Tag Archives: universal pictures

Robert Kirkman and artist Lorenzo De Felici’s Oblivion Song is Being Adapted for Film by Universal

Oblivion Song Chapter One

Skybound Entertainment and Universal Pictures announced this morning that the sci-fi drama Oblivion Song—based upon the New York Times bestselling Robert Kirkman and artist Lorenzo De Felici’s bestselling comic book series of the same name—is being developed for film. 

Universal’s Executive Vice President of Production Jon Mone and Director of Development Lexi Barta will oversee the project on behalf of the studio. The Oblivion Song adaptation will be produced by Skybound’s film team, including Robert Kirkman, David Alpert, Bryan Furst, and Sean Furst, with Sean O’Keefe attached to write the script. 

O’Keefe’s latest project, Wonderland, which stars Mark Wahlberg with Peter Berg directing, recently wrapped filming. O’Keefe sold the first script based on the Robert B. Parker bestselling Spenser book series in a deal with Netflix.

Oblivion Song Chapter Two

Image and Skybound Entertainment’s Oblivion Song by Kirkman and De Felici is colored by Annalisa Leoni, lettered by Rus Wooton, and edited by Sean Mackiewicz. It takes place a decade after 300,000 citizens of Philadelphia were suddenly lost in Oblivion. The government made every attempt to recover them but after many years they gave up. Nathan Cole won’t. He makes daily trips, risking his life to try and rescue those lost, alone and afraid, living in the apocalyptic hellscape of Oblivion. But maybe… Nathan is looking for something else. Why can’t he resist the siren call of the Oblivion Song?

Oblivion Song, Vol. 1 (ISBN: 978-1534306424) and Oblivion Song, Vol. 2 (ISBN: 978-1534310575) trade paperbacks are available now in comic shops and at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, IndieBound, and Indigo.

New Poster for The First Purge Pulls No Punches

Arriving the same day as Donald Trump’s first State of the Union, the new poster for this summer’s The First Purge takes a swing at our current politics in a far more explicit way than it ever has before.

The First Purge poster Graphic Policy

I joked at the last Purge movie that it was “Donald Trump the Movie.” That seems so quaint and funny a quip in the summer of 2016, but now maybe a little too on the dystopian nose.

Regardless, I look forward to this newest installment (as I have all of the last few Purge sequels) but wonder if it can somehow outcompete reality. I’m always curious about what Blumhouse will deliver to us when it comes to horror / genre films, especially after last year’s (now Oscar-nominated) Get Out.

So what’s it about? Well, it’s a prequel. But that’s not so terrible, especially considering the rather loose way the films have woven into one another. But this will tell us the story of the first purge, layered with lots of social commentary.

From the studio:

Behind every tradition lies a revolution.  Next Independence Day, witness the rise of our country’s 12 hours of annual lawlessness.  Welcome to the movement that began as a simple experiment: The First Purge.

To push the crime rate below one percent for the rest of the year, the New Founding Fathers of America (NFFA) test a sociological theory that vents aggression for one night in one isolated community.  But when the violence of oppressors meets the rage of the marginalized, the contagion will explode from the trial-city borders and spread across the nation.

Coming off the most successful film in the series, The Purge: Election Year, creator James DeMonaco (writer/director of The PurgeThe Purge: Anarchy and The Purge: Election Year) returns alongside the producers of this worldwide phenomenon: Blumhouse Productions’ Jason Blum (Insidious series, Get OutSplit), Platinum Dunes partners Michael Bay, Brad Fuller and Andrew Form (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Ouijaseries, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre), and DeMonaco’s longtime production partner, Sébastien K. Lemercier (Assault on Precinct 13Four Lovers).

The First Purge is directed by Gerard McMurray (Burning Sands), working from a screenplay once again written by DeMonaco. www.thefirstpurge.com

Around the Tubes

It’s new comic book day tomorrow. What are folks excited for? What do you plan on getting? Sound off in the comments below! While you decide on that, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web in our morning roundup.

Slate Magazine – The Egyptian Revolution Inspires a Graphic Novel About Environmental Collapse – This sounds really interesting.

Kotaku – Cosplayer Does Whatever A Spider Can – This is impressive.

ComicBook – Skybound and Universal Team for ‘Birthright’ Movie – This could be very cool.

IGN – Syfy Renews Happy! for Season 2 – Yes please!

ICv2 – In Marvel’s Quest for New Hardcore Fans, X Marks the Sweet Spot – Very interesting read. Thoughts?

 

Reviews

Comics Bulletin – Dissonance #1

Talking Comics – Doomsday Clock #3

Movie Review: Pitch Perfect 3

Pitch-Perfect-3-poster last callThe newest installment of the Pitch Perfect franchise about college a capella competition and the fictional Barden Bellas finds them mostly retreading greatest hits and tapping into the formula that has made the previous two films so charming, but it ends up a little flat in key places.

They simply can’t top the zaniness of part two, making this seem a little more lackluster. It’s still the Anna Kendrick and Rebel Wilson show, although the film does try to give some extra time to heretofore less explored characters, to varied effect. But the film’s central conceit of “getting the band back together” for a nostalgia-fueled USO tour just doesn’t work except seemingly as a backdrop for our stars to travel through Europe. All of our characters seem to have the same problem– life isn’t working out exactly as they planned one year out of college. While this seems a decent commentary on the plight of the entire millennial generation, it just isn’t interesting enough to sustain itself.

It shines best, as in previous films, in the lavish musical numbers the Bellas put on, this time joined by an all-girl rock group names Evermoist (yes, really), and alt country band Whiskey Shivers plays a group called Saddle Up. All of them are “competing” for a spot to share the stage with DJ Khaled (played unconvincingly by himself) in a final show, and here’s the real showstopper: Khaled is a black hole of charisma, and every moment he’s on screen the film grinds to a screeching halt.

Another problem lies in a strange side-plot involving Amy’s father, played by John Lithgow with a not-quite convincing Aussie accent. Apparently he’s an international arms dealer trying to reunite with his daughter. This allows for a strange third act where Rebel Wilson gets to play action star while the rest of the Bellas perform Britney Spears’ “Toxic” to distract him. It’s fun, and it’s good to see Wilson stretch herself as an actor, but it’s strangely off-tone and just doesn’t work as part of the larger film.

Matt Lanter (Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Timeless) also shows up as a military officer assigned to escort the Bellas, and ends up being a romantic interest. Lanter personally is fine (and indeed charming), but his character has nowhere to go. What’s really missing from this are some of the more interesting male foils from previous films (Adam DeVine, Flula Borg, and Ben Platt. . .  oh, how we miss you, Ben Platt). This was obviously a deliberate creative choice to focus on our female cast, and I applaud that. But compared to their previous films, Lanter and Lithgow just sort of take up space. DJ Khaled takes up negative space and drags the entire movie down.

And, as with all of the movies, I can always use more Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins.

Fans of the franchise will likely enjoy this movie– its script is still chock-full of jokes and the musical numbers. . . err. . .  hit all the right notes. It’s too bad the entire package is not quite as good.

2.25 out of 5

Antony Johnston and Sam Hart Talk Atomic Blonde and The Coldest City

Out this week on blu-ray is Atomic Blonde, the big screen adaptation of the graphic novel by writer Antony Johnston and artist Sam Hart. The graphic novel was originally published by Oni Press under the title of The Coldest City.

We got a chance to talk to Antony and Sam about the movie, comic series, what it’s like to see your creation on the big screen, and if we’ll see a sequel.

Graphic Policy: How does it feel to see a comic you created on the big screen?

Antony Johnston: It feels amazing. It’s very exciting and surreal at the same time. Mainly exciting to see something I came up with at my desk 10 years ago out of my head and Sam brought to life at his drawing table, is up on the silver screen and millions of people have watched it. It’s extraordinary.

Sam Hart: Yup, same here.

GP: What were your involvement with the creation of the actual film? Were you hands on at all?

AJ: I was a Co-Producer of the movie so I had a little involvement. Most of the actual business of selling the rights was handled by Oni Press who shopped it around. Charlize’s (Theron) production company was interested. The production company was looking for something like this book at the time for herself to star in. Talks began. When things actually got moving, and it was apparent the movie was really going to happen, then I was sent the screenplay and then I was consulted on casting and when we were shooting I visited the set. I gave my notes on the screenplay and saw a rough cut of the movie.

I wasn’t there day to day but I gave notes and my thoughts and feedback on the movie as it was going. That was gracious of them because they didn’t have to have me involved in that way but they wanted me involved. I was grateful to be involved.

It was a great experience to see if all from the inside and the care of putting the movie together.

GP: Sam were you involved at all? The visuals of the film are amazing.

SH: They’re amazing. I wasn’t involved at all. But I was very happy with what they did.

GP: The soundtrack of the film really stands out. A lot of creators have said they listen to music when creating comics. When you were originally making it, were you listening to music at the time?

AJ: Amazingly no. I listen to music all the time when I’m working. I’m usually working to classical or ambient. I’m not one of those people who make playlists for a book. I never have though I know some do. The soundtrack was as much a surprise and delight to me as everyone else. It’s a fantastic soundtrack. I loved it.

SH: Same here. It didn’t occur to me to create a playlist at the time I was working on the artwork. It was a brilliant idea for the film people.

GP: Though the comic came out 10 years ago it feels like we’re back in a Cold War sensibility. You told a story about the Cold War and 30 years later and the story is still relevant.

AJ: That just goes to show you things move in cycles doesn’t it? You’re right, when I was writing the story the Cold War was seen as retro and quite unfashionable and the question was whether anyone would be interested in this story of Cold War spies? The answer is yes, nine years later it’s on everyone’s lips. History itself moves in cycles and creators should make in something they’re pasionate about because trying to predict what’s going to be in fashion is a fool’s game.

SH: Yeah, a bit on life going in cycles. When I was drawing the book, my first daughter had just been born and my second daughter is to be born in a week or two. It’s a different cycle but similar feeling for my life.

GP: Congrats!

AJ: One comic child and one movie child.

GP: That’s actually an interesting thing. Atomic Blonde is part of that beginning of seeing multiple kick-ass women on the big screen, Wonder Woman being another example this year. As a father of two daughters, how do you reflect on that?

SH: It feels amazing and two really good examples to show my daughters in what they can do with their lives. It’s an amazing feeling and two good examples.

AJ: I think it’s always interesting where one of the things where it’d be nice to reach as a society is where not every female character on the screen has to be a role model. So we can have enough of them where it’s ok for them to be a bit broken and not very nice. Unfortunately, we’re not quite there, but wouldn’t it be nice?

GP: It’d be nice if I didn’t have to ask that question at all and it was an afterthought.

With the film, the ending is differnet than the graphic novel. What are your general thoughts?

AJ: It wasn’t run by me. I did read the screenplay and I gave feedback. I didn’t want to have people feeling like I was standing over the shoulder because that’s no way to make an adaptation. I make adaptations myself for YA books and other short stories so I’ve seen the process from the other side of the fence. It’s no fun if you feel that the original creator is watching over your shoulder. So I was deliberately hands off. I said to the film makers that we made the best graphic novel we can and now it’s your job to make the best movie you can.

The ending was part of that and you can see why they did it. They’re hoping to make this a franchise and without spoiling the original for anyone that hasn’t read it, the original doesn’t leave a lot of room for sequels and a franchise. It’s totally understandable. The way they handled it was really well fashioned.

SH: The way they did it, I thought it was really well made and it plays with people’s expectations with people who have read the graphic novel.

GP: Sam, how does it feel as an artist to see real live people as your creations?

SH: It’s pretty amazing. It’s also amazing to see what changes they did for example with Percival. They kept the character personality but visually very different. Totally respectful of the character. Both versions make sense. For Lorraine it was interesting to me because I based the visual on my grandmother so watching the movie I’m imagining it’s my grandmother on screen.

GP: With the film out, is it possible we’ll get a sequel since there’s a second book? And how about a third book in the series?

AJ: There is a second book, I have nothing to announce at the time as to whether that’ll be adapted. I am working on a third book and the third book will focus once again on Lorraine. But that’s all I can say at the moment. There will be a third book at some point. Who knows, but keep an eye out.

GP: Is there a moment for each of you that really stands out from the film?

AJ: Apart from when our names are on screen?

GP: That could be the answer.

AJ: It’s hard to pick out a moment because the whole thing, because it’s the first work of mine that made it through the process. The whole thing blows me away. I do have favorite moments but they’re little touches of acting. There’s a look Møller gives Lorraine at one point a raised eyebrow without a word expresses so much. Little touches like that for me make the movie. I’m so familiar the big stuff is spectacular but the little moments of acting craft that you only spot after watching three or four times are what makes it for me.

SH:The same. At the end when you see “The Coldest City” on the credits was nice. The last time I saw the movie I noticed at Percival’s death scene they let the cigarette fall to the floor which is a call back to the beginning.

GP: Thanks so much for chatting and your time!

Movie Review: Despicable Me 3: Family, Fun, and Hollywood’s Sequel Obsession

The only thing more inevitable in Hollywood than a sequel to a popular franchise is a sequel to a popular children’s franchise. And so we have the fourth movie surrounding supervillain Gru (Steve Carell), his Minions, and his rapidly expanding family. Despicable Me 3 finds Gru fired from his job at the Anti-Villain League for failing in to bring in 80’s obsessed former child star Balthazar Bratt (Trey Parker), whose schemes involve him acting out the tv show he starred in as a child as. . . a child supervillain.

Down on his luck, he is contacted by a long-long and mega-rich twin brother Dru (also Carell), who wants him to rejoin the family legacy of supervillainy. Meanwhile, his wife Lucy (Kristen Wiigis trying to bond with their adopted daughters and become as much of a super mom as she is a super spy.

Sibling rivalry, daddy issues, mommy issues. . . they’re all in there. Oh, and plenty of the Minions doing their typical schtick for everyone who loves that.

It’s not a perfect film, or anything really groundbreaking, but it’s enjoyable and will make children squeal with laughter while not annoying or boring parents. Indeed, many of the 80’s throwback jokes seem tailor-made for adults, though broad enough that it doesn’t completely go over kids’ heads.

But where these films have always succeeded is in having a great heart. This has always come from the three little girls who stole Gru’s heart in the first film, and they continue to do the same here. A specific highlight comes from Agnes and her search for a supposed real-life unicorn. Even better comes from the emotional payoff of Lucy finally bonding with her adopted girls. If your heart doesn’t cry just a little bit, you may be a supervillain yourself.

The film all ends with a spectacular action sequence of Balthazar Bratt literally attacking Hollywood in a giant robot in a re-enactment of one of his classic tv episodes. You can’t help but feel there is a little bit of commentary here about Hollywood’s lack of creativity and insistence on recycling and rebooting everything coming to destroy the city, a literal robot covering it in literal sticky-sweet bubble gum. Or maybe it’s just a fun action sequence: one which other big budget directors could take some cues from in terms of pacing, excitement, and–most of all–fun.

There’s nothing earth-shattering here, but given your others choices in theaters right now (shudder. . .  Transformers. And the snoozefest cashgrab that is Cars 3) you could do much worse. And if you liked the previous movies, there is a nearly perfect probability you will enjoy this one, too.

3 out of 5 stars

The Warcraft Trailer is Here

Universal Pictures has released the first trailer for Warcraft, based upon the popular Blizzard video game, World of Warcraft.

The peaceful realm of Azeroth stands on the brink of war as its civilization faces a fearsome race of invaders: Orc warriors fleeing their dying home to colonize another. As a portal opens to connect the two worlds, one army faces destruction and the other faces extinction. From opposing sides, two heroes are set on a collision course that will decide the fate of their family, their people and their home.

So begins a spectacular saga of power and sacrifice in which war has many faces, and everyone fights for something.

Warcraft comes to theaters 6/10/2016

Kick-Ass 2 Does Anything But Kick Ass

Kick_Ass_2_Poster_7_12_13Kick-Ass 2 was the latest and last comic book based movie to debut this summer. The sequel to the 2010 movie based on the comic series by Mark Millar earned an estimated $13.6 million putting it tied for third place with Elysium. The movie was supposed to be a contender for the top spot. The movie looked like it was heading for issues when it dropped 27.6% from Friday to Saturday. That shows fan of the series flocked to see it right away.

The movie has a budget of $28 million, which caused Universal who released it to spin that the movie will likely break even or turn a profit in the end. The first movie debuted with #19.8 million, $21.2 million when you take inflation into account. The first film was also produced by Lionsgate which passed on the sequel.

The movie skewed heavily male, who accounted for 63% of the audience. The movie received a B+ CinemaScore, but has a horrible 28% approval on RottenTomatoes. It’s been reported that the 15% of the audience under 17 gave the film an “A” rating. Keep in mind, the film is rated R.

The original film earned $96.4 million worldwide, but did very well on DVD.

2 Guns continued to slide, dropping 50.5% and moving to eight place from fifth in its third week. The movie has earned $59.2 million domestically and the film cost an estimated $61 million. It has yet to be released in the rest of the world due to the vast amount of American films already out. That’s also a Universal film.

The Wolverine earned $4.4 million to place it into tenth place. The domestic total is $120.5 million and overseas it has earned $214.8 million bringing its total globally to $335.3 million. That film cost $120.5 million.

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