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1-20 of 217 items from 2016   « Prev | Next »


Jason Momoa’s Aquaman featured in behind-the-scenes images from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

28 June 2016 4:24 PM, PDT | Flickeringmyth | See recent Flickeringmyth news »

The Digital HD release of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has brought many goodies for fans of the DC Extended Universe, including the first ten minutes of the film [watch it here], a look at Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman in her cloak [see here], images of Jared Leto’s Joker from Suicide Squad [see here] and even some Justice League concept art [see here]. Well, we now have some more images, this time featuring Jason Momoa shooting his cameo as Aquaman

See Also: Read our review of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Ultimate Edition here

Fearing the actions of a god-like Super Hero left unchecked, Gotham City’s own formidable, forceful vigilante takes on Metropolis’s most revered, modern-day savior, while the world wrestles with what sort of hero it really needs. And with Batman and Superman at war with one another, a new threat quickly arises, putting mankind in greater danger than it’s ever known before. »

- Gary Collinson

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Watch the first ten minutes of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

28 June 2016 3:06 PM, PDT | Flickeringmyth | See recent Flickeringmyth news »

To celebrate the arrival of Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice Ultimate Edition on Digital HD today [read our review here], Warner Bros. has officially released the first ten minutes of the DC blockbuster, which sees Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne among the ruins of Metropolis during Superman’s (Henry Cavill) battle with General Zod (Michael Shannon) in Man of Steel. Check it out here…

Fearing the actions of a god-like Super Hero left unchecked, Gotham City’s own formidable, forceful vigilante takes on Metropolis’s most revered, modern-day savior, while the world wrestles with what sort of hero it really needs. And with Batman and Superman at war with one another, a new threat quickly arises, putting mankind in greater danger than it’s ever known before.

See Also: Follow all of our Batman v Superman coverage here

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice sees Zack Snyder directing a cast that includes returning »

- Gary Collinson

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Lois Lane and Alfred are ‘In the Shadow of Gods’ in new Batman v Superman featurette

27 June 2016 1:15 PM, PDT | Flickeringmyth | See recent Flickeringmyth news »

Ahead of tomorrow’s Digital HD release, Warner Bros. has debuted a new featurette for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice entitled ‘In the Shadow of Gods’, which focusses on Amy Adams’ Lois Lane and Jeremy Irons’ Alfred Pennyworth; check it out here…

Fearing the actions of a god-like Super Hero left unchecked, Gotham City’s own formidable, forceful vigilante takes on Metropolis’s most revered, modern-day savior, while the world wrestles with what sort of hero it really needs. And with Batman and Superman at war with one another, a new threat quickly arises, putting mankind in greater danger than it’s ever known before.

See Also: Follow all of our Batman v Superman coverage here

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is out now and sees Zack Snyder directing a cast that includes returning Man of Steel stars Henry Cavill (Superman), Amy Adams (Lois Lane), Diane Lane (Martha »

- Gary Collinson

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11 strange or ill-advised abandoned movie sequels

27 June 2016 7:34 AM, PDT | Den of Geek | See recent Den of Geek news »

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Jessica Rabbit kidnapped by Nazis. Costner rescuing Princess Diana. We look back at a few strange movie sequels that were never made…

The multi-million dollar success of any movie will inevitably leave Hollywood executives clamouring for a sequel. And while there are plenty of movies whose stories are open-ended enough to warrant a return to the creative well, there are many times when coming up with a follow-up idea requires all sorts of imaginative leaps. Just look at something like Alien: Resurrection, which had to come up an elaborate reason why Ripley had (spoiler alert) managed to survive a swan-dive into a lead foundry in Alien 3.

Which brings us to this list, which is devoted to a few of the weirder sequel ideas that never made it to the big screen. An E.T. sequel in which little Elliott gets tortured by aliens? Forrest Gump dancing with Princess Diana? »

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New digital artwork for Batman, Batman Returns, Batman Forever and Batman & Robin

26 June 2016 8:18 AM, PDT | Flickeringmyth | See recent Flickeringmyth news »

With Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice set for its Digital HD release this coming Tuesday, Warner Bros. has issued some new artwork for the digital releases of Tim Burton’s Batman and Batman Returns, along with Joel Schumacher’s Batman Forever and Batman & Robin. Check them out here (via Batman-News)…

See Also: Zack Snyder says Batman v Superman backlash has changed the tone of Justice League

Fearing the actions of a god-like Super Hero left unchecked, Gotham City’s own formidable, forceful vigilante takes on Metropolis’s most revered, modern-day savior, while the world wrestles with what sort of hero it really needs. And with Batman and Superman at war with one another, a new threat quickly arises, putting mankind in greater danger than it’s ever known before.

See Also: Follow all of our Batman v Superman coverage here

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is out »

- Gary Collinson

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Funko’s Sdcc exclusive Doomsday Pop! Vinyl figure from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

24 June 2016 8:25 AM, PDT | Flickeringmyth | See recent Flickeringmyth news »

Funko has revealed its San Diego Comic-Con exclusive Doomsday Pop! vinyl figure Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice; check it out here…

Fearing the actions of a god-like Super Hero left unchecked, Gotham City’s own formidable, forceful vigilante takes on Metropolis’s most revered, modern-day savior, while the world wrestles with what sort of hero it really needs. And with Batman and Superman at war with one another, a new threat quickly arises, putting mankind in greater danger than it’s ever known before.

See Also: Follow all of our Batman v Superman coverage here

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is out now and sees Zack Snyder directing a cast that includes returning Man of Steel stars Henry Cavill (Superman), Amy Adams (Lois Lane), Diane Lane (Martha Kent), Laurence Fishburne (Perry White), Harry Lennix (General Swanwick), Kevin Costner (Jonathan Kent) and Christina Wren (Carrie Farris) alongside Ben Affleck (Argo) as Batman, »

- Amie Cranswick

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‘Mechanic: Resurrection’ Trailer: Jason Statham Kicks Ass & Takes Names in Action-Packed Sequel

23 June 2016 2:49 PM, PDT | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »

Back in 2011, action star Jason Statham became Arthur Bishop in the crime thriller “The Mechanic.” Five years later, he returns as the infamous hit man in the sequel, “Mechanic: Resurrection.”

After thinking his days as a hired gunman were over, Bishop’s most formidable foe kidnaps the love of his life Gina, played by Jessica Alba. Putting his life once again in danger, he is forced to complete three more impossible assassinations in hopes of saving his beloved’s life. But, as always, the Mechanic plays by his own set of rules. 

The film is directed Dennis Gansel and also co-stars Michelle Yeoh and Tommy Lee Jones, with a snazzy goatee.

Read More: ‘American Pastoral’ Trailer: Ewan McGregor Makes His Directorial Debut By Adapting Philip Roth’s Pulitzer Prize–Winner

The Mechanic,” was a remake of the 1972 Charles Bronson classic, directed by Michael Winner, and made $62 million worldwide.

Statham is »

- Liz Calvario

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‘Chariots of Fire’ Conductor Harry Rabinowitz Dies at 100

23 June 2016 7:38 AM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Conductor and composer Harry Rabinowitz, who worked on more than 60 films including as the conductor on “Chariots of Fire,” has died at the age of 100, according to the BBC.

Rabinowitz was born in Johannesburg in 1916, and moved to England in 1946 to study at London’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

He served as head of music at BBC TV Light Entertainment in the 1960s, and as head of music services at London Weekend Television in the 1970s. In 1977 he was awarded a national honor, the MBE.

He composed scores for many TV shows including “Reilly: Ace of Spies,” for which he received a BAFTA nomination in 1984.

Rabinowitz worked as a conductor on several films with British director Anthony Minghella, including “The English Patient,” “The Talented Mr. Ripley” and “Cold Mountain.” He also worked on many Merchant Ivory pictures, including James Ivory’s “The Remains of the Day” and “Howards End. »

- Leo Barraclough

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New trailer for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Ultimate Edition

23 June 2016 12:55 AM, PDT | Flickeringmyth | See recent Flickeringmyth news »

A second trailer has arrived online for the Ultimate Edition of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which features a few snippets of footage from the extended cut, along with a glimpse at the special features set to accompany the movie on its home entertainment release; check it out here…

See Also: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Ultimate Edition set for free theatrical release for one night only

Fearing the actions of a god-like Super Hero left unchecked, Gotham City’s own formidable, forceful vigilante takes on Metropolis’s most revered, modern-day savior, while the world wrestles with what sort of hero it really needs. And with Batman and Superman at war with one another, a new threat quickly arises, putting mankind in greater danger than it’s ever known before.

See Also: Follow all of our Batman v Superman coverage here

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is »

- Gary Collinson

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Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Ultimate Edition set for free theatrical release for one night only

22 June 2016 1:34 PM, PDT | Flickeringmyth | See recent Flickeringmyth news »

Any U.S.-based fans of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice who’ve been clamouring for the chance to see the upcoming R-rated Ultimate Edition on the big screen will no doubt be delighted to hear that the film is set to screen theatrically across the States for one night only – and best of all, tickets are free!

The screenings of the extended cut are set to take place on Monday, June 27th – the day before the digital HD release of the DC blockbuster. Participating theaters are limited, but head on over to WBTickets to get your free passes while you still can.

See Also: Batman v Superman Ultimate Edition trailer and special features revealed

Fearing the actions of a god-like Super Hero left unchecked, Gotham City’s own formidable, forceful vigilante takes on Metropolis’s most revered, modern-day savior, while the world wrestles with what sort of hero it really needs. »

- Gary Collinson

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Gary Lucchesi to be Honored for Lifetime Achievement at Cayman Film Festival (Exclusive)

22 June 2016 11:17 AM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

This year’s Cayman International Film Festival will honor Gary Lucchesi with a lifetime achievement award on its closing night, July 4, Variety has learned exclusively.

Lucchesi is currently president of Lakeshore Entertainment and co-president of the Producers Guild of America.

Lucchesi began his career as an agent at William Morris, representing Susan Sarandon, Kevin Costner, Michelle Pfeiffer and John Malkovich. He then served as vice president and senior vice president of production at TriStar. Eventually he became president of production at Paramount Pictures before forming his own company, Gary Lucchesi Productions. There, he produced the Oscar-nominated film “Primal Fear.”

He also served as president of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Film Company. Then, in 1997, he joined Tom Rosenberg’s Lakeshore as president.

During his tenure, Lakeshore has produced more than 60 films, including “Million Dollar Baby,” the “Underworld” franchise, “The Lincoln Lawyer,” “Runaway Bride,” “Arlington Road” and “The Age of Adaline, »

- Dave McNary

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Film Review: ‘Free State of Jones’

20 June 2016 4:25 PM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Newton Knight, the Mississippi-farmer-turned-Confederate-deserter-turned-guerrilla-leader played by Matthew McConaughey in “Free State of Jones,” is a historical figure of some controversy. He’s regarded by many as a heroic freedom fighter; some think of him as a reckless criminal. (The divide in opinion, no surprise, tends to fall along North/South lines.) But in “Free State of Jones,” a Civil War drama written and directed with more doggedness than excitement by Gary Ross, there is never much doubt about the kind of man that Newton Knight is. He’s Kevin Costner in “Dances with Wolves” crossed with a saintly Marxist professor crossed with a white version of Malcolm X. For all the ravaged surface appeal of McConaughey’s performance, the character is a little too good to be true, but then, that’s just the sort of movie “Free State of Jones” is. It’s a tale of racial liberation and heroic bloodshed that is designed, »

- Owen Gleiberman

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As Stacey Snider Ascends at Fox, Hollywood Is in Turnaround

17 June 2016 9:44 AM, PDT | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »

At the 2014 New York Film Festival premiere of “Gone Girl,” Twentieth Century Fox Film Chairman and CEO Jim Gianopulos seemed visibly relieved to have Stacey Snider finally join the studio, after months of speculation that this capable executive would join him from DreamWorks. Now, almost two years later —and after a 25-year career at Fox —the studio has confirmed that Gianopulos’ contract will not be renewed after it expires on June 30, 2017, when he will graduate “upstairs” into an executive role at parent company 21st Century Fox.

This follows a transition for Snider that has not been smooth. While the veteran exec has the right mix of skills to run a studio (and did so at Universal with Ron Meyer), knows how to manage a team of executives, and how to develop, produce, and release movies that are smart and four-quadrant friendly, entering the Fox landscape proved to be a challenge. »

- Anne Thompson

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As Stacey Snider Ascends at Fox, Hollywood Is in Turnaround

17 June 2016 9:44 AM, PDT | Thompson on Hollywood | See recent Thompson on Hollywood news »

At the 2014 New York Film Festival premiere of “Gone Girl,” Twentieth Century Fox Film Chairman and CEO Jim Gianopulos seemed visibly relieved to have Stacey Snider finally join the studio, after months of speculation that this capable executive would join him from DreamWorks. Now, almost two years later —and after a 25-year career at Fox —the studio has confirmed that Gianopulos’ contract will not be renewed after it expires on June 30, 2017, when he will graduate “upstairs” into an executive role at parent company 21st Century Fox.

This follows a transition for Snider that has not been smooth. While the veteran exec has the right mix of skills to run a studio (and did so at Universal with Ron Meyer), knows how to manage a team of executives, and how to develop, produce, and release movies that are smart and four-quadrant friendly, entering the Fox landscape proved to be a challenge. »

- Anne Thompson

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Zack Snyder, Henry Cavill and Jesse Eisenberg in new behind-the-scenes image from Batman v Superman

17 June 2016 6:00 AM, PDT | Flickeringmyth | See recent Flickeringmyth news »

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice stills photographer Clay Enos has released another behind-the-scenes image from this year’s DC blockbuster, which sees director Zack Snyder framing a shot of Superman (Henry Cavill) and Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg). Check it out below, and take a look at Enos’ other recent images here and here…

Fearing the actions of a god-like Super Hero left unchecked, Gotham City’s own formidable, forceful vigilante takes on Metropolis’s most revered, modern-day savior, while the world wrestles with what sort of hero it really needs. And with Batman and Superman at war with one another, a new threat quickly arises, putting mankind in greater danger than it’s ever known before.

See Also: Follow all of our Batman v Superman coverage here

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice sees Zack Snyder directing a cast that includes returning Man of Steel stars Henry Cavill (Superman »

- Gary Collinson

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Relive a classic Weetabix Robin Hood ad from 25 years ago

16 June 2016 8:59 AM, PDT | Den of Geek | See recent Den of Geek news »

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It's 25 years since Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves! Which means it's 25 years since this advert!

It’s Friday, so why not.

This week has marked the 25th anniversary of the release of Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves, starring the mighty Kevin Costner and his mighty English accent. In UK cinemas, there were two Robin Hood films in the summer of 1991, with a Patrick Bergin-headlined movie too (that premiered on TV in the Us). Basically, throw in that Bryan Adams song (you know the one), and it was the summer of Robin Hood.

Weetabix decided to get in on the act, and if you’ll forgive the personal indulgence, I always chuckled when this played. So, again using Friday as my personal safety cover, why not relive a Robin Hood special from 25 years ago.

Please be advised: other breakfast cereals are available…

See related  Revisiting Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves »

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15 years ago today: ‘Atlantis: The Lost Empire’ and ‘Lara Croft: Tomb Raider’ premiered

15 June 2016 11:30 AM, PDT | Hitfix | See recent Hitfix news »

15 years ago today, Disney and Angelina Jolie both gave us new movies. It was on June 15, 2001 that Atlantis: The Lost Empire and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider opened in theaters. The two films topped the box office that weekend, with Lara Croft holding the top spot. The Disney Renaissance had ended, and Atlantis didn’t live up to the quality of films the House of Mouse was putting out in the ’90s like Lion King and Beauty and the Beast. Atlantis didn’t get much praise from critics upon its release, and it hasn’t amassed as strong a fandom as films in the pantheon of Disney greats have. Though it does have a cult favorite status among Disney movies, and some critics praised it for being a unique departure from typical Disney animated features, with its sci-fi influences and look based on the visual style of Hellboy creator Mike Mignola. Lara Croft has remained a memorable item on Angelina Jolie’s resume — it’s the movie that really established her as a Hollywood star. At the time of its release, it was the highest-grossing video game adaptation. Another movie based on the Tomb Raider game series is set to star Ex Machina actress Alicia Vikander. Other notable June 15 happenings in pop culture history: • 1960: Billy Wilder’s The Apartment premiered. • 1963: The Sound of Music closed on Broadway after 1,443 performances. • 1966: Elvis Presley movie Paradise, Hawaiian Style opened in U.S. theaters. • 1983: The fifth and final season finale of Taxi aired. • 1988: Kevin Costner’s sports rom-com movie Bill Durham was released. • 1990: Dick Tracy opened in theaters. • 1994: The Lion King started playing in Los Angeles’ El Capitan Theatre and New York’s Radio City Music Hall, ahead of a wide release later that month. • 2005: Batman Begins opened in theaters. • 2007: Bob Barker hosted The Price is Right for the final time, ending his 35-year tenure on the show. • 2008: At the 62nd Tony Awards, In the Heights (from Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda) won Best Musical. »

- Emily Rome

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25 years ago today: ‘Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves’ opened in theaters

14 June 2016 6:00 AM, PDT | Hitfix | See recent Hitfix news »

25 years ago today, audiences first saw Kevin Costner’s turn as Robin Hood on the big screen. It was on June 14, 1991 that Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves opened in theaters. Facing off against Costner’s heroic outlaw was Alan Rickman's Sheriff of Nottingham, just three years after he made his first movie appearance in a role that would become a new classic villain, Hans Gruber in Die Hard. Rickman and Morgan Freeman got critical approval for their performances. Costner and Christian Slater, not so much. Both were nominated for Golden Raspberry Awards for Robin Hood, for Worst Actor and Worst Supporting Actor, respectively. Costner “won” his award, while Slater “lost” to Dan Ackroyd in Nothing but Trouble. Also part of Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves’ legacy: “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You.” Believe it or not, the theme ballad that Bryan Adams bleated out for this movie earned him an Oscar nomination. But Raspberries or no Raspberries, Oscars or no Oscars, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves found its audience. It was the second-highest grossing movie of 1991, beaten only by Terminator 2: Judgement Day. And it was viewed countless times on VHS for years after that. Other notable June 14 happenings in pop culture history: • 1940: Jimmy Stewart film The Mortal Storm opened in theaters. • 1958: The indoor Alice in Wonderland ride opened next to the Mad Tea Party teacups ride in Disneyland. It was also the day the Columbia Sailing Ship first took passengers around Tom Sawyer Island. • 1959: The Matterhorn Bobsleds, Submarine Voyage, and the Monorail opened at Disneyland. Over 2,000 celebrities, members of the press, and dignitaries attended, including Vice President Richard Nixon. • 1965: Paul McCartney recorded the song “Yesterday” at what is now known as Abbey Road Studios in London. McCartney recorded it without the rest of the group, just with a string quartet, his vocals, and an acoustic guitar, making it essentially the first solo performance by the band. He recorded the song in two takes. • 1969: John Lennon and Yoko Ono pre-recorded an interview with David Frost that would air on July 10 that year. Lennon said in the interview, “We're trying to sell peace, like a product, you know, and sell it like people sell soap or soft drinks.” • 1970: Eric Clapton’s new band, Derek and the Dominos, gave their first live performance, at London’s Lyceum Theatre. • 1972: Simon & Garfunkel reunited to perform “Bridge Over Troubled Water” at a fundraising concert for presidential candidate George McGovern at New York’s Madison Square Garden. • 1980: The Pretenders fired bassist Pete Farndon, whose drug use had led to an increasingly strained relationship with his bandmates.  • 1980: Billy Joel began six weeks atop the Billboard album chart with Glass Houses. • 1985: Family Feud, which had debuted in 1976, aired its final episode on ABC until CBS re-launched the game show in 1988. • 1989: The game Tetris was released for Game Boy in Japan. A North American release followed in July. • 1990: CBS, which had been the national broadcaster for the NBA since 1973, televised an NBA game for the final time. It was Game 5 of the NBA Finals between the Detroit Pistons and Portland Trail Blazers. • 1996: Jim Carrey movie The Cable Guy opened in U.S. and Canadian theaters. • 2002: The Bourne Identity and the Sarah Michelle Gellar Scooby-Doo movie opened in theaters. • 2003: Helen Mirren had the order of Dame bestowed upon her when Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II published the list of those she’d chosen to promote to the Order of the British Empire. Three years later, Mirren portrayed Elizabeth II on film in The Queen. Sting and 007 actor Roger Moore were also conferred with the title of “Sir” on this day. • 2011: Andy Grammer released his self-titled debut studio album. Birthdays: Juno writer Diablo Cody (turns 38 today), singer Boy George (55), Reign actor Torrance Coombs (33), Pretty Little Liars actress Lucy Hale (27), actor-motivational speaker J.R. Martinez (33), Glee actor Kevin McHale (28), Falling Skies actor Will Patton (62), Austin Powers director Jay Roach (59), Spy Kids actor Daryl Sabara (24), Blindspot actor Sullivan Stapleton (39) »

- Emily Rome

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Warner Bros, and its disastrous movie summer of 1997

13 June 2016 2:21 PM, PDT | Den of Geek | See recent Den of Geek news »

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Warner Bros has struggled with its blockbusters of late. But back in summer 1997 - Batman & Robin's year - it faced not dissimilar problems.

Earlier this year it was revealed that Warner Bros, following a string of costly movies that hadn’t hit box office gold (Pan, Jupiter Ascending, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., In The Heart Of The Sea), was restructuring its blockbuster movie business. Fewer films, fewer risks, more franchises, and more centering around movie universes seems to be the new approach, and the appointment of a new corporate team to oversee the Harry Potter franchise last week was one part of that.

In some ways, it marks the end of an era. Whilst it retains its relationships with key directing talent (Ben Affleck, Clint Eastwood, Christopher Nolan for instance), Warner Bros was, for the bulk of the 1990s in particular, the studio that the others were trying to mimic. It worked with the same stars and filmmakers time and time again, and under then-chiefs Terry Semel and Robert Daly, relationships with key talent were paramount.

Furthermore, the studio knew to leave that talent to do its job, and was also ahead of the pack in developing franchises that it could rely on to give it a string of hits.

However, whilst Warner Bros is having troubles now, its way of doing business was first seriously challenged by the failure of its slate in the summer of 1997. Once again, it seemed to have a line up to cherish, that others were envious of. But as film by film failed to click, every facet of Warner Bros’ blockbuster strategy suddenly came under scrutiny, and would ultimately fairly dramatically change. Just two summers later, the studio released The Matrix, and blockbuster cinema changed again.

But come the start of summer 1997? These are the movies that Warner Bros had lined up, and this is what happened…

February - National Lampoon’s Vegas Vacation

Things actually had got off to a decent enough start for the studio earlier in the year, so it's worth kicking off there. It brought Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo back together, for the fourth National Lampoon movie, and the first since 1989’s National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Interestingly, it dropped the National Lampoon moniker in the Us, and instead released the eventual movie as Vegas Vacation. It was a belated sequel, back when belated sequels weren’t that big a thing.

The film was quickly pulled apart by reviewers, but it still just about clawed a profit. The production budget of $25m was eclipsed by the Us gross of $36m, and the movie would do comfortable business on video/DVD. Not a massive hit, then, but hardly a project that had a sense of foreboding about it.

Yet the problems were not far away.

May – Father's Day

Warner Bros had a mix of movies released in the Us in March and April 1997, including modest Wesley Snipes-headlined thriller Murder At 1600, and family flick Shiloh. But it launched its summer season with Father’s Day, an expensive packaged comedy from director Ivan Reitman, starring Robin Williams and Billy Crystal. It had hit written all over it.

Father’s Day was one of the movies packaged by the CAA agency, and its then-head, Mike Ovitz (listed regularly by Premiere magazine in the 1990s as one of the most powerful men in Hollywood, if not the most powerful man). That he brought together the stars, the director and the project, gave a studio a price tag, and the studio duly paid it. Given Warner Bros’ devotion to star talent (Mel Gibson, then one of the biggest movie stars in the world, and a major Warner Bros talent, was persuaded to film a cameo), it was a natural home for the film. It quickly did the deal. few questions asked.

That package, and CAA’s fees for putting it together, brought the budget for a fairly straightforward comedy to a then-staggering $85m. The problem, though, was that the film simply wasn’t very good. It’s one of those projects that looks great on paper, less great when exposed on a great big screen. Warner Bros has snapped it up, without - it seems - even properly reading the script. 

Premiere magazine quoted a Warner Bros insider back in November 1997 as saying “when [CAA] calls and says ‘we have a package, Father’s Day, with Williams and Crystal and Reitman, we say ‘great’”, adding “we don’t scrutinise the production. When we saw the movie, it took the wind out of us. We kept reshooting and enhancing, but you can’t fix something that’s bad”.

And it was bad.

The movie would prove to be the first big misfire of the summer, grossing just $35m in the Us, and not adding a fat lot more elsewhere in the world. Warner Bros’ first film of the summer was a certified flop. More would soon follow.

May - Addicted To Love

A more modestly priced project was Addicted To Love, a romantic comedy starring Meg Ryan and Matthew Broderick. Just over a year later, Warner Bros would hit big when Meg Ryan reunited with Tom Hanks for Nora Ephron’s You’ve Got Mail. But here? The film was a modest success, at best.

Directed by Griffin Dunne (making his directorial debut), and put together in partnership with Miramax, Addicted To Love was based around the Robert Palmer song of the same name. But whilst it was sold as a romcom, the muddled final cut was actually a fair bit darker. There was an underlying nastiness to some moments in the film, and when the final box office was tallied, it came in lower than the usual returns for pictures from Ryan or Broderick. Counter-programming it against the release of The Lost World: Jurassic Park didn’t massively help in this instance either, especially as the Jurassic Park sequel would smash opening weekend records.

Addicted To Love ended up with $34.6m at the Us box office. It would eke out a small profit.

June - Batman & Robin

And this is when the alarm bells started to ring very, very loudly. Summer 1997 was supposed to be about a trio of sure-fire hit sequels: Batman 4, Jurassic Park 2 and Speed 2. Only one of those would ultimately bring home the box office bacon, the others being destroyed by critics, and ultimately leaving far more empty seats than anticipated in multiplexes.

Batman & Robin, it’s easy to forget, came off the back of 1995’s Joel Schumacher-steered Batman reboot, Batman Forever that year's biggest movie). It had one of the fastest-growing stars in the world in the Batsuit (George Clooney), and the McDonald’s deals were signed even before the script was typed up. You don’t need us to tell you that you could tell, something of a theme already in Warner Bros' summer of '97.

That said, Batman & Robin still gave Warner Bros a big opening, but in the infancy of the internet as we know it, poisonous word of mouth was already beginning to spread. The film’s negative cost Warner Bros up to $140m, before marketing and distribution costs, and it opened in the Us to a hardly-sniffy $42m of business (although that was down from previous Batman movies).

But that word of mouth still accelerated its departure from cinemas. It was then very rare for a film to make over 40% of its Us gross in its first weekend. But that’s just what Batman & Robin did, taking $107.3m in America, part of a worldwide total of $238.2m. This was the worst return for a Batman movie to date, and Warner Bros had to swiftly put the brakes on plans to get Batman Triumphant moving.

It would be eight years until Batman returned to the big screen, in Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins. Warner Bros would undergo big changes in the intervening period.

As for the immediate aftermath of Batman & Robin? Warner Bros co-chief Robert Daly would note at the end of '97 that “we’d have been better off with more action in the picture. The movie had to service too many characters”, adding that “the next Batman we do, in three years – and we have a deal with George Clooney to do it – will have one villain”.

Fortunately, Warner Bros’ one solid hit of the summer was just around the corner…

July - Contact

And breathe out.

Warner Bros bet heavily again on expensive talent here, with Robert Zemeckis bringing his adaptation of Carl Sagan’s Contact to the studio for his first film post-Forrest Gump. Warner Bros duly footed the $90m bill (back when that was still seen as a lot of money for a movie), a good chunk of which went to Jodie Foster. It invested heavily in special effects, and gave Zemeckis licence to make the film that he wanted.

The studio was rewarded with the most intelligent and arguably the best blockbuster of the summer. I’ve looked back at Contact in a lot more detail here, and it remains a fascinating film that’s stood the test of time (and arguably influenced Christopher Nolan’s more recent Interstellar).

Reviews were strong, it looked terrific, and the initial box office was good.

But then the problem hit. For whilst Contact was a solid hit for Warner Bros, it wasn’t a massively profitable one. Had Father’s Day and Batman & Robin shouldered the box office load there were supposed to, it perhaps wouldn’t have been a problem. But when they failed to take off, the pressure shifted to Contact.

The movie would gross $100.9m in the Us, and add another $70m overseas (this being an era were international box office rarely had the importance it has today). But once Warner Bros had paid its bills, there wasn’t a fat lot over for itself. Fortunately, the film still sells on disc and on-demand. Yet it wasn’t to be the massive hit the studio needed back in 1997.

July - One Eight Seven

From director Kevin Reynolds, the man who helmed Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves and Waterworld, came modestly-priced drama 187, starring Samuel L Jackson (in a strong performance). Warner Bros wouldn’t have had massive box office expectations for the film (although it can't have been unaware that the inspirational teacher sub-genre was always worth a few quid), and it shared production duties on the $20m movie with Mel Gibson’s Icon Productions. But still, it would have had its eye on a modest success. What it got in return was red ink.

The film’s not a bad one, and certainly worth seeking out. But poor reviews gave the film an uphill struggle from the off – smaller productions arriving mid-summer really needed critics on their side, as they arguably still do – and it opened to just $2.2m of business (the less edgy, Michelle Pfeiffer-headlined school drama Dangerous Minds had been a surprise hit not two years before).

By the time its run was done, 187 hadn’t even come close to covering its production costs, with just under $6m banked.

Warner Bros’ summer slate was running out of films. But at least it had one of its most reliable movie stars around the corner…

August - Conspiracy Theory

What could go wrong? Mel Gibson and Julia Roberts were two of the biggest movie stars in the world in 1997, at a time when movie stars still equated to box office gold. Director Richard Donner, one of Warner Bros’ favourite directors, had delivered the Lethal Weapons, Maverick, Superman, The Goonies and more for the studio. Put them altogether, with Patrick Stewart (coming to wider public consciousness at the time off the back of his Star Trek: The Next Generation work) as a villain, and it should have been a big hit.

Conspiracy Theory proved to be one of the more ambitious summer blockbusters of the era. It lacks a good first act, which would be really useful in actually setting up more of what’s going on. But Gibson played an edgy cab driver who believes in deep government conspiracies, and finds himself getting closer to the truth than those around him sometimes give him credit for.

Warner Bros was probably expecting another Lethal Weapon with the reunion of Gibson (who had to be persuaded to take Conspiracy Theory on) and Donner (it’s pretty much what it got with the hugely enjoyable Maverick a few years’ earlier), but instead it got a darker drama, with an uneasy central character that didn’t exactly play to the summer box office crowd.

The bigger problem, though, was that the film never quite worked as well as you might hope. Yet star power did have advantages. While no juggernaut, the film did decent business, grossing $137m worldwide off the back of an $80m budget ($40m of which was spent on the salaries for the talent before a single roll of film was loaded into a camera). That said, in the Us it knocked a genuine smash hit, Air Force One, off the top spot. Mind you in hindsight, that was probably the film that the studio wished it had made (the cockpit set of Warner Bros' own Executive Decision was repurposed for Air Force One, fact fans).

Still: Warner Bros did get Lethal Weapon 4 off Gibson and Donner a year later…

August - Free Willy 3: The Rescue

Yeah.

Warner Bros opened its third Free Willy film on the same day as Conspiracy Theory (can you imagine a studio opening two big films on the same day now), but it was clear that this was a franchise long past its best days (and its best days hardly bring back the fondest of memories).

Still, Free Willy movies were relatively modest in cost to put together, and Warner Bros presumably felt this was a simple cashpoint project. But in a year when lots of family movies did less business than expected (Disney’s Hercules, Fox’s Home Alone 3, Disney’s Mr Magoo), Free Willy 3 barely troubled the box office. It took in just over $3m in total, and Willy would not be seen on the inside of a cinema again.

August - Steel

Not much was expected from Steel, a superhero movie headlined by Shaquille O’Neal. Which was fortunate, because not much was had.

It had a mid-August release date in the Us, at a point when a mid-August release date was more of a dumping ground than anything else. And even though the budget was set at a relatively low $16m, the film – and it’s an overused time – pretty much bombed. It took $1.7m at the Us box office, and given that its appeal hinged on a major American sports star whose fame hardly transcended the globe, its international takings did not save it (it went straight to video in many territories).

It was a miserable end to what, for warner bros, had been a thoroughly miserable summer.

So what did hit big in summer 1997?

Summer 1997 was infamous for big films failing to take off in the way that had been expected – Hercules, Speed 2, and the aforementioned Warner Bros movies – but there were several bright spots. The big winner would be Barry Sonnenfeld’s light and sprightly sci-fi comedy Men In Black, starring Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones. Star power too helped score big hits for Harrison Ford (Air Force One), Julia Roberts (My Best Friend’s Wedding) and John Travolta (Face/Off).

This was also the summer that Nicolas Cage cemented his action movie credentials with Face/Off and Con Air. Crucially, though, the star movies that hit were the ones that veered on the side of 'good'. For the first of many years, the internet was blamed for this.

Oh, and later in the year, incidentally, Titanic would redefine just what constituted a box office hit...

What came next for Warner Bros?

In the rest of 1997, Warner Bros had a mix of projects that again enjoyed mixed fortunes. The standout was Curtis Hanson’s stunning adaptation of L.A. Confidential, that also proved to be a surprise box office success. The Devil’s Advocate didn’t do too badly either.

However, two of the studio’s key filmmakers failed to really deliver come the end of 1997. Clint Eastwood’s Midnight In The Garden Of Good And Evil failed to ignite (although many felt he was always on a hiding to nothing in trying to adapt that for the screen), and Kevin Costner’s The Postman would prove arguably the most expensive box office disappointment of the year. No wonder the studio rushed Lethal Weapon 4 into production for summer 1998. Oh, and it had The Avengers underway too (not that one), that would prove to be a 1998 disappointment.

The studio would eventually take action. The Daly-Semel management team, that had reigned for 15 years, would break up at the end of 1999, as its traditional way of doing business became less successful. The pair had already future projects that were director driven to an extent (Eyes Wide Shut), and it would still invest in movies with stars (Wild Wild West). But the immediate plan of action following the disappointment of summer 1997 – to get Batman 5 and Superman Lives made – would falter. It wouldn’t be until 1999’s The Matrix (a film that Daly and Semel struggled to get) and – crucially – 2001’s Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone that the studio would really get its swagger back...

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Movies Feature Simon Brew Warner Bros 16 Jun 2016 - 05:19 Conspiracy Theory Father's Day Addicted To Love Contact National Lampoon’s Vegas Vacation One Eight Seven Steel Batman & Robin Free Willy 3: The Rescue »

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Zack Snyder helps Gal Gadot perfect her Wonder Woman pose in behind-the-scenes image from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

9 June 2016 1:42 PM, PDT | Flickeringmyth | See recent Flickeringmyth news »

With a little over a month to go before Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Ultimate Edition hits shelves, photographer Clay Enos has taken to Twitter to share a behind-the-scenes photo from the DC blockbuster, which sees director Zack Snyder helping Gal Gadot to perfect her Wonder Woman pose.

See Also: Batman v Superman cinematographer says Ultimate Edition won’t sway the haters

See Also: Batman v Superman Ultimate Edition trailer and special features revealed

Snyder is currently reuniting with Gadot on Justice League, which is in production now ahead of a release next year alongside the Wonder Woman solo movie.

Fearing the actions of a god-like Super Hero left unchecked, Gotham City’s own formidable, forceful vigilante takes on Metropolis’s most revered, modern-day savior, while the world wrestles with what sort of hero it really needs. And with Batman and Superman at war with one another, a new threat quickly arises, »

- Gary Collinson

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