!!! Cher to Play Catwoman in Batman 3: The Caped Crusader !!!

The UK Telegraph reports:

The 62-year-old singer and actress is reported to be in talks to play Catwoman opposite Christian Bale in the third Batman film from British director Christopher Nolan.

The Oscar-winner will join a cast that includes Johnny Depp as The Riddler as she plays the whip-carrying burglar. The character has also been played by Michelle Pfeiffer and Halle Berry.

A studio executive said: “Cher is Nolan’s first choice to play Catwoman. He wants to her to portray her like a vamp in her twilight years.

“The new Catwoman will be the absolute opposite of Michelle Pfeiffer and Halle Berry’s purring creations.”

Filming of the new Batman instalment, provisionally entitled The Caped Crusader, is due to begin in Vancouver early next year.

The Dark Knight, this summer’s blockbuster, has become the most successful of the Batman movies. Warner Bros expects the film to make about $530m.

It stars the late Heath Ledger, who was found dead in his Manhattan apartment after taking an accidental drugs overdose. His performance as The Joker is widely expected to garner an Oscar nomination.

Cher’s recent acting performances have included Tea with Mussolini in 1999 and Stuck on You, in 2003 in which she played herself.

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Watchmen Legal Battle: Fox vs. Warner Bros. Part II

 Comics2Film reports:

On the heels of Nikki Finke’s scoop that the 20th Century Fox vs Warner BrosWatchmen‘ battle would continue, comes a report from Variety that reveals the situation for the film may be more dire than what we reported yesterday.

To recap: on Friday U.S. District Court Judge Gary Allen Feess found that Fox’s assertion (that it holds some claim on the film rights of the graphic novel) is valid and refused to throw the claim out of court. This paves the way for Fox to seek an injunction against Warner Bros preventing the release of the film, which is planned for March 2009.

We speculated that Fox was likely seeking a settlement and the ruling and subsequent court proceedings would give them leverage over Warner Bros, who is beyond the point of no return with the film.

However, Variety’s report says that Fox may not be willing to settle and may aggressively persue that injunction.

Fox issued a statement that reads:

Warner Bros.’ production and anticipated release of ‘The Watchmen’ motion picture violates 20th Century Fox’s long-standing motion picture rights in ‘The Watchmen’ [sic] property.

We will be asking the court to enforce Fox’s copyright interests in ‘The Watchmen’ [sic] and enjoin the release of the Warner Bros. film and any related ‘Watchmen’ media that violate our copyright interests in that property.

In addition, Variety also cites an unnamed source “close to the litigation” who claims that Fox, who invested a reported $1 million in the project, will not be settling the case.

“When you have copyright infringement, there are some damages you never recover,” said the source.

It’s hard to believe that the ‘Watchmen’ movie and its spin-off movies (the ‘Black Freighter’ animated film and the ‘Under The Hood’ faux documentary, not to mention the currently released “motion comic”) will be put on mothballs. Today that seems like a possible outcome.

See Variety’s article here.

Watchmen Legal Battle: Fox vs. Warner Bros.

The Hollywood Reporter reports:

Warner Bros. is scheduled to release Zack Snyder‘s big-screen adaptation of the Alan Moore/Dave Gibbons comics series on March 6, but a federal judge in Los Angeles complicated that plan Wednesday when he refused to dismiss a lawsuit filed by 20th Century Fox against Warners over rights to the property.

Judge Gary Allen Fees ruled that Fox has established enough evidence to support its claims that it holds the distribution rights to the film version of the 1980s graphic novel about damaged superheroes.

Asserting what it calls its “long-standing motion picture rights” to “Watchmen,” Fox said Monday that it will ask the court to “enjoin the release of the Warner Brothers film and any related ‘Watchmen’ media that violate our copyright interests in that property.”

Warners has high hopes for “Watchmen,” a potential franchise film that has a reported $120 million budget. The studio does not want to mess with success — it released Snyder’s previous big-screen effort, “300,” in March 2006, and that action movie went on to gross more than $450 million worldwide.

Warners counters that Fox has no rights to the project.

“The court’s ruling simply means that the parties will engage in discovery and proceed with the litigation,” it said. “The judge did not opine at all on the merits, other than to conclude that Fox satisfied the pleading requirements.”

Fox has sued Warners for copyright infringement and interference with its contract rights under a 1991 agreement between Fox and Largo Entertainment producer Larry Gordon.

Under that deal, Fox “quit claimed” its rights in “Watchmen” to Largo, with the understanding that if the production company proceeded with a big-screen version of the comic, then the movie would be distributed by Fox.

In 1994, Gordon negotiated with Fox “a turnaround notice” that established a buyout formula for the studio if he elected to acquire Fox’s rights. But according to Fox, Gordon failed to follow the 1994 agreement.

In 2006, Warners negotiated a quit-claim contract with Gordon, under which it claims to have acquired the rights to “Watchmen.”

Fox contends that it has retained its rights to the project because Gordon failed to buy out the studio’s rights. It further claims that Warners turned a blind eye to Fox’s rights. Warners, however, says under the 1994 agreement, Fox gave away all of its rights, including those to distribute.

Judge Fees disagreed, finding that Warners’ motion to dismiss ignored several facts, including that the turnaround notice separately dealt with “Watchmen” and that there is nothing in the court record that shows Gordon has an interest in the project.

 

Thanks to ComicBookMovie.com for this article.

My Top 40 Animated Feature Films

In honor of Wall-E, which I saw yesterday and LOVED, here’s my list of 40 favorite animated films:

1.    Alice in Wonderland*                            1951
2.    Bambi*                                          1942
3.    Fantasia*                                       1940
4.    Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs*                1937
5.    Finding Nemo**                                  2003
6.    The Little Mermaid*                             1989
7.    Cinderella*                                     1950
8.    Toy Story**                                     1995
9.    My Neighbor Totoro†                             1988
10.   WALL·E**                                        2008
11.   The Lion King*                                  1994
12.   Cars**                                          2006
13.   Dumbo*                                          1941
14.   The Nightmare Before Christmas*                 1993
15.   Ratatouille**                                   2007
16.   Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind†             1984
17.   Happy Feet◊                                     2006
18.   Princess Mononoke†                              1997
19.   Monsters Inc.**                                 2001
20.   Shrek‡                                          2001
21.   Shrek 2‡                                        2004
22.   Aladdin*                                        1992
23.   The Incredibles**                               2004
24.   Shrek the Third‡                                2007
25.   Beauty and the Beast*                           1991
26.   The Simpsons Movie¨                             2007
27.   The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh*         1977
28.   A Scanner Darkly§                               2006
29.   Sleeping Beauty*                                1959
30.   Over the Hedge‡                                 2006
31.   Robin Hood*                                     1973
32.   A Bug’s Life**                                  1998
33.   Lilo & Stitch*                                  2002
34.   Kung Fu Panda‡                                  2008
35.   Akiraª                                          1998
36.   Ice Age¨                                        2002
37.   Ice Age: The Meltdown¨                          2006
38.   Open Season©                                    2006
39.   Shark Tale‡                                     2004
40.   Antz‡                                           1998
*Disney (including Touchstone Pictures)
** Disney/Pixar
† Studio Ghibli (Miyazaki)
‡ Dreamworks
◊ Village Roadshow/Warner Bros.
¨ Fox (including Blue Sky Studios)
§ Warner Bros.
ª The Akira Committee
© Sony
Last revised and updated July 2, 2008

The 25 Most Influential People in Comic Book Movies: #9 Bryan Singer

Bryan SingerPrior to signing on to direct X-Men, Bryan Singer considered comics to be “low level literature.”  He was not a fan of comics and was unfamiliar with the X-Men characters. Singer’s friend, Tom DeSanto, a huge comic book enthusiast, eventually persuaded Singer to watch every episode of the X-Men animated series and read several comics.  Singer was hooked. His new found enthusiasm for comics coupled with The Usual Suspects tucked away in his back pocket made him a prime choice for 20th Century Fox and producers #16 Lauren Shuler Donner, Avi Arad, and Stan Lee.  The result was the groundbreaking X-Men, which he directed and for which he co-wrote the story, followed by 2003’s smash hit X2, which he directed and for which he wrote the story and served as executive producer.  In 2004, amidst difficulties finalizing a deal for Singer to direct X-Men 3, he was hired by Warner Brothers to direct, produce, and co-write the story for a new Superman film, Superman Returns, released in 2006. Again, Singer was unfamiliar with the comics, but he identified with the character and loved Richard Donner’s 1978 film Superman.  His next comic book film will be Superman: Man of Steel, which he will produce and for which he will write the story.  News suggests that Singer will be directing as well, but there has been some evidence to the contrary.  The sequel is set to be released in June of 2009.

Influence Meter: ++++++

The 25 Most Influential People in Comic Book Movies: #18 Christopher Nolan

Christopher NolanAfter over a decade of steady decline, Christopher Nolan resurrected the Batman film franchise into a starkly beautiful and gritty world, telling a new generation of Batman fans that the Caped Crusader has not faded away. Indeed, the Bat has only just begun his flight.  In 2003, after the critical and box-office failure of 1997’s Batman & Robin, and after no less than five unsuccessful attempts at a new Batman film, Warner Brothers approached Nolan to direct a project begun by #7 Frank Miller and Darren Aronofsky, known then as Batman: Year One.  Nolan was a risky choice since he was relatively unknown at the time, but had garnered some critical success with previous films such as Memento and Insomnia. After several false starts, Nolan took over the Batman project and, with writer #5 David Goyer, set out to make a Batman grounded in a “recognizable, contemporary reality against which an extraordinary heroic figure arises.” Nolan directed and co-wrote the screenplay for the finished Batman Begins (with executive producers #8 Benjamin Melniker and #5 Michael E. Uslan on board), which won great critical and commercial success upon its release in 2005, including one Academy Award nomination. Nolan and Goyer were also a writers for the 2005 Batman Begins video game, and Nolan is credited as having produced, directed and co-written (again with Goyer) the screenplay and story for the highly anticipated sequel, The Dark Knight (again executive produced by Uslan and Melniker), to be released July 18, 2008, starring Christian Bale, Michael Caine, and the late Heath Ledger. In 2003, Variety reported that Warner Brothers had optioned The Exec, a comic book created by the late Doug Miers, to be adapted for the screen by Christopher Nolan.

Influence Meter: ++++