January 03, 2015
        A January Oscar Predictions Update                American Cinema Editors (ACE) Announces Nominees                2015 releases to look forward to                The best films and performances of 2014                A look at the second spot in each of the main Oscar categories                The late breaking major Oscar contenders of 2014                Golden Globe post nomination predictions for December                Cinematic gifts from 2014                Spotlight on the Stars: Bradley Cooper                Which film will lead the nomination totals for Oscar this year?                A look at some potential first time Academy Award nominees this year                A Mid-December Oscar Predictions Update                Oscars: 9 Foreign Language Films Advance in Oscar® Race                Audiences are missing out on a funny film in Seth Rogen's "The Interview"                Spotlight on the Stars: Christian Bale        

Tag Archives: Entertainment

No one at the box office this weekend seemed to be a ‘Nymphomaniac’

Happy Sunday once again everyone, here I am with the weekly box office report for you fine folks out there. Leading the way in a pretty significant landslide this weekend was the presumed franchise starter Divergent, which debuted with a very strong $50 million at the box office. At number two we had the relatively weak debut of the family sequel Muppets Most Wanted, which could only pull in $16.5 million. Number three was last week’s number one Mr. Peabody & Sherman, which took in another $11.7 million from you all. The other new release in the top ten was the religious film God is Dead, which came out of nowhere to amass an $8.5 million cume. Among the independent/limited releases, we had okay debuts for the comedy Cheap Thrills and the documentary Jordorowsky’s Dune, while the anticipated theatrical release of Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac Part One was rather underwhelming. Apparently audiences wanted to watch that particular film at home on VOD as opposed to in a theater with strangers. Make of that what you will…
I’m fairly surprised that Muppets Most Wanted and Nymphomaniac Part One didn’t do better, while Divergent did about what I expected and God is Dead came out of nowhere (it wasn’t screened for critics, so I wasn’t invited to a screening and I don’t make a habit of seeking out these sort of flicks). Among the titles that opened well, the former basically assures that the next two books in the series will be coming to theaters near you, while the latter potentially could lead to a bigger opening for Noah next week, though folks looking for a similar experience there will be in for a surprise. In regard to the two that underwhelmed, the former ran into some resistance due to a few other kid-centric titles being out as well, so it wasn’t a must see movie. As for the latter, it was never going to be a crossover success, but I’m sure it had hopes of being an art house smash, and that clearly isn’t the case. Maybe Part Two will somehow do better in a few weeks?
Among the notable holdovers in theaters, we again have to discuss Wes Anderson’s movie for sure. The Grand Budapest Hotel expanded to about 300 theaters and moved up to number seven this week with $6.7 million. That’s some strong continued success there. Also worth mentioning besides […]

Thinking Out Loud: Who Could/Should Direct Ghostbusters III?

For this weekend’s edition of Thinking Out Loud, I only really have one topic in mind, and it’s on the direction of the Ghostbusters franchise. With the recent passing of Harold Ramis and the even more recent announcement that Ivan Reitman won’t be directing the in development sequel/reboot, I’ve been thinking about who might be best suited for the job. Bill Murray already is almost assuredly not going to be involved and Dan Aykroyd mostly is helping shape the script and will be a supporting player at best, so this is an opportunity to take the concept in a potentially new direction…
If I were in charge of offering the job to whatever filmmakers I desired, these would be the six (or technically eight, but you’ll see what I mean in a moment) that I’d be wining and dining. The half dozen different choices represent some unique takes on the material, but I think they’d all be successful candidates:
-Judd Apatow – For a few years now I’ve secretly hoped that at the very least Apatow would help produce a Ghostbusters movie. His stable of friends/actors seem perfectly suited to become wisecracking paranormal exterminators. You could have any combination of Jay Baruchel, Michael Cera, James Franco (maybe), Jonah Hill, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, Seth Rogen, Paul Rudd, Jason Segel, and Martin Starr in the roles, and that’s a solid recipe for comedy in my eyes. Apatow probably isn’t too interested in this gig, but I really wish he would be.
-Joe Cornish – I may not have loved Attack the Block, but in some ways Cornish’s film is almost a calling card for this type of studio project. He could make a rather unique mark. I’d think that he’d be a less likely pick because of his relative lack of experience, but if Godzilla turns out to be a big success, I could see Cornish following in the footsteps of Gareth Edwards and getting a big franchise to play with.
-Duncan Jones – A darker choice to be sure, but anyone who follows Jones on Twitter knows that he has a sense of humor as well. He’s certainly elevate the franchise and make it a real legitimate “film” as opposed to a comedy tent pole, but isn’t everything supposed to be darker and grittier anyway? He’s another less than likely candidate, but I’d hope that his name is at least floated about.
-Phil Lord and […]

Lionsgate Extends Deal with Grindstone

Lionsgate, whose recent success has been fueled by “The Hunger Games” franchise, has extended its long-term relationship with Grindstone Entertainment by signing new multi-year agreements with Grindstone President and CEO Barry Brooker and principal Stan Wertlieb, it was announced Thursday.
Grindstone’s films include the thrillers “Empire State,” starring Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson, and “Frozen Ground,” starring Nicolas Cage and John Cusack.
”They are an important part of the Lionsgate family and a key component of our slate,” Lionsgate Co-COO and Motion Picture Group President Steve Beeks. “We expect them to continue to serve as a reliable source of profitable films featuring world-class talent in the years to come and, as they continue to evolve as a label, we look forward to elevating our Grindstone relationship to the next level.”

Oscars®: Muppets Most Wanted – What’s up with the 2015 Awards Race

Directed by: James Bobin
Written by: James Bobin and Nicholas Stoller
Main Cast: Ricky Gervais, Ty Burrell, Tina Fey make up the main human actors, with various others voicing the Muppet cast members, plus cameos from tons of others in Hollywood
Past Oscar relations: The Muppets won Best Original Song (the song Man or Muppet was written by Bret McKenzie, who again is writing the songs here for Muppets Most Wanted)
Here is the next article in this new series on 2014 contenders hoping to compete for Oscar attention. Next (and second) up is James Bobin’s Muppets Most Wanted, which looks to capitalize on the prior films Oscar success (it won Best Original Song). The film is a sequel to the Oscar winning The Muppets, though this one is far more co-writer/director Bobin’s baby than last time, when he just directed and the vision was very much Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller’s (though Stoller still co-writes here). The spirit of the Muppets is still here though, as the gang goes on tour and has an international adventure that fits in very well with their past. Now, it’s going to hope that it can survive in our hearts and minds throughout the season and attempt to become another Oscar nominated Muppets movie.
What this flick has going in its favor is that it’s basically tailor made to receive a Best Original Song nomination. Many of the films in the franchise have showed up in that category, and this time around there are a number of catchy enough tunes to make it a very safe bet. The characters themselves are also just so charismatic and likable that you can’t help wanting to see more of them (remember the pseudo campaign to get them to host the Academy Awards telecast? I do), which is why whenever a new film of theirs comes out we talk about it as a potential dark horse contender for some bigger awards. I’m not sure about all of that this time around, but a Song citation seems likely to me.
Working against Muppets Most Wanted is that the movie is very slight and not anywhere near on the level of the last one (or the previous ones from years past). The movie is fun, but it feels like a sequel that mainly exists because the last one was successful, though cleverly they do comment on that very thing. Still, looking at this as any […]

‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ has one of the top limited release openings at this weekend’s Box Office

HOLLYWOOD NEWS NETWORK: Happy Sunday everyone, here’s the weekly box office report! Leading the way handily this weekend was the sequel 300: Rise of an Empire, which debuted at number one with an estimated $45 million, proving that folks still cared about this story years later. At number two we had the debut a new animated film in Mr. Peabody & Sherman, which hauled in an estimated $32.5 million. Among the limited release openings, the one of note is clearly The Grand Budapest Hotel, which managed to crack the top 20 despite only playing in four theaters. That quartet of theaters still brought the movie $800,000 in business, which gave it a top ten of all time per theater average of $200,000. Impressive.
The first 300 was something new and different, so its success was something to be celebrated, regardless of your thoughts on the actual flick. This time around, it’s now solidified itself as a franchise and a name brand, so look for another one of these in a few years time. As for Mr. Peabody & Sherman, audiences that had already seen the other animated offerings at least once were more than ready for this, so the good opening is somewhat to be expecting. In the case of The Grand Budapest Hotel though, this good an opening was a bit surprising, since it opened even better than Moonrise Kingdom did two years back.

Among the notable holdovers in theaters, Non-Stop managed not to crumble in its second week, taking in $15.3 million, while The LEGO Movie finally came down to earth, though it still added $11 million more to its cume. Son of God didn’t fare quite as well though, since it had over a 60% drop, giving it just $10 million for the weekend. Also of note is the return to the top ten of 12 Years a Slave, which managed to open at number nine despite coming out earlier this week on Blu-Ray and DVD. That Best Picture win last weekend was good for an extra $2.1 million, so congrats there.
Here now folks is what the top ten looked like at the box office for this particular weekend:
1. 300: Rise of an Empire – $45,050,000
2. Mr. Peabody & Sherman – $32,500,000
3. Non-Stop – $15,378,000
4. The LEGO Movie – $11,005,000
5. Son of God – $10,000,000
6. The Monuments Men – $3,100,000
7. 3 Days to Kill – $3,062,000
8. Frozen – $3,010,000
9. […]

Oscars®: What’s up with the 2015 Awards Race: The early contenders so far

I’m starting up with a new weekly series here at Hollywood News, one tentatively titled “What’s up with the 2015 Awards Race”. Once or twice a week, I’ll be looking at potential 2014 awards contenders, and for the inaugural piece today, I figured I’d cover some of the films that have already come out this year, including one notable release that’s beginning its theatrical run today. Future pieces will more specifically focus on one title in particular, completely with more of an in depth look at them, but today we’ll start off with a primer.
I’ve got a quartet of films to discuss, though they all have various pros and cons to their potential candidacies, obviously. Consider this a template for what’s to come during the year, including a placeholder grade of either “likely contender”, “potential contender”, or “long shot contender” for each…

The Grand Budapest Hotel
Directed by: Wes Anderson
Written by: Wes Anderson and Hugo Guinness
Cast: Ralph Fiennes, F. Murray Abraham, Mathieu Amalric, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Jude Law, Harvey Keitel, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Tony Revolori, Saoirse Ronan, Léa Seydoux, Jason Schwartzman, Tilda Swinton, Tom Wilkinson, and Owen Wilson
This film just began its theatrical run today in limited release, but Wes Anderson projects always flirt with the Academy’s attention. Anderson himself has a trio of Oscar nominations to his credit so far (for co-writing Moonrise Kingdom and The Royal Tenenbaums as well as for making the animated feature Fantastic Mr. Fox), so he’s no stranger to awards. Best Picture and Best Director has so far eluded him though. If the year is on the weak side, a comedically tinged film like this one could possibly slip in, though Anderson himself is more likely for another Screenplay citation than a Director one. Watch out for Ralph Fiennes too, as he could parlay a likely Golden Globe nomination into some Academy consideration as well.
Grade: Likely contender
The LEGO Movie
Directed by: Phil Lord and Christopher Miller
Written by: Dan Hageman, Kevin Hageman, Phil Lord, and Christopher Miller
Cast: (Voices of) Chris Pratt, Will Ferrell, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Nick Offerman, Alison Brie, Charlie Day, Liam Neeson, and Morgan Freeman
I have my doubts that we’ll see another animated title get a Best Picture nomination again for a while, but the reviews and box office for this one make me think that it’s at worth considering its candidacy at this early juncture. If nothing else, this one […]

Coming Soon: More Producer Credit Glut!

By ROBERT W. WELKOS
When you ask indie producer Luillo Ruiz how his recent low-budget action-comedy film Welcome to the Jungle featuring veteran martial arts star Jean-Claude Van Damme could come with 31 producer credits, his answer is simple and straightforward.
The film’s financiers were given executive producer credits, he said, while others who provided their production skills for less than what they would normally charge accepted other producer credits.
“They are not charging what they are supposed to charge but they are very passionate about bringing their skill to this film and the skills they bring to this film have a cost. That cost you should repay,” Ruiz explained by telephone from Puerto Rico, where his production company, Piemienta, is located and where the film was shot.
In the film, which came out in limited release Feb. 7 and has also been released on DVD, Van Damme plays an unhinged Marine who leads a group of unsuspecting office workers on a survival trek across a jungle-infested island when they find themselves stranded at a corporate retreat.
Ruiz said the shoot took 19 days in Puerto Rico.
According to IMDB, Welcome to the Jungle comes with two producers—Ruiz and L.A.-based Justin Kanew (“The Amazing Race”)—along with 14 executive producers, eight associate producers, four co-executive producers and three co-producers.
Welcome to the jungle, indeed.
But the Van Damme film is not an isolated case of producer credit glut.
Last year, Lee Daniels’ The Butler drew media attention apart from the drama’s strong reviews when it listed 41 producer credits.
The Producers Guild of America co-president Mark Gordon told the entertainment website The Wrap that the 41 producer credits was “a little embarrassing for everyone within our community.”
The PGA has been fighting producer credit bloat for years and now has a certification process in place to protect the integrity of the producer credit.
According to the PGA, once a producer’s work on a film is certified by the guild, the “Produced by” credit and producers name will be followed by the distinctive mark: “p.g.a.” All the major studios have signed on to the process as well as many independent producers.
In the days and weeks to come, Hollywood studios and independent distributors will be releasing all sorts of films that are crammed with producer credits. For example:
*Fifteen producer credits on IFC Films’ The Face of Love starring Robin Williams, Ed Harris and Annette Bening.
*Fourteen producer credits on A Birder’s Guide to […]

Oscars: Why ‘American Hustle’ went home empty handed

One of the more interesting and unlikely developments from this past weekend’s Academy Awards telecast was David O. Russell’s film American Hustle managing to lose in each of the ten categories it was nominated in. Historically, 0-fors almost never happen. Recent examples include Gangs of New York and True Grit, but by and large, if your movie is among the most nominated of the year, it winds up going home with at least a token win. So, how did American Hustle wind up being shut out, and why exactly did it happen?
In short, it was mainly due to the competition. The flick wasn’t nominated in any one particular category where it had an easy road to a win. Maybe if you took away The Great Gatsby from contention, maybe Best Costume Design would have been the place? American Hustle was the runner up in a lot of places, likely including Best Supporting Actress and Best Original Screenplay, but there wasn’t an obvious place to reward it, so a concerted effort was never made to just honor it in one particular place. The closest things to that was the Supporting Actress race, where Jennifer Lawrence nearly upset Lupita Nyong’o, but that was always going to be a toss up category.
American Hustle probably also suffered to some degree because of the Olympics. That stretched out the season and gave members of the Academy extra time to get around to 12 Years a Slave and to revisit films like Gravity, The Great Gatsby, and Her. With a shorter decision time, Oscar voters who were flirting with Russell’s movie might have just up and committed to it, instead of holding back and ultimately going in a different direction. You never can be sure about something like this, but I have a feeling that over the last week or two, the flick really had its momentum come to a screeching halt.
Personally, I liked the film more than a lot of my colleagues did, so I take no enjoyment in seeing it go home empty handed. That’s just the nature of the business though. There are only so many awards to be given out, and in a super competitive year like this one, something had to give. In a very literal way, the nominations turned out to be the reward for American Hustle.
You have to give the film a great deal of credit though for going […]

‘Non-Stop’ dethrones ‘The Lego Movie’ at the Box Office

Happy Oscar Sunday everyone! While wait for the show to start later on this evening, it’s time for the weekly box office report. Leading the way this weekend was a new film for a change, as Liam Neeson’s thriller Non-Stop debuted at number one with an estimated $30 million. At number two we had the debut of the religious flick Son of God, which took in an estimated $26.5 million, and down at number 14 we had the re-release of Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues in a special R rated edition. That movie grabbed an extra $1.3 million from fans. Among the limited release openings, we had a wide range of indie titles that failed to make much of a mark, including The Bag Man, Ernest & Celestine, The Lunchbox, and Stalingrad. They didn’t embarrass themselves, but none look to be a crossover hit or anything of that sort.
Liam Neeson continues to be a reliable action hero, as Non-Stop had a very solid first weekend haul. As for Son of God, folks didn’t seem to mind that it’s just an expanded version of the TV series The Bible that they already could have seen for free. As for Anchorman 2, that re-release was only designed for hardcore fans of the film, so don’t read too much into that small cume.
Among the notable holdovers in theaters, The LEGO Movie continued to be a blockbuster with another $21 million in its bank account. The other good holds were that of The Monuments Men, which made $5 million and keeps right on chugging along, as well as the $3.6 million more that Frozen took in this weekend.
Here now is what the top ten looked like at the box office for this particular weekend:
1. Non-Stop – $30,019,000
2. Son of God – $26,500,000
3. The LEGO Movie – $21,015,000
4. The Monuments Men – $5,000,000
5. 3 Days to Kill – $4,900,000
6. RoboCop – $4,500,000
7. Pompeii – $4,300,000
8. Frozen – $3,611,000
9. About Last Night – $3,400,000
10. Ride Along – $3,065,000

Oscars: Get to know a Best Picture nominee: “Philomena”

Directed by: Stephen Frears
Written by: Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope
Main cast members: Judi Dench, Steve Coogan, Sophie Kennedy Clark, Mare Winningham, Peter Hermann, and Sean Mahon
Number of Oscar nominations in total: 4
Other nominations besides Best Picture: Best Actress (Dench), Best Adapted Screenplay (Coogan and Pope), and Best Original Score
Notable precursor wins: Won Best Adapted Screenplay at the BAFTA Awards and Best Screenplay at the Venice Film Festival last year
Chances at winning Best Picture: Rather slim, though there’s supposedly a late surge going on to at least give it a long shot chance at a huge upset
Chances at other Academy Award wins: It’s potentially going to be shut out, though Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Original Score are certainly in play
ANALYSIS OF OTHER OSCAR NOMINEES: 12 Years a Slave, American Hustle, Captain Phillips, Dallas Buyers Club, Gravity, HER, and Nebraska
Philomena is the eighth (and second to last) film in my “get to know a Best Picture nominee” series, and it’s another nominee that realistically has to look at the nomination itself as the only surefire reward it can count on here. Yes, co-writer/co-star Steve Coogan and his partner Jeff Pope could swoop in and steal Best Adapted Screenplay (while Best Original Score is an open field), but Judi Dench is way behind in Best Actress, so there’s nothing for this movie to hang its hat on. Still, it’s a crowd pleaser for the most part, and that’s always a dangerous contender in Best Picture, so be aware of that.
Working in Philomena’s favor is the Harvey Weinstein factor. Weinstein and his brother Bob have had some tremendous success running The Weinstein Company, especially when it comes to getting their films recognized. They pulled a bit of a rabbit out of their hats getting a Best Picture nominee for this flick and since then have been working overtime to make the case that this movie deserves to win. While Best Picture is a hard sell, they can certainly make the argument that the film should be recognized somewhere, which is why Best Adapted Screenplay is in play. If enough of the older and female voters (which is where the campaign is focused) are taken with this flick, I suppose anything is possible, considering how it’s made so many moves late in the game.
If you’re looking for something that’s not in this film’s favor, it’s the fact that it has the fewest nominations […]

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