You can tell that MGM is super happy about its recent surprise resurrection (thanks in no small part to the global success of <a href="Ross Lincoln is a LA-based freelance writer from Oklahoma with an unhealthy obsession with comics, movies, video games, ancient history, Gore Vidal, and wine. Follow Ross Lincoln on Twitter. Follow Movieline on Twitter." target="_blank">Skyfall and The Hobbit), because they're planning to celebrate by remaking one of the most successful biblical epics ever produced, the swords and sandals epic Ben-Hur.
The unofficial and slightly bizarre-sounding Raging Bull II sequel may be currently filming, but that will be moot if original Raging Bull studio MGM gets its way in a lawsuit filed this week. Claiming breach of contract over a 1976 agreement signed by boxer Jake LaMotta, MGM claims they had first offer-rights to any sequels to the Martin Scorsese classic — and since the makers of Raging Bull II are billing the pic as a sequel (the numeric title is hard to argue around), the studio is crying foul. If MGM has its way, not only will the film never see release, its makers could face compensatory damages of an amount intended to deter future imitators. Could this be the end of Raging Bull II and similar faux-sequels? Developing... [Deadline]
There's no writer or director, but whatever — let's get this rumor party started: "As MGM prepares to start production on RoboCop and Carrie later this year, the studio is going back to the vault again to develop a remake of John Sturges' 1960 Western The Magnificent Seven with Tom Cruise attached to star. [...] Sources caution that while Cruise has long been interested in saddling up for a Magnificent Seven remake, the project is still a long ways off and is not in Cruise's immediate plans." Next thing you know, they'll be stapling Sam Raimi's name to a Poltergeist remake or something. Oh, wait. [Variety]
Also in this week-ending, Friday afternoon edition of Biz Break: MGM gets into the Ray Bradbury business, how Obama lost Hollywood, and more...
Where have we heard this before: MGM is moving forward with its planned remake of of the 1982 horror classic Poltergeist, this time with Sam Raimi co-producing and his Oz: The Great and Powerful screenwriter David Lindsay-Abaire contributing the latest script. Some wailing and gnashing has ensued around the Web, but let's just calm down — we're only a year and a half behind the scheduled release date of the previous remake they threatened. Sounds like a high priority!
Even without Mickey Rourke! "I remember meeting with a studio executive after he saw the movie and he said, 'You have a lot to learn about editing.' I said 'I’m sure I do, give me an example.' He brought up the roast beef sandwich scene. 'Well you’re going on and on with, "Are you gonna eat the sandwich, not eat the sandwich," just cut it and get on with the story.' I said, 'Well, that is the story.' It’s a way to talk about friendship. A lot of time you see movies and people are talking about, 'How long have we been friends?' Friends don’t talk about being friends. From the nature of their conversation, you know they’re friends. That was the point. We talk about problems with girlfriends in abstract ways, we get off the point, we get into arguments that are not essential to what the argument is really about. We’re always messy. That, really was the point of Diner." [Baltimore Magazine via The Awl]
"When Tracy won Best Actor for his turn in Captains Courageous in 1938, he was unable to attend the ceremony. MGM said he was recovering from a hernia, which was the 1940s way of saying 'hospitalized for exhaustion,' if you’re picking up what I’m putting down. The studio arranged for Tracy’s wife to accept the award in his stead, as a gesture towards the supposed strength of their marriage. With all the audience fully aware of how Tracy had neglected and mistreated her, Mrs. Tracy walked the stage. But the Academy had a sense of humor: the award was inscribed not to Spencer, but to Dick Tracy. ROUGH. MGM would periodically force Tracy to 'dry out' after massive benders — not out of kindness, but so that they could force him to do his next film. During this period, he was living at the Beverly Wilshire and constantly on the prowl — one MGM exec purportedly claimed that 'No one gets more sex than Spencer Tracy.....except Joan Crawford.'" [The Hairpin]
According to The Hollywood Reporter, MGM will team up with A Solitary Man writer Brian Koppelman and director David Levien to bring Neil Strauss's dating how-to book The Game to the big screen. Others have tried before to make Strauss's best-selling pick-up tome into a film, but maybe Koppelman and Levien are the right guys for the job; after all, they gave Michael Douglas a great vehicle playing a skeevy womanizer in A Solitary Man. Maybe they can do the same for magician-turned-pick-up artist Mystery?
Deadline reports a deal in progress for Lionsgate to release the Drew Goddard-directed, Joss Whedon-produced horror pic Cabin in the Woods. Filmed back in 2009 and caught up in the MGM bankruptcy fiasco, the 3-D horror thriller languished in limbo and shuffled around the release calendar numerous times in the last few years. The wait, however, could benefit from the star power of Chris Hemsworth -- Thor himself! -- who shot the film before being cast as Marvel's God of Thunder.