Near-complete workprint of 'Wolverine' leaked online. Plus: Official announcement for 'Dead of Night'. 'Transformers' VFX buzz and more. No longer sure we'd let baby Hitler die, it's your Comics2Film 9.4.2!
The big news yesterday and still today is the leaking of a near-complete work print of 'X-Men Origins: Wolverine'. Although the details of how it happened are unclear, and will probably remain so in the coming weeks, a copy of the film became available on file-sharing sites on Tuesday, March 31st.
The copy is reportedly lacking in finished special effects and lacks certain scenes that were filmed late in the production process.
20th Century Fox became aware of the leak late in the day on Tuesday and issued this statement (courtesy of Deadline Hollywood):
"Last night, a stolen, incomplete and early version of X-Men Origins: Wolverine was posted illegally on a website. It was without many effects, had missing and unedited scenes and temporary sound and music. We immediately contacted the appropriate legal authorities and had it removed. We forensically mark our content so we can identify sources that make it available or download it. The source of the initial leak and any subsequent postings will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law – the courts have handed down significant criminal sentences for such acts in the past. The FBI and the MPAA also are actively investigating this crime. We are encouraged by the support of fansites condemning this illegal posting and pointing out that such theft undermines the enormous efforts of the filmmakers and actors, and above all, hurts the fans of the film."
Although leaked copies of movies have appeared online in the past this is a rare case of it happening a full month ahead of the film's release. The next worse case on record is the internet leak of 'Hulk' in 2003, which preceded the film's release by two weeks, according to Variety.
Many are speculating that the results could be catastrophic in terms of the box office performance of 'Wolverine'. Speculation is that this will most certainly lead to a new set of security procedures with regards to the way a film is circulated among the various hands in a production effort.
There's been mounting criticism of 20th Century Fox in the past year, partially a bitter reaction of fandom at large over the notorious 'Watchmen' lawsuit, partially a continuation of the ongoing objection to the very existence of the Fox New Channel. Fansites like Ain't it Cool and HitFix have called the studio out on several occasions. Even 'Watchmen' writer David Hayter went as far as to suggest the studio was in league with Satan.
The anger towards Fox have lead some to speculate that the leak happened with the specific intent of hurting Fox.
Still, Drew McWeeny, who had plenty of criticism for Fox over the lawsuit, and rallied behind producers Larry Gordon and Lloyd Levin, denounced the leak at his HitFix blog.
"I hate seeing this happen to anyone, and I take no joy seeing it happen to 20th Century Fox. I think it's bad for the business overall. I think it's obviously a personally-motivated leak, and Fox will no doubt come down like the wrath of Galactus on whoever did it," McWeeny wrote.
Likewise, Harry Knowles at Ain't It Cool (who recently referred to the studio as "FOX (Fucking Over Xtraordinary) Films") also washed his hands of any fan reviews that might come from the leak. Instead they'll hold off posting any review until the day of release.
"I don't care to comment on any of it because I don't want to encourage piracy at a time when the studios are laying off employees in droves. This is bad, bad, bad for the business," writes Knowles.
It remains to be seen whether or not Fox, the FBI and the MPAA will be able to track down the source of the leak, but woe be to that party if they do. With the breach as serious as this is, it won't be surprising to see a handful of fans who are engaging in file-sharing to be called to the carpet as well, just as with the RIAA actions of a few years past.
Although it contains little new information, Platinum Studios has issued an official press release for the 'Dead of Night' movie. Here it is for your edification...
Ashok Amritraj’s Hyde Park Entertainment Group and Platinum Studios Inc. (OTCBB: PDOS) announced that Sam Huntington, Taye Diggs and Anita Briem have joined the cast of the supernatural whodunit, “DEAD OF NIGHT”. The film, which will be a presentation of the Omnilab Media Group, is based on the best-selling Italian comic book series, ‘Dylan Dog’, created by Tiziano Sclavi and published by Italy’s Sergio Bonelli Editore. The comic book series has sold more than 56 million units worldwide and has been translated into 17 languages since its debut in 1986.
Brandon Routh, (‘Superman Returns’), stars as reluctant paranormal investigator Dylan Dog, who must save the undead hidden among us from their human predators. The film is being directed by Kevin Munroe, whose 2007 re-imagining of ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ resurrected the billion dollar franchise. Munroe brings a fresh take on the supernatural whodunit by bringing a hip, modern style -- think MEN IN BLACK in a supernatural world populated by vampires, zombies, werewolves and other supernatural creatures by focusing less on the transformation from human to non-human and more on the seamless interaction between and among the living and the undead. Writers Joshua Oppenheimer and Thomas Dean Donnelly (‘Sahara’ and ‘Conan The Barbarian’) have taken the world of Dylan Dog out of a European setting and given it a New Orleans flavor with its rich bayou and marshland backdrop.
Sam Huntington co-stars as Marcus, Dylan’s wise-cracking trusted assistant. Taye Diggs co-stars as Vargas, head of the Vampire family and Anita Briem co-stars as Elizabeth, another potential in the long line of Dylan conquests.
The producers have also hired Eric Norris to lead the stunt team and handle stunt choreography. Norris was most recently the stunt coordinator on “Tekken”, “Beyond a Reasonable Doubt”, “I Love You Philip Morris” and “Righteous Kill” and has performed stunts in various feature films including Ron Howard’s “Angels & Demons”, “12 Rounds”, “Rush Hour 3”, “Premonition”, “The Guardian”, “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby”, “Poseidon” and “”War of the Worlds”. In addition, he has been the second unit director for numerous TV series including “Prison Break” and “Walker, Texas Ranger”.
Huntington most recently appeared in TWC’s “Fanboys” and “Superman Returns” where he played Jimmy Olson, opposite Routh’s Clark Kent. Diggs currently appears weekly as Dr. Sam Bennett on ABC’s “Private Practice” and has appeared in numerous feature films including “Rent”, “Malibu’s Most Wanted” and “Chicago” as well as his feature film debut, “How Stella Got Her Grove Back” opposite Angela Bassett. Briem most recently appeared opposite Brandon Fraser in “Journey to the Center of the Earth” and has appeared on television on “The Tudors”.
Platinum Studios chairman and CEO Scott Mitchell Rosenberg, who brought the billon dollar “Men In Black” franchise to Sony, and Hyde Parks’ Amritraj are producing with Gilbert Adler (“Valkyrie”, “Superman Returns” and “Constantine”). Executive Producers are Omnilab Media’s Christopher Mapp, Matthew Street and David Whealy, Cinemarket’s Peter Graves, The Greenberg Group’s Randy Greenberg, who brought all of the parties together, Hyde Park’s Patrick Aiello, Kevin Munroe, SAF Comics’ Ervin Rustemagic, Lars Sylvest and Film Production Capital LLC’s Will French and Stephen Roberts. Platinum Studios’ Brian Altounian and Rich Marincic are co-producing along with Hyde Park’s Manu Gargi.
Hyde Park and Platinum Studios completed the financing for the picture with Omnilab Media, a vertically integrated Australia and New Zealand content, development and media service business and Hong Kong-based Standard Chartered Bank. Recently, Omnilab Media has played a key role in providing production financing, as well as securing and/or overseeing North American distribution for “The Bank Job,” “W,” and “The Messenger.”
The producers have also hired Harvey Lowry and Academy Award-winning DRAC Studios to handle make-up effects. DRAC Studios has been nominated eleven times for Best Achievement in Makeup by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, most recently won for “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” and won twice before for “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” and “Mrs. Doubtfire”.
Variety has an in-depth report on the various visual effects shops working to bring this summer's 'Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen' to life. Here's an excerpt:
"Michael took the production value up many, many notches," [said Scott Farrar of Industrial Light and Magic]. "Just the backgrounds alone are huge. It's a combination of 'Apocalypse Now' and 'Ben-Hur,' in regards to fantastic backgrounds and the unbelievable sets we worked at around the world."
Everyone involved in "Revenge of the Fallen" is keeping the details under wraps, but Farrar says there are some 60 robot characters, and they play in settings around the world. Some, like refineries at night, were chosen to boost the visual drama and show off the scale of the giant 'bots.
On a lighter, 'X-Men Origins: Wolverine' note, 7-Eleven stores have announced that fans can chillax this summer with X-themed Slurpee cups. Here's some info from the press release:
Accompanying the superhero Slurpee cups featuring action-packed graphics of Wolverine, Sabretooth and Gambit is a new, remarkable Slurpee flavor – Mutant Berry. Billed as Hawaiian Punch Berry Limeade Blast, the Dr Pepper-created flavor was one of the top vote-getters in independent taste tests held last summer. Other winning flavors in a mass consumer taste-off last year will be featured throughout the summer Slurpee season.
Not only will X-Men characters appear at the Slurpee machine, but a Slurpee beverage will make a brief cameo appearance in the upcoming movie. Big super-heroes have big thirsts, and Blob, an X-Men of gargantuan proportions, is seen with a Slurpee beverage colossally bigger than any found in a 7-Eleven store. His likeness, with Slurpee drink firmly in hand, is one of four collectible X-Men characters adorning Slurpee straws in April. Retailing for $1.69, each X-Men Origins: Wolverine Slurpee straw comes with a removable figure and a base on which to display it.
Besides the collectible, lenticular Slurpee cups and character straws, a special Big Gulp® cup also has been created for the month-long promotion. Silver in color, the cup is inspired by Wolverine’s indestructible adamantium skeleton featured in the movie as part of the secret Weapon X program.
Thanks to Steve-O-Rama at NerdDads.com for the tip-o-rama!