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Steven Spielberg Indefinitely Postpones 'Robopocalypse' With Chris Hemsworth & Anne Hathaway

by Oliver Lyttelton
January 9, 2013 7:37 PM
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Steven Spielberg Robopocalypse

After a rough half-decade or so ("Kingdom of the Crystal Skull," "The Adventures of Tintin," "War Horse," failing to get "Harvey" made), Steven Spielberg is back to enjoying the kind of success he's used to; "Lincoln" is closing on $150 million domestically alone, and is likely to be the most nominated film when the Oscar nods are announced first thing tomorrow.

But things aren't all rosy in Spielberg-land, because The Hollywood Reporter are, well, reporting that "Robopocalypse," the long-gestating sci-fi blockbuster that the filmmaker was set to start filming in a few months for release in April 2014, has been postponed indefinitely. Penned by "Cabin in the Woods" writer Drew Goddard, it's based on the novel by Daniel H. Wilson about a machine uprising caused by an artificial A.I out to wipe out humanity, and had a pretty impressive cast already lined up, with Chris Hemsworth, Anne Hathaway and Ben Whishaw all signed on.

But word is from Spielberg's spokesman Marvin Levy that the film was "too important and the script is not ready, and it's too expensive to produce. It's back to the drawing board to see what is possible." Reading between the lines, it's probably another victim of the kind of nervousness that saw films like "Akira," "Paradise Lost" and "Arthur and Lancelot" cut down in pre-production. Whether "Robopocalypse" becomes as D.O.A as those, or whether it pulls a "Lone Ranger" and manages to get the budget down enough to the point where the studio are happy to pull the trigger remains to be seen.

In the meantime, that means there's some hot talent with windows in their schedules that weren't there before, and we're sure people will be queueing up to pick up Hemsworth (who, with "The Avengers 2" set for release in 2015, may not be able to be a part of the project if it does remount down the line) and Hathaway. And as for Spielberg, there was talk of him shooting Moses movie "Gods and Kings" in the spring of this year before "Robopocalypse" got pushed back the first time, so it's possible he'll step across to that. Or he could end up with something entirely different. Or maybe he'll even be persuaded to give "Star Wars Episode VII" a second look...

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  • hank | January 10, 2013 2:47 AMReply

    it's Episode VII. you heard it here first.

  • caro | January 9, 2013 10:31 PMReply

    is it in relation with Nolan in talk to direct and produce INTERSTELLAR? Spielberg could be interested by the production

  • MJ | January 9, 2013 9:46 PMReply

    I always hoped he'd wise up and not do this one (though the casting made me a little happier at the prospect of it happening that I had been), so this is good news for me. If he wants to do an effects movie next can he please make Interstellar finally? Make it two-in-a-row for ridiculously long-gestating passion projects. Or continue Tintin. Or both.

  • serpico | January 9, 2013 9:12 PMReply

    An apocalyptic movie has been postponed? Oh darn, I was looking forward to something fresh...

  • Northern Star | January 9, 2013 8:52 PMReply

    With 'Robopocalypse' effectively DOA for now, Spielberg has a big open window in his schedule, and I totally concur with him doing Episode VII, he always stated he would love to helm a 'Star Wars' movie, and his involvement in the first installment of the new trilogy would certainly give it automatic cred... although it would give whomever directs Episodes VIII and IX one heckuva tall order to follow!

  • Alan B | January 9, 2013 7:59 PMReply

    "Reading between the lines, it's probably another victim of the kind of nervousness that saw films like "Akira," "Paradise Lost" and "Arthur and Lancelot" cut down in pre-production." You should work on your reading-comprehension skills, then. Spielberg is far, far more powerful in Hollywood than the directors behind those other projects. He can - with a few reasonable exceptions - do whatever the hell he wants (the only project he wanted to do recently but couldn't was the Jonathan Nolan-scripted space film, which was a victim of Paramount-Dreamworks infighting). Are you seriously telling me that David Dobkin and Spielberg would face the same pressures by the studio? If Spielberg wants to push the project back, it is because he CAN, which explains why projects like Indy 4, Lincoln etc. were all put on the back-burner for more rewrites. Like Ridley Scott with 'Prometheus', you can't blame studio pressures or interference if you have problems with the final product because those directors have the power and opportunity to push projects back if they want to for more rewrites.

  • Alan B | January 10, 2013 8:21 PM

    Vindication. Spielberg told Deadline, “I had an epiphany and I only have had these a couple of time during the course of my work and whenever those voices occur, I need to listen to them. I found another way to tell the story, it’s a much more personal story for me. I let my cast and crew go make other movies, while I take a half a year to get it to the place that I need it.” So, Oliver suggested that Steven Spielberg - arguably the most bankable film director of the past 30 years - experiences the same studio pressures as someone like David Dobkin and Alex Proyas. I suggested that Spielberg pushed the project back BECAUSE HE COULD, yet Oliver acted as if I was way over-the-line and didn't understand what the hell I was writing about. *sigh* Maybe you might want to think before you write, Oliver, and not flip out because a commentator posits that the directors of 'The Change-Up' and 'ET' might be treated differently by studios.

  • MJ | January 9, 2013 9:47 PM

    If this was some sort of passion project, he could finance it out of his own pocket if financiers told him they wouldn't foot the bill, but I doubt he's all that invested in this film.

  • Rob | January 9, 2013 8:39 PM

    Actually, Spielberg has been cut down by the studiosbefore, even with Peter Jackson joining forces with him. Tintin was set to be co-financed with Universal, but they dropped out, and the film was delayed from 2010 to 2011.


  • Alan B | January 9, 2013 8:23 PM

    Well done, geniusssssssssssssssssss. However, I was going from BOTH the HR article and the Deadline article: From BOTH, I thought that Spielberg didn't want to rush an expensive project that didn't have a ready script ("he just didn’t want to rush an expensive film, and wanted more time to work on it."). There's a big, big difference between a studio telling a filmmaker that this project is too expensive, and a filmmaker taking it upon themselves not to rush a go project because they didn't want to deal with script problems during production. You don't understand the difference, that's cool: I guess you're too busy listening to Gabe Toro's unfunny puns or something ...

  • Oliver Lyttelton | January 9, 2013 8:12 PM

    Spielberg's spokesman literally says "it's too expensive to produce." What's wrong with my reading comprehension skills again?

  • C | January 9, 2013 7:50 PMReply

    Stop hating Tintin. Now.

  • bwaters | January 9, 2013 10:04 PM

    Tintin is easily the best thing Spielberg's made since Jurassic Park.

  • yer | January 9, 2013 8:35 PM

    No, you stop. No attempts at a Artificial-Intelligence type of revision. Leave it be as completely average.

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