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- 12/14/16--11:26: _You don't want to b...
- 12/15/16--05:00: _Meet Felicity Jones...
- 12/15/16--07:23: _How the first ever ...
- 12/15/16--08:40: _The movie Martin Sc...
- 12/16/16--06:37: _All the 'Star Wars'...
- 12/16/16--07:40: _These are the most ...
- 12/16/16--08:04: _2 millennials watch...
- 12/16/16--08:40: _7 awful things you ...
- 12/16/16--08:43: _Felicity Jones was ...
- 12/16/16--09:11: _There's a hint that...
- 12/16/16--09:20: _'Rogue One' earned ...
- 12/17/16--05:00: _This guy combined p...
- 12/18/16--05:05: _How the next big an...
- 12/18/16--08:41: _'Rogue One' has the...
- 12/19/16--07:53: _How the sci-fi movi...
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- 12/20/16--10:01: _How an acclaimed ch...
- 12/21/16--05:00: _How this scene-stea...
- 12/21/16--06:14: _20 'Star Wars' refe...
- 12/15/16--05:00: Meet Felicity Jones, the breakout star of the new 'Star Wars' movie
- 12/16/16--06:37: All the 'Star Wars' movies, ranked from worst to best
- 12/16/16--07:40: These are the most popular Christmas movies in each state
- 12/16/16--08:04: 2 millennials watched the original ‘Star Wars’ for the first time
- 12/16/16--08:40: 7 awful things you might have overlooked in 'Love Actually'
- 12/16/16--08:43: Felicity Jones was paid way more than her 'Rogue One' male costars
- 12/18/16--05:05: How the next big animated hit 'Sing' was made over 5 years
- 12/21/16--05:00: How this scene-stealing character from 'Rogue One' was created
- 12/21/16--06:14: 20 'Star Wars' references you may have missed in 'Rogue One'
The INSIDER Summary:
• "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" is a dark, war-filled movie.
• While the movie is rated PG-13, parents may consider war imagery and the amount of death to be unsuitable for young children.
• The film isn't gory or gratuitous in showing kill shots.
"Rogue One," the next installment in the "Star Wars" franchise is out in theaters Friday. If you're planning to see the film opening weekend with the family, you may want to rethink bringing along children.
Whereas "The Force Awakens" was an event film for families and fans alike, "Rogue One" is not a movie I'd recommend for younger kids. It's one of the darkest entries in the series and is tailored for older "Star Wars" fans.
Per the studio, I'm not supposed to spoil the experience, but I think it's important for parents to know going into the movie that it's not the nostalgic fare of "The Force Awakens."There aren't any cuddly characters or Ewoks in this "Star Wars" and the film ends on a very bittersweet note.
There's a reason it takes three movies for the Empire to fall, after all.
The movie is rated PG-13, and, while I don't recall seeing blood, the loss of life in the film is significant for a Disney movie. It's not bloody or gory though, and "Rogue One" doesn't linger gratuitously on showcasing deaths.
As an older "Star Wars" fan, I was surprised yet delighted that the studio went the darker route for "Rogue One." Anything less than the film's outcome would have felt like a cop-out to the overall narrative of the franchise.
If you're uncomfortable with the idea of your child seeing a lot of gunfire, war imagery, and death then you may want to have them sit this one out and revisit it in a few years. It's a bit heavy.
In September, Disney CEO Bob Iger lowered investors' expectations for the film at a Goldman Sachs conference. After seeing a rough cut of the film, he described the movie as "really interesting in terms of 'Star Wars' storytelling." That didn’t sound like a surefire vote of confidence. The Disney chief may have been referencing the film’s darker tone.
If you bring a kid to see this film hoping to inspire young boys and girls with new heroes, you will, but you'll inevitably need to have some tough conversations with them after the movie's end.
"Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" is in theaters Friday.
If you're not familiar with "Rogue One" star Felicity Jones, you're missing out on one of the top young actresses working today.
It's time to fix that.
Jones, 33, received an Oscar nomination for her performance playing Stephen Hawking’s wife Jane in 2014's "The Theory of Everything," and recently found acclaim in the indie "A Monster Calls."
But playing rebel Jyn Erso in the latest "Star Wars" movie, the one-off "Rogue One" (opening Friday), she's become one of the most recognizable faces on the planet.
Here's how Jones went from child actor to the latest "Star Wars" heroine:
SEE ALSO: The 10 biggest box office bombs of 2016
Jones grew up in Birmingham, England, where she was encouraged to get into acting by her uncle, actor Michael Hadley (“Pirate Radio”). Her first role was at age 12 in the 1996 UK TV movie “The Treasure Seekers,” co-starring Keira Knightley.
From 1998 to 2001 she starred in the popular UK shows "The Worst Witch" and its follow-up, "Weirdsister College." She went back to school and graduated from Wadham College in 2006.
Jones soon went back to work on TV. She made an appearance on an episode of "Doctor Who" in 2008, and popped up in movies like 2009’s "Cheri" with Michelle Pfeiffer, as well as 2010’s "The Tempest," alongside Helen Mirren.
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In "The Founder," Michael Keaton plays Ray Kroc, a struggling traveling salesman who goes from selling milkshake machines to becoming the mastermind behind expanding the McDonald's fast-food chain in 1954 after coming across the innovative hamburger stand created by brothers Richard and Maurice McDonald.
Taking the fast-paced kitchen and golden-arches design the brothers created, Kroc came onto the company as the person in charge of making McDonald's a franchise, and by the early 1960s, he was responsible for expanding the company across the country. He ended up buying the company in 1961 in a shrewd deal for $2.7 million.
To accurately portray the origins of the McDonald's empire, "The Founder" director John Lee Hancock called on the services of two-time Oscar-nominated production designer Michael Corenblith to create the first restaurants for the movie.
Corenblith explains to Business Insider how he pulled it off.
"The Founder" is out in limited release Friday and opens nationwide January 20.
"McDonald's No. 2 was built 50 minutes from where I live."
Corenblith began his research a month before production started. Along with getting his hands on training films, manuals, and reproductions of blueprints of the original restaurant designs that he got off eBay for $25, the last original McDonald's happens to be close to his home.
"It's in Downey, California, and it opened in August 1953 and has remained virtually unchanged in its exterior," Corenblith said. "So I had a working scale template."
Corenblith points out that the movie didn't have the approval or disapproval of McDonald's, so he did all of this under the radar.
The filmmakers decided early on to create only one McDonald's set, which would stand in for all the locations.
"We took full advantage of the fact that every golden-arches franchise looked like every other golden-arches franchise," Corenblith said. "So we created the illusion that these were all individual restaurants that were popping up coast to coast when in actuality these were all clever reworkings of the exteriors of one built set."
The movie was shot in Atlanta, and Corenblith was tasked with finding a location within a 30-mile radius of its production hub.
"It becomes a needle in a haystack," Corenblith said. He took a month to find the right area. "We needed a location that was two parking lots wide, and away from the airport so we're not interrupted recording sound."
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Martin Scorsese is no stranger to exploring Christianity in his work. He's made a career of directing films about the plight of the sinner, from mobsters to a debaucherous Wall Street tycoon, and in between he made the "The Last Temptation of Christ," an examination of Jesus Christ as he struggles with various unholy desires that was widely protested by religious groups when it was released in 1988.
But no other movie shows his fascination with the Catholic faith as much as his latest, "Silence." And he has thrown out most of the trademarks he's leaned on over a 50-year career to create a fascinatingly un-Scorsese movie.
In late-1600s Japan, Jesuit priest Father Ferreira (Liam Neeson) has been captured by a man known as the Inquisitor for introducing Japanese villages to Christianity, a religion that has been forbidden in the country since the Shimabaa Rebellion. Word has finally gotten back to Portugal 10 years later that Ferreira has committed apostasy, so priests Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) and Garrpe (Adam Driver) volunteer to find their mentor.
As in the trailer, the opening of "Silence" feels like akin to the search for Colonel Kurtz from "Apocalypse Now." But "Silence" is not that at all.
Rodriguez and Garrpe find a Japanese guide named Kichijiro (remarkably played by Yôsuke Kubozuka) who can smuggle them into the country. They then find themselves overcome by Japanese Christians who want them to lend their services (which they must do at night so as not to attract attention) and give confession.
The movie is less a journey to find a man than it is a test of Rodriguez and Garrpe's faith (along with their sanity).
The Inquisitor soon learns that the priests are in Japan, which leads to the villagers suffering. In one case, three men who would not spit on the crucifixion are tied to crosses in a body of water at low tide and find themselves battling drowning by the time high tide comes and waves crash on them. They eventually die on the crosses.
Throughout all of this, Scorsese tells the story in an extremely intimate tone. Wide shots are sparse, as is music. The performances by his actors drive the story. Garfield in particular commands the screen. With an inner monologue used throughout, his internal conflict and highs and lows open a flood of emotion from Garfield. Though Scorsese has been trying to make this movie for close to 30 years, it's hard to imagine anyone else playing the Rodriguez character.
Another triumph for the film is that Scorsese doesn't try to make it something it's not. Though this is not the first time he's made a period film, in "Silence" he doesn't try to get cute with using music outside of the era, as he did with the Peter Gabriel songs in "The Last Temptation of Christ," or dazzle us with fancy camerawork as in "Gangs of New York." Instead he keeps "Silence" solely focused on the story and it enriches the film greatly — even if it won't be for everyone.
As the Inquisitor and his men's mind games and torture increase, Garfield's performance only becomes more remarkable. Though it's tough to say he will win an Oscar for the role (as Casey Affleck in "Manchester by the Sea" is equally powerful), he should certainly receive a nomination.
Scorsese should also be recognized. At 74, the auteur has proven that he can still surprise audiences with his storytelling.
"Silence" opens in limited release December 23 and nationwide January 6.
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With a new "Star Wars" movie opening Friday, it's time for that perennial question: How do you rank all the "Star Wars" movies? And where does the latest fit in?
"Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" may be the first standalone movie from the franchise, but it's steeped in the mythology that the other seven movies revolve around.
Like all "Star Wars" movies after "Force Awakens,""Rogue One" has tremendous pressure not just to make a killing at the box office but to leave a lasting impression on the saga's huge fan base.
So how does "Rogue One" compare with the previous seven "Star Wars" movies? Here's how I rank them.
8. "The Phantom Menace" (1999)
George Lucas has said from the beginning that "Star Wars" was made for kids, and he really took that to heart when he unveiled "Episode I: The Phantom Menace," 16 years after finishing the groundbreaking original trilogy. Introducing us to Anakin Skywalker at the age of nine as he's plucked by Qui-Gon Jinn as the "chosen one" who will bring balance to the Force, the first prequel gives us a lot of tame action and unlikely scenarios for Anakin to be in, even in a galaxy far, far away.
Sadly, the best part of the movie is its villain, Darth Maul, who has an incredible duel with the Jedi at the end of the movie. It's one of the only goose-bump moments in the whole movie — heightened by John Williams' score — and you have to wait over an hour to get to it. And at this point, the less said about Jar Jar Binks, the better.
7. "Revenge of the Sith" (2005)
The conclusion of the prequel trilogy is one of the saga's darkest. A grown Anakin is seduced by the dark side of the Force and wipes out the Jedi, including the younglings (!). Padmé Amidala dies, but not before giving birth to their twins, Luke and Leia.
But the most agonizing thing to sit through is Hayden Christensen's performance as Skywalker conflicted with the dark side — more a sniveling 20-something than a disillusioned "chosen one." We wouldn't get a good performance of that pull to the dark side until Adam Driver came along to play Kylo Ren in "The Force Awakens." Though we can only partly blame Christensen: Lucas was never big on giving actors instructions, which proved here to be costly.
6. "Return of the Jedi" (1983)
The final film in the original trilogy accomplishes what we needed it to. It closes that chapter of the saga by answering many of the questions that were floating around for years. But as a standalone, years later, it doesn't have the same impact "Episode IV" and "Episode V" have. That mostly has to do with the introduction of the Ewoks, which makes for deflating sequences in the movie. And it's still a bummer to see Boba Fett die in the first 20 minutes.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Everyone has their favorite Christmas movies, and so does each state.
CableTV.com looked at AMC's top 20 Christmas movies and cross-referenced it with Google Trends. They came up with a state-by-state analysis that shows what the most popular Christmas movies are in each state.
"Home Alone" comes out as the big winner, with nine states that google it more than other Christmas movies. Following it up is "Elf," with eight states.
Nonetheless, the survey is a good representation of what people are watching this holiday season all over the country. Here are the most popular Christmas movies in all 50 states (and Washington, D.C.).
"Home Alone" (1990)
District of Columbia
"National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation" (1989)
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The INSIDER Summary:
• "Love Actually" is a 2003 holiday movie considered a romantic classic.
• But people have been pointing out the sexism in the movie for years.
• Enjoying "Love Actually" is perfectly fine, but best done with eyes wide open.
'Tis the season to be jolly and remind everyone that "Love Actually" is one of the most problematic and sexist Christmas movies still considered to be a holiday staple in homes around the world.
Many people — myself included — cozy up and watch "Love Actually" almost every year. In the 13 years since it's release, "Love Actually" has managed to become a ritualistic part of holiday movie watching just like "Miracle on 34th Street" or "It's A Wonderful Life."
But while some have latched onto "Love Actually" for its promise of feel-good romance and star-studded cast (seriously the casting is insane in retrospect), others have pointed out the many misogynistic issues embedded in the script. If you haven't read Lindy West's takedown of "Love Actually" — stop everything you're doing and go read it.
Let's dive into the muck. First up — the constant references to overweight women.
The strange volume of fat jokes
For a movie supposedly about true love, there are way too many jokes made about women's weight. Pajiba writer Courtney Enlow wrote an excellent breakdown of the most bizarre repetition of fat jokes all about one character: Natalie.
"Love Actually's biggest mystery is this: Why does everyone think Natalie, played by actress Martine McCutcheon, is such a monstrous fat cow beast creature?" Enlow wrote in 2014.
First Natalie tells Prime Minister David — her bachelor boss played by Hugh Grant — a story about how her boyfriend dumped her because "she was getting fat."
Then Natalie has a weird encounter with the president of the United States, in which he uses his power of authority over her lack of agency as a subordinate to almost trick her into sex? And as a result, David makes a politically charged speech and then fires Natalie.
Technically, he asks for her to be "distributed elsewhere," but even during that conversation her weight comes up again. David's chief of staff refers to her as "the chubby girl." Later Natalie's father calls her "Plumpy," as if that's a flattering nickname your grown daughter loves to hear.
There's another fat joke directed towards a different character that never made it into the movie, but still tarnishes our memory of "Love Actually."
The weird fat joke that only appeared in the trailer
Everyone remembers the iconic "Love Actually" scene in which Mark — a man who has fallen in love with his best friend's new wife, Juliet, without ever speaking to her — shows up to the newlyweds house and silently performs the romantic gesture of professing his love for her.
Sweet, right? Well ... it's actually kind of creepy and disrespectful. Your BEST FRIEND — Peter — just married a woman who you have feelings for. Yes, that sucks, but your plan is to go behind your friend's back to tell Juliet that you love her and probably will for the rest of your life?
As Lindy West put it succinctly back in 2013: "That best man guy shows up at Keira Knightley's house and spawns a decade of nice-guy emotional manipulation reframed as 'romance.' And Keira Knightley f--king kisses him for it."
Oh and then it gets worse. Last year, while rewatching Christmas movie trailers, because why not, we realized that there was an extra card originally in that stack of "romance." This is straight from the official Universal movie trailer:
Mark was supposed to call Juliet "Fatso" while in the middle of professing his love to her. That doesn't even make sense. And in the trailer, she just laughs at it? As if that's the funniest joke a man she barely knows and who has treated her with disdain as a method of self-preservation can make?
Women's general lack of agency
Moving on from the fat jokes, it's hard to ignore the fact that women have little to no agency in this movie — unless they're after sex.
The movie barely passes the Bechdel test— as far as we can tell the only two female characters who speak about something other than a man are Karen and her daughter Daisy. They discuss the lobster's role in the nativity play.
But Daisy is barely a named character, and all the other women only ever speak with men in romantic settings.
Lindy West pointed out that the largest example of this comes from Colin Firth's storyline, in which he stays in a French home and falls in love with the woman hired to clean his house every day without every properly speaking to her.
"Colin Firth falls in 'love' with Aurelia at first sight, establishing Love Actually's central moral lesson: The less a woman talks, the more lovable she is," West wrote. "None of the women in this movie f--king talk. All of the men in this movie 'win' a woman at the end. This god d--n movie."
The demoralizing conclusion of the cheating plotline
The most depressing storyline in "Love Actually" is Harry's extra-marital affair.
Harry — played by Alan Rickman — has an affair with his secretary (a character reduced to walking genitals, according to West's apt description). Eventually Harry's wife, Karen, realizes what's happening and tearfully confronts him.
But at the end of the movie we see her greeting him at the airport, and it's unclear whether she decided to leave him or not. But one of the script editors for "Love Actually" (and the wife of the writer and director Richard Curtis) tweeted some depressing confirmations about the ending in 2015.
Not only did Harry definitely have a physical affair as well as an emotional one, but Karen decides to stay with him even though their home will never be as happy again. Ugh. We're not arguing that divorce is always the answer, but it's upsetting to have no real closure for this narrative. At the very least we would have appreciated seeing a real conversation between Harry and Karen that was more meaningful.
3 plot holes we can't suspend disbelief over
Again, we have to give props to Lindy West for really driving these points home.
First — how in the world did Harry find a Joni Mitchell CD his wife didn't already own? That gift was already depressing because Karen was expecting to see a gold necklace and instead realized he had bought fancy jewelry for his sexy secretary.
But Karen said earlier in the movie that she loves Joni Mitchell, and has been listening to her forever. So what on earth was the CD that Harry found and bought? A secret recording Karen had never heard before? Puh-lease.
Then there's the scene early on in the movie where we learn that Mia — Harry's sexy secretary — is still looking for somewhere to host their office Christmas party just weeks before the holiday.
I've been an office manager before. You do not find a place to host a large corporate holiday party on December 1. That process begins in like October, or heck even over the summer.
Mia is the worst.
In a similar vein, the movie opens with Billy Mack recording his Christmas single with five weeks to go until December 25. Don't celebrities usually record Christmas albums in, like, July? What is this guy doing? No wonder he's stressed about making it to number one.
All the turtlenecks. All of them.
Okay, just kidding. The turtlenecks are the best part of "Love Actually." If there's one thing that gets more and more fun with each rewatching of this movie, it's pointing out every turtleneck worn throughout. BuzzFeed did the "Definitive Ranking of All the Turtlenecks in Love Actually" back in 2013 and it's a must-read.
You have Mia's saucy black turtleneck, Daniel's sad "my wife just died" turtleneck, and "Just" Judy's appropriately nude-colored turtleneck.
But the best of all is Mark's "oh my god Juliet knows I love her" turtleneck. You see — it starts out as a regular zip up sweater.
But then it transforms into a turtleneck of shame and self-delusion:
But in all seriousness. There are more issues with "Love Actually" than we've had time to go through here. You should really take a read through Lindy West's hilarious takedown of the movie.
I still watch it every year, but as my colleague Megan Willet said, it's a movie best enjoyed with "eyes wide open." Being aware of the issues with representation of women and relationships in movies like "Love Actually" is an important first step. So, if you must, sit back and enjoy the cheesy sexism and plethora of turtlenecks. But don't mistake the movie's message of "love" for the real deal.
As actresses continue to get paid less than their male costars in Hollywood, it looks like one of the biggest movies of the year bucked the trend.
Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" star Felicity Jones was the highest-paid cast member on the movie, having negotiated a seven-figure upfront salary.
Her male costars like Diego Luna and Ben Mendelsohn were paid significantly less, below mid-six-figures, according to THR.
Jones, who received a best actress Oscar nomination for 2014's "The Theory of Everything," deserves to make the most out of the cast as her character, Jyn Erso, is the focus of the movie. But that doesn't mean it's automatically the case.
The public got a glimpse of what actresses have to deal with when Jennifer Lawrence wrote an essay last year about why she gets paid less than her male costars. The inspiration to speak out came when she learned from the Sony hacks that her male costars on "American Hustle" were paid more than she and costar Amy Adams.
The news of Jones' salary on "Rogue One" is a sign that Hollywood may finally be changing its ways in regard to the wage gap in the industry. But it also might be just pain old ambition by Jones and her team.
Business Insider spoke to Jessica Chastain about the Hollywood wag gap last month and she believes all females in all lines of work should be more aggressive in getting equal pay.
"I started reading a lot about it and you realize women don't ask for more but they don't ask for promotions, and knowing that I've completely changed," Chastain said. "When I join a production, I want to make sure that the male actor isn't making four times my salary, which has been true, or seven times my salary. If that's true you go, 'You know what, I don't need this job.'"
Though Disney and Lucasfilm have been adamant that "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" is a one-and-done film and that there will be no sequel, one actor has a clause in her contract that could change things.
The movie's star, Felicity Jones, has a sequel option in her contract, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Now, whether that will ever become a reality is anyone's guess. But having Jones available opens up some possibilities.
There's the upcoming young Han Solo movie, which is to take place before the events of "Rogue One," so perhaps Han and Lando bump into Jyn (Jones) in their travels. THR points out that there's talk of a standalone young Luke Skywalker movie, so perhaps she shows up there.
A lot of this depends on the performance of "Rogue One" in theaters. The sequel option becomes more in play if the movie becomes a box-office hit and if the fan base really takes to Jyn. And don't be surprised if another character from "Rogue One" suddenly appears in a future movie.
Droid K-2SO (voiced by Alan Tudyk) has quickly become a fan favorite and could easily be plugged into a movie if needed.
The first standalone "Star Wars" movie, "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story," is proving to live up to the hype.
In its Thursday preview screenings the movie took in $29 million, according to The Hollywood Reporter, the largest Thursday earner of the year. Yes, beating out "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" ($27.7 million) and "Captain America: Civil War" ($25 million).
Opening in over 4,000 screens in North America beginning Friday, the movie is projected to earn between $135 million and $150 million over the weekend.
That would give the movie the third best opening of the year, behind "Batman v Superman" ($166 million) and "Captain America: Civil War" ($179 million).
Though Rogue One" is expecting a big figure, it won't come close to what "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" made last year.
The seventh episode in the "Star Wars" saga took in $57 million in its Thursday preview and went on to earn a record-breaking $247.9 million domestically in its opening weekend.
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Director Garth Jennings already has a very energetic personality, but having spent five years developing and making the animated movie “Sing,” he admits he’s now just a big ball of nerves leading up to its December 21 release.
“It’s been very emotional, actually, and I don’t use that word lightly,” Jennings recently told Business Insider about showing the movie to preview audiences for the last month.
Known for his music video work in the 1990s, he took on directing the adaptation of a book regarded in the industry as an unmakeable movie, “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” in 2005, which ended up being a critical dud (though it earned over $100 million at the global box office). Jennings rebounded with the inventive indie “Son of Rambow” in 2007, about two boys obsessed with the first Rambo movie. Since then, he’s been trying to develop an animated movie.
But having never made an animated movie, Jennings was a little naive on how it's done.
So five years ago Jennings had a meeting with producer Chris Meledandri, the man behind the “Despicable Me” movies and this year’s animated hit “The Secret Life of Pets,” and by the time it ended Jennings agreed to make Meledandri’s next movie.
“Chris just started talking about his thoughts and they just smashed together with my sensibility and my hopes and dreams for making an animated film,” Jennings said.
The idea Meledandri had was for a movie about a shifty theater owner whose only way to save his business is to put on a singing competition to give notice to an unknown talent. And seeing as this was an animated kids' movie, it would be filled with pop songs and all the characters would be animals.
“There would be a hook of it being a singing competition but then it is a portal into what becomes a character movie,” Jennings said. “I didn't take any convincing at all, it wasn't like ‘oh, I don't know,’ I just jumped in.”
And that began a five-year process to bring “Sing” to the screen.
For Jennings it was a learning experience from the start. After writing a traditional story treatment and first draft of the script, the story was suddenly cut up and dissected by Meledandri’s team at Illumination Entertainment into a storyboard version of the movie, and that’s when the real work started.
“You start to rewrite and find out what works,” Jennings said. “If a gag is too late, you’re rewriting throughout, which you don’t do on a live-action movie.”
One of the biggest changes was the theater owner, Buster Moon. Voiced by Matthew McConaughey, the fury koala bear is barley keeping his theater afloat as he often is on the run from the bank looking for money he owes it. Thinking back on the early drafts of how Moon operates, Jennings felt he came off a little as a scam artist.
“He did start off on paper being a little more of a charlatan,” he said. “There’s a fine line dealing with a character like that where they are kind of con people a bit. Chris and I found early on that he became a bit too unlikable because we were pushing that button too much. He was being a little too rude. And his likability went down for us. This was before we even showed it to audiences.”
Though changes to the characters and story were constant, Jennings admits it wasn’t stressful because often he was only dealing with Meledandri.
“I only had notes and discussions from one person and that was Chris,” he said. “No director even on a live-action film has so few voices. Now my editor and production designer and the animation team have an opinion and everyone has an idea of what they are doing, but the core creative storytelling aspect of it involved discussions between myself and Chris.”
Another big aspect of “Sing” is the music featured: 85 songs, ranging from classics by Frank Sinatra to current pop singles played throughout either over scenes or sung by the competition contestants, who are voiced by the likes of Reese Witherspoon, Scarlett Johansson, Seth MacFarlane, Taron Egerton, and Tori Kelly.
Jennings even wrote specific songs into the script, like the Rosita character (Witherspoon) singing Katy Perry’s “Firework” when she’s introduced in the movie or Elton John’s “I’m Still Standing” played by Johnny (Egerton) as his big number in the end.
The latter moment involved a six-month process to get the okay from John, including Jennings sitting down to close the deal.
“And it wasn’t because Elton's company was being tricky,” he said. “They were thinking that they were going to be using it for something they were working on. So I went and had a meeting, I showed them the scene of Johnny playing the song, and they completely understood why we wanted to use it and they loved the way we used it. But before that it was six months of not getting it.”
For Jennings, the most fun was working with the talent in the recording booth. Each actor was different, he said. McConaughey came in full of energy and just wanted to jump in the booth and go. While someone like Witherspoon took her time and wanted to figure out everything going on before recording. And then there was Tori Kelly, who is known more for her singing than acting. Her character Meena, a shy elephant who has an incredible voice, is very much the emotional center of the movie, so Kelly's performance had to have a lot of layers to it.
“She had never done that kind of performance before and very often she was playing her character opposite Buster who is a ball of energy,” Jennings said. “So I would be in the booth with her, jumping around being the character she was playing against, and they would have to cut me out of the soundtrack so you only hear Tori.”
Though Jennings is still nervous about how general audiences will react to the movie, he feels good about the preview screenings. And the movie recently received Golden Globes nominations for best animated movie and best original song.
In the future, he still wants to make live-action work, but he admits he also wants to do another animated movie.
“I feel I’ve only just got the hang of it,” he said.
As expected, "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" had a huge weekend at the box office with an estimated $155 million domestically, according to Variety.
That's the second-best opening ever in the month of December, behind last year's "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" ($247.9 million), the third-best opening of 2016 (behind "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" ($166 million) and "Captain America: Civil War" ($179.1 million)), and the 12th best opening of all time (beating out 2012's "The Hunger Games" ($152.5 million)).
The movie earned $290.5 million globally.
The first-ever standalone "Star Wars" movie jumped off to a strong start earning $29 million in its Thursday night preview screenings, the largest of the year. That added to the film's $71 million opening Friday. "Rogue One" then earned $46.25 million on Saturday, only a 35% drop from its Friday take proving that despite the arctic blast hitting the east coast this weekend it didn't stop fans from going to the theaters. The -35% is also better than the 42.7% drop in sales"The Force Awakens" had last year.
Now repeat viewings and word of mouth will fuel the movie for the rest of the year, which has very little competition in front of it.
Destroying the only other wide release opening alongside it this weekend, the Will Smith drama "Collateral Beauty," which earned an estimated $7 million (worst wide opening of Smith's career), the sci-fi love story "Passengers," starring Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence (opening Wednesday), will also be no match for "Rogue One."
For a second consecutive year Disney will dominate the Christmas season at the multiplex.
And because of the performance of Disney titles the entire year, 2016 will likely end with three Disney properties leading the domestic box office: "Rogue One" (Lucasfilm) is probably going to be number one before the year is out, in second will be "Finding Dory" (Pixar), and third "Captain America: Civil War" (Marvel).
Warning: Major spoiler below.
In 2007, unknown screenwriter Jon Spaihts showed up on the coveted Black List, a yearly highlight of the best unproduced scripts floating around Hollywood, with a sci-fi love story set on a luxury star ship millions of miles from Earth.
Nine years later, that script, "Passengers," is finally coming to theaters on Wednesday, with Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence as its stars. It's the most recent example of how no project is ever really dead in Hollywood.
Looking back on the close-to-decade journey out of development hell, full of false starts with numerous actors attached, Spaihts calls the time his "film school," as he took part in almost every creative facet of getting the movie made (he's also an executive producer on the movie). But at the same time, Spaihts also built up his career, as the "Passengers" script opened doors to him getting screenwriting gigs for prominent projects like "Prometheus,""Doctor Strange," and the upcoming "The Mummy" reboot starring Tom Cruise.
"Passengers" follows Jim (Pratt) and Aurora (Lawrence), two passengers on a 120-year voyage from Earth to a colony planet who wake from their sleep chambers too early as their ship is still 90 years from its destination. Now, awake and alone on a luxury spaceship with anything you'd ever need, the two learn about a malfunction on the ship and must fix it to save the thousands of people in hibernation on board the ship.
"It was my calling card for a long time," Spaihts told Business Insider of the script. "If we came right out of the gate with that Black List script back in 2007, and a studio had picked us up and started running, I would have almost certainly, as an unknown baby writer, had been replaced instantly with an A-lister that reassured the studio. And that would have been my last contact with the film until I ended up in a movie theater watching it. So I was very fortunate, in a way, for the long difficult road getting the movie made."
Though Spaihts puts a positive spin on the experience now, for years he had to bear the responsibility of keeping the purity of the project intact (as is most often the screenwriter's duty) during various attempts to get the movie made. At one point, that even included coming up with a workable version that could be made at Warner Bros. on a budget between $50 million and $60 million, which would have starred Keanu Reeves and Rachel McAdams (the budget of the film that got made is $120 million).
"I think that would have been very strong, but it didn't quite get there," said Spaihts of the Reeves/McAdams version (there was also a version that would have starred Reeves and Reese Witherspoon for The Weinstein Company).
Sony would be the project's final home in 2015, attaching Lawrence (at a $20 million payday), Pratt, and director Morten Tyldum ("The Imitation Game").
But Spaihts' work was far from done. On the set every day as principal of photography, he did rewrites while staying true to the story's center, and in post-production, he was a major voice in locking the ending.
"Sticking the ending was one of the trickiest parts of the film," said Spaihts. "Not just during production, but all the years leading up to it."
Spaihts said multiple versions of the ending were shot during production and "a very small amount" of reshoots ("a day or two," he said) were also done to strengthen it.
But perhaps the movie's biggest sticking point is the important piece of the plot that has been kept out of the marketing of the movie. As "Passengers" looks like a love story in space, in fact it's a little more complex than that.
In the movie, Jim is the first to wake from his space slumber after a malfunction in his sleep chamber and spends a year on the ship by himself. One day, while contemplating suicide, he comes across Aurora's sleep chamber. After presumably weeks of reading up her file and watching videos she did before the trip, he decides to wake her up so he has a companion. After the two fall in love Aurora learns what Jim did, and obviously shattered by the revelation, vows to never interact with him again. It's when the ship begins to malfunction that they are forced to reconnect.
Critics have taken the film to task for Jim's shocking act. "In space, no one can her you scream 'date rape!'" wrote The Playlist.
"I think if it succeeds, the movie will lead everyone in the audience to the question of what they would have done in that place given those options," said Spaihts of Jim's actions. "The justification is in the dilemma. It opens interesting questions, I think fascinating questions, about how we carry guilt and the dark power of secrets. Is it possible to forgive?"
There was one version of Spaihts' script where Jim stops his attempt to open Aurora's sleep chamber but it turns out has gone too far and the chamber inevitably opens.
"There was a momentary experiment in that direction," said Spaihts, "but I would say every official version of the script had Jim clearly make the choice he makes."
We'll find out in the coming weeks if general audiences feel the way about Jim's act as critics do, but regardless, it seems what is on screen Spaihts stands behind completely.
"I fought tooth and nail to preserve the essence and soul of 'Passengers' throughout the entire process, all the way down to the closing minutes of post-production," he said. "I never stopped pushing to protect it and movie it to the finish line."
The first footage from the "Blade Runner" sequel starring Harrison Ford and Ryan Gosling was just released.
The minute-and-a-half video from "Blade Runner 2049" features what looks to be the first meeting between Gosling's Officer K and the original 1982 film's star Harrison Ford as Rick Deckard.
Set to hit theaters on October 16, 2017 in 2D, 3D and IMAX 3D, "Blade Runner 2049" boasts the original director, Ridley Scott, as an executive producer, and "Arrival" director Denis Villeneuve at the helm of the sequel.
According to producer Alcon Entertainment, here's the synopsis:
"Thirty years after the events of the first film, a new blade runner, LAPD Officer K (Ryan Gosling), unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what’s left of society into chaos. K’s discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former LAPD blade runner who has been missing for 30 years."
It also stars Ana de Armas, Robin Wright, Jared Leto, Barkhad Abdi, Lennie James, Mackenzie Davis, and Sylvia Hoeks.
Watch the first footage from "Blade Runner 2049" below:
It was only a matter of time: Disney has set an industry record for biggest global box-office haul in a single year.
The studio announced in a press release on Monday that it hit the $7 billion mark globally for 2016. It marks the first time a movie studio has reached that figure.
The new milestone comes amid a year of megahits and titles that overperformed. "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story"opened to huge numbers globally last weekend (and is likely to dominate the box office for the rest of the year), both "Finding Dory" and "Captain America: Civil War" earned over $1 billion globally, and "The Jungle Book" (just under $1 billion globally) and "Zootopia" (over $1 billion globally) did much better than Disney expected.
This beats last year's record-breaking year by Universal, which earned $6.89 billion globally thanks to its hits "Jurassic World,""Furious 7," and "Minions."
Author Patrick Ness had already built up a loyal following in literature thanks to his young adult/sci-fi “Chaos Walking” trilogy, but it was a children's book he didn't even start, now an acclaimed movie, that has brought him worldwide attention.
“A Monster Calls” follows 13-year-old Conor O’Malley who, while struggling to cope with his mother’s terminal cancer, meets a tree monster who tells him stories that help him confront his own fears.
Ness' powerful words matched with the vivid illustrations by Jim Kay led to the two winning the Carnegie Medal and Greenaway Medal, esteemed literary awards from British librarians, in 2012.
Ness has now adapted the book into a feature film that stars Felicity Jones ("Rogue One") as the sick mother, Liam Neeson lending his voice as the CGI tree monster, and newcomer Lewis MacDougall as Conor O’Malley. Having found ritical acclaim on the film-festival circuit, it's now in the talk for the award season.
But the way Ness got involved in “A Monster Calls” is a tearjerker itself.
The original idea for “A Monster Calls” came from British author Siobhan Dowd. An activist for most of her career, she embarked on a new career after being diagnosed with advanced breast cancer in 2004 as a children’s book author. After writing acclaimed works including “A Swift Pure Cry” and “The London Eye Mystery,” she had begun work on “A Monster Calls” at the time of her death in 2007.
Not wanting to see her final story fade away, Dowd’s publisher called on Ness in 2010 to complete the project.
“There were 1,000 words of prose for a few of the characters, not all of them, and the structural idea that the tree would tell stories. But not much else,” Ness recently told Business Insider. “My initial reaction was to say probably not because I'm a real purist. Every time I have tried to do anything other than wanting to tell the story, it has gone badly.”
But Ness couldn’t get Dowd’s idea out of his head. And he began to think up dramatic moments the Conor character would have to release his internal anger.
“I said to my editors, ‘As long as I have freedom. As along as I have the same freedom Siobhan would have granted herself, I’ll do it,’” he said. “It can't be in memoriam because that's not a story. So I always viewed it as not trying to write the book that she would have written but to write a book that she would have loved.”
When “A Monster Calls” became a hit, Hollywood quickly came calling, which was a surprise to everyone involved, but Ness didn’t go into the meetings for a movie adaptation blinded by the accolades.
“I did a peculiar thing, it turns out, without even knowing it was peculiar. I didn't sell the rights,” Ness said. “I was having some conversations, some with quite big people in Hollywood, and there was talk of, ‘Well, we can change this, we can change that.’ And I was thinking, well, this doesn’t feel right.”
Refusing to hand over the book rights, Ness decided in 2012 to write a script on spec.
“I thought, let’s shoot for the moon,” Ness said. “I put these great big tales in the script and hoped I could get a filmmaker who understood what was needed and then bring 10 times the stuff I would have never thought of."
The script got on the list of top unproduced screenplays, known as the Black List, in 2013, which got the attention of producer Belén Atienza, who brought the script and book to director Juan Antonio Bayona (who will be making the sequel to "Jurassic World"). The two quickly signed on to make it.
Now having an attractive packaged deal, Ness, Atienza, and Bayona went out to shop it. Participant Media and River Road Entertainment signed on that year to finance the movie on a $43 million budget with Focus Features following to take on distribution.
Ness was on hand for most of production. There was a moment during the making of the movie when the visual effects were created for the tree monster’s tales (inspired by Jim Kay’s book illustrations), when it sunk in that his story was coming to life.
“I was just thinking, I came up with that, I made this stuff up,” Ness said. “Just the idea of other people talking about the stuff that I made up and making something bigger. Visuals that I could never dream up. It’s weird and wonderful because it's no longer in your brain. That’s an amazing day.”
“A Monster Calls” had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September to sobbing audiences and high praise (the movie currently has an 84% ranking on Rotten Tomatoes). It continues to play fests before its limited release in the heart of award season on December 23 (it will go wide on January 6, 2017), but Ness can’t get into the awards talk. For him, the prize is the finished work.
“For me, what matters is I’m proud of it,” he said. “You love your books for their strengths and their flaws. I didn’t think I would feel that way with the film, but I’m really proud with the decisions that were made.”
For voice actor Stephen Stanton, the opportunity to play Admiral Raddus in “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” was like many of the roles he takes on: shrouded in secrets so deep he didn’t really know the character he was playing until he got the job.
Stanton is a veteran in the entertainment business who has done everything from voicing the late Peter Cushing as Grand Moff Tarkin in the “Star Wars Rebels” TV show to legendary film critic Roger Ebert for the 2014 documentary “Life Itself.” And in his experience, the bigger the project, the less information you’re given to create a voice to get the job. That’s exactly what happened when his agent called him in August to audition for a “secret project.”
“There was no mention of Disney or Lucasfilm, I didn’t know what studio was involved,” Stanton told Business Insider. “I wasn’t even told it was for a feature film.”
What Stanton was told was to come up with a few versions of a voice that would be a cross between Winston Churchill and General George S. Patton and that the character was a military leader. That’s it.
So Stanton went online and listened to a few speeches given by Churchill and Patton for a reference point and then created a voice he describes as “a mashup” of the two iconic military men. He then sent to his agent multiple versions of the voice delivering lines of dialogue for a character named “Admiral Haggis" in the script he was given.
Days after doing the audition, Stanton got the call that he get the role for the upcoming "Star Wars" movie “Rogue One.”
Whether Admiral Haggis was just the name Lucasfilm put on the dummy version of the script used to audition talent or if that was the character name at one point of production is unknown. But in the finished version, the Mon Calamari character would be named Admiral Raddus, the leader of the Rebel Alliance during the Battle of Scarif at the conclusion of “Rogue One.”
Though Stanton has been working on “Star Wars” projects for years, either for the cartoon TV shows or video games, voicing a character on one of the franchise’s feature films was the equivalent of a baseball player being called up to the major leagues (he’s seen the movie three times since its been out in theaters).
But he was still unaware of many aspects of the character going into the recording — like what Raddus looked like.
The two-day recording session happened on the ADR stages on the Disney lot in Burbank a few days after getting the role. It was there, while the sound editor was preparing the recording, that Stanton got his first glimpse at Raddus as rough footage appeared on the screen in front of him.
Stanton’s task was to synch the voice he created for Raddus with the lip movements already filmed on the soundstage in London by actor Paul Kasey, who was inside the Raddus suit, and a team of puppeteers who moved Raddus’ lips during filming.
“It’s just like doing a voice match, because I have to record to picture,” said Stanton. “So the scenes are done up to a certain point, not all the effects were in place yet, I was looking at a lot of things that were green screen and partially finished sequences. But they would show me the scene and then they would show me a little bit ahead of it so I knew the context of what it is that I was trying to record.”
While looking at the footage on screen, the production team in London were on speaker phone giving Stanton direction. Stanton said Tony Gilroy, who headed the film’s reshoots, and executive producer John Knoll, were among those on the call. He wasn’t sure if director Gareth Edwards was present.
“They would guide my performance as I was working on the timing, trying to make sure what I said matched what was shot on the stage,” said Stanton, who during the recordings had two microphones in front of him and one taped to his chest so the sound editor had numerous recording options. “I’m making it match and they would tell me to try this emotion or that emotion.”
Once Stanton got some knowledge about Raddus, he became instantly aware of his species' significance in the "Star Wars" saga.
The Mon Calamari in “Return of the Jedi,” Admiral Ackbar, became a sensation by the time internet memes came around with his now-legendary “It’s a trap!” line from the movie (he also appears in “The Force Awakens”). And audiences have quickly taken to Raddus (who is a different color than Ackbar because Raddus is from the polar region of their home world Mon Cala), particularly because of his different style.
“Ackbar in ‘Return of the Jedi’ is more of a skeptic, he wasn’t sure they could pull it off, Raddus is aggressive, he’s a bulldog,” said Stanton.
In "Rogue One," Raddus implores that the rebels fight the Empire once they get word that it's building the Death Star. Then, when Jyn Erso and her Rogue One team leave the rebel base to steal the plans from the Death Star, Raddus quickly leads a squad to assist.
“It's always surprising to me what audiences will react to,” said Stanton about watching the Raddus scenes with an audience. “It’s often a small line that you think is a throwaway and the fans go crazy for it. Raddus’ last line really gets people in the heart.”
If you’re hoping for more Admiral Raddus in outtakes/deleted scenes that might show up on the “Rogue One” Blu-ray, don’t get your hopes up. Stanton said pretty much what he recorded is in the finished film.
But he’s not ruling out Raddus showing up in another “Star Wars” movie.
“I don’t know” if he’s dead, he said. “I know as much as the audience knows, and Lucasfilm knows how to keep you on the edge of your seat about your character.”
A voice actor's job varies on every job, but often their involvement is insulated from the entire scope of the project. That's one of Stanton's favorite aspects of his profession, the fact he gets to see the finished version with fresh eyes.
“I wasn't aware how the whole thing fit together so when I finally saw it, yeah, I was aware of the emotions that I brought to the scenes I was in, but I didn't know what happened up to and after that,” said Stanton about "Rogue One."“I’m rooting for Raddus and what will happen, like everyone else, and that’s a thrilling feeling.”
“Rouge One” is currently playing in theaters.
Warning: Spoilers ahead for "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story."
"Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" is finally in theaters and while the "Star Wars" prequel introduces us to a lot of new characters, it still has a lot of familiar cameos and references to the original series.
Director Gareth Edwards has said he limited the amount of Easter eggs and references in the movie, but any "Star Wars" fan will be able to spot a ton of them which refer both to the movies and more recent animated series.
Keep reading to see everything we spotted.
At the beginning of the movie, a cup of blue milk can be spotted in Jyn's home.
The Bantha milk is the beverage of choice that Luke Skywalker's aunt famously served around the dinner table on Tatooine in "Star Wars."
Jyn Erso wears a necklace with a kyber crystal.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider