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It seems to be a Hollywood tradition – one studio develops a high-profile project, so another studio puts a rival version into production. Think, apocalyptic dramas Deep Impact and Armageddon, or upcoming biblical epics Noah and Exodus. The sudden determination to deliver a new adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book is no exception, and has thrust two separate versions into production. The difference is, only one can now boast Idris Elba in the role of diabolical tiger, Shere Khan.
The rival projects reside at Warner Brothers and Disney, but Uncle Walt’s version is currently in the lead. With accomplished director Jon Favreau (Iron Man) at the helm, their Jungle Book, a mix of live-action and visual effects, has assembled a formidable creative team to achieve the desired vision. The behind-the-scenes talent is being supervised by Academy Award winning VFX guru Rob Legato (Avatar, Titanic) and includes production designers »
- Sarah Myles
Thursday Update: 300: Rise of an Empire earned $3.3 million from late Thursday showings. That's a step up from G.I. Joe: Retaliation ($2.2 million) and is significantly higher than Wrath of the Titans ($1 million at midnight). This suggests that a $40 million weekend is a pretty safe bet for the 300 sequel.Forecast: Seven years after 300 ruled the box office, a sequel finally arrives in theaters this weekend. While Rise of an Empire isn't going to come anywhere close to that movie's $70 million debut, it should still be mighty enough to take first place ahead of DreamWorks Animation's Mr. Peabody & Sherman.In March 2007, 300 reached theaters with fairly modest expectations: its cast was largely unknown at the time, and director Zack Snyder's only previous movie was the 2004 Dawn of the Dead remake ($59 million). Its mix of unique visuals and high-stakes storytelling proved to be an appealing combination, though, and it wound up setting »
- Ray Subers <email@example.com>
Warner Bros.-Legendary Pictures’ swords-and-sandals epic “300: Rise of an Empire,” tracking in the low-$40 millions, and Fox-DreamWorks Animation’s “Mr. Peabody & Sherman,” which should gross somewhere in the $30 millions, will keep the overall box office healthy, though likely not muscular enough to compete with this time last year, when “Oz the Great and Powerful” scored a robust $79 million opening.
By mid-afternoon Thursday, “300″ continued to hold onto a notable edge over “Peabody,” based on the 1960s TV kids series. Though “Peabody” should appeal to tots, it’s not clear how many non-parents the toon will attract since the demographic that most recalls the series is mostly over 40.
Fox Searchlight gives Wes Anderson his first springtime release in many years with “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” since the director’s feature debut “Bottle Rocket” bowed around this time nearly two decades ago.
“Budapest Hotel,” which just premiered at the Berlin Film Festival garnering solid reviews, »
- Andrew Stewart
Exclusive: Idris Elba is in final negotiations to perform the role and provide the voice of the killer tiger Shere Khan in Disney’s live-action take on The Jungle Book. Directed by Jon Favreau, the film is a mix of live action and VFX that is being overseen by Rob Legato, whose VFX credits include Avatar, The Wolf Of Wall Street, Hugo and Titanic, the latter two of which won him Oscars. The studio has bolstered its creative team by setting as its production designers Alex McDowell (Man Of Steel, Rise Of The Guardians) and Chris Glass heading a team of concept artists that includes Michael Kutsche (Alice, Oz, Maleficent), Iain McCaig (Star Wars), and Justin Sweet (Chronicles Of Narnia). The story team is headed by Iron Man‘s David Lowery, who’s working around the clock with seven full-time illustrators, with Legacy Effects participating in creature design and rigging. »
- MIKE FLEMING JR
In the lead-up to the 86th annual Academy Awards on March 2, HitFix will be bringing you the lowdown on all 24 Oscar categories with multiple entries each day. Take a few notes and bone up on the competition as we give you the edge in your office Oscar pool! For much of the year, the Best Animated Feature category was looking like a bit of a problem area: as one studio effort after another met with either an indifferent or disastrous reception, the threat of the weakest field in the award's 13-year history hovered in the air. In the end, however, things picked up: the Mouse House came through in November with a certifiable smash, and the Academy enriched the category by venturing further afield than Hollywood. As it is, it's a respectable enough contest, though a five-nominee field is beginning to look over-generous. The nominees are... "The Croods" (Chris Sanders, »
- Guy Lodge
Is Alexandre Desplat the hardest-working man in Hollywood? If they were going to give an Oscar for that this weekend, he'd certainly be a contender, though as it is he's nominated instead in the real category of Best Score, for “Philomena.” In the last three years alone he has worked on that film, “The Monuments Men” (where he also had a small role), “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” “Zero Dark Thirty,” “Rise of the Guardians,” “Rust and Bone,” “Moonrise Kingdom,” “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,” “Argo,” “The Ides of March,” “Carnage,” “The King's Speech,” “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” and more. And he shows no sign of slowing down, with scores in the pipeline for “Godzilla," Angelina Jolie's "Unbroken" and now also for “D,” Roman Polanski's new project. Desplat is Polanski's go-to music guy at present, having done “Carnage,” “The Ghost Writer” and even the documentary "Roman Polanski: A Film Memoir. »
- Ben Brock
• The Lego Movie – review
• Mr Peabody & Sherman – review
• More on the UK box office
Our compact half-term school holidays always concentrate the minds of UK families, offering rich potential for bonanza box-office over a highly compressed time period. And so it has proved with the half-term just ended: from Friday 14 February to Sunday 23 February, The Lego Movie has taken an astonishing £19.72m in just 10 days of play, an average of nearly £2m per day. Add in the previews from the previous weekend, and the film's tally to date rises to a stonking £21.88m. That's more than the lifetime totals of the two lowest-grossing Pixar films – Cars and Cars 2 – and is also ahead of both Kung Fu Panda pictures from DreamWorks Animation. »
- Charles Gant
DreamWorks Animation said that 24% of its revenue last year came from non-film related sales, a revealing figure as the company expands beyond its core business of movie and more into television, live events, consumer products and online video.
Dwa reported fourth quarter sales of $204.3 million, down from $265.6 million, and profits of $17.2 million, up from a loss of $82.7 million.
Sales came in at $706.9 million and profits of $55.1 million for the full year, compared to revenue of $749.8 million and a loss of $36.4 million in 2012.
“We made significant progress in 2013, transforming and positioning DreamWorks Animation for long-term success as a diversified family entertainment company,” said Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO of DreamWorks Animation. “In 2014, we have three great feature film releases, led by ‘Mr. Peabody & Sherman’ on March 7, followed by the sequel to one of our most beloved films, ‘How to Train Your Dragon 2′ in June, and ‘Home,’ November, which has an incredible voice »
- Marc Graser
So much for CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg’s prediction that Turbo would be profitable. DreamWorks Animation‘s shares are down 5.6% in post-market trading after releasing a Q4 earnings report that includes a $13.5M impairment charge, equal to 12 cents a share, for the film, which the company attributes to “its performance during the last two months of the quarter.” Dwa took an additional $6.7M charge, worth 6 cents a share, mostly for a Rocky & Bullwinkle short the studio hoped to run before Mr. Peabody And Sherman. Still, the bottom line looks better than the it did in the same quarter in 2012, when it took an $87M charge for Rise Of The Guardians. The company generated net income of $17.2M vs a loss of $82.7M the previous year on revenues of $204.3M, -22.8%. Analysts anticipated a top line of $227.1M. Earnings, at 20 cents a share, also missed forecasts for 33 cents. Dwa didn’t give »
- DAVID LIEBERMAN, Financial Editor
We’re getting closer to Hollywood’s night to shine – the Oscars. This year’s nominations are a bevy of brilliant films, performances and crafts, the motion picture industry at its best.
The Academy Awards is the gold standard by which every other awards show is measured, because when it comes to the biggest night in film, nobody does it better than Oscar!
In anticipation of the star-studded night at the Dolby Theatre, the gang at Wamg has chosen their favorite nominees – from the Best Picture and Best Acting categories to the technical categories, here’s a close-up look at our Top 10 Favorite nominees.
Best Picture – American Hustle
By Jim Batts
The Best Picture Oscar usually goes to the film that shines a light on a social injustice, a historical event, or individuals battling injury or disease. The most wildly entertaining (sorry Marty and Leo, but three hours of arrogant »
- Movie Geeks
12 Years a Slave won Best Motion Picture at the 18th annual Satellite Awards. Oscar frontrunners Matthew McConaughey, Cate Blanchett, and Jared Leto won their acting categories — but June Squibb beat out both Lupita Nyong’o and Jennifer Lawrence, winning Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Nebraska. Steve McQueen won Best Director for 12 Years, and David O. Russell and Eric Singer won Best Original Screenplay for American Hustle.
Last year, the International Press Academy honored The Silver Linings Playbook with Best Motion Picture, and recognized Lawrence and Bradley Cooper in the lead-actor categories. The Ipa is a media association that includes journalists and bloggers. »
- Jeff Labrecque
The Showman of Bollywood Subhash Ghai is known for incorporating new technology in his films. He understands the changing trends and how the audience consumes and listens to content has changed over time. Subhash Ghai has delivered several hits since 1970, and he along with Mukta Arts have kept up with the trends to create better experience for their viewers.
The leading filmmaker has once again introduced a revolutionary sound technology – Auro 3D 11.1. His upcoming film Kaanchi will be the first Bollywood film to use this technology. Other films that have used this technology are The Amazing Spiderman and Rise of the Guardians. With sound reproduction closest to natural hearing, Auro 3D 11.1 aims at giving the audience immersive experience. The technology produces maximum immersive sound through minimum speakers and amplifiers.
“I am just blown away with the new sound technology of Auro 3D 11.1, which has sound waves coming from all directions. »
- Press Releases
Our weekly round up of all the latest stories from the world of screen superheroes, including Guardians of the Galaxy, The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Ant-Man, Doctor Strange, Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., The Fantastic Four, X-Men: Days of Future Past, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H., Batman vs. Superman, Gotham, Arrow, Constantine, Son of Batman, Teen Titans Go! and more...
Well, they sure made us wait, but this week Marvel Studios gave us our first look at August's cosmic superhero adventure Guardians of the Galaxy, and boy did they deliver, with the reveal of the first trailer on Jimmy Kimmel Live! leading to what's been described as a "social media smash", with more mentions in the first 12 hours across Facebook and Twitter following its release than Man of Steel managed in 24 hours. The fun got underway on Monday with the arrival »
- Gary Collinson
Reviews, reviews and more reviews as today's episode includes reviews of the new RoboCop remake with Kevin joining us from The Playlist, About Last Night, Endless Love, Winter's Tale and even the 12 O'clock Boys documentary. Plus talk of Darren Aronofsky's Noah, some voicemail, your questions and several games. It's all for you on this Valentine's Day episode and we hope you enjoy. If you are on Twitter, we have a Twitter account dedicated to the podcast at @bnlpod. Give us a follow won'tchac I want to remind you that you can call in and leave us your comments, thoughts, questions, etc. directly on our Google Voice account, which you can call and leave a message for us at (925) 526-5763, which may be even easier to remember at (925) 5-bnl-pod. Just call, leave us a voice mail and we'll add those to the show and respond directly. An alternative to that »
- Brad Brevet
Feature Simon Brew 5 Feb 2014 - 06:57
Think kids' movies are just meaningless fluff? Think again. Many of them address important themes in smart, accessible ways, Simon argues.
At the time of writing, Disney's latest animated opus, Frozen, is in a very good place. Off the back of positive reviews, it's thus far hauled in nearly $900m at the global box office, and has a sporting chance of being the first animated movie to cross the $1bn mark. It's won a Golden Globe, is up for a couple of Oscars, and has built on the collection of strong films that Walt Disney Animation Studios has released over the past five or six years.
Personally, I'm thrilled with the success of Frozen. Not just because I really, really like the film an awful lot, but also because of its ambition and willingness to tackle deeper subjects under the surface. To be clear, »
Review Simon Brew 4 Feb 2014 - 05:53
DreamWorks revives two loveable characters from the 1960s in the animated film, Mr Peabody & Sherman. Here's Simon's review...
Mr Peabody & Sherman finds DreamWorks Animation in an odd position, with its usual Midas touch at the box office seemingly not what it was. The terrific Rise Of The Guardians struggled, Turbo even more so, and whilst The Croods did good business, How To Train Your Dragon 2 can't come along fast enough.
But before then there's Mr Peabody & Sherman, a decade-long labour of love from The Lion King's co-director, Rob Minkoff. Based on the Peabody's Improbable History moments that were broadcast as part of The Rocky And Bullwinkle Show, the key idea is that Mr Peabody is a genius dog, who adopts a boy by the name of Sherman. After all, argues the film, if a boy can adopt a dog, why can't a dog adopt a boy? »
Our weekly round up of the latest stories from the world of screen superheroes, including Batman vs. Superman, Arrow, Constantine, Justice League: War, Son of Batman, Batman & Robin, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Captain America 3, Thor 3, Ant-Man, The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Thor: The Dark World, X-Men: Days of Future Past, X-Men: Apocalypse, The Fantastic Four, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and more...
So, Henry Cavill in Michigan and production reportedly set to get underway, we've finally found out who'll be playing Kal-El's nemesis Lex Luthor in Man of Steel sequel Batman vs. Superman. No, it's not Bryan Cranston, Mark Strong, Joaquin Phoenix, Denzel Washington, Idris Elba, David Ramsey or any of the other names plucked out of thin air these past few months, but rather The Social Network and Now You See Me star Jesse Eisenberg. "Lex Luthor is often considered the most notorious of Superman’s rivals, »
- Gary Collinson
Featuring a hyperintelligent, talking, time-traveling dog and his boy, 3D cartoon Mr. Peabody & Sherman represents a pleasant, polished, but somewhat by-the-numbers effort, a throat-clearing exercise to kick off 2014 for DreamWorks Animation before they blitzkrieg the box office with How to Train Your Dragon 2 in June. The studio must surely be hoping to claw back some market share after such disappointing performers as Rise of the Guardians and Turbo, but this is effectively a gamble on an unknown brand, given it reprises characters largely unfamiliar to viewers outside of North America. Even in that
- Leslie Felperin
Justice League: War is yet to hit shelves, but promotional is already well underway on the next instalment of the DC Universe Animated Original Movies series; Warner Bros. has already debuted the trailer and cover art for Son of Batman, and now we have a list of the special features set to accompany the direct-to-video release, including a sneak peek at the next feature, Batman: Assault on Arkham....
Blu-ray Special Features:
-Strange Blood Ties
-Damian Wayne, The Fang, and the Demon Head: The League of Assassins
-Designing the Characters with Phil Bourassa
-A Sneak Peek at Dcu Batman: Assault on Arkham
-4 Bonus Cartoons:
- Gary Collinson
Our weekly round up of the latest stories from the world of screen superheroes, including Batman vs. Superman, Justice League, Arrow, The Flash, Constantine, Son of Batman, Superman: Flyby, The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant-Man, Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Marvel's Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (and 3), X-Men: Days of Future Past, The Fantastic Four and more....
Well, Batman vs. Superman might have been pushed back ten months to May 2016, but if talk is to be believed production is still set to get underway as planned in February (as opposed to the rumoured May start date), with a report late last night suggesting Ben Affleck has been forced to pull out of directing Fox's TV pilot The Middle Man as the "main players" on the Man of Steel sequel have been called up to start work right away. Of course, while we wait for official confirmation, »
- Gary Collinson
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