10 items from 2015
2015 has been a banner year so far for Hollywood's movie studios and theater owners. This past weekend, however, is one they would like to forget. Sony Pictures and Mrc's "Chappie" came in at no. 1 with an estimated $13.3 million. That was significantly below pre-release polling which forecast as $20 million plus debut. It was also director Neill Blomkamp's worst performing debut so far and star Hugh Jackman's smallest opening since 2008's "Australia." "Chappie" earned mostly negative reviews with just a 40 rating on Metacritic and a 30% "fresh" on Rotten Tomatoes as well as a below average B grade on Cinemascore. That does not bode well for the long term playability of the $49 million budgeted Sci-Fi thriller. Last weekend's champ, Will Smith and Margot Robbie's "Focus," dropped to second place with another $10 million and $34.5 million in just 10 days. The Warner Bros. release looks like it will end up somewhere around $50 million domestic. »
- Gregory Ellwood
In music biz terms, Fox’s “Empire” is zooming up the charts with a bullet.
On Wednesday the family soap centered on a hip-hop musical mogul continued its unprecedented growth streak by gaining audience for a seventh straight week, hitting 13.9 million. No series in the history of Nielsen’s People Meters (going back to 1991) had grown with the first five episodes following its premiere, and “Empire” has now bested that by two weeks.
The 20th Century Fox TV/Imagine TV drama stunned the industry with its Jan. 7 premiere, which averaged a 3.8 rating/11 share in adults 18-49 and 9.9 million total viewers, according to Nielsen. It built on its lead-in, the season premiere of “American Idol,” by 32% in adults 18-34 and logged the net’s top premiere score in this demo in six years.
And it’s only gotten bigger since. “Empire” is part of the ratings boom this season for series »
- Rick Kissell
Tomorrow marks the one year anniversary of director John McTiernan‘s release from jail after being convicted of lying to the FBI in a case involving wiretapping and a disgraced private investigator. He hasn’t made a film since 2003’s rough-to-watch Basic, but he has some great ones on his resume including Die Hard, The Hunt for Red October, The Thomas Crowne Affair and… 1987’s Predator. The film stars Arnold Schwarzenegger as a mercenary tasked with leading a team into the jungle on a mission only to be interrupted by an alien presence. It remains a ton of old-school action fun nearly three decades later, and while four sequels/spinoffs/reboots have come and gone the original is still the best remembered. McTiernan recorded a commentary track for a special edition DVD release several years ago, and we gave it a listen to celebrate the anniversary of his freedom from the hoosegow. Keep »
- Rob Hunter
This Sunday, over 3,000 dolled-up guests will traverse 500 feet of red carpet on their path into the 87th Annual Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre (where it’ll be hosted for the 14th time). But before they reach for that first glass of Piper-Heidsieck brut during the ritzy Oscar cocktail hour, a series of events, benefits, award shows and gifting suites will properly launch the festivities. Here’s where the industry’s brightest will be primping, prepping, donating and gallivanting in the days leading up to Hollywood’s biggest night.
Icon Mann Industry Panels
Where: L.A. SAG-aftra office, 11 a.m.
Why you don’t want to miss it: Industry vets will examine the evolution of black male characters throughout film history and »
- Jasmin Rosemberg
It may be a given that “Fifty Shades of Grey” will top the box office this Valentine’s Day weekend, but movie critics are more impressed with “Kingsman: The Secret Service.” Director and co-writer Matthew Vaughn‘s adaptation of a comic book by Mark Millar (“Kick-Ass”) and Dave Gibbons (“Watchmen”) has received a majority of glowing reviews for being a fun, stylish and subversive action movie about a super-secret spy organization that recruits an unrefined, but promising street kid into the its ultra-competitive training program. See photos: TheWrap’s 25 Most Anticipated Movies of 2015: From ‘Fifty Shades’ to ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Spectre’ The 20th Century. »
- Greg Gilman
The 20th Century Fox portion of the Marvel universe is expanding as the studio takes advantage of its blend of mutants and mercenaries. Bryan Singer is following up X-Men: Days Of Future Past with X-Men: Apocalypse, which focuses more on the younger, First Class versions of the characters. But according to franchise veteran Patrick Stewart, his older take on Professor Charles Xavier could return for a new Wolverine film, while Ian McKellen appears destined to at least cameo in Apocalypse.Appearing to contradict earlier statements that Stewart and McKellen would not be appearing in Apocalypse, the actor confirms that he at least won’t be reporting for duty in Montreal when the film starts shooting soon, but that “Magneto, Ian McKellen, is certainly going to be in it.”As for the Prof? “What I'm very excited about is that we have been talking about a Wolverine movie, which would team Hugh Jackman and myself together, »
You've heard of DVD/Blu-ray director's commentary for feature films; how about for a trailer? A teaser trailer, to be specific. Well, that's what the "Fantastic Four" reboot director, Josh Trank, has done here, accompanied by writer Simon Kinberg, giving you an inside look at the teaser trailer that dropped yesterday. The 20th Century Fox project stars Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara, Jamie Bell and Toby Kebbell. Fyi, Trank previously directed Michael B. Jordan in 2013's surprise hit "Chronicle," a kind of superhero origins story that was very much grounded in reality - something that we've heard this "Fantastic »
- Tambay A. Obenson
Josh Trank directs this contemporary re-imagining of Marvel’s original and longest-running superhero team, The Fantastic Four. The 20th Century Fox release centers on a quartet of young outsiders who teleport to an alternate and dangerous universe, which alters their physical form in shocking ways. Their lives are irrevocably upended as the team must learn to harness daunting new abilities and work together to save Earth from a former friend turned enemy. Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Michael B. Jordan, and Jamie Bell are the eponymous group with Toby Kebbell as Doctor Doom. The script is from X-Men: Days Of Future Past scribe Simon Kinberg. The film goes out to some key international territiories beginning August 5 followed by North America on August 7. Check out the trailer above.
- Nancy Tartaglione
The Associated Press reports the Academy Award winner behind “Titanic” and “The Terminator” dropped the bad news for fans hoping to see the first of three new movies in 2016 while promoting the local film industry in Wellington, New Zealand with “Hobbit” director Peter Jackson. Cameron filmed the 2009 blockbuster there, and has returned to produce the three sequels, which will be released over three consecutive years.
See photos: Disney Releases First Look at ‘Avatar »
- Greg Gilman
There is a strange new smoking-related trend in movies and television. I noticed it while watching The Theory of Everything, the excellent new film about Stephen Hawking, starring Eddie Redmayne. Then I noticed it watching That Day We Sang, the similarly excellent television play that was on over Christmas, written and directed by Victoria Wood, starring Imelda Staunton and Michael Ball about a poignant adult relationship in the late 1960s between two people who had sung together 40 years previously in a children’s choir.
These period dramas showed people in pubs, restaurants, cafes and teashops. All the details and the superb production design were wonderfully clear. So where was the blue haze, the fug, the horrible brimming ashtrays and the nasty fag smoke? A lot »
- Peter Bradshaw
10 items from 2015
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