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CinemaCon: Fox Launches Possible Oscar Contenders

CinemaCon: Fox Launches Possible Oscar Contenders

This year the strong slate from Fox chairman Jim Gianopulos and his new motion picture chief Stacey Snider offers several fall possibilities for the award season.

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s revenge action adventure “The Revenant” (December 25, limited) puts bearded frontiersmen Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy into a harsh North American winter landscape. The footage shot by Emmanuel Lubezki in natural light looked stunning–and the action was harrowing, including intense pursuit on horseback by Native Americans. New Regency’s Brad Weston and Arnon Milchan are producing; they and Fox Searchlight produced two Best Picture Oscar-winners in a row, “12 Years a Slave”  and “Birdman.” 

David O. Russell’s “Joy,” about Joy Mangano (Jennifer Lawrence) who builds a billion-dollar family empire (Miracle Mop, Huggable Hangers), looks emotional, dramatic and intense, as the footage shows Lawrence getting married, at a funeral, in jail and running her business with Bradley Cooper. Robert De Niro also rejoins his “Silver Linings Playbook” costars. Edgar Ramirez, Virginia Madsen, Isabella Rossellini and Diane Ladd costar. Russell is still in the editing room. (December 25)

Also looking impressive if only as a commercial release is Ridley Scott’s “The Martian,” based on the bestseller, which reunites “Interstellar” astronauts Jessica Chastain and Matt Damon in another space adventure. Jeff Daniels, Kristen Wiig and Chewitel Ejiofor costar. 

Yet again Damon must cope with being stranded on a planet. “I am going to have to science the shit out of this,” he says, and cleverly figures out how to support himself (see Bruce Dern in “Silent Running”) and rig something in order to communicate with NASA back home. A rescue mission ensues. “Help is only 140 million miles away” is the tagline.  

On the mainstream side of the ledger are Paul Feig’s comic adventure “The Spy (June 6) which played well here, starring “Bridesmaids” alumns Melissa McCarthy as a spy who gets out behind the desk to show her mettle in the field (“I am a baddass!”) and Rose Byrne as a wily villain plus James Bondish Jude Law and hilarious rogue agent Jason Statham.

Tony Martino is shepherding the “The Peanuts Movie” animated feature for November 15, which played well. 

Sam Raimi’s Ghost House has mounted a lively remake of the classic “Poltergeist” directed by Gil Kenan (“Monster House”) and starring Sam Rockwell and Rosemary Dewitt. (May 22). 

Following up the sleeper YA hit “Fault in Our Stars” ($310 million worldwide) Fox went back to author John Green for another YA film adaptation of “Paper Towns,” starring “Fault” alum Natt Wolff and Cara Delevingne in a coming-of-age love story comedy (July 24). 
Continuing the trend of casting rising TV stars in movies, Rupert Friend (“Homeland”) stars as biologically enhanced “Hitman: Agent 47,” which may or may not “launch a new franchise,” as Snider optimistically suggested (August 28).  
Another sequel continues business usual in “The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials.” The kids escape from the Maze run by “Game of Thrones” star Aiden Gillen to survive in the wilderness of a blazing desert. (September 18)
“Victor Frankenstein” stars James McAvoy as the title character, a mad scientist who screams with joy as his monster creation is blasted into life. Daniel Radcliff watches with horror as his assistant Igor. Been there done that. I don’t see the new approach to this old material that Gianopulos promised.  (October 2)
Fox did not show new footage from the latest Marvel reboot, “Chronicle” director Josh Trans’ “Fantastic Four,” which introduces a new cast who came to CinemaCon, Kate Mara as Sue Storm, Jamie Bell as Grim, Miles Teller as TK and Michael B.Jordan as TK. “We’re in a secret group of actors who uphold the virtues of comic book characters,” said Bell. “There are lots of famous people in it.” “It’s a new take on great property,” said Gianopulos. (August 17)
“Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip” takes the squeaky trio to Las Vegas. (December 23)
The 2016 lineup promises “Kung Fu Panda 3,” and more. See Fox’s full schedule below. 
POLTERGEIST
Supernatural Thriller
Release: May 22, 2015, in 3D
Director: Gil Kenan
Screenplay by: David Lindsay-Abaire
Produced by: Sam Raimi, Robert Tapert, Roy Lee
Cast: Sam Rockwell, Rosemarie DeWitt, Jared Harris, Jane Adams
SYNOPSIS
Legendary filmmaker Sam Raimi (“Spiderman,” “Evil Dead”, “The Grudge”) and director Gil Kenan (“Monster House”) contemporize the classic tale about a family whose suburban home is haunted by evil forces.  When the terrifying apparitions escalate their attacks and hold the youngest daughter captive, the family must come together to rescue her before she disappears forever.
SPY
Comedy
Release: June 5, 2015
Director: Paul Feig
Written by: Paul Feig
Producers: Peter Chernin, Jenno Topping, Paul Feig, Jessie Henderson
Cast: Melissa McCarthy, Jason Statham, Rose Byrne, Bobby Cannavale, Allison Janney, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Miranda Hart, and Jude Law
 
SYNOPSIS
Susan Cooper (Melissa McCarthy) is an unassuming, deskbound CIA analyst, and the unsung hero behind the Agency’s most dangerous missions. But when her partner (Jude Law) falls off the grid and another top agent (Jason Statham) is compromised, she volunteers to go deep undercover to infiltrate the world of a deadly arms dealer, and prevent a global disaster.
PAPER TOWNS
Drama
Release: July 24, 2015
Director: Jake Schreier
Screenplay by: Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber, based upon the book by John Green
Producers: Wyck Godfrey, p.g.a; Marty Bowen, p.g.a.
Cast: Nat Wolff, Cara Delevingne, Austin Abrams, Halston Sage, Justice Smith
SYNOPSIS
Adapted from the bestselling novel by author John Green (“The Fault in Our Stars”), PAPER TOWNS is a coming-of-age story centering on Quentin and his enigmatic neighbor Margo, who loved mysteries so much she became one. After taking him on an all-night adventure through their hometown, Margo suddenly disappears–leaving behind cryptic clues for Quentin to decipher. The search leads Quentin and his quick-witted friends on an exhilarating adventure that is equal parts hilarious and moving. Ultimately, to track down Margo, Quentin must find a deeper understanding of true friendship–and true love.
 
FANTASTIC FOUR
Action-adventure
Release: August 7, 2015
Director: Josh Trank
Screenplay: Jeremy Slater and Simon Kinberg & Josh Trank, based on the Marvel Comic Book by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby
Producers: Simon Kinberg, Matthew Vaughn, Hutch Parker, Robert Kulzer, Gregory Goodman
Cast:  Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara, Jamie Bell, Toby Kebbell, Reg E. Cathey, Tim Blake Nelson
SYNOPSIS
FANTASTIC FOUR, a contemporary re-imagining of Marvel’s original and longest-running superhero team, centers on four young outsiders who teleport to an alternate and dangerous universe, which alters their physical form in shocking ways. Their lives irrevocably upended, the team must learn to harness their daunting new abilities and work together to save Earth from a former friend turned enemy.
HITMAN: AGENT 47
Action-Adventure
Release: August 28, 2015
Director: Aleksander Bach
Screenplay: Skip Woods and Michael Finch
Producers: Charles Gordon, Adrian Askarieh, Alex Young, Skip Woods
Cast: Rupert Friend, Hannah Ware, Zachary Quinto, Ciarán Hinds, Thomas Kretschmann
SYNOPSIS
HITMAN: AGENT 47 centers on an elite assassin who was genetically engineered from conception to be the perfect killing machine, and is known only by the last two digits on the barcode tattooed on the back of his neck.  He is the culmination of decades of research – and forty-six earlier Agent clones — endowing him with unprecedented strength, speed, stamina and intelligence. His latest target is a mega-corporation that plans to unlock the secret of Agent 47’s past to create an army of killers whose powers surpass even his own. Teaming up with a young woman who may hold the secret to overcoming their powerful and clandestine enemies, 47 confronts stunning revelations about his own origins and squares off in an epic battle with his deadliest foe.
MAZE RUNNER: THE SCORCH TRIALS
Action-Adventure
September 18, 2015
Director:  Wes Ball
Screenplay: TBD
Producers: Ellen Goldsmith-Vein, Wyck Godfrey, Marty Bowen, Lee Stollman
Cast: Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Giancarlo Esposito, Aidan Gillen, Barry Pepper, Lili Taylor, and Patricia Clarkson.
SYNOPSIS
In this next chapter of the epic “Maze Runner” saga, Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) and his fellow Gladers face their greatest challenge yet: searching for clues about the mysterious and powerful organization known as WCKD.  Their journey takes them to the Scorch, a desolate landscape filled with unimaginable obstacles. Teaming up with resistance fighters, the Gladers take on WCKD’s vastly superior forces and uncover its shocking plans for them all. 
VICTOR FRANKENSTEIN
Horror Thriller
Release: October 2, 2015
Director: Paul McGuigan
Screen Story and Screenplay by: Max Landis
Producer: John Davis
Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, James McAvoy, Jessica Brown Findlay, Andrew Scott, Freddie Fox
SYNOPSIS
When Dr. Victor Frankenstein (James McAvoy) and his trusted assistant Igor (Daniel Radcliffe) go too far in their noble attempts to aid humanity, Victor’s obsession turns to madness. He then unleashes his final creation –a monstrous figure that holds unimaginable terror for anyone its path.
THE PEANUTS MOVIE 
3D Animation
Release: November 6, 2015
Director: Steve Martino
Screenplay: TBD
Producers: Craig Schulz, Bryan Schulz, Cornelius Uliano, Michael J. Travers, Paul Feig
SYNOPSIS
Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, Linus and the rest of the beloved “Peanuts” gang make their big-screen debut, like they’ve never been seen before, in state of the art 3D animation. Snoopy, the world’s most lovable beagle – and flying ace – embarks upon his greatest mission as he takes to the skies to pursue his arch-nemesis The Red Baron, while his best pal, Charlie Brown, begins his own epic quest.  From the imagination of Charles M. Schulz and the creators of the ICE AGE films, THE PEANUTS MOVIE will prove that every underdog has his day.
THE MARTIAN
Action-Adventure, in 3D
Release: November 25, 2015
Director: Ridley Scott
Screenplay: TBD
Producers: Ridley Scott, Simon Kinberg, Michael Schaefer, Mark Huffam, Aditya Sood
Cast: Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Kate Mara, Michael Pena, Jeff Daniels, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Donald Glover
SYNOPSIS
During a manned mission to Mars, Astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is presumed dead after a fierce storm and left behind by his crew. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet. With only meager supplies, he must draw upon his ingenuity, wit and spirit to subsist and find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive. Millions of miles away, NASA and a team of international scientists work tirelessly to bring “the Martian” home, while his crewmates concurrently plot a daring, if not impossible, rescue mission. As these stories of incredible bravery unfold, the world comes together to root for Watney’s safe return. Based on a best-selling novel, and helmed by master director Ridley Scott, THE MARTIAN features a star studded cast that includes Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Kate Mara, Michael Pena, Jeff Daniels, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Donald Glover.
ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS: THE ROAD CHIP
Comedy
Release: December 23, 2015
Director: Walt Becker
Producers:  Janice Karman, Ross Bagdasarian
Screenplay:  Adam Sztkiel, based on the characters Alvin and Chipmunks created by  
Ross Bagdasarian
SYNOPSIS
Through a series of misunderstandings, Alvin, Simon and Theodore come to believe that Dave is going to propose to his new girlfriend in New York City…and dump them. They have three days to get to him and stop the proposal, saving themselves not only from losing Dave but possibly from gaining a terrible stepbrother.  
JOY
Comedy-drama
Release: December 25, 2015
Director: David O. Russell
Written by: David O. Russell
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Bradley Cooper, Edgar Ramirez, Isabella Rossellini, Diane Ladd, Virginia Madsen.
SYNOPSIS
JOY is the story of a family across four generations and the woman who rises to become founder and matriarch of a powerful family business dynasty.  JOY stars Jennifer Lawrence in a film written and directed by David O. Russell. Robert De Niro, Bradley Cooper, Edgar Ramirez, Isabella Rossellini, Diane Ladd, and Virginia Madsen will also star. The story is inspired by the life and times of inventor entrepreneur Joy Mangano, creator of Ingenious Designs with over $1 billion in sales, as well as inspired by elements from the lives of other historic business pioneers.
THE REVENANT
Action-Adventure
Release: December 25, 2015 (limited); January 8, 2016 (wide)
Director: Alejandro G. Iñárritu
Screenplay: Mark Smith and Alejandro G. Iñárritu, based on the novel by Michael Punke
Producers: Arnon Milchan, Steve Golin, David Kanter, Keith Redmon, Alejandro González Iñárritu
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Domhnall Gleeson, Will Poulter, Lukas Haas
SYNOPSIS
Deep in the unchartered American wilderness, hunter Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) is severely injured and left for dead by a traitorous member of his team, John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy).  With sheer will as his only weapon, Glass must navigate a hostile environment, a brutal winter and warring tribes in a relentless quest to survive and exact vengeance on Fitzgerald.  Inspired by a true story, THE REVENANT is directed and co-written by renowned filmmaker and Academy Award-winner Alejandro G. Iñárritu (Birdman, Babel). 
 
KUNG FU PANDA 3
Animation, in 3D
Release: January 29, 2016, in 3D
Directors: Jennifer Yuh Nelson and Alessandro Carloni
Producer: Melissa Cobb
Cast:  Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu, David Cross, James Hong, Randall Duk Kim, Bryan Cranston, Rebel Wilson
SYNOPSIS
In 2016, one of the most successful animated franchises in the world returns with its biggest comedy adventure yet, KUNG FU PANDA 3. When Po’s long-lost panda father suddenly reappears, the reunited duo travels to a secret panda paradise to meet scores of hilarious new panda characters.  But when the supernatural villain Kai begins to sweep across China defeating all the kung fu masters, Po must do the impossible—learn to train a village full of his fun-loving, clumsy brethren to become the ultimate band of Kung Fu Pandas!
 
DEADPOOL
Release: February 12, 2016
 
MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN
Release: March 4, 2016
KEEPING UP WITH THE JONESES
Release: April 1, 2016
 
EDDIE THE EAGLE
Release: April 29, 2016
 
X-MEN: APOCALYPSE
Release: May 27, 2016
INDEPENDENCE DAY
Release: June 24, 2016
MIKE & DAVE NEED WEDDING DATES
Release:  July 8, 2016
 
ICE AGE 5
Release: July 15, 2016, in 3D
GAMBIT        
Release: October 7, 2016
 
TROLLS
Release: November 4, 2016, in 3D
ASSASSIN’S CREED
Release: December 21, 2016
THE GREATEST SHOWMAN ON EARTH
Release: December 25, 2016

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