May 05, 2014

Tag Archives: War of the Worlds

Tom Cruise Years of Doubt and Skepticism

HollywoodNews.com: Tom Cruise may have been blindsided by Katie Holmes’ divorce papers, but we – the media and the public – were more than ready. Rarely has a Hollywood couple drawn more skepticism, from the moment they revealed their togetherness.
Going back to the dawning of their relationship in 2005, the folks at Us magazine polled their readers, you may recall, and found more than 60 percent believed Cruise’s romance with the 16-years-younger Holmes was a fake. Even when the couple got engaged, many simply didn’t buy it.
Perhaps it was the crass, overblown, smells-like-a-publicity-stunt way in which Cruise and Holmes proclaimed their mutual affection on the eve of his ‘n’ hers summer blockbusters — “Batman Begins” and “War of the Worlds.” Remember? He made his proposal at — but of course — the Eiffel Tower the Friday before her “Batman Begins” opened.
The Cruise-Holmes relationship hit a new level of intensity, even for Hollywood. With unconfirmed reports that Tom was so obsessed and controlling that he gave Katie a GPS-equipped cell phone so he could know where she was at all times, fans began snapping up “Free Katie” t-shirts.
The ranks of TomKat supporters have been comparatively slim.
But there were doubting Tom’ers long before Katie came along. Despite his marriages to Mimi Rogers and Nicole Kidman, some – okay, many people refused to believe Cruise was interested in romance for anything other than appearances.
His relationship with Penelope Cruz was met with the same kind of disbelief as his relationship with Holmes. As Us put it in 2001, after Cruise and Cruz were seen dining together at the ultra high profile Spago restaurant: “…There was something about the typically secretive Cruise announcing a new relationship to the world that made some people suspicious.”
And one wary columnist noted, “Tom Cruise…doesn’t do anything that doesn’t have a reason.”
Some suggested that the sudden Public Displays of Affection between Cruise ‘n’ Cruz were really Tom’s way of throwing the press pack off following the machinations of his and Nicole Kidman’s divorce settlement, which appeared to be becoming contentious at the time.
Despite all the nay-sayers, Tom and Penelope lasted into 2003. Reports surfaced that a plan for a Valentine’s Day wedding had been postponed due to Penelope’s worries about a rumored relationship between Tom and Colombian actress/model Sofia Vergara – but those were denied, of course.
Tom and the beauty who [...]

Tom Cruise’s biggest global hit ever – Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol

By Scott Mendelson
HollywoodNews.com: As of yesterday, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol has earned $594 million worldwide, meaning that it has surpassed the $591 million earned in 2005 by War of the Worlds to become the biggest worldwide grosser in Tom Cruise’s career. Domestically, the film sits at $203 million, or behind the $215 million grossing Mission: Impossible II and the $234 million-grossing War of the Worlds. On the domestic front, it’s still ninth in terms of inflation, but the Tom Cruise films of the 1980s and 1990s didn’t have to deal with losing 1,600 screens in two weeks despite strong legs. It is beyond unfortunate that even a film as ‘leggy’ as Mission: Impossible IV has to contend with arbitrarily losing screens due to the 2-5 new releases that drop each and every weekend. The jam-packed schedule of mainstream movie releases, as well as the absence of a viable second-run market, has kneecapped any number of films over the last 5-10 years and resulted in screen-bleed and depressed total grosses even if the films didn’t exhibit the usual ‘quick-kill blockbuster’ behavior.
But, if I may be a bit more positive, we have a film that has grossed $200 million in the US from an $12.7 million opening weekend. There are just a handful of movies that have posted lower wide or even semi-wide opening weekends which still ended up with $200 million on their initial release in record history, and it’s pretty prestigious company. They are Jaws ($7 million semi-wide release opening weekend), The Empire Strikes Back ($10.8 million wide release opening), Raiders of the Lost Ark ($8.3 million), Back to the Future ($11.1 million), Ghost ($12.1 million), and My Big Fat Greek Wedding (wide release opening – $3 million). Heck, if you don’t want to count the IMAX sneak preview as the film’s opening, you still have a mere $29 million Fri-Sun debut, the kind of figure that, even in the holiday season, often isn’t enough to get a film to $150 million, let alone $200 million. This is an uncommon feat in a front-loaded era, and a real win for all parties, and a divisive strike for the idea that opening weekends don’t need to be the be all/end all of domestic box office.
To read more go to Mendelson’s Memo
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“The Grey” Tops Weekend Box Office. “One For the Money” and “Man On a Ledge” stumble.

HollywoodNews.com:In a somewhat refreshing turn of events, this weekend had three wide releases, all budgeted below $45 million and all technically geared towards adults. And for the fourth straight weekend this month, an R-rated new release topped the box office yet again. The top film of the weekend was Joe Carnahan’s wilderness survival drama, The Grey. The Liam Neeson vehicle, concerning plane crash survivors struggling to fend off death by various forms of nature (including wolves), opened with a solid $20 million. Yes, that’s slightly below the $21 million debut of Unknown and the $24 million debut of Taken around this time in 2011 and 2009, but those films were PG-13 while The Grey was rated R. The picture scored a B- from Cinemascore, which is not surprising. On one hand, it’s a good movie, a thoughtful and introspective mediation on several men coming to terms with their forthcoming demise. On the other hand, the film was sold as an action picture featuring Liam Neeson fighting wolves with his bare hands. Without going into spoilers, that’s not entirely accurate. Still the film obviously has fans, as the picture scored a relatively rare 3x weekend multiplier. Anyway, the film cost Open Road Films just $35 million, so this should be a solid moneymaker for the mini distributor even if the somewhat false advertising causes it to drop hard next weekend.
Coming in at second place was the Katherine Heigl vehicle, One For the Money. The long-delayed adaptation of the first of seventeen Stephanie Plum novels was not screened for critics, and the Friday morning smack-down seemed to imply that Lionsgate chose wisely. Despite awful reviews, poor buzz, and inexplicable tracking that predicted the film to open with just $5 million (huh?), the picture opened on the low end of Katherine Heigl’s standard opening weekend comfort zone, with $11.7 million. Say what you will about Heigl and her taste in projects, but she is an opener. Killers with Ashton Kutcher opened to $16 million, Life As We Know It opened with $14.5 million last year and New Year’s Eve (an ensemble piece where she was arguably the biggest box office star). And the novels have been around since 1994, so whomever at Lionsgate was able to convince the pundits that the picture was only going to open with [...]

22nd Producers Guild of America Awards to be produced by Paula Wagner

HollywoodNews.com: The 22nd Annual Producers Guild of America Awards will be produced by veteran producer Paula Wagner, announced today by PGA Presidents Mark Gordon and Hawk Koch. This will be the first involvement with the Producers Guild Awards for Wagner. The 2011 Producers Guild Awards nominations will be announced on January 4th and the ceremony will be held January 22nd at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza.
“Paula is an innovative and dynamic producer with some of the most impressive credits in the business. She has tremendous respect and passion for the producing craft, and we’re thrilled she accepted our invitation to produce the 2011 Producers Guild Awards show,” said Gordon and Koch. “We’re confident that with her energy, efforts and vision the Producers Guild Awards will be better than ever.”
“It’s been my privilege to be a member of the producing community for nearly 20 years, and I’m honored to produce the 2011 Producers Guild Awards,” said Wagner. “I continue to be amazed by the producing talent in film, television and new media. I’m thrilled to help recognize this year’s most deserving creative storytellers and to celebrate the necessary art and vital craft of producing.”
In 1990 the PGA held the first-ever Golden Laurel Awards, which were renamed the Producers Guild Awards in 2002. Richard Zanuck and Lili Fini Zanuck took home the award for Best Produced Motion Picture for DRIVING MISS DAISY, establishing the Guild’s awards as a bellwether for the Oscars. Last year, the PGA awarded THE HURT LOCKER with its Darryl F. Zanuck Producer of the Year Award in Theatrical Motion Pictures. The film was also awarded Best Picture at the 2010 Academy Awards. The Producers Guild Awards have also honored such legendary producers as Steven Spielberg, Jerry Bruckheimer, Brian Grazer, Steven Bochco, Clint Eastwood, Sherry Lansing, Robert Evans, Roger Corman and Lorne Michaels, among others.
Wagner currently helms Chestnut Ridge Productions, developing and producing film, television, theater, and new media projects. She has worked in the top ranks of the entertainment industry as a talent agent, producer, and top studio executive. Wagner began her career at Creative Artists Agency where she spent 15 years representing some of Hollywood’s top actors, directors, and writers. In 1993, she moved on to producing and launched Cruise/Wagner Productions with her former CAA client Tom Cruise. For more than a decade, C/W produced countless critically-acclaimed films, including the MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE franchise, WITHOUT LIMITS, SHATTERED GLASS, [...]

Tom Cruise’s ‘Knight and Day’: Beaten to a Pulp By Adam Sandler

By Roger Friedman
hollywoodnews.com: Tom Cruise had a bad Friday, the third day of release for “Knight and Day.” The film made $6.35 million, versus over $14.5 million for Adam Ssndler’s “Grown Ups.” The former film took three days to make a little less than what the latter did in one night.
Cruise was never a huge box office draw on his own. His biggest hits, “The Firm,” “Rain Man,” and “A Few Good Men,” were ensemble pieces with talented supporting casts and well thought out, well executed scripts.
Films like “Vanilla Sky” and “The Last Samurai” were not good, and not blockbusters. They averaged $100 million domestically, but cost a lot, too.
Cruise’s big films were always the franchise entries: the Mission Impossible series, the Bruckheimer films.”Eyes Wide Shut” was a financial disaster. Steven Spielberg batted .500 with him–”Minority Report” did about $135, “War of the Worlds” about $235 million.
In his long resume, only “Jerry Maguire” stands out as an artistic and commercial achievement with $152 million and a Cruise Oscar nom. It’s Cruise’s best film, hands down. His other Best Actor Oscar nomination was for “Born on the Fourth of July.” It brought in only took in $79 mil.
To read more go to showbiz411.com

Tom Cruise’s ‘Knight and Day’ to open 2 days earlier

By Scott Mendelson
HollywoodNews.com: Long story short – Knight and Day, Fox’s action-comedy directed by James Mangold and starring Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz, is set to open two days earlier than intended. Instead of directly facing off against Grown Ups (which stars Adam Sandler and every major star who has ever been in an Adam Sandler picture), the somewhat well-buzzed project will now open on Wednesday, June 23rd. Long reason short – Adam Sandler comedies generally open to about $35-40 million, and the track records of Cameron Diaz and Tom Cruise means that the action picture probably won’t win the weekend. Besides, the move gives it two more days before the 1,600 pound gorilla known as Twilight Saga: Eclipse takes its best shot at The Dark Knight’s $203 million five-day record (the five-day opening weekend record-holder is Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, with $200 million). As far as how well Knight and Day will open, you can bet that the tabloids are itching to tear Cruise apart when the film doesn’t open to blockbuster levels. But guess what? It probably won’t.
Like Harrison Ford and Tom Hanks, Tom Cruise made his name as Hollywood’s biggest and most consistent star when a $15 million opening weekend was very good, a $25 million weekend was fantastic, and a $100 million total was an unqualified smash hit. Cruise has had six opening weekends above $25 million. They are Minority Report ($35 million), Interview with the Vampire ($36 million), Mission: Impossible ($45 million), Mission: Impossible III ($47 million), Mission: Impossible II ($57 million), and War of the Worlds ($64 million). The next highest are four films (The Last Samurai, Collateral, The Firm, and Vanilla Sky) that have opened around $24-25 million. Of the six biggest opening weekends, two of them were Steven Spielberg sci-fi action pictures, three of them were Mission: Impossible films, and one of them was a controversial adaptation of a beloved novel. So you take away the pre-established properties and Cruise’s biggest original-material openings are Minority Report and Collateral, which opened about $10 million apart from each other. Oh, and two of those openings (War of the Worlds and Mission: Impossible III) occurred in the heat of Cruise’s couch-jumping public-relations meltdown.
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To read more go to Mendelson’s Memos.

KNIGHT AND DAY TRAILER

Tom Cruise-Cameron Diaz’s “Knight and Day” to open two days earlier

Hollywoodnews.com: Fox will blast off the Tom Cruise-Cameron Diaz action film “Knight and Day” on June 23, two days earlier than originally scheduled.
The recent news comes from the Hollywood Reporter.
Fox’s move seems logical, given Tom Cruise’s recent rising star on the MTV Movie Awards. Actor donned a semi-fat costume and revived his obnoxious “Tropic Thunder” film boss Les Grossman. Grossman essentially stole the awards show with his non-stop cursing and disco gyrating.
Also by bowing “Knight and Day” on a Wednesday, Fox places the action film in contention for a five-day record, similar to Cruise’s previous summer films “Mission: Impossible” and “War of the Worlds.” Adam Sandler’s PG-13 comedy “Grown Ups” will bow on Friday, June 25 against “Knight and Day.”
Fox’s move, also gives it a leg up on upcoming Independence Day weekend openers, “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse” on June 30 and the Nickelodeon toon live action adaptation, “The Last Airbender.”

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Behind the sound of “Robin Hood” with foley artist Gary Hecker

HollywoodNews.com: Award-winning Foley artist Gary Hecker recently joined CSS Studios’ Todd-AO in late 2009. One of the most accomplished Foley artists in Hollywood, Hecker has contributed to more than 200 films in a career spanning almost three decades. Among his recent credits are 2012,The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, Angel & Demons, Watchmen and the Spiderman trilogy.
At Todd-AO, Hecker will serve as Supervising Foley Artist, and while continuing to work on films, will also seek to grow the facility’s Foley department. “Gary Hecker is synonymous with Foley and enjoys universal respect in the Hollywood sound community,” said CSS Studios President Robert C. Rosenthal. “He is an exceptional talent, one who has helped to define his craft, and he makes a wonderful addition to our team.”
Hecker, who spent the past 16 years at Sony Pictures Entertainment, likened his move to Todd-AO to a reunion. “There are several artists at Todd-AO and its sister company Soundelux—including Lon Bender, Wylie Stateman, Per Hallberg, Karen Baker Landers and Mark Stoeckinger—with whom I worked early in my career,” he said. “I’m very excited to have the opportunity to work with them again and to ensure that Todd-AO has the best Foley stage in the industry.”
Hecker became enamored with Foley while still in high school and has worked in the field his entire career. He is the recipient of three Golden Reel Awards, most recently in 2006 for War of the Worlds, to go with more than 20 Golden Reel nominations. He has also contributed to several films that have garnered Academy Awards or Academy Award nominations for sound, including Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, War of the Worlds, Road to Perdition and Memoirs of a Geisha. In 1998, Entertainment Weekly named Hecker to its list of the “100 Most Creative People in Entertainment.”
Hecker is also well known for creating special voices for films. He helped create the “voice” of Godzilla in the 1998 remake of the film of that name and did voice work for the aliens featured in the 1996 filmIndependence Day. He also supplied vocal elements for Seabiscuit,300, Shrek and Mighty Joe Young.
“I’m a creative guy and it’s the creative aspects of Foley that have always appealed to me,” Hecker said. “I also like working with other sound artists and making my clients happy.”
For more information, visit www.toddao.com.
Article and Video courtesy of Soundworks Collection.

BEHIND THE SCENES OF “ROBIN [...]

Steven Spielberg saddles up “War Horse”

By Staff
Two years after splitting his fans with “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” Steven Spielberg has decided to direct “War Horse,” a film about a boy and his friendship with a horse throughout World War I.
Disney and DreamWorks plan to unspool the film on August 10, 2011.
“Its heart and its message provide a story that can be felt in every country,” Spielberg told Variety.
“War Horse” is based on a 1982 children’s novel by Michael Morpurgo as well as a London stage play written by Nick Stafford.
It’s not unusual for Spielberg to release two films in a given year, the last time being 2005 with “War of the Worlds” and “Munich.” Also due Dec. 23, 2011 is Spielberg’s 3D take on French comic book “The Adventures of Tin-Tin: The Secret of the Unicorn.”
Spielberg is also developing two other projects, “Robopocalypse” and the biographical film “Gershwin.”