"Deadpool" Sequel in Motion, Screenwriters to Return
This week has already seen an incredible ancient Mayan-inspired Batman suit and a somewhat-disturbing supercut of all of Thomas and Martha Wayne’s onscreen deaths, so it’s perhaps only fitting that we close it out with something else Dark Knight-related: “Batman Evolution,” an arrangement of the live-action television and movie themes, performed on piano and cello — actually, 100 tracks of cello — by The Piano Guys.
While the music would be satisfying on its own, as you can see below there’s a beautifully shot video that prominently features the appropriate Batmobile for each of the themes (Neal Hefti’s 1966 “Batman Theme,” Danny Elfman’s 1989 “The Batman Theme,” and Hans Zimmer’s 2008 “Like a Dog Chasing Cars”). You may also notice how the cinematography and screen dimensions shift from theme to theme, reflecting each adaptation.
Warner Bros. Entertainment could eliminate as many as 1,000 jobs — more than 10 percent of its worldwide workforce — as part of studio-wide cutbacks confirmed earlier this month, Variety reports. However, the studio insists that although the cuts will be “substantial,” it hasn’t settled on the exact number of layoffs.
“The plans are still in process,” Dee Dee Myers, Warner Bros.’ new executive vice president of corporate communications, told TheWrap. “We’re reducing costs and it will result in reduced overhead, but the plans are not done.”
Director Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice will arrive in March 2016, and with it an avalanche of merchandise, from lunchboxes and clothing to backpacks and, of course, action figures. However, FigureRealm user STjuggernaut is already making life difficult for official licensees with his impressive custom creations.
Using bits and pieces from other characters — a She-Hulk head here, an Indiana Jones whip there — he’s crafted 4-inch scale figures of Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman and Ben Affleck as Batman (with and without his cowl). The join the Superman, Jor-El and Kryptonian villains he assembled based on Man of Steel.
Clearly hoping to catch lightning in a bottle following confirmation from Dwayne Johnson that he’ll play Black Adam in the Shazam movie, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and TT Games have revealed the classic supervillain/antihero will be a playable character in LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham.
“Can you smell what Black Adam is cooking?” reads the message accompanying the above image from the game’s official Twitter account.
Arriving Nov. 3o, LEGO Batman 3 takes the Dark Knight, well, beyond Gotham, as he joins with other DC Comics heroes and villains in outer space to top Brainiac from destroying Earth. The game will feature more than 150 playable characters, including Black Adam and his nemesis Shazam.
Warner Bros. Entertainment CEO Kevin Tsujihara confirmed impending layoffs across the studio in a memo sent Thursday afternoon to employees. Although no date or numbers were given, Deadline suggests the cuts will likely take place in the fourth quarter.
“We are doing our best to minimize staff reductions,” wrote Tsujihara, who was named CEO in January 2013. “However, and it pains me to say this, positions will be eliminated — at every level — across the Studio.”
Warner Bros.’ subsidiaries include DC Entertainment, Warner Bros. Pictures, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, Warner Bros. Television, Warner Home Video and New Line Cinema. It also co-owns The CW with CBS Corporation.
Although reports earlier this week indicated the studio would offer buyouts before it resorted to layoffs, there’s no mention of that approach in the memo. In fact, it would seem buyouts are off the table, as Tsujihara’s introduction makes it clear he wanted”to set the record straight” following “misinformation in the press.”
Business | DC Entertainment parent company Warner Bros. is expected to offer buyouts to an unspecified number of employees as part of an effort to increase profits following a disappointing summer at the box office. The cuts are thought to be spread across the film, television and home entertainment units; if not enough workers accept buyouts, unnamed sources contend the studio may resort to layoffs. Warner Bros. wouldn’t comment on the report. [Bloomberg]
Legal | Hirofumi Watanabe has filed an appeal in Tokyo District Court, seeking to overturn his conviction on charges of sending threatening letters to venues and retailers linked to the Kuroko’s Basketball manga and anime series. Watanabe admitted to all the charges on his first day in court, and after he was sentenced to four and a half years in prison, he said, “I’m glad to accept the ruling so I can live over four years in prison,” so this is a reversal for him. [Anime News Network]
Six Flags has announced a 2015 slate of new attractions at its 18 theme parks that includes the 3D interactive ride Justice League: Battle for Metropolis, the roller coasters Batman: The Ride, The Joker Chaos Coaster, and the Harley Quinn Spinsanity.
Arriving in the spring at Six Flags Over Texas and Six Flags St. Louis, Justice League: Battle for Metropolis allows visitors, equipped with special 3D glasses and stun gun, to explore the Hall of Justice, battling Lex Luthor and The Joker, who have kidnapped Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Cyborg, Green Lantern and Supergirl.
If you made it through all of the Comic-Con International coverage without reading a description of the footage from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice shown during the Warner Bros. presentation, or seeing blurry photos and shaky video surreptitiously captured by cellphone, then you’ve been spectacularly diligent and restrained. Not wanting to ruin that impressive streak, I’ll toss out a halfhearted spoiler warning for this clip, but I think you’re fairly safe to watch it ….
It’s of course from the gang at How It Should Have Ended, who undercut the gritted teeth and steely glares most of us expect from Zack Snyder’s film with a bit of humor and, naturally, coffee. Watch the short video below.
For Batman Day, and the start of Comic-Con International, LEGO has unleashed a one-two punch on fans of the Dark Knight: the LEGO Super Heroes: DC Comics San Diego Comic-Con Exclusive Batman Classic TV Series Batmobile and the giveaway Batman of Zur-En-Arrh minifig.
Priced at $39.99, the Batman Classic TV Series Batmobile comes with the 1960s-style Caped Crusader minifigs. While that set will be readily available this week at the LEGO booth (#2829), convention attendees will have to rely on some luck to get their hands on Batman of Zur-En-Arrh.
Mere days before Comic-Con International, LEGO has finally revealed what many collectors long suspected would make its debut in San Diego: the Ultimate Collector Series Batman Tumbler.
Measuring 15 inches by 9 inches, the vehicle comes with Batman and Joker minifigs, which The Brothers Brick notes marks the first LEGO appearance of Heath Ledger’s version of the character from The Dark Knight. There’s also a nameplate and an accessible cockpit.
Composed of 1,869 pieces, the Ultimate Collector Series LEGO Batman Tumbler 76023 will be available in September for $199.
The massive Comic-Con International bags are back, and Warner Bros. has provided Robot 6 with an exclusive first look at the Teen Titans Go! bag fans can get at this year’s show in San Diego. The bag features Robin, Starfire, Beast Boy, Cyborg and Raven in their chibi-style animated incarnations.
Publishing | Archie Comics Co-CEO Jon Goldwater responds to Singapore’s ban of the third volume of Life With Archie, which features the wedding of Kevin Keller and Clay Walker: “Riverdale will always be about acceptance, equality and safety. I’m sad readers in Singapore will miss out on the chance to read such a pivotal moment in comics.” [The Hollywood Reporter]
Business | Devin Leonard looks at the possible effects of a Fox/Time-Warner merger on superhero movies; Time-Warner owns DC Entertainment, and Fox has the movie rights to some Marvel characters. The New York Times offers a broader overview. [Business Week]
DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. aren’t the only ones celebrating the 75th anniversary of Batman. Poster Posse, a collective of global artists, has come together for a collection of Dark Knight that’s so amazing (and, well, large) that it’s being unleashed on blurppy in phases.
The estate of Superman co-creator Joe Shuster has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a ruling that bars it from reclaiming a stake in the character, arguing the artist’s siblings didn’t have the ability to assign his copyrights to DC Comics more than two decades ago.
As Law360 reports, the estate insists the Ninth Circuit erred in its November ruling that the family relinquished all claims to Superman in 1992 in exchange for “more than $600,000 and other benefits,” which included paying Shuster’s debts following his death earlier that year and providing his sister Jean Peavy and brother Frank Shuster with a $25,000 annual pension. In October 2012, U.S. District Judge Otis D. Wright found that the agreement invalidated a copyright-termination notice filed in 2003 by Shuster’s nephew Mark Peary.
Warner Bros. Consumer Products has renewed its 15-year-old partnership with Mattel in a multi-year deal that expands the toymaker’s rights to include upcoming DC Comics-based films and television series.
Under the terms of the agreement, Mattel will be able to develop toy lines based on the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League movies as well as the TV adaptations Arrow, The Flash, Constantine, Gotham and iZombie.
Mattel, which on Wednesday unveiled its full slate of Comic-Con International exclusives, has DC products spread across its brands, from vintage-style Batman Classic TV Series action figures to Hot Wheels DC Universe cars to the Fisher-Price Imaginext Super Friends line. The company also rolled out merchandise based on Man of Steel and Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies, and the popular Arkham video games.
“Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment have an unrivaled portfolio of characters and a strong slate of content across all platforms which is essential to driving our global consumer products business — a business anchored by our long-term partnership with Mattel,” Brad Globe, president of Warner Bros. Consumer Products, said in a statement. “With so much opportunity on the horizon, we know Mattel will bring the talents of its world-class organization to create and market product lines for fans of all ages.”