Box Office: 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Top August Pre-Seller in Fandango History
James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy has become the top August pre-seller in Fandango history, easily out-pacing The Bourne Ultimatum, which debuted to a record-breaking $69.2 million in 2007. Galaxy, which begins rolling out in theaters Thursday night, would appear to have a shot at crossing $70 million in its North American debut and stealing the crown from Bourne Ultimatum to score the top August debut of all time, although pre-release tracking services have the tentpole at $65 million. From Marvel Studios and Disney, Fandango reports that Guardians is also the year's top pre-seller
- Pamela McClintock
Emile Hirsch Joins Craig Roberts’ Directorial Debut Just Jim
Though Submarine star Craig Roberts is just 23 years old, he’s already gearing up to begin production on his directorial debut. Roberts will lead Just Jim, which revolves around “a teenage loser whose life is turned around by the appearance of an enigmatic, handsome neighbor.” ScreenDaily reports that Emile Hirsch has now joined the cast, and one imagines he'd be a swell fit for the aforementioned neighbor. Filming begins in Wales this week, and co-stars include Aneirin Hughes, Nia Roberts, Richard Harrington, Matthew Aubrey, and newcomers Ryan Owen and Charlotte Randall. The pic will be released in the UK and Ireland sometime in 2015. The Welsh Roberts—who was recently seen onscreen in Neighbors, The Double, 22 Jump Street—previously directed a music video for the band Los Campesinos, but Just Jim marks his first time helming a feature film. He’s definitely a promising young talent in front of the camera, »
- Adam Chitwood
Edgar Wright to direct 'Grasshopper Jungle'
The film, based on the Ya novel by Andrew Smith, follows a young boy and his friends who cause a genetically engineered plague, unleashing human-size praying mantises, which they must fight. Wright will direct the flick once he wraps Baby Driver for Working Title.
- C. Molly Smith
Elle Fanning to Star as Mary Shelley in 'A Storm in the Stars' (Exclusive)
Elle Fanning, coming off of a starring turn opposite Angelina Jolie in Maleficent, has come aboard to star in A Storm in the Stars, a period romantic drama being directed by Haifaa Al-Mansour. Amy Baer is producing the indie via her Gidden Media banner with Joannie Burstein and Rebecca Miller exec producing. Storm, written by Emma Jensen, tells the story of the passionate love affair between dangerously charismatic poet Percy Shelley and 17-year-old Mary Wollstonecraft, who would a year later write Frankenstein as Mary Shelley. (Fanning will play the budding writer.) The script aims to tell of
- Borys Kit
Lionsgate Sets Rodrigo Cortes to Direct Ya Thriller ‘Down a Dark Hall’
Lionsgate has acquired the rights to young adult thriller novel “Down a Dark Hall” and set Rodrigo Cortés to direct the big-screen adaptation, the studio announced Wednesday. The film is based on the 1974 young adult best-seller from author Lois Duncan, who also wrote “I Know What You Did Last Summer.” Screenwriter Michael Goldbach wrote the original adaptation, and Chris Sparling is now doing a rewrite. Also read: ‘Pretty Little Liars’ Creator to Adapt Horror Novel for Lionsgate The story follows Kit Gordy, a new student at the exclusive Blackwood Boarding School. It is the opportunity of a lifetime, but Kit quickly realizes something. »
- Linda Ge
Comic-Con: Creator Michael Hirst Talks Vikings Season 3, Strong Female Characters, and Keeping the Show Historically Accurate
Having wrapped up its second season and being well into production on the third, cast and creators from History Channel’s historical drama Vikings took time out of slamming each other with swords and shields to visit Comic-Con to host a panel for the fans and hint at what’s coming up for Season 3. During the Con I was able to attend a roundtable interview with show creator Michael Hirst to discuss what is in store for the upcoming season. During the interview Hirst discussed the role of strong female characters in the show, how religion and mysticism are treated and used in the show, what is in store for Ragnar now that he’s come into his own power and the struggles of keeping the show as historically accurate as they can. Hit the jump for our Vikings Season 3 Comic-Con interview with Michael Hirst. Question: So at the end »
- Rachel Howard
Comic-Con: Chris Evans and Co-Producer Dooho Choi Talk Snowpiercer, Elaborate Fight Scenes, the Distribution Model, and More
Even in a year full of excellent science-fiction fare, Joon-ho Bong’s Snowpiercer stands out. The film---which has become notable for its ambitious multi-platform release, courtesy of The Weinstein Company’s RADiUS---as much as for its stellar reviews tells the story of a post-apocalyptic world where all life on Earth is contained to a single luxury train that circles the frozen planet once yearly. Within the train, a tightly controlled caste system has developed. When members of the train’s underclass attempt a rebellion, all hell breaks loose and long held secrets of this world come to light. The movie stars Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton, The Host’s Kang-ho Song and Ah-sung Ko, Ed Harris, John Hurt,, Jamie Belle, Octavia Spencer and Alison Pill is available in theaters and most every VOD marketplace now. But it really, really should be seen on the big screen. Last weekend at Comic-Con, Collider »
- Hunter Daniels
Sam Shaw and Thomas Schlamme Talk Manhattan, Serializing the Story, Balancing History and Fiction, & Prioritizing Emotional Honesty over Historical Accuracy
What happens if you round up the nation's most brilliant scientific minds, seclude them in a makeshift city in the middle of the desert, and drown their lives in secrecy? These are the questions addressed in Manhattan, the new historical drama from creator Sam Shaw (Masters of Sex) and director Thomas Schlamme (The West Wing). Manhattan offers a semi-fictionalized version of the infamous Manhattan Project - the clandestine research and development project that resulted in the creation of the atomic bomb. While the events of the show are based on history, Manhattan largely steers clear of iconic figures like J. Robert Oppenheimer and Leslie Groves, and focuses instead on the interpersonal drama between fictitious characters as they contend with the costs of secrecy and isolation. Manhattan stars John Benjamin Hickey, Olivia Williams, Daniel Stern, Rachel Brosnahan, Ashley Zukerman, Harry Lloyd, Michael Chernus, Christopher Denham, Katja Herbers, Alexia Fast, and Eddie Shin. »
- Haleigh Foutch
Comic-Con: Ali Larter, Tina Majorino and Morris Chestnut Talks Legends
Sean Bean stars in Legends, a crime drama about an FBI agent working in the Deep Cover Operations division, who has a gift for assuming different identities, but begins to question his own identity after a chance encounter that makes him question everything about his life. Just before the show’s Comic-Con premiere, stars Ali Larter, Tina Majorino and Morris Chestnut spoke to the press about the new show. Legends will air on TNT beginning August 13th at 9 p.m. Hit the jump for interview highlights. Question: Ali, what can you tell us about your character on the show? Ali Larter: I play a character named Crystal McGuire, and one of the things that really attracted me to the show and that made me want to be a part of it was it was a chance to play a woman who had chosen her career and had passion for her work, »
- Sandra Kraisirideja
Toonsmiths Get An Earful on Guild’s Pending ‘Wage Suppression’ Suit Against Disney, DreamWorks And Other Studios
The Animation Guild is gathering information for a possible “wage suppression” lawsuit against Hollywood’s major animation studios, members were informed on Tuesday night. The guild believes that toon studios, including Disney and DreamWorks, might have entered into an illegal pact not to recruit one another’s employees, thus suppressing their wages. Guild members were informed of the fact-finding mission during Tuesday night’s packed general membership meeting. “It’s come to light that Disney, DreamWorks, and other studios may have participated in a … wage suppression cartel, and our members have been interested in the guild taking action on behalf of those who may […] »
Twitter Reactions to Robert Halmi Sr.’s Death
The death of Robert Halmi Sr., the vastly respected producer of ambitious and Emmy-winning TV projects who led a very full life over 90 years, stirred plenty of comment and reaction on social media and beyond. Below is a sampling of reactions from some of the industry’s notables, including producer Gale Anne Hurd‘s (The Walking Dead) simple homage of two hashtags. https://twitter.com/GunnerGale/status/494638275718430720 https://twitter.com/sharonafox/status/494654002487767041 https://twitter.com/alexdgreenfield/status/494641538149154817 https://twitter.com/sonitahenry/status/494636898359341056 https://twitter.com/PedroCorro/status/494656090412314624 https://twitter.com/FredTopel/status/494658181126045696 https://twitter.com/NonStopPop/status/494657358401134592 »
SAG-aftra Funds Held in Trust Jump 16% to $153 Million
SAG-aftra’s funds held in trust have jumped by 16% to $153 million since last year, according to the union’s latest filing with the federal government.
The disclosure came in Tuesday’s filing of SAG-aftra’s Lm-2 report with he U.S. Department of Labor for the fiscal year ended April 30, which listed that the “Funds Held in Trust for Others” category at $153.04 million. The previous year’s figure was $132.26 million.
Asked about the increase, a SAG-aftra spokesperson said in response: “The majority of funds held in trust relate to production security deposits and residuals reserves — funds that will be returned to producers unless they breach their obligations under SAG-aftra collective bargaining agreements.”
“The amount of »
- Dave McNary
‘Heaven is for Real’ Surpasses Group of New Releases to Top Home Video Sales Chart
In a robust week for fresh product, five of the seven top home entertainment sellers the week ending July 27 were new releases.
The Sony Pictures drama “Heaven is for Real,” about the changes in a family’s life when their young son claims to have visited heaven during a near-death experience, debuted at No. 1 on both the Nielsen VideoScan First Alert chart, which tracks overall disc sales, Blu-ray Disc and DVD combined, and Nielsen’s dedicated Blu-ray Disc sales chart.
Three new releases rounded out the top five on First Alert: the Arnold Schwarzenegger actioner “Sabotage,” from Universal Studios, bowed at No. 3, despite a paltry domestic gross of just $10.5 million; Warner’s “Transcendence,” a sci-fi mystery with Johnny Depp »
- Thomas K. Arnold
Harrison Ford Is Back Up On His Feet Following His Star Wars: Episode VII Injury
It was all the way back in the first half of June when Harrison Ford had a bit of an accident on-board the Millennium Falcon while shooting Star Wars: Episode VII. Thanks to a malfunctioning hydraulic door, the legendary actor broke his foot, and reports said that he would possibly be off his feet for as many as eight weeks. This was very obviously bad news for the cast and crew of the upcoming sci-fi epic - but the good news is that Ford is now on the mend. The folks at the New York Daily News have gotten their hands on a photograph of Harrison Ford in Santa Monica, California walking without either a cast on his leg nor crutches under his arms. While there was a bandage around his ankle, the actor was seen getting into the pilot seat of his personal helicopter and apparently wasn't walking with »
Sony Housecleaning Continues as Ad Exec Tommy Gargotta Steps Down
Tommy Gargotta is stepping aside as president of Sony Pictures Worldwide Creative Advertising — the latest in a long line of departures as studio toppers continue a major housecleaning.
An informed source told Variety that Gargotta may remain at Sony in some capacity.
The move comes a week after Jeff Blake, Sony’s popular worldwide marketing and distribution chief, agreed to leave.
Several division heads have been fired within the past year including worldwide marketing president Marc Weinstock; home entertainment chief David Bishop; senior VP of media relations Steve Elzer; and Chris Cookson, president of Sony Pictures Technologies. Also departing were Matt Brown, executive VP, worldwide commercial for Sony Pictures Home Entertainment; executive VP of global communications Ann Boyd; VP of global communications Jason Allen and home entertainment and acquisitions public relations head Fritz Friedman.
- Dave McNary
Film Review: ‘The Harvest’
Horror movies have given us no shortage of overprotective mothers over the years, though Samantha Morton takes that archetype to new extremes in “The Harvest,” a powerful coming-of-ager with the potential both to scar and strengthen the psyches of an entire generation — if only it could find a distributor as daring as the folks who made it. Pitting two impressive teenage newcomers against an as-yet-unseen side of Morton creepy enough to rival Kathy Bates in “Misery,” this deeply unsettling child-endangerment dramamarks director John McNaughton’s welcome left-field return to the bigscreen after an absence of nearly a dozen years.
Always a bit of an outsider owing to his gift for blending dark humor and taboo subjects, McNaughton made his name with “Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer” before entering the freeze-frame hall of fame with “Wild Things,” but has worked only in television since 2001. Though hardly an obvious project with which to return, »
- Peter Debruge
Casting Net: Jamie Foxx to play Mike Tyson
• Jamie Foxx will reportedly play Mike Tyson in an untitled biopic. Terence Winter is set to write. Rick Yorn, Foxx’s manager, will produce. The project is still in the works and is currently without a studio. Though HBO released 1995’s Tyson, this is the first feature film to follow the controversial boxer. [Variety]
• Dakota Johnson will star in the Luca Guadagnino-directed A Bigger Splash. Tilda Swinton and Ralph Fiennes have signed on as well, and Michael Costigan will produce. The film, based on the 1969 French crime drama La Piscine, follows a triangle that develops between a couple and a »
- C. Molly Smith
R.I.P. Robert Drew, Pioneer Of American Cinema Verite
The documentary filmmaker who was called the “father of American cinema verite” died today at his home in Sharon, Conn. Robert Drew was 90. He was a Life magazine correspondent and editor when he formed Drew Associates in 1960 and hired a team of filmmakers that included then-unknowns D.A. Pennebaker, Albert Maysles and Ricky Leacock. Their first project was Primary, which followed handsome young senator John F. Kennedy as he campaigned in Wisconsin for the 1960 Democratic presidential nomination. Starting with Primary, Drew’s films pioneered a new journalistically minded code of documentary creation, including not directing subjects or using set-up shots or […] »
John Goodman in Talks for Trumbo; Dakota Johnson Makes A Bigger Splash; Domhnall Gleeson in The Revenant; Elle Fanning Leads A Storm In The Stars
Here's the latest casting news out of Hollywood: John Goodman is in talks to star alongside Brian Cranston in Jay Roach's Dalton Trumbo biopic, Trumbo. Dakota Johnson joins Ralph Fiennes and Tilda Swinton in A Bigger Splash, directed by Luca Guadagnino. Domhnall Gleeson is in negotiations to join Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy in Alejandro González Iñárritu's The Revenant. Elle Fanning to play Mary Shelley in Haifaa Al-Mansour's period romantic drama A Storm in the Stars. Hit the jump for more on each project. First up from The Wrap is news that Goodman is in early talks to star in Trumbo. Cranston stars as the title screenwriter, "whose career writing classics like Spartacus and Roman Holiday came to a halt when he was blacklisted in Hollywood after refusing to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1947. He was forced to write under pseudonyms, winning two »
- Dave Trumbore
Legendary Sets Scribe For ‘Operation Shakespeare’
Exclusive: Legendary Pictures is in talks with Michael Werwie to script Operation Shakespeare, an adaptation of the John Shiffman book. Title was the code name for an international sting, led by an elite Homeland Security team, to snare foreign arms dealers from acquiring and selling U.S. military technology. The book was published this month by Simon & Schuster. Werwie is scripting Lost Girls for Warner Bros. Related: Comic-Con: Legendary Unveils Glimpse Of New King Kong Pic ‘Skull Island’ Legendary showed at Comic-Con it can mount monster movies with the best of them, but this project follows an equally hot-button premise […] »
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