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The Academy Awards

Sure, the Oscars are probably older than you are, but how much do you really know about the iconic event?

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Feb 19

Amazon Studios to Start Making Films That Will Skip Theatrical Release

by Adam Chitwood

Amazon Studios made waves at the Sundance Film Festival last month where they scooped up distribution rights to a number of high-profile films, but it appears as though Amazon may be making a significant shift when it comes to their feature film strategy. Amazon has long been held as a "gold standard" in cinephile circles because of the way it rolls out its original films. Rather than foregoing a theatrical experience like Netflix, Amazon played by theatrical rules, giving films like Manchester by the Sea and The Big Sick robust theatrical runs at least 90 days before those movies showed up on Amazon's streaming service. Now, however, that's about to change.

As part of a profile on new Amazon Studios chief Jennifer Salke in Variety, it was revealed that in addition to theatrical releases, Amazon Studios will now also start making films that will debut exclusively on its Prime subscription service and forgo theatrical release entirely. This no doubt comes as a blow to those who hold the traditional theatrical release strategy in high esteem, but it's a move intended to drive up Amazon Prime’\'s subscriber numbers in preparation for an onslaught of competition.

Indeed, over the next 18 months we're going to see the stiffest and most fierce competition in the history of the streaming world. Apple will unveil its star-studded TV and film projects on its own proprietary service; Disney+ will serve as a haven for families and home to original films and miniseries; and even WarnerMedia looks to cull together various Warner Bros. film and television projects, which could mark the end of shows like Friends being licensed to Netflix.

Continue Reading at: Collider

Feb 17

Box Office: 'Alita: Battle Angel' Opens to Less-Than-Heavenly $41.7M

Publicity still from "Alita: Battle Angel" (image courtesy 20th Century Fox)

by Pamela McClintock

Director Robert Rodriguez's Alita: Battle Angel is easily winning the long Presidents Day weekend with an estimated $33 million from 3,790 theaters for a troubled domestic debut of $41.7 million.

Numbers will be updated Monday morning.

The good news: Alita - a passion project for James Cameron, who produced and co-wrote the pic - came in well ahead of prerelease tracking. The bad: The long-gestating cyberpunk adventure cost 20th Century Fox at least $200 million to produce before tax rebates and incentives brought the net budget down to $165 million-$170 million (this doesn't include marketing).

Alita will need to have strong legs domestically and do huge business overseas if it isn't to lose tens of millions and become the first big-budget miss of the year. The film earned $56 million from 86 foreign markets over the weekend for an early offshore total of $94.3 million and roughly $136 million globally through Monday. So far overseas, Alita is pacing ahead of Ready Player One, which earned $455.2 million internationally.

Holdover The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, now in its second weekend, came in at No. 2 with an estimated four-day gross of $25 million for a domestic cume of $62 million through Monday. The sequel, which continues to pace well below the 2014 original, earned another $12.2 million overseas for a disappointing foreign total of $34.7 million.

New Line's Isn't it Romantic landed at No. 3 with a four-day gross of $17.3 million, putting its six-day debut at a projected $23.6 million. The comedy stars Rebel Wilson as a rom-com-detesting Manhattanite who suddenly finds herself living in her very own romantic comedy. Liam Hemsworth, Priyanka Chopra and Adam DeVine co-star.

Continue Reading at: The Hollywood Reporter

Feb 17

Fiascos and fumbles: Oscar organizers stumble to restore glory

An Oscar statue is seen during a media preview of this year's Academy's Governors Ball in Los Angeles (image courtesy Reuters)

by Jill Serjeant

First it was the furor over a proposed new "popular" film category, then it was the fiasco over planned host Kevin Hart, and last month the organizers of the Oscars were accused of intimidating celebrities not to present at rival award shows.

Last week, another storm erupted when, as part of a pledge to shorten next Sunday's Oscars ceremony, plans to present awards for cinematography, film editing, live-action shorts and makeup/hairstyling during commercial breaks were slammed as insulting by actors, directors and cinematographers. Five days later, the plan was scrapped.

It's been a tough 12 months for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as it battles to restore its annual Oscars show to a must-see event after the U.S. television audience slumped to an all-time low last year.

"This year, the bigger question than who will win at the Oscars is what the heck is going on at the academy?" said Tim Gray, awards editor at Hollywood trade publication Variety.

"There have been a slew of bungles," Gray added. "I feel they are flailing around and acting out of desperation."

Under pressure from the ABC television network to trim and liven up the ceremony, the academy has seen many of its efforts backfire.

Continue Reading at: Reuters

Feb 15

Oscars: Academy To Reverse Decision And Award All Categories On Live Broadcast

by Mike Fleming Jr.

EXCLUSIVE, UPDATED with confirmation of Deadline scoop: The Motion Picture Academy has decided to reverse plans to award the four categories during commercial time - Cinematography, Editing, Make-Up and Hairstyling and Live Action Short - and the winners will be awarded during the live telecast. This become the latest in an Oscarcast that has been trying hard to bring the Academy Awards into the 21st century, but bucking up against an organization steeped in tradition.

"The Academy has heard the feedback from its membership regarding the Oscar presentation of four awards – Cinematography, Film Editing, Live Action Short, and Makeup and Hairstyling," the officers of the Academy's board of governors said. "All Academy Awards will be presented without edits, in our traditional format. We look forward to Oscar Sunday, February 24."

All of the branches had agreed to the rotating system that the Academy said it would institute, but when it came time to actually slight four important groups who have much to do with cinematic excellence, it became clear that the pushback and internal rancor wasn't worth the prospect of cutting 45 minutes out of the Oscarcast and bringing it down to three hours.

The Academy's attempt to make the show quicken its pace is not misplaced, but it will require changeability to find the right formula. Slighting the four categories clearly wasn't the right plan.

Continue Reading at: Deadline

Feb 14

Disney Releases First Frozen 2 Teaser Trailer: See the Sneak Peek

by Elyse Dupre

Elsa and Anna are back!

On Wednesday, Disney released its new trailer for Frozen 2. While the exact plot of the film isn't clear, the sneak peek suggests there's trouble in the kingdom. The teaser starts off with Elsa watching the rise and fall of the waves as a storm brews overhead. She then musters her courage and manages to run across the water by making a path of snowflakes and ice. However, she quickly falls into the surf.

The two-minute clip also shows Anna leaping from a cliff and her main man Kristoff riding fiercely on his trusty reindeer Sven. Of course, their loyal snowman Olaf is there, too.

At the end of the clip, Anna grabs Kristoff's sword and seems to fight off someone - or something.

The film stars Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad and more.

See the trailer here:

Continue Reading at: E Online!

Feb 13

'Tolkien' Trailer Gives Us First Look at Nicholas Hoult in Title Role

Nicholas Hoult stars in the title role of Tolkien, where he portrays famous writer J.R.R. Tolkien, who is responsible for the Lord of the Rings trilogy, among other works.

The film explores the formative years of the orphaned author as he finds friendship, love and artistic inspiration among a group of fellow outcasts at school. This takes him into the outbreak of World War I, which threatens to tear the "fellowship" apart. All of these experiences would inspire Tolkien to write his famous Middle-Earth novels.

The film also stars Lily Collins as Edith Bratt, Tolkien's wife, among others.

The movie is in theaters May 10th, in the meantime check out the trailer here:

Continue Reading at: JustJared.com

Feb 11

Why 'Lego Movie 2: The Second Part' Isn't Clicking

Elizabeth Banks (left) and Chris Pratt in "The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part" (image courtesy Warner Bros.)

by Pamela McClintock

There was nothing awesome about the box office debut of The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part.

The sequel opened to an estimated $34 million-$35 million in North America, well behind an expected $50 million to $55 million, and half as much as the 2014 film. Blame the movie's surprisingly soft performance on franchise fatigue, according to box office analysts. A less-than-inspired marketing campaign is another factor, analysts add.

Lego Movie 2 is also struggling badly overseas, where it launched to $18 million from 63 territories for a worldwide bow of $53 million. Globally, the $100 million movie needs to earn $200 million-$225 million to break even.

It has been five years since The Lego Movie, directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, opened to a huge $69 million. It took Lord and Miller, who wrote and directed 2009's animated Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs for Sony and also directed 2012's live-action 21 Jump Street, to the next level. and it put Warners in the animation game.

The studio responded by plotting two spinoffs that hit theaters within months of each other. The Lego Batman Movie started off with $53 million domestically in February 2017, followed that September by The Lego Ninjago Movie with a cautionary debut of $20.3 million on its way to earning just $123 million worldwide.

"I certainly think franchise fatigue is a major factor in the massive property devaluation of this WB franchise," says Jeff Bock of Exhibitor Relations. "Audiences probably could have done without Ninjago. And the truth of the matter is, five years is a long time. The Second Part seemed like a retread from the get-go, resting on the laurels of the original."
There were no obvious warning signs that Lego Movie 2 was in trouble. Heading into the weekend, it boasted a Rotten Tomatoes score of 84 percent. While that didn't match the 95 percent bestowed on the 2014 movie, it's still a strong score.

But when Friday box office returns started coming in, executives at Warners were rattled, both by the actual grosses and exit surveys revealing that the sequel was playing far younger than the first Lego Movie, which drew its strength from appealing to college students and adults, in addition to kids. This time, 48 percent of ticket buyers were under the age of 18, compared with 41 percent in 2014.

Continue Reading at: The Hollywood Reporter

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