David O. Russell to Direct "Maleficent?" 


It's a story you saw first on mannythemovieguy.com, we reported in May of 2009 that Angelina Jolie was being courted to play the wicked Maleficent in Disney's retelling of "Sleeping Beauty." (See EXCLUSIVE: Angelina Jolie to Star as Disney's Greatest Villain Maleficent!)

In the beginning, Brad Bird was rumored to make his first live-action debut with "Maleficent," but then Tim Burton was also talked about, and now, "The Fighter's" David O. Russell is supposedly negotiating to helm the Linda Woolverton script according to The Hollywood Reporter. BUT, many insiders are also saying there are other names in the mix as well!

So only time will tell who gets to direct Jolie in the fantasy epic. But the big question, is the actress still interested?

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Are You Excited for "The Avengers?" Take a Look at the New Promo Poster! 
There's a new promo poster for "The Avengers" and it looks mighty cool! Enough for this geek to salivate! Thanks to our friends at The Daily Blam, we get to see a peek of the film via the Licensing International Expo.

"The Avengers," from the brilliant mind of Joss Whedon, stars Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Jeremy Renner, Mark Ruffalo, Cobie Smulders, Scarlett Johansson, Clark Gregg, and Samuel L. Jackson.

I can't wait to "The Avengers" in 3D on May 4, 2012. Take a look at the poster below and get teased!



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Madonna's Feature Film Directorial Debut to Be Released by The Weinstein Company! 


So we'll get to see Madonna's feature film directorial debut after all. While Lady Gaga was busy trying to dominate the music scene, Madonna was hard at work making "W.E." a romantic drama co-written and produced by the Queen of Pop. Here's the official plot:

W.E tells the story of two fragile but determined women - Wally Winthrop (Abbie Cornish) and Wallis Simpson - separated by more than six decades. In 1998, lonely New Yorker Winthrop is obsessed with what she perceives as the ultimate love story: King Edward VIII's abdication of the British throne for the woman he loved, American divorcee Wallis Simpson. But Winthrop's research, including several visits to the Sotheby's auction of the Windsor Estate, reveals that the couple's life together was not as perfect as she thought. Weaving back and forth in time, the film intertwines Wally's journey of discovery in New York with the story of Wallis (Andrea Riseborough) and Edward (James D'Arcy), from the glamorous early days of their romance to the slow unraveling of their lives in the decades that followed.


Now, the Weinstein Company has announced that it has acquired U.S. distribution rights to "W.E." and is planning to add the film to its domestic release slate.

Here's the full press release:

New York, NY, June 13, 2011 – The Weinstein Company (TWC) announced today that it has acquired U.S. distribution rights to “W.E.,” Madonna’s directorial debut of a feature film. W.E. is a romantic drama co-written by Madonna and Alek Keshishian, produced by Madonna and Kris Thykier and executive produced by Scott Franklin (BLACK SWAN). It stars Abbie Cornish (LIMITLESS), Oscar Isaac (DRIVE), James D’Arcy (MASTER AND COMMANDER: THE FAR SIDE OF THE WORLD), Andrea Riseborough (NEVER LET ME GO), Natalie Dormer (“The Tudors”), Richard Coyle (PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE SANDS OF TIME), James Fox (SHERLOCK HOLMES) and Laurence Fox (“Inspector Lewis”). The announcement was made by TWC Co-Chairman Harvey Weinstein and President of Production Donna Gigliotti.

Spanning six decades, W.E. juxtaposes a contemporary love story with that of King Edward VIII and American divorcée Wallis Simpson.

“W.E. is about the nature of true love, and the sacrifices and compromises that are often made. I’ve wanted to tell this story for a very long time, and bringing it to life has been a great adventure for me. I’m looking forward to working with Harvey and The Weinstein Company on this film,” commented Madonna.

“Madonna has really come into her own as a filmmaker with W.E.,” said Weinstein. “She’s taken one of the most famous romances of the 20th Century and brought it to life in a smart, sexy and thoroughly modern way. It’s a terrific addition to our US release slate.”

Commented Gigliotti, “The advance footage for W.E. was some of the most impressive I’ve ever seen. I can’t wait for American audiences to have the opportunity to see this film.”

The deal was negotiated for TWC by Weinstein, COO David Glasser and Michal Steinberg, Senior Vice President Business Affairs and Acquisitions; and by CAA, on behalf of the filmmakers.

SYNOPSIS
W.E. tells the story of two fragile but determined women - Wally Winthrop and Wallis Simpson - separated by more than six decades. In 1998, lonely New Yorker Wally Winthrop (Abbie Cornish) is obsessed with what she perceives as the ultimate love story: King Edward’s VIII’s abdication of the British throne for the woman he loved, American divorcée Wallis Simpson. But Wally’s research, including several visits to the Sotheby’s auction of the Windsor Estate, reveals that the couple’s life together was not as perfect as she thought. Weaving back and forth in time, W.E. intertwines Wally’s journey of discovery in New York with the story of Wallis (Andrea Riseborough) and Edward (James D’Arcy), from the glamorous early days of their romance to the slow unraveling of their lives in the decades that followed.

ABOUT THE WEINSTEIN COMPANY
The Weinstein Company (TWC) is a multimedia production and distribution company launched in October 2005 by Bob and Harvey Weinstein, the brothers who founded Miramax Films in 1979. TWC also encompasses Dimension Films, the genre label founded in 1993 by Bob Weinstein, which has released such popular franchises as SCREAM, SPY KIDS and SCARY MOVIE. Together TWC and Dimension Films have released a broad range of mainstream, genre and specialty films that have been commercial and critical successes, including Tom Hooper’s THE KING’S SPEECH, winner of four 2011 Academy Awards®, including Best Picture. Since 2005, TWC and Dimension Films have released such films as GRINDHOUSE; I’M NOT THERE; THE GREAT DEBATERS; VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA; THE READER; THE ROAD; HALLOWEEN; THE PAT TILLMAN STORY; PIRANHA 3D; INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS; A SINGLE MAN; BLUE VALENTINE, THE COMPANY MEN; MIRAL; and SCRE4M. Upcoming releases include SPY KIDS 4, APOLLO 18, OUR IDIOT BROTHER, THE DETAILS and MY WEEK WITH MARILYN. Recently wrapping are I DON’T KNOW HOW SHE DOES IT and COGAN’S TRADE.

TWC is also active in television production, with credits including the Emmy® Award-winning hit reality series “Project Runway,” the new VH1 reality series “Mob Wives,” and the critically acclaimed HBO comedy/crime series “The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency.” The company is producing two “Project Runway” spinoffs, “Project Runway: Masters” and “Project Runway: Accessories,” which are expected to debut in 2011. The company currently has 17 series in different stages of development, including: “Marco Polo,” a scripted historical series about the great explorer; “The Nanny Diaries,” based on the hit book; and “The Mad Ones,” adapted from the Mafia novel of the same name.


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How Weirton, WV Became Lillian, OH for "Super 8!" Cool Behind-The-Scenes Site! 


"Super 8" had a super box-office weekend, and now, the West Virgina Film Office has launched a dedicated website to celebrate the release of the film which was shot in and around Weirton. ("Super 8" movie review)

Everything from the production's timeline, to transforming Weirton, to official set photos, it's all right here! Check it out! I love "Super 8" and it's kind of cool to see how the production progressed from a super top-secret J.J. Abrams project to one of the summer's best films!

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A Super Weekend for "Super 8!" 


The creative duo of director J.J. Abrams and producer Steven Spielberg catapulted "Super 8" into the top with a $35.5 million debut! The film, one of my favorites this summer, opened at No. 1 bumping "X-Men: First Class" to well, second class in its second weekend.

("Super 8" movie review right here, watch my "Super 8" interviews with Kyle Chandler right here, Elle Fanning right here, and the kids of "Super 8" right here)

But the bad news of the week belonged to "Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer," the other new release last weekend. The flick only managed to sell $6 million worth of tickets to enter at No. 7.

Here's the list of the Top 20 movies for weekend of June 10th:

1. "Super 8," Paramount, $35,451,168, 3,379 locations, $10,492 average, $36,451,168, one week.

2. "X-Men: First Class," Fox, $24,128,986, 3,692 locations, $6,535 average, $98,023,335, two weeks.

3. "The Hangover Part II," Warner Bros., $17,667,329, 3,675 locations, $4,807 average, $215,727,461, three weeks.

4. "Kung Fu Panda 2," Paramount, $16,543,166, 3,929 locations, $4,211 average, $126,813,240, three weeks.

5. "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides," Disney, $10,945,764, 3,433 locations, $3,188 average, $208,873,258, four weeks.

6. "Bridesmaids," Universal, $10,066,290, 2,922 locations, $3,445 average, $123,815,865, five weeks.

7. "Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer," Relativity Media, $6,076,859, 2,524 locations, $2,408 average, $6,076,859, one week.

8. "Midnight in Paris," Sony Pictures Classics, $5,830,723, 944 locations, $6,177 average, $13,909,196, four weeks.

9. "Thor," Paramount, $2,435,215, 1,782 locations, $1,367 average, $173,664,723, six weeks.

10. "Fast Five," Universal, $1,727,330, 1,329 locations, $1,300 average, $205,094,205, seven weeks.

11. "The Tree of Life," Fox Searchlight, $827,009, 47 locations, $17,596 average, $2,361,655, three weeks.

12. "Rio," Fox, $670,101, 527 locations, $1,272 average, $137,780,829, nine weeks.

13. "Water For Elephants," Fox, $478,835, 466 locations, $1,028 average, $56,599,794, eight weeks.

14. "Something Borrowed," Warner Bros., $464,296, 366 locations, $1,269 average, $37,626,409, six weeks.

15. "Jumping the Broom," Sony, $458,349, 365 locations, $1,256 average, $36,695,004, six weeks.

16. "Soul Surfer," Sony, $295,371, 317 locations, $932 average, $42,181,380, 10 weeks.

17. "Cave of Forgotten Dreams," IFC, $261,390, 123 locations, $2,125 average, $3,727,369, seven weeks.

18. "Beginners," Focus, $243,059, 19 locations, $12,793 average, $453,329, two weeks.

19. "Born to be Wild," Warner Bros., $204,253, 47 locations, $4,346 average, $6,767,781, 10 weeks.

20. "Ready," Eros, $190,097, 97 locations, $1,960 average, $781,855, two weeks.

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