What's Popping: 'Hunger Games', Alien Turtles, 'John Carter', 'Midnight Run 2'

The Hunger Games

Everyone knew The Hunger Games is going to open big, it's just a matter of figuring out how big. Conservative estimates had the movie opening in the $82-$115 million range, but it could also open somewhere up there in $125-$135 million range. Now that the Friday estimate is in, it appears the movie will outdo even the most optimistic box office projections. With an estimated $68.25 million for Friday, The Hunger Games is on track to make somewhere between $135-$160 million.

Michael Bay's seemingly innocuous description of the upcoming live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie to ad buyers in New York caused an uproar with the fan base on the interwebs. Bay said the Turtles in movie are "tough, edgy, and completely loveable." He also said they are of an "alien race." That last tidbit is what caused the fans to bring out the torches and pitchforks.

Back in the days, before the internet was disrupting business models of dead tree publishers, Variety sat at the top as Hollywood's premier trade mag. Fast forward to the here and now, Variety is a shell of its former self and has announced that it's looking for a buyer.

According to estimates, Disney's sci-fi epic John Carter cost $350 million to make and market, but has, so far, only made $185 million at the box office worldwide. Disney said that it expects a writedown of $200 million for the movie, which makes it the biggest box office bust of all time.

Robert De Niro is back for another Midnight Run. Work for the sequel was announced back in 2010, but the movie appears to be picking up steam with Universal out talking to directors. The one they're eyeing is none other than Brett Ratner. Supposedly, the sequel will pair De Niro with a younger comedic foil.

Other News & Notes:

Todd Phillips says Hangover 3 will be the last one.

The Expendables 3 will shoot this fall, according to Randy Couture.

Juan Carlos Fresnadillo is no longer directing Bioshock.

Chloë Moretz & Haley Bennett are on the shortlist to play the title character in the Carrie remake.

George Orwell's 1984 is getting another feature adaptation.

Martin Campbell replaces James Cameron for The Dive.

Abigail Breslin joins Halle Berry in the thriller The Hive.

Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn will return to the big screen with supernatural elements.

Reese Witherspoon developing Pennyroyal's Princess Boot Camp and may eye a supporting role.

David O. Russell takes on the undercover sting operation on Congress in American Bullshit.

Uwe Boll strikes again with The Bailout, a movie about the 2008 Wall Street financial meltdown.

Russell Crowe finalized deal to play Noah in Darren Aronofsky's bibilical tale.

Legendary to develop modern day dragon-slaying pic.

The Wolverine teaser poster may have leaked online.

Anthony Head will play Chiron the centaur in Percy Jackson sequel.

Director Jack Bender exits Paramount's Jack Ryan reboot.

Chronicle director Josh Trank will direct The Red Star for Warner Bros.

Dan Aykroyd and Chevy Chase team for comedy.

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