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From left, Zoe Saldana, the character Rocket Racoon, voiced by Bradley Cooper, Chris Pratt, the character Groot, voiced by Vin Diesel and Dave Bautista in a scene from ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’.
‘Huntsman’ release set for April 2016 & ‘Mummy’ moves to summer ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ set to take over US theaters

 LOS ANGELES, Aug 1, (Agencies): In the world of superheroes, the ragtag “Guardians of the Galaxy” are a bit less polished than the A-list “Avengers”, but they are nevertheless set to conquer US movie theaters this weekend. The latest film featuring heroes from the Marvel universe — hit North American screens on Friday — is a bit of a risk for Disney, which now owns the stable of comic book characters. Rather than beloved superheroes like Iron Man, Captain America and Thor — all headliners of successful films and the wildly popular “Avengers” movie — it features lesser-known adventurers, including a gun-toting raccoon voiced by Oscar nominee Bradley Cooper.

But that hasn’t stopped filmgoers from snapping up advance tickets, setting “Guardians” on course to be one of the runaway blockbusters of the summer. According to Hollywood industry journal Variety, the film has already set a record for advance online ticket sales for a August release, and is on track to rake in about $65 million in its opening weekend. So far this summer, the fourth installment in the “Transformers” series has earned the top spot for a debut weekend with $100 million in ticket sales. But Disney has high hopes for “Guardians” and has already green-lighted a sequel for summer 2017.

Early reviews have been positive: Entertainment Weekly calls it a “giddily subversive space opera that runs on self-aware smart-assery.” The New York Times says director James Gunn has given the film “a pulse, wit, beauty and a real sensibility.” The live action-animation mash-up recounts the space adventures of Peter Quill (played by Chris Pratt) who, when faced with the destructive plans of the evil Ronan the Accuser, allies with four aliens to try to save the galaxy.

“They’re such a ragtag group of people, a group of misfits,” says professional wrestler and mixed martial arts star Dave Bautista, who plays the muscular Drax the Destroyer, a character hell-bent on revenge over his family’s murder. “It’s cool — I think people are going to relate to them much easier than they would with Iron Man or Thor or Captain America. I think they’re just going to be able to relate to these characters,” he told AFP.

He describes Drax as “a very literal character, meaning he takes every thing you say very literally and in turn, he means everything that he says.” Along with Quill and Drax, the Guardians include the assassin Gamora, played by Zoe Saldana who — after going blue for her breakout role in James Cameron’s “Avatar” — is this time green from head to toe.

The top-flight cast for the comedy also includes Cooper — a two-time Oscar nominee for his work in “Silver Linings Playbook” and “American Hustle” — who goes off-camera this time to voice the obscenity-spewing raccoon Rocket, and Vin Diesel playing the tree-like creature Groot. The interaction between the titular Guardians “is a little rough at first... because they definitely are not friends or looking to be friends in this movie,” Bautista says. “Towards the end, they come together as a group for the greater cause, but they also kind of learn to love one another and rely on one another.”


LOS ANGELES: “The Huntsman” will be released on Friday, April 22, of 2016, and the opening of “The Mummy” is moving from that date to Friday, June 24, 2016, Universal Pictures said Thursday. “The Huntsman’ is a sequel to 2012’s “Snow White and the Huntsman.” Chris Hemsworth and Charlize Theron return to their roles in the followup, which is directed by Frank Darabont (“The Green Mile”), who wrote the current draft of the screenplay. Joe Roth (“Maleficent”) returns to produce. The original, which was directed by Rupert Sanders and co-starred Kristen Stewart, took in $155 million domestically and nearly $400 million worldwide for Universal.

At this point. “The Huntsman’ has the date to itself. Universal’s “The Best Man Wedding” is scheduled to open the week before. “The Mummy” is a new action-adventure take on the classic monster tale. The creative team is lead by director/producer Alex Kurtzman and producers Roberto Orci, Chris Morgan (the “Fast & Furious” series) and Sean Daniel (“The Mummy” trilogy). Jon Spaihts (“Prometheus”) wrote the screenplay, and Bobby Cohen executive produces. It’s the only movie currently set to open on that weekend, though “How To Train Your Dragon 3” will open one week earlier. 

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