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July 23

Box Office: 'Dunkirk' Conquers Competition With $50.5M Debut; 'Valerian' Bombs

A still from Christopher Nolan's Box Office-winning "Dunkirk" (image courtesy Warner Bros.)
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by Pamela McClintock

Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk stormed the box office with a better-than-expected $50.5 million domestic debut, the best opening in recent memory for a World War II film and a testament to the Nolan brand.

Overseas, the critically acclaimed film also impressed, earning $55.4 million from its first 46 markets and placing No. 1 everywhere for a global assault of $105.9 million. The U.K., where Nolan is from, led with $12.4 million, followed by South Korea with $10.3 million.

Still, Dunkirk will need sizeable staying power in order to recoup a net production budget of $100 million and a major marketing spend.
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Elsewhere at the North American box office, Universal's Girls Trip broke the R-rated comedy curse in debuting to $30.4 million from 2,591 theaters. That's the best showing in two years for the genre and helps to make up for summer flops Rough Night and The House. Like Dunkirk, Girls Trip came in ahead of expectations.
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Girls Trip was made for roughly $20 million, a modest amount compared to the budgets for Dunkirk and the weekend's third new nationwide release, French filmmaker Luc Besson's Valerian and the City of Thousand Planets.

Valerian, a sci-fi epic costing $180 million, crash-landed in the U.S. with a $17 million bow from 3,553 theaters.

Continue Reading at: The Hollywood Reporter

Jul 23

'Justice League' trailer brings back Wonder Woman and delivers a mighty Aquaman hair flip

by Amy Kaufman

Since its debut last month, "Wonder Woman" has grossed over $770 million worldwide -- so Warner Bros. knows what it has in Gal Gadot's beloved superhero.

It stands to reason, then, that Wonder Woman is featured prominently in a new "Justice League" teaser that debuted at Comic-Con on Saturday. The film, which hits theaters Nov. 17, was directed by Zack Snyder and features all of the most popular characters in the DC universe: Batman (Ben Affleck), Aquaman (Jason Momoa), Cyborg (Ray Fisher) and the Flash (Ezra Miller).

So far, there's no Superman to be seen, as the character played by Henry Cavill was killed off in "Batman v Superman." But Cavill was spied on the London set of "Justice League," so don't count him out just yet.

Watch the Comic-Con sneak peek here:

Continue Reading at: Los Angeles Times

Jul 23

John Heard, the Frazzled Father in 'Home Alone,' Dies at 71

John Heard in 1994 in an episode of "Law and Order." He gained recognition mainly for lighter roles in films of the 1980s and 1990s (image courtesy NBC / Getty)
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by Annie Correal

John Heard, an actor who played pained characters in dramas but was probably best known for his role as the father who mistakenly left his youngest son behind on a family trip to Paris in the comedy "Home Alone," died on Friday in Palo Alto, Calif. He was 71.

The Santa Clara County medical examiner's office said the cause was under investigation.

Mr. Heard recently had surgery for back pain at Stanford University Medical Center and was recovering at a nearby hotel, where a housekeeper found his body, his former wife, Sharon Heard, said in an interview on Saturday.

Mr. Heard started his career playing serious roles in the theater and was praised for his wrenching performance as a disabled and emotionally tortured Vietnam veteran in the 1981 film "Cutter's Way," which also starred Jeff Bridges.

Mr. Heard gained recognition mainly for lighter roles in films of the 1980s and '90s like "Home Alone," in which he played Macaulay Culkin's father, and before that "Big," with Tom Hanks.

With his squinting blue eyes and clean-shaven good looks, Mr. Heard often embodied the stereotype of the 1980s businessman, bringing a mixture of flustered charm and self-assurance to the roles.

Continue Reading at: The New York Times

July 22

How Young Should Batman Be?

Ben Affleck in a scene from 2016's 'Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice' (image courtesy Warner Bros.)
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by Richard Lawson

Can this Batman be saved? Particularly, Ben Affleck's Batman, who was first introduced in last year's grinding and intermittently effective Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. He's set to appear next in this fall's Justice League, the DC universe's answer to The Avengers, and the kickoff to a larger series of movies. Which would presumably ensure that Affleck will be the definitive Batman for at least the foreseeable future. And yet, today The Hollywood Reporter has a report, from Hollywood, suggesting that Affleck's days in the sweaty rubber onesie may be numbered.

The official party line from DC is that they're not wavering on Affleck. He's their guy. But THR spoke to sources who said that Affleck's age, a decrepit 44, could be an issue. Of course, there was also the whole issue of Affleck stepping down as director of his solo Batman movie back in January, followed by the news, just last week, that the new director of The Batman, Planet of the Apes wizard Matt Reeves, will not be using the script Affleck wrote. So, Affleck's relationship with the whole franchise seems a bit shaky, and THR's latest report goes further - based on anonymous sources - towards confirming that.

The big question then is, if Affleck is asked to vacate the Batcave and find some quiet place to live out his golden years in peace, who should replace him? The thinking seems to be that someone younger would be most desirable (what’s new?), so that the actor could stick with the franchise for years and years and years. Who could that be?

Continue Reading at: Vanity Fair

Jul 20

Michael Fassbender Is Hunted in First Trailer for 'The Snowman'

by Dave McNary

Michael Fassbender and Rebecca Ferguson are in pursuit of an elusive serial killer in first trailer for "The Snowman," based on the thriller by Norwegian author Jo Nesbø.

Fassbender portrays crime squad detective Harry Hole, who discovers a beheaded victim on the first snow of winter. He's told at the start of the trailer, "A woman vanished last night. We just found the body. And the head is missing."

Fassbender is aided by a brilliant recruit, played by Ferguson, in his efforts to connect cold cases to the new one. "I'm thinking that he's going after women that he disapproves of," she notes.

The killer appears in the trailer to be tracking Fassbender and sending taunting notes. "He's been watching us the whole time," Fassbender says. "If we don't find him, he's never going to stop."

The film is directed by Swedish helmer Tomas Alfredson, whose credits include "Let the Right One In" and "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy."

See the trailer here:

Continue Reading at: Variety

Jul 19

Ron Howard shares first picture of Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian in untitled Han Solo film

Ron Howard at his director's monitor with a shot of Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian on the screen (image courtesy Instagram / Ron Howard)
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by Rebecca Lewis

Ron Howard is well and truly endearing himself to Star Wars fans thanks to his copious behind the scenes Instagram pictures – even if they don't tend to reveal much detail.

This time however, it's all change[d], as Howard has shared a picture of Donald Glover in character as Lando Calrissian in the Millennium Falcon's cockpit.

Glover can be seen on the monitors in front of Howard, wearing Lando's classic gold flight jacket; Howard captioned the snap: 'lining up a shot today from my director’s monitor.'

Howard was confirmed as the new director of the Han Solo spin off film after Phil Lord and Chris Miller were fired by LucasFilm.

'At Lucasfilm, we believe the highest goal of each film is to delight, carrying forward the spirit of the saga that George Lucas began forty years ago,' Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy said in a statement.

'With that in mind, we're thrilled to announce that Ron Howard will step in to direct the untitled Han Solo film. We have a wonderful script, an incredible cast and crew, and the absolute commitment to make a great movie. Filming will resume July 10.'

Howard came into the production when it was already reportedly about three-quarters through principal photography – replacing a director at this stage is almost unheard of for a studio.

Continue Reading at: Metro

Jul 17

George A. Romero, Father of the Zombie Film, Dies at 77

Zombie film director George A. Romero, pictured here in 2016, has passed away from cancer (image courtesy Getty)
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by Mike Barnes

George A. Romero, the legendary writer-director from Pittsburgh who made the 1968 cult classic Night of the Living Dead for $114,000, thus spawning an unrelenting parade of zombie movies and TV shows, has died. He was 77.

Romero, who put out five other zombie movies after a copyright blunder cost him millions of dollars in profits on his wildly popular first one, died Sunday of lung cancer, his producing partner, Peter Grunwald, told the Los Angeles Times, which first reported the news. Romero's family confirmed his death to the newspaper as well.

Romero's manager, Chris Roe, posted on Facebook that the director died while "listening to the score of The Quiet Man, one of his all-time favorite films, with his wife, Suzanne Desrocher Romero, and daughter, Tina Romero, at his side. He died peacefully in his sleep following a brief but aggressive battle with lung cancer and leaves behind a loving family, many friends and a filmmaking legacy that has endured, and will continue to endure, the test of time."

Romero's 1978 sequel Dawn of the Dead was made for $1.5 million and grossed $55 million. He followed that by writing and directing Day of the Dead (1985), Land of the Dead (2005), Diary of the Dead (2007) and Survival of the Dead (2009), a decomposing body of work that earned him the nickname Father of the Zombie Film.

Continue Reading at: The Hollywood Reporter

Jul 16

Box Office: 'War for the Planet of the Apes' Scares Off 'Spider-Man' With $56.5M

Caesar (played by Andy Serkis) in a scene from 'War For the Planet of the Apes' (image courtesy 20th Century Fox)
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by Pamela McClintock

Director Matt Reeves' War for the Planet of the Apes succeeded in scaring off Spider-Man: Homecoming at the North American box office, winning the weekend with an estimated $56.5 million from 4,022 theaters.

That's a relief for 20th Century Fox, considering many had expected a closer race between the two films. Sony and Marvel Studios' rebooted Spider-Man ended up declining more than expected in its sophomore outing, falling 61 percent to $45.2 million for a domestic total of $208.3 million.

War for the Planet of the Apes came in 22 percent behind sequel, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, which debuted to $72.6 million in 2014. That's not a terrible fall off but is another reminder of the troubling sequel fatigue that's causing Hollywood studio executives plenty of angst. Fox has said all along this would be the final title in the refurbished series about intelligent primates.
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The weekend's other new offering, Wish Upon, got lost in its debut with an estimated $5.5 million from 2,250 theaters to place No. 7. The supernatural horror pic, from Broad Green Pictures and Orion, stars Joey King, Ryan Phillippe and Elisabeth Rohm and revolves around a young girl who's given a music box by her father that grants her every wish, with terrifying consequences. Wish Upon received a C CinemaScore, not unusual for a horror title.

After War for the Planet of the Apes, the other big headline of the weekend was Michael Showalter's The Big Sick, which expanded nationwide after a stellar limited run. The romantic comedy placed No. 5 with $7.6 million from 2,597 cinemas for an early cume of roughly $16 million.

Continue Reading at: The Hollywood Reporter

Jul 15

'A Wrinkle in Time': Ava DuVernay Unveils Magical First Trailer at D23

by Aaron Couch

It's time for the first look at one of next year's most anticipated films.

The first trailer for director Ava DuVernay's A Wrinkle in Time debuted at D23 on Saturday.

The ambitious project is an adaptation of the 1963 children's classic by Madeleine L'Engle. The film stars Storm Reid as Meg Murry, a young girl whose scientist father (played by Chris Pine) has been missing after disappearing years earlier. The sprawling cast also includes Oprah Winfrey (Mrs. Which), Reese Witherspoon (Mrs. Whatsit), Zach Galifianakis (The Happy Medium) and Mindy Kaling (Mrs. Who).

DuVernay, Reid, Pine, Winfrey and Witherspoon came out to big applause.

They showed off the film's first trailer, which begins with Pine's character in voiceover.

"What if we are here for a reason? What if we are part of something truly divine? Imagine, 91 billion light-years traveled like that," says Pine, before he is shown trapped in a strange room.

The trailer, set to a cover of "Sweet Dreams," features ambitious set pieces and ambitious designs.

See the trailer here:

Continue Reading at: The Hollywood Reporter

Jul 15

Hollywood's summer box-office lesson: Reviews matter

by Ryan Faughnder, Contact Reporter

Hollywood is in the midst of its stormiest summer in years. Box-office ticket sales since the first weekend in May are down 8% from a year earlier, according to data firm ComScore, prompting the stocks of major cinema chains to drop.

But there's one ray of sunshine as the exhibition industry struggles to get people to the multiplex: Critically acclaimed movies are actually doing robust business.

The summer movie season - which accounts for about 40% of annual box-office revenue - typically relies on generic popcorn fare with little regard for quality. But the movies that have earned virtually unanimous praise from critics - including "Wonder Woman," "Baby Driver," "The Big Sick" and "Spider-Man: Homecoming" - are the ones that are breaking out.

Conversely, movies that have been reviewed harshly, such as "Baywatch" and "The Mummy," have also been rejected by American audiences, illustrating a hard reality in today's changing marketplace.

Reviews can often mean the difference between life and death for a movie, as the big screen is facing greater competition for audiences' attention. As prestige TV enjoys a golden age on HBO, FX, Netflix and Hulu, viewers are visiting review aggregation sites such as Rotten Tomatoes to decide what movies to see, if any. Early buzz is amplified by social media, where people share reviews and give their own opinions on what to see on the big screen.

Continue Reading at: Los Angeles Times

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