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April 10, 2008 |

By Daniel Carlson | Industry | April 10, 2008 |

Hey, remember when movie titles just kind of generically referred to the subject or characters at hand and let you, the willing viewer, discover for yourself what the films were actually about as far as content or quality? For instance, if a film was playful, it would often attempt to communicate this through a lighter title and (one hopes) a movie whose plot points were entertaining and easy to understand as playful. It’s the difference between a movie actually being funny and simply announcing, “I am funny, as you can clearly tell by my title!” Well, you can kiss the memories of those sweet days goodbye. Apparently inspired by the dark thriller Donkey Punch — which is a real film that played Sundance this year, and whose existence causes me to reexamine my whole understanding of theodicy — Overture Films has snapped up a spec script called Freshly Popped. It’s a teen comedy about a girl who works at a movie theater and has to decide whether she wants to lose her virginity to a geek, a cooler guy, or a popular jock, one assumes because teens in the film’s universe don’t have to study or do anything other than just bone like rabbits. The script was written by Megan Parsons, and it’s only through exertion of my formidable will that I am avoiding any kind of Parsons Project joke. Sources familiar with the pitch say the story is (somehow) reminiscent of Juno, which is this year’s way to describe a spec script without having to come up with your own idea. Anyway: Freshly Popped. Just let that roll around your noggin for a while and try not to kill yourself.

In interesting tech news: From now on, Disney and Pixar’s computer-animated films will be released in digital 3-D, beginning with Disney’s Bolt later this year. Among the format’s titles will be a sequel to Cars as well as revamped versions of Toy Story and Toy Story 2: Toy Storier. Perhaps the weirdest film Disney’s upcoming slate is 2012’s King of the Elves, based on a Philip K. Dick story about a man living in the Mississippi Delta who helps a band of elves deal with an evil troll and is then named their king. … Yep.

It was announced this week that UA is pushing the release of Bryan Singer’s Valkyrie, starring Tom Cruise as a Nazi who does, um, something, from this October to Feb. 13, 2009, which is Presidents Day. The studio says its because the potentially lucrative holiday weekend just emptied out, with Sony’s The Pink Panther 2 (start hating it now and beat the rush!) moving up to Feb. 6 and Universal’s The Wolf Man heading back to April 3. And it’s possible there’s some very slight truth to that. But the film is also not yet complete, and moving a wartime drama with a star and director as big as Cruise and Singer from a fall slot where it could be a possible awards contender to a spring dumping ground where it can more easily be downplayed has got to be seen as a lack of confidence on MGM’s part. And who wants to go see a Holocaust movie on Valentine’s Day weekend?

In casting news, Leslie Mann has joined the cast of I Love You, Philip Morris, a black comedy about a man (Jim Carrey) who goes to prison and falls in love with his cellmate (Ewan McGregor). Mann will play Carrey’s wife, who probably goes through some pretty sad and uncomfortable revelations about her husband. … Also, Toni Collette has joined Sam Mendes’ upcoming and as yet untitled “relationship comedy” about a couple, played by John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph, who are driving around the country looking for a place to raise their kid. Collette, who’s definitely got the chops for comedy and drama, will play their friend. What’s more, Dave Eggers wrote the script, so this one’s guaranteed to at least be interesting.

This morning’s trailer watch brings the inevitable clip for Mamma Mia!, which opens this summer and threatens to undermine the love for Amanda Seyfried I know we’ve all built up. … But damn it all, this song will not get out of my head:

Daniel Carlson is the managing editor of Pajiba and a low-level employee at a Hollywood industry magazine. You can visit his blog, Slowly Going Bald.

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