1.) I thought we'd begin with this first look at Ashton Kutcher as Apple co-founder Steve Jobs in jOBS, which will premiere on January 27 as the closing night film at the Sundance Film Festival. Here's the synopsis:
The true story of one of the greatest entrepreneurs in American history, jOBS chronicles the defining 30 years of Steve Jobs' life. jOBS is a candid, inspiring and personal portrait of the one who saw things differently.
Directed by Joshua Michael Stern, the film co-stars Dermot Mulroney, Josh Gad, Lukas Haas, J.K. Simmons and Matthew Modine.
2.) While a Family Guy movie is still in the cards, Seth MacFarlane is prepping another project as his follow-up to Ted. He and his Ted co-writers Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild are writing A Million Ways to Die in the West, which MacFarlane plans to star in and direct. The film is a Western comedy in the vein of Blazing Saddles, and MacFarlane intends to shoot it this summer. [THR]
3.) The Terminator isn't dead yet. Megan Ellison, the financier known for getting tough-to-sell movies like The Master and Killing Them Softly into production, will partner with her brother David Ellison in an attempt to get the franchise's fifth installment off the ground.
While Megan has focused her efforts on art house fare, her brother has leaned more toward the opposite side of the spectrum, producing blockbusters Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol and Star Trek Into Darkness under his Skydance Productions banner. The Ellisons are now said to be starting from scratch with the project, scrapping the previous version of Terminator 5 that had Arnold Schwarzenegger attached to star for director Justin Lin (Fast Five). [Deadline]
4.) Guillermo del Toro will direct the haunted house story Crimson Peak as his next film after next summer's Pacific Rim. He looks to shoot the film in early 2014, as he'll be busy next year making the press rounds for Pacific Rim and filming the pilot for his FX series "The Strain."
Del Toro describes Crimson Peak as "a very set-oriented classical but at the same time modern take on the ghost story." The director names The Haunting and The Innocents as a few of his inspirations for the picture. "I think people are getting used to horror subjects done as found footage of B-value budgets," he says. "I wanted this to feel like a throwback." [Deadline]
5.) Open Road Films is releasing End of Watch back into theaters this Friday in an attempt to get some Oscar buzz rolling for the film. The sleeper hit was a surprise #1 back in September with a $13 million opening weekend, and with Supporting Actor Michael Pena and Cinematographer Roman Vasyanov recently nabbing Spirit Award nominations, Open Road will look to keep the momentum going.
Pena and Jake Gyllenhaal are both great in their roles, though I'm not sure they're they type of attention-grabbing roles that usually garner votes from Academy members. But hey, you can't fault them for trying. End of Watch is a solid film you should seek out if you missed it before, and this seems like a solid strategy from Open Road given this week's lone new wide-release is (gasp!) Playing for Keeps.