Prior to the release of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Sony Pictures was looking quite bullish about a trilogy of films based on the bestselling Millennium Trilogy by the late the late Swedish novelist and journalist Stieg Larsson. Director David Fincher's adaptation of the first book dropped well over a year ago and progress on the sequel, The Girl Who Played With Fire, has been slower than anticipated.
So what gives?
Impossibly cheekboned starBrad Pitt is the closest thing David Fincher has to a muse, having starred for the perfectionist director in Se7en, Fight Club, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Now, Fincher is eager to get Pitt playing one of the lead roles in a big-budget 3D update of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, provided Disney actually decides to make the movie.
Eric Powell's The Goon is, no foolin', one of the best comics hitting shelves every month. Because it doesn't feature Batmen, Iron men, or the Phoenix Force inexplicably creating mutants on Earth, a movie version isn't something risk-averse studios are throwing money towards. After all, The Goon follows an unstoppable, beer-swilling lout and his horny, irascible sidekick as they humorously kick the asses of any phantasmagoric creature that needs an ass-kicking.
Cleopatra, a big budget 3D epic starring Angelina Jolie, has been a movie in search of a director for quite awhile now. In January of 2011, super-producer Scott Rudin asserted that producers and Sony Pictures were "pretty close" to finding an appropriately huge director to take on the historical epic. Despite numerous helmers flirting with it, nobody has signed on. That might-maybe-possibly just change, as Sony has a guy in mind.
Two years ago, an Aaron Sorkin won an Oscar for his The Social Network screenplay and the film that was initially and eye-rollingly dismissed by the majority of folks as "The Facebook Movie." So in putting together a serious, classy film based on the life of the late Apple co-founder and Patron Saint of Personal Electronics Steve Jobs, Sony Pictures wisely sought to reunite with Sorkin.
At Miramax, Harvey Weinstein justifiably gained a reputation as something of an Oscar kingmaker, very effectively earning Academy Awards for often unlikely or unexpected features. Last year, The Weinstein Company, the professional home of the brothers Weinstein, campaigned well on behlaf of The King's Speech, and it's looking increasingly likely that the distributor can do it again this year with The Artist. See, French helmer Michel Hazanavicius just won the feature film award at the 2012 Director's Guild of America Awards.
The Directors Guild of America has announced the five nominees for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film at the 64th Annual DGA Awards. Last week we saw three separate professional organizations formally announcing their awards contenders, with the Art Directors Guild, Producers Guild, and Writers Guild all dropping press releases. To those folks who assiduously track every blip on the awards season radar, though, the DGA Awards are a bigger deal than any of those. Why? Because the winner of this DGA honor has only ever failed to correspond with the Best Director Oscar six times, and the directorial Oscar also tends to go to the Best Picture winner.
Sony Pictures has made no bones about its intention to adapt the entirety of the late Stieg Larsson's bestselling Millennium Trilogy, starting with The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. That film is performing reasonably well in theaters right now, and the studio is continuing development on the first sequel, The Girl Who Played With Fire, though it's unknown whether or not director David Fincher will return. Given the obvious franchise intentions, it's no surprise that the opening title sequence for the first film visually incorporates moments from all three novels.
That title sequence strongly recalls some of Fincher's distinctive work as a director of both commercials and music videos, as well as (to a lesser extent) the titles to his 1995 thriller Se7en. The titles feature a cover of Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song" by composers Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, along with Yeah Yeah Yeahs lead singer Karen O, and its a testament hypnotic, at times assaultive style that the song doesn't simply overwhelm the visual presentation.
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is now in theaters, and it's the first big, studio-backed American adaptation of an international bestseller by the late Stieg Larsson. Naturally, Sony Pictures planned the film as the starting point for cinematic adaptations of all three novels in Larsson's Millennium Trilogy, but in the two weeks since The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo hit theaters, the film has, fairly or not, been carrying the faint whiff of commercial disappointment. Despite that perception, the studio intends to go ahead with The Girl Who Played With Fire and trilogy-capper The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest.
With some notable exceptions, 2011 was not the most robust year at the American box office, and studio soothsayers are no doubt hunched over chicken livers, divining better fortunes for the impending year of 2012, packed as it is with much-anticipated blockbusters. For the penultimate weekend of this odd-numbered year, though, multiplexes across the nation were packed with new releases, all dropped willy-nilly throughout the week, creating a strange brew of eclectic releases. For the holiday weekend, Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol emerged as the big winner, with fellow sequel Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows in second place, and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo getting all Swedish in third place, along with two Steven Spielberg joints down the line.