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Oct 21

Weekend Box Office: 'Halloween' Opens to Terrifying $77.5M

Michael Myers wields his knife one more time in the new "Halloween" (image courtesy Universal Pictures)

by Pamela McClintock

"Trick or treat" took on a whole new meaning at the weekend box office, where Blumhouse and Universal's Halloween opened to a terrifying $77.5 million from 3,920 theaters, the second-best showing of all time for an R-rated horror pic.

It also scored the second-best debut ever for the month of October, coming in not far behind the record set by Venom earlier this month ($80 million). Overseas, Halloween started off with $14.3 million from its first 23 markets, led by Mexico ($4.9 million) and the U.K. ($3.6 million), for a global bow of $91.80 million.

The film - a direct sequel to the 1978 classic slasher hit that sees Jamie Lee Curtis reprise her role as the iconic Laurie Strode - is yet another victory for horror maestro Jason Blum and his microbudgeted strategy. Halloween cost $10 million to make, with Blumhouse and Miramax co-financing.

Halloween sees Laurie Strode once again facing off with Michael Myers, the masked figure who has haunted her since she narrowly escaped his killing spree on Halloween night in 1978. (Nick Castle reprises his role as Myers.)
The busy weekend also saw A Star Is Born top Venom for the first time. Both films, now in their third weekend, grossed $19.3 million and $18.1 million, respectively, to claim the No. 2 and No. 3 spots on the chart.

A Star Is Born has now grossed a stellar $126.4 million in North America, in addition to passing the $200 million mark at the worldwide box office. It isn't singing quite as loudly overseas, where it earned another $22.8 million over the weekend from 75 markets for a foreign total of $74.7 million and $200.1 million globally. The pic is doing best in English-language markets, such as the U.K., which leads with $19.5 million.

Venom's domestic total through Sunday is an even bigger $171.1 million for Sony as it nears the $500 million threshold globally. The superhero pic stayed atop the chart overseas with $33.3 million for a foreign tally of $290.7 million and a $461.8 million worldwide cume.

Continue Reading at: The Hollywood Reporter

Oct 20

Every John Carpenter Movie, Ranked

by Keith Phipps

John Carpenter's 1978 classic Halloween ends in a frenetic struggle to survive against a knife-wielding maniac, but it takes its time getting there. After a shocking opening, the film builds tension a little bit at a time as unwitting babysitter Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) first starts to suspect something might be up when she sees a strange figure in the distance. It's an exercise in how to create suspense, and few do that better than John Carpenter, who grew up a movie-obsessed kid haunting the downtown theaters of Bowling Green, Kentucky, where his father worked as a music professor, then moved to L.A. to make movies himself.

Carpenter's name has become synonymous with horror, and rightly so. There are few, if any, directors who've exerted as much influence on the genre in the last four decades. Carpenter's worked across other genres as well, but, as this ranking of his films reveals, he tends to rely on the same tools and return to a handful of venerable themes regardless of the sort of movie he's making. He usually includes his name as a possessive in his movies' full titles for a reason: John Carpenter makes John Carpenter films. (Though, for the sake of brevity, we've just gone with the core titles below. So, The Fog, rather than John Carpenter's The Fog.)

For a while, it was too easy to take Carpenter for granted. He returned year after year with a new film, most of which tended to be underrated at the time, if not outright rejected. And his movies often suffered when shown on television in the pre-letterboxing era (even if the electronic scores he created for most of them still sounded great). Few directors use every inch of a wide-screen frame quite as well as Carpenter. Shown in pan-and-scan, his films could look sloppy, even incoherent. Letterboxed, they make sense again. But the generation that grew up watching his movies has helped lead an overdue reassessment: Now, with Carpenter showing little interest in returning to film-making, even the lesser efforts look better.

Click the Continue Reading at link to read Vulture's John Carpenter movie rankings.

Continue Reading at: Vulture

Oct 18

Nicole Kidman is here to destroy the Best Actress Oscar race in harrowing ‘Destroyer’ trailer

by Joyce Eng

Just in the Nic of time, the first trailer for Nicole Kidman's gritty cop drama "Destroyer" dropped Wednesday, and she looks locked and loaded to destroy her Oscar competition.

Directed by Karyn Kusama, "Destroyer" follows Erin Bell (Kidman), an LAPD detective haunted by a gang-related undercover op gone bad years ago. When the leader of the gang (Toby Kebbell) reemerges, Erin is forced to confront her demons and those in her life she's left behind. The film also stars Sebastian Stan as Erin's former partner and love interest, Tatiana Maslany (blink and you'll miss her manically laughing in a trunk in the trailer), Bradley Whitford and Scoot McNairy.

Burning with ferocity and fury, Kidman is virtually unrecognizable in the role, with a sun-baked face and a stiff brown wig that makes you think Erin just uses dry shampoo but probably hasn't in a few weeks. She received raves for her performance coming out of film's premiere at the Telluride and Toronto Film Festivals, and is currently in 10th place in our Best Actress Oscar odds.

This would be Kidman's fifth nomination, following her Best Actress triumph for "The Hours" (2002), lead bids for "Moulin Rouge!" (2001) and "Rabbit Hole" (2010), and a supporting nomination for "Lion" (2016).

Watch the trailer here:

Continue Reading at: GoldDerby.com

Oct 17

Patrick Wilson & Vera Farmiga To Reprise 'Conjuring' Roles As The Warrens In Third 'Annabelle' Movie

Vera Farmiga (left) and Patrick Wilson in a scene from 2013's "The Conjuring" (image courtesy Warner Bros.)

by Anthony D'Alessandro

For the first time in The Conjuring universe, the Ed and Lorraine Warren characters will appear in one of the film series' spinoff titles, Gary Dauberman's untitled Annabelle project.

To date, the paranormal investigators have appeared in the core Conjuring 1 and 2 movies. Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga will return to play Ed and Lorraine, but as we understand it, they'll be in a supporting capacity in the Annabelle threequel.

Annabelle 3, the sixth title in The Conjuring franchise, picks up with the Warrens bringing the Annabelle doll to a place where she can no longer wreak havoc: their Artifacts Room. Annabelle awakens the room's evil which sets its sights on a new target: the Warrens' ten year old daughter Judy. The young girl, along with her teenage babysitter cousin and the cousin's friend, square off against the evil doll.

If you remember 2013's The Conjuring, Annabelle is one of the Warrens' early signature cases. The doll is owned by two young nurses who start noticing small odd things, such as her arms and legs moving. Ultimately Annabelle starts shattering picture frames, leaving crayon-written notes like "Miss me?" and scribbling all over the walls. Turns out there was a young girl named Annabelle Higgins who died in the nurses' apartment, and they allowed the spirit to take possession of the doll.

As previously announced, Mckenna Grace will play Judy, while Madison Iseman also stars. Dauberman, who wrote the script for the New Line project, will be making his directorial debut.

Continue Reading at: Deadline

Oct 16

The Story Behind the Original Halloween

Jamie Lee Curtis in a still from the original 1978 version of "Halloween" (image courtesy Columbia Pictures)

by Jason Bailey

When John Carpenter's Halloween quietly opened in Kansas City on October 25, 1978, it did not seem like the kind of movie anyone would speak kindly of - or think about at all, really - 40 years later. A low-budget horror thriller aimed primarily at secondary markets and drive-ins; even its director harbored no illusions of its being art. "That's a programmed movie," he told Film Comment's Todd McCarthy. "It's an old county-fair haunted-house movie. You say to the audience, 'You're going to see something that's going to scare you. Now get ready. I'm not going to tell you when it's going to come ... but here it comes!' It's programmed right in, just laying it on." Nevertheless, Carpenter and his team crafted a film that transcended its meager roots and modest targets to become a game-changer in the horror genre and the independent film scene, begetting countless imitations, a remake series, and nine sequels, the latest of which opens this Friday. Not too shabby for a bunch of hippies making an exploitation movie about a babysitter killer.

At least, that was the movie Irwin Yablans saw in his head. "I dreamed up Halloween on an airplane," he told the New York Times in 1981. "I was coming back from a film festival in Milan, and I was looking for an idea that wouldn't cost money because I didn't have any money. I couldn't afford to buy a book or a play. And it happened to be Halloween night." He worked out the idea of a madman stalking and killing babysitters; everyone's either been a babysitter or had a babysitter, he figured, so the story was relatable. When his plane landed, he hurried to a phone and pitched The Babysitter Murders to John Carpenter.

Yablans had acquired Carpenter's 1976 urban western Assault on Precinct 13, a gripping, tightly wound action picture that failed to find an audience anywhere but in Britain (where it was successfully distributed by Miracle Films, headed up by a kindly gent named Michael Myers). The director was looking for a commercial hit; Yablans was looking for a director for his very commercial movie. They made a deal. Yablans would executive produce the movie, financing it through his company Compass International Pictures, splitting the $300,000 budget (a low one, even for then, even for an independent film) with financier Moustapha Akkad. In exchange for writing and directing it, Carpenter would get creative control, $10,000, and a percentage of the potential profits; Carpenter brought on then-girlfriend Debra Hill to co-write the script and produce. They came up with the story of Michael Myers, a six-year-old boy who murders his teenager sister on Halloween night in 1963 and is sent away to a mental institution, only to escape on the same holiday, 15 years later, to return to his hometown and kill again.

Click the Continue Reading at link to read the rest of this great article on the story behind the original Halloween.

Continue Reading at: Vulture

Oct 15

Tom and Jerry: Live-Action Animation Hybrid Movie in the Works From Fantastic Four Director

by Colin Stevens

The Hanna-Barbera classic cartoon duo Tom and Jerry will be receiving a live-action/animated hybrid feature film, and Warner Bros. is in negotiations with Tim Story to Direct.

As reported by Variety, the film is expected to begin shooting in 2019. Story is known for directing 2005’s Fantastic Four and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, as well as Ride Along and the upcoming Shaft film.

It appears that the production will shoot real-world footage with Tom and Jerry themselves being added in as animation - similar to how films like Who Framed Roger Rabbit handled the process.

Reports claim the two main characters won’t be voiced and will operate mostly with physical comedy, just as the pair did in their original outings. Warner Bros. is reportedly looking to make sure that the live-action and animation teams are working together over the course of this film and other similar hybrid projects.

Continue Reading at: IGN.com

Oct 14

Weekend Box Office: 'First Man' Trails 'Star Is Born,' 'Venom' With Sluggish $16.5M Launch

by Pamela McClintock

Universal's critically acclaimed astronaut drama First Man faltered in its box-office blast off, grossing $16.5 million from 3,640 theaters to come in well behind holdovers Venom and A Star Is Born. The hope now is that the adult-skewing film will be buoyed by a slow burn throughout awards season.

Conversely, Sony's Venom, which stayed No. 1 as it crossed $378 million globally, and Warner Bros.' A Star Is Born continued to rock the October box office in their sophomore outings with an estimated domestic payload of $35.7 million and $28 million, respectively. Venom fell less than expected, or 56 percent, while Star Is Born dipped 35 percent.

Reuniting Oscar-winning filmmaker Damien Chazelle with his La La Land star Ryan Gosling, First Man is a visceral retelling of Neil Armstrong's journey to the moon in 1969. Heading into the weekend, the biographical drama was tracking to open in the $18 million-$20 million range (some services had it slightly higher). Audiences liked the film less than critics, giving it a B+ CinemaScore.
Internationally, First Man took in $8.6 million from its first 22 markets, led by the U.K. ($3.1 million), where it placed behind A Star Is Born ($3.8 million). That puts its global launch at $25.1 million.
Venom, which also stayed atop the foreign chart with $69.7 million from 54 markets, is a huge win for Sony film chief Tom Rothman. Through Sunday, the pic has grossed $142.8 in North America and $253.3 million offshore for a total $378.1 million. Starring Tom Hardy as the Marvel antihero, the $100 million movie is luring fanboys of all ages, as well as their families.

Directed by and starring Bradley Cooper opposite Lady Gaga, A Star Is Born is also a major victory at the domestic box office, finishing Sunday with a total $94.2 million. The remake is singing less loudly overseas, where it grossed $20.2 million in its second weekend for a foreign total of $41.2 million and $135.4 million globally.

Continue Reading at: The Hollywood Reporter

Oct 12

'First Man' Thursday Previews Broke An IMAX Box Office Record

Ryan Gosling as astronaut Neil Armstrong in a scene from 'First Man' (image courtesy Universal Pictures)

by Scott Mendelson

I already wrote a little bit about First Man's Thursday preview number this morning, but there was an extra nugget that came to my attention after I posted. The long and short of it is that the Damien Chazelle-directed drama, starring Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong, earned $1.1 million in Thursday previews last night. That's a solid number, and the hope is that it pulls an $18m-$22m debut weekend while A Star Is Born is doing its thing, just as Captain Phillips snagged a $25.7m opening right alongside Gravity's blockbuster $43m (-22%) second weekend.

But the trivia of note is that the "from Earth to the Moon" drama earned $370,000 of its $1.1 million preview gross in 404 IMAX auditoriums. That represents a whopping 33.6% of its total gross in 14.7% of its 2,850 theaters. That's a record, in terms of percentage, for an IMAX Thursday preview for a wide release. With previews starting at 7:00 pm, the film expands to 3,640 theaters this morning. Overall, it earned a $302 per-theater average last night. But in its IMAX theaters, it earned $915 per theater.

Continue Reading at: Forbes

Oct 11

Watch the Bone-Chilling First Trailer for Stephen King's 'Pet Sematary'

by Steve Huff

Stephen King doesn't like Pet Sematary. Sure, he wrote it, but his explanation for his dislike makes sense: "It's a terrible book—not in terms of the writing, but it just spirals down into darkness."

It'd be easy to assume a film version of the novel might do the same—but the original adaptation is cheesy. The new adaptation? Based on the trailer above, it looks scary as hell.

The trailer was first published on Youtube Wednesday, and it collected nearly a half-million views in just a few hours. Many of those were from confirmed fans, no doubt, but surely others were viewers who had heard that this is just terrifying.

After all, Pet Sematary apparently will involve a glaring, undead cat, creepy children in masks, Jason Clarke looking freaked out, and John Lithgow as the old man who informs Clarke's family that "Sometimes, dead is better."

See it for yourself here:

Continue Reading at: Maxim.com

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