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Moviegoers stormed theaters this weekend to spend "one last time" in Middle Earth.Including Wednesday and Thursday ticket sales, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies has already earned over $90 million, which puts it on track to ultimately surpass its predecessor (The Desolation of Smaug).Meanwhile, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb and Annie (2014) opened at essentially the same level; that's quite good for the moderately-budgeted musical, but not-so-great for the big-budget fantasy sequel.Over the three-day weekend, the final chapter in the Hobbit trilogy dominated with an estimated $56.2 million. That's the lowest opening weekend in the franchise so far, though it's also the first and only movie to open on a Wednesday.A better comparison can be drawn to the Lord of the Rings movies, all of which opened on a Wednesday. The movie's $90.6 million five-day total is 11 percent lower than The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers »
- Ray Subers <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies had another mighty weekend at the international box office.The final chapter in Peter Jackson's Middle Earth prequel trilogy grossed $105.5 million, which brings its 12-day total to a stunning $265 million. Its biggest market was Germany, where it added $12.4 million for a total of $37.7 million.The Hobbit also opened in South Korea ($10.4 million), Spain ($6.3 million) and Italy ($5.6 million). In South Korea, its opening was well above the previous two installments, and in Spain it was the biggest debut of the year.The movie expands in to Australia on Friday, then reaches China in January. It's likely that this eventually reaches $700 million overseas; combine that with a likely $280-million-plus total in the U.S., and $1 billion is very much in play here.Penguins of Madagascar added $16.5 million overseas this weekend. That includes a $4.85 million first place debut in Mexico, along with a very good $4.24 million start in France. »
- Ray Subers <email@example.com>
Peter Jackson has spent quite some time in Middle-Earth, and now that he's finished with The Hobbit trilogy, what could be next for the filmmaker? He followed The Lord of the Rings with King Kong and The Lovely Bones, and it appears as if his next project will be something more along the lines of the latter. "I don't really like the Hollywood blockbuster bandwagon that exists right now," Jackson told Movie Fone in a recent interview. "The industry and the advent of all the technology, has kind of lost its way. It's become very franchise driven and superhero driven. I've never read a comic book in my life so I'm immediately at a disadvantage and I have no interest in that. So now it's time for us to step back. We're heading towards something of that scale." Jackson wouldn't be the first director to helm a comic book movie »
"Who does Andy Serkis play in Star Wars: The Force Awakens?" is one of the thousand questions fans have been asking about next year’s Episode VII. And the actor himself seems to be bursting with the desire to talk about which galactic denizen he'll be inhabiting. But Serkis, best known as Gollum from The Lord of the Rings trilogy (and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey), the giant ape from Peter Jackson’s King Kong, and the smaller but more sophisticated simian Caesar from the new Planet of the Apes films, has been tight-lipped about Star Wars so far. »
- Anthony Breznican
The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies opens in theaters today, marking the end of filmmaker Peter Jackson's Middle Earth journey that includes The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies. There are still more J.R.R. Tolkien tales set in Middle Earth, including a number of short stories and The Silmarillion, which offers an in-depth look at the land's history. However, all of those titles are still controlled by the late author's estate, which has been opposed to the filmmaker's adaptations for some time, and have no plans to relinquish the rights to those additional stories. During an in-depth interview with Variety, Peter Jackson revealed he would be interested in exploring those stories, if the rights should become available, but not right away.
"If I had to start tomorrow, I would say no, because I definitely would appreciate a break to clear my head and get my little New Zealand stories done, »
It represents the culmination of his 16-year, six-film J.R.R. Tolkien marathon — an outsized success in duration, execution, visual-effects wizardry and overall popularity. No director in history has maintained tighter control over the creative direction of a global film franchise, which so far has amassed close to $5 billion in ticket sales alone.
But after bringing his Middle-earth spectacles to the masses, the world’s most famous Kiwi is ready to downsize and return to his low-budget roots: The 53-year-old director-producer-screenwriter is working on adapting several true stories about his native country, with his longtime partner Fran Walsh, that he says will be similar in tone and scope to his 1994 murder tale, “Heavenly Creatures.”
“We really feel a bigger urge now to not continue with another Hollywood blockbuster for a while, »
- Brent Lang and Tim Gray
Seventy-five years after the premiere of "Gone With the Wind" (on December 15, 1939), it seems that nothing -- not the passage of time, not the movie's controversial racial politics, not the film's daunting length, and not even the release of certain James Cameron global blockbusters -- can diminish the romantic Civil War drama's stature as the most popular movie of all time.
The film is certainly a formidable artistic achievement, a cornerstone of movie history, and a highlight of a year so full of landmark films that 1939 has often been called the greatest year in the history of Hollywood filmmaking. Each viewing of the four-hour epic seems to reveal new details. Still, even longtime "Gwtw" fans may not know the behind-the-scenes story of the film, one as lengthy and tumultuous as the on-screen romance between Scarlett O'Hara (Vivien Leigh) and Rhett Butler (Clark Gable). Producer David O. Selznick spent fortunes, hired »
- Gary Susman
Now this news has brightened up my morning. Whereas Legendary Pictures may not be thrilled that Universal set back their release date for Kong: Skull Island, they can rest easy knowing the acting laurels won’t just be carried by a CGI primate. Character actor J.K. Simmons has been confirmed to star alongside Tom Hiddleston in this no doubt action-packed tale from King Kong’s formative years.
Best known in this household as Peter Parker’s tobacco-hoovering boss J.Jonah Jameson in the Sam Raimi Spider-man franchise, Simmons is also the talk of the town following his turn in Whiplash. He’ll need a whip where he’s going, as he will no doubt encounter a variety of dinosaurs and assorted beasties. There’s no news yet on whether Andy Serkis will reprise the title role, though with his duties on Planet Of The Apes he may well experience banana-based »
- Steve Palace
A week ahead of its U.S. debut, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies began its international victory lap this weekend.Playing in 37 markets*and only seven major ones*the finale of Peter Jackson's second Middle Earth trilogy earned a massive $122.2 million. Its top territory was Germany, where its $20.5 million debut was easily the biggest of the year.It also had huge openings in the U.K. ($15.2 million), France ($15.05 million), Russia ($13.75 million), Brazil ($6.8 million), Mexico ($6.3 million), and New Zealand ($1.8 million). It wasn't particularly impressive in Japan ($2.4 million), though it's rare for a live-action import to do much business there.Across all of these markets, The Battle of the Five Armies opened above the previous two installments in the Hobbit trilogy. Each of those movies wound up with over $700 million overseas; based on this opening, that seems like a likely outcome for Five Armies as well.Next weekend, »
- Ray Subers <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Despite the admirable Martin Freeman, this last film of a bloated trilogy offers few departures from a tried and tested formula
And so, in the end, we find ourselves once again at the beginning, having travelled there and back again in the company of elves, dwarves, dragons and hobbits – a journey which started 13 years (and more than 17 screen-hours) ago with the unveiling of Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring in December 2001. Back then, the scope and scale of Peter Jackson’s visual imagination was breathtaking. Animators like Ralph Bakshi had taken a crack at Tolkien’s weighty tomes before, but Jackson was making game-changing use of computer graphics to blur the line between the “real” and the “imagined”. Having never cared for the source novels, I found myself wholly transported to Middle-earth, swept away by the sheer cinematic force of Jackson’s vision. How long ago that all seems now. »
- Mark Kermode, Observer film critic
The release date for the new King Kong film has been pushed back to 2017.
The film, now titled Kong: Skull Island, will be released on March 10, 2017, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Universal and Legendary have moved the release date in order to avoid clashing with Marvel's Doctor Strange and Fox's Trolls, which will both hit cinemas on November 4, 2016.
Kong: Skull Island will follow a team of explorers who venture deep into the mysterious and dangerous home of the king of the apes.
It will stay close to the foundations of the Kong story, but will be set in an entirely new timeline, potentially opening it up for a Godzilla crossover.
Because movie titles need to be as obvious as possible, Skull Island has been re-titled to Kong: Skull Island. Starring Tom Hiddleston and directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts (Kings of Summer), the film has also been moved from November 4, 2016 to March 10, 2017. The re-titling is an obvious branding move, but the shift in the release date is a little more interesting. Was Universal nervous about going head to head with Marvel's Doctor Strange? Could be. Or it could just be that the studio didn't want to rush the film and felt it needed more time to complete. Hit the jump for the full press release. The biggest bummer here is obviously that we have to wait an extra few months to see the newest King Kong film. After Peter Jackson's 2005 King Kong failed to resonate, fans have been waiting to see the beloved beast back on the big screen. The title »
- Haleigh Foutch
Warner Bros. Pictures
In just a few days’ time, the release of The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies will see Peter Jackson bring the curtain down on his adventures in Middle-earth – remarkably, just shy of two decades after it all began.
Jackson first started exploring the possibilities of adapting J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy novels in 1995, but he could never have imagined that the journey he embarked upon would occupy such an enormous stretch of his career. In the intervening period, the New Zealand native has only directed two films – King Kong and The Lovely Bones – that don’t involve orcs, elves, wizards and Bagginses. Unless Jackson decides to take on The Silmarillion at some point, The Battle Of The Five Armies will be the sixth and final entry in a remarkable body of work.
The Lord Of The Rings films – rightly recognised as one of finest trilogies in »
- Jonathan Cordiner
That’s the title of Jackson’s ultra-low budget 1987 directorial debut, but unless you’re a hardcore fan, you’ve probably never seen the bizarre sci-fi gross-out comedy about aliens looking to turn humans into low-calorie delicacies for an intergalactic fast food chain.
In addition to directing, Jackson served as writer, producer, cinematographer, co-editor and the head of makeup and special effects. On top of all that, he cast himself in two leading roles: nasty alien Robert (who has a beard) and human extraterrestrial-buster Derek (sans facial hair). In one memorable sequence, Robert pushes Derek off a cliff. (He survives, but cracks his skull and tries to prevent his brain from leaking out for the rest of the film.)
Jackson made the film on weekends over a four-year period, while »
- Geoff Berkshire
I had the remarkable pleasure of interviewing Dan Lemmon, who is a visual effects supervisor for the world renowned special effects company—Weta Workshop--out of New Zealand. You might have heard of that company? Mr. Lemmon has been working on special effects since The Fifth Element (1995) and has worked with effects teams to put together some of the most awe inspiring scenes in film for nearly 20 years. Everything from Titanic to Avatar—both of them the top two highest grossing films of all time. To the recent reboots of the Planet of the Apes films, from ‘Rise’ to ‘Dawn’. He supervised the visual effects team that brought Superman back to life in Man of Steel and has even worked on films such as Peter Jackson's reboot of King Kong; he's also supervised visual effects for films such as I, Robot, and even a horror entry with 30 Days of Night. »
Peter Jackson ("King Kong") is about to close the final chapter on his Hobbit trilogy, which may also be our last feature film journey to Middle Earth. Some people think Jackson could try adapting J.R.R. Tolkien's The Silmarillion. There is one little problem with that ... he doesn't have the film rights to it; the Tolkien Estate does. Before you go assuming New Line Cinema, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer or WingNut Films could just scoop up the film rights by sending a sizeable amount of cash to the Tolkein Estate, just remember they don't care for Peter Jackson's films. In the past, they have harshly criticized them for turning Tolkien's work into action films that cater to teenagers and young adults. Christopher Tolkien, who helped complete The Silmarillion after his father passed away, told Le Monde, "The commercialization has reduced the aesthetic and philosophical impact of the creation to nothing. There is »
It is time for Peter Jackson ("King Kong") to move on from Middle Earth. The director spent seven years working on The Lord Of The Rings trilogy, and has spent the last five years working on The Hobbit trilogy. The last film to explore this fantastical world is The Hobbit: The Battle Of Five Armies, which will be released in theaters December 17. Today, the first wave of reviews begun to pop online. Below, are some excerpts from them, which for the most part are mixed. Most aren't extremely positive, yet none of them are extremely negative either. Check them out for yourself. The Wrap: "I'm mostly just relieved the journey is now over." "But the lumbering and overstuffed “Five Armies” only proves Christopher Tolkien right. The 144-minute running time showcases Jackson's worst tendencies: eons-long battle scenes, sloppy and abrupt resolutions, portentous romances, off-rhythm comic timing, and, newly in this case, »
Perhaps the name Khosrow Vaziri isn't immediately familiar to you, but if you're a person of a certain age, than you remember growing up with The Iron Sheik. One the most fearsome villains in the heyday of the WWF, the wrestler has gained a new life outside the ring thanks to his unique, outrageous social media presence. And the forthcoming documentary "The Sheik" dives right into his digital world. Directed by Igal Hecht, and featuring Hulk Hogan, Dwayne Johnson, Mick Foley, Seth Green, Jack Black, Jake “The Snake” Roberts, Bret Hart, King Kong Bundy, Koko B Ware, Brother Love, Ron Jeremy, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, and more, the doc goes all the way back to tell the story of Vazirir's journey to America, and what's it like to be a 72-year-old father, husband, and grandfather, who also happens to be a sensation online. And in this exclusive clip, you can get »
- Kevin Jagernauth
After the marching bands and giants balloon characters parade by on TV… After all the college and NFL football games are played out… After the plates are cleaned of the last turkey drumstick and final piece of pumpkin pie… what better than to cuddle up with our loved ones and watch some good, wholesome family favorites on Thanksgiving!
In honor of the holiday and before you head out the door to catch all the Black Friday sales, check out Wamg’s list of some of our favorite family-friendly movies to watch on Thanksgiving Day.
Wizard Of Oz
For many years this 1939 masterpiece was truly event television. Before home video and cable TV, the only way to see this (outside of revival movie theatres and colleges), was once a year (usually on CBS). Families would gather around the tube for a chance to visit that magical enchanted land (just think of »
- Movie Geeks
Andy Serkis is best known for his motion capture roles, such as Gollum in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, Kong in King Kong and Caesar in Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Most recently, Serkis has been brought on board Avengers: Age of Ultron to help the cast with motion capture through his studio Imaginarium. Serkis also has a live action role in the film, with speculation suggesting that he is playing the Black Panther villain Ulysses Klaw, but his main responsibility was working with James Spader and Mark Ruffalo on their motion capture work as Ultron and The Hulk.
“We did some work on Ultron,” Serkis tells Empire with regards to Imaginarium’s involvement with Age of Ultron. “On the development of Ultron before James Spader came on board. In terms of movement styles: was he gonna be human-like? »
- Thomas Roach
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