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Here's Warner Bros.' New Plan To Cut Costs By $200 Million Annually


Kevin Tsujihara warner bros

Warner Bros. will cut costs by $200 million annually, according to the chairman and CEO Kevin Tsujihara during a presentation to Time Warner investors on Wednesday.

“We have committed to cutting costs significantly,” said Tsujihara.

Layoffs are expected at Warner Bros., individuals with knowledge of the situation recently told TheWrap, and the studio is expected to make reductions across the board. However, due to Tsujihara's commitment to increase content output, divisions like production are expected to remain unaffected. As the studio announced the move, it also revealed an ambitious slate of superhero films and television series.

In a memo last month, Tsujihara noted that Warner Bros. would do its best to layoff as few staffers as possible.

“We are doing our best to minimize staff reductions,” wrote Tsujihara in the memo. “However, and it pains me to say this, positions will be eliminated — at every level — across the Studio. In making these decisions, we will follow all applicable protocols. Your divisional and departmental leadership will share more information with you about these changes in the months ahead.”

The studio has about 8,000 employees and saw $5.03 billion in worldwide grosses in 2013. It is currently running in third place among the major studios after a disappointing summer that saw films like “Jersey Boys” and “Blended” struggle at the box office.


Earlier in the day, Time Warner Chairman Jeff Bewkes noted that Time Warner “will more than double our earnings over the next several years.” In August 2014 Time Warner turned down a takeover bid from Rupert Murdoch for $80 billion which has forced frugality throughout its subsidiaries.

Time Warner stock was up 2 percent shortly after the announcements.

SEE ALSO: HOLLYWOOD SALARIES REVEALED: From Actors And Agents To Their Assistants

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Here's How Much 17-Year-Old Chloe Moretz Made To Costar In Denzel Washington's New Movie


chloe moretz denzel washington

Actress Chloe Grace Moretz is just 17-years-old, but she's already commanding nearly half a million dollars per film.

Moretz, who started acting when she was 7 years old, rose to fame starring in the "Kick-Ass" franchise and won critical acclaim for her recent role in Martin Scorsese's "Hugo."

So when the teen signed on to Denzel Washington's latest action flick, "The Equalizer," it's no surprise she also took home a $400,000 payday.

the equalizer denzel washington chloe moretz

And depending on how well the film does at the box office, she could earn a lot more.

TMZ obtained a copy of Moretz's contract because it has to be filed with the courts since she is still a minor.

The documents revealed that Moretz would get an additional $150,000 if the movie earns $100 million in the US and Canada.

And she's almost there!

While "The Equalizer" opened in theaters Sept. 26, it's already raked in over $82 million domestically. Since the film will still be playing in most theaters this weekend, there's a solid chance it will hit the $100 million mark in the next few weeks.

The film has earned more overseas, bringing its grand total to over $139 million on a $55 million production budget.

Moretz's $550,000 payday is on par, if not better than, popular actresses in a similar age range.

Shailene Woodley, 22, earned just $250,000 to $500,000 for the first installment of "Divergent," according The Hollywood Reporter sources.

For the first "Hunger Games," 24-year-old Jennifer Lawrence received $500,000 up front (plus bonuses based on box-office performance), but reportedly negotiated a $10 million deal for the second installment "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire."

SEE ALSO: Kim Kardashian's Youngest Sister Kylie Is Suddenly The Most Influential Family Member

MORE: Shailene Woodley Will Earn A Pretty Measly Paycheck To Star In $85 Million 'Divergent'

MORE: Sandra Bullock Crushes Her Competition As Hollywood's Highest Paid Actress

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'Fast & Furious 7' Director Says It Was The Hardest Shoot Of His Career


paul walker fast and furious 7Even those who have only been vaguely keeping abreast of Fast & Furious 7’s development know that the project has traveled through troubled waters.

Originally set to come out this past summer, the production had to deal with tragedy and loss that resulted in delayed schedules and massive script changes. So when director James Wan says that the movie has been the most difficult he’s ever worked on, it’s pretty easy to see where he’s coming from. 

Wan gave Fast & Furious 7 this label while recently speaking with Collider in promotion of Saw’s upcoming 10th anniversary. The subject came up when the filmmaker was asked about moving from small-budget horror movies to high-budget blockbusters, and Wan explained that there isn’t much of a difference due to the fact that there always exists the same kinds of issues and limitations. Said Wan, 

"It doesn’t matter how big or small your film is, you still don’t have enough money. You don’t have enough time to shoot it. When you’re making a bigger movie you have much bigger set pieces that require more time and more effort and more people. But Fast 7 is definitely the hardest movie I’ve had to do in my career."

Enforcing his point, the director added that he isn’t the only one from Fast & Furious 7 who feels this way. Neal Moritz, who has been a producer on every movie in the franchise dating back to the first one in 2001, apparently shares Wan’s feelings about the difficulty of the production. "[He] has been doing this for a long time and is a very successful, seasoned producer and he said that to me too," Wan added. 

Of course, time and money weren’t the only roadblocks that were put in Fast & Furious 7’s way during production. While Wan doesn’t mention it in the interview, in November of last year, actor Paul Walker tragically died in a car accident, leaving the film without one of its main stars. Production was halted as Wan, screenwriter Chris Morgan, and the executives at Universal Pictures figured out a way to move forward. Filming was finished this past summer, with Walker’s brothers helping with scenes featuring the character Brian O'Conner. 

fast and furious 7 paul walker vin dieselWorking to overcome all of these challenges means that Wan’s has had to put a special amount of effort into Fast & Furious 7, and he now has very positive feelings about the entire experience. Said the director, 

"It’s that hardest film I’ve ever had to make but it’s also the one I’m proudest of. I’m really proud of this film."

Fast & Furious 7 is currently in post-production and will be in theaters on April 3, 2015. 

SEE ALSO: 'Fast And Furious 7' Releases Candid Message To Fans After Finishing Filming

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It Took Michael Keaton About 27 Seconds To Decide To Be In 'Birdman'


michael keaton birdman

It didn't take Michael Keaton a long time to board "Birdman," the actor's new film out this weekend.

During a panel at New York Comic Con for the film, Keaton shared the story of how he was cast in director Alejandro González Iñárritu's movie about a washed-up actor Riggan Thomson (Keaton) hoping to rejuvenate his career with a Broadway play.

Keaton said he first learned about "Birdman" while filming another movie which he flew home in the middle of shooting to discuss. 

"I got a call saying, 'Alejandro was making a movie,'" said Keaton. "I was working on a movie and they said, 'well, unfortunately, you probably can't fly home because you're in the middle of making this movie' and when his name was mentioned, I said, 'Well, maybe I should find a way to fly home because, like I'm sure Edward [Norton], I'm a big, big fan of his movies."

The actor said it took him less than 30 seconds to decide to star in the movie after dinner with Iñárritu who has made movies including "Babel" and "21 Grams."

michael keaton edward norton nycc

"So, it was that simple. I flew home and they wouldn't ... they couldn't tell me what it was about and now that I've done the movie I understand why they couldn't explain it because I'm not sure what happened," he said. 

"I went and had a dinner with him [Iñárritu] and it was very pleasant and very interesting," Keaton said. "If you've ever spoken with him, you'd know why. He's just a very interesting, extremely passionate guy which is contagious. At the end of the evening he said, 'Well, here. Read this.' It took me about, I don't know, 27 seconds to decide, 'Yeah, I want to do this.'" 

"Birdman" opens this weekend in Los Angeles and New York in limited release. The film has been receiving rave reviews. The film holds a 91% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

You can check out our review here.

SEE ALSO: "Birdman" is the best movie of the year

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'Birdman' Starring Michael Keaton Is The Best Movie Of The Year


birdman norton keaton fight

"Birdman" could have easily fallen victim to its own gimmicks and wild ambitions. For starters, it's an incredibly self-aware film that stars Michael Keaton as a washed-up actor best known for portraying a superhero, which sounds a bit too on-the-nose on paper for the "Batman" star.

The film is shot in such a way that it's meant to appear as one continuous shot, and the score is essentially just one really long drum solo. Additionally, the film's full title is "Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)," which reeks of pretension but actually makes perfect sense by the end credits. In the hands of a less assured director, "Birdman" would surely fail, but with Alejandro González Iñárritu at the helm, the movie is pure cinematic bliss. 

We first meet Riggan Thompson (Michael Keaton) as he levitates (yes, levitates) in his dressing room with only the gruff voice that exists within his head to keep him company. Thompson is a movie star who seems to have vanished from the public eye since the wildly popular "Birdman" series was released some years ago. In an attempt to win back his spotlight or just prove something to himself, he stages an elaborate Broadway production based on a Raymond Carver short story that he plans to produce, direct, and star in. 

Keaton's performance is bold, unapologetic and, best of all, just plain entertaining. The role is quite complex, as Thompson seems to fade in and out of reality. His "Birdman" character seems to have crossed over into his real life and manifests itself in stressful moments. It's an alter ego of sorts; Birdman's voice acts as an entirely unique personality that exists within him. Is Thompson schizophrenic, or is Birdman simply a manifestation of the mind caused by Thompson's overwhelming audacity?

birdman posterBesides Keaton, the supporting cast is arguably the film's next greatest asset. Emma Stone, Zach Galifianakis and Naomi Watts all turn in terrific performances, but Edward Norton steals the show. Norton's take on an over-the-top method stage actor is a breath of fresh air and probably the best performance of his career. The playful exchanges between him and Keaton as they rehearse had me and the audience in stitches.

During the press conference following the screening, I asked Norton if he had any particular inspiration for the character, to which he replied, "I basically just looked four feet to my left at Alejandro...I'm wearing his scarf in the movie, I'm wearing his jacket, everything I say in the movie I've heard him say or I know he wants to say." 

This led Iñárritu to interject with his favorite on-set moment which occurred during the scene where Norton questions Keaton's direction choices: "I was explaining to Edward how the movement of the camera works and everything and he began to question me about it ... so suddenly he was basically directing me saying what the actor was saying and I was looking at the page saying 'oh my god this is a mirror in a mirror in a mirror.'"

Some of the film's best moments are when it leaves our world and veers off into the weird and wild unknown. The scenes that feature Keaton battling the voices in his head are full of magical realism. At one point, Iñárritu chooses to break the fourth wall and create a diegetic moment in which the film's drummer actually appears on screen. This interruption could have taken the viewer out of the film, but in context it works and adds to the meticulously orchestrated madness. 

The camerawork throughout the film is breathtaking. Every sequence drips with chaos and energy, as the camera forces its way into the action. The smooth, sprawling transitions from one scene to the next are visually impressive and fit the tone set by the frenetic score. These elements combine to form a style that is unique and a technical marvel.

In addition to the chaotic structure, the sharp, funny, and occasionally revelatory dialogue keeps the film moving fast. We learn what we know about Thompson and those who inhabit his life through meaningful exchanges, which is how filmmaking is supposed to work but has become rare and worthy of praise in a market saturated with big budget blockbusters and their sequels.

birdman keaton watts galifianakis "Birdman" is very much about these topics without ever explicitly stating it; it's about as meta as it gets and functions as a send-up of the very idea of criticism. In the bottom right corner of the mirror in Thompson's dressing room, there is a note visible throughout the film that says, "A thing is a thing, not what is said of that thing," which would be the film's thesis, if it had one. At the press conference, Iñárritu further commented on this notion by stating that "the film is what it is" and no amount of criticism can change that. At times, the film plays like catharsis for the director, and while that's true to an extent, there's much more to it than that. 

In the case of "Birdman," this critic can't recommend it enough.

"Birdman" opens nationwide on October 17th. 

SEE ALSO: Steve Carell And Channing Tatum Give Their Best Performances Yet In Thought-Provoking 'Foxcatcher'

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17 Movies To See This Fall


the hunger games mockingjay katniss

The summer box office may have had one of its worst years financially, with hits few and far between, but thankfully, the fall looks to be a bit more promising. 

In addition to some major tentpole releases, there are a slew of Oscar-hopefuls as well as some performance-heavy films including the return of the "girl on fire" Katniss Everdeen and "The Dark Knight" trilogy director Christopher Nolan.

We've sifted through dozens upon dozens of upcoming releases to bring you a definitive list of films you can't miss this fall.

"The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby"

Release Date: 
Sept. 12

Why to see it: The ambitious film chronicling both sides of a broken marriage debuted as two separate features (one told from the man's point of view, the other from the woman's) at the Toronto Film Festival last fall before The Weinstein Company picked it up and altered its structure. The film opening in September is the cut that debuted at Caanes, "The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them," a streamlined, two-hour version of the three hours that make up the individual features.

The uncut individual films "The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Him" and "The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Her" open in limited release Oct. 10. Release strategy aside, the film has garnered its fair share of positive feedback and boasts an epic cast featuring Jessica Chastain, William Hurt, Bill Hader, Viola Davis, and James McAvoy. 

Watch the trailer.

"The Skeleton Twins"

Release Date: 
Sept. 12

Why to see it: SNL alums Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig star as siblings in this offbeat dramedy, and if early buzz is any indication, the film may wind up on quite a few "best of" lists by the end of the year. The film debuted at Sundance to rave reviews, many of which cited Hader's and Wiig's performances as its greatest asset.  

Watch the trailer.

"The Equalizer"

Release Date: 
Sept. 26

Why to see it: It's been over a year since Denzel Washington's most recent appearance on screen ("2 Guns"), which is a shame considering the man tends to elevate the material no matter how generic the idea may seem on paper; the man made a movie about a runaway train exciting. "The Equalizer" sounds like a perfect Denzel vehicle, ripe for butt-kicking and name-taking, as he must "come out of retirement" to rescue Chloe Grace Moretz from Russian gangsters. Another reason to tune in? Denzel reunites with "Training Day" director Antoine Fuqua for the first time since making the award-winning film.  

Watch the trailer.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

‘Batman v Superman’ Extra Risks $5 Million Fine For Revealing A Huge Spoiler


batman vs superman batsuit batmobileWARNING: SPOILERS

A “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” extra revealed major plot details of Warner Bros.’ upcoming Ben Affleck-Henry Cavill superhero movie during an interview with a local news station.

The individual risks a $5 million fine for breaching the confidentiality agreement required by those who work on the film.

Interest is high in Detroit, Michigan where the highly-anticipated movie has been shooting. On the condition that he stay anonymous, the source broke his confidentiality agreement and spilled what he knew for WILX-10 News, the area NBC affiliate.

Reporter Kirk Montgomery reveals several details he's learned about the movie. At the top of the list is his source's confirmation that Robin a.k.a. Carrie Kelley will be female and played by “Hunger Games: Catching Fire” actress Jena Malone. The actress had been spotted on the set in Detroit.

Additionally, the scene being shot at an Art Museum on the Michigan State University campus involves a fight between Bruce Wayne (Affleck) and Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg). The source also says there will be pyrotechnics-like fireworks, paparazzi covering the event and “heavy special effects.” And, the physical altercation between Bruce and Lex will involve the military.

ben affleck henry cavill gal gadot sdcc batman v supermanA spokesman for Warner Bros. has not yet returned TheWrap‘s request for comment.

Zack Snyder is returning to direct the movie, which is the centerpiece of the DC Comics universe that Warner Bros. has been building to compete with Marvel. Also set to star are Gal Godot as Wonder Woman, Jason Momoa as Aquaman and Amy Adams reprising the role of Lois Lane.

“Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” is set to be released in Spring 2016.

Watch the video below.

SEE ALSO: Photos Of The Best Cosplay From New York Comic Con 2014

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Adam Sandler And An All Star Cast Can't Save 'Men, Women & Children


men women children adam sandler rosemarie dewitt

Not even a cast full of famous faces such as Adam Sandler, Jennifer Garner, Emma Thompson, Rosemarie DeWitt, and Ansel Elgort can save director Jason Reitman's new movie, "Men, Women & Children."

It's a movie full of big, relevant ideas that all fail to make any impact due to the film's lack of subtlety. By employing an omniscient, overbearing narration style, Reitman breaks a cardinal rule of writing: he's telling rather than showing. Instead of understanding how these characters feel through their actions, I know how they feel because an important-sounding British woman tells me so.

The film pretentiously opens in outer space, as a Woody Allen-esque jazz number croons and the dulcet tones of Emma Thompson, the film's narrator, lecture the audience on the Voyager space program. This all-knowing entity describes how satellites that amplified human sounds were sent into space to give any potential extraterrestrials a sample of life on earth.

After this unnecessary history lesson, we home in on a morose man (Adam Sandler) as he goes to his son's room to use his computer to masturbate. When he discovers his son's Internet history is full of pornography, the narrator tells us Sandler feels sad that the old-school ritual of finding your dad's stack of porn magazines seems to have been lost in this technological age.

men women children posterSandler is just one poor sap in this ensemble piece, but this scene encapsulates all you need to know about the film: these characters are not believable people, just conduits for spreading a Luddite mentality. The movie wishes to shame those embracing the internet age by exaggerating the dangers and showcasing how disconnected we are as people because of it.

This perfectly valid criticism gets overshadowed by all the melodramatic excess, as Reitman can't help but shoehorn in other important, controversial topics no matter how tenuous their relationship to technology dependence. For example, there's an entire subplot surrounding a young woman with an eating disorder, and this is tied to the narrative through the pro-anorexia Tumblrs she visits. The film also deals with eating disorders, stage parents and the idea of celebrity, overprotective parents, bullying, teenage pregnancy, and suicide, but the film's two-hour runtime allows for only the broadest of strokes. There's even a way of dealing with 9/11 that made me cringe with how lazily it was thrown in.

Although Sandler might be commended for taking on a more ambitious role than usual, he sleepwalks through most of the film. It's not his fault, though, as this is how his character is written. Other stars like DeWitt, Garner, and Simmons are wasted in boring roles, and there are brief hints of life when the film spends time with Judy Greer and "Breaking Bad's" Dean Norris, who actually give decent performances in spite of everything that surrounds them. The two youngest characters in the film, played by Kaitlyn Dever and Ansel Elgort, are the most interesting, as their relationship is the only thing that comes off as genuine. 

men women children kids

Reitman is best known for his unique style of comedy that deal with serious issues, like "Juno" with teen pregnancy or unemployment in "Up In The Air." Something has been lost in his transition to full blown drama, as this and its critically-panned predecessor "Labor Day" just don't work. Here's hoping his next directorial effort sees Reitman returning to the more darkly comedic territory he knows best. 

SEE ALSO: Paul Thomas Anderson's New Movie 'Inherent Vice' Is Unlike Anything You've Ever Seen

MORE: 'Birdman' Starring Michael Keaton Is The Best Movie Of The Year

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The Most Famous Movie Set In Every State


taxi driver robert de niro most famous movie set in every state

Everyone has that one movie that reminds them of home.

We set out to name the most famous movie in every state — a challenging and subjective endeavor. Some states were more obvious than others. While there's no place like Kansas, New York has inspired directors ranging from Martin Scorsese to Woody Allen to Rob Reiner.

To pick the most famous, we evaluated the state's prominence in the movie and leaned toward movies that were filmed in that location as well. The movie's lifetime gross, its critical acclaim, and testimonials by our geographically diverse staff also influenced our decision.

Additional reporting by Kirsten Acuna, Melissa Stanger, and Sara Bower.

SEE ALSO: This map shows the most famous movie in every state

ALABAMA: "Forrest Gump" (1994)

Even though "Forrest Gump" took Tom Hanks from Vietnam to the White House, home was always the fictional town of Greenbow, Alabama. Plus, Forrest was an All-American for the Alabama Crimson Tide.

forrest gump tom hanks

Source: "Forrest Gump"/Paramount Pictures

ALASKA: "Into The Wild" (2007)

"Into The Wild" follows Chris McCandless, played by Emile Hirsch, as he heads to Alaska to find his place in the world. The journey would bring McCandless to many places, but his ultimate destination was the Land of the Midnight Sun.

Into The Wild Poster

Source: "Into The Wild"/Paramount Vantage

ARIZONA: "Raising Arizona" (1987)

The Coen brothers' cult classic follows H.I. McDunnough and his wife as they attempt to have a baby, either naturally or through kidnapping. The Coens made the pair all the more real by incorporating a vernacular that Joel called"a mixture of local dialect and a vocabulary we imagined from the likely reading materials of the characters."

Raising Arizona, nicholas cafe

Source: "Raising Arizona"/20th Century Fox

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

23 Actors Who Turned Down Huge Movie Roles


Michael Keaton

Michael Keaton may be best known for his 1989 role as Batman, but he recently revealed that he turned down another huge role as the lead in "Groundhog Day" because he simply "didn't get it."

Keaton's not alone.

Harrison Ford wasn't originally sought out to play Han Solo, nor was Scarlett Johansson the original choice for Marvel's Black Widow. And we may have seen Brad Pitt in a very different role if it wasn't for his kids. 

We rounded up 23 actors and actresses who turned down possible career-changing roles.

Michael Keaton regrets passing on the chance to star in "Groundhog Day."

Role was played by: Bill Murray

Michael Keaton told Entertainment Weekly he turned down the lead in 1993's "Groundhog Day" because he simply "didn't get it."

"This guy sounds like the kind of wry, sardonic, glib young man I've played — and it ended up being so great," Keaton tells EW. "But you can't do it better than Bill Murray did it."

Bill Murray declined to play the lead in "Forrest Gump."

Role was played by: Tom Hanks

Murray told Howard Stern on his SiriusXM program the part didn’t interest him.

“I did have ‘Forrest Gump’ conversations,” Murray said. “I think I had the original book and all that sort of stuff.”

Murray says he never saw the script for the film. When Stern asked Murray if he regretted passing on the film, he said he never saw it.

Matt Damon turned down the role of Harvey Dent in "The Dark Knight."

Role was played by: Aaron Eckhart

Damon told MTV he had to turn down the iconic role of Harvey "Two-Face" Dent because of filming conflicts.

I couldn't [appear in The Dark Knight]. It was a scheduling thing. But, I never spoke to Chris Nolan.

He had no qualms regarding Nolan's final choice for the villain.

Look, Aaron is a great actor, so the movie didn't suffer for it. Every once in a while you get [an acting opportunity] and you can't do it.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Low Budget Horror Movie ‘Annabelle’ Is Dominating The Box Office


annabelle movie

New Line's mini-budgeted horror movie “Annabelle” added another $19.2 million at the foreign box office this weekend.

That ups the foreign total for the demon doll saga — which was made for $6.5 million — to $92 million and its worldwide haul, when you factor in North America, to more than $166 million.

The international total keeps it on pace with “The Conjuring,” last year's breakout horror hit from which “Annabelle” was spun. The leading overseas markets have been Brazil ($7.9 million), the U.K. ($7.4 million) and France ($7 million), where it held the top spot for a second week.

The top-grossing film overseas this weekend was “Guardians of the Galaxy,” which became the third-highest grossing Marvel movie ever at the worldwide box office after adding another $23.1 million.

Disney's superhero space romp crossed $400 million at the foreign box office this weekend, and has now taken in $732.6 million globally. That pushes it past “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” and leaving it behind only “The Avengers” ($1.5 billion) and “Iron Man 3” ($1.2 billion).

“Guardians” had a strong second week in China, which is now its top overseas territory with $69 million, followed by the U.K. ($47 million) and Russia ($38 million). It has taken in $328 million from the U.S. and Canada.

dracula untold“Dracula Untold” opened at No. 1 in nine of the new markets, and raised its international total to $95.7 million after two weeks for Universal. The reboot of the studio's classic monster tale starring Luke Evans has brought in $136 million globally.

“Gone Girl” is showing the same staying power abroad that it has in the U.S. The David Fincher-Ben Affleck murder mystery added $20.2 million this weekend, with strong second weeks in the U.K. ($3.9 million), Australia ($2.8 million) and Russia ($1.3 million). It's foreign total is now $94.7 million with releases in South Korea, Italy, and Japan still to come for Fox.

The studio's “The Maze Runner” rung up $17.1 million this weekend and has now brought in $161 million from overseas and more than $252 million worldwide.

Foreign audiences are still shelling out for “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” too. The Michael Bay-produced reboot of the pizza-eating reptile tale added another $20 million from 33 foreign markets this weekend. It's up to $185 million internationally, and $375 million worldwide, with China and Japan still ahead.

SEE ALSO: 'Best Of Me' Has Worst Opening Of Any Nicholas Sparks' Movie

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Average Movie Ticket Prices Are Up 25 Cents From Last Year


guardians of the galaxy poster

There are a couple of new reports on movie ticket prices in the trades today. Variety says the average price has “dropped” to $8.08, while TheWrap reports that prices “jumped” in the last quarter. Who is right? Technically both.

The average prices of $8.08 is down from the previous quarter, April Through June, when the average ticket price in America was a whopping $8.38, thanks in large part to the volume of 3-D and IMAX movies occupying multiplexes. The $8.08 from July to September is down from that number—but it’s still up a solid two bits from this quarter in 2013, when the average price was $7.84. TheWrap blames the jump on more adults “paying full evening prices” (rather than families, who might pay a lower children’s admission). The full-year average of 2013 was $8.13. So basically, you could have seen 33 movies last year for the price of 32 movies this year.

As a regular paying theatergoer, here is my reaction: Can I please go see movies where the average price is just $8.08? That’s definitely not New York. The cheapest theater in my neighborhood (which might also the worst theater in the country) is $12.50, or three bucks more if you want 3-D. $15 is the entry-level price for the theaters in Times Square, where a movie in one of the faux-IMAX auditoriums will set you back more than $21. If that’s what it costs to see the movies, I’m terrified to know what they charge for a box of Sno-Caps.

I recently found an old ticket stub in a drawer for the immortal classic Catwoman; that was back in 2004, and that ticket cost me $8.75. So this area was above the current average 10 years ago. Where is this magical wonderland where tickets are still just eight bucks? Can I live there? And this makes me curious: What’s the typical ticket price where you live, Dissolvers?

SEE ALSO: The Rise Of The Chinese Box Office Is Staggering, And It's Transforming Hollywood

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Peter Jackson's ‘Hobbit’ Trilogy Costs $745 Million So Far


hobbit bilboPeter Jackson‘s “The Hobbit” trilogy is one of the biggest box office hits of all time, and it's also one of the most expensive film productions ever undertaken. With months left to go before the December bow of the final chapter in the epic Middle-Earth saga, financial documents filed in New Zealand this month put the production at $745 million.

That figure makes it the most expensive film production on record, but it is a combined total for what amounts to three separate films. Guinness World Records estimates the most expensive production to date remains “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End,” with total production costs of $300 million.

Warner Bros. declined to comment on the costs, telling the Associated Press they don't comment on production budgets.

According to Box Office Mojo, the first two “Hobbit” films have earned a combined $1.98 billion at the global box office, which gives the trilogy a real chance of breaking $3 billion. Jackson's original “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy combined for a total $2.92 billion at the global box office from 2001-2003.

The financial documents create a rarity in big-budget Hollywood productions, as they are unusually detailed. Warner Bros. set up a wholly-owned company to handle the massive trilogy's production, leading to public financial reports.

the hobbit battle of the five armies gandalf first photoThe latest documents include breaking out $122 million that the films’ production received from local taxpayers. Tax incentives are common in the U.S. and other major countries as ways to lure big-budget films that generally provide a regional economic stimulus during production.

The final chapter in the film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's “The Hobbit” stars Martin Freeman, Evangeline Lilly, Richard Armitage, Orlando Bloom, Ian McKellan and Benedict Cumberbatch as the voice of the dragon Smaug. “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” is scheduled to hit theaters Dec. 17.

SEE ALSO: Here Are The First Photos From The Final 'Hobbit' Movie

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Here's How Ridiculously Difficult It Was To Film 'Birdman' In 30 Days


birdman norton keatonMichael Keaton and Edward Norton's new film "Birdman" came out swinging at the box office this weekend. 

Released in only four theaters both in Los Angeles and in New York, the Fox Searchlight movie made more than $424,000 at the box office. 

The film, about a washed-up actor Riggan Thomson (Keaton) gearing up for a Broadway debut, underwent a rigorous schedule.

Shot in just 30 days in the spring of 2013 at the St. James Theatre in New York City's theater district, director Alejandro González Iñárritu insisted the film be made to appear as one continuous shot.

st james theater birdman

The camera work comes from Oscar-winning cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki who worked on “Gravity.” Try to spot a cut in the film and you'll maybe notice one. The film plays straight through pretty seamlessly.

During a panel for the movie recently at New York Comic Con, host Chris Hardwick described what it's like watching the film:

"There are these really long scenes where the camera will follow one character into a room and then something sort of weird and special effect-y happens and then someone else will come in and it will follow that character out. Meanwhile, there's stuff going on along the way to the next destination to a whole other area of the building and then there's something else completely in progress that is being orchestrated at the same time."

In order to achieve the look, the cast underwent shots that took anywhere from seven to 10 minutes to film, according to Entertainment Weekly.

Keaton described the difficulty of prepping for the film to the magazine for its Oct. 17 issue.

"Everybody showed up every morning frightened," Keaton told EW. "The crew too. I think we were all thinking, I don't want to be the guy who lets everybody down."

To give you an idea of how stressful it could be on set, the cast, crew, and camera team had to be readily in sync.

Here's how EW describes what one mistake would cost them on set.

"Anything—a misremembered line, an extra step taken, a camera operator stumbling on a stair or veering off course or out of focus—could blow a take, rendering the first several minutes unusable even if they had been perfect."

"You had to be word-perfect, you had to be off script, and you literally had to count your paces down to the number of steps you needed to take before turning a corner," Keaton told EW. 

birdman keaton watts galifianakis

"Everyone would apologize perfunctorily if they messed up ... mostly because we were aware of how hard it was on the camera operators," Keaton added. "And the camera operators didn't want to screw up because of us."

Norton didn't want to speak much about the making of the film at NYCC, wanting the film to instead speak for itself.

"I'm sure film schools will be deconstructing how a lot of it was done for a long time to come because it is really remarkable," said Norton. "I think suffice to say it was a level of planning you rarely see on a film. I thought it was wonderful because you rarely get that kind of rehearsal period on a film and you rarely get to work that intimately with the entire camera crew. It was all great. It has its challenges but it's a lot more fun actually than on a day-t0-day basis."

"It's amazing what he [Lubezki] pulled off as a cinematographer in this film," Norton added. "I think it's every bit as amazing as what he did in 'Gravity,' and yet in a totally different type of story and context." 

Watch a preview for "Birdman" below:

SEE ALSO: "Birdman" is the best movie of the year

AND: It took Michael Keaton about 27 seconds to decide to be in "Birdman"

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Here's Why The 'Fantastic Four' Reboot Is Refusing To Show Any Footage Yet


fantastic fourThe Fantastic Four reboot is a pretty crucial project for the folks over at 20th Century Fox.

Right now the X-Men franchise is on a very good path, but if the studio really wants to expand their in-house comic book movie world, then that means Fantastic Four needs to work with both critics and audiences. As a result, there is going to be a great deal of pressure on our first official look that the new film - and that's exactly why we haven't gotten one yet. 

While speaking with ComicBook.com, producer Simon Kinberg revealed why we have yet to actually get our first look at the new Fantastic Four, and the basic reason is just that the movie just isn't ready to be seen yet. Touting the fact that he was on the set of the movie almost every day of shooting and has already seen all of the footage, the filmmaker explained that the production wants everything to be 100% perfect before its delivered to audiences. Said Kinberg, 

"We’re putting it together now, and one of the important things, because this Fantastic Four is a reboot, and is such a different tonality and vibe from those other films, we want to make sure that the first thing we put out really expresses the voice of the movie, and isn’t compromised by not having visual effects ready, or anything like that."

Going further, he added that director Josh Trank has created something "very different" from every superhero movie we've seen before, and noted that it's very emotional, character-driven, more grounded film than I think people are anticipating." This definitely echoes statements he's been making for months, selling The Fantastic Four as "a much more grounded, gritty, realistic movie" than the two that were made by director Tim Story back in the '00s. 

Now that The Fantastic Four has been pushed back to its current August 2015 release date, there is not only more time for 20th Century Fox to get the movie finished, but it also means that they don't have to start marketing the film until a lot further down the line. That being said, some people may see that as a lack of confidence in the material - especially since Marvel Studios was showing footage from Joss Whedon's The Avengers: Age of Ultron all the way back in July during San Diego Comic-Con. At the very least they should give us some official stills that give us an idea of the new approach to the central characters. 

The Fantastic Four stars Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Bell, Toby Kebbell, and Reg E. Cathey and will be in theaters everywhere on August 7th next year. 

SEE ALSO: These 4 Young Actors Were Cast In The 'Fantastic Four' Reboot

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How Marvel Prevents Video Footage From Leaking At Comic Con


daredevil nycc panel 2014Marvel doesn't mess around when showing off exclusive footage at New York Comic Con.

The studio took extra precautions to make sure footage debuted for its upcoming "Daredevil" series on Netflix at New York Comic Con didn't make it online.

Before the panel began, fans were warned to put away all electronics. If any phones were out and appeared to be recording, devices would be taken and attendees would be escorted out of the theater. 

Simple enough. That's typical protocol for movie screenings.

Marvel went one step further. 

The studio brought a team dressed in suits who Marvel TV president Jeph Loeb playfully referred to as a few of their "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D," a reference to ABC's Marvel series.

jeph loeb daredevil nycc 2014

Marvel's "agents" were stationed both on the floor and in the balcony areas of the Main Stage room of Javits' Convention Center with night vision goggles to make sure no one was capturing footage during the panel. 

daredevil panel nycc 2014 agents daredevil panel marvel suits nycc 2014

Here are a few we saw on the balcony as we looked around.marvel shield daredevil panel

Loeb reminded fans of the rules to follow before the event began.

It would not be a Marvel security measure without me talking a little bit about that. What you guys are going to see today on this panel and maybe some other surprises ... belongs in this room. It is a gift from us to the folks at New York Comic Con and for all of you as fans. What this means, if you look around, you will see gentlemen that are standing, and I'm not making this up, they're wearing ties and they look S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents and they actually are S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents.

Believe it or not, what they have with them is night-vision goggles. I am not making that up either. They do not have radar sense, but they can tell whether or not you are recording the clips that are going on up here. So if you have a recording device: a telephone, anything that is doing something other than your eyeballs, put it away. And the reason I'm saying that is, they're gonna find you and they're gonna take it away and then you're going to be asked to leave, and I don't want that to happen. It's our party folks. So let's enjoy the party and have a great time.

Any time one of several "Daredevil" clips were shown, the suits yelled out "all cell phones away, all cell phones away" repeatedly.

Earlier this year at San Diego Comic Con, Disney and Marvel were able to keep video footage from its "Avengers" sequel from being widely spread online. The studios showed off the first trailer for the film along with other video clips.

It was a bit of a surprise. When Warner Bros. debuted the first teaser trailer from its upcoming "Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice" film at SDCC, recordings quickly made their way to YouTube and continued circulating for more than 24 hours before the studio was able to pull the leaked footage.

Marvel has a system. 

It's highly unlikely you'll see any leaked footage from the studio's "Daredevil" panel at New York Comic Con or its secret "Avengers" and "Ant-Man" teaser screenings.

SEE ALSO: Marvel showed footage for 'Ant-Man' And 'The Avengers' sequel at a secret comic con event and fans loved it

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Here's What 'Terminator' Gets Wrong About AI


t 800, terminator, machine

In a lot of science fiction, artificial intelligence systems become truly intelligent — as well as extremely dangerous — once they achieve self-awareness.

Take the "Terminator" series. Before becoming self-aware, Skynet is a powerful tool for the US military to coordinate the national defense; after becoming self-aware, Skynet decides, for some reason, to coordinate the destruction of the human species instead.

But how important is self-awareness, really, in creating an artificial mind on par with ours? According to quantum computing pioneer and Oxford physicist David Deutsch, not very.

In an excellent article in Aeon, Deutsch explores why artificial general intelligence (AGI) must be possible, but hasn't yet been achieved. He calls it AGI to emphasize that he's talking about a mind like ours, that can think and feel and reason about anything, as opposed to a complex computer program that's very good at one or a few human-like tasks.

Simply put, his argument explaining why AGI is possible is this: Since our brains are made of matter, it must be possible, in principle at least, to recreate the functionality of our brains using another type of matter. (Deutsch provided a rigorous proof for this idea, known as "the universality of computation" in the 1980s.)  

As for Skynet, Deutsch writes:

Remember the significance attributed to Skynet’s becoming ‘self-aware’? That’s just another philosophical misconception, sufficient in itself to block any viable approach to AGI. The fact is that present-day software developers could straightforwardly program a computer to have ‘self-awareness’ in the behavioural sense — for example, to pass the ‘mirror test’ of being able to use a mirror to infer facts about itself — if they wanted to. As far as I am aware, no one has done so, presumably because it is a fairly useless ability as well as a trivial one.

In other words, the issue is not self-awareness — it's awareness, period. We could make a machine to be "self-aware" in a technical sense, and it wouldn't possess any more human-level intelligence than a computer that's programmed to play the piano. Viewed this way, self-awareness is just another narrow, arbitrary skill — not the Holy Grail it's made out to be in a lot of science fiction.

HAL 9000

As Deutsch puts it:

AGIs will indeed be capable of self-awareness — but that is because they will be General: they will be capable of awareness of every kind of deep and subtle thing, including their own selves.

So why does this matter? Isn't this just another harmless sci-fi trope? Not exactly.

If we really want to create artificial intelligence, we have to understand what it is we're trying to create. Deutsch persuasively argues that, as long as we're focused on self-awareness, we won't focus on understanding how our brains actually work. 

What matters, Deutsch argues, is "the ability to create new explanations," to generate theories about the world and all its particulars. In contrast with this, the idea that self-awareness — let alone real intelligence — will spontaneously emerge from a complex computer network is not just science fiction. It's pure fantasy.

READ MORE: Here's What Needs To Happen For AI To Become A Reality

SEE ALSO: Why We Can't Yet Build True Artificial Intelligence, Explained In One Sentence

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Early 'Interstellar' Reactions Are Hailing It As The Must-See Event Of The Fall


interstellar matthew mcconaughey

Christopher Nolan's sci-fi epic "Interstellar" isn't in theaters for another two weeks; however, fans are already praising the movie starring Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway as the must-see film of the fall.

From the director of "Inception" and "The Dark Knight" trilogy, the movie follows the two as they head on a space mission to save the future of the human race. 

While there aren’t any written reviews yet, a select few have offered up quick thoughts on Nolan’s next film and reactions are overwhelmingly positive.

Both the "Shaun of the Dead" and "The Incredibles" directors loved it.

Page Six reported Paramount chief Brad Grey held a private screening of the film Sunday for a crowd that included Jake Gyllenhaal, Chris Rock, Kevin Bacon, billionaire Ronald Perelman, and Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson.

"Interstellar" will be released two days early on Nov. 5 in 35mm and 70mm, and 70mm IMAX. More than an hour of "Interstellar" was filmed in IMAX while Nolan also shot on 35mm anamorphic film.

It will be everywhere Nov. 7. From the above, it sounds like the only way to see it is in IMAX. 

NOW WATCH: Here's The Dirty Little Secret IMAX Doesn't Want You To Know

SEE ALSO: Matthew McConaughey says he understood every word his "True Detective" character said

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Here's When You Can Finally See 'The Avengers' Sequel Trailer


avengers age of ultron hanging out party

The "Avengers: Age of Ultron" trailer has now played at San Diego Comic-Con and New York Comic Con and pretty soon you'll be able to see it, too.

The first teaser trailer for the anticipated sequel will air Tuesday, Oct. 28 during Marvel's "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." television series on ABC during the 9 p.m. hour ET.

The network made the announcement Tuesday evening during the hour-long show.

We expect it to hit the web soon afterward.

The "Avengers" sequel is in theaters May 1, 2015.

SEE ALSO: Marvel showed footage for "Ant-Man" and "The Avengers" sequel at a secret Comic Con event and fans loved it

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Why This Halloween Might Be A Disaster For Hollywood


annabelle screenDespite the fact that some truly stellar movies have been coming out since January, the 2014 box office is severely struggling - and the next big holiday on the calendar doesn't look like it will be helping things in the slightest. In fact, analysts are saying that this Halloween may be downright horrific for the movie industry. 

Variety is saying that the movie industry may want to start bracing itself for a rough Halloween, and a big part of that is simply because October 31st happens to fall on a Friday this year - one of the most popular days of the week for theater-going. While there certainly will be some people who wish to spend the night in a darkened theater, most will presumably be seeking entertainment in many other capacities, be it trick 'r treating or costume parties. 

Weirdly, the trade notes that studios have actually been planning ahead when it comes to this sinkhole in the schedule, and having been planning accordingly by releasing their horror movies earlier in the month. Warner Bros. absolutely cleaned up when they sent Annabelle to theaters on October 3rd, the film having made $166 million worldwide to date, and Blumhouse Productions/Orion Pictures sent The Town That Dreaded Sundown into limited release last week. Universal Pictures has also been ahead of the game on two fronts, having put out Dracula Untold earlier this month and releasing Ouija this Friday. 

Jake Gyllenhaal NightcrawlerOf course, this has also created a self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts, because now there really aren't any movies coming out during Halloween that will draw large audiences to movie theaters. There are currently no major studio releases set to come out next weekend, and horror movies like ABCs of Death 2 and Horns will only be available in select markets. The only wide releases will be Nightcrawler with Jake Gyllenhaal and Before I Go To Sleep with Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth and Mark Strong, Neither are exactly going to blow the doors off of anywhere (even if the former is getting quite a good bit of buzz). 

It was well publicized a couple of months ago that 2014's summer at the domestic box office was absolutely miserable - despite some big hits like Guardians of the Galaxy and X-Men: Days of Future Past - and a part of that was the fact that one of the big holidays during that season was stuck on a weekend as well. Like Halloween, July 4th was on a Friday this year, and as a result audiences wound up watching fireworks instead of going to the movies. In fact, Variety says it "became the worst box office weekend for the industry since 1987." Hopefully Halloween won't be following in its footsteps.

SEE ALSO: Low Budget Horror Movie ‘Annabelle’ Is Dominating The Box Office

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