When Paul Walker tragically passed away midway through the production of Furious 7, Universal and director James Wan faced a difficult task. Do they scuttle the film or charge ahead, using rewrites and body doubles to finish Walker’s performance? They ultimately went with the latter option but refused to go into any details. Now, a new report confirms that a digitally recreated Walker appears in the film and that he was brought to life by the same company that made Gollum in The Lord of the Rings and Caesar in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.
What does a movie studio want out of its sequels? Is a sequel a failure if it simply matches its predecessor or does it need to make more money? That’s the big question that’s swirling around Insurgent, which made almost exactly as much as Divergent did one year ago. Seriously: there’s only a $500,000 difference in their opening weekends. So is Insurgent a success or a disappointment?
Suddenly, Disney’s upcoming live action version of Beauty and the Beast is looking like a very wise move. After all, their new take on Cinderella shook the box office out of the doldrums, launching with numbers that feel more at home with the summer than March. Yes, it even took down that might spring movie season titan Liam Neeson.
With some of the year’s biggest movies only a month or two away, the box office seems to have entered a holding pattern. Some of the new releases are minor hits. Others crash and burn. Right now, Hollywood just seems to be crossing their fingers and hoping for the sweet, sweet summer movie season to come along and save them (or at least the April release of Furious 7). In other words, every new release underperformed this weekend.
It’s an undisputed scientific fact that Beauty and the Beast’s Gaston is the greatest villain in the Disney animated canon. After all, we’re talking about a guy whose theme song is all about how many eggs he eats and how every last inch of him is covered in hair. Sorry Maleficent, you have nothing on this guy. So, the news that Luke Evans has been cast as Gaston in Disney’s upcoming live action take on Beauty and the Beast has us feeling awfully judgmental. Sure, Evans is a good actor, but is he Gaston good?
ScreenCrush wraps up the latest in movies and TV you might have missed. Today, Frozen finally makes its move to Broadway, a Space Invaders movie (!) gets a writer, and a ranking of all of Djimon Hounsou’s sidekick roles.
Remember how so many Star Wars fans lost their minds when we first saw Kylo Ren’s bizarre hilted lightsaber in the trailer for Star Wars: Episode 7? Well, they’re about to lose ‘em all over again. Hasbro is introducing a new line of toys that will allow children (and their parents) to customize their own Jedi weapons. If you should a little hilt was crazy, then you probably aren’t prepared for what people will soon be able to create in their homes.
The first ‘Pitch Perfect’ was a sleeper success, doing surprisingly solid business at the box office and earning equally solid reviews from critics. But it was home video that transformed this little a cappella comedy into a genuine sensation, instantly becoming the favorite film of 12-year-old girls (and their initially reluctant parents) all over the world. So the new ‘Pitch Perfect 2’ trailer arrives with the air of an event film. The sequel is not an underdog, but the Bigger, Flashier, and Louder follow-up that has the confidence to suggest that there is an entire franchise to be found here.
In news that should surprise approximately no one, a new study from the University of Texas at Austin has discovered that “binge-watching” has been linked to depression, loneliness, and the inability to make wise decisions, like getting off the couch and doing anything else. Researchers Wei-Na Lee, Yoon Hi Sung and Eun Yeon Kang surveyed 316 people between the ages of 18 and 29, asking them about their mental and emotional states while they marathoned TV shows on Netflix (the study defined binge-watching as at least three episodes in a row).
Forged in the fires of Mount Doom, the Ring of Power was stripped from the hand of Sauron following the final battle with the Last Alliance and became of a keepsake of Prince Isildur. Now corrupted by the One Ring, Isildur fell in battle, losing the ring to the river. From there, “Isildur’s Bane” fell into the hands of the creature known as Gollum and from there, into the hands of the Hobbit known as Bilbo Baggins. It was only through the efforts of the Fellowship of the Ring and the brave Frodo Baggins that the One Ring was destroyed forever ... or so we thought. Because the ring has fallen into the hands of a young Texas boy, who was suspended from school for wielding such an accursed tool.
In most years, January tends to be the most boring month of the year for the box office. This is where Hollywood typically sends the movies in which it has the least faith. This is the dumping ground, the place where movies go to die so the studios can concentrate on their Oscar campaigns. However, thanks to ‘American Sniper,’ this January has bucked every trend. It may technically be a 2014 release, but Clint Eastwood’s war film has made the first chunk of 2015 interesting, shattering expectations and threatening to become the highest grossing film of last year in only a few weeks.
A lot of people are going to act like they didn’t see the enormous success of ‘American Sniper’ coming, but the signs were all there. On top of the promising limited release numbers, there was the awards buzz. On top of that, there were the names of director Clint Eastwood and star Bradley Cooper. On top of that, the subject matter of the film is inherently attractive to the same category of moviegoer that makes Christian-themed films into massive hits. ‘American Sniper’ had one doozy of a weekend, but it’s not that surprising.
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