Writer/director James Cameron’s Avatar has added yet another milestone to its belt this year.  After becoming the highest grossing flick ever (close to a whopping $2.8 billion take worldwide) as well as becoming the best selling Blu-ray in the short history of the technology, Avatar has been named 2010’s most popular film torrent.  With 16,580,000 downloads, the film effortlessly topples last year’s ‘winner’ Star Trek with its measly 11 million illegal downloads.

Unlike its other records, however, I doubt the Fox marketing team will be clamoring to throw this one onto all the special edition DVD and Blu-ray covers coming our way in the future. Interestingly enough, one of Cameron’s principal selling points for 3D was that it would prove to be a surefire method for eliminating piracy…oops. Hit the jump for more details and the full list.

The 2010 runner-up was director Matthew Vaughn’s Kick-Ass which garnered 11,400,000 downloads.  Unlike Avatar, that film performed considerably below box office expectations in light of fervent hype from Comic-Con and film blogs such as our very own.  Given its second-place finish, there was clearly an attraction to the material, so who fumbled the ball – Lionsgate marketing or indolent fans? Kick-Ass carried an R-rating and its target audience is undoubtedly more tech-savvy when it comes to tracking down torrents, but the tonally confused TV spots couldn’t have done it any favors with the mass public either.  The box office blame game is a popular one in Hollywood and inconsistent piracy patterns such as this can only serve to inflame it.  With the gold and silver medals resting on two films at polar ends of the profit spectrum, it seems the debate on whether internet piracy deals a critical blow to a movie’s box office draw will have to remain at a stalemate for the time being.

Here’s the list of the top 10 most-downloaded movie torrents this past year [via Torrent Freak]:

1. Avatar 16,580,000…$2,779,551,867

2. Kick-Ass 11,400,000…$96,130,432

3. Inception 9,720,000…$825,408,570

4. Shutter Island 9,490,000…$294,803,014

5. Iron Man 2 8,810,000…$621,751,988

6. Clash of the Titans 8,040,000…$493,214,993

7. Green Zone 7,730,000…$94,875,650

8. Sherlock Holmes 7,160,000…,$523,029,864

9. The Hurt Locker 6,850,000…$48,612,915

10. Salt 6,700,000…$175,190,850


Release Date: February 4, 2011 (VOD), March 11, 2011 (limited theatrical)
Studio: Magnet Releasing
Director: Christopher Smith
Screenwriter: Dario Poloni
Starring: Sean Bean, Carice Van Houten, Eddie Redmayne, David Warner, Kimberley Nixon, John Lynch
Genre: Horror, Adventure
MPAA Rating: Not Available
Official Website: BlackDeathFilm.com
Review: Not Available
DVD Review: Not Available
DVD: Not Available
Movie Poster: U.S. One-Sheet

Plot Summary: Set in an apocalyptic medieval world, this is the story of a band of brothers whose quest is to hunt down a necromancer against the backdrop of the first outbreak of bubonic plague in England. A young monk is sent to investigate rumors of people being brought back to life, meanwhile a mercenary arrives in the same village. Against the backdrop of the peaceful village lies a pact with the forces of darkness, orchestrated by the village ruler.Trailer:
Coming soon!

Marcus Dunstan hinted to Shock Till You Drop a couple of months ago that a sequel to his directorial debut, The Collector, was gaining speed.

We have now learned that he is indeed heading into pre-production on the next chapter, entitled The Collection.

Josh Stewart will return as Arkin who escapes with his life from the vicious grips of "The Collector" during an entrapment party where he adds beautiful Elena to his "Collection." Instead of recovering from the trauma, Arkin is suddenly abducted from the hospital by mercenaries hired by Elena's wealthy father. Arkin is blackmailed to team up with the mercenaries and track down The Collector's booby trapped hide out and save Elena from his sadistic rituals

[Source: ShockTilYouDrop]

 Cate Blanchett (‘Lord of The Rings’ trilogy, ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’) will reprise her role from ‘Lord of The Rings’ trilogy as Galadriel, the Lady of Lothlorien.

More info on Blanchett’s return including PETER JACKSON’s reaction as well as casting of key roles from the book can be found HERE.

Orlando Bloom will likely be the next original cast member set for an encore. He’s near a deal to return as Elven archer Legolas. And it’s for more than a cameo.

Read more on that HERE.

As far as Ian McKellen (Gandalf), Andy Serkis (Gollum) and Hugo Weaving (Elrond)?? Those actors are no longer confirmed as being involved. THRALL WORLD previously posted they were on board whilst GUILLERMO DEL TORO was still involved as director but the source article specifically mentions they have not been confirmed since the change to PETER JACKSON as director.

[Source: ThrallWorld]
File this one in the rumor pile for now, but Die Hard 5 may be going in front of cameras next year.  According to Puerto Rico’s second-largest newspaper, Primera Hora [via Latino Review], the next chapter in John McClane’s endless saga of getting the shit kicked out of him will start shooting in Puerto Rico in 2011.  The report also says that Die Hard 5 (which is just a working title) will also shoot in Los Angeles, New York, and Vancouver.

Die Hard 5 shooting next year wouldn’t be out of the blue.  Back in May, we reported that Fox had brought on screenwriter Skip Woods (X-Men Origins: Wolverine) to write the script and in July, Bruce Willis said a greenlight on the film was imminent.

[Update: We've spoken to 20th Century Fox and they have informed us that this rumor is false.]

Bruce Willis keeps busy and it will be interesting to see where he fits a blockbuster action flick like Die Hard 5 into his schedule.  Along with Die Hard 5, he’sgot the action flicks Kane & Lynch and Set Up.  He’s also got the drama Ten, the indie thriller Violet & Daisy, Rian Johnson’s sci-fi flick Looper, and Wes Anderson’s next movie, Moon Rise Kingdom.  And yet despite this busy schedule, I won’t be surprised if it’s confirmed that John McClane is set to ride again in 2011.

[Source: Collider]

November 23, 2010 Walt Disney Pictures has confirmed to ComingSoon.net that Gore Verbinksi is now officially signed on for Disney's The Lone Ranger.

Verbinksi, who has worked with Johnny Depp on the first three "Pirates of the Caribbean" films and the upcoming Rango, will re-team with the actor, currently attached to play the Lone Ranger's sidekick, Tonto.
The Lone Ranger's origin story begins with a group of Texas Rangers chasing down a gang of outlaws led by Butch Cavendish. The gang ambushes the Rangers, seemingly killing them all. One survivor is found, however, by an American Indian named Tonto, who nurses him back to health.
The Ranger, donning a mask and riding a white stallion named Silver, teams up with Tonto to bring the unscrupulous gang and others of that ilk to justice.The film version will be produced by Jerry Bruckheimer with a script from Justin Haythe.

[Source: Comingsoon.net]

While Iron Man 3 is currently set for a May 3, 2013 release date, that doesn’t mean that anyone knows what the film will actually be about, including director Jon Favreau. The Cowboys & Aliens director says that the plot of Iron Man 3 will be contingent upon what happens in the other Marvel films that will be released before it. Favreau had this to say about it:

“In theory, ‘Iron Man 3′ is going to be a sequel or continuation of ‘Thor,’ ‘Hulk,’ ‘Captain America’ and ‘Avengers,’ This whole world… I have no idea what it is. I don’t think they do either, from conversations I’ve had with those guys.”

While this isn’t exactly old news (Favreau said as much back in May, when he also stated his desire to have the Mandarin be the villain in the next Iron Man film), the director told MTV News that he wouldn’t even be able to guess what the third film in the Iron Man franchise would be about, because so little is known about the other upcoming Marvel films until they’re actually finished and released. For more from Favreau, hit the jump.

The fluidity of the filmmaking over at Marvel makes knowing how a film is going to turn out before it’s finished very difficult. “The script is one thing,” Favreau said, “but when you actually see what you land on at the editing room — especially with Marvel where they film, cut, film some more and shape the film — you really learn as you go.”  Favreau did have a chance to give some words of wisdom to the directors that are continuing the Marvel film universe while he’s off doing other films:

“I’ve talked to ['Thor' director] Kenneth Branagh. I’ve met the cast members. I had a conversation with ['Avengers' director Joss Whedon] in passing, giving him my two cents about the film.”

Although it’s assumed that all of the principle actors from the previous two Iron Man films have options to appear in subsequent flicks, it’s not known for sure if Favreau will be returning to the director’s chair. He had some not-so-private issues with Marvel over the second film, with rumors going so far as suggesting that Marvel was looking to hire a different director to helm the sequel for less money. I hope Marvel has enough respect for Favreau as a filmmaker to ensure that he continues to spearhead the Iron Man franchise. He’s basically the one who jump-started the entire Marvel movie-making machine with his phenomenal success on the first Iron Man.

[Source: Collider]

While Disney hasn’t even shown a trailer for Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, the studio is already planning to shoot the fifth and sixth installments in the franchise back-to-back.  According to Hitfix, the studio is “quietly telling cast and crew to set aside a major block of time in the very near future so they can shoot Pirates 5 and Pirates 6,” back-to-back.  For those who don’t know, Dead Man’s Chest and At World’s End were shot this way and despite their gargantuan budgets, they made an even bigger return.  The Pirates series has become one of Disney’s marquee franchises so it’s no surprise they’re already planning out the new sequels.

Depp is currently planning to shoot Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows and Gore Verbinski’s The Lone Ranger in 2011.  Depp has also expressed interest in starring in a re-adaptation of Dashiell Hammett’s The Thin Man and has been in talks to costar in Kathryn Bigelow’s Triple Frontier.

There’s currently no word on whether Disney is trying to get Pirates 4 helmer Rob Marshall to direct the next two movies or where they plan to go with the story.  The big question is whether audiences will still want to see more Jack Sparrow.  We’ll get our answer to that question when Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides hits theater in 3D on May 20, 2011.

For those just tuning in, here’s the film’s official synopsis:

Produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and directed by Rob Marshall, “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” captures the fun, adventure and humor that ignited the hit franchise—this time in Disney Digital 3D™. Johnny Depp returns to his iconic role of Captain Jack Sparrow in an action-packed tale of truth, betrayal, youth and demise.  When Jack crosses paths with a woman from his past (Penelope Cruz), he’s not sure if it’s love—or if she’s a ruthless con artist who’s using him to find the fabled Fountain of Youth. When she forces him aboard the Queen Anne’s Revenge, the ship of the formidable pirate Blackbeard (Ian McShane), Jack finds himself on an unexpected adventure in which he doesn’t know who to fear more:  Blackbeard or the woman from his past.

The international cast includes franchise vets Geoffrey Rush as the vengeful Captain Hector Barbossa, and Kevin R. McNally as Captain Jack’s longtime comrade Joshamee Gibbs, plus Sam Claflin as a stalwart missionary and Astrid Berges-Frisbey as a mysterious mermaid.  In theaters Memorial Day weekend, 2011.

[Source: Collider]