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The somber alternate 'Avengers' opening Joss Whedon wisely cut -- VIDEO

You’ve got to give Joss Whedon props for trying something a little darker, but his abandoned idea for the opening of The Avengers probably deserves its place in the dustbin of cinematic history.

In this sequence, available on the upcoming Blu-ray for the movie, we begin with a flash-forward to the smouldering city of New York, and S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) being grilled by the unseen members of the World Security Council. We see a shot of Captain America, looking mournfully at a wounded woman, and hear (but don’t see) that a lot of people have died.

This grim opening is meant to suggest that getting these super-powered individuals for a team was a colossal mistake.

Except … c’mon, who would’ve bought that? READ FULL STORY

'The Apparition' director Todd Lincoln talks about his new horror movie -- and terrorizing 'Twilight' fans

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Ever since he was a horror movie-obsessed kid growing up in Tulsa, Okla., Todd Lincoln has dreamed about unleashing hell onto the big screen. But the writer-director has spent much of the past decade discovering the real-life horrors of development hell as a succession of projects — including a reboot of The Fly and an adaptation of the comic book series Hack/Slash — came to naught. “You’d have the friends and the family and everybody come up and say, ‘Hey, maybe you should think about something else,'” Lincoln admits.

READ FULL STORY

Deleted scene from 'The Avengers': To smash or not to smash? -- EXCLUSIVE CLIP

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Remember that strange moment in The Avengers after Mark Ruffalo Hulks out aboard the S.H.I.E.L.D. hellicarrier and ends up plummeting to earth and waking up in a pile of rubble as an elderly security guard looms over him?

It turns out there was a lot more to that scene than we got to see, and Entertainment Weekly has the exclusive deleted clip.

Ruffalo’s exchange with a seen-it-all-and-then-some Harry Dean Stanton explores a fundamental question that persists throughout comic book lore: Which is the true identity — the superhero or the human alter-ego? READ FULL STORY

'The Avengers' sequel gets release date

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Avengers, assemble…in three years!

Walt Disney Studios announced on Thursday that the untitled sequel to The Avengers, the third-highest grossing movie of all time, will arrive in theaters on Fri., May 1, 2015. As the studio announced last week, Joss Whedon will return to write and direct the project as part of an exclusive three-year film and television deal with Marvel.

The announcement rounds out the next five films in Marvel’s “Phase Two” slate: Iron Man 3 is set for May 3, 2013; Thor: The Dark World  for Nov. 8, 2013; Captain America: The Winter Soldier for April 4, 2014; and Guardians of the Galaxy for Aug. 1, 2014.

The next lingering question: Where Edgar Wright’s Ant-Man will fit into this scheme.

Read more:
Joss Whedon on board for ‘Avengers’ sequel, working on Marvel-based TV show
Alexis Denisof explains his role in the ‘Avengers’ universe: ‘I’m certainly on the villain team’
‘The Avengers’ sequel: Should another female join the superhero squad?

Joss Whedon on board for 'Avengers' sequel, working on Marvel-based TV show

Joss Whedon will suit up once more to write and direct the sequel to The Avengers, EW has confirmed.

UPDATE, 4:30 p.m. PT: Marvel Studios has released the following statement: “Joss Whedon has signed an exclusive deal with Marvel Studios for film and television through the end of June 2015. As part of that deal, Whedon will write and direct Marvel’s The Avengers 2 as well as help develop a new live action series for Marvel Television at ABC. He will also contribute creatively to the next phase of Marvel’s cinematic universe.”

Earlier on Tuesday, during a conference call about Disney’s quarterly earnings, Disney chairman Bob Iger revealed that Whedon would return for the second installment of the film that has grossed nearly $1.5 billion worldwide since opening just over three months ago. Iger also said Whedon is working on a live-action TV series based in the Marvel universe for ABC, but had no further details.  READ FULL STORY

Matthew Modine Rises: Private Joker on the Dark Knight, Steve Jobs, and a Batman/Iron Man steel cage match

When Matthew Modine calls The Dark Knight Rises the “most insane film that I’ve ever been involved with,” that’s really saying something. After all, this is the same man who did a famously lengthy tour of duty with Stanley Kubrick to complete the seminal 1987 war film, Full Metal Jacket, an exhausting odyssey that lacked a scripted ending until the final stages of production. When Modine describes Christopher Nolan’s sprawling new Batman epic in such terms, however, he’s not referring to such chaos, but the sheer scope, the stirring action, and the swirling winds of philosophical and political commentary that are howling through Batman’s cape, Catwoman’s spandex, and Bane’s mask.

Modine, too, plays an important role in the proceedings. As Deputy Commissioner Foley, he represents a misguided Gotham City that has turned its back on what is important during a time of relative peace. Like the rest of the police force — except Commissioner Gordon — he’s hungry to capture Batman for all the wrong reasons, and when Bane finally grabs the city by the throat, he’s not prepared. READ FULL STORY

'The Dark Knight Rises': Who cares what critics think?

To be clear: I care what critics think, because I am one. And I am one because I believe that critical insights, analyses, and context, expressed with clarity and style, enhance the understanding and enjoyment of movies, regardless of whether the reader agrees with the opinion expressed by Critic X or Critic Y. Then again, whether you care what critics think is your own business — as is why you tend to like (or dislike) one critic over another. Is it a matter of trust and shared sensibilities? Is it a function of sentence structure and vocabulary? You tell me.

That said, seriously, who cares what critics think? READ FULL STORY

Alexis Denisof explains his role in the 'Avengers' universe: 'I'm certainly on the villain team'

Being a member of the Whedon-verse certainly has its perks — just ask Angel alumnus Alexis Denisof, who stopped by EW’s Comic-Con suite to chat about his latest Joss Whedon project, upcoming (partially musical!) Shakespeare adaptation Much Ado About Nothing, which also stars Amy Acker, Clark Gregg, and Nathan Fillion.

Since we had Denisof sitting on our couch, we just had to ask him about his role in another Joss Whedon-directed film: The Avengers. What, you didn’t know that Alexis Denisof was in The Avengers? Don’t feel too bad  — he was shrouded in shadows and under a  few layers of prosthetic make up.

Denisof, who is credited as “The Other,” appears in the film three separate times — he addresses Loki at the very beginning of the film, then argues with him at the halfway point. But at the very end of The Avengers, during the bonus post-credits scene, Denisof’s character speaks with a new baddie: the death-obsessed alien overlord Thanos, whom Darren Franich has already explained more effectively than I will attempt here.

Mind you, Denisof is not Thanos — he made that clear himself — instead, he’s the figure addressing Thanos. For now, we simply know him as “The Other.”

So who is this mysterious “Other?” Well, that’s tough to say, but here’s what we know: According to Denisof, he’s “certainly on the villain team” and “report[s] to Thanos.” As he explains, “Loki and The Other have a relationship. We’ve struck a deal, but the deal doesn’t deliver, so there are ramifications.” Listen to the whole conversation below: READ FULL STORY

See the first clip from Marvel's 'Avengers' short 'Item 47' -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

It started with a scrambled message.

After getting a puzzle via The Avengers Second Screen app, fans at San Diego’s Comic-Con went on the hunt Friday for a trail of clues that would eventually lead to a hidden screening for the new Marvel One-Shot short Item 47.

Not in San Diego? Or maybe just bad at scavenger hunts?

Fear not. Entertainment Weekly did the trek for you — and we came away with an exclusive clip. READ FULL STORY

Check out the new poster for Marvel's 'Avengers' short 'Item 47' -- EXCLUSIVE

This exclusive Comic-Con poster for Marvel’s new One-Shot short film Item 47 takes us back to a familiar vantage point.

The first time we looked down this Manhattan corridor toward the Stark Tower, it was in The Avengers poster and our old buddies Iron Man, Nick Fury, Thor, Captain America, Black Widow, Hawkeye, and the Hulk were busy defending this pulverized street from a gang of alien invaders.

But even good guys don’t always clean up after themselves. READ FULL STORY

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