Early Edition: Gerard Butler, ‘Quantum Hoops,’ and ‘Hunger

Like Russell Crow, Gerard Butler’s choice of recent films has not set Hollywood afire — ‘Law Abiding Citizen,’ ‘The Bounty Hunter’ and ‘The Ugly Truth,’ each moderate successes, has done little to kick the Scot further up the serious leading man ladder. That may change with ‘Machine Gun Preacher,’ in which Butler stars as Sam Childers, a former drug-dealing biker tough guy who found God and became a crusader for hundreds of Sudanese children who’ve been forced to become soldiers, which opens Nov. 18, and ‘The Bricklayer,‘ which Millenium Films has acquired for Butler to star in. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the film is based on the best-selling novel by former FBI agent Noah Boyd, about a rogue former agent, working as a Chicago bricklayer, who’s called in to help battle a criminal group that is demanding an escalating series of multi-million dollar ransom payments. No director or co-stars have been set.

Truth is stranger than fiction. Art imitates life. And documentaries become enactments if the stories are weird enough (‘Grey Gardens’). Such is the case with ‘Quantum Hoops,’ the 2007 documentary that followed the 2006 Caltech basketball team that had 21 seasons and 245 conference games without a single win. According to Deadline, Disney has acquired remake rights to the film, with Ben Stiller and Stuart Cornfeld’s Red Hour set to produce a comedy based on the story of the scientific whizkids hoping to break their losing stream with just one win before the end of the season.

Fresh off last week’s announcement that Sony has already set a May 2, 2014 release date for the sequel to ‘The Amazing Spider-Man,’ which opens in July of 2012, Lionsgate has announced that ‘Catching Fire,’ the second in ‘The Hunger Games’ franchise, will be released Nov. 22, 2013. Talk about optimism. ‘The Hunger Games,’ still an unknown quantity as a film, is in production now and won’t be released until March 23, 2012. And, lastly, FilmDistrict’s ‘Parker,’ based on the Richard Stark (Donald E. Westlake) character, directed by Taylor Hackford and starring Jason Statham, Jennifer Lopez, Clifton Collins, Jr., Michael Chiklis, and Nick Nolte, has been set for an October 12, 2012 release.

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