April 24, 2014

Tag Archives: Epic films

From 1997 to 2009 there were five $1 billion film grossers. Between 2010 and 2012, we added an additional ten such films.

Just a few years ago, had I written a piece entitled “There are no films guaranteed to gross $1 billion this year”, you likely would have laughed and said “Of course not!”. As recently as 2010, the idea that any movie could or would gross $1 billion in worldwide ticket sales was somewhat of a pipe dream.
From 1997 to 2006, there were just two films to reach that milestone, they being Titanic (the biggest movie of all-time with a seemingly insurmountable $1.8 billion) and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, the Oscar-winning chapter to what can be argued is the finest screen trilogy of our time (that’s a debate for another day). In 2006, we saw the powerhouse success of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest which parlayed the unexpected popularity of the first film into an even larger haul for its sequel, breaking the domestic opening weekend record at the time ($135 million) and earning a massive $423 million in America and $642 million overseas.
In 2008, The Dark Knight pulled another “massively popular sequel to unexpectedly well-liked original” trick to the tune of $533 million in America (good for the second biggest grosser of all time in America, if only for a year) and just over $1 billion worldwide despite not playing in China due to that pesky “Chinese gangster hides Gotham mob money” subplot. 2009 saw James Cameron do that trick that James Cameron does yet again, with Avatar earning $1 billion worldwide in about seventeen days and going on to earn an eye-popping $2.7 billion.
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Gerard Butler is the “Hollywood Movie Star of the Week” – Photo Gallery

Our selected star to be included in our “Hollywood Movie Star of the Week Photo Gallery” is Gerard Butler. Gerard James Butler (born 13 November 1969) is a Scottish actor who has appeared on film, stage, and television.

A trained lawyer, Butler turned to acting in the mid-1990s with small roles in productions such as the James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), which he followed with steady work on television, most notably in the American miniseries Attila (2001). In 2003, he played André Marek in the adaptation of Michael Crichton’s Timeline.
He garnered critical acclaim for his work as the lead in Joel Schumacher’s 2004 film adaptation of the musical The Phantom of the Opera. In 2007, Butler gained recognition through his portrayal of King Leonidas in the film 300. Since then, he has appeared in projects including P.S. I Love You (2007), Nim’s Island (2008), RocknRolla (2008), The Ugly Truth (2009), Gamer (2009), Law Abiding Citizen (2009), The Bounty Hunter (2010), and as a voice actor in How to Train Your Dragon (2010).His new movie Olympus Has Fallen will open March 22, 2013.
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Photos BY PRPhotos.com
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‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ breezy action-packed trailer

The only spoiler bit is at around 1:02, where Captain Pike has some facial scars that I don’t recall him having at the end of the first Star Trek (he was of course seriously injured, but I don’t recall scarring).
Perhaps Pike gets those scars when Cumberbatch escapes from his glass prison at the halfway mark, because “He planned to get caught the whole time!”. Otherwise, this is a quick (78 seconds) and breezy action-packed trailer.
It’s nice that they aren’t focusing as much on Benedict Cumberbatch’s mystery villain (I have a theory on that, broached by a friend of mine and backed up by what we’ve seen thus far, but I’m not sharing in case I’m right) and also showing off that the film isn’t all gloom and misery this time around. The initial trailers tried to sell the film as a generic ‘dark sequel’ or The Dark Knight meets Skyfall meets Revenge of the Sith.
This new trailer plays in the Return of the Jedi/Tron sandbox with phasers set for swashbuckling adventure.

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Disney confirms J.J. Abrams to direct Star Wars: Episode VII

J.J. Abrams will direct Star Wars: Episode VII, the first of a new series of Star Wars films to come from Lucasfilm under the leadership of Kathleen Kennedy. Abrams will be directing and Academy Award-winning writer Michael Arndt will write the screenplay.
“It’s very exciting to have J.J. aboard leading the charge as we set off to make a new Star Wars movie,” said Kennedy. “J.J. is the perfect director to helm this. Beyond having such great instincts as a filmmaker, he has an intuitive understanding of this franchise. He understands the essence of the Star Wars experience, and will bring that talent to create an unforgettable motion picture.”
George Lucas went on to say “I’ve consistently been impressed with J.J. as a filmmaker and storyteller. He’s an ideal choice to direct the new Star Wars film and the legacy couldn’t be in better hands.”
“To be a part of the next chapter of the Star Wars saga, to collaborate with Kathy Kennedy and this remarkable group of people, is an absolute honor,” J.J. Abrams said. “I may be even more grateful to George Lucas now than I was as a kid.”
J.J., his longtime producing partner Bryan Burk, and Bad Robot are on board to produce along with Kathleen Kennedy under the Disney | Lucasfilm banner.
Also consulting on the project are Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg. Kasdan has a long history with Lucasfilm, as screenwriter on The Empire Strikes Back, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Return of the Jedi. Kinberg was writer on Sherlock Holmes and Mr. and Mrs. Smith.
Abrams and his production company Bad Robot have a proven track record of blockbuster movies that feature complex action, heartfelt drama, iconic heroes and fantastic production values with such credits as Star Trek, Super 8, Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol, and this year’s Star Trek Into Darkness. Abrams has worked with Lucasfilm’s preeminent postproduction facilities, Industrial Light & Magic and Skywalker Sound, on all of the feature films he has directed, beginning with Mission: Impossible III. He also created or co-created such acclaimed television series as Felicity, Alias, Lost and Fringe.
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The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey opens with an expected (and record) $84 million

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (review/teaser/trailer) basically opened like a Lord of the Rings film, give or take various variables. Its $84.7 million estimated debut clobbered the December record, which is the $77 million earned by Avatar ($77 million, $80 million adjusted for inflation) and I Am Legend ($77.2 million, $89 million adjusted for inflation) in 2009 and 2007 respectively.
It soundly thumps the various other Lord of the Rings films, but this is where it gets tricky. The prior Peter Jackson Middle Earth pictures opened on the weekend before Christmas week, which I’ve long argued is the best weekend of the year to open your picture. So the fact that The Hobbit opened a week earlier makes this number a little more impressive, although the pre-Christmas weekend is more about legs than opening weekend. On the other hand, the prior films all opened on a Wednesday, meaning that their would-be opening weekend was spread out of five days. And of course, we have to take into account nine years of inflation and the whole 3D/IMAX price bump. So purely looking at inflation and comparing the Fri-Sun portion, this opening is about on par with The Two Towers ($62 million, but $84 million adjusted for inflation) and well ahead of Fellowship of the Ring’s ($72 million, but adjusted-for-inflation $66 million) and King Kong ($50 million, and $62 million adjusted for inflation) for what that’s worth. It’s a bit behind the $72 million/$95 million opening of The Return of the King.
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Peter Jackson returns with The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Nine years after Peter Jackson put a wrap on The Lord of the Rings trilogy (LOTR), the acclaimed director returns to Middle-earth with The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
I should start by making everyone aware of what a geek I am for this world of wizards, elves, and dwarves: I named the LOTR trilogy as the greatest film of the past decade (2000-2009) – and yes, I consider the three as one, we can debate that another time if you wish. So you can basically knock a half-star or so off this review if you are just a mild fan of J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy as seen through the vision of Peter Jackson and company.
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The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

From Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson comes “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” the first of a trilogy of films adapting the enduringly popular masterpiece The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien.
The three films tell a continuous story set in Middle-earth 60 years before “The Lord of the Rings,” which Jackson and his filmmaking team brought to the big screen in the blockbuster trilogy that culminated with the Oscar®-winning “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.”
The adventure follows the journey of title character Bilbo Baggins, who is swept into an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from the fearsome Dragon Smaug. Approached out of the blue by the Wizard Gandalf the Grey, Bilbo finds himself joining a company of 13 Dwarves led by the legendary warrior, Thorin Oakenshield. Their journey will take them into the Wild, through treacherous lands swarming with Goblins, Orcs and deadly Wargs, as well as a mysterious and sinister figure known only as the Necromancer.
Although their goal lies to the East and the wastelands of the Lonely Mountain, first they must escape the Goblin tunnels, where Bilbo meets the creature that will change his life forever…Gollum.
Here, alone with Gollum, on the shores of an underground lake, the unassuming Bilbo Baggins not only discovers depths of ingenuity and courage that surprise even him, he also gains possession of Gollum’s “precious” ring that holds unexpected and useful qualities…A simple, gold ring that is tied to the fate of all Middle-earth in ways Bilbo cannot begin to know.
Ian McKellen returns as Gandalf the Grey, the character he played in “The Lord of the Rings” Trilogy, with Martin Freeman in the central role of Bilbo Baggins, and Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield. Also reprising their roles from “The Lord of the Rings” in “The Hobbit” Trilogy are: Cate Blanchett as Galadriel; Ian Holm as Old Bilbo; Christopher Lee as Saruman; Hugo Weaving as Elrond; Elijah Wood as Frodo; and Andy Serkis as Gollum. The international ensemble cast of the Trilogy also includes James Nesbitt, Ken Stott, Sylvester McCoy, Barry Humphries, Aidan Turner, Dean O’Gorman, Graham McTavish, Adam Brown, Peter Hambleton, John Callen, Mark Hadlow, Jed Brophy, William Kircher, Stephen Hunter, Lee Pace, Benedict Cumberbatch, Manu Bennett and Conan Stevens.
The screenplay for “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” is by Fran Walsh & Philippa Boyens & Peter Jackson & Guillermo del Toro, based on the novel by J.R.R. [...]

Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln” unveils first official trailer – OSCARS

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Steven Spielberg and Joseph Gordon Levitt introduced the first full trailer for the director’s highly anticipated “Lincoln” during a unique Google+ event in New York City.
The full clip gives us an excellent view of Daniel Day-Lewis as our nation’s 16tht president, who is grappling with his administrators during the closing moments of the Civil War (and, as it turns out, his last few weeks on this Earth).
Sight unseen, it’s widely believed that Spielberg’s “Lincoln” will be an Oscar player. It certainly has the awards pedigree. Spielberg, an Oscar winner, has been recognized when he study’s humanity’s history in films such as “Munich,” “Saving Private Ryan” and “Schindler’s List.” And his cast is littered with Oscar winners (as the trailer) points out: Day-Lewis, Tommy Lee Jones, Sally Field, etc.
The constant fade-in-fade-out of this new trailer gives me a headache. I’d prefer one long shot, instead of 100 snapshots. But from what we can see, “Lincoln” delivers stunning historical production values and an as-expected mesmerizing performance by Day-Lewis. His voice is so modestly pitched – as Lincoln’s was rumored to be – that you almost don’t recognize him. Is it too soon to call his Best Actor nomination a lock?
“Lincoln” opens in limited release on Nov. 9, before expanding on Nov. 16. Here’s the trailer. Share your thoughts below:

Read more of our exclusive Awards coverage:
Our “Silver Linings Playbook” review
Ben Affleck’s “Argo” scores
Producer Harvey Weinstein
“Lawless” director John Hillcoat
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Cinemark and Paramount Pictures Celebrate the Coppola Restoration of “The Godfather Part 2”

HollywoodNews.com: Cinemark, a leading motion picture exhibitor, is following up the successful presentation of the Francis Ford Coppola’s restored version of his Academy Award®-winning “The Godfather,” with an exclusive, one-night only XD presentation of “The Godfather Part 2” on Thursday, April 19, 2012. The “Coppola Restoration” of the film, presented by Paramount Pictures, was meticulously restored using 5.1 digital surround sound and re-mastered using state-of-the-art technology, all under the watchful eyes of director Francis Ford Coppola, archivist Robert Harris and cinematographer Gordon Willis.
“The response to the first Godfather movie in Cinemark XD was incredible, so it is natural to present “The Godfather Part 2” to our customers,” states James Meredith, Vice President of Marketing for Cinemark Theatres. “We are very pleased to once again work with Paramount to show this award-winning classic film on our XD screens and give it the true big-screen treatment it deserves.”

The brilliant companion piece to “The Godfather” continues the saga of two generations of successive power within the Corleone Family from a screenplay by Francis Ford Coppola based on Mario Puzo’s novel. Directed by Francis Ford Coppola, “The Godfather Part 2” tells two important stories: the roots and rise of a young Don Vito, played with uncanny ability by Robert De Niro, and the ascension of Michael (Al Pacino) as the new Don. Reassembling many of the talents who made “The Godfather”, Coppola produced a movie of staggering magnitude and vision, and undeniably the best sequel ever made. Robert De Niro won an Oscar, and the film received six Academy Awards ®, including Best Picture in 1974. The film has been rated R by the MPAA.
The Coppola Restoration of “The Godfather Part 2” 40th Anniversary Edition as a project began in 2006 between Paramount Pictures and the director. Archivist Robert Harris joined the project, followed by the original cinematographer of the film Gordon Willis, to complete the team who worked arduously on the film for over a year going through the original prints, re-release prints, and negatives, shot by shot, foot by foot, frame by frame and even sprocket hole by sprocket hole.
The Cinemark XD Extreme Digital Cinema auditorium offers a complete entertainment environment featuring a wall-to-wall and ceiling-to-floor screen, plush seating and a custom JBL sound system with higher end components and 7.1 capable digital surround sound. The digital images will be delivered by a Doremi server and a Barco [...]

George Lucas Talks About Star Wars

HollywoodNews.com: Sirius XM Radio today announced that it will broadcast an in-depth interview conducted by Senator Bill Bradley with award-winning filmmaker George Lucas—the legendary creator of the Star Wars Saga and Indiana Jones series and chairman of Lucasfilm, Ltd.—on a special edition of Senator Bradley’s SiriusXM show American Voices.
Lucas discusses a variety of topics throughout the interview, including: his evolution as a filmmaker and storyteller and the role technology played on this journey; his philosophy on education in America; what inspired him to make Red Tails and the importance of sharing the history of the heroic Tuskegee Airmen with the youngest generation of African-Americans in our country today; and the spiritual life lessons woven into the Star Wars Saga.

Senator Bradley’s interview with George Lucas will premiere Wednesday, March 7 at 11:00 am ET on SiriusXM Stars (channel 107). Encore presentations will air all week on SiriusXM Stars, including: March 7 at 11:30 am, 12:00 pm and 12:30 pm; Friday, March 9 at 7:00 pm, 7:30 pm, 8:00 pm and 8:30 pm; Saturday, March 10 at 12:00 pm, 12:30 pm, 5:00 pm and 5:30 pm and Sunday, March 11 at 6:00 am, 6:30 am, 1:00 pm, 1:30 pm, 11:00 pm and 11:30 pm (all times ET). The Bradley-Lucas interview will also air throughout the weekend on SiriusXM Stars Too (channel 104). The complete programming schedule is available www.siriusxm.com/siriusxmstars.
Video excerpts from Senator Bradley’s SiriusXM interview with George Lucas are available at www.youtube.com/siriusxm.com.
George Lucas is the critically acclaimed director of THX 1138, as well as the producer of a myriad of independent films. In 1973, he directed and co-wrote American Graffiti, which won the Golden Globe and garnered five Academy Award® nominations. Four years later, Lucas’ Star Wars broke all box-office records and set new standards for sophistication in film visuals and sound. Lucas continued the Star Wars Saga as storywriter and executive producer with The Empire Strikes Back in 1980, followed by Return of the Jedi in 1983. He returned to directing in 1999 with Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace, the first major live-action film to be projected digitally. Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones broke new ground as the first major movie shot using entirely digital media. Lucas is the creator of the classic Indiana Jones character, and co-wrote and executive-produced Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom [...]

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