Sunday, November 30, 2014

Holiday Box Office Update: Games Wins The Turkey Frame

The start to the two film adaptation of the last book in author Suzanne Collins' trilogy-The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part I trounced both holiday newcomers with an overstuffed box office cume.

The comedy sequel Horrible Bosses 2 and the CG Animated went in circles with no traction.

The long-awaited awards contending biopic The Imitation Game opened with great numbers.

Pamela McClintock of THR:

Lionsgate's The Hunger-Games: Mockingjay — Part 1 was the easy victor at the otherwise soft Thanksgiving box office, earning $82.7 million to score the third-best gross of all time for the five-day holiday, not accounting for inflation. The penultimate installment in the YA film franchise has now earned $225.7 million in North America and $480 million worldwide.

Domestically, however, it still continues to trail well behind last year's The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, which finished Thanksgiving with $296.3 million in North American ticket sales.

New entries Penguins of Madagascar and R-rated comedy Horrible Bosses 2 both did less business than expected after opening Wednesday, helping to explain why overall revenue was down more than 20 percent from last Thanksgiving. Horrible Bosses 2 in particular came in well behind projections, although it sports a relatively modest production budget of $40 million.

From DreamWorks Animation, Penguins took in $36 million for the five days, one of the lowest numbers for an animated film opening over Thanksgiving, not accounting for inflation, although it did best fellow DreamWorks' ill-fated Rise of the Guardians ($32.3 million). The movie's opening isn't good news for Jeffrey Katzenberg's company, and will need strong legs.

The $132 million family film, coming in No. 2 and a spinoff of the popular Madagascar franchise, is directed by Eric Darnell and Simon J. Smith. The voice cast includes John Malkovich, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom McGrath, Christopher Knights, Chris Miller, Conrad Vernon, Peter Stormare, Ken Jeong and Annet Mahendru. Penguins did earn an A- CinemaScore, which could help fuel word of mouth, or at least that's the hope.

Making life undeniably difficult for Penguins was Disney holdover Big Hero 6 , which continued to prosper in its fourth weekend, grossing roughly $26 million for the five days to come in No. 3.

From New Line and Warner Bros., Horrible Bosses 2 grossed $23 million for the five days to come in No. 4. The first Horrible Bosses opened to $28.2 million on its way to earning a stellar $209.6 million worldwide.

Heading into the weekend, tracking suggested Horrible Bosses 2 would gross $35 million or more, while Penguins was expected to take in between $40 million and $45 million.

Directed this time out by Sean Anders, Horrible Bosses 2 re-teams most of the original cast, including Jason Bateman, Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis, whose characters set out to start their own business, only to be swindled. Jennifer Aniston, Jamie Foxx, Chris Pine, Christoph Waltz and Kevin Spacey also star.

As awards season heats up, there was a slew of offerings for adults at the specialty box office, including director Morten Tyldum's The Imitation Game, which The Weinstein Co. debuted Friday in New York and Los Angeles.

The biopic, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, did huge business, earning $482,000 for a location average of $120,500, the second-best showing of the year after The Grand Budapest Hotel ($220,000) and among the fifth best of all time.

Next Up: The horror pic The Pyramid follows  a team of U.S. archaeologists that unearths an ancient pyramid buried deep beneath the Egyptian desert. As they search the its depths, they become hopelessly lost in its dark and endless catacombs. Searching for a way out, they become desperate to seek daylight again. Soon they come to realize they aren't just trapped, they are being hunted.

and wrote the script from which directed.

The film adaptation of Cheryl Strayed's memoir called Wild begins its limited bow.

The story follows a woman (Reese Witherspoon) who falls into reckless and destructive behavior following her own divorce and the death of her mother. She makes a rash decision - to hike more than 1,000 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail, alone. In the process she reclaims her life.

Based on neuroscientist and author Lisa Genova's debut novel--Still Alice follows Alice Howland (Julianne Moore), a fiercely independent 50-year-old Harvard University psychology professor at the height of her career. She soon begins to notice lapses in her memory and receives a diagnosis of early onset Alzheimer's Disease She soon must come to terms with it and the ways in which it will change her life.

The comedy Life Partners follows co-dependent friendship between two very different girls — type-A Paige (Gillian Jacobs) and lesbian slacker Sasha (Leighton Meester). Paige has vowed that she won’t get married until Sasha has the same legal right and that works out fine until Paige meets Tim (Adam Brody), a young and charming doctor.

Susanna Fogel co-wrote the script with from which Fogel directed.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Photo: Gyllenhaal's Transformation In "Southpaw"

The first official photo from Antoine Fuqua's boxing drama "Southpaw" is a doozy.

Jake Gyllenhaal plays a left-handed prizefighter who wins a title but suffers a tragedy soon after and must put his life back together.

Rachel McAdams Forest Whitaker Oona Laurence Naomie Harris ("Skyfall") Beau Knapp ("Super 8") and former world welterweight champion boxer-turned-actor Victor Ortiz also star in the film.

Last year--Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper and Jeremy Renner were under consideration for the lead role--and before that rapper Eminem was poised to step in the ring

The script was penned by Sons of Anarchy creator/exec producer Kurt Sutter.

Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal, Alan Riche, and Peter Riche produced the movie.

Gyllenhaal dropped 25 pounds for Dan Gilroy's "Nightcrawler," looking very gaunt and malnourished in his role as a sociopathic freelance crime photographer.

Once production wrapped, he went to work building his body back up for the drama. Gaining 15 pounds of muscle back on the actor endured workouts twice a day, seven days a week . As a result, he got extra ripped.

Talking to Deadline about the actor's commitment to the film, Fuqua says:

"I asked this guy from day one, 'I need you in the gym every day. I need you to train every day.' And I said, 'The word is sacrifice.' Literally. I think he broke up with his girlfriend because he was just in the gym every day. He was training like a fighter. I had him sparring, really getting hit. I put him in situations where I wanted to see what he was made of. No one but fighters understand the sacrifice it takes to be a fighter.”

Guardians of the Galaxy 2: Nova Nixed, Nebula Not

At one point in time during development of "Guardians of the Galaxy," the popular Marvel cosmic character Nova (aka. Richard Rider), was slated to appear in the film. There are drafts of the script however saw him being jettisoned, with only a few pieces of concept art from earlier this year giving us an idea of what might have been.

Answering a recent question posted to his Facebook page, filmmaker James Gunn has sadly revealed that Nova will not be making an appearance in the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy 2 either: 

"I don't want Nova right now because I think Quill being the only earthling is important. That serves the entire movie-going audience and not just the handful of Nova fans. Sorry if that upsets you. I have nothing against Nova in future movies, but it doesn't serve the movie right this moment."

One character whom he is keen on getting back though is Nebula (Karen Gillan). Gunn tells Yahoo:

"To me, she’s the Boba Fett of the movie. She's the one that you really dig because she's the cool one that we need to get more of. I hope to god that we get a chance to see a lot more of Nebula [in future 'Guardians' films]."

The first film has its disc release on December 9th--a week after hitting VOD--It's already available digitally. "Guardins 2" is set for release on July 28th 2017

Friday, November 28, 2014

Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens Teaser

Here it is!! The teaser for  J J. Abrams' "Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens"...It lays out pretty much as expected. Still it's a thrill to see the Millennium Falcon being dogged by a pair of  Imperial  TIE Fighters and hearing those distinct whoooshing sounds. The question remans will the new film be "The Empire Strikes Back" good? Bring It!

Original Trilogy stars Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker Harrison Ford as Han Solo  and Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia Anthony Daniels as C-3PO, Peter Mayhew playing the legendary Wookiee Chewbacca, and Kenny Baker as Astro droid R2 D2 will be back. Warwick Davis is in the film says Variety. Davis has already appeared in two films in the series 1983's "Return of the Jedi" and 1999's "Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace".

Franchise creator George Lucas told Bloomberg Businessweek that he begun talks with original stars to have them return to for its new films -- before he had even begun the process of the ultimately $2 billion deal and sale. It's been said that Lucas' actually spent about a year planning the franchise's future before handing the reigns of Lucasfilm over to Disney.

The new cast members also include John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson,Christina Chong and  Max von Sydow as a villain character. 12 Years a Slave Best Supporting Actress Lupita Nyong'o and Game of Thrones co-star Gwendoline Christie have officially been cast in the film as well. Parkour master Pip Andersen and actress Crystal Clarke have joined the sequel--the pair were two of the 37,000 or so hopefuls who attended casting calls across eleven cities. Miltos Yerolemou, who had a small but memorable role as Arya Stark's sword trainer in the first season of "Game of Thrones," has joined the cast of in an undisclosed role reports The BBC. The role is said to be a minor one. Greg Grunberg has a role in the pic.

Disney/Lucasfilm haven't revealed any character details at all however, so which of the newcomers is playing which roles is all speculation at this point.

Scottish actor Ian McDiarmid who played Emperor Palpatine attended the 2014 London Film and Comic Con and confirmed that he would not return to the "Star Wars" universe in the  upcoming trilogy--but he didn't rule out a return in a potential spin-off pre-Return of the Jedi:

"I'm definitely not in [Episode VII]. As you know, he's dead by then. I know, we believe in reincarnation, and holograms… But you know, they are going to take many twists on the story as the years go on, and I guess they may go back to a time - I've got no clue, I'm speaking off the top of my head - when the Emperor ran the universe. And I don't want anyone else to play him, do I?"

In a recent post Latino Review claims that Palpatine is part of the new trilogy after all--though played by another actor...

James Earl Jones, the man behind the voice of Star Wars villain Darth Vader was asked by Variety recently about the possibility of playing the character in more films, perhaps one of the Spin-Off Films for example set before "Return of the Jedi". He said: "Oh no. I've got no illusions that I will or even hankerings to be in them, but I'm very proud to have been part of the original."

Actor was asked by HeyUGuys whether he'd been invited back to play his character from Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace--Qui-Gon Jinn in the franchise...While the answer was "No" He said that he would be up for a comeback.

Abrams wrote the script with Lawrence Kasdan for the film. Oscar winner Michael Arndt ("Toy Story 3," "Little Miss Sunshine") vacated his job scripting the next film--after disagreements over which characters the film will focus on.

Kasdan ("The Empire Strikes Back," "Raiders of the Lost Ark") and Simon Kinberg ("Sherlock Holmes," "X-Men: Days of Future Past") have reportedly closed deals to pen the final two installments of the new "Star Wars" trilogy. Kasdan and Kinberg are also indeed writing the stand alone/origin Star Wars features. Company CEO Robert A. Iger recently revealed that the studio has three features in the works - not two as previously indicated.  "Godzilla" reboot director Gareth Edwards is going to direct the first of the upcoming Star Wars Spin-Off Films. "Fantastic Four" reboot and "Chronicle" director Josh Trank is officially set to direct the as yet Untitled Number 2 stand alone spin-off film.

The plan is to have each of these films come out in the years when we don't see a new episode of the saga - They would come out in 2016, 2018 and 2020. We still don't know which characters these spin-offs will focus on. Current franchise chief,
Kathleen Kennedy spoke to Yahoo about the stand-alone films saying that they will NOT affect the main narrative of the Episodes.

While the character was rumored to be getting a solo film last month--Cinelinx posts that the studios are developing a separate trilogy of spin-off films dedicated to the character of Obi-Wan Kenobi--set between the prequel and original trilogy. Their source says:

"First up, they are not talking about an Obi-Wan spin-off movie but a trilogy of Obi-Wan movies . I need to stress that these movies are not connected. They aren't part of a story arc but three separate Obi-Wan adventures set between Episodes III and IV. It seems like the three movie ideas are as follows: One set completely on Tatooine and two where Obi-Wan travels elsewhere in the Galaxy. Qui-Gon Jinn is very much present in these stories. So too is Owen Lars . Several characters from the 'Star Wars: The Clone Wars' TV Series would make an appearance. There would be flashbacks to Obi-Wan fighting in the Clone Wars."

Looking ahead "Looper" and "Brick" writer-director Rian Johnson has inked a deal to both pen and call action on "Star Wars: Episode VIII" as well as write a treatment for "Star Wars: Episode IX".

The Avengers: Age of Ultron star Mark Ruffalo previously worked with Johnson on The Brothers Bloom, with Ruffalo playing one half of a brotherly con act. In a recent interview with Collider Ruffalo tells the site that he contacted Johnson to tell him  that he wants to be in the sequel.

Kasdan and Kinberg would also join the projects as producers with Kennedy.

Series MVP composer John Williams is set to score the film as well as Episode VIII and Episode IX.

There was
a scheduled two-week production hiatus in August to allow for adjustments in the shooting schedule following Ford's recovery from that injury where he  broke his left leg. The injury is also said to have happened during filming on a top secret set rather than on the Millennium Falcon set as was widely reported.

Production took place mainly at Pinewood Studio in England. The film has a confirmed release date of December 18, 2015

Thursday, November 27, 2014

"The Peanuts Movie" Cast Photo

The voice cast of the upcoming CG animated  "The Peanuts Movie" has been announced with the help of a Twitter photo.

Noah Schnapp voices Charlie Brown. Hadley Belle Miller provides the voice for the bossy Lucy, AJ Tecce voices the dust storm-surrounded Pig-Pen,  is blanket-clutching philosopher Linus, voices the straight-laced Shermy,  and voice best friends Patty and Violet. plays the kindly Frankin, is Charlie's little sister Sally, Francesca Capaldi  voices the Little Red-Haired Girl whom Charlie adores,  Noah Johnston is the musical genius Schroeder, is the fearless Peppermint Patty, and is her best friend Marcie.

The new CG animated Peanuts Gang movie will coincide with the 65th anniversary marking the debut of Charles M. Schulz's  legendary and beloved "Peanuts" comic strip.

Schulz's son and grandson Craig and Bryan and Cornelius Uliano are writing the script.

Steve Martino helms the project.

 Paul Feig ("Bridesmaids," "The Heat") will help to produce the film.

The film hits theaters on November 6th 2015.

CG animation studio Blue Sky Studios animated and produced the new film. The new pic is the fifth feature film based on the property

TLR Chats With Author Kelly Varesio

I want to introduce you to 2 time author and nurse Kelly Varesio--and no TLR hasn't suddenly become a blog about books and or health care--I have known Kelly's family for years and wanted to give her some space here. The idea has been rolling around in my head for a long time actually.

At just sixteen years old, she managed to do something that not many authors have. Kelly wrote Insperatus, her first novel, from ideas that she had thought about for years--She infused the tale with  historical accuracy in an effort to create realism. I have read the first book and thought the arc of Rein and Traith had a very cinematic feel to it. The recently engaged Kelly is, as you'll discover, a very bright family oriented person who is not afraid to express herself...

Tell my readers a little bit about yourself. When did you catch the bug to write?

I've been writing since I can remember! I always wrote and illustrated stories when I was little; in 3rd grade, that was all I did with my spare time, and it never really stopped from there. Come middleschool, I started writing something that I assumed would be another of my short stories -  until it ended up at 15 pages long which was insane for 7th grade, then grew to 30 after my first round of editing, then 100... and that became my first novel,
Which Writers(s) had the greatest influence on you and Why?

This is actually a hard question. Believe it or not, I was never actually a huge reader. As I got older I began to fall in love with classic literature by
The Brontë Sisters and Jane Austen (Jane Eyre is her favorite book of all time). I adored classic horror novels too, like Frankenstein and
The Invisible Man; I love the connection between history and the supernatural or unusual. Those things, in addition to the fact that I grew up on 90's superhero shows like Gargoyles and X-Men, which really made their mark on me while every other little girl was watching My Little Pony.

How did Insperatus come about? What inspired you to write it?

It's a funny story. One of my best friends and I took a weekend trip to some hotel where we were playing in a pool, pretending we were on some grand adventure. I had always been a storyteller, and the outlets I used (mostly playing with her) consisted of role-playing or
Barbies. We decided to make up characters - first it was just Rein (me) and Saria (her). Then we started playing a game that magically weaved into a story that I liked so much, it needed to be written down. I drew every character we made up, started a plot, developed their backstories, and decided I needed to learn more about the history--I wanted it to take place in the 1840s. It took off from there.  

This kind of story is everywhere in pop culture--What makes your tale different? Why should people read the book?

Insperatus IS vastly different from other vampire tales out there. What most people don't realize when they see my book is that it was written before
Twilight even existed - before such stories were even popular! When I first started my story, I had no concept of vampires aside from the classic Dracula tale, which I adored. I made a point never to watch Twilight, Vampire Diaries, or any other teen vampire fads because I didn't want anyone to have grounds to say I copied another idea.

But in short? Insperatus is it's own brand of paranormal romance. It takes place in England, in the 1840s; were it not for the supernatural elements, it would be a historical romance. I utilized the more traditional concepts developed by Stoker, and even created some of my own. Without giving too much away, Insperatus centers on vampires, but the more you read, you realize that there is a larger picture of dark and light; two councils, representing good and evil - which include many other supernatural beings and creatures aside from vampires. Vampires are represented as being afflicted people, cursed, but still human. But evolution can occur. Curses can be intertwined. And despite my age when I wrote it, Insperatus was always meant for adults, not teens. The characters are older, and the plot is much bigger than some high school love story. I guarantee there isn't another novel like it.

Talk about the best and worst day of the writing process

Best day? Sitting with a cup of coffee (nowadays maybe a glass of wine instead) with some violin music and a good storm, while submersing myself in another world fabricated from my mind. It's so much fun to be able to lose yourself like that, getting into a character's mind and feeling what they feel. It's all I do with my free time.

Worst day? Besides writer's block--it's awful and feels like it will last forever, going through the publication process and then marketing the books. I write because I enjoy it; the fact that other people enjoy it too is just a bonus. I was never looking to make money or gather a fan base - while both would be great, there can be so much maintenance in marketing that it loses the fun. I love to write. Everything else that comes of it,I just try to enjoy in the moment!

 What's the reaction been like to the book overall? 

The reaction was wonderful. I had all the support in the world. As a teenager, my parents and family were so proud that I was able to achieve something like that they promote it however and whenever they can (more than I do, honestly). My friends have been amazing too.

What was the biggest surprise to you while writing or after the book was published?

I think the biggest surprise is always the ending - even to the author. You have this outline, these ideas, and you know where you want them to go, but somehow the story always ends up taking on a mind of its own and things inevitably change to accommodate. Once that ending is put on, it's amazing to sit back and take in how it all came together, after 400+ pages and years of writing. Somehow, it just ends, with a bow on top. It's super gratifying, and certainly always surprising. 

Since this is a film blog--If you had the chance to cast the film version of your book who would star as the main characters and why? 

I love this question! I'm a closet celebrity stalker for this very reason. Sticking with my two main characters, I look at stars like Megan Fox, Olivia Wilde, and Lynn Collins as good representations of Rein. For Traith, I always thought the late Paul Walker or  Scott Porter. If nothing else, matching celebrities to my characters allows me the closest thing to a true visual I'll ever get of my characters, aside from my drawings. Trust me, I could go on with choices A, B, C, and so on for every one of the dozen characters!  

Former Friday Night Lights star Porter

Talk about your love of Comic Books--where did that come from? Favorites? Your opinion of films based on comics heroes.

I love Marvel comics! I even told my fiance I need a Marvel room somewhere in our new house. I was my Dad's tomboy; I watched superhero shows with him, read comic biographies as bedtime stories with him, and went to Comic Cons with him since I was little. I always loved to watch such powerful women which definitely leaks into my writing, especially when they could use afflictions like mutant powers to help humanity. I thought I WAS Rogue--her name is my car license plate now. She is strong and sexy at the same time, stoic and honorable - it was something I strove for as a kid and still do as an adult. To be a superhero.

Although it isn't Marvel, one of my favorite comic series was
G.I. JOE by Devil's Due.Scarlett was another strong female presence who was in love with a scarred, voiceless man and somehow saved the day with the team in each issue. She's as cool as it gets. Getting back to Marvel, I read many mini-series like "Rogue," "Tigra," and "Hawkeye & Mockingbird." I'm currently reading Uncanny Avengers

The newest films like
Avengers, Iron Man, Captain America, and Guardians of the Galaxy are awesome, and had very little deviation overall from the comics in my opinion. Looking back at the movies they did of my absolute favorite superhero team of all time - "X-Men" - I wanted to kill someone when I watched that
trilogy, and even the new ones. I am still livid about how far the X-Men films strayed from the original comic plot. Not to mention my favorite white-streaked brunette is a helpless pansy and [played by a] terrible actress...(Anna Paquin) but I digress. 

Your chance to say anything else...or talk about your future plans

There are always future plans! While the Insperatus & Infectus are ended as a pair, I am now working on a new novel that is strictly historical and based out of the American Civil War. I don't think I'll ever stop writing novels at this point, and I can tell you that I certainly have enough material to go on for years! Thanks for this interview, and I want to encourage everyone to like my Facebook page "Insperatus by Kelly Varesio," and also check out my website, Reviews are as good as gold for authors, so I like to throw that in too!  

You are very welcome! Congrats on your engagement. Best wishes to you and Daniel. Thanks for taking the time.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Natalie Portman Eyes Steve Jobs Biopic

Natalie Portman is in talks to join the authorized biopic about late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs that jumped from Sony Pictures to Universal Pictures says Deadline.

Michael Fassbender is primed to replace Christian Bale in the film. Bale dropped out of the film earlier this month.

Leonardo DiCaprio took himself out of the running for the role a few weeks ago. DiCaprio has stated that he wanted a break for a while, having shot Django Unchained, The Great Gatsby and The Wolf of Wall Street in succession . Having taken this break he is starting work on The Revenant, it would appear that DiCaprio does not want to shoot films back to back again.

Danny Boyle is eyed to replace David Fincher in the big chair.  DiCaprio and Boyle made The Beach together that released in 2000. Fincher and Sony Pictures were at odds over his aggressive demands for compensation and control of the biopic. Ironically  Fincher wanted to have Bale to play Jobs in the film. The studio looked at Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and Bradley Cooper for the title role after Leo's exit. Boyle is due to meet with actors this week for the movie. Seth Rogen is in talks to join the biopic playing co-founder Steve Wozniak.

"The West Wing" creator and "The Social Network" writer Aaron Sorkin's adapted script of author  Walter Isaacson's authorized biography will give the film a unique narrative.

Talking at the Hero Summit  he says "this entire movie is going to be three scenes, and three scenes only, that all take place in real time."

All three thirty-minute scenes will be "set right before three major product launches." Those three products? The original Macintosh computer in 1984, the NeXT Cube in 1990, and the first generation iPod in 2001. Sorkin finished the script earlier this year.

There's no details as to who Portman is playing, though it's suggested the role could be either marketing maven Joanna Hoffman, or the role of Steve Jobs' daughter whom Sorkin describes as the "heroine of the movie".

 Mark Gordon, Scott Rudin and Guymon Casady will be producing the film being called Steve Jobs for now.

Ridley Scott Will NOT Direct Blade Runner 2

Ridley Scott is no longer going to helm the in the pipeline Blade Runner Sequel.

While chatting with Variety, Scott confirmed he is still on board to produce the film with Broderick Johnson, Andrew Kosove, Bud Yorkin and Cynthia Sikes Yorkin. Production will take place sometime next year.

Original "Blade Runner" co-scribe Hampton Fancher had been at work on the script for new film. Scott Z. Burns was in talks to write the script at one point. Now Green Lantern co-writer Michael Green has been hired to take on the job of  reworking the script

Fancher and David Peoples adapted the script for the 1982 sci-fi classic based upon author Philip K. Dick's story Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

 Recently Scott reportedly indicated that the script is done and  he confirms Harrison Ford's Rick Deckard character is a part of the action:

"We talked at length about what it could be, and came up with a pretty strong three-act storyline, and it all makes sense in terms of how it relates to the first one. Harrison is very much part of this one, but really it's about finding him; he comes in in the third act."

Scott is gearing up for cameras to roll on "The Martian" which will take up much of his time next year and then he moves on to Prometheus 2 in late 2015/early 2016. "Blade Runner 2" is  also slated to film next year, the scheduling has always seemed a bit muddled --something had to give .

Mel Brooks Checks Into "Hotel Transylvania 2"

Legendary comedian and filmmaker Mel Brooks is set to voice the ancient vampire Vlad, the cranky old father of Adam Sandler's  Dracula, in the upcoming animated sequel, Hotel Transylvania 2.

The original 2012 film which took in $254 million worldwide dealt with the generational gap between Dracula and his young 118-year-old daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) who wants to see the world and is attracted to the hapless human Jonathan (Andy Samberg).

In the sequel, a family reunion causes Vlad to visit the estranged son he hasn't seen in years, in the process turning everyone's life upside down.

The sequel will be directed by Genndy Tartakovsky and Robert Smigel once again pens the script.

Producer Michelle Murdocca tells USA Today:

"He actually lives in a cave — he is about as old school as it gets. So when he comes and sees that Dracula is running a hotel, he's like, 'What is going on here?'."

Brooks adds that Vlad is "like my real, honest-to-goodness personality. I'm pretty grumpy. It was a good choice"

The pic is slated to hit theaters on September 25th 2015.

Christian Bale On Giving Up Batman

It's hard to believe that Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy started over 9 years ago-but it's true.

,is out on the stump for December 12th release of 's "Exodus: Gods and Kings" where he was asked about the next man to wear Batman's cape and the cowl - Ben Affleck in Zack Snyder's upcoming "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice".

Bale tells Empire (via CBM) that when he first heard the news of Warner Bros making another Batman film, he he admits that he was speechless:

"I've got to admit initially, even though I felt that it was the right time to stop, there was always a bit of me going, 'Oh go on... Let's do another'. So when I heard there was someone else doing it, there was a moment where I just stopped and stared into nothing for half an hour."

The studio is going with an older and more burned out Batman for Ben to play in the new film, coupled with the fact that it's an entirely different DC Cinematic Universe than the Dark Knight Films occupied. Even so, Bale still cares about the character and has already been in touch with Affleck to offer advice:

"I'm 40. The fact that I'm jealous of someone else playing Batman... I think I should have gotten over it by now. I haven't spoken with Ben, but I emailed him offering bits of advice that I learned the hard way. I would imagine he is doing everything he can to avoid anything that I did."

Box-Office Preview: How Horrible Will It Be?

The weekend box office race kicks off today due to the extended Thanksgiving holiday.

Stars Jason Bateman, Charlie Day Jason Sudeikis Jamie Foxx Kevin Spacey and Jennifer Aniston are set to reprise their roles for the comedy sequel Horrible Bosses 2 (reviews). Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained) and Chris Pine are gonna play a father/son boss team.

In the new film Bateman, Day and Sudeikis launch their own business and then plan to get revenge on a rogue investor who has taken over their company.

The (reviews) are on the march in their first solo movie.

On Friday--The long-awaited awards contending biopic The Imitation Game (reviews) is here.

The film deals with Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch), an English mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst, computer scientist, criminally prosecuted and chemically castrated homosexual, and tortured soul who committed suicide by eating a cyanide-laced apple. Turing was highly influential in the founding of computer science and artificial intelligence, along with devising techniques for breaking German ciphers during the World War II. He was also one of the earliest to explore the biological process of morphogenesis.

Downton Abbey star Allen Leech plays a Scottish spy who worked with the Soviets to plot against Turing. Mark Strong Keira Knightley Matthew Goode, Rory Kinnear and Charles Dance also star.

Even with those trio of new wide releases--The start to the two film adaptation of the last book in author Suzanne Collins' trilogy-The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part I (reviews) is expected to win again.

Pamela McClintock of THR:

There's something for (mostly) everyone at the Thanksgiving box office.

New Line and Warner Bros.' R-rated comedy Horrible Bosses 2 will go after younger adults and older teens looking for a laugh, while Penguins of Madagascar, a spinoff of DreamWorks Animation's popular Madagascar franchise, hopes to nab families. Both begin rolling out Tuesday night in North America before playing everywhere on Wednesday, a popular day for moviegoing.

The other main Thanksgiving attraction is a teaser trailer for J.J. Abrams' Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The 88-second tease will begin playing Friday morning in 30 theaters across the country — before every showing of every movie.

In term of sheer might, holdover The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1 should easily win the five-day turkey race with a gross in the $80 million range, including an estimated $50 million to $55 million for the weekend. Last Thanksgiving, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire likewise topped the holiday frame after opening the week before.

Jeffrey Katzenberg's DWA needs a box-office success, and while Penguins certainly won't match the $94.6 million grossed by Disney's Frozen last Thanksgiving, it should post a solid five-day gross in the $45 million-$47 million range, including a weekend take of $32 million to $34 million. (Disney's Big Hero 6 continues to hold well, however, and could take a bite out of Penguins.)

Directed by Eric Darnell and Simon J. Smith, Penguins is voiced by John Malkovich, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom McGrath, Christopher Knights, Chris Miller, Conrad Vernon, Peter Stormare, Ken Jeong and Annet Mahendru.

Horrible Bosses 2 is looking like a clear winner for New Line and Warner Bros. The sequel, one of the few R-rated comedies to ever dare opening on Thanksgiving, could gross $35 million to $40 million for the five days, if not more. For the weekend itself, it could gross $23 million to $25 million. The first Horrible Bosses opened to $28.2 million in summer 2011 on its way to earning a stellar $209.6 million worldwide.

Directed this time out by Sean Anders (Sex Tape), Horrible Bosses 2 reteams most of the original cast, including Jason Bateman, Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis, whose characters set out to start their own business, only to be swindled. Jennifer Aniston, Jamie Foxx, Chris Pine, Christoph Waltz and Kevin Spacey also star.

As awards season heats up, there's a slew of offerings for adults at the specialty box office including Stephen Hawking biopic The Theory of Everything, which will be playing in roughly 700 theaters by Thanksgiving Day. Other awards contenders in the marketplace include holdovers Birdman, Foxcatcher, Whiplash and Boyhood, while The Imitation Game, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, opens Friday in New York and Los Angeles.

Birdman, Boyhood and Whiplash could also enjoy a boost this weekend after scoring key Independent Spirit Nominations (Birdman lead with six noms).

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

First Peek: Joe Wright's "Pan"

The first trailer for the reimagining of J. M. Barrie's "Peter Pan" called “Pan” is here.

The project is described as Peter Pan (Newcomer  Levi Miller) by way of "Batman Begins" in a story exploring the origins of the character and how he came to be the boy who never grew up. In this incarnation, an orphan is taken to the magical world of Neverland where he becomes the savior of the natives and leads a rebellion against evil pirates.

Hugh Jackman will play the evil pirate captain Blackbeard. The studio had gone to Javier Bardem for the role but the actor passed and then started courting Jackman shortly after that. Garrett Hedlund beat out Jack Huston and Ezra Miller for the role of Hook. In this version, Hook is one of Pan's allies who ultimately ends up turning against him - ultimately becoming the villain Captain Hook.

Warner Bros had gone to Javier Bardem for the Blackbeard role but the actor passed and then started courting Jackman shortly after that.

 The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo star Rooney Mara will play Tiger Lily. Mara beat out both 12 Years a Slave's Lupita Nyong'o and Adèle Exarchopoulos (Blue Is the Warmest Color) for the role. "Four Lions" co-star Adeel Akhtar has been cast as Smee the pirate who serves as the right-hand man of Captain Hook. Amanda Seyfried is set to play Mary.

Nonso Anozie, Kathy Burke, Jack Charles, , Kurt Egyiawan and round out the cast.

Jason Fuchs ("Ice Age: Continental Drift") wrote the script from which "Atonement" and "Hanna" filmmaker Joe Wright is set to helm.

"Arrow" showrunner Greg Berlanti is producing the pic.

Principal photography took place in England.  Pan took took Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice's original release date of July 17, 2015.

The project is not to be confused with various Pan-related film in the pipeline including the Channing Tatum-led Pan or "The Hunger Games" director Gary Ross' "Peter And The Starcatchers".

MUST WATCH:1st Peek "Jurassic World"

The first trailer for Colin Trevorrow's "Jurassic World" has been released a little early.

The events are said to take place Isla Nublar, the site of John Hammond's (the late Richard Attenborough) Jurassic Park theme park, rather than Isla Sorna of the two previous sequels. "Jurassic World" lays the groundwork of story arcs that could be carried into future installments of the film series.

Chris Pratt will play a rugged ex-military man, who spars with Bryce Dallas Howard's corporate scientist.  Melissa & Joey and The Kings of Summer star Nick Robinson is poised to play the older brother of Ty Simpkins, the 12-year-old actor that befriended Robert Downey Jr. in "Iron Man 3".The boys are in turn Howard’s nephews. Josh Brolin was first in line for Pratt's role but a deal could not be reached. Vincent D'Onofrio will play the villain in the sequel. Irrfan Khan has landed an unspecified role in the project as well. Actor Bd Wong will reprise his role as Dr. Henry Wu."The Intouchables" and "X-Men: Days of Future Past" star Omar Sy Judy Greer Katie McGrath James DuMont and Lauren Lapkus also star.

"New Girl" and "Drinking Buddies" star Jake Johnson also may star. "Pacific Rim" and "Luther" star Idris Elba came up in a casting notice. Jason Schwartzman is rumored for a role in the sequel. David Oyelowo is said to had a meeting about the flick as well. There's nothing official on that though.

Originally slated for June 2014, the sequel was delayed due to further work being need on the super secret script by Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver (Rise of the Planet of the Apes)--not to mention an already too tight schedule.

Trevorrow wrote the revised screenplay with Derek Connolly and directed the film

Steven Spielberg, who directed Jurassic Park and its sequel The Lost World: Jurassic Park, will executive produce here. Jurassic Park III was brought to the screen by Joe Johnston.

Frank Marshall and Pat Crowley will produce the dino sequel set to hit theaters on June 12, 2015.

Captain America: Civil War: Grillo On Crossbones Prep

We know that "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" co-star Frank Grillo is set to return in future Marvel films to reprise his role as S.H.I.E.L.D; operative Brock Rumlow, who becomes the villain Crossbones.

Earlier this month rumors suggested that we will see that transformation in "Captain America: Civil War" and that the character could also turn out to be the main villain in the solo "Black Panther" film.

Speaking with EW, he confirmed he recently received a call from the suits about their plans for the next film:

"[The Winter Soldier] was only a taste of what's to come with the next film, and I couldn't be more humbled and excited. They just kind of called and said, 'What kind of shape are you in? We're going to need a body scan.' They scan your body so that whatever you wear fits you like a glove."

He also says that  he's already making plans to beef up for the role ahead of filming which begins in a few months:

"He's a badass. He is just vicious. I like the idea that it's no holds barred. I was 15 pounds bigger when I did Cap 2, and I'll put another 15 pounds on to do Cap 3. I love the physicality. It changes the way you look; it changes the way you feel. We all know what Crossbones represents in his world, so when they called me and said we gotta do the body scan, I was like 'Okay!'"

The 3rd Cap film will be an adaptation of the Captain America: Civil War storyline that sees Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) at odds with Captain America (Chris Evans) over the Superhero Registration Act - a law that forces anyone with superhuman abilities to reveal their identities to the U.S. government and agree to act as a police force for the authorities. Stark supports the program, Rogers does not because it threatens civil liberties. As a result Rogers and various others go on the run to avoid arrest. The life of Cap's girlfriend, Agent 13  (Revenge star Emily VanCamp), is torn apart as her superiors use her divided loyalties against her. Elsewhere, a new villain emerges; the Red Skull begins to make himself known; and The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) again comes face-to-face with Cap....

Badass Digest says that despite the presence of RDJ's in the film Stan's Winter Soldier is still a central figure in the action.

 Chadwick Boseman will also be playing Black Panther in the film before getting that solo flick all to himself. Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury and Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow are also due to return. Daniel Brühl  has been cast in a villain role. Anthony Mackie is poised to reprise the role Harlem crime fighter Falcon
The adapted script comes from Cap vets Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely from which Captain America: The Winter Soldier directors Anthony and Joe Russo will call action.

Production on the next film is slated to begin next April in Atlanta, Georgia. The studio has targeted a May 6th 2016 release.