WEB NEWS Get ready for a cosmic boy band/ fast food/ Internet convergence. The Backstreet Boys will debut their superhero cyber alter egos on the Net this Sunday on the group’s official website the Backstreet Project. But that’s not all: The premiere of the 22 animated Web episodes entitled ”The Cyber Crusaders” — created by Stan Lee Media — coincides with the kickoff of the Boys’ five-week Burger King promotion. According to Stan Lee Media cofounder Peter Paul, BK has spent in excess of $50 million on the promotion, which includes 40 million action figures — each with the Backstreet Project URL etched into it — as well as 150 million ”collateral items” such as meal bags, tray liners, and displays. The end is nigh.
LEAK Several tracks from Madonna‘s upcoming album ”Music” — set for a Sept. 18 release — have become available via Napster and other MP3 trading sites, reports British mag Music365. The singer has yet to comment on the incursion, but when early cuts of the title track ”Music” were leaked onto the Net last July, she was furious. ”Those sites that offered a download of Madonna’s music are violating her rights as an artist,” said her manager Caresse Norman at the time. Among the ”Music” offerings are songs entitled ”Impressive Instant,” ”Runaway Lover,” ”I Deserve It,” ”Don’t Tell Me,” ”What It Feels Like For a Girl,” ”Paradise (Not For Me),” and ”Gone.” Now, of course, she and her label Warner Bros. won’t make a dime off of those songs.
REEL DEAL Warner Bros. has added another ”Batman” to its roster. Variety reports that ”Remember the Titans” director Boaz Yakin will cowrite and direct an adaptation of the animated series ”Batman Beyond.” The new movie will depart from the other films in the series — Bruce Wayne will no longer be the man behind the mask. Instead, the flick is set 40 years in the future when Gotham high school kid Terry McGinnis dons the cape to battle the evil corporate forces that have usurped Wayne’s empire. Isn’t that usually just known as a ”merger”?… If they can make ”Charlie’s Angels” into a movie, why not the ”The A-Team”? Variety reports that Fox 2000’s Top Cow Productions is developing a full length feature from the smash ’80s action series. We can see it now: Mr. T emerging from the water in a wetsuit, fondling his phallic gun, drop kicking his enemies with a beguiling smile…
CASTING Joseph Fiennes may have found another romantic role. Variety reports that Fiennes is in negotiations to star opposite Heather Graham in Chinese director Chen Kaige‘s English language debut ”Killing Me Softly.” The film is set to begin shooting in October, and MGM has reportedly paid $10 mil for North American distribution rights. (Hope they can keep their hands off Chen’s final cut.)… Michael Caine is in talks to costar in a remake, ”The Quiet American,” a Vietnam movie based on a novel by Graham Greene, according to the industry daily. ”The Mummy”’s Brendan Fraser is in final negotiations for the lead.
MUSIC NEWS U2 are preparing for their next release. The album, ”All That You Can’t Leave Behind,” is slated for Oct. 31, with a first single, ”Beautiful Day,” hitting airwaves Oct. 9. The new record is produced by longtime U2 collaborators Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno. Its list of songs can found at the band’s official website.