Hollywood’s two hottest stars are teaming for a new movie set in outer space — but only after quite a bit of behind-the-scenes drama could have taken it out of Sony’s orbit.
Sony Pictures’ new motion picture chairman Tom Rothman has greenlighted Passengers, a big-budget romantic sci-fi drama starring Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt with Oscar nominee Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game) set to direct. And thanks to a deal that tied his remuneration to the success of Jurassic World, which broke box-office records with a $524.1 million global opening over the June 12 weekend, Pratt’s fee has jumped from $10 million to $12 million.
Lawrence, an Oscar winner and considered a top star, is getting an exceptional $20 million against 30 percent of the profit after the movie breaks even, say sources. Sony declined to comment.
Whatever the famously fiscally prudent Rothman’s misgivings might have been about paying such big bucks to talent or risking $150 million ($120 million with production incentives) on an original script that has floated around Hollywood for years, he now finds himself in possession of a two-hander star vehicle with the most in-demand male and female actors in the business.
Passengers is set to begin filming in July so Sony has been under pressure to act. Sources say Rothman wrestled with whether to greenlight it, put it in turnaround or place it with Jeff Robinov’s nascent Studio 8, which is partly owned by Sony and will distribute its films through the studio but has outside financial backing.
Lionsgate has confirmed what everyone already figured was going to happen: the studio is sending The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 to Comic-Con next month to drum up hype for the lucrative franchise’s final pic which is due out November 2o. The Hall H event July 9 will include another Lionsgate fall offering — the Vin Diesel-starrer The Last Witch Hunter — and both panels will be moderated by Conan O’Brien, who will be in San Diego to broadcast his TBS late-night show Conan live from the mega-convention to air Wednesday-Saturday that week.
Lionsgate says both panels, set for Thursday, July 9 from noon-1:15 PM, will feature never-before-seen footage from the tentpoles and Q&As with the stars and filmmakers. No word on who will make the trip but Diesel is a Comic-Con regular. His movie has an October 23 release date.
The panels dovetail with Lionsgate’s booth that will offer up swag from those pics as well as fellow upcoming pics Shaun The Sheep (release date: August 7, 2015), American Ultra (August 21) and Sicario (September 19, 2015).
Last year at Comic-Con, Lionsgate passed on Hall H to promote Mockingjay – Part 1 ahead of its fall bow. Instead, it took to San Diego’s Gaslamp and partnered with Samsung to build a futuristic fan experience designed like the Capitol, located inside the Hard Rock Hotel. Plenty lined up to watch an exclusive trailer on Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S.
Congratulations to Jennifer and the rest of the cast and crew of the first part to Mockingjay!
Choice Movie: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Avengers: Age of Ultron
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Hobbit: Battle of the 5 Armies The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1
Choice Movie Actress: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Mila Kunis – Jupiter Rising
Britt Robertson – Tomorrowland Jennifer Lawrence – The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1
Lily James – Cinderella
Scarlett Johansson – Avengers: Age of Ultron
Mackenzie Foy – Interstellar
The final two films of The Hunger Games franchise, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2, were filmed simultaneously last year, but one crucial scene was left unshot when production wrapped. When it came time to film the epilogue of Mockingjay – Part 2, the conditions weren’t right—director Francis Lawrence explained to us that they needed green landscapes, and that wasn’t the case in Atlanta when filming was winding down. So, since Mockingjay – Part 2 wasn’t coming out for over a year, the team decided they would return to Georgia later, when the conditions were favorable, and shoot that last scene.
Well that time has now come and gone, as over this past weekend Lawrence, producer Nina Jacobson, and the actors involved in the epilogue assembled in Atlanta to shoot the last scene of The Hunger Games ever. Those who’ve read the books know what we’re talking about, but in the interest of avoiding spoilers I’ll say no more.
The question of when the epilogue would be shot had been posed to Lawrence quite frequently as of late, so he and Jacobson took to Twitter to confirm that indeed production was underway on the scene. It’s nice to know that they were able to wait until things were just right to shoot this very crucial moment, but it’s also a little sad knowing that cameras will never roll on The Hunger Games again (until the inevitable reboot in 5-10 years, of course).
While the story of Magneto (Fassbender) and Lawrence’s Mystique is reportedly a big part of the new film’s story, there’s also scope for Bryan Singer and co. to start wrapping it up. And given the amount of new mutants – younger versions of Cyclops, Storm, Jean Grey, Nightcrawler and more – introduced this time, it already feels like the filmmakers are laying the groundwork for the likes of Magneto, Mystique, Beast and Professor X to take a back seat to the others, or at least drastically reduce their screen time. Or there is always the chance that the roles will be re-cast.
So it would appear that Apocalypse – which finds the mutants in the 1980s battling Oscar Isaac’s incredibly powerful villain – might be the swan song for one or more of the First Class cast. With Rose Byrne, Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Alexandra Shipp among those aboard, X-Men: Apocalypse is gearing up to start shooting next month in preparation for a May 19, 2016 UK release date.