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The Birth of Mickey

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 12

Dwayne 'the Rock' Johnson is highest-earning male actor

Dwayne Johnson at a premiere event for 2019's "Jumanji: The Next Level" (image courtesy Getty)
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The former wrestler reportedly earned $87.5m (£67m) between 1 June 2019 and 1 June 2020, including $23.5m for the Netflix thriller Red Notice.

He also made money from his fitness clothing line, Project Rock.

The 10 top earners combined made $545.5m this year - more than a quarter of that from Netflix, Forbes said.

Johnson's Red Notice co-star Ryan Reynolds was the second-highest paid actor, with earnings of $71.5m. Among his movie deals were $20m, also for Red Notice, and $20m for Six Underground, another Netflix film.

Third on the list was actor and producer Mark Wahlberg, who earned $58m, while Ben Affleck came in fourth and Vin Diesel fifth.

Continue Reading at: BBC

Aug 11

Background performers worry they're being replaced by mannequins

Spurr, posing for a photograph on Aug. 7, 2020, says some productions have even shifted to using mannequins instead of live performers (image courtesy CP)
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by Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press

Paula Spurr is used to being herded together with co-workers on the job.

As a background performer in film and TV, the Burnaby, B.C., actress has been packed with colleagues in groups under tents outside, sometimes for up to 14 hours, while they await their scenes.

"We're very tight together; we're used to it, it's how we usually exist in that world," says Spurr, whose credits include the series Snowpiercer and See.

"But that's not possible anymore."

With many productions limiting the amount of people in scenes and on set to create physical distancing to decrease COVID-19 infection risk, Spurr says her already unpredictable line of work has "become very uncertain."

Showrunners have been changing scenes to have little or no background performers, she says.

She's even heard of some smaller-budget productions using mannequins "in the deep background" these days.

"It's like, 'Oh great, we're being replaced with dummies,"' Spurr says with a laugh.

Continue Reading at: CBC

Aug 9

Aquaman's James Wan Is Bringing A Classic '80s Show To The Big Screen

David Hasselhoff and his car KITT in a publicity still for "Knight Rider" (image courtesy NBC)
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by Sarah El-Mahmoud

We're leaning into nearly twenty years since James Wan's breakout horror flick, Saw. Since the success of that film, he's gone on to create an empire within the genre, which includes the Insidious movies and Conjuring universe. The filmmaker reached new depths in 2018 with the release of mega-blockbuster Aquaman, and he's now involving himself in a slew of other producing projects. His latest is an adaptation of cult '80s television series that informed David Hasselhoff's icon status, Knight Rider.

James Wan's production company Atomic Monster is teaming up with Spyglass in the latest effort to reboot Knight Rider, which initially aired on NBC from 1982 to 1986. The television show centers on crime-fighting driver Michael Knight and his high-tech car, KITT. The movie is being penned by Ratchet & Clank video game writer TJ Fixman. Upon the announcement, screenplay writer said this on Twitter:

"Knight Rider was one of my favorite shows as a kid, so this feels like I just stepped through a time portal and high-fived my 8-year-old self. Hey David Hasselhoff can we be friends now?!"

No response yet on Hasselhoff's end just yet but, if the writer has loved the television show since childhood it must be in good hands, right? Knight Rider has a loyal fanbase so organized that a convention called KnightCon exists. The show was unsuccessfully rebooted back in 2008 (among other attempts), and hums of film versions have been in the news for a number of years. Back in 2017, John Cena was attached to play Michael Knight alongside Kevin Hart in a buddy cop comedy version of Knight Rider, but it never shifted into drive.

David Hasselhoff has been discussing his interest in returning to his Knight Rider role for years, suggesting a Logan-type treatment for the character. At this point, specific details about the vision for the film are scarce other than it being set in the present day and maintaining "the anti-establishment tone of the original," per Deadline.

Continue Reading at: CinemaBlend

Aug 8

'The Matrix': Lilly Wachowski Finally Confirms What Fans Have Suspected for So Long

by Robert Yaniz Jr.

Movies have a tremendous power to inspire and thrill. But even more than that, they can sometimes directly impact real life. And decades after its release, The Matrix certainly stands as one of those impactful movies for a lot of people. Now one of the movie's directors, Lilly Wachowski, has confirmed a much-talked-about element of The Matrix.

To be sure, The Matrix offers a cinematic experience like few others. On the surface, the movie is simply a sci-fi action-thriller. But siblings Lilly and Lana Wachowski infused the story with a variety of influences. In addition to action and sci-fi, The Matrix invokes mythology, religion, anime, Westerns, film noir, and countless philosophical concepts.

More than 20 years after its theatrical release, bits of dialogue - such as the red [p]ill versus the blue [p]ill - are ingrained in the public consciousness. The movie's sequel - 2003's The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions - developed the first movie's themes. And while they contribute their own ideas, nothing has matched the impact of the original The Matrix.

Since the release of The Matrix in 1999, both Lana and Lilly Wachowski have come out as transgender women. And over the years, fans have begun to suspect the Wachowskis' movie is actually an allegory for what's it like to be transgender. Now in a recent interview, Lilly Wachowski has discussed this is exactly what she and her sister intended all along.

I'm glad that people are talking about The Matrix movies with a trans narrative. I love how meaningful those films are to trans people and the way that they come up to me and say "These movies saved my life." ... So I'm grateful that I can be throwing them a rope to help them on their journey. ...I'm glad that it has gotten out that that was the original intention, but the corporate world wasn't ready for it.

Continue Reading at: Showbiz CheatSheet

Aug 7

Lionsgate Announces John Wick 5 & Back-to-Back Productions!

Keanu Reeves being "suited up" in his titular 'John Wick' role (image courtesy Lionsgate)
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by Grant Hermanns

With just three mainline films under its belt, the John Wick franchise is quickly on its way to becoming Lionsgate's most-acclaimed and financially successful franchises of theirs yet and they're looking to keep it going as John Wick 5 has officially been confirmed in a recent studio earnings call, according to Deadline.

During the earnings call, Lionsgate CEO John Feltheimer initially confirmed the release date for the forth coming fourth installment in the hit action franchise and went on to confirm a fifth film is in the works as well as hopes to keep the cameras rolling immediately after production wraps on John Wick 4.

"We're also busy preparing scripts for the next two installments of our John Wick action franchise, with John Wick 4 slated to hit theatres Memorial Day weekend 2022," Feltheimer said in the call. "We hope to shoot both John Wick 4 & 5 back to back when Keanu becomes available early next year."

The Keanu Reeves-led series has been a major hit for Lionsgate thus far, grossing nearly $600 million at the global box office and receiving rave reviews from critics and audiences alike, with each subsequent installment garnering larger praise than its predecessor. Its success has not only spawned the multiple sequels, but also a spin-off film Ballerina with Chapter 3 - Parabellum co-scribe Shay Hatten penning the script and Len Wiseman (Underworld) directing, as well as a Starz series centered on the underworld hotel The Continental, which is looking to debut sometime after the fourth film.

John Wick 4 director Chad Stahelski recently confirmed that Reeves was only four weeks into shooting The Matrix 4 when COVID-19 concerns forced a shutdown. Reeves will have to complete his commitment to the Lana Wachowski sequel before moving on to John Wick Chapter 4.

Continue Reading at: ComingSoon.net

Aug 6

Nonprofit Report Slams Hollywood for "Normalizing" Self-Censorship of Films for China

by Hoai-Tran Bui

A new report from the nonprofit PEN America slammed Hollywood studios and A-list directors for increasingly self-censoring its films "based on an effort to avoid antagonizing Chinese officials." The report digs into the troubling signs that Hollywood self-censorship is become increasingly "normalized," as the industry tiptoes around any subjects - like the erasure of Tibetan characters in Marvel movie Doctor Strange, or removal of scenes that paint China in a bad light in World War Z - that could potentially put them in trouble with China's government and thus lose out on the highly lucrative Chinese box office.

PEN America published a blistering report (via The Hollywood Reporter) condemning Hollywood for bowing to the regulations of the Chinese government with excessive self-censorship. The report states that major studios and A-list directors are increasingly making decisions regarding cast, plot, dialogue, and settings of their films to pass China's censors, with the study even citing examples of studios inviting Chinese government regulators on film sets to advise "on how to avoid tripping the censors' wires."

The report specifically points out creative choices on films like Doctor Strange, World War Z and the upcoming film Top Gun: Maverick, all of which removed or avoided topics that would have put them in hot water with the Chinese government - in the case of Doctor Strange, a Tibetan character that was recast as Tilda Swinton; for World War Z, the removal of a scene in which the characters speculate the zombie virus originated in China; for Top Gun: Maverick, the "mysterious disappearance of the Taiwanese flag" on a flight jacket that was seen in the 1986 original. (The World War Z scene ended up being for naught, as the film never received a release in China due to the government's dislike of themes of the undead, ghosts or time travel.)

"Our biggest concern is that Hollywood is increasingly normalizing preemptive self-censorship in anticipation of what the Beijing censor is looking for," James Tager, PEN deputy director of free expression policy and research and the report's author, said.

Continue Reading at: /Film

Aug 5

'Mulan' is finally heading to Disney+... for $30

by Frank Pallotta

Disney's "Mulan" has been delayed multiple times this year because of the coronavirus outbreak, but audiences will finally be able to see the blockbuster soon.

It just may not be in the theaters.

Disney (DIS) announced on Tuesday that the remake of the 1998 animated classic will be heading to Disney+, the company's new streaming service, for an additional fee of $29.99. The film will be available on September 4.

Bob Chapek, Disney's CEO, said the pandemic has forced the company to think of "different approaches" to better serve consumers.

"We thought it was important to find alternative ways to bring this exceptional family friendly film to them in a timely manner," he said on the company's third quarter earnings call.

Chapek added that "Mulan" will be released simultaneously in theaters in markets where Disney+ is not available and, of course, where theaters are open.

The news of the release came as Disney released brutal quarterly results that showed the extent to which the company's media empire was ravaged by the pandemic. The company reported that it had a net loss of nearly $5 billion in the third quarter this year.

In addition to its whopping quarterly loss, Disney's parks business was hit especially hard by COVID-19. Its parks and resort unit lost $3.5 billion in the quarter and the unit's revenue was down a whopping 85% from the quarter a year prior.

Continue Reading at: CNN

Aug 4

Amazon Debuts Red-Band Trailer for Get Duked!

by Grant Hermanns

Amazon Prime Studios has debuted the first red-band trailer for the coming-of-age British comedy Get Duked! (originally titled Boyz in the Wood) teasing a hilarious and profanity-filled camping trip gone wrong for four city boys. The trailer can be viewed in the player below!

Written and directed by Ninian Doff in his feature directorial debut, the film follows teenage pals Dean, Duncan and DJ Beatroot from Glasgow who embark on a character-building camping trip inspired by the real-life program Duke of Edinburgh Award, where foraging, teamwork and orienteering are the order of the day. Eager to cut loose and smoke weed in the Scottish Highlands, the trio finds themselves paired with straight-laced Ian, a fellow camper determined to play by the rules.

After veering off the path into remote farmland thatís worlds away from their urban comfort zone, the boys find themselves hunted down by a shadowy force hell-bent on extinguishing their futures, leading to an anarchic journey of generational politics, hip-hop loving farmers and hallucinogenic rabbit droppings that pits the youth of tomorrow against the status quo of yesterday.

Watch the trailer here, but don't forget it is NSFW.

Continue Reading at: ComingSoon.net

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