What's Popping: 'Catching Fire', 'Iron Man 3', 'Captain America 2', Mel Gibson, 'Sin City 2'

Catching Fire

In its fourth week of release, The Hunger Games is still going strong at the box office. The movie is expected to come in first once again with an estimated take somewhere in the neighborhood of $18-$20 million this weekend. But due to poor planning on Lionsgate's part, work on the sequel, Catching Fire, is experiencing some hiccups. With the sequel scheduled for a fall shoot and Gary Ross not returning to direct, Lionsgate has to scramble to find Ross' replacement. Rumor is, the studio is kicking the tires of Alfonso Cuaron, David Cronenberg, and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu.

Ben Kingsley is going to play a villain in Iron Man 3, but he is not playing the primary villain and, according to the studio sources, he is definitely not playing the Mandarin, at least not in his classic caricature. As a villain, Kingsley will not only kick a few puppies on his way to work, but he will have a role in the spread of some nanovirus that's central to the plot of Iron Man 3.

F. Gary Gray was in the running to direct Captain America 2, but with him taking on the NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton, the list of potential candidates, that we know about, is down to two: Joe & Anthony Russo and George Nolfi. Who will be voted off the island next? That F in his name is short for Felix, by the way. I guess he doesn't want to be called by that name.

Things were quite on the Mel Gibson front for awhile, but with all things Gibson, things won't stay quiet for long. Earlier this week, after Warner Bros announced that they won't be moving forward on the Judah Maccabee movie that Joe Eszterhas and Mel Gibson have been collaborating on, Eszterhas released a 9-page letter online that basically accuses Gibson of using him and the pretence of the movie to defect negative attention targeted at Gibson. Eszterhas also accuses Gibson of, gasp!, anti-Semitism. In other Gibson news, Robert Rodriguez wants Gibson and Michelle Williams to join Danny Trejo for Machete Kills.

Speaking of Robert Rodriguez, he will co-direct Sin City 2 with Frank Miller and the movie will go into production this summer. Yes, Sin City 2 is finally a reality after all these years because Rodriguez found a company to finance the sequel. The first Sin City made over $150 million worldwide on a $40 million budget.

Other News and Notes:

Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake team up for online gambling drama Runner Runner.

Jennifer Connelly to set sail with Russell Crowe in Darren Aronofsky's Noah on March 28, 2014.

Edward Norton, Rebecca Hall, Gael Garcia Bernal, and Sean Penn may board Robocop remake.

No Hulk sequel coming from Marvel, at least not in the immediate future.

Steve Carell and Jake Johnson will star in a mob comedy for Warner Bros.

Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake throw their chips into online gambling movie Runner Runner.

Synopsis for Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchanged online.

Tina Fey is starring in a Nancy Meyers comedy called The Intern at Paramount.

Adrian Lyne may direct feature adaptation of John Grisham's The Associate.

The Flintstones reboot has been put on hold over at Fox.

Brad Pitt and Javier Bardem are in talks to board Ridley Scott's The Counselor.

Old Boy villain role offered to Sharlto Copley.

Sabrina the Teenage Witch is getting a superhero makeover at Sony.

Short Circuit remake will be a family friendly movie about modern warfare.

Alden Ehrenreich replaces Jack O'Connell as Ethan Wate in Beautiful Creatures.

Kevin Costner reveals that Princess Diana wanted a role in The Bodyguard 2.

Antoine Fuqua eyeing the Gerard Butler-starrer Olympus Has Fallen.

Alex Proyas will write and direct the adaptation of Robert Heinlein's novella, The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag.

Mark Wahlberg in talks to produce and star in the adaptation of John Grisham's The Partner.

Tim Burton is planning another stop-motion animation titled Night of the Living.

Fox wants Steve Carell to play dad role in the live-action adaptation of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

Is Disney working on an animated Marvel movie?

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