Now for bits of recent entertainment news that have caught my eye...
It was a good year for sci-fi movies. The Producer's Guild of America nominations have been announced, and they include three sci-fi films: Avatar, District 9, and Star Trek. The PGA's decision to follow the Oscars in increasing the number of best picture nominees from 5 to 10 allowed such "non-awards bait" movies as these to pick up nominations. Up also received a PGA nomination. In the recent past, an average of 4 of 5 PGA nominees have also been nominated for the Best Picture Academy Award. If that holds true this year, it will be a very abnormal Oscar (space?) race. See all PGA nominees here.
After only three weeks in the theater, James Cameron's Avatar has surpassed Return of the King to become the second highest worldwide grosser of all time (Variety). RotK closed at $1.1 billion, and as of Thursday, January 7, Avatar had grossed $1.14 billion. It now stands second only to Cameron's own Titanic, which took in $1.8 billion at the global box office. Whether or not Avatar can pass Titanic will depend on repeat business, but we can safely say that Cameron knows how to make a lot of money.
Blake Lively has been cast as leading lady Carol Ferris opposite Ryan Reynolds's Hal Jordan in the Green Lantern movie (Variety). At 22, she is 11 years Reynold's junior, and best known for her role in CW series Gossip Girl. An interesting choice.
Paramount is planning ahead, scheduling the release of the untitled Star Trek sequel for June 29, 2012 (Variety). 899 days and counting. Yeah, I'm just a little excited.
And the big news of the day (well, yesterday): The fourth Sam Raimi - Tobey Maguire Spider-Man installment has been called off. It seems director Raimi walked after being unable to agree with the studio over the direction of the story, and Maguire followed (Variety). Columbia Pictures will instead be rebooting the franchise with a James Vanderbilt script featuring a teenage Peter Parker. The first two Maguire Spider-Man movies were great, but after the disappointing third film, I'm not too sad to see the fourth called off.
Edit - Additional bad news for Spidey came out today (1/12): Spider-Man, Turn off the Dark producers are giving customers who bought tickets refunds, since due to production delays the show will not be able to start previews on February 25 as planned (Variety). They haven't called it off entirely, saying that the show will open some time in 2010, but it's not looking good.