January 02, 2015

Tag Archives: Entertainment

Kevin Smith: As under appreciated a filmmaker as the industry has

For this week’s spotlight piece, I wanted to do something a little bit different than usual. Rather than simply look at someone who’s got a film coming out this week, I wanted to highlight someone who I feel is one of the most under appreciated filmmakers in the business. It’s Kevin Smith, a writer/director/editor/actor/podcaster who’s managed to forge one of the more unique careers that Hollywood has ever seen. Some may take issue with him being an A-lister or a star (or even under appreciated), and Smith would likely be the first to say so as well, but he sells himself short. Even beyond his work, he’s looked at as an expert on comic book cinema. For example, when Ben Affleck was cast as Batman, what other filmmaker was literally sought out by the press for comment? His mere set visit to Star Wars: Episode VII is considered an event worth writing about. That’s rare folks. He’s never been someone the Academy looks to for nominations (though I’ve heard rumors that he was in the number six spot for Chasing Amy in Best Original Screenplay) and that’s a shame. A few years back, they didn’t even pretend to consider some of the performances he got out of John Goodman and Michael Parks in Red State, and that was their loss. Don’t even get me started on the Joey Lauren Adams snub either for Chasing Amy. Point is, no matter how you slice it, he’s under appreciated and underrated in Hollywood. As such, I feel he’s more than deserving of me giving him some appreciation in this piece today.
Smith has been a trailblazer in this business. From his independent film beginnings with Clerks to his embracement of the world of podcasting, he’s ahead of the curve. He was ahead of his time in selling himself as part of the movie experience, doing Q and A sessions before or after screenings of Clerks, sessions that became so popular he still sells out venues to this very day, two decades later. He helped launch the career of Affleck, Jason Lee, and others. Smith’s impact on Hollywood has been rather wide ranging, frankly.
If you take a closer look at his work than most do these days, he’s shown an ability to handle multiple genres and themes, more so than many realize. The aforementioned Chasing Amy melded LGBT issues into a raunchy romantic comedy. Dogma […]

Inside Star Poker in Hollywood

Poker Princess, Molly Bloom, in an adaptation from her new memoir, details how she went from a 26-year-old cocktail waitress to the hostess of Hollywood,s most exclusive high-stakes poker game in the July issue of Vanity Fair.
Luring A-list names (‘Tobey,’ ‘Leo,’ ‘Ben’) and taking home upwards of $50,000 in one night, Bloom writes that the biggest winners could be the most difficult. “You can tell a lot about a man’s character by watching him win or lose money,” she writes. “Money is the great equalizer.”
Bloom writes that one of the game’s regular fixtures, “Tobey’the best player, and the absolute worst loser, refused to play without his $17,000 Shuffle Master, a machine that is supposed to deliver a fair, random shuffle every time and increases the speed of each game.” During one visit Bloom makes to Tobey’s home, to return the machine and deliver his winnings, Tobey tells her he wants to begin charging rent for the machine’s use during games: “I looked past him to the expansive foyer of his mansion in the hills. You could see straight through to the ocean. I laughed. Surely he was joking. He couldn’t possibly be serious about charging rent for a machine he insisted that we use, from the guys whose money he was taking every week. But he was as serious as death, and I quickly stopped laughing. “O.K.,” I squeaked. “Um, how much? “Two hundred dollars.” I smiled to conceal my surprise. “I’m sure that will be fine. No problem,” I said.
Recalling a big game she organized for ‘Ben’ at Bungalow No. 1 at the Beverly Hills Hotel, Bloom writes that with more than $2 million on the table early in the evening, she quickly had ‘a humongous poker game’ going. Still, upon arrival, Ben requested only $50K in chips (the game’s minimum buy-in). ‘By now I had learned something about the psychology behind the way a guy asks for chips,’ writes Bloom. ‘Wanting to be overstocked or short-stacked at a table is a clear indication of playing style and ego. Whereas some guys want the tallest piles they can manage, the better to bully the table and scare people, Ben’s buy-in choice told me that he was a smart player who liked to limit his downside, especially at a table with a bunch of guys he wasn’t used to playing with.’
The game, Bloom writes, was one of those perfect […]

Tom Cruise’s new film, “Edge of Tomorrow,” doing good overseas

As the trusted standard for all studio box office reporting, Rentrak provides intelligence into overnight theatre-level reporting across the global theatrical market. Coupled with the official reported data, studios are able to analyze admissions and gross results in over 50 territories using Rentrak’s suite of products.
Rentrak’s Senior Media Analyst Paul Dergarabedian commented, “Warner Bros. “Edge of Tomorrow” puts the international marketplace on “Cruise” control topping the chart with $82 million in 63 markets while Disney’s “Maleficent” reaches $335 million worldwide. Fox’s “The Fault in Our Stars” in just 17 territories draws $17.1 million in its first weekend. Notably, Sony’s “22 Jump Street” gets a jump on the North American release with $8.8 million.”
The top-12 domestic weekend box office estimates listed in descending order, per data collected as of Sunday, June 8, 2014, are below.
1. Fault In Our Stars, The – 20th Century Fox – $48.2M
2. Maleficent – Disney – $33.5M
3. Edge Of Tomorrow – Warner Bros. – $29.1M
4. X-Men: Days Of Future Past – 20th Century Fox – $14.7M
5. Million Ways To Die In The West, A – Universal – $7.2M
6. Godzilla – Warner Bros. – $6.0M
7. Neighbors – Universal – $5.2M
8. Blended – Warner Bros. – $4.0M
9. Chef – Open Road – $2.6M
10. Amazing Spider-Man 2, The – Sony – $1.9M
11. Million Dollar Arm – Disney – $1.8M
12. Belle – Fox Searchlight – $0.8M
Full details regarding the global domestic and international box office go to
www.rentrak.com

Gary Lucchesi and Lori McCreary Elected Presidents of the Producers Guild of America

The Producers Guild of America (PGA) announced today its 2014 National Board and officer election results, which were shared during the Guild’s annual General Membership Meeting tonight on the Warner Bros. Studios lot. The Producers Guild elected Gary Lucchesi and Lori McCreary as Presidents. Other newly PGA national officers include: Vice Presidents of Motion Pictures David Friendly and Lydia Dean Pilcher; Vice Presidents of Television Tim Gibbons and Jason Katims; Treasurer Christina Lee Storm, and Vice President PGA East Region Peter Saraf. Outgoing PGA Presidents Mark Gordon and Hawk Koch, who served since 2010, received special recognition at the meeting for their unwavering service to the Producers Guild over the years, including their seminal advocacy on behalf of the Guild’s credit certification, the Producers Mark.
“We are extremely honored and excited to begin this new chapter with the Producers Guild,” said McCreary and Lucchesi. “We have seen numerous positive changes over the past four years as a result of the hard work of our Presidents, the PGA National Board and its committee members. We hope to continue to build upon the great work of our predecessors and to protect the rights of our industry’s hardworking producers.”
Gary Lucchesi has served as the PGA’s Vice President of Motion Pictures for the past four years as well as co-chaired the Produced By Conference for the past four years.
Lori McCreary has served as the PGA’s National Treasurer for the past two years as well as co-chaired the 2014 PGA Awards with Michael De Luca.
McCreary and Lucchesi’s election marks the second time the Guild’s nominating committee has selected a pair of members to stand for election together as Presidents, following Mark Gordon and Hawk Koch. The only other time the Guild has been governed by a pair of presidents was from 2001 – 2002, following the PGA’s merger with the American Association of Producers, when the Guild was overseen by Kathleen Kennedy and Tim Gibbons. The 2014 election represents the first time the PGA has nominated pairs of candidates for its Vice Presidential offices.
About Gary Lucchesi
GARY LUCCHESI serves as President of Lakeshore Entertainment, an independent film company based in Los Angeles. He has also served as the Vice President, Motion Pictures for the Producers Guild of America since 2010. Lucchesi executive-produced MILLION DOLLAR BABY, which won the Oscar for Best picture of 2004. The first movie he produced was PRIMAL […]

The Talent Search: Christians in Hollywood Part 2

By ROBERT W. WELKOS
Seventeen-year-old Nicole Smolen is an actress and Christian who works in Hollywood.
Smolen has appeared on such network TV shows as “Criminal Minds” and “Brothers & Sisters” and has been cast in feature films and a national TV commercial. But it’s her role in a new small-budget indie film called “8 Days” that makes her particularly proud.
In the yet-to-be released film, Smolen plays Amber Stevens, a 16-year-old from a well-off home who sneaks away to a high school party with friends and winds up drugged, kidnapped, raped and forced by pimps into the netherworld of sex trafficking.
But because those gritty elements contained in the plot are only the beginning of the storyline, Smolen believes she is not compromising her Christian faith.
“It’s a very inspirational story and I believe it will touch a lot of lives” Smolen told HollywoodNews. “All the profits go to safe houses (for victims of human trafficking) and people in need. It’s not like we’re profiting off of this.”
The role appealed to her, she noted, because “it’s a film that will benefit people and inform (moviegoers) about human trafficking….I don’t want to just be a typical teenaged girl (in films) who’s crazy about boys. I want films that cause change in people’s lives.”
Smolen credits Actors, Models & Talent for Christ, a faith-based nonprofit based in Tyrone, Ga., with helping hone her talents to the point where she and her parents decided to sell their home in Lawrenceville, Ga., and move to L.A. so that she could pursue an acting career. She said she still remains friends with people she met through AMTC and the network helps keep her grounded in an industry where success is often accompanied by rejection and periods of unemployment.
Never heard of Actors, Models & Talent for Christ? Since 2012 alone, the organization says it has trained between 2,000 and 3,000 people in the in’s and out’s of the entertainment and modeling industries.
The training isn’t cheap. This summer’s intensive six-day International Shine Conference scheduled July 1-6 in Orlando, Fla., costs $3,895 to $4,995 per person (a $300 discount applies if paid in full).
To attend the Shine conference, performers must first audition and be accepted. These auditions are held in cities throughout the United States. The next L.A.-area auditions are scheduled for June 21 in Pasadena and July 19 in Anaheim.
AMTC has its roots in a modeling convention that began […]

“Annie”: Jamie Foxx, Cameron Diaz, and Quvenzhané Wallis

“Annie” is the story of a business tycoon and mayoral candidate Benjamin Stacks who launches a campaign to take in Annie, a young girl who has been living with her mean foster mom Miss Hannigan since her parents left her as a baby.

The cast includes Jamie Foxx, Quvenzhané Wallis, Cameron Diaz, Rose Byrne, Stephanie Kurtzuba, Nicolette Pierini, Amanda Troya.
Below watch the “ANNIE Trailer:

“The Hunger Games” go mobile

Kabam, a world leader in free-to-play games for traditional players, today announced that it has partnered with Lionsgate, the premier next generation global content leader, to create a mobile game based on the global blockbuster movie franchise The Hunger Games.
Kabam will produce an exclusive role playing, card collection mobile game that will deliver the action of the blockbuster film into the hands of avid fans around the world. In the game, players assume the identity of District members sent on a mission in order to build their alliance, liberate their District, and rebuild Panem.
‘Lionsgate has an unparalleled track record of developing and producing blockbuster movie franchises like The Hunger Games,’ said Kabam Chief Operating Officer Kent Wakeford. ‘Partnering with Lionsgate, Kabam will build a mobile game that’s as much fun to play as the movie is to watch.’
The blockbuster The Hunger Games franchise, starring Academy Award winner Jennifer Lawrence, is a global phenomenon whose first two installments have grossed more than $1.5 billion at the worldwide box office, and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is the 10th highest-grossing domestic release of all time. The next two installments of the series, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2, will be released on November 21, 2014, and November 20, 2015, respectively.
‘We are so pleased to be working with Kabam to give the fans an experience like they have never had before,’ said Danielle DePalma, Lionsgate?s EVP of Digital Media. ?Being able to role-play with the mentors straight from the world of The Hunger Games will let fans feel as if they are in the middle of the action.?
The game will be developed in Kabam’s China studio, the same place where the hit movie based game The Hobbit: Kingdoms of Middle-earth was created and went on to generate more than $100 million in revenue during its first year.
Deep Hollywood relationships and access to blockbuster intellectual property (IP) is a key differentiator for Kabam in the free-to-play games sector. Kabam is a leader in taking an established film and extending that brand into mobile and web games that create new levels of engagement for global audiences long after a movie?s theatrical run. Kabam has experienced massive growth since its founding as a games company a little more than four years ago. The company now has more than 800 employees in offices throughout North America, Europe […]

“The Hunger Games: The Exhibition” will go on tour

Lionsgate the premier next generation global content leader, will launch a U.S. tour of ‘The Hunger Games: The Exhibition’ in summer 2015, it was announced today by Lionsgate Chief Marketing Officer Tim Palen. The state-of-the-art exhibition, which will include interactive displays of authentic costumes, props and other elements of the world of The Hunger Games, will be designed in conjunction with Thinkwell Group, one of the world’s leading theme park and location-based entertainment companies.
The first two Hunger Games films have grossed more than $1.5 billion at the worldwide box office and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire became the highest-grossing domestic release of 2013 and the 10th highest-grossing domestic release of all time. ‘The Hunger Games: The Exhibition’ will launch several months ahead of the November 20, 2015 worldwide release of the fourth Hunger Games film, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2, and will incorporate artifacts featured in the first three films from locations within the Capitol and the various Districts of Panem. The exhibition will be featured in major museums and institutions across the country and will be supported by a multimedia promotional effort and nationwide advance ticket sales.
‘Now that we’ve built a critical mass of intellectual property, we’re committed to extending our brands into exciting new businesses that create opportunities for our fans to engage with our properties at the same time they deliver significant incremental financial benefits to Lionsgate,’ said Palen. “We’re thrilled to launch this initiative with the U.S. tour of The Hunger Games exhibition, which celebrates the world of The Hunger Games and offers Hunger Games fans an extensive behind-the-scenes look at the movie-making process.” He noted that the exhibits will also be paired with local school curricula, and nearly all aspects of the tour will be interactive.
Palen also announced that, as part of the studio’s commitment to expand its branded retail and merchandising operations, it has brought veteran Thinkwell executive Jenefer Brown in-house, naming her to the newly created post of Senior Vice President, Branded Attractions. Brown will not only oversee the launch of the U.S. tour of The Hunger Games exhibition but will explore additional theme park attraction and other location-based entertainment opportunities around the world for The Hunger Games franchise and the Company’s entire portfolio of branded properties.
Brown brings over 10 years of experience working in both the entertainment and high-technology industries. Most recently, Brown served […]

‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’ With $262 Mil Global Box Office

The 7th installment in the X-Men franchise grossed an estimated $262 Mil Global. However, it’s lower than ‘X-Men: The Last Stand’ debut eight years ago.
The X-Men film series consists of superhero films based on the Marvel Comics superhero team of the same name.
Below estimated Domestic Box Office for weekend of May 23-25:
1 X-Men: Days Of Future Past, 20th Century Fox $90,700,000
2 Godzilla, Warner Bros. $31,425,000
3 Blended, Warner Bros. $14,245,000
4 Neighbors, Universal $13,945,820
5 Amazing Spider-Man 2, Sony $7,800,000
6 Million Dollar Arm, Disney $7,093,000
7 Other Woman, 20th Century Fox
8 Rio 2, 20th Century Fox $2,500,000
9 Chef, Open Road $2,260,000
10 Heaven Is For Real, Sony $1,950,000
11 Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Disney $1,722,000
12 Belle, Fox Searchlight $1,700,000
to read more go to www.rentrak.com

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes – Trailer

A growing nation of genetically evolved apes led by Caesar is threatened by a band of human survivors of the devastating virus unleashed a decade earlier. They reach a fragile peace, but it proves short-lived, as both sides are brought to the brink of a war that will determine who will emerge as Earth’s dominant species.

DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES
Action-Adventure
Release: July 11, 2014, in 3D
Director: Matt Reeves
Screenplay by: Mark Bomback and Rich Jaffa & Amanda Silver, based characters created by Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver
Producers: Peter Chernin, Dylan Clark, Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver
Cast: Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, Toby Kebbell, Kodi Smith-McPhee, Enrique Murciano, Kirk Acevedo

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