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In 1928, Walt Disney, then an unknown animator, was forced to give up his relatively successful character of "Oswald the Lucky Rabbit" following a contract dispute with Universal.

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Aug 22

Dwayne Johnson leads Forbes list of highest-paid actors with $89.4 million US

Dwayne Johnson is the highest paid actor in Hollywood for the June 2018 to June 2019 period (image courtesy Reuters)

by Reuters

Action movie hero Dwayne Johnson, star of the Jumanji and Fast and Furious franchises, topped the annual list of the world's highest-paid actors, Forbes magazine reported on Wednesday.

Johnson, the former wrestler once known as The Rock, pulled in $89.4 million US from June 2018 to June 2019, the magazine said.

That includes his salary and a share of profits from films, $700,000 US per episode of HBO series Ballers, and seven figures in royalties from his line of clothing, shoes and headphones with Under Armour.

Last year, Johnson was second behind George Clooney, who reaped a windfall from the sale of his tequila company.

Next on this year's list were two stars of Avengers: Endgame, the highest-grossing movie of all time.

Chris Hemsworth, who played Thor, took in $76.4 million US, while Iron Man actor Robert Downey Jr. earned $66 million US, Forbes said.

Other Endgame stars - Bradley Cooper, Chris Evans and Paul Rudd - also landed in the top 10.

Continue Reading at: CBC

Aug 21

Disney-Sony Standoff Ends Marvel Studios & Kevin Feige's Involvement In 'Spider-Man'

by Mike Fleming Jr.

Sony Pictures spent much of yesterday trying to spin Deadline about the prospective loss of Kevin Feige from future Spider-Man films. First the studio downplayed the idea he might be leaving; then insiders pinned his exit on added responsibilities from the Fox acquisition of the X-Men franchise, though they declined to make a statement. All this was reflected as factors in Deadline’s break of an important and widely regurgitated story. But sources maintain that Feige's exit was about money; it was about Disney seeking the 50/50 co-fi stake as the price for Marvel and Feige's continued guiding hand that resulted in the delivery of Sony's biggest grossing film ever. Sony declined to meet those terms. It was an aggressive stance by Disney, which already owns the merchandise on Spider-Man, and a tough nut for Sony to swallow, giving up half of its most valuable franchise. But these talks had been going on for some time. Had Sony agreed to Disney's ask, Marvel and Feige would not have withdrawn from the Spider-Man films, sources said.

Sony issued a statement late in the evening, not denying anything Deadline revealed yesterday, but reiterating its stance that Feige was too busy, which seems like spin. Deadline stands squarely behind its reporting. How important is Feige to the future of this franchise? We'll find out down the line. Sony is planning two more installments, though it is an open question whether those will include Jon Watts, director of the first two films guided creatively by Feige. Watts isn't signed on for the next film and isn't a certainty to be back as he is being heavily courted for other jobs. Could Sony find itself vying against Marvel for Watts' future services as director?

Continue Reading at: Deadline

Aug 20

'The Hunt' director speaks out after film's cancellation

Betty Gilpin (left) and Ethan Suplee in a scene from the cancelled Universal film "The Hunt" (image courtesy Universal Pictures)

by Katie Scott

Last week Universal Pictures cancelled the planned September release of its controversial social satire The Hunt in the wake of recent mass shootings and amid criticism from U.S. President Donald Trump

Speaking with Variety for the first time since the Aug. 10 cancellation, The Hunt director Craig Zobel said: "If I believed this film could incite violence, I wouldn't have made it."

"Our ambition was to poke at both sides of the aisle equally," he continued. "We seek to entertain and unify, not enrage and divide. It is up to the viewers to decide what their takeaway will be."

The move to cancel the film came several days after the studio suspended the ad campaign for the movie, a gory, R-rated thriller that tells a tale of liberal "elites" hunting people in red states for sport.

Zobel told the outlet that the film has been misunderstood.

"I wanted to make a fun, action thriller that satirized this moment in our culture - where we jump to assume we know someone's beliefs because of which 'team' we think they’re on... and then start shouting at them,” he wrote. "This rush to judgment is one of the most relevant problems of our time."

Continue Reading at: Global News

Aug 18

Box Office: 'Good Boys' Steals the Show With $21M Debut

Keith L. Williams (left), Jacob Tremblay, and Brady Noon in a scene from "Good Boys" (image courtesy Universal Pictures)

by Pamela McClintock

In a surprise victory and much-needed boost for the comedy genre, Universal's raunchy tween pic Good Boys laughed its way to the top of the U.S. box office chart with $21 million from 3,204 theaters.

The film, produced by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, marks the first time that an R-rated comedy has placed No. 1 since The Boss in spring 2016. It's also the biggest opening for an original comedy in 2019 thus far and the second-biggest of any comedy this year behind Madea's Family Funeral ($27.1 million).

Heading into the weekend, Good Boys had been expected to lose to Hobbs & Shaw in North America with an opening in the $12 million-$15 million range.

The film follows a trio of 12-year-old boys who will do anything to gain admittance to a kissing party. Jacob Tremblay, Keith L. Williams and Brady Noon star, with Gene Stupnitsky helming in his feature directorial debut. Nearly 70 percent of the audience was between ages 18 and 34.

Universal had a great weekend overall, becoming only the second major Hollywood studio behind Disney to boast $1 billion or more in 2019 domestic ticket sales (Disney's slice is more than $2.8 billion). And Universal is the only major to have an original film open in first place this year, a feat it has now accomplished twice (the first was Jordan Peele's Us).

Other Universal wins at the August box office include Hobbs & Shaw. The Fast & Furious spinoff placed No. 2 in its third weekend with an estimated $14.1 million from 3,757 theaters as it topped the $400 million mark globally. Overseas, the action pic earned another $45.7 million - including a franchise-best debut of $15 million in South Korea - to finish Sunday with an international tally of $303 million and $436.7 million worldwide.

Continue Reading at: The Hollywood Reporter

Aug 17

Are Marvel Movies Ruining the Film Industry?

by Eric Robinette

It may seem strange to accuse Marvel of ruining the film industry when Marvel, in particular, is the biggest game in town. Their movies make money hand over fist, with Avengers: Endgame alone making what three or four "ordinary" blockbusters might make.

However, that very statement speaks to what ails the movie businesses. And it's not only Marvel that's the problem. The big studios rely so much on presold titles with their sequels and remakes and reboot that everything else gets lost in the shuffle.

It's telling that there is only one movie this year to make more than $100 million that's not based on some pre-existing intellectual property, and that’s Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in … Hollywood. But is it fair to blame the mega-budget tentpoles when they're what's keeping the business going?

A user on Reddit got the discussion going, arguing that Marvel was basically making the same movie over and over. The user said: "They all are incredibly formulaic, and have essentially the same plot, but re skinned with different characters. Sure, some intricacies involving the plot may be different, but overall it's the same general conflict-resolution dynamic."

Moreover, the user argued this is bad for movies in general: "Why make a quality movie with a unique plot, unique characters, and a 'deep' message, when you can just make a typical movie with a big budget and a couple of A-Listers and still make bank? I can't be the only one who sees originality decreasing from mainstream films."

With Marvel so dominating the conversation these days, it's easy to forget that other series have arguably been "making the same movie" for decades. The James Bond movies have stuck to a basic formula since 1962, the same year Spider-Man was created. So Marvel is hardly the only culprit here.

Click the Continue Reading at link to finish reading this interesting look at the current state of movies.

Continue Reading at: Showbiz Cheatsheet

Aug 16

Peter Fonda Dead at 79 After Respiratory Failure from Lung Cancer

Jane and Peter Fonda are pictured here in 2013's TCM Classic Film Festival (image courtesy Gregg DeGuire / WireImage)

by Elizabeth Leonard and Joelle Goldstein

Peter Fonda, the son of Henry Fonda and the younger brother of Jane Fonda, has died, PEOPLE confirms. He was 79.

Peter's family confirmed the sad news in an exclusive statement to PEOPLE on Friday and said that the two-time Oscar-nominee died after suffering respiratory failure due to lung cancer.

"It is with deep sorrow that we share the news that Peter Fonda has passed away," the family said. "[Peter] passed away peacefully on Friday morning, August 16 at 11:05 a.m. at his home in Los Angeles surrounded by family."

"The official cause of death was respiratory failure due to lung cancer," they continued.

Peter, who became a movie star and counterculture icon with his 1969 movie Easy Rider, was born in New York City to screen legend Henry Fonda and Frances Ford Seymour.

The star spent his early years growing up alongside his older sister, Jane, until he was sent to boarding school at just 6 years old.

Their childhood was struck by tragedy when their mother, who struggled with her mental health, died by suicide when Peter was 10 and Jane was 12.

In his 1998 book, Don't Tell Dad: A Memoir, Peter said his mom's death was something that his "forbidding figure" father, who was remote and often away on set, lied about and subsequently "ignored".

Continue Reading at: People

Aug 14

The Hunt's cancellation and Hollywood's history of self-censorship, explained

A scene from the now cancelled, either temporarily or permanently, "The Hunt" (image courtesy Universal Pictures)

by Alissa Wilkinson

Less than two months before The Hunt's scheduled late-September release, Universal Pictures decided to indefinitely postpone it. The film's premise - in which "elites" hunt "normal" people for sport - first garnered a smattering of criticism from left-leaning social media accounts for its apparent intent to valorize MAGA-style protagonists.

But hours after Fox News anchor Laura Ingraham expressed outrage over the premise of the film on her show, the devoted Fox News viewer in the White House happened to tweet about "Hollywood," declaring that "they create their own violence, and then try to blame others." Which probably meant he was tweeting about The Hunt. (And which is a little rich, coming from someone who famously fast-forwarded through his favorite movie, the 1988 Jean-Claude Van Damme martial arts flick Bloodsport, so he could watch only the extremely violent scenes.)

A day later, Universal announced it was canceling its plans to release the film, which had originally been titled Red State vs. Blue State. In a carefully worded statement released Saturday, the studio announced: "We stand by our filmmakers and will continue to distribute films in partnership with bold and visionary creators, like those associated with this satirical social thriller, but we understand that now is not the right time to release this film." (The statement did leave the door open to a future release.)

Click the Continue Reading at link to continue reading this intriguing story about Hollywood's past self-censorship.

Continue Reading at: Vox.com

Aug 12

Dolemite Is My Name Trailer: Eddie Murphy Is Comedy Legend Rudy Ray Moore

by Kevin Burwick

Netflix has dropped the first trailer for Dolemite Is My Name!. Eddie Murphy stars in the movie as the outrageous and original Rudy Ray Moore who was many things over the years, including a comedian, musician, singer, actor, and producer. After a string of dead end jobs and entertainment opportunities, Moore decided to go into the world of comedy, which is where he crafted the Dolemite persona. Dolemite Is My Name will tell that story and it looks like Eddie Murphy was the perfect choice to take on the larger then life persona.

The Dolemite Is My Name trailer is just as outlandish and unconventional as blaxploitation legend Rudy Ray Moore was in real life. The biopic was written by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, the writers behind Man On The Moon, The People Vs. Larry Flynt, and Ed Wood. By looking at the first footage, it's clear this isn't going to be a paint-by-numbers affair, which is refreshing. Eddie Murphy nails some of the foul-mouthed character's mannerisms almost too perfectly.

Dolemite Is My Name will premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September and then it will have a limited theatrical release in the fall before streaming on Netflix. The biopic was directed by Craig Brewer (Hustle & Flow) and follows Rudy Ray Moore's mission to make the Dolemite character become a worldwide sensation. Starring alongside Eddie Murphy are Tituss Burgess, Craig Robinson, Mike Epps, Da'Vine Joy Randolph, Keegan-Michael Key, Snoop Dogg, and Wesley Snipes. Brewer is working with Snipes and Murphy again on the upcoming Coming 2 America, which will reportedly begin shooting this fall after the press tour for Dolemite Is My Name winds down.

See Eddie Murphy's performance in the trailer here:

Continue Reading at: Movieweb

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