Good Morning Hollywood, March 30: A Prequel, a Cheerleader, a Second-Generation Sci-Fi Maven

Tidbits from CinemaCon, David Bowie's son learns from Major Tom, and why Zack Snyder will outlast Michael Bay

Tidbits from CinemaCon, and why Zack Snyder will outlast Michael Bay. (Hint: Chris Nolan has something to do with it.)

Monsters Inc.You can get a full dose of CinemaCon news from TheWrap's Report from CinemaCon column. But to add a little to the news coming out of Las Vegas, Disney/Pixar – which last year wowed attendees at what was then still called ShoWest with a sneak preview of "Toy Story 3" – revealed a key detail about the in-production sequel to "Monsters Inc." It's actually a prequel that deals with the lead characters Mike and Sully (voiced by Billy Crystal and John Goodman) in their collegiate days as monsters-in-training. Hence the title, as Brent Lang reported: "Monsters University." And, Disney VP Dave Hollis told the CinemaCon audience, the two lead characters "could not stand each other" when they first met. Of course, you can never judge a Pixar movie by its story synopsis; they always turn out better than that. (Entertainment Weekly)

Michael Cieply offers his own evaluation of the first speech by Christopher Dodd as head of the Motion Picture Association of America:  "[He] generally did what's expected of a brand-new chairman of the [MPAA] in his inaugural speech about the state of the movie industry: Played the cheerleader." (The New York Times)

Duncan Jones' first movie, "Moon," was set on a spaceship; his second, the upcoming release "Source Code," deals with time travel; and his next one, he promises, will be a big science-fiction movie that'll mark his last foray into the genre. (Then again, Jones' dad David Bowie probably didn't think he'd ever return to the rock-sci-fi character of Major Tom from his '60s hit "Space Oddity," though he did just that 11 years later with "Ashes to Ashes." So maybe we should take his no-more-sci-fi vow with a grain of salt.) At any rate, Jones gives Jen Yamato his nine tips for an aspiring sci-fi filmmaker, which include making sure the rules of your world are consistent, being familiar with the genre's classics and making sure that the marketing campaign doesn't give away too much.  Oh, and he also recommends learning your love of sci-fi from David Bowie, though that one may be a little hard for most young filmmakers to pull off. (Movieline)

Zack Snyder's "Sucker Punch" may be a disappointment at the boxoffice and a disaster in the eyes of the critics, but Brad Brevet thinks that its director may be the only one of a current breed of "visual storytellers" to have a fruitful film career. Snyder's advantage, he says, is that he'll be guided by Christopher Nolan as he makes his Superman reboot, "Superman: Man of Steel," which will give him "a leg up on his cohorts who are just out there trying to use special effects to mask the problems of the stories they are telling." He means you, Joseph ("Tron: Legacy") Kosinski and Scott ("Legion") Stewart and Jonathan ("Battle: Los Angeles") Liebesman and Paul W.S. ("Resident Evil: Afterlife") Anderson, and even Michael ("Transformers") Bay. Disney's decision to bail out of Kosinski's "Oblivion," Brevet figures, means "we are getting closer and closer to Hollywood becoming fed up with this idea of selling to the video game crowd." At least until the next video game movie grosses $200 million. (Rope of Silicon)

Since everybody's still wondering about Terrence Malick's "The Tree of Life" (which just launched a new website, TwoWaysThroughLife.com), Jeff Wells weighs in with a hearsay-laden story about how a group of foreign distributors and potential investors saw the film a year ago, hated it and thought it was "commercially catastrophic." Wells seems torn between wondering if the reaction truly means that major problems exist with the long-awaited film, and dismissing the concerns because "exhibitor and distributor types are always bitching about art films, and that's the only kind of movie Malick makes so he and they are natural-born adversaries." I'm guessing it's the latter, myself. (Hollywood Elsewhere)