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Cougar Town With Robots Coming To NBC

This story seems more like the plot of a recent episode of NBC’s seriously underrated (and on the verge of being cancelled) television series Community than an actual news item. But it’s absolutely true.

The makers of Cougar Town are planning a prime time soap opera involving robots.

It’s called Beautiful People and Michael McDonald, who last brought you the aforementioned Cougar Town describes it as a “what if” drama set in the very near future, where families of robots who exist and serve humanity suddenly become self-aware.

They’re calling Beautiful People “low tech, high drama”. Translation: they want to set it as close to modern times as possible to have a cheaper budget, and the show will probably mostly be about people and robot people sitting around talking. Robot soap opera.

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Doctor Who Movie Is Happening, But Will Ditch The TV Show

Doctor Who is being turned into a movie. It’s something fans have talked about for years, but somehow never took seriously. Nobody really saw this coming.

This morning though Harry Potter director David Yates was announced as the man in charge of bringing Doctor Who to the big screen. That’s the good news. The bad news is none of the team involved in the current TV incarnation of the franchise, whether it’s Russell T. Davies, Stephen Moffat, or anyone else, will have anything at all to do with the movie.

Yates is intent on creating his own interpretation of The Doctor’s mythos. Talking to Variety he says, “Russell T. Davies and then Steven Moffat have done their own transformations, which were fantastic, but we have to put that aside and start from scratch.”

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The Hunger Games Trailer Starts The Countdown

Here’s the first trailer for The Hunger Games, adapted from the popular teens in a dystopian future novel. You won’t actually see much of the games themselves, but this does a good job of setting up the premise and stops right before the action starts. Watch:

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AMC To Try Sci-Fi Programming With UFO Show, Thunderstruck

AMC took a leap when it greenlit The Walking Dead.  Sure, the graphic novel series is popular and Frank Darabont added some gravitas and respectability to the project, but a series about surviving the zombie apocalypse didn’t necessarily fit easily with the rest of AMC’s original programming.  The gamble payed off, though.  AMC was able to tap into the large base of genre television fans who are pretty drastically under-served right now and pull in more mainstream viewers by featuring high production values and rich character interaction.  With the crazy success of this first foray into genre programming, maybe it’s not such a surprise that AMC will now try its hand with another genre with a dedicated but underserved fanbase: science fiction.

Deadline says that AMC has bought the “hourlong UFO project” Thunderstruck from Paul Boardman, Scott Derrickson, and David Eick.  Boardman and Derrickson are the writing duo behind The Exorcism of Emily Rose and will executive produce Thunderstruck along with Eick.  Eick has a fairly impressive sci-fi pedigree as executive producer of Battlestar Galatica, and is also working with Guillermo Del Toro on ABC’s new Hulk series.  Taking the directing reins will be Derrickson, who previously directed the 2008 remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still (which I hated, although more for the writing than anything else).

So far, there doesn’t seem to a be a lot of information about what Thunderstruck will actually be about.  Deadline says the show is about “powerful and enigmatic entities that begin appearing all over the world.  After one shows up in the town of Great Falls, Montana, the local citizens must grapple with the dramatic effects and growing mystery of repeated visitations.”  Throw in a couple of brothers who band together to fight the threat and you’ve got the released plot of Asteroids, but I’m still a bit excited about Thunderstruck

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Hunger Games Is Lionsgate’s Most Expensive Film

According to a lengthy profile on Bloomberg.com, Lionsgate is betting big on its adaptation of the first The Hunger Games novel.  The traditionally indie film-focused studio has tried to break into the blockbuster game in recent years with big budget flicks like the Conan the Barbarian reboot and the Taylor Lautner vehicle Abduction, but it hasn’t gone very well.  Conan was, by all accounts, an epic flop and Abduction gained some success almost solely thanks to international receipts ($27 million domestic vs. $50 million international).  Despite the fact that TV programs like Mad Men and Weeds bring in steady returns, shareholders are losing patience with Lionsgate.  All of this adds up to extra pressure on The Hunger Games to do well right out of the gate.

The dystopic, youth adventure story is shaping up to be Lionsgate‘s most expensive film to date.  The studio put about $30 million into The Hunger Games during production and, according to Bloomberg, are expected to put another $40 million into marketing and advertising.  With the costs of the film already rising to nearly the worldwide gross of Abduction (before you even take in the cost of purchasing the film rights, etc), The Hunger Games is going to need to pull in some serious dough in order to succeed and justify adaptations of the rest of the series.  Bloomberg says the series (if it continues after the first film) is expected to bring in anywhere from $220 to $730 million before taxes, interest, and so on.

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Phantom Menace 3D Re-Release Trailer Arrives In High-Def

George Lucas is planning on re-releasing all the Star Wars movies in 3D, starting with The Phantom Menace on February 10 of next year. A few weeks ago we brought you the first re-release trailer for the 3D Menace but that wasn’t the official version, and a lot of you noticed there were some strange color issues involved with it.

Now Lucasfilm has given us an official version of the trailer, and it’s available in brilliantly glowing high-definition. That’s really the only way to watch any Star Wars movie. Watch it below or in ultra-HD on Apple. That’s a good trick…