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Insiders predict that the drama could gross upwards of $40 million when it hits theaters on March 28, though Paramount is said to be estimating a lower $27.5 million to downplay expectations for the expensive production.
Paramount-New Regency’s $130 million Biblical epic, starring Russell Crowe, has proven especially difficult to measure given the flurry of controversy it’s generated in the last couple of months among Christians — one of its targeted demographic groups.
The film, co-starring Jennifer Connelly, Anthony Hopkins and “Harry Potter” star Emma Watson, deviates from the Old Testament story of Noah’s Ark, forcing Paramount to add a recent disclaimer that the film doesn’t directly mirror the Biblical tale.
“The film was made for believers and non-believers,” Aronofsky told Variety »
- Maane Khatchatourian
In February 2014, news broke that Warner Bros. was mulling a $10 to $15 million investment into Machinima. Today, it’s official. The YouTube multi-channel network and self-proclaimed “next-generation video entertainment network for the gamer lifestyle and beyond” has closed an $18 million round of financing led by Warneer Bros., with existing investors Mk Capital, Redpoint Ventures, and Google Capital also participating. The deal makes sense for Warner Bros., as it’s had success in partnering with Machinima as a distribution platform for its high-profile digital series (like the first and second seasons of Mortal Kombat: Legacy) and trailers and sneak peaks of its blockbuster films (like G.I. Joe: Retaliation). “Machinima has been a pioneer and category leader in the YouTube McN space, with thousands of channel partners and a premium brand that reaches millions of daily users,” said Thomas Gewecke, Chief Digital Officer and Executive Vice President, Strategy and Business Development, Warner Bros. Entertainment, »
- Joshua Cohen
Austin maverick filmmaker Robert Rodriguez is set to launch his small-screen reboot of his cult-favorite film From Dusk Till Dawn, but his TV ambitions don’t stop there. With his new Latino-themed/English-speaking cable network El Rey, the Spy Kids and Desperado writer-director-producer-editor is trying to carve a whole new path for cool TV shows that sheds the usual big network note-giving development process. We interviewed Rodriguez at his Austin-based Troublemaker Studios about his new network and Dusk (which will premiere at the South By Southwest Film Festival this weekend). Below Rodriguez reveals how the genre-mashup Dusk got made, teases »
- James Hibberd
The last time we saw Charlize Theron was in 2012, when she was being a total douchebag in space for Ridley Scott.s Prometheus and a total bitch in the woods for Rupert Sanders. Snow White and the Huntsman. And before that, she was a self-centered grunt in Jason Reitman.s Young Adult. Luckily, the next project she.s eyeing features a far more sympathetic woman at its core. She and her producer partners at Denver and Delilah Films have acquired the 2008 novel Everything Nice, from author Ellen Shanman, and Theron may also take the lead role. Universal snatched up the project based on a pitch, and this should be a fine balance for the busier movies in their 2015 release schedule, including Jurassic World and Fast & Furious 7. The novel is largely comedic and very female-centered, focusing on Michaela "Mike" Edwards, an advertising executive who finds herself in the middle of an »
On the day I was scheduled to talk to both Lena Headey and Eva Green about their work in "300: Rise Of An Empire," there was also a morning screening of "Mr. Peabody & Sherman." Both of my sons were eager to see that, and that meant they would need to come to the interviews with me as well. As a result, they got a chance to meet Green, and by the time we walked out of that room, both of them had grown full beards and their voices had dropped an octave. Green gives off a powerful feminine vibe in person, and seems well aware of the effect she has on people. It's interesting how similar the roles are that she played in "Dark Shadows" and in "300," right down to a scene that happens in both films. It wouldn't surprise me if she got cast in "300" specifically because of "Dark Shadows. »
- Drew McWeeny
Every single year we seem to get some sort of trend in the movies. Sometimes it’s Oscar themed (remember how many 2013 prestige releases were about survival of some sort?), while sometimes it’s a specific sort of a disaster movie, or even a particular type of genre outing, like how the apocalypse has been in of late. 2014 looks to be the year that the Biblical Epic returns to the screen, with both Darren Aronofsky’s Noah and Ridley Scott’s Exodus looking for awards attention (and just this past weekend Son of God opened, though that’s basically just an expansion of that TV series The Bible, so it’s hardly an epic in my eyes). That got me thinking about what other trend could be next… Personally, I never mind if we get two astroid movies in one year or something like that, as long as they each offer something different. »
- Joey Magidson
Director: Ridley Scott
U.S. Distributor: 20th Century Fox
Cast: Aaron Paul, Christian Bale, Sigourney Weaver, Ben Kingsley, Joel Edgerton, John Turturro, Indira Varma, Ben Mendelsohn, María Valverde, Emun Elliott, Golshifteh Farahani, Dar Salim, Ghassan Massoud, Hiam Abbass
Sure, people are bound to be bent out of shape about the very non-Egyptian casting of its leads, but since we’re talking about mythology and Scott is a vocal agnostic, it seems rather fitting. Beyond what we assume will be yet another memorably committed performance from Bale, and a big budget role for Aaron Paul, Scott reunites with his Alien star Sigourney Weaver for the third outing, this time as the Egyptian Queen, Tuya (let’s hope it’s a better union than 1492: Conquest of Paradise in which she starred as Queen Isabella »
- Nicholas Bell
It's currently being reported that Barkhad Abdi earned just $65,000 (£38,880) for his BAFTA-winning role in the $55 million-budgeted Captain Philips.
The 28-year-old Somalian-born actor made his debut alongside Tom Hanks in the Oscar-nominated drama, and according to The New Yorker was reduced to living off per diems from studio Sony Pictures at the Beverly Hills Hotel while promoting the film.
Meanwhile it's estimated that Hanks made a staggering $50 million from his lead part in the Paul Greengrass film.
We find other surprisingly low movie salaries - from low-budgeted films to blockbusters, accepted by up-and-coming newbies to certified stars - below:
1. Jonah Hill - Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
The 30-year-old actor said on The Howard Stern Show that he was paid the five-figure sum "before commissions and taxes »
Today’s first look trailer for the latest Transformers film had me mentally rooting around my old toy box, trying to find those plastic artifacts redolent with nostalgia polymer tang which had not been snapped and adapted for a CG-drenched summer movie franchise. It wasn’t easy, with G.I. Joes at every turn, Battleships sinking all around me and the threat of Ridley Scott’s Monopoly movie still looming on the horizon – the toys are most definitely back in town. The picture above, by J. Scott Campbell, is what I see.
Why the studios continue to plunder our collective childhood is clear. Brand recognition is a far greater commodity than a snappy script or a charming lead actor. Luckily the studios are also becoming wise to the formula of updating these long lost treasure hordes and, as the recent Lego Movie manifestly affirmed, a good script and an engaged »
- Jon Lyus
Yeah, we know. "Prometheus" is so two years ago, but after the Oscars last night and the extensive coverage that has followed, you might need a palate cleanser. And this is a good way to go. Someone in the vast wilds of the internet realized that footage from Will Ferrell's ill-advised and kinda bad "Land Of The Lost" is not unlike scenes from Ridley Scott's sci-fi saga. So of course, the logical next step was make a new trailer for "Land Of The Lost," doing it shot-for-shot with the teaser for "Prometheus" and the results are pretty great actually. It's a clever re-edit and certainly makes that 2009 comedy look better than it has any right to. So turn off your brain for a minute if you're still in the midst of a post-Oscar hangover, and watch below. [Reddit] »
- Kevin Jagernauth
The first question that would seem to apply when regarding any sequel is "Does this feel like it is of a piece with the first film?" It doesn't have to be the same movie to be a successful sequel, but it should do something interesting. It should either be a response to the first film or a deliberately different type of film or it should build on some interesting story thread or it should enhance our understanding of the world or the characters. By that standard, "300: Rise Of An Empire" is a worthy sequel to "300," stylistically consistent and equally loony, featuring what may well be the first truly can't-miss performance in a film this year. It would not shock me if, twenty years from now, people talk about this film the way they talk about "Poltergeist" now, simply accepting it as common knowledge that Zack Snyder "really" directed the film. »
- Drew McWeeny
Liam Neeson may not have become a full-fledged action star until he was in his mid-50s, but the man is proving downright unstoppable at the box office. Neeson’s latest action outing, Non-Stop, bested the competition this Oscar weekend with a stronger-than-expected $30 million opening, knocking The Lego Movie out of the No. 1 spot it had held for three straight weeks and topping the weekend’s other major debut, Son of God, which took second place with $26.5 million.
- Josh Rottenberg
Movies with perfect pace aren’t those that move quickly or slowly - they’re the ones that move at the right speed for the story being told and the style being used to tell them. There are lots of movies that I love which fail the pace test, including 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Superman (1978), Dawn Of The Dead (1979), Apocalypse Now (1979) and Taxi Driver (1976).
Consider in this list - and those aforementioned that didn’t make it to the finals - that pace is not the only thing a film needs to offer, and that it can still be a terrible film even if it is well-paced. So this is not a collection of ‘best’ movies - it’s a collection of movies with great…
What contrasts. What innovation. Hitch’s adaptation of Robert Bloch’s gory, Ed Gein-inspired shocker knows exactly when to speed you uncomfortably to an uncomfortable place, »
Director: Sebastian Cordero
Running Time: 87 Minutes
Journey with us to Europa, one of the moons of Jupiter where there may be clues hinting towards our beginning and the beginning of life itself. Europa Report is a low-key take on a theme also covered in Ridley Scott’s overblown Prometheus. Although the more subtle approach will certainly appeal to the more scientifically minded, the fact that nothing of note happens throughout the laborious running time, added to the messy use of the found-footage genre, means that Europa Report makes itself very hard to connect with..
Once again the idea of los footage, now found, is used in a way that suggests the filmmakers have no idea why they are using it. Yes, it does add a sense of realism to »
- Luke Ryan Baldock
Best Picture: “12 Years a Slave.” What an incredible lineup! Apart from “American Hustle” (a blatant knockoff of Scorsese’s superior, Oscar-unrewarded “Goodfellas”) and Scorsese’s own equally unwieldy “The Wolf of Wall Street,” I would be happy to see any of these films go home victorious. And yet, “12 Years a Slave” strikes me as an achievement above the rest, inviting people to empathize with a human being caught at the center of a system whose implications and aftermath society still refuses to confront. Considering Hollywood’s belief in the healing power of Holocaust movies, it’s scandalous how long America’s slaveholding legacy had gone unexamined — until now.
Best Director: Alfonso Cuaron, “Gravity.” Though I know some are predicting “Gravity” for the top prize, direction is surely the category where this mind-blowing, mostly virtual achievement most warrants recognition. Cuaron delivers a visceral cinematic experience nonpareil, »
- Variety Staff
Peter Debruge: Ok, gentlemen, time to guess who will win the Oscar for best picture. I say “guess” because the word “predict” seems entirely too confident when it comes to the Academy Awards. Despite all the ink and all the effort that people put into anticipating who will win on Sunday night, all the logic and algorithms that factor into their prognostications, I still think it’s a crapshoot — and I say this as someone who once managed to win Variety’s office Oscar pool. That’s no humblebrag, mind you. Quite the opposite. My point is that only once in the last 20 years of the Academy Awards have my preferences aligned with the Academy’s — a group that prefers “Argo” to “Amour” and “The Lord of the Rings” to “Lost in Translation,” while overlooking what I consider to be the best film of 2013: “Inside Llewyn Davis.”
See Also: »
- Peter Debruge, Scott Foundas and Justin Chang
When "The Counselor" was released last fall, it was an intriguing conundrum: how had Ridley Scott, the one-time bad boy auteur behind "Blade Runner" and "Alien," taken the first original screenplay by legendary American author Cormac McCarthy (of "No Country for Old Men" and "The Road" fame), and turned in something so vacant and bizarre? We puzzled over this at the time, both in our review and in comparing the final version to the lengthier, filthier, more philosophically-minded screenplay. With the recent release of the Blu-ray, not only do we get a more satisfying cut of the movie, but its accompanying commentary provides a shockingly honest and insightful glimpse into who Scott is as a filmmaker today. As Scott acknowledges in the commentary, the running time of "The Counselor" has ballooned from just shy of two hours to nearly two-and-a-half hours. That's quite a difference. The transformative power of the »
- Drew Taylor
To mark the release of The Patience Stone on 3rd March, we’ve been given 3 copies to give away on DVD.
Based on the best-selling novel by Afghan-born Atiq Rahimi (Winner of France’s prestigious Prix Goncourt) and co-adapted for the screen by the legendary Jean-Claude Carrière, The Patience Stone is a bold, powerful and ultimately uplifting story of one woman’s resolve to break free from silence and years of oppression, featuring a breath-taking performance from Iranian actress Golshifteh Farahani (Asghar Farhadi’s About Elly, Ridley Scott’s Body of Lies).
In a country torn apart by a war, in Afghanistan or elsewhere, a beautiful young woman is left alone to care for her wounded husband who has been in a coma for the past two weeks. With no improvement in his condition, food and water in short supply and a war raging around her, she begins a heartfelt »
With Darren Aronofsky’s “Noah” and Ridley Scott’s “Exodus” preparing to duke it out for Old Testament auteur supremacy, Hollywood’s religious renaissance gets off to a none-too-spectacular start with a chewed-over New Testament appetizer called “Son of God.” A clumsily edited feature-length version of five episodes from History’s hugely popular 10-hour miniseries “The Bible,” this stiff, earnest production plays like a half-hearted throwback to the British-accented biblical dramas of yesteryear, its smallscreen genesis all too apparent in its Swiss-cheese construction and subpar production values. Yet while Jesus’ teachings have been reduced to a muddle of kindly gestures and mangled Scriptures, the scenes of his betrayal, death and resurrection crucially retain their emotional and dramatic power, which the charitable viewer may deem atonement enough for what feels, in all other respects, like a cynical cash grab.
As the first quasi-bigscreen account of the life of Jesus in the »
- Justin Chang
The Machinima network has openly discussed its plan to secure a massive funding round in the area of $50 million, and while its progress towards that goal is unclear, it may be close to securing a smaller payday. According to the Wall Street Journal, Warner Bros is considering an investment of $10-15 million in the top multi-channel network. Machinima, which is best known for partnering with gaming channels and others aimed at the young male demographic, previously stated its intention to use Vc funding to become a player beyond YouTube. An investment from Warner Bros would certainly help open doors in the traditional media sphere. According to the report, Warner Bros will decide by the end of the week whether it wants to pursue its investment. Machinima's struggles over the past half year are no secret; in the past six months, it has seen a round of layoffs, the departure of two top executives, »
- Sam Gutelle
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