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Film intelligence: In space, no one can hear your franchise opportunities (plus Django)

Every week there are dozens of film news stories. Every week, we read them all and bring you the five most important ones in the single most important blog post you’ll ever read (today [at this moment]). This week: the aliens return, a great author exits, and a new trailer has us chained to our computer screens.

1. The Origin of the Species

The big release this week for mainstream and indie film fans alike is Ridley Scott’s PROMETHEUS, the director’s first return to the ALIEN mythos in over thirty years. Though Scott has repeatedly insisted the film is not a direct prequel to ALIEN he’s also made it clear that the film is set in the same universe as ALIEN and that if this movie is a hit, it’ll spawn (yes, I went there) several more sequels which would eventually intersect with the original ALIEN timeline. Sounds like me like a case of a man having his space cake and letting it burst out of his chest too. The film stars indie stalwarts Noomi Rapace and Michael Fassbender as a scientist (who’s also really good with computers and enjoys studded black leather?) and a robot (who’s also prone to sex addiction?) respectively, searching for the origins of life on Earth on a faraway planet. Will they find it? That depends on whether or not enough people go to see this movie. [Prometheus-Movie.com]

2. Ray Bradbury (1920 – 2012)

The literature world lost a giant this week, as Ray Bradbury, author of 27 novels and hundreds of short stories, passed away at the age of 91. Though best known for his work on the printed page, Bradbury left an indelible legacy on the world of motion pictures: his work was adapted into films (IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE) and television shows (I Sing the Body Electric, from The Twilight Zone) and inspired countless directors and screenwriters. At The Hollywood Reporter’s Heat Vision Blog, famous admirers from Stephen King to Steven Spielberg weighed in on his work and his impact. “He was my muse for the better part of my sci-fi career,” Spielberg said. “He lives on through his legion of fans. In the world of science fiction and fantasy and imagination he is immortal.” As long as there are books and readers — a fact that seems all the more assured thanks to Bradbury’s cautionary dystopian tale, FAHRENHEIT 451 — that much is certain. [The Hollywood Reporter]

3. Green With Excitement

When director David Gordon Green’s made the press rounds recently while promoting YOUR HIGHNESS or THE SITTER, the questions about “his next project” have all centered around a possible remake of Dario Argento’s SUSPIRIA. Turns out Green pulled a fast one: SUSPIRIA isn’t his next movie at all — and while no one was looking, he shot the whole thing down in Texas. It’s called PRINCE AVALANCHE, based on an Icelandic comedy called EITHER WAY that “follows two men whose lives intersect while working on a road stripping crew together.” Those men are played in this version by Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch (presumably speaking English and not Icelandic) and the film marks Green’s return to the indie roots of GEORGE WASHINGTON and ALL THE REAL GIRLS for Green. Up next for Green after PRINCE AVALANCHE? Supposedly that SUSPIRIA remake. Yeah, right. We’ll see. [Variety]

4. The Goog-In Theater

You might have noticed a strange Google Doodle earlier this week — when you clicked the picture of a ticket stub on Google.com, you saw an animated cartoon of a car driving into a field where a film is playing on an enormous screen. If you were were born after the year, say, 1990, you might have absolutely no idea what the hell you’re looking at. Allow me to explain: that thing is called a drive-in theater, and though they’ve declined significantly in popularity from their heyday in the 1950s and 60s, there are still hundreds operating around the United States, still showing double features of new movies for one low admission price — you can see if there’s one near you at DriveInMovie.com. The Google Doodle was celebrating the 79th anniversary of the very first drive-in theater in Camden, New Jersey. It’s a lovely sentiment, and it’s nice to remind people of this key part of America’s cinematic history (and cinematic present), but I can’t help but think that if Google took a fraction of one year of annual profits they could build Drive-Ins all over the country and run them for decades for free. Now that would be a lovely sentiment. [Google]

5. This Trailer’s Off the Chain

“Django…the ‘D’ is silent.” That’s about all that’s quiet in the amazingly bombastic trailer for Quentin Tarantino’s upcoming new film, DJANGO UNCHAINED, which premiered on the Internet earlier this week. You get to see Jaime Foxx transform from wayward slave to badass bounty hunter (all he’s missing is a wallet that says “BADASS BOUNTY HUNTER”), Christoph Waltz act all suave and vaguely German for some reason, and Leonardo DiCaprio do the best impression of Foghorn Leghorn I’ve ever seen. Though DJANGO’s production hasn’t gone entirely smoothly — a few weeks ago we learned that both Kurt Russell and Sacha Baron Cohen dropped out of the film well into principle photography — the trailer is nonetheless one smooth customer. The movie opens this Christmas. Try to contain your excitement for the next six months. If you can. [Fandango]