Weekly Ketchup

Weekly Ketchup: Lionsgate CEO Teases Hunger Games Prequels and Sequels

Plus, new roles for Brad Pitt, Felicity Jones, and Bryan Cranston; a Neighbors sequel; and an adaptation of Robotech.

by | February 6, 2015 | Comments

This week’s Ketchup includes development news stories for such movies as The Hunger Games (Part 5?), Neighbors 2, and new films from directors Ang Lee and Robert Zemeckis, as well as new roles for Bryan Cranston and Brad Pitt.

 This Week’s Top Story

Four Movies may not be enough for The Hunger Games

Author Suzanne Collins may have been able to finish up The Hunger Games with a trilogy of books (so far), but it’s sounding like Lionsgate may not be quite done with the franchise yet, even as we await the fourth film later this year. That’s right: this week, Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer told financial analysts that he’s “actively looking at some development and thinking about prequel and sequel possibilities” for the Hunger Games franchise. That simple statement is pretty much all we know about this “story,” but it’s certainly enough for anyone familiar with the books or movies to speculate about. Many writers are doing what we’re going to do, and just set aside the idea of a “sequels” because, well… what would the point of sequels be? Prequels, however, do seem like they have story potential, since there’s decades of “world building” that led up to the moment Katniss Everdeen volunteered as a tribute. This would include the forming of the districts (and what led to it), the first ever Hunger Games, and the various games which were won by characters from Catching Fire, such as Haymitch (Woody Harrelson), Beetee (Jeffrey Wright), Johanna Mason (Jena Malone), and Finnick Odair (Sam Claflin) (some of whom would obviously have to be recast because of age). As for a reason Lionsgate might want to keep making Hunger Games movies, as the saying goes, Lionsgate probably sees 2,267,444,367 reasons.

Fresh Developments This Week


Brad Pitt’s name came up three different times this week, associated with completely different films (only one of which he will actually be “starring” in, dramatically). That film is an untitled “sweeping romantic thriller” which is also described as being “epic”, and that’s about all we know, except that it will be directed by Robert Zemeckis (Back to the Future, Flight, and the upcoming The Walk). Well, that, and that it is based upon a story idea by screenwriter Steven Knight (Eastern Promises, Locke, Dirty Pretty Things). Brad Pitt will also narrate the 40 minute IMAX version of a documentary called Voyage of Time from director Terrence Malick, based on filming he first did for the film The Tree of Life (which Pitt also starred in). There will also be a feature length version of the movie, but it will feature completely different narration from actress Cate Blanchett. Finally, Brad Pitt was represented this week as a producer in the news that Charlie Hunnam has replaced Benedict Cumberbatch in the long-in-development adaptation of The Lost City of Z, about British explorer Percy Fawcett, who disappeared while searching for a legendary civilization in the Amazon jungle. Robert Pattinson and Sienna Miller will also costar in the film.


The effort to popularize HFR projection hit something of a stumbling block three years ago when Peter Jackson’s first Hobbit movie was released in the format (which presents images at twice their normal speed), and the reaction was mixed, both popularly and critically. This sort of thing has, however, happened in the past. New advances in film technology are not always instantly embraced (in fact, they rarely are), with sound, color, 3D, and computer animation all now widely accepted techniques, after years or decades of development. The latest director to pick up the HFR banner from Peter Jackson is Ang Lee, who has announced plans to use a new format called Ultra HFR 3D for his next film. Instead of the boxing movie previously expected to be Lee’s next film, the director is now focusing on an an adaptation of a novel by Ben Fountain called Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, about a harrowing battle during the Iraq War. Ang Lee is wasting no time, with an April filming start date expected. The next step is for Ang Lee to find his young star, and for the job, he’s considering four fresh faces who are currently nearly unknowns (at least by name). That quartet includes British TV actors Joe Cole and Billy Howle, American/Irish actor Jack Treynor (Transformers: Age of Extinction), and Taron Egerton, the star of the upcoming action film, Kingsman: The Secret Service.


When the frat boy comedy Neighbors finished 2014 with a $268 million worldwide box office (currently ranked at #30 for the year), it was probably an obvious certainty that Universal Pictures would pursue a sequel, and quickly. That was confirmed this week by the news that Universal Pictures has scheduled a release date of May 13, 2016 for Neighbors 2, which currently puts the sequel in between Captain America: Civil War (5/6/16), and the video game adaptation Angry Birds (5/20/16). Director Nicholas Stoller (Forgetting Sarah Marshall, The Five-Year Engagement) and stars Zach Efron, Seth Rogen, and Rose Byrne are all expected to return for the sequel. There are currently no known details about the sequel’s premise, but an easy guess would be that the married couple again find themselves in some sort of situation where they are directly conflicted by the same fraternity, or possibly alumni of the fraternity. Rose Byrne also made the news this week because her character, Moira MacTaggert, has been confirmed to be returning in next year’s X-Men: Apocalypse.


Following recent news that Rooney Mara (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) and Tatiana Maslany (TV’s Orphan Black) had also auditioned for the role, we learned this week who is now in negotiations for the female lead in the first Star Wars spinoff film. That role is expected to instead go to Felicity Jones, who is now in negotiations with Lucasfilm and Walt Disney Pictures. In addition to costarring in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (as a character widely believed to be Black Cat), Felicity Jones is probably best known for costarring in the recent Stephen Hawking biopic, The Theory of Everything. We don’t know the premise or title of the spinoff yet, but we do know that it will be directed by Gareth Edwards (Monsters, Godzilla), from a script by Chris Weitz (Antz, About a Boy, Down to Earth), and that Disney has already scheduled the film for December 16, 2016.


Apparently coincidentally, this past week saw news stories emerge about two separate live action adaptations of franchises best known for their portrayals as Japanese anime TV shows. One of them is the long-in-development project at Warner Bros to produce a movie based on Robotech, which is remembered by many as a TV series imported to the U.S. in the 1980s about the efforts to fight back alien invasions using giant “mech” robots. Past efforts at Warner Bros have included personalities like Tobey Maguire and Batman and Robin writer Akiva Goldsman, but the new producers hope to attract the interest of Mama director Andy Muschietti (though he isn’t signed yet). Meanwhile, the Australian production company Animal Logic (which provided the animation for The LEGO Movie, most famously) is now developing a live-action adaptation of the classic Japanese manga and anime franchise Astro Boy. This announcement comes just six years after the 2009 CGI movie Astro Boy proved to be both a box office and critical disappointment. Animal Logic is currently looking for screenwriters to start work on adapting Astro Boy as a live action film.


One of the first announcements to come out of this year’s Berlin film market concerns the English-language remake of the 2011 French crime thriller Sleepless Night. Jamie Foxx and Michelle Monaghan will star in the remake, which will be produced and distributed by Open Road Films (picked up out of turnaround from Warner Bros). Jamie Foxx will play a police detective whose plans to rip off a gang of drug dealers goes horribly wrong when they respond by kidnapping his son. The Sleepless Night remake will be directed by Baran Bo Odar, who made his debut with the critically well-received 2013 film The Silence.

Rotten Ideas of the Week


This is definitely a very debatable story which someone else could interpret differently, which is totally what the comments section is great for. This week, after nine years as chairperson of Sony Pictures (and 27 years total at the studio!), Amy Pascal stepped down from her position to focus instead on a new production company based at the studio. This news comes just a couple of months after Amy Pascal was a central figure in the hacked Sony Pictures e-mail leaks, in which Pascal and producer Scott Rudin traded messages joking about what movies President Barack Obama might like. Reasons to consider Pascal’s departure a “Rotten Idea” include the highlights of her career, such as the reboot of the James Bond franchise, the heights of the Spider-Man franchise, the two 21 Jump Street movies, and such acclaimed films as The Social Network, Moneyball, and Zero Dark Thirty. There’s also the most obvious distinction, which is that Amy Pascal is/was the only female executive at any major studio, and with her departure, the conversation now turns to which white male executive will be her replacement. On the other hand, the argument can also be made that “progress” means that a person who should step down because of mistakes does so, regardless of gender (or race). And, finally, there’s also the most obvious reason for Pascal’s departure, which is that in recent years, Sony has been having trouble competing with other studios, especially in the realm of “big blockbuster tentpoles.” That issue may also ultimately decide who lands the job as Pascal’s replacement.


James Franco is continuing his prolific second career as a director with an adaptation of one of John Steinbeck’s less famous novels, In Dubious Battle, about a union strike by fruit pickers in the 1930s. James Franco will also star in the film, along with Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad), Selena Gomez (who costarred with Franco in Spring Breakers), Vincent D’Onofrio, Robert Duvall, Ed Harris, and Danny McBride (Franco’s frequent costar in movies like Pineapple Express, Your Highness, and This is the End). The critical reactions to most of Franco’s directorial efforts have been Rotten to date.


Considering the popularity of HBO’s Game of Thrones, it was inevitable that other stories written by George R.R. Martin would eventually be adapted as movies. Surprisingly, there has never been a movie based on one of Martin’s works (though the Wild Cards superhero anthology epics that he edited and contributed to have been in development since the early 2000s). This week, from out of Berlin’s annual film market, we learned that Milla Jovovich is now in talks to star in a movie called In the Lost Lands, which is indeed based upon three of George R.R. Martin’s fantasy stories (that have nothing to do with Westeros). In the Lost Lands will be a German production, and will be written, produced, and directed by Constantin Werner, who most recently directed the 2009 Czech fantasy The Pagan Queen, which has no RT reviews, but received a “very negative” critical reception in the Czech Republic. Add in the fact that only one of Milla Jovovich’s last eight films received a Fresh rating, and that’s pretty much all the reason you need for this to be the week’s Most Rotten Idea.

Tag Cloud

Action miniseries Mary Poppins Returns toy story CW Seed child's play binge Set visit Quiz elevated horror Fall TV Hulu 2018 BET Awards sequel Pixar The Purge Thanksgiving IFC Films YouTube Premium boxing TV One cults BBC America Lifetime Christmas movies Amazon Prime Video Black Mirror Showtime sports FX on Hulu TV renewals classics Lifetime FXX hist NBC E! die hard superman war Heroines japan 99% satire Rom-Com ID BAFTA Hallmark Amazon Fox News series breaking bad all-time name the review black Interview twilight sag awards Sundance olympics The Academy Marathons Lionsgate psychological thriller Paramount dceu blockbusters golden globes cinemax Superheroe mission: impossible 90s renewed TV shows franchise Esquire psycho Music Alien Discovery Channel TV remakes adventure Shudder reboot sequels dc Sci-Fi nature TCA Winter 2020 Comedy news 21st Century Fox obituary football batman zombies Shondaland archives women reviews slashers heist movie 2015 Netflix green book Tubi MSNBC Nickelodeon NBA worst teaser hispanic asian-american CBS Spike adenture rt archives DC Comics TBS docuseries rom-coms Comic-Con@Home 2021 CNN Photos Oscars Ovation Mindy Kaling transformers free movies Binge Guide Captain marvel screen actors guild cartoon Christmas revenge monster movies indiana jones 2019 Pop deadpool golden globe awards jamie lee curtis medical drama international FOX Mudbound foreign Anna Paquin dramedy jurassic park Winter TV cats TCA 2017 CBS All Access Stephen King San Diego Comic-Con A24 stoner Pacific Islander blockbuster ABC Family DC Universe VICE basketball Disney+ Disney Plus Infographic Paramount Plus 1990s rotten Super Bowl supernatural discovery award winner period drama composers USA Network Red Carpet Lucasfilm Travel Channel Winners DC streaming service comic Best and Worst Television Critics Association Song of Ice and Fire AMC Horror WGN suspense Countdown Avengers Reality GLAAD what to watch toronto Turner emmy awards Peacock facebook TV Land Marvel Television unscripted criterion scorecard high school TCM Broadway Brie Larson Columbia Pictures justice league Bravo Film Festival Hallmark Christmas movies ABC anime scary movies ABC Signature TruTV french American Society of Cinematographers NYCC Toys indie independent X-Men Holidays Adult Swim Box Office cooking cancelled television kaiju Disney Channel Sundance TV Hear Us Out hollywood Fantasy know your critic Certified Fresh films Classic Film Trailer singing competition joker IFC south america new york screenings WarnerMedia Musical canceled TV shows godzilla Food Network Tarantino Epix Apple TV Plus Creative Arts Emmys SundanceTV Disney Plus Tokyo Olympics YouTube Red 2016 kids cancelled TV series nbcuniversal MCU HBO new zealand Sundance Now natural history 2017 docudrama true crime Fox Searchlight animated Chilling Adventures of Sabrina RT History 2021 Marvel Studios prank A&E Turner Classic Movies children's TV Extras 45 Funimation Watching Series Pirates richard e. Grant 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards The Arrangement social media OWN LGBTQ christmas movies werewolf Mary Tyler Moore 4/20 See It Skip It Star Wars science fiction Amazon Studios nfl streaming movies Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Musicals comedies Pet Sematary laika SDCC Valentine's Day Cosplay Masterpiece spinoff Trivia superhero 2020 Star Trek Television Academy comic books pirates of the caribbean dragons spanish Summer TNT italian Schedule Awards Tour The CW Disney diversity razzies Walt Disney Pictures tv talk spanish language Logo canceled Apple TV+ Women's History Month VOD streaming Teen El Rey fresh Rock aliens 93rd Oscars Emmy Nominations Britbox movie TV movies 24 frames Crackle james bond cancelled worst movies Tumblr live action Mystery DGA ESPN TLC critics video DirecTV rotten movies we love hidden camera New York Comic Con Emmys spain YA Cannes latino Universal Crunchyroll Comics on TV Vudu romantic comedy Election 71st Emmy Awards halloween tv theme song thriller romance based on movie boxoffice zero dark thirty kong sitcom new star wars movies Comic Book mutant cancelled TV shows Dark Horse Comics space game of thrones First Reviews anthology popular Kids & Family PlayStation Trophy Talk Elton John vampires First Look BBC LGBT YouTube a nightmare on elm street PaleyFest Opinion robots politics stop motion disaster Biopics VH1 HBO Go saw Martial Arts Film Baby Yoda Endgame Spectrum Originals documentary Awards Warner Bros. dogs scene in color harry potter cops The Witch halloween Country FX marvel cinematic universe BBC One festival Apple Podcast Polls and Games crime drama CMT finale Nominations 007 Acorn TV Writers Guild of America parents SXSW Freeform Sneak Peek universal monsters witnail RT21 crime Wes Anderson strong female leads PBS cars USA Netflix Christmas movies book Marvel ViacomCBS Calendar police drama Holiday Paramount Network BET The Walt Disney Company comics Syfy Arrowverse OneApp Animation serial killer movies venice talk show Image Comics crossover APB casting The Walking Dead concert Premiere Dates ratings doctor who australia ITV HBO Max telelvision best National Geographic Rocky Legendary zombie Disney streaming service TCA target Chernobyl Drama video on demand Ellie Kemper festivals Family Starz television dark Sony Pictures Western historical drama Superheroes chucky Tomatazos Comedy Central TCA Awards Academy Awards political drama crime thriller TIFF E3 directors Pop TV MTV Character Guide game show stand-up comedy Spring TV History Black History Month Amazon Prime Mary poppins aapi book adaptation comiccon spy thriller Nat Geo GoT ghosts Pride Month japanese biography GIFs Video Games travel documentaries king kong Rocketman mockumentary Exclusive Video technology 20th Century Fox President trailers adaptation Reality Competition blaxploitation versus Cartoon Network quibi Ghostbusters spider-man Grammys 72 Emmy Awards fast and furious Year in Review lord of the rings