What's Popping: 'The Avengers', 'Catching Fire', 'Terminator 5', 'Iron Man 3', and Disney Shakeup

The Avengers

Reviews for The Avengers were supposed to be embargoed until the first week of May, but once someone breaks that embargo, all bets are off. Well, someone did break that embargo, and now we have more than a handful of reviews online, which are overwhelmingly positive. We may see The Avengers set some records at the box office since it is tracking better than both The Hunger Games and The Dark Knight.

With Gary Ross deciding to pass on the sequel to The Hunger Games, Lionsgate has to look for a new director for Catching Fire. From a list of eight potential candidates, it came down to I Am Legend's Francis Lawrence and Moneyball's Bennett Miller. Lionsgate ended up choosing Lawrence because of his familiarity with effects movies and because he has nothing on his schedule.

In 2009, Disney chief executive Bob Iger brought in Rich Ross, head of The Disney Channel, to clean house and streamline the company's movie division. Things didn't go well during his tenure and as a result, he resigned from the company yesterday. Among his many missteps is cutting too deeply, leaving the movie studio without experienced personel in key positions. And then, there's John Carter. Even though the movie was set in motion before Ross came in, the $200 million writedown for John Carter happened under his watch and someone has to take the fall for that.

Even though the rights to the Terminator franchise belongs to Annapurna Pictures, James Cameron still has some sway in the direction future movies will be heading because he's James Cameron and he has Arnold Schwarzenegger's ear. It was revealed in an interview that Cameron told Schwarzenegger not to do Terminator 5 unless the movie is focused on his character. Since the Terminator franchise is synonymous with Schwarzenegger, we'll see if Cameron's advice is heeded or not.

Guy Pearce is joining Ben Kingsley as bad buys Iron Man 3, and he will play a geneticist named Aldrich Killian who will have a role in the spread of a deadly virus in the movie. However, depending on how closely the movie follows the comic books Iron Man 3 is based on, his screen time may be limited.

Other News & Notes:

Dick Clark dies at 82 from a heart attack.

Singer Taylor Swift may play Joni Mitchell in Girls Like Us.

Warner Bros taps Brad Peyton to direct movie about intergalactic bounty hunter Lobo.

Mark Wahlberg replaces Hugh Jackman in The Avon Man.

The Halo movie failed because Microsoft didn't understand Hollywood.

Rosario Dawson and Mickey Rourke are returning for Sin City sequel.

Men in Black 3's ending leaves room for the franchise to reboot.

Nicolas Winding Refn may direct the Maniac Cop prequel.

Battle Angel Alita will still happen, assures James Cameron.

Jessica Alba and Michelle Rodriguez may return to reprise their roles in Machete Kills.

Trailer for Steven Steven Soderbergh's male stripper drama Magic Mike is online.

Disney wants to turn Mr. Toad's Wild Ride theme park ride into a movie.

Darren Aronofsky is working on a biopic about George Washington.

The Grim Reaper may return in Bill and Ted 3.

Universal will turn The Rockford Files into a feature with Vince Vaughn attached to star.

Iron Man 3 will be partially shot in China.

Bill Murray says Ghostbusters 3 is "a possibility."

Brad Bird will not return for Mission: Impossible 5.

Emily Blunt in talks to join Tom Cruise in All You Need Is Kill.

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