Tagged: War Zone

‘Punisher: War Zone’ Fails to Hit the Target

‘Punisher: War Zone’ Fails to Hit the Target

While no one expected Punisher: War Zone to be Oscar material, Lionsgate certainly hoped it would open better than it did this weekend.  The film, which received fairly uniform negative reviews, took in a mere $4 million, good for ninth place.  It was, though, the best performance for a new film this weekend, beating Cadillac Records by $500,000 according to Box Office Mojo’s estimates.

The preceding eight spots belonged to returning fare with the romantic comedy, Four Christmases returned to the top spot with $18,180,000 and $70.84 million after two weeks. Second place went to the vampire romance Twilight which found another $13, 197,000 revenue from the tweens.  Younger kids continued to thrill at Bolt’s adventures which saw an additional $9,696,000 in ticket sales.

For adults, Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman defied the critics and lured people to see Australia to the tune of $7 million, good for $30, 869,00 after two weeks.  Daniel Craig’s second turn as James Bond didn’t fare as well, with Quantum of Solace taking fifth place but losing 65% of last week’s audience and bringing home just $6.6 million.

Punisher’s per screen average of $1595 was anemic compared with more than twice that of the top performers. 2004’s Punisher actually opened much better with $13,834,527 and given the growing appetite for super-hero movies, the sequel’s dismal performance is a black mark for Marvel.

Lionsgate will be praying for a Christmas miracle and a stronger opening for the more heavily hyped Spirit film from Frank Miller on Christmas Day.  Marvel’s next offering is next May’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine which should have a huge opening.

Producer Turns Attention from ‘Punisher’ to ‘Magdalena’

Producer Turns Attention from ‘Punisher’ to ‘Magdalena’

Producer Gale Ann Hurd told Sci Fi Wire that  she envision Magdalena as  a blend of "Da Vinci Code meets Wanted", employing the shorthand producers and studio execs use to sell a project by invoking familiar concepts in a new way.  This way, risk-adverse studios feel more confident in going with something different, but not too different.

"The character doesn’t have superpowers," Hurd explained. "So I think it will be intense, but it will more than likely be a PG-13 as opposed to an R just because of the world of the character and the world of the comic book. It’s really exciting. We’re working with Matt [Hawkins] at Top Cow, and we’re working with a writer. We hope to have that up and running toward the end of the year.”

"The character doesn’t have super-powers," Hurd explained. "So I think it will be intense, but it will more than likely be a PG-13 as opposed to an R just because of the world of the character and the world of the comic book. It’s really exciting. We’re working with Matt [Hawkins] at Top Cow, and we’re working with a writer. We hope to have that up and running toward the end of the year." No writer or director has been named to the project.

The adaptation of the Top Cow series will feature Jenna DeWan (Step Up) is set to play Patience,  the latest in the Magdalena bloodline, which traces back to Mary Magdalene. The current embodiment of the line becomes the warrior and protector of the Catholic Church.

She first appeared in 1998 and  spun out of the pages of The Darkness and has starred in two solo miniseries.

While promoting today’s release of Punisher: War Zone, she also looked back to the summer and the reimagined Incredible Hulk movie.

"I think it successfully rebooted it," Hurd said. "I think the fans liked it, the general audience liked it. It’s been huge on DVD. I was just talking with [Marvel Studios chairman] David Maisel last night. The two big DVDs so far this year that have been released are Iron Man and Hulk, so it’s always nice to see that it continues to build its fan base

"[I’m] hoping there’s a sequel, but right now Marvel has its hands full with the slate they’ve announced," she said. "If there’s a sequel, it wouldn’t be until probably 2012." Marvel has not announced any firm plans for any project after 2011.

‘Rome’ Leaps from HBO to Silver Screen

‘Rome’ Leaps from HBO to Silver Screen

"There is talk of doing a movie version," Bruno Heller told The Hollywood Reporter about Rome. "It’s moving along. It’s not there until it is there. I would love to round that show off."

The show, which starred Kevin McKidd and Ray Stevenson, ran for just two seasons on HBO but was deemed too costly a project to continue despite reasonable ratings. The network counted the beans and effectively canceled the series before the second season could even air in spring 2007. To the premium channel’s surprise, the series earned four Emmy Awards for the first season plus seven more awards and remarkably good ratings for the second.

With HBO now admitting their mistake, Heller is at work on a feature when not working on CBS’ The Mentalist, the one sure fire ratings hit among freshman series. As for McKidd’s Lucius, who died at the end of the series, "It was very deliberate that we saw him drifting away but didn’t see him atop a funeral pyre," Heller said.

The original series bible called for the third season to feature the “hedonistic Roman leaders to deal with the rise of a certain problematic rabbi — a story line that would have put a whole new spin on the Greatest Story Ever Told and potentially bring Rome a larger audience.”

"I discovered halfway through writing the second season the show was going to end," Heller said. "The second was going to end with death of Brutus. Third and fourth season would be set in Egypt. Fifth was going to be the rise of the messiah in Palestine. But because we got the heads-up that the second season would be it, I telescoped the third and fourth season into the second one, which accounts for the blazing speed we go through history near the end. There’s certainly more than enough history to go around."

Should the movie get a green light, rounding up the cast may be tough as the lead actors have all found other work. McKidd can be found on Grey’s Anatomy with Stevenson next seen this Friday in The Punisher: War Zone and Polly Walker set for Sci Fi Channel’s Caprica.

Director May go from “Punisher’ to ‘Jonah Hex’

Director May go from “Punisher’ to ‘Jonah Hex’

Lexi Alexander, director of Punisher: War Zone, opening on Friday, told Latino Review that she’s up for another comic book film.  In fact, it may also star a gunslinger but from an earlier era.

She admitted to having been sent the script to Jonah Hex which is need of a director after Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor recently left the project. Alexander said, “I like it even more that Mr. Josh Brolin is still attached. Who knows if he’ll stay, but it’s more exciting than I thought. You get a story like this you think, ‘Oh God, I’m going to be doing the same thing over and over again.’ but it’s really, really interesting.

“I would change some things in the script, but you know. It’s not there yet. I’m sure there’s many, many directors up for the same thing.”

‘Gearhead’ Optioned for Feature Film

‘Gearhead’ Optioned for Feature Film

Arcana Comics’ Gearhead has been option for a feature film by Gale Anne Hurd’s Valhalla Motion Pictures. The graphic novel was created by Dennis Hopeless and Kevin Mellon and originally appeared as a miniseries prior to trade collection.

Variety says the “story revolves around a young woman who leaves the drag strip to team up with a group of rebels to fight the corrupt superheroes who govern the U.S.”

Hurd is no stranger to comic books or science fiction, most recently producing last summer’s Incredible Hulk and next month’s Punisher: War Zone.

Founded in 2004, Arcana began as a studio and has branched into producing comic books, webcomics and related merchandise. They continue to produce creative work for a wide variety of companies including National Hockey League, Disney and THQ.

New ‘Punisher: War Zone’ Clip Premieres Online

New ‘Punisher: War Zone’ Clip Premieres Online

An exclusive clip has premiered over at the newly launched official Web site for Punisher: War Zone. The video, which launches automatically on the site’s homepage, begins with an introduction from the film’s director, Lexi Alexander.

Shot at the editing bay for War Zone, Alexander states in the video that she’s "very excited about [the film], and I wanted to personally thank you for your positive reinforcement and your commitment to Frank Castle and his mythology."

"I’m happy to report that we have a great movie coming December 5th," she concludes.

This marks Alexander’s first appearance affiliated with Punisher: War Zone since the reportedly ugly departure between the director and Lionsgate, the studio behind the film. It’s unclear from the video whether Alexander and the studio have put aside their differences or if this introduction was filmed prior to the rift announced in July.

The clip itself does a good job of showing why War Zone earned an R rating, though there are no heads exploding like so much watermelon in this exclusive footage. In the clip, Frank Castle surgically removes several armed threats in an unspecified building, dispatching his enemies as only the Punisher can.

Punisher: War Zone focuses on vigilante Frank Castle’s one-man war on crime and his eventual showdown with the immeasurably maniacal Jigsaw. The film stars Ray Stevenson, Dominic West, Julie Benz and Wayne Knight. Lexi Alexander directs the feature.

‘Punisher’ Gets R-Rating

‘Punisher’ Gets R-Rating

The Motion Picture Association of America has sentenced Punisher: War Zone with an R-rating. According to CHUD, the R was granted for "pervasive strong brutal violence, language and some drug use."

Everyone who watched the red band trailer for Punisher: War Zone saw the exact same thing: disgusting, humiliating, bone-chilling violence at its absolute brainiest. For fans of Garth Ennis’ run on Punisher for Marvel’s MAX imprint, this was a very good sign. But panic broke shortly over speculation that the film would be watered down in pursuit of a PG-13 rating.

The rumors stemmed from reports that director Lexi Alexander had been unceremoniously dropped from the project due to conflicts with Lionsgate. Alexander reportedly disagreed with Lionsgate’s desire to pull punches with the violent content and their desire to use heavy metal music instead of the planned original score. All signs pointed to yet another cajones-free Punisher film.

The granting of the R-rating is sure to cool some fears as it’s likely to stick closer to Alexander’s vision, but the film is still marred with bad history. Thomas Jane, who played Frank Castle in 2004’s The Punisher, notoriously dropped out of Punisher: War Zone back in 2007. In a letter to Ain’t It Cool News, Jane wrote:

"I am, sadly — no, make that heartbrokenly — f*** it — just rip out the heart and stomp it into the pavement a couple of times — pulling out. Punisher fans are already fighting an uphill battle as it is. And I’ve always felt a responsibility to fight that fight for them and with them so that Frank Castle gets the treatment he deserves."

Jane closed the letter by calling the vigilante sequel "a movie that I just don’t believe in."

Many will argue that since The Punisher was universally panned, Jane’s opinion doesn’t amount to much. Still, it’s worth pondering why the acclaimed actor felt so strongly against the project.

Punisher: War Zone
centers on Frank Castle facing his most deadly foe yet, Jigsaw. The film, directed by Lexi Alexander, stars Ray Stevenson (Rome), Dominic West (The Wire), Julie Benz (Dexter) and Wayne Knight (Seinfeld). Punisher: War Zone will be released by Lionsgate on December 5, 2008.

“Punisher: War Zone” Buzz: Ratings and More…

“Punisher: War Zone” Buzz: Ratings and More…

It seems as if there’s as much chaos going on behind the scenes of the upcoming Punisher: War Zone film as a typical Frank Castle firefight these days. Earlier this year, various sites reported that the Lionsgate Studios project had its release date pushed back to December, but now that change appears to be just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to problems with the highly anticipated film.

Over on the website for the film’s director, Lexi Alexander, all references to Punisher have been deleted — including her praise for the ultra-violent "red band" trailer release that we linked to back in June. Beyond that, the Latino Review recently reported that the studio is pushing for a PG-13 rating for the film due to the success of the The Dark Knight, igniting a massive backlash among fans of the character, the trailer and, well… just about everything related to the project. Luckily, that rumor was later semi-squashed in a follow-up report on Latino Review.

Meanwhile, Heidi MacDonald points us to even more rumor-mill chatter about the film, its potential rating and whether Alexander still has a role in it.

So what’s the real story? No one really seems to know anymore — but everyone seems to have a source "close to the project" with an opinion.

Heck, my source tells me that they might scrap the project entirely and bring back Dolph Lundgren to play the character. After all, he did tell one of the villains in the 1989 Punisher film, "I’m Batman." Coincidence… or a return to the character almost a decade in the making?

Oh, and if you have a chance, be sure to check out the "Punisher vs. Punisher" video I came across on YouTube, comparing the 1989 and 2004 films.

SDCC Interview: Producer Gale Anne Hurd Talks ‘Punisher: War Zone’

SDCC Interview: Producer Gale Anne Hurd Talks ‘Punisher: War Zone’

Producer Gale Anne Hurd has been involved with some of the most successful and exciting sci-fi and action films of all time. From the original Terminator through Aliens, Terminator 2, Armageddon and the recent Hulk, Hurd continues to deliver successful, entertaining and action-packed films over and over again. And her career is showing no signs of slowing down.

Recently, Hurd is readying yet another comic book adaptation for the big screen — a new new film called Punisher: War Zone which is, of course, based on the very popular Punisher comic. I caught up with Hurd at the San Diego Comic-Con to talk a bit about the new film, its dark, violent nature and why she thought a woman was the perfect choice to direct it.

COMICMIX: Hi Gale, thanks for talking to me. Let’s get right to it. Is Punisher: War Zone a sequel, a reboot or. . . ?

its a reboot. We wanted to really go back to the origin but this isn’t an origin story in the way that we did it with hulk and take the origin of the punisher from the comic and we have that set up in flashbacks. So in the film we have Frank Castle set up on his mission of vengeance to punish the guilty.

iIs very much a MAX series. It’s a pedal to the metal, violent, tough hard-core film and it takes place in New York. We knew the heavy-duty fans were disappointed that the earlier film took place in Tampa.

For this movie we wanted to go back to the essence of the character, the locations, the other characters and the world and make it much closer to the comics.

CMix: Was it difficult decision to go back and reboot the franchise? Why did you do it? Did the first film not do well?