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X-MEN 2

An intrepid law student who wishes to remain nameless has stumbled onto some information in his studies that may reveal something about the upcoming X-Men sequel. Readers are sure to remember the ongoing dispute between 20th Century Fox (the makers of the X-Men movie) and Marvel/Tribune Entertainment (the makers of the Mutant X TV show). Fox has alleged a breach of contract due to perceived similarities between the syndicated TV show and their movie franchise.

Our law student has been reading through the "20th C Fox Film Corp v Marvel Enterprises Inc." case as part of his studies on Intellectual Property Law unexpectedly found a nugget about the upcoming sequel.

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In their efforts to find similarities, Fox focused part of their argument on Mutant X's villain Mason Eckhart. Not surprisingly, the film studio compared the white-haired villain to Magneto. Furthermore the court findings state, "Fox itself compares Eckhart to the villain in the proposed X-Men sequel, X-2, WILLIAM STRYKER, who also has a mysterious past and previously participated in covert operations."

Fans may recall that William Stryker first appeared in the "God Loves, Man Kills" graphic novel of the early 1980's. The character is a former U.S. Army ranger turned evangelist who kills his wife and infant child because the child is a mutant. Stryker goes on an anti-mutant crusade that targets the X-Men.

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The information comes from a court ruling dated August 10, 2001. The ruling summarizes filings by Fox that were filed in April of this year. So, this would indicate that as of April at least, there were plans afoot to use Stryker in the X-Men sequel. However, the script has been in constant development since then and there's no telling if the character is still a part of the story.

In other X2 news, there have been conflicting reports regarding who will score the sequel. The Comics Continuum reported that Michael Kamen, who scored the first film, would return. Later, the Countingdown website quoted Bryan Singer's frequent musical collaborator John Ottman as saying the reports were false and suggested that he may get the job. However, The Continuum followed up with producer Ralph Winter who said it was too early to talk about who is providing the music for the movie.

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Meanwhile, Countingdown ran into Ray Park, who played Toad in the original, at a recent Great American Comic Book Expo in Boston. Park suggested that his role in the X-Men sequel will likely be very small.

In other X2 rumors, fans have been speculating non-stop about which new mutant characters might make an appearance. Now, both Dark Horizons and Corona Coming Attractions report that Nightcrawler will likely be in the next movie and Beast and Gambit will not. Both sites claim to have heard this from reliable, albeit unnamed, sources.

JUDGE DREDD

A few months back Comics2Film told fans to expect a 2000AD's Judge Dredd to make a cinematic comeback. Today's Variety reports that a deal is in place for the futuristic lawman's return.

Shoreline Entertainment has entered into an agreement with Rebellion to produce two movies based on the popular U.K. character. Shoreline's Morris Ruskin and Vicki Pike will produce with Rebellion's Jason Kingsley and Andy Predergast.

The two films will be shot back-to-back. First up in the deal is Judge Dredd: Dredd Reckoning. According to the write up, that picture has Dredd "losing confidence in the corrupt legal system." The follow up movie will be called Judge Dredd: Possession and sports Judge Death as the villain who possesses Dredd's partner.

The movies will not be sequels to the reviled Sylvester Stallone flick of the mid-1990's. "We are reinventing the franchise by taking it back to the edge and style of the original comic book," Ruskin told Variety.

Pike talked about the the character's potential as a franchise stating, "There are thousands of Judge Dredd stories, so there is endless material available to work with. It will also be easier to brand the movies by presenting them back-to-back."

BULLETPROOF MONK

A Variety article on upcoming projects for Chow Yun-Fat (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) mentions that the Asian superstar may film the comic adaptation Bulletproof Monk as next year. The write up states that the actor will either do Monk or a China-set movie called Waiting early next year.

Yun-Fat has been attached to Monk since it was first announced last year. Recent indicators suggest that the move will roll cameras early in 2002, with music video director Paul Hunter at the helm.

The article also mentions that Pandora films in negotiating to develop Augusta Trobaugh's novel Sophie and the Rising Sun into starring vehicle for the actor.

THE TICK

Fox TV has announced that the debut of certain fall shows have been rescheduled to make way for the major league baseball playoffs. One of the shows affected is the long-awaited debut of The Tick.

The Tick is now slated to debut Thursday, November 8 at 8:30pm. This is one week after it's previously scheduled bow. The show stars Patrick Warburton as The Tick, David Burke as Arthur, Liz Vassey as Captain Liberty and Nestor Carbonell as Bat Manuel.

To tide fans over, Fox TV has released a new set of Tick images for your viewing enjoyment.

IRON FIST

CountingDown reports seeing actor Ray Park at the recent Great American Comic Book Expo in Boston. Fans know that earlier this year Park signed on to top line Marvel and Artisan's Iron Fist movie.

Park told fans there that his character will not wear the conventional comic book tights, but instead don a "special robe which will symbolize the temple from which Danny Rand comes." The character will also sport the famous dragon tattoo.

Park looks forward to the film as the vehicle that carries him to stardom. Kirk Wong (The Big Hit) has been tapped to direct Iron Fist. The screenplay was written by John Turman (Freedom) who can also make his fist like unto a thing of iron.

FANTASTIC FOUR

Kevin Feige of Marvel Studios told Comics2Film that recent rumors linking Richard Dean Anderson (Stargate SG-1, MacGyver) to the role of Reed Richards in the Fantastic Four movie are false.

KING CONAN: CROWN OF IRON

Recent internet rumors attaching wrestler-turned-actor The Rock to the in-development King Conan: Crown of Iron have been deemed false by the movie's director.

IGN FilmForce checked in with John Milius about the story. Milius said that he'd love to work with The Rock but any word of his actual involvement with the film is "news to me."

Furthermore, The Rock himself denied the rumor on a recent segment with Conan O'Brien (no relation).

The Rock recently made his big-screen debut in The Mummy Returns which quickly landed him the starring role in the spin-off feature The Scorpion King.

THE HULK

Eric Bana was recently cast to star in The Hulk for Universal. According to Dark Horizons, the actor commented on the role to The Sunday Herald Sun stating, "I am absolutely blown away. The Incredible Hulk was one of my all-time favourite TV shows as a kid."

BARBARELLA

Actress and producer Drew Barrymore recently scooped Cinescape about her upcoming projects. High on her list is the sequel to Charlie's Angels which is currently in development.

Barrymore also commented on Barbarella which appears to be a lower priority. "That one is a couple of films down the line. It's in rewrite," Barrymore said.

BATMAN BEYOND: RETURN OF THE JOKER

[Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker]Last year Warner Bros. released Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker an animated movie based on their hit TV series about the future Batman. The movie bridged the storylines of the present-day Batman (Bruce Wayne) and his futuristic counterpart (Terry McGinnis). Much to the disappointment of fans, Warner deemed the movie to be too violent and released a reworked and cut version. To date, the only copies of the original, uncut version have been bootlegs circulating at conventions.

That may soon change according to the folks at Toonz one.net. The folks at that site report that representatives from Warner Bros. claim the uncut version may be released soon. While talking to fans during an online chat at the Home Theater Forum website, reps for the studio said that Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker: Original Cut is in the Warner Bros. Family Group's release plans for 2002.

The source also mentioned that DVD's featuring Batman: The Animated Series, The Batman/Superman Movie: World's Finest and Batman & Mr. Freeze: Sub-Zero are also on the slate for next year.

The representatives also said that the studio is considering special edition DVD releases of Tim Burton's Batman and Batman Returns movies. However no timetable has been set for such a release.

FROM HELL

[From Hell]From Hell opened at #1 this weekend, debuting on 2305 screens and collecting a gross of $11,325,000. The comic book adaptation edged out it's chief competitor by only a razor-thin margin. The chick flick Riding In Cars With Boys starring Drew Barrymore took the #2 spot with a gross of $10,800,000 on 2770 screens. Regardless of the close numbers, Fox is pleased to have the top spot.

"It means something to the public, I guess, because they want to see what the No. 1 movie is," said Bruce Snyder, head of distribution for Fox. "For us, opening against a Drew Barrymore film and a Robert Redford film, it's pretty nice to get that pole position."

Robert Redford's The Last Castle opened at a dreary fifth spot, surprising considering the patriotic themes in the film. Denzel Washington's intense thriller Training Day hung tough at #3 while the Bandits faded to #4.

MEN IN BLACK 2

A report by Michael Fleming in today's Variety indicates that King of Pop Michael Jackson will be making an appearance in the Men In Black 2 movie after all.

The film's director, Barry Sonnenfeld told Fleming, "We shot a small scene with Michael on Tuesday. He was charming, funny and really cool to work with."

The report comes a little over a week after the film's publicist, Rob Harris, told Comics2Film that the rumors of a Jacko appearance in the movie were false.

Harris contacted us today to explain that, when we first spoke plans to include Jackson in the movie had run aground. However, the filmmakers worked out scheduling issues with the singer this weekend and set up the Tuesday shoot.

Harris told C2F today that Jackson "will have a small part in the film. We're all sworn to secrecy about who he plays and in what scene."

GHOST WORLD

According to the Fantagraphics e-mailer fans can look for the indie hit Ghost World on video store shelves next February. The movie is slated for a DVD and VHS release on February 5th from MGM/UA.

No word is given on what the kind of extras the DVD will contain, but we're hoping it'll include some of the humorous shorts found on the official Daniel Clowes authored website for the film.

The Fantagraphics newsletter also reports that Ghost World took Best Picture at the Deauville 2001 Festival of American Films. Thora Birch was also awarded Best Actress for her part in the movie. The festival was held September 9th in the Normandy resort town of Deauville, France.

SPIDER-MAN

Fans looking for a closer look at the designs for Spider-Man are encouraged to check out the newly launched WarrenManser.com. The site is the home of film illustrator Warren Manser.

It features several design illustrations from Spider-Man including some that haven't been seen before. Also included are samples of the illustrators works, which include A.I., Pearl Harbor, The Matrix and X-Men.

SMALLVILLE

[Smallville]Last September the Hollywood trades announced that WB TV had won a bidding war with Fox TV, dishing out a record-breaking per-episode fee to land the Smallville TV series. With Tuesday's debut, Smallville broke additional records, scoring the highest ratings the WB network has ever seen.

The show achieved an all-time record for the WB in adults 18-34 (4.5/12) and was particularly super among men, scoring all-time record ratings in men 18-34 (5.0/14), men 18-49 (3.9/10) and the network's third best adults 18-49 (3.8/9) rating ever.

Smallville also set all-time records for a series premiere on the WB in total viewers (8.4 MILLION), household rating (5.4/8) and adults 18-49 (3.8/9). The show finished an astounding #3 in its time period, topping Fox and ABC, in total viewers.

The show was #1 in its time period in persons 12-34 (4.4/12), men 12-34 (4.8/14), men 18-34 (5.0/14), teens (4.1/15), female teens (3.9/15) and male teens (4.3/15). The series premiere was also #2 in men 18-49 (3.9/10) and #3 in women 12-34 (4.0/11), adults 18-34 (4.5/12) and women 18-34 (4.1/10).

Smallville also did extremely well in many prominent markets in the country, including Los Angeles (#1 in its time period, 10.9/16), New York (#2, 8.1/12), San Diego (#1, 10.0/15), Orlando (#2, 11.9/16), St. Louis (#2, 11.5/17), San Francisco (#2, 8.0/13) and Kansas City (#2, 7.8/11).

In other news, KryptonSite reports that former Wonder Years dad Dan Lauria will appear in the third episode of the show titled "Hothead." The WB Network provides this synopsis of the show:

"Clark (Tom Welling) takes to the gridiron in this offbeat look at sportsmanship.

"The future Man of Steel is asked to join his high-school football team after the head coach (Dan Lauria) sees Clark fire a pass to another player. Jonathan (John Schneider), however, refuses to sign the permission slip, fearing Clark might accidentally hurt another player or inadvertently show off his powers. Determined to play, the teen defies his father's wishes and gets his mother to sign the slip. What Clark doesn't know is that the coach has some powers of his own, and he's using them to cover up a cheating scandal involving his players."

BATMAN: WHATEVER

For over a year commercials promoting the OnStar driver assistance system have shown live-action vignettes featuring Batman. Now, OnStar is offering fans a walk-on part in the next Batman movie.

By completing a form on the OnStar website fans can win the grand prize which is the appearance in the film. First prize is one of 36 OnStar-equipped vehicles. Second prizes are a limited-edition Batman batarang and third prizes are a limited-edition mini Batmobile.

No specifics are given about what the "next" Batman movie may be. In spite of recent rumors to the contrary, Warner Bros. is actively developing Batman: Year One and Batman/Superman. A live-action Batman Beyond is also in development, but is said to be on the studio's back-burner.

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