Newsbites: Watchmen! Trek! Karate!

Just a few quick items tonight.

1. Watchmen director Zack Snyder has confirmed that the ending of his film will deviate from the graphic novel somewhat — and that the film has only ever had the one ending, so the rumours of Warner testing two different endings are apparently false. Snyder’s reasons for making the change make sense to me, at least, so far, but we’ll see how the film itself turns out. Snyder has some other interesting thoughts on the film, too, for example when he discusses how he chose the music for the soundtrack, which the graphic novel obviously wouldn’t have had to deal with quite so much. (I believe the graphic novel does quote a song or two, but mainly for the lyrics, and not because it’s trying to set the tone aurally or anything like that.) — Dark Horizons

2. The first six Star Trek movies — i.e. the ones featuring the original series’ cast — will probably come out on Blu-Ray next year, presumably to coincide with the sequel-prequel-reboot that J.J. Abrams is directing. But it looks like the Blu-Ray version of Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979) will be based on the theatrical edition of that film, and not on the slightly improved DVD edition that came out in 2001, because the souped-up special effects were rendered in 480p, and not in high-def. —

3. Jaden Smith, son of Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, is attached to a remake of The Karate Kid (1984-1994). — Variety

Desperate, maybe, for Despereaux.

The twins have gone to three movies so far this year, and I’ve been itching to take them to a fourth. But the recent and upcoming films from Disney and DreamWorks haven’t looked all that appealing, to me, in this regard. Too hyper, too ironic, too pop-culture savvy. That may be fine for older kids, but for now, I just want to treat my young’uns to a good, charming story.

I am therefore hoping that The Tale of Despereaux — which opens December 19, courtesy of Universal — just might be such a film. I finished reading the book by Kate DiCamillo (author of Because of Winn-Dixie) yesterday, and found it charming enough. And the trailer below has its merits, too.

Click here if the video file above doesn’t play properly.

The only possible snag is that the story, particularly as advertised here, is partly about conquering fear and, thus, the movie may need to give its audience a good scare or two. And I can remember how my daughter curled up in her seat when the dinosaur roared at the end of the trailer for Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs. Hmmm.

14 films eligible for Best Animated Feature

Variety reports that 14 films have been submitted for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. Here they are, with release dates, if known, for the films that have not yet played in North America — outside of the festival circuit, that is:

  1. Bolt — November 21
  2. Delgo — December 12
  3. Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who
  4. Dragon Hunters — unknown
  5. Fly Me to the Moon
  6. Igor
  7. Kung Fu Panda
  8. Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa
  9. $9.99 — unknown
  10. The Sky Crawlers — unknown
  11. Sword of the Stranger — unknown
  12. The Tale of Despereaux — December 19
  13. WALL•E
  14. Waltz with Bashir — December 26

The actual Oscar nominations will be announced January 22.

Canadian box-office stats — November 9

Here are the figures for the past weekend, arranged from those that owe the highest percentage of their take to the Canadian box office to those that owe the lowest.

Passchendaele — CDN $3,350,000 — N.AM $3,350,000 — 100%
Body of Lies — CDN $4,720,000 — N.AM $36,944,000 — 12.8%
Zack and Miri Make a Porno — CDN $2,510,000 — N.AM $20,933,000 — 12.0%

Changeling — CDN $2,180,000 — N.AM $20,587,000 — 10.6%
Eagle Eye — CDN $9,230,000 — N.AM $96,401,000 — 9.6%
High School Musical 3: Senior Year — CDN $7,190,000 — N.AM $75,707,000 — 9.5%

Role Models — CDN $1,630,000 — N.AM $19,251,000 — 8.5%
The Haunting of Molly Hartley — CDN $808,221 — N.AM $10,235,000 — 7.9%
Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa — CDN $5,010,000 — N.AM $63,500,000 — 7.9%
Saw V — CDN $3,930,000 — N.AM $52,320,000 — 7.5%

A couple of discrepancies: Passchendaele and Body of Lies were #7 and #8 on the Canadian chart, respectively (the former film wasn’t on the North American chart at all, though if it were, it would be #24, while the latter film was #15 on the North American chart), while Soul Men and The Secret Life of Bees were #6 and #9 on the North American chart, respectively (the latter film was #13 in Canada, while the former film was nowhere in the Canadian Top 20).

Newsbites: Noah! Avenger! YouTube! Marco! Carlos! Corpus! Not Another!

Here is today’s batch of newsbite goodness.

1. Cindy Bond, the president and COO of Promenade Pictures, has co-founded a new company called Mission Pictures — but she is still involved with Promenade, and both companies will now be involved in producing Noah’s Ark: The New Beginning, the computer-animated follow-up to Promenade’s previous effort The Ten Commandments (2007). — Variety, Hollywood Reporter

2. Marvel Studios has hired Joe Johnston — who was a special-effects whiz at Lucasfilm before he turned to directing films like The Rocketeer (1991), Jumanji (1995), October Sky (1999) and Jurassic Park III (2001) — to direct The First Avenger: Captain America. Now they just need a script. — Hollywood Reporter

3. MGM is set to join the handful of distributors who are posting legitimate film clips — and entire movies — online via sites like YouTube. — New York Times, Reuters

4. Mongol director Sergei Bodrov will direct The Silk Road: The Adventures of Marco Polo, an epic told through the eyes of Polo’s prison mate, Rustichello da Pisa. — Variety, Hollywood Reporter

5. Edgar Ramirez will play 1970s terrorist Carlos the Jackal in Olivier Assayas’s Ilich: Story of Carlos. Carlos was a significant figure in Robert Ludlum’s The Bourne Identity and at least one of its sequels, and he was played by Yorgo Voyagis (who played Joseph in Franco Zeffirelli’s Jesus of Nazareth) in the 1988 mini-series based on Ludlum’s novel, but the recent movies starring Matt Damon have ignored the character entirely. Several other novels and movies have made use of the character, too. — Hollywood Reporter

6. Clark Hoyt ponders how secular newspapers ought to handle their coverage of art that handles religious themes in a controversial manner. Focusing primarily on the ten-year-old gay-Jesus play Corpus Christi, Hoyt notes that most outlets never get beyond defending an artist’s freedom-of-speech rights, but surely, he says, there are other matters to consider, too. — New York Times

7. As if it wasn’t bad enough that we have so many lame movies out there spoofing the latest Hollywood hits, we will soon have to deal with a lame movie that spoofs the spoofs. Or, even better, a lame movie about a moviemaker who makes a movie that spoofs the spoofs. Either way, the upcoming movie is called Not Another Not Another Movie. Seriously. — Hollywood Reporter

Star Wars — a clever a capella tribute

There are so, so many Star Wars tributes and parodies out there, I generally don’t bother to keep up with them all, but this one is pretty clever on a number of levels — starting with the fact that it is based entirely on themes that John Williams wrote for other popular movies — so I had to make note of it here.

Click here if the video file above doesn’t play properly.

NOV 11 UPDATE: Apparently this video, while clever, isn’t quite as clever as I thought; the guy who appears above is lip-syncing a track that was originally recorded by four other guys under the name Moosebutter. Details here. And here is a video of three Moosebutter members performing the song live:

Click here if the video file above doesn’t play properly.