in plain sight at the party, but will they all leave the night alive?

Fans can download the latest chapter on the DC Comics app or here on Thursday (May 8).

ROSEMARY'S BABY
Just in time for Mother's Day, NBC's Rosemary's Baby begins this Sunday, and here's a prenatal peek at two clips of Zoe Saldana as the terrorized mom-to-be. Directed by Agnieszka Holland, this two-part miniseries, based on Ira Levin's shocking 1967 novel and further inspired by Roman Polanski's 1968 film, follows the happy couple to Paris this time. But life in a freaky French apartment building rumored to be the abode of cannibals and devil worshippers makes life a bit tense for the pregnant Saldana and her sinister husband (Patrick Adams). Have a peek, but watch where you step!

Rosemary's Baby is set for delivery Sunday, May 11, 2014, and concludes Thursday, May 15, at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.

AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.
We're down to the last episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s first season, and the stakes are high.

Over the last few weeks, the Marvel Cinematic Universe's first TV series has undergone some major changes. The agents went from dealing with what seemed like a single, standalone adversary -- the Clairvoyant -- to dealing with the full-scale dismantling of S.H.I.E.L.D. thanks to a Hydra infiltration years in the making. Now one of their own is their enemy, the entire team is in mortal peril, and S.H.I.E.L.D. as we know it no longer exists.

Coulson (Clark Gregg) and his crew are primed for a showdown with Garrett (Bill Paxton), his protege Ward (Brett Dalton) and Deathlok (J. August Richards), and the storyline that began with a tie-in to Captain America: The Winter Soldier seems set for a big payoff. Plus, Nick Fury himself, Samuel L. Jackson, is back to guest-star as the show closes out its first year.

The finale episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season one airs Tuesday at 8/7C on ABC.

Proof PROOF
TNT has greenlit the supernatural drama "Proof," starring Jennifer Beals ("The L Word," Flashdance), Matthew Modine (And the Band Played On, "Weeds") and Joe Morton ("Scandal," Terminator 2: Judgment Day). Also starring in the series are Callum Blue ("Dead Like Me," "Royal Pains"), Edi Gathegi (X-Men: First Class, "Justified"), Annie Thurman (The Hunger Games), Sean Gleeson ("Doctors," Cold Mountain) and newcomer Caroline Rose Kaplan.

"Proof" is being executive-produced by Emmy winner Kyra Sedgwick ("The Closer"); Rob Bragin ("Greek," "Murphy Brown"), who wrote the pilot; Tom Jacobson; Jill Littman; and Emmy winner Alex Graves ("The West Wing," "Game of Thrones"), who directed the pilot.

In "Proof," Beals plays Dr. Carolyn Tyler, a brilliant surgeon with a caustic edge. Carolyn has suffered the recent, devastating loss of her teenage son, the breakup of her marriage to Dr. Len Barliss (Gleeson) and a growing estrangement from their daughter (Thurman). But Carolyn's own trauma hasn't deterred her from her charitable outreaches, which include helping disaster victims in far-flung trouble spots throughout the world.

Despite her skeptical, hard-science attitude, Carolyn is persuaded by a cancer-stricken tech millionaire (Modine) to investigate cases of reincarnation, out-of-body experiences, hauntings and other supernatural phenomena. Her goal is to find verifiable proof to life’s greatest questions: Is death truly the end, or is there something else beyond?

Helping – or sometimes hindering – Carolyn in her quest are her boss, Dr. Charles Russell (Morton), the head of the hospital, and Peter Van Owen (Blue), a best-selling author who claims to be psychic. Gathegi plays Zed, a hospital intern from the Sudan who assists Carolyn, and Kaplan plays Janel Ramsey, Turing's assistant.

"'Proof' is a fascinating series that takes on one of our most compelling questions: What happens when we die?" said Michael Wright, president, head of programming for TNT, TBS and Turner Classic Movies (TCM). "Jennifer Beals does a terrific job bringing her complex character to life, and she's surrounded by an outstanding ensemble cast. We're especially thrilled to be collaborating once again with Kyra Sedgwick, whose work on 'The Closer' helped pave the way for TNT's ever-growing slate of hit original series."

TNT has ordered 10 episodes of "Proof," with plans to launch the series in 2015.

Flintstones FLINTSTONES
A new big screen take on the modern stone age family is on the way from Warner Bros. Animation. The Hollywood Reporter today brings word that Chris Henchy (The Campaign) is providing the screenplay with Will Ferrell and Adam McKay executive producing through Gary Sanchez Productions.

A comical take on a prehistoric family, "The Flintstones" ran for six seasons, setting a record for a primetime animated series that would not be beat for nearly 30 years (when it was overtaken by "The Simpsons"). The franchise was previously brought to the big screen as a live-action film in 1994 and was followed by a sequel, The Flinstones in Viva Rock Vegas, in 2000.

Seth MacFarlane was developing an animated reboot of the property a few years ago, but plans for it ultimately failed to move forward.

Although no date for the new film has been announced, Warner Bros. did, just yesterday, put down two placeholders on their release calendar for unspecified animated projects. The first will arrive February 10, 2017 and the second is set for February 9, 2018.

WEDNESDAY, MAY 7, 2014

Michelle Forbes THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY, PART 2
A fan favorite from the Star Trek universe and many other TV shows and films is joining the cast of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2.

The official Hunger Games Twitter feed posted the news today that Michelle Forbes was taking on the role of Lieutenant Jackson in the fourth and final film based on the series of novels by Suzanne Collins. Forbes may be best known to genre fans as Ensign Ro Laren, the fiery Bajoran Starfleet officer who appeared in eight episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation during the show's fifth, sixth and seventh seasons. Ensign Ro was supposed to transition over to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, but Forbes turned down the job and a new Bajoran officer, Kira Nerys, was created instead.

Forbes' other major genre TV credits include playing Adm. Helena Cain on Battlestar Galactica and a Maenad on the second season of True Blood, along with recurring or guest roles on Lost, 24, Prison Break, The Outer Limits, Homicide: Life on the Street and others. Her film appearances have included Kalifornia, Swimming With Sharks and Escape From L.A.

Jackson is listed at the Hunger Games Wiki as a soldier in District 13's Squad 451, a special team of rebel sharpshooters that also includes Katniss Everdeen, Peeta Mellark, Gale Hawthorne and others. She is described as looking "kind of sluggish" -- not what Forbes brings to mind at all -- and farsighted. The character seems to be a minor one, but hopefully Forbes will make a memorable impression.

Both parts of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay are shooting now under the direction of Francis Lawrence, with Forbes, Julianne Moore, Natalie Dormer, Gwendoline Christie and Robert Knepper joing regulars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Jena Malone and Donald Sutherland. Part 1 arrives on Nov. 21, 2014, but you'll have until Nov. 20, 2015, to see Forbes in Part 2.

COHERENCE
Though we remember him fondly from the Buffy the Vampire Slayer days, actor Nicholas Brendon hasn’t done much since he hung up the eyepatch as fan favorite Xander Harris. But he’s finally back on the radar.

The first trailer for Brendon’s new movie, Coherence, has arrived, and it’s definitely ... enigmatic. The film is set on the night of an astrological anomaly and follows eight friends at a dinner party who experience a troubling chain of reality-bending events. The project is described as “part cerebral sci-fi and part relationship drama,” and it’s garnered a fair bit of buzz on the festival circuit.

Along with Brendon, the film also stars Hugo Armstrong, Emily Foxler, Elizabeth Gracen, Lauren Maher, Alex Manugian, Lorene Scafaria and Maury Sterling. Coherence was written and directed by James Ward Byrkit.

Yes, we know Brendon has played some recurring roles in series like Private Practice and Criminal Minds in recent years, but he hasn’t done much with the genre that made him famous among the geek crowd.

Coherence will get a limited theatrical opening on June 20.

Timothy Busfield SLEEPY HOLLOW
One of the most entertaining things about Fox’s breakout supernatural hit Sleepy Hollow is the colonial-era flashbacks, and now they’ve officially added a major player from the early days of America’s youth.

Timothy Busfield (The West Wing, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip) has signed on to play Benjamin Franklin in season two, and if we had to guess, his role will likely be confined to flashbacks from Ichabod Crane’s days fighting crazy Hessians and British attacks.

Along with the modern-day world of horsemen and demons, the series truly shines when it flashes back to the days of yore, so we’re glad to see they’re expanding the lineup of Founding Fathers. According to Entertainment Weekly, Ichabod apparently apprenticed under Franklin back in the day, which is how he fits into the series.

Executive producer Mark Goffman noted Franklin is one of the most interesting people in American history, so they couldn’t resist drawing him into this secret war between good and evil:

“Last season, we created this history between Ichabod and George Washington that talked about this secret war that was part of the American Revolution. This season, we’re continuing that and expanding on it with other characters. Benjamin Franklin is great because we are all familiar with so many of his contributions and now we get to pull back the veil a bit. This man founded the printing press and was responsible for so many [innovations] and now we find out he’s involved in this secret war and that Crane had a relationship with him. I’ve read several biographies of Franklin and we’re teeing off on some of his precociousness and eccentricities.”

The second season of Sleepy Hollow debuts this fall on Fox.

AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.
ABC aired the first scenes from the "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." season finale after tonight's episode and you can now check out the promo below. The season finale, titled "Beginning of the End" and airing on Tuesday, May 13, is described as follows:

Dark secrets are revealed as Coulson and his team put everything on the line to stop Garrett and the forces of Hydra, on the explosive season finale of "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Tuesday, May 13 (8:00-9:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. "Beginning of the End" was written by Maurissa Tancharoen & Jed Whedon and directed by David Straiton.

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2
DreamWorks Animation has released a new clip from How to Train Your Dragon 2.

Opening in theaters on June 13, the sequel is voiced by Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson, Kit Harington, Cate Blanchett, Djimon Honsou, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, T.J. Miller and Kristen Wiig.

The thrilling second chapter of the epic "How to Train Your Dragon" trilogy returns to the fantastical world of the heroic Viking Hiccup and his faithful dragon Toothless. The inseparable duo must protect the peace – and save the future of men and dragons from the power-hungry Drago.

Andy Buckley JURASSIC WORLD
"The Office" star Andy Buckley has joined the cast of director Colin Trevorrow's Jurassic World, Variety reports. There's no word yet on who he'll be playing, but he joins a cast that already includes Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Ty Simpkins, Jake Johnson, Nick Robinson, Irrfan Khan, Vincent D'Onofrio, BD Wong, Omar Sy, Judy Greer, Katie McGrath and Lauren Lapkus.

Buc

Written by Trevorrow and Derek Connolly, Jurassic World offers a new sci-fi terror adventure set 22 years after the horrific events of the original Jurassic Park.

Buckley played Dunder Miflin CEO David Wallace as a recurring role on the hit NBC sitcom and recently appeared on HBO's "Silicon Valley." He was also recently on the big screen in Paul Feig's buddy cop comedy The Heat.

Jurassic World hits the big screen on June 12, 2015.

TUESDAY, MAY 6, 2014

GOTHAM
Hot on the heels of "Gotham" being given a series order, FOX has released the first trailer for the "Batman" prequel series, and it's a big one. The two minute clip introduces the audience to the world of Gotham and shows the murder of Bruce Wayne's parents.

All of the major characters are show, including Selina Kyle and Oswald Cobblepot, who happens to be wielding Penguin's signature umbrella. The extra special moment comes at the end, with the reveal of Riddler and Poison Ivy. FOX is really pulling out all the stops for "Gotham" and things just keep looking better and better.

"Gotham" will debut during then 2014-2015 season.

PERSON OF INTEREST
There are only two episodes left of "Person of Interest" Season 3, and the stakes are higher than ever with Finch now under the control of Greer. The above promo for episode 22, "A House Divided," shows that Greer's plans for Samaritan is not what Finch expected.

The synopsis for "A House Divided" reads: "When an unknown entity prevents the Machine from seeing the full picture of an impending catastrophic event, it sends the team five separate numbers to help them piece together the bigger picture. Meanwhile, Root's team of hackers arrives in New York."

Salem SALEM RENEWED
It's clearly the year of the witch.

WGN America has renewed freshman drama "Salem" for Season 2.

The network's first original scripted drama has earned a 13-episode second season. Production begins later this year, and it will premiere sometime in 2015.

"At WGN America, we are committed to delivering compelling, brand-defining programming rich with fascinating characters and 'Salem' has done just that," says Matt Cherniss, president and general nanager of WGN America and Tribune Studios. "[EPs] Brannon Braga, Adam Simon, the talented cast and our great partners at Fox 21 have opened up an intriguing world that has captivated viewers. We look forward to bringing more great storytelling, scares and surprises to viewers as the saga unfolds."

"Salem" stars Janet Montgomery, Shane West, Seth Gabel, Xander Berkeley, Ashley Madekwe, Tamzin Merchant, Elise Eberle and Iddo Goldberg, and is a fictional take on the real-life drama surrounding the Salem Witch trials in 17th century Massachusetts.

The dark drama airs Sundays at 10 p.m. ET/9 p.m. CT on WGN America (which is owned by Zap2it's parent, Tribune Company).

Arrow-222 ARROW NEWS
"Arrow" is bringing Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman) back to Starling City for the final episodes of Season 2. What will the villain's role be? How will he interact with his secret daughter, Thea Queen? Will Oliver see Malcolm as an enemy or an ally this time around?

A couple of photos from the upcoming "Streets of Fire" episode, along with spoilers from executive producer Andrew Kreisberg, offer hints about Malcolm's place at the end of the season.

One of the most important questions, when it comes to Malcolm is whether he will have any interaction with Thea. The answer is most definitely yes. "All hell is going to break loose in the city, and Thea will find herself in a precarious predicament -- and Thea is going to be saved by her father," Kreisberg teases. "He is going to offer her what she doesn't have anymore."

That would be the promise of a family. As it turns out, the decision to kill Moira Queen a few episodes back had a great deal to do with wanting to bring Thea and Malcolm together. "That was part of our math with killing Moira," Kreisberg says. "If we were going to send Thea in that direction, there couldn't be anything that was pulling her back here. Now she has a brother who lied to her and has done something unforgivable and no mother. On the flipside, she has Malcolm Merlyn saying, 'I will never lie to you, Thea.'"

While that in itself is almost definitely a lie, it's pretty obvious why Thea would want to believe it.

The "Arrow" episode featuring Merlyn's return, "Streets of Fire," airs Wednesday (May 7) at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.

Falling Skies FALLING SKIES
Miss "Falling Skies"? Can't wait for Season 4 to premiere? Then Zap2it has some treats for you.

Above, check out an exclusive first look at the key art for Season 4, featuring Noah Wyle's Tom Mason. The tagline reads "Fight off extinction," which is a sure sign that an epic battle is waiting for the show's survivors. If there was any doubt that Season 4 is going to be nonstop action, the below exclusive promo will prove it.

"Falling Skies'" 12-episode Season 4 will premiere June 22 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on TNT.

MONDAY, MAY 5, 2014

STAR WARS REBELS
Disney's anticipated animated series Star Wars Rebels has unveiled its first full trailer on Star Wars Day. The minute-long teaser will premiere during Disney XD's airing of Lego Star Wars: The Yoda Chronicles at 7 p.m. PT/ET.

The trailer sets up the world in which Star Wars Rebels takes place: "In a time of darkness, when fear ruled the galaxy, heroes will rise, destinies will collide and a rebellion will ignite." Flashes of main characters, key dialogue (including that final scene with the villainous Inquisitor) and battle sequences offer just a hint of what Disney and Lucasfilm have in store.

Star Wars Rebels takes place between Star Wars: Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith and Star Wars: Episode IV -- A New Hope, which spans about two decades. The animated series is set "in a time where the Empire is securing its grip on the galaxy and hunting down the last of the Jedi Knights as a fledgling rebellion against the Empire is taking shape." Star Wars Rebels will premiere in the fall as a one-hour special on Disney Channel, before debuting as a series on sister channel Disney XD worldwide.

Star Wars Rebels premieres this fall.

Spider-Man 2 WEEKEND BOX OFFICE
Sony's The Amazing Spider-Man 2 kicked off the summer box office in style, earning $92 million in its debut.

Internationally, where the superhero sequel began opening two weeks ago, the movie took in an estimated $116 million for a foreign total of $277 million and global haul of $369 million (it is pacing ahead of the first Amazing Spider-Man in many markets). Amazing Spider-Man 2 debuted in China on Sunday, taking in a stellar $10.4 million, the top gross ever for a designated workday.

In the U.S., the $200 million-plus tentpole was fueled by families (33 percent) and younger moviegoers, with 51 percent of ticket buyers under the age of 25, a strong showing. They liked the movie best, giving it an A- CinemaScore. Overall, the movie earned a B+.

Males made up 61 percent of the audience, evidenced by the fact that Imax and large-format screens -- the favored venue of fanboys -- generated strong numbers. Amazing Spider-Man 2 generated $9.3 million in ticket sales from 353 Imax theaters, and $7.3 million from large-format screens, led by Cinemark. All of the film's top five locations were Imax theaters. Overseas, Imax theaters have racked up nearly $16 million in sales.

Amazing Spider-Man 2 had hoped to best the recent $95 million opening of Captain America: The Winter Soldier to become the year's top opener to date in North America. In terms of May openings, Amazing Spider-Man 2 ranks No. 7.

Director Marc Webb reteamed with stars Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone to make the sequel, which features an array of new castmembers, including Jamie Foxx as the villain Electro and Dane DeHaan as Harry Osborn, Spider-Man's friend turned nemesis. Paul Giamatti plays Rhino, a third bad guy.

Comparisons to The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) are complicated since that film opened Tuesday of Fourth of July week, taking in $137 million in its first six days, including $62 million for the weekend. Amazing Spider-Man topped out at $752.2 million globally, successfully relaunching the marquee franchise post Tobey Maguire.

Summer almost always begins with a Marvel Comics superhero tentpole. In 2012, Marvel and Disney's The Avengers netted an astounding $207.4 million on its first weekend in May, the highest opening of all time for any time of the year. Last year, Iron Man 3 took in $174.1 million; Thor grossed $65.7 million in 2011; and X-Men Origins: Wolverine made $85.1 million in 2009.

Spider-Man 3, debuting to $151.1 million in 2007, is the No. 3 May opener of all time after Avengers and Iron Man 3. "What made this weekend so unique and special was that we had a terrific opening in the U.S., but the picture has now opened worldwide, and on every continent, we enjoyed stunning results," Sony distribution chief Rory Bruer said.

The sequel did especially strong business in India, where it took in $6.5 million, the biggest opening weekend of all time for a Hollywood title, and across Asia, including the Philippines ($5.6 million), Indonesia ($5.2 million), Malaysia ($4.6 million) and Hong Kong ($3.6 million).

France came in 32 percent ahead of the first Amazing Spider-Man with $10.6 million. In Latin America, Brazil launched with $10.5 million, beating the opening of the first Amazing Spider-Man by 76 percent.

Back in North America, Fox's femme-fueled comedy The Other Woman held well in its second weekend, placing No. 2 with $14.2 million for a domestic total of $47.3 million. Overseas, the Cameron Diaz and Leslie Mann comedy took in another $19.5 million from 49 markets for an international total of $45.8 million.

Sony's Christian film Heaven Is for Real, coming in No. 3 domestically, grossed $8.7 million in its third outing for a total $65.6 million.

Winter Soldier hit nearly $680 million in global ticket sales, grossing $7.8 million in North America for a fourth-place finish. The Disney and Marvel tentpole has earned $237.1 million domestically and $442.7 million internationally for a total $679.8 million -- 83 percent ahead of the first Captain America.

Fox's Rio 2 crossed the $100 million mark in its fourth weekend, grossing $7.6 million for a domestic total of $106.5 million and coming in No. 5. Overseas, the animated film delivered $24.5 million from 58 markets for a foreign total of $289.1 million.

Fox Searchlight's period drama Belle nabbed the top location average of the weekend domestically as it debuted in four theaters in New York and Los Angeles, grossing $104,493 for an OK average of $26,123.

Polish drama and festival favorite Ida opened nicely, grossing $50,000 from three theaters in New York and Los Angeles for a location average of $16,667.

Focus World debuted Elizabeth Banks and James Marsden comedy Walk of Shame simultaneously in theaters and on VOD. Theatrically, the movie grossed $38,000 from 51 locations for a paltry location average of $745; however, Focus reports that Walk of Shame was the No. 1 title on iTunes at one point over the weekend.

Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel continued to shine for Searchlight as it crossed the $50 million mark in North America, grossing $1.7 million from 884 locations in its ninth weekend for a domestic total of $51.5 million. The movie, making a reappearance on the top 10 chart, came in No. 10. Internationally, Grand Budapest has earned $89 million to date. Here are the top 10 estimates for the weekend of May 2-May 4 at the domestic box office:

Title, Weeks in Release/Theater Count, Studio, Weekend Total, Percentage Drop, Cume

1. The Amazing Spider-Man 2, 1/4,324, Sony, $92 million.
2. The Other Woman, 2/3,238, Fox, $14.2 million, -43%, $47.3 million.
3. Heaven Is for Real, 3/2,930 Sony/TriStar, $8.7 million, -39%, $65.6 million.
4. Captain America: The Winter Soldier, 5/3,179, Disney/Marvel, $7.8 million, -52%, $237.1 million.
5. Rio 2, 4/3,314, Fox/Blue Sky, $7.6 million, -45%, $106.5 million.
6. Brick Mansions, 2/2,647, Relativity/EuropaCorp, $3.5 million, -63%, $15.5 million.
7. Divergent, 7/1,639, Lionsgate/Summit, $2.2 million, -41%, $142.7 million.
8. The Quiet Ones, 2/2,027, Lionsgate/Exclusive, $2 million, -48%, $6.8 million.
9. God's Not Dead, 7/1,330, Freestyle, $1.8 million, -37%, $55.6 million.
10. The Grand Budapest Hotel, 9/884, Disney, $1.7 million, -29%, $51.5 million.

X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST
20th Century Fox has debuted another TV spot for X-Men: Days of Future Past and things get rather dicey throughout.

Opening in theaters on May 23, the film stars Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Hugh Jackman, Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Halley Berry, Nicholas Hoult, Ellen Page, Shawn Ashmore, Peter Dinklage, Omar Sy, Daniel Cudmore, Fan Bingbing, Boo Boo Stewart, Adan Canto, Evan Peters, Josh Helman, Lucas Till and Evan Jonigkeit.

The ultimate X-Men ensemble fights a war for the survival of the species across two time periods in X-Men: Days of Future Past. The beloved characters from the original "X-Men" film trilogy join forces with their younger selves from X-Men: First Class, in an epic battle that must change the past – to save our future.

SUNDAY, MAY 4, 2014

Preview THE NEW 52: FUTURES END #1
Get ready for the most ambitious New 52 event series DC Comics has attempted yet.
For nearly three years now, we've been living with the rebooted universe DC dubbed "The New 52," and the creative teams behind the initiative have thrown a lot at us. We've seen battles between Justice Leagues in the Trinity War event, we've seen the villains take over in Forever Evil, and we've seen the beginning of the 75th-anniversary celebration of The Dark Knight in the epic new weekly series Batman Eternal. Now another weekly series is launching, and what happens in its pages will threaten the entire future of the DC Universe. Get ready for The New 52: Futures End.

Futures End -- featuring the writing team of Brian Azzarello (Wonder Woman), Jeff Lemire (Animal Man) and Dan Jurgens (Justice League International), and Keith Giffen (Superman), plus work from a wide range of artists including Ethan Van Sciver (Flash: Rebirth), Patrick Zircher (Nightwing), Georges Jeanty (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and Jurgens -- will explore the past, present and future of the New 52 through the eyes of Frankenstein, Firestorm, Batman Beyond (making his New 52 in-continuity debut) and a huge cast of other characters as they fight to save their future from a deadly new threat that could spell the apocalypse. Here's DC's synopsis of issue one.

Five years from now, the DC Universe is reeling from a war with another Earth, leaving the world unprepared for an approaching evil that threatens to destroy the future. Can a time-traveling Batman Beyond help a massive cast of the DCU’s finest avert the impending apocalypse? Find out in this new weekly series that will forever alter the direction of The New 52! In this debut issue of The New 52’s weekly series, Batman Beyond arrives five years later! Grifter turns against humanity! And a Justice League member DIES!

The series kicks off tomorrow, Free Comic Book Day, with a free #0 issue (drawn by Van Sciver) that will feature the first in-continuity appearance of Batman Beyond himself, Terry McGinnis, which will be followed just a few days later by the release of issue #1 (drawn by Zircher) on May 7. The series will run weekly for nearly a year, and this September, in celebration of the third anniversary of the New 52, all of DC's New 52 comics will jump five years into the future for Futures End tie-in issues. It's a massive effort to shake up the New 52 universe, and we've got an EXCLUSIVE look at the first six pages (plus some variant covers) in the gallery at http://www.blastr.com/2014-5-2/check-out-exclusive-preview-dcs-new-52-futures-end-1.

Nightbreed NIGHTBREED
It's a good time to be a Nightbreed fan.

Though it failed to gain the same success of 1987's Hellraiser, horror legend Clive Barker's 1990 film Nightbreed (based on his 1988 novel Cabal) continues to draw its own rabid cult fanbase. Barker's tale of a group of monstrous creatures who lead their own secret lives in a necropolis known as Midian, while fighting to maintain what humanity they have left, continues to capture imaginations nearly 25 years after its original theatrical release, and now the story will continue in a new ongoing comic-book series from BOOM! Studios.

BOOM! has already made its imprint on Barker's work with an ongoing, canonically recognized series of new Hellraiser stories, and now that same approach will be applied to Nightbreed courtesy of writer Marc Andreyko (Batwoman) and artist Piotr Kowalski (Marvel Knights: Hulk).

“Keeping with the tradition of telling new stories in canon with HELLRAISER, we’re very excited to continue that method with Clive Barker’s cult-favorite NIGHTBREED,” said BOOM! Studios Editor-in-Chief Matt Gagnon. “Marc Andreyko, in addition to being a gifted storyteller, is a die-hard fan of NIGHTBREED. And artist Piotr Kowalski—who some fans will remember from his stellar work on Hulk—is pushing his style to savage new places. We have the makings of a fan-favorite horror series right out of the gate with this one.”

Clive Barker's Nightbreed #1 will feature early tales of two of Midian's residents, Shuna Sassi and Peloquin, and tell the story of how each of them came to live there. If you're a fan of Cabal or Nightbreed, and you've been itching to hear more stories about the creatures who inhabit Midan and how they came to be, this sounds like the comic for you, but even if you've never heard of the series before, you can dive right in with the first issue and feel right at home.

The first issue of Clive Barker's Nightbreed arrvies in comic shops on May 28.

STAR WARS REBELS
Disney's anticipated animated series Star Wars Rebels has unveiled its first full trailer on Star Wars Day. The minute-long teaser will premiere during Disney XD's airing of Lego Star Wars: The Yoda Chronicles at 7 p.m. PT/ET.

The trailer sets up the world in which Star Wars Rebels takes place: "In a time of darkness, when fear ruled the galaxy, heroes will rise, destinies will collide and a rebellion will ignite." Flashes of main characters, key dialogue (including that final scene with the villainous Inquisitor) and battle sequences offer just a hint of what Disney and Lucasfilm have in store.

Star Wars Rebels takes place between Star Wars: Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith and Star Wars: Episode IV -- A New Hope, which spans about two decades. The animated series is set "in a time where the Empire is securing its grip on the galaxy and hunting down the last of the Jedi Knights as a fledgling rebellion against the Empire is taking shape."

Star Wars Rebels will premiere in the fall as a one-hour special on Disney Channel, before debuting as a series on sister channel Disney XD worldwide.

Star Wars Rebels premieres this fall.

SUNDAY, MAY 4, 2014

Preview THE NEW 52: FUTURES END #1
Get ready for the most ambitious New 52 event series DC Comics has attempted yet.
For nearly three years now, we've been living with the rebooted universe DC dubbed "The New 52," and the creative teams behind the initiative have thrown a lot at us. We've seen battles between Justice Leagues in the Trinity War event, we've seen the villains take over in Forever Evil, and we've seen the beginning of the 75th-anniversary celebration of The Dark Knight in the epic new weekly series Batman Eternal. Now another weekly series is launching, and what happens in its pages will threaten the entire future of the DC Universe. Get ready for The New 52: Futures End.

Futures End -- featuring the writing team of Brian Azzarello (Wonder Woman), Jeff Lemire (Animal Man) and Dan Jurgens (Justice League International), and Keith Giffen (Superman), plus work from a wide range of artists including Ethan Van Sciver (Flash: Rebirth), Patrick Zircher (Nightwing), Georges Jeanty (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and Jurgens -- will explore the past, present and future of the New 52 through the eyes of Frankenstein, Firestorm, Batman Beyond (making his New 52 in-continuity debut) and a huge cast of other characters as they fight to save their future from a deadly new threat that could spell the apocalypse. Here's DC's synopsis of issue one.

Five years from now, the DC Universe is reeling from a war with another Earth, leaving the world unprepared for an approaching evil that threatens to destroy the future. Can a time-traveling Batman Beyond help a massive cast of the DCU’s finest avert the impending apocalypse? Find out in this new weekly series that will forever alter the direction of The New 52! In this debut issue of The New 52’s weekly series, Batman Beyond arrives five years later! Grifter turns against humanity! And a Justice League member DIES!

The series kicks off tomorrow, Free Comic Book Day, with a free #0 issue (drawn by Van Sciver) that will feature the first in-continuity appearance of Batman Beyond himself, Terry McGinnis, which will be followed just a few days later by the release of issue #1 (drawn by Zircher) on May 7. The series will run weekly for nearly a year, and this September, in celebration of the third anniversary of the New 52, all of DC's New 52 comics will jump five years into the future for Futures End tie-in issues. It's a massive effort to shake up the New 52 universe, and we've got an EXCLUSIVE look at the first six pages (plus some variant covers) in the gallery at http://www.blastr.com/2014-5-2/check-out-exclusive-preview-dcs-new-52-futures-end-1.

Nightbreed NIGHTBREED
It's a good time to be a Nightbreed fan.

Though it failed to gain the same success of 1987's Hellraiser, horror legend Clive Barker's 1990 film Nightbreed (based on his 1988 novel Cabal) continues to draw its own rabid cult fanbase. Barker's tale of a group of monstrous creatures who lead their own secret lives in a necropolis known as Midian, while fighting to maintain what humanity they have left, continues to capture imaginations nearly 25 years after its original theatrical release, and now the story will continue in a new ongoing comic-book series from BOOM! Studios.

BOOM! has already made its imprint on Barker's work with an ongoing, canonically recognized series of new Hellraiser stories, and now that same approach will be applied to Nightbreed courtesy of writer Marc Andreyko (Batwoman) and artist Piotr Kowalski (Marvel Knights: Hulk).

“Keeping with the tradition of telling new stories in canon with HELLRAISER, we’re very excited to continue that method with Clive Barker’s cult-favorite NIGHTBREED,” said BOOM! Studios Editor-in-Chief Matt Gagnon. “Marc Andreyko, in addition to being a gifted storyteller, is a die-hard fan of NIGHTBREED. And artist Piotr Kowalski—who some fans will remember from his stellar work on Hulk—is pushing his style to savage new places. We have the makings of a fan-favorite horror series right out of the gate with this one.”

Clive Barker's Nightbreed #1 will feature early tales of two of Midian's residents, Shuna Sassi and Peloquin, and tell the story of how each of them came to live there. If you're a fan of Cabal or Nightbreed, and you've been itching to hear more stories about the creatures who inhabit Midan and how they came to be, this sounds like the comic for you, but even if you've never heard of the series before, you can dive right in with the first issue and feel right at home.

The first issue of Clive Barker's Nightbreed arrvies in comic shops on May 28.

STAR WARS REBELS
Disney's anticipated animated series Star Wars Rebels has unveiled its first full trailer on Star Wars Day. The minute-long teaser will premiere during Disney XD's airing of Lego Star Wars: The Yoda Chronicles at 7 p.m. PT/ET.

The trailer sets up the world in which Star Wars Rebels takes place: "In a time of darkness, when fear ruled the galaxy, heroes will rise, destinies will collide and a rebellion will ignite." Flashes of main characters, key dialogue (including that final scene with the villainous Inquisitor) and battle sequences offer just a hint of what Disney and Lucasfilm have in store.

Star Wars Rebels takes place between Star Wars: Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith and Star Wars: Episode IV -- A New Hope, which spans about two decades. The animated series is set "in a time where the Empire is securing its grip on the galaxy and hunting down the last of the Jedi Knights as a fledgling rebellion against the Empire is taking shape."

Star Wars Rebels will premiere in the fall as a one-hour special on Disney Channel, before debuting as a series on sister channel Disney XD worldwide.

Star Wars Rebels premieres this fall.

SATURDAY, MAY 3, 2014

Matt Smith TERMINATOR
Things are about to get even more timey-wimey as former Time Lord Matt Smith joins the cast of the new upcoming Terminator trilogy.

Deadline reports that Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions are “setting the final major piece of the final trilogy of Terminator films.” They also report that former Doctor Who star Matt Smith has been cast in what's called a major role that will become even more important in the second and third flicks.

Smith joins Emilia Clarke as Sarah Connor, Jason Clarke as John Connor, Jai Courtney as Kyle Reese and, of course, the Terminator himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Seriously, can there be a smoother move than to cast a former time traveler in a time-traveling sci-fi flick, we ask you? Are you guys excited about Matt Smith joining the Terminator cast?

Directed by Alan Taylor, Terminator: Genesis will hit theaters on July 1, 2015.

Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. EFREM ZIMBALIST, JR. PASSES
Efrem Zimbalist Jr., the suave leading man who starred on ABC for 15 straight seasons on 77 Sunset Strip and then The F.B.I., died Friday at his ranch in Solvang, Calif., his children announced. He was 95.

Zimbalist was a household name from 1958 through 1974 for his performances as dapper private eye Stuart Bailey on Friday night staple 77 Sunset Strip, which lasted six seasons, and as Inspector Lewis Erskine on The F.B.I., which ran for nine.

A close friend of then-FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover, Zimbalist ended many Quinn Martin productions on Sunday nights with a description of a fugitive wanted by the feds, exhorting viewers to be on the lookout. One of the more prominent names from this segment was James Earl Ray, assassin of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“Efrem’s character embodied fidelity, bravery and integrity. So much so that he inspired a generation of future FBI employees, many of whom pursued a career in the bureau because they watched The F.B.I. series as they grew up,” FBI director Robert Mueller said when he presented an honorary Special Agent badge to Zimbalist in 2009. “In those days, he may well have been the bureau’s best and most effective recruiter!” The son of renowned artists -- soprano Alma Gluck and violinist Efrem Zimbalist -- he was the father of actress Stephanie Zimbalist, who survives him. As the sly, silver-haired mentor of Pierce Brosnan’s title character on Remington Steele, he appeared on the 1982-87 NBC series with his daughter on a handful of episodes. In a career that spanned roughly 60 years, Zimbalist provided the voices of Alfred the Butler on several Batman animated series, the villain Doc Octopus on a Spider-Man cartoon and King Arthur on The Legend of Prince Valiant. He had recurring roles on Maverick in the 1950s, Hotel in the ’80s and Zorro in the ’90s.

In Wait Until Dark (1967), he played the photographer husband of the blind Audrey Hepburn.

Zimbalist was born on Nov. 30, 1918, in New York and raised in a home of artistry and privilege. His father was a friend of poet Edna St. Vincent Millay, and young Zimbalist received violin lessons from the father of Jascha Heifetz.

Later, he studied at the Yale Drama School and the Neighborhood Playhouse, then served in World War II and earned a Purple Heart.

Zimbalist began his career as an NBC page but soon found work in the theater and was cast in the 1945 Broadway production of The Rugged Path, which starred Spencer Tracy and was directed by Garson Kanin. Zimbalist’s rich baritone and striking manner won notice, and he landed plum roles in Henry VIII in 1946 and Hedda Gabler in 1948. Restless waiting for roles, Zimbalist ventured into producing. He brought opera to Broadway, mounting such productions as The Medium, The Telephone and The Consul, which won a Pulitzer Prize.

Zimbalist made an impressive movie debut in 1949, co-starring in Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s House of Strangers, which starred Edward G. Robinson as a tight-fisted family patriarch. But he experienced personal tragedy the following year: his wife Emily died of cancer, and he gave up acting.

During the subsequent five years, Zimbalist worked at the Curtis School of Music for his father. In 1954, he took a lead in a daytime soap opera, and, ready to act in the movies again, signed a seven-year contract with Warner Bros. (Later, he would be invited to play tennis at studio head Jack Warner’s Beverly Hills home every weekend.) Zimbalist was cast in Band of Angels (1957) with Clark Gable; in the Barrymore family drama Too Much, Too Soon (1958) with Errol Flynn and Dorothy Malone; and in Mervyn LeRoy’s Home Before Dark (1958) with Jean Simmons; he called the latter his favorite film experience.

While he was winning popularity and acclaim for these roles, Zimbalist also was starting out in the Warner Bros. TV series 77 Sunset Strip, which was created by Roy Huggins (The Fugitive). It centered on a swinging '60s Hollywood detective agency run by Bailey and his partner Jeff Spencer (Roger Smith).

The stylish agency, located at the fictional address 77 Sunset Strip, was, naturally, right next door to a nightclub, which lent to appearances by curvaceous guest stars. Zimbalist parked his sports car in the club’s driveway that was manned by the cool attendant Kookie (Edd Byrnes), a dashing ladies’ man who caused women to clamor, “Kookie, Kookie, lend me your comb,” which became a song and a national catchphrase. Zimbalist took film roles during the series’ hiatus. In 1961, he starred with Angie Dickinson in the courtroom thriller A Fever in the Blood and in the then-notorious The Chapman Report (1962), where he starred as the head of a medical research clinic that studied the sex habits of suburban women.

Zimbalist appeared on all 241 episodes of The F.B.I., whose storylines came from actual cases. The bureau had casting control over the show. After the series ended, he participated in charity events that helped raise money for families of agents killed in the line of duty and lent his voice to narrate FBI recruiting videos.

Like other stars known for a dignified persona, Zimbalist was good-humored about spoofing his career. He followed in the footsteps of such colleagues as Leslie Nielsen and Robert Stack, parodying his image in Jim Abrahams’ Top Gun spoof Hot Shots! (1991), which starred Charlie Sheen.

His autobiography, My Dinner of Herbs, was published in 2004 and recounted his varied career, from the glitzy Sunset Strip to the power corridors of Washington.

In addition to his daughter Stephanie, survivors include his son Efrem Zimbalist III. “A devout Christian, he actively enjoyed his life to the last day, showering love on his extended family, playing golf and visiting with close friends,” his children said in a statement. “We will miss him dearly.”

Gerard Butler GEO-STORM
Geostorm, a sci-fi adventure film starring Gerard Butler, will storm into theaters on March 25, 2016.

The Warner Bros. project is directed by Dean Devlin, who also wrote the screenplay.

The story follows a satellite designer (Butler) who, when the world’s climate-controlling satellites malfunction, has to work together with his estranged brother to save the world from a man-made storm of epic proportions.

Geostorm will be the feature directorial debut for Devlin, who co-wrote Independence Day and 1998's Godzilla.

The project was being developed independently by David Ellison’s Skydance Productions before Warner Bros. picked it up. Skydance remains involved and is producing with Devlin’s Electric Entertainment.

Warner Bros.' dating announcement comes just moments after Paramount also slated a film -- a reboot of Beverly Hills Cop -- for March 25, 2016.

Screen Gems PATIENT ZERO
Screen Gems has set Stefan Ruzowitzky, the director of the Academy Award winning The Counterfeiters, to helm the Mike Le-scripted Patient Zero (formerly Patient Z).

Patient Zero takes place in a post-outbreak zombie apocalypse and follows the adventures of one man who has the unique ability to speak with the undead and who hopes to use his gift to discover a cure for the plague and his infected wife.

Vincent Newman is attached to produce the project for the studio through his Vincent Newman Entertainment.

Free Comic Day

SATURDAY, MAY 3, 2014

Matt Smith TERMINATOR
Things are about to get even more timey-wimey as former Time Lord Matt Smith joins the cast of the new upcoming Terminator trilogy.

Deadline reports that Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions are “setting the final major piece of the final trilogy of Terminator films.” They also report that former Doctor Who star Matt Smith has been cast in what's called a major role that will become even more important in the second and third flicks.

Smith joins Emilia Clarke as Sarah Connor, Jason Clarke as John Connor, Jai Courtney as Kyle Reese and, of course, the Terminator himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Seriously, can there be a smoother move than to cast a former time traveler in a time-traveling sci-fi flick, we ask you? Are you guys excited about Matt Smith joining the Terminator cast?

Directed by Alan Taylor, Terminator: Genesis will hit theaters on July 1, 2015.

Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. EFREM ZIMBALIST, JR. PASSES
Efrem Zimbalist Jr., the suave leading man who starred on ABC for 15 straight seasons on 77 Sunset Strip and then The F.B.I., died Friday at his ranch in Solvang, Calif., his children announced. He was 95.

Zimbalist was a household name from 1958 through 1974 for his performances as dapper private eye Stuart Bailey on Friday night staple 77 Sunset Strip, which lasted six seasons, and as Inspector Lewis Erskine on The F.B.I., which ran for nine.

A close friend of then-FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover, Zimbalist ended many Quinn Martin productions on Sunday nights with a description of a fugitive wanted by the feds, exhorting viewers to be on the lookout. One of the more prominent names from this segment was James Earl Ray, assassin of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“Efrem’s character embodied fidelity, bravery and integrity. So much so that he inspired a generation of future FBI employees, many of whom pursued a career in the bureau because they watched The F.B.I. series as they grew up,” FBI director Robert Mueller said when he presented an honorary Special Agent badge to Zimbalist in 2009. “In those days, he may well have been the bureau’s best and most effective recruiter!” The son of renowned artists -- soprano Alma Gluck and violinist Efrem Zimbalist -- he was the father of actress Stephanie Zimbalist, who survives him. As the sly, silver-haired mentor of Pierce Brosnan’s title character on Remington Steele, he appeared on the 1982-87 NBC series with his daughter on a handful of episodes. In a career that spanned roughly 60 years, Zimbalist provided the voices of Alfred the Butler on several Batman animated series, the villain Doc Octopus on a Spider-Man cartoon and King Arthur on The Legend of Prince Valiant. He had recurring roles on Maverick in the 1950s, Hotel in the ’80s and Zorro in the ’90s.

In Wait Until Dark (1967), he played the photographer husband of the blind Audrey Hepburn.

Zimbalist was born on Nov. 30, 1918, in New York and raised in a home of artistry and privilege. His father was a friend of poet Edna St. Vincent Millay, and young Zimbalist received violin lessons from the father of Jascha Heifetz.

Later, he studied at the Yale Drama School and the Neighborhood Playhouse, then served in World War II and earned a Purple Heart.

Zimbalist began his career as an NBC page but soon found work in the theater and was cast in the 1945 Broadway production of The Rugged Path, which starred Spencer Tracy and was directed by Garson Kanin. Zimbalist’s rich baritone and striking manner won notice, and he landed plum roles in Henry VIII in 1946 and Hedda Gabler in 1948. Restless waiting for roles, Zimbalist ventured into producing. He brought opera to Broadway, mounting such productions as The Medium, The Telephone and The Consul, which won a Pulitzer Prize.

Zimbalist made an impressive movie debut in 1949, co-starring in Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s House of Strangers, which starred Edward G. Robinson as a tight-fisted family patriarch. But he experienced personal tragedy the following year: his wife Emily died of cancer, and he gave up acting.

During the subsequent five years, Zimbalist worked at the Curtis School of Music for his father. In 1954, he took a lead in a daytime soap opera, and, ready to act in the movies again, signed a seven-year contract with Warner Bros. (Later, he would be invited to play tennis at studio head Jack Warner’s Beverly Hills home every weekend.) Zimbalist was cast in Band of Angels (1957) with Clark Gable; in the Barrymore family drama Too Much, Too Soon (1958) with Errol Flynn and Dorothy Malone; and in Mervyn LeRoy’s Home Before Dark (1958) with Jean Simmons; he called the latter his favorite film experience.

While he was winning popularity and acclaim for these roles, Zimbalist also was starting out in the Warner Bros. TV series 77 Sunset Strip, which was created by Roy Huggins (The Fugitive). It centered on a swinging '60s Hollywood detective agency run by Bailey and his partner Jeff Spencer (Roger Smith).

The stylish agency, located at the fictional address 77 Sunset Strip, was, naturally, right next door to a nightclub, which lent to appearances by curvaceous guest stars. Zimbalist parked his sports car in the club’s driveway that was manned by the cool attendant Kookie (Edd Byrnes), a dashing ladies’ man who caused women to clamor, “Kookie, Kookie, lend me your comb,” which became a song and a national catchphrase. Zimbalist took film roles during the series’ hiatus. In 1961, he starred with Angie Dickinson in the courtroom thriller A Fever in the Blood and in the then-notorious The Chapman Report (1962), where he starred as the head of a medical research clinic that studied the sex habits of suburban women.

Zimbalist appeared on all 241 episodes of The F.B.I., whose storylines came from actual cases. The bureau had casting control over the show. After the series ended, he participated in charity events that helped raise money for families of agents killed in the line of duty and lent his voice to narrate FBI recruiting videos.

Like other stars known for a dignified persona, Zimbalist was good-humored about spoofing his career. He followed in the footsteps of such colleagues as Leslie Nielsen and Robert Stack, parodying his image in Jim Abrahams’ Top Gun spoof Hot Shots! (1991), which starred Charlie Sheen.

His autobiography, My Dinner of Herbs, was published in 2004 and recounted his varied career, from the glitzy Sunset Strip to the power corridors of Washington.

In addition to his daughter Stephanie, survivors include his son Efrem Zimbalist III. “A devout Christian, he actively enjoyed his life to the last day, showering love on his extended family, playing golf and visiting with close friends,” his children said in a statement. “We will miss him dearly.”

Gerard Butler GEO-STORM
Geostorm, a sci-fi adventure film starring Gerard Butler, will storm into theaters on March 25, 2016.

The Warner Bros. project is directed by Dean Devlin, who also wrote the screenplay.

The story follows a satellite designer (Butler) who, when the world’s climate-controlling satellites malfunction, has to work together with his estranged brother to save the world from a man-made storm of epic proportions.

Geostorm will be the feature directorial debut for Devlin, who co-wrote Independence Day and 1998's Godzilla.

The project was being developed independently by David Ellison’s Skydance Productions before Warner Bros. picked it up. Skydance remains involved and is producing with Devlin’s Electric Entertainment.

Warner Bros.' dating announcement comes just moments after Paramount also slated a film -- a reboot of Beverly Hills Cop -- for March 25, 2016.

Screen Gems PATIENT ZERO
Screen Gems has set Stefan Ruzowitzky, the director of the Academy Award winning The Counterfeiters, to helm the Mike Le-scripted Patient Zero (formerly Patient Z).

Patient Zero takes place in a post-outbreak zombie apocalypse and follows the adventures of one man who has the unique ability to speak with the undead and who hopes to use his gift to discover a cure for the plague and his infected wife.

Vincent Newman is attached to produce the project for the studio through his Vincent Newman Entertainment.

Free Comic Day

FRIDAY, MAY 2, 2014

ARROW
The battle for Starling City really gets going in episode 22 of "Arrow" Season 2, "Streets of Fire." With Slade Wilson's mirakuru army wreaking havoc all over, it's up to Oliver Queen and Team Arrow to save the city ... again.

This time, however, Oliver might actually get a little help from Malcolm Merlyn.

While most of the video details chaos and little else, there are a few points that one might want to note. First and foremost, Merlyn (John Barrowman) is back in town -- and back from the dead, as far as all of the characters are concerned. But he may not want to destroy everything this time.

Others appearing in the video include the District Attorney (the woman Laurel Lance keeps besting in verbal altercations), Isabel Rochev (not looking happy), Laurel with a bow and arrow, and Thea in a whole bunch of trouble.

Shield-05 AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.
If you’ve been following Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., then you know that the next episode will deal with that traitorous HYDRA turncoat Grant Ward's backstory.

Basically, we'll learn what the heck’s the deal with the guy. Titled “Ragtag,” the penultimate S.H.I.E.L.D. episode will deal with Ward’s (Brett Dalton) backstory, revealing just why he turned HYDRA, other than the opportunity to get a hug from Garry Shandling. We’ll also learn how Garrett (Bill Paxton) recruited Ward, and how he trained him. If that weren't enough, the episode will also have Coulson’s team meet with Ward and his HYDRA buddies, setting the stage for what is expected to be a massive and explosive season finale.

Here’s what executive producer Jake Bell revealed about the episode in an interview with Entertainment Weekly:

We feel like Ward is showing all these different colors, and we thought it might be fun to show how Ward became Ward. Nothing definitive, because we’re still driving towards our conclusion with Deathlok and Raina and Garrett and Quinn and our cavalcade of bad guys, but Ward really is front and center in this episode. And showing his relationship with Garrett, and how that was shaped over the years, was really fun. [Bill] Paxton and Brett [Dalton] did an amazing job together. About the artist behind this cool penultimate poster piece from the “The Art of Level 7? collection — Emma Rios — and what it both represents and depicts, here’s what Bell had to say:

I really do feel Ward is trapped between two families, or the two pulls. Because as we learned, he really does care for Skye. And I do believe he cares for Fitz and Simmons and the whole team, to a certain extent, and that he was following orders. On the other hand, he has this deathly obligation to Garrett, and I think the poster does a nice job of capturing this. On one hand, Ward is alone, and on the other, you see him with the team, and see Skye’s face behind the S.H.I.E.L.D. logo. I think the poster captured that very nicely.

Marvel’s Agents of SH.I.E.L.D.’s penultimate episode, “Ragtag,” airs on May 6 on ABC.

Tricia Helfer ASENSION
The cast for Syfy’s new series Ascension is coming together, and the network has tapped a fan favorite from Battlestar Galactica to lead the charge.

Tricia Helfer, best known for playing the lovely and mysterious Cylon Six in Ronald D. Moore’s reimagining of Battlestar Galactica, will star in the upcoming series as Viondra Denniger, the chief steward and captain’s wife of the starship Ascension.

The series tells the story of a covert space mission, launched in 1963, sending hundreds of men, women and children on a 100-year journey to populate a new planet. But 50 years into the trip, just as the Ascension nears its point of no return, the murder of a young woman brings up questions about the ship's mission.

Helfer’s character, who will play a key role in the show, sees herself as a major power broker and holds a position of power and privilege. According to Zap2it, she’s described as beautiful, manipulative and dangerous. The character could also be either a hero or villain. Considering her previous experience on BSG, that shouldn’t be a problem.

The series is being written by Philip Levens (Smallville) and is set to premiere in November on Syfy.

Fantastic Voyage FANTASTIC VOYAGE
David Goyer is joining James Cameron on The Fantastic Voyage.

Goyer, who has guided the screen story for The Dark Knight trilogy and Man of Steel, has been tapped to write the treatment for the remake of the 1966 sci-fi classic which is being made by Fox and Cameron’s Lightstorm Entertainment.

Cameron, Jon Landau, and Rae Sanchini are producing through their Lightstorm banner. Goyer will also executive produce.

Voyage has long been in development and has seen many a scribe come and go, Shane Salerno, Cormac and Marianne Wibberly, and Laeta Kalogridis among them.

The project has been quiet since 2011 but Goyer's involvement kick-starts and will re-engineer what the studio and producers hope to be an event-sized tentpole. It is also now placing the project on the fast track.

Matt Reilly is the studio's point man on the project.

Voyage revolves around a team of scientists who are shrunk to atomic size and sent in a miniature submarine inside the body of a scientist to save his life. The original movie was set during the Cold War, and the scientist was a defector who was in a coma after an assassination attempt.

Goyer, a screenwriter in his own right, has made a name for himself as an architect for tentpoles and franchises. He is writing the screenplay and wrote the story for Warner Bros.; sequel to Man of Steel, the so-far-untitled Batman-Superman movie. He also wrote the treatment for Sandman, adapting the DC/Vertigo series as a possible directing vehicle for Joseph Gordon-Levitt. He is attached to direct The Breach for Lionsgate.

Hobbit Logo HOBBIT LOGO REVEALED
Although it's only a slight change from the title treatments we've seen for both An Unexpected Journey and The Desolation of Smaug, fans of Peter Jackson's Middle-earth films should nonetheless be pleased to see the above unveiling of the logo for the recently retitled The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.

The film's massive cast includes Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Evangeline Lilly, Lee Pace, Luke Evans, Benedict Cumberbatch, Stephen Fry, Cate Blanchett, Ian Holm, Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving, Ken Stott, James Nesbitt, Orlando Bloom, John Bell, Manu Bennett, Jed Brophy, Adam Brown, John Callen, Billy Connolly, Ryan Gage, Mark Hadlow, Peter Hambleton, Stephen Hunter, William Kircher, Lawrence Makoare, Sylvester McCoy, Graham McTavish, Dean O'Gorman, Mikael Persbrandt and Aidan Turner.

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies concludes the adventure of the title character Bilbo Baggins, who joins the Wizard Gandalf and thirteen Dwarves, led by Thorin Oakenshield, on an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor. Look for it in theaters December 17.

X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST
20th Century Fox (via Norton) has released yet another clip from X-Men: Days of Future Past which you can watch below! In the clip, the future Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) meets the past Hank McCoy, aka Beast (Nicholas Hoult).

Opening in theaters on May 23, the film also stars Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Halley Berry, Ellen Page, Shawn Ashmore, Peter Dinklage, Omar Sy, Daniel Cudmore, Fan Bingbing, Boo Boo Stewart, Adan Canto, Evan Peters, Josh Helman, Lucas Till and Evan Jonigkeit.

The ultimate X-Men ensemble fights a war for the survival of the species across two time periods in X-Men: Days of Future Past. The beloved characters from the original "X-Men" film trilogy join forces with their younger selves from X-Men: First Class, in an epic battle that must change the past – to save our future.

THURSDAY, MAY 1, 2014

EXTANT
A new trailer for Halle Berry’s upcoming sci-fi series Extant has arrived, showing off more of her mysterious space mission and the conspiracies that await her when she gets back to Earth.

Produced by Steven Spielberg, the upcoming CBS series tells the story of astronaut Molly Woods (Berry), who spends 13 months on a solo space mission. But when she comes home, she doesn’t come alone. The plot looks to be a high-concept swing, taking aim at what it means to be human, and possible extinction, all at once.

This trailer shows off more of Woods’ home life, and it seems like she’ll be doing a bit of investigating back on Earth to figure out what’s going on. We also get to meet her young son, who is saying all kinds of creepy, foreboding stuff.

The series is set to debut this summer, and follows the network’s new approach of scheduling “event-style” series in the typical TV doldrum season. After Under the Dome proved a solid success last year, they roped Berry and Spielberg in for this effort.

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES
At this point, we all know heroes aren't born, they're created. At least, that's what the marketing for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles tells us. Paramount and Nickelodeon have released a new trailer for the film that's pretty similar to the first one. The only difference is, we get a few closeups of the title characters.

Halfway through the video, we see Leonardo, Raphael, Donetello and Michelangelo in action. We're not completely on board with their new look, but it's not as bad as it could be. It's great seeing Donetello with his gadgets and glasses, as well as Michelangelo with his skateboard.

The trailer also teases the imminent transformation of William Fichtner into the Shredder. And where there's the Shredder, there's Master Splinter, who gets a brief moment to shine. Recently, it was confirmed that Tony Shalhoub would voice Splinter, while Johnny Knoxville would do the same for Leonardo.

The rest of the cast includes Megan Fox as April O'Neil, Alan Ritchson as Raphael, Noel Fisher as Michelangelo and Jeremy Howard as Donatello.

Clone CLONE
Add this one to the other half-dozen projects Robert Kirkman has in the fire, but the Walking Dead creator is heading to Syfy next — though he’s not bringing the undead with him.p> Instead, Kirkman and fellow Dead producer David Alpert are taking a more direct sci-fi slant with their new project Clone, which is based on the comic of the same name currently being published by Kirkman’s Skybound imprint.

The series will follow a retired soldier, Luke Taylor, who discovers a man who burglarized his home is actually a clone of himself. From there, Taylor is drawn into a vast government conspiracy that sees his wife kidnapped, and he must use his combat skills and military contacts to uncover the details of a secret biotech program behind all these shady happenings.

The comic is a nice mix of action, intrigue and sci-fi thrills, and could translate well to the television medium. Plus, it’s Kirkman, so it’ll be interesting to see what he can do with a more pure sci-fi premise. Combine that with the fact that they already have David Schulner and Juan Jose Ryp’s comic to draw on as a template, and this one could be a hit.

No word on if the series will get a pickup, though development has been rolling since last year (before Syfy snatched it up), so the project should be fairly far along at this point.

Syfy Logo KILLJOYS
Well, the intriguing Syfy announcements just keep on coming! The newest addition? An interplanetary adventure series titled Killjoys.

Per Deadline, Syfy is adding Killjoys -- a 10-episode adventure drama series set to premiere in 2015 -- to its growing roster of brand-new, scripted, original sci-fi series. Initially ordered by Syfy’s Canadian counterpart Space, the new series is the love child of Orphan Black producers and Lost Girl creator Michelle Lovretta.

Here’s what Deadline is saying about Killjoys:

It follows a fun-loving, hard living trio of interplanetary bounty hunters sworn to remain impartial as they chase deadly warrants throughout the Quad, a distant system on the brink of a bloody, multiplanetary class war. Syfy president Dave Howe said: “With its explosive action, smartly-drawn characters, and fun and provocative story-lines, Killjoys has all the ingredients to make it the perfect complement to our expanding slate of quality science fiction drama series.”

Killjoys now joins the ranks of Dominion, Ascension, The Expanse and 12 Monkeys, as well as the just-barely-announced Ronin and Letter 44, on Syfy. Set to return are Defiance, Helix and Haven.

OTHER SPACE
Did you ever see Sliders, the 1995-2000 Fox/SciFi show about dimensional travelers? Each week, the characters would find themselves in a parallel world, trying to find their way back to their reality. It looks as if we'll be getting another dimension-hopping show on our television. Except that it's ... not exactly television. Instead of airing on network or cable TV, this show will come to your home via Yahoo.

Yahoo is about to join Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, Microsoft and YouTube as a producer of original television shows; Yahoo will make its entrée into the world of streaming TV with two comedy shows: the sci-fi show, Other Space, as well as a show about a basketball team.

As with the format popularized by the BBC, the season will consist of only eight episodes.

According to CNET, Other Space

will be headed up by Paul Feig, creator of "Freaks and Geeks" and an Emmy-nominated director for "The Office."

It will feature a band of galactic travelers from Earth in the 22nd century, a time when wider space travel has yet to beget any discovery of alien life. However, the crew stumbles into an exciting and exotic alternate universe, and presumably some hijinks ensue. Feig also directed the excellent 2011 film "Bridesmaids," if the convincing "Freaks and Geeks" credit isn't enough.

In other words, it's what happens when Sliders meets early-days Star Trek (or Hyperdrive or Captain Video) without aliens but with comedy.

Ronin RONIN
Development at Syfy continues to ramp up, and now the network is developing two intriguing new projects based on acclaimed comic-book runs.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the network is turning Frank Miller’s (Sin City, 300) early-1980s comic Ronin into a miniseries, despite the fact that a film version is currently kicking around in development hell (and has been since 1998, admittedly).

Syfy’s spin on the six-issue comic will take place eight centuries after a Japanese Ronin samurai failed to protect his master from a demon. The samurai then awakens in a futuristic version of New York in the body of “Billy,” a medical experiment, and is given a second chance to avenge his master and kill the creature. The network has yet to decide how many episodes the miniseries will run, and is currently shopping around for a writer to script the project.

Along with Ronin, the network has also snagged the rights to Charles Soule's ongoing Oni comic Letter 44, which focuses on a secret mission to investigate an alien construction project in the asteroid belt. The series will follow newly elected U.S. president Stephen Blades, who learns of the project from a letter left behind by his predecessor.

Jonathan Mostow (Terminator 3) is signed on to write and direct the pilot, with Eric Gitter (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) and Peter Schwerin (The Flock) producing. The project also recently added Rene Echevarria (Terra Nova) in a producing role. Letter 44 would be a potentially ongoing series, as opposed to a miniseries.

Both of these shows could be a good fit, and we’re anxious to see what they do with Ronin. That’s a high-profile property for genre fans and could be awesome if handled correctly. If you haven’t been reading it, Letter 44 is one of the most entertaining and unique comic runs on the market, and the concept is ripe for adaptation.

Both projects will reportedly be formally announced at Syfy’s upfront presentation to Madison Avenue ad buyers later today.

LEGO Star Wars: The New Yoda Chronicles
Following yesterday's teaser images from the upcoming animated series "Star Wars Rebels" (not to mention some other pretty big franchise news), Lucasfilm has brought online a trailer for the next episode of "LEGO Star Wars: The Yoda Chronicles."

Set to air on "Star Wars Day" (this Sunday, May 4th), "Escape From the Jedi Temple" is the fourth animated adventure in the series of specials that launched last summer. It is officially described as follows:

Featuring classic LEGO humor and characters from the entire Star Wars saga, "Escape from the Jedi Temple" is filled with the Force and brick-tastic fun.

As seen in the trailer, the Emperor debuts his new theme -- "The Imperial March" -- and doesn't react well at its lukewarm reception. Han, Chewie, Luke, Leia, Yoda, and the entire gang (including a blaster-toting C-3PO) are back, ready to take on Darth Vader and the Empire.

You can check out "Escape From the Jedi Temple" on Disney XD at 7:00pm ET/PT and, during the broadcast, you'll also be among the first to see the trailer for "Star Wars Rebels."

The Magicians THE MAGICIANS/PAX ROMANA
Following their announcement of a number of diverse television projects this morning, Syfy has updated their upcoming slate with two new additions: Adaptations of both Lev Grossman's novel series "The Magicians" and Jonathan Hickman's comic book miniseries "Pax Romana."

"Magicians," planned as a one-hour drama, follows a group of 20-somethings in New York who study magic and discover that the magical fantasy world they read about as children is real and poses a grave danger to Earth.

Sera Gamble ("Supernatural") and John McNamara ("Common Law," "In Plain Sight") are attached to executive produce and write while Michael London (Lola Versus, Milk) will also produce through Universal Cable Productions.

Pax Romana "Pax Romana," meanwhile, follows a Special Forces team that travels back in time on the eve of World War III to “fix” the future by altering the past. Their destination: Ancient Rome. Roman legions battle modern day attack helicopters, tanks and soldiers, while thought-provoking themes are explored as the leaders of the expedition fight over their vision for civilization.

Matthew Federman and Stephen Scaia ("Jericho," "Warehouse 13") will write with Hickman executive producing alongside Federman, Scaia and David Alpert of Circle of Confusion ("The Walking Dead").

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llows a satellite designer (Butler) who, when the world’s climate-controlling satellites malfunction, has to work together with his estranged brother to save the world from a man-made storm of epic proportions.

Geostorm will be the feature directorial debut for Devlin, who co-wrote Independence Day and 1998's Godzilla.

The project was being developed independently by David Ellison’s Skydance Productions before Warner Bros. picked it up. Skydance remains involved and is producing with Devlin’s Electric Entertainment.

Warner Bros.' dating announcement comes just moments after Paramount also slated a film -- a reboot of Beverly Hills Cop -- for March 25, 2016.

Screen Gems PATIENT ZERO
Screen Gems has set Stefan Ruzowitzky, the director of the Academy Award winning The Counterfeiters, to helm the Mike Le-scripted Patient Zero (formerly Patient Z).

Patient Zero takes place in a post-outbreak zombie apocalypse and follows the adventures of one man who has the unique ability to speak with the undead and who hopes to use his gift to discover a cure for the plague and his infected wife.

Vincent Newman is attached to produce the project for the studio through his Vincent Newman Entertainment.

Free Comic Day

FRIDAY, MAY 2, 2014

ARROW
The battle for Starling City really gets going in episode 22 of "Arrow" Season 2, "Streets of Fire." With Slade Wilson's mirakuru army wreaking havoc all over, it's up to Oliver Queen and Team Arrow to save the city ... again.

This time, however, Oliver might actually get a little help from Malcolm Merlyn.

While most of the video details chaos and little else, there are a few points that one might want to note. First and foremost, Merlyn (John Barrowman) is back in town -- and back from the dead, as far as all of the characters are concerned. But he may not want to destroy everything this time.

Others appearing in the video include the District Attorney (the woman Laurel Lance keeps besting in verbal altercations), Isabel Rochev (not looking happy), Laurel with a bow and arrow, and Thea in a whole bunch of trouble.

Shield-05 AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.
If you’ve been following Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., then you know that the next episode will deal with that traitorous HYDRA turncoat Grant Ward's backstory.

Basically, we'll learn what the heck’s the deal with the guy. Titled “Ragtag,” the penultimate S.H.I.E.L.D. episode will deal with Ward’s (Brett Dalton) backstory, revealing just why he turned HYDRA, other than the opportunity to get a hug from Garry Shandling. We’ll also learn how Garrett (Bill Paxton) recruited Ward, and how he trained him. If that weren't enough, the episode will also have Coulson’s team meet with Ward and his HYDRA buddies, setting the stage for what is expected to be a massive and explosive season finale.

Here’s what executive producer Jake Bell revealed about the episode in an interview with Entertainment Weekly:

We feel like Ward is showing all these different colors, and we thought it might be fun to show how Ward became Ward. Nothing definitive, because we’re still driving towards our conclusion with Deathlok and Raina and Garrett and Quinn and our cavalcade of bad guys, but Ward really is front and center in this episode. And showing his relationship with Garrett, and how that was shaped over the years, was really fun. [Bill] Paxton and Brett [Dalton] did an amazing job together. About the artist behind this cool penultimate poster piece from the “The Art of Level 7? collection — Emma Rios — and what it both represents and depicts, here’s what Bell had to say:

I really do feel Ward is trapped between two families, or the two pulls. Because as we learned, he really does care for Skye. And I do believe he cares for Fitz and Simmons and the whole team, to a certain extent, and that he was following orders. On the other hand, he has this deathly obligation to Garrett, and I think the poster does a nice job of capturing this. On one hand, Ward is alone, and on the other, you see him with the team, and see Skye’s face behind the S.H.I.E.L.D. logo. I think the poster captured that very nicely.

Marvel’s Agents of SH.I.E.L.D.’s penultimate episode, “Ragtag,” airs on May 6 on ABC.

Tricia Helfer ASENSION
The cast for Syfy’s new series Ascension is coming together, and the network has tapped a fan favorite from Battlestar Galactica to lead the charge.

Tricia Helfer, best known for playing the lovely and mysterious Cylon Six in Ronald D. Moore’s reimagining of Battlestar Galactica, will star in the upcoming series as Viondra Denniger, the chief steward and captain’s wife of the starship Ascension.

The series tells the story of a covert space mission, launched in 1963, sending hundreds of men, women and children on a 100-year journey to populate a new planet. But 50 years into the trip, just as the Ascension nears its point of no return, the murder of a young woman brings up questions about the ship's mission.

Helfer’s character, who will play a key role in the show, sees herself as a major power broker and holds a position of power and privilege. According to Zap2it, she’s described as beautiful, manipulative and dangerous. The character could also be either a hero or villain. Considering her previous experience on BSG, that shouldn’t be a problem.

The series is being written by Philip Levens (Smallville) and is set to premiere in November on Syfy.

Fantastic Voyage FANTASTIC VOYAGE
David Goyer is joining James Cameron on The Fantastic Voyage.

Goyer, who has guided the screen story for The Dark Knight trilogy and Man of Steel, has been tapped to write the treatment for the remake of the 1966 sci-fi classic which is being made by Fox and Cameron’s Lightstorm Entertainment.

Cameron, Jon Landau, and Rae Sanchini are producing through their Lightstorm banner. Goyer will also executive produce.

Voyage has long been in development and has seen many a scribe come and go, Shane Salerno, Cormac and Marianne Wibberly, and Laeta Kalogridis among them.

The project has been quiet since 2011 but Goyer's involvement kick-starts and will re-engineer what the studio and producers hope to be an event-sized tentpole. It is also now placing the project on the fast track.

Matt Reilly is the studio's point man on the project.

Voyage revolves around a team of scientists who are shrunk to atomic size and sent in a miniature submarine inside the body of a scientist to save his life. The original movie was set during the Cold War, and the scientist was a defector who was in a coma after an assassination attempt.

Goyer, a screenwriter in his own right, has made a name for himself as an architect for tentpoles and franchises. He is writing the screenplay and wrote the story for Warner Bros.; sequel to Man of Steel, the so-far-untitled Batman-Superman movie. He also wrote the treatment for Sandman, adapting the DC/Vertigo series as a possible directing vehicle for Joseph Gordon-Levitt. He is attached to direct The Breach for Lionsgate.

Hobbit Logo HOBBIT LOGO REVEALED
Although it's only a slight change from the title treatments we've seen for both An Unexpected Journey and The Desolation of Smaug, fans of Peter Jackson's Middle-earth films should nonetheless be pleased to see the above unveiling of the logo for the recently retitled The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.

The film's massive cast includes Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Evangeline Lilly, Lee Pace, Luke Evans, Benedict Cumberbatch, Stephen Fry, Cate Blanchett, Ian Holm, Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving, Ken Stott, James Nesbitt, Orlando Bloom, John Bell, Manu Bennett, Jed Brophy, Adam Brown, John Callen, Billy Connolly, Ryan Gage, Mark Hadlow, Peter Hambleton, Stephen Hunter, William Kircher, Lawrence Makoare, Sylvester McCoy, Graham McTavish, Dean O'Gorman, Mikael Persbrandt and Aidan Turner.

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies concludes the adventure of the title character Bilbo Baggins, who joins the Wizard Gandalf and thirteen Dwarves, led by Thorin Oakenshield, on an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor. Look for it in theaters December 17.

X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST
20th Century Fox (via Norton) has released yet another clip from X-Men: Days of Future Past which you can watch below! In the clip, the future Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) meets the past Hank McCoy, aka Beast (Nicholas Hoult).

Opening in theaters on May 23, the film also stars Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Halley Berry, Ellen Page, Shawn Ashmore, Peter Dinklage, Omar Sy, Daniel Cudmore, Fan Bingbing, Boo Boo Stewart, Adan Canto, Evan Peters, Josh Helman, Lucas Till and Evan Jonigkeit.

The ultimate X-Men ensemble fights a war for the survival of the species across two time periods in X-Men: Days of Future Past. The beloved characters from the original "X-Men" film trilogy join forces with their younger selves from X-Men: First Class, in an epic battle that must change the past – to save our future.

THURSDAY, MAY 1, 2014

EXTANT
A new trailer for Halle Berry’s upcoming sci-fi series Extant has arrived, showing off more of her mysterious space mission and the conspiracies that await her when she gets back to Earth.

Produced by Steven Spielberg, the upcoming CBS series tells the story of astronaut Molly Woods (Berry), who spends 13 months on a solo space mission. But when she comes home, she doesn’t come alone. The plot looks to be a high-concept swing, taking aim at what it means to be human, and possible extinction, all at once.

This trailer shows off more of Woods’ home life, and it seems like she’ll be doing a bit of investigating back on Earth to figure out what’s going on. We also get to meet her young son, who is saying all kinds of creepy, foreboding stuff.

The series is set to debut this summer, and follows the network’s new approach of scheduling “event-style” series in the typical TV doldrum season. After Under the Dome proved a solid success last year, they roped Berry and Spielberg in for this effort.

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES
At this point, we all know heroes aren't born, they're created. At least, that's what the marketing for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles tells us. Paramount and Nickelodeon have released a new trailer for the film that's pretty similar to the first one. The only difference is, we get a few closeups of the title characters.

Halfway through the video, we see Leonardo, Raphael, Donetello and Michelangelo in action. We're not completely on board with their new look, but it's not as bad as it could be. It's great seeing Donetello with his gadgets and glasses, as well as Michelangelo with his skateboard.

The trailer also teases the imminent transformation of William Fichtner into the Shredder. And where there's the Shredder, there's Master Splinter, who gets a brief moment to shine. Recently, it was confirmed that Tony Shalhoub would voice Splinter, while Johnny Knoxville would do the same for Leonardo.

The rest of the cast includes Megan Fox as April O'Neil, Alan Ritchson as Raphael, Noel Fisher as Michelangelo and Jeremy Howard as Donatello.

Clone CLONE
Add this one to the other half-dozen projects Robert Kirkman has in the fire, but the Walking Dead creator is heading to Syfy next — though he’s not bringing the undead with him.p> Instead, Kirkman and fellow Dead producer David Alpert are taking a more direct sci-fi slant with their new project Clone, which is based on the comic of the same name currently being published by Kirkman’s Skybound imprint.

The series will follow a retired soldier, Luke Taylor, who discovers a man who burglarized his home is actually a clone of himself. From there, Taylor is drawn into a vast government conspiracy that sees his wife kidnapped, and he must use his combat skills and military contacts to uncover the details of a secret biotech program behind all these shady happenings.

The comic is a nice mix of action, intrigue and sci-fi thrills, and could translate well to the television medium. Plus, it’s Kirkman, so it’ll be interesting to see what he can do with a more pure sci-fi premise. Combine that with the fact that they already have David Schulner and Juan Jose Ryp’s comic to draw on as a template, and this one could be a hit.

No word on if the series will get a pickup, though development has been rolling since last year (before Syfy snatched it up), so the project should be fairly far along at this point.

Syfy Logo KILLJOYS
Well, the intriguing Syfy announcements just keep on coming! The newest addition? An interplanetary adventure series titled Killjoys.

Per Deadline, Syfy is adding Killjoys -- a 10-episode adventure drama series set to premiere in 2015 -- to its growing roster of brand-new, scripted, original sci-fi series. Initially ordered by Syfy’s Canadian counterpart Space, the new series is the love child of Orphan Black producers and Lost Girl creator Michelle Lovretta.

Here’s what Deadline is saying about Killjoys:

It follows a fun-loving, hard living trio of interplanetary bounty hunters sworn to remain impartial as they chase deadly warrants throughout the Quad, a distant system on the brink of a bloody, multiplanetary class war. Syfy president Dave Howe said: “With its explosive action, smartly-drawn characters, and fun and provocative story-lines, Killjoys has all the ingredients to make it the perfect complement to our expanding slate of quality science fiction drama series.”

Killjoys now joins the ranks of Dominion, Ascension, The Expanse and 12 Monkeys, as well as the just-barely-announced Ronin and Letter 44, on Syfy. Set to return are Defiance, Helix and Haven.

OTHER SPACE
Did you ever see Sliders, the 1995-2000 Fox/SciFi show about dimensional travelers? Each week, the characters would find themselves in a parallel world, trying to find their way back to their reality. It looks as if we'll be getting another dimension-hopping show on our television. Except that it's ... not exactly television. Instead of airing on network or cable TV, this show will come to your home via Yahoo.

Yahoo is about to join Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, Microsoft and YouTube as a producer of original television shows; Yahoo will make its entrée into the world of streaming TV with two comedy shows: the sci-fi show, Other Space, as well as a show about a basketball team.

As with the format popularized by the BBC, the season will consist of only eight episodes.

According to CNET, Other Space

will be headed up by Paul Feig, creator of "Freaks and Geeks" and an Emmy-nominated director for "The Office."

It will feature a band of galactic travelers from Earth in the 22nd century, a time when wider space travel has yet to beget any discovery of alien life. However, the crew stumbles into an exciting and exotic alternate universe, and presumably some hijinks ensue. Feig also directed the excellent 2011 film "Bridesmaids," if the convincing "Freaks and Geeks" credit isn't enough.

In other words, it's what happens when Sliders meets early-days Star Trek (or Hyperdrive or Captain Video) without aliens but with comedy.

Ronin RONIN
Development at Syfy continues to ramp up, and now the network is developing two intriguing new projects based on acclaimed comic-book runs.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the network is turning Frank Miller’s (Sin City, 300) early-1980s comic Ronin into a miniseries, despite the fact that a film version is currently kicking around in development hell (and has been since 1998, admittedly).

Syfy’s spin on the six-issue comic will take place eight centuries after a Japanese Ronin samurai failed to protect his master from a demon. The samurai then awakens in a futuristic version of New York in the body of “Billy,” a medical experiment, and is given a second chance to avenge his master and kill the creature. The network has yet to decide how many episodes the miniseries will run, and is currently shopping around for a writer to script the project.

Along with Ronin, the network has also snagged the rights to Charles Soule's ongoing Oni comic Letter 44, which focuses on a secret mission to investigate an alien construction project in the asteroid belt. The series will follow newly elected U.S. president Stephen Blades, who learns of the project from a letter left behind by his predecessor.

Jonathan Mostow (Terminator 3) is signed on to write and direct the pilot, with Eric Gitter (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) and Peter Schwerin (The Flock) producing. The project also recently added Rene Echevarria (Terra Nova) in a producing role. Letter 44 would be a potentially ongoing series, as opposed to a miniseries.

Both of these shows could be a good fit, and we’re anxious to see what they do with Ronin. That’s a high-profile property for genre fans and could be awesome if handled correctly. If you haven’t been reading it, Letter 44 is one of the most entertaining and unique comic runs on the market, and the concept is ripe for adaptation.

Both projects will reportedly be formally announced at Syfy’s upfront presentation to Madison Avenue ad buyers later today.

LEGO Star Wars: The New Yoda Chronicles
Following yesterday's teaser images from the upcoming animated series "Star Wars Rebels" (not to mention some other pretty big franchise news), Lucasfilm has brought online a trailer for the next episode of "LEGO Star Wars: The Yoda Chronicles."

Set to air on "Star Wars Day" (this Sunday, May 4th), "Escape From the Jedi Temple" is the fourth animated adventure in the series of specials that launched last summer. It is officially described as follows:

Featuring classic LEGO humor and characters from the entire Star Wars saga, "Escape from the Jedi Temple" is filled with the Force and brick-tastic fun.

As seen in the trailer, the Emperor debuts his new theme -- "The Imperial March" -- and doesn't react well at its lukewarm reception. Han, Chewie, Luke, Leia, Yoda, and the entire gang (including a blaster-toting C-3PO) are back, ready to take on Darth Vader and the Empire.

You can check out "Escape From the Jedi Temple" on Disney XD at 7:00pm ET/PT and, during the broadcast, you'll also be among the first to see the trailer for "Star Wars Rebels."

The Magicians THE MAGICIANS/PAX ROMANA
Following their announcement of a number of diverse television projects this morning, Syfy has updated their upcoming slate with two new additions: Adaptations of both Lev Grossman's novel series "The Magicians" and Jonathan Hickman's comic book miniseries "Pax Romana."

"Magicians," planned as a one-hour drama, follows a group of 20-somethings in New York who study magic and discover that the magical fantasy world they read about as children is real and poses a grave danger to Earth.

Sera Gamble ("Supernatural") and John McNamara ("Common Law," "In Plain Sight") are attached to executive produce and write while Michael London (Lola Versus, Milk) will also produce through Universal Cable Productions.

Pax Romana "Pax Romana," meanwhile, follows a Special Forces team that travels back in time on the eve of World War III to “fix” the future by altering the past. Their destination: Ancient Rome. Roman legions battle modern day attack helicopters, tanks and soldiers, while thought-provoking themes are explored as the leaders of the expedition fight over their vision for civilization.

Matthew Federman and Stephen Scaia ("Jericho," "Warehouse 13") will write with Hickman executive producing alongside Federman, Scaia and David Alpert of Circle of Confusion ("The Walking Dead").

BACK ISSUES OF THE ZOCALO TODAY

The front page of the The Zocalo Today changes daily, so be sure to check the back issues to make sure that you haven't missed anything IMPORTANT! I hope you will become a regular visitor to The Zocalo Today!


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, 1999-2013

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