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The 13 Biggest Snubs And Surprises From The Oscar Nominations

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Angelina Jolie sad unbroken

The 87th annual Academy Award nominations were announced early Thursday morning in Los Angeles.

While "Birdman" and "The Grand Budapest Hotel" led with nine nominations, people are up in arms over the absence of "The Lego Movie" from the category of best animated feature film.

Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Aniston, and Amy Adams are among the stars we surprisingly won't be seeing at the Oscars on Feb. 22.

SNUB: Amy Adams just won the Golden Globe for her role in "Big Eyes," but she didn't even get nominated for the Oscar.

More:

Amy Adams Wins Golden Globe For Best Actress In A Comedy



SURPRISE: Only 8 of the 10 Best Picture spots were filled. Apparently the Academy didn't think any other films were worthy.



SNUB: Twitter was up in arms after "The Lego Movie" failed to get a nod for best animated feature film. The movie made over $468 million worldwide at the box office and was the first hit film of 2014.

More:

The Lego Movie" Got Robbed At The Oscar Nominations

‘The Lego Movie’ Has 2nd-Largest February Opening Weekend Ever

15 Easter Eggs In 'The Lego Movie'

 



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The Movie That Just Got Marion Cotillard An Oscar Nod Is Only Showing In 5 Theaters

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Marion Cotillard Two Days One Night

One of the bigger surprises of Thursday morning's Oscar nominations was actress Marion Cotillard's Best Actress nomination for "Two Days, One Night."

Cotillard plays a factory worker who faces losing her job after suffering a nervous breakdown. 

Here's the official synopsis via IFC:

A universal story about working-class people living on the edges of society. Sandra (Cotillard) has just returned to work after recovering from a serious bout with depression. Realizing that the company can operate with one fewer employee, management tells Sandra she is to be let go. After learning that her co-workers will vote to decide her fate on Monday morning, Sandra races against time over the course of the weekend, often with the help of her husband, to convince each of her fellow employees to sacrifice their much-needed bonuses so she can keep her job. With each encounter, Sandra is brought into a different world with unexpected results in this powerful statement on community solidarity.

If you've never heard of the film, there's a good reason why.

"Two Days, One Night" is currently playing in only five US theaters.

The Belgian indie has been in theaters since Dec. 24, and, unsurprisingly, has made most of its money overseas.

The film's recognition shouldn't be as big of a surprise.

The movie debuted to extremely positive reviews. The Red and Black reports the film received a 15-minute standing ovation during its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in 2014.

The film has also been nominated for multiple Best Foreign Language Film awards including the BAFTAs, Cannes, Dublin Film Critics' Circle.

At this year's Oscars, Cotillard will go up against Felicity Jones ("The Theory of Everything"), Julianne Moore ("Still Alice"), Rosamund Pike ("Gone Girl"), and Reese Witherspoon ("Wild").

Here's what critics have said about her performance in "Two Days, One Night":

Los Angeles Times:

It is also a study in human nature. Some are open; others openly resent Sandra as a loafer on the job when she is there and the reason they weren't getting their bonuses in the first place. Cotillard is remarkable in these moments, using even the pitch of her shoulders to let their pain, anger, fear, kindness, forgiveness wash over her.

Peter Travers, Rolling Stone:

Whether her character is popping Xanax,  entreating co-workers whose problems dwarf her own, or sitting in a car listening to rock, Cotillard is magnificent, her luminous eyes reflecting a soul in crisis. The Dardennes have been creating major cinematic miracles out of minute details since La Promesse in 1996, and this film ranks with their finest.

The Christian Science Monitor:

Cotillard looks resolutely unglamorous in this film, and yet she comes across as a heroine. Sandra’s mettle, almost imperceptibly, strengthens. The Dardennes specialize in loosely framed, naturalistic-looking dreariness, but in this film their faux realism works because Cotillard gives the blahness a depth charge. She is one of the few high-profile actors they have worked with, but the glory of her performance is that she never turns it into a star turn – which makes her all the more a star.

A.O. Scott, The New York Times:

Ms. Cotillard moves past naturalism into something impossible to doubt and hard to describe. Sandra is an ordinary person in mundane circumstances, but her story, plainly and deliberately told, is suspenseful, sobering and, in the original, fear-of-God sense of the word, tremendous.

With an Oscar nod for Best Actress, we wouldn't be surprised to see this film start rolling out in more theaters over the next few weeks.

SEE ALSO: The biggest Oscar snubs and surprises

AND: "The LEGO Movie" was robbed

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Steven Spielberg Turned Down Directing 'Harry Potter' For Another Movie

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steven spielberg

Imagine if Steven Spielberg had directed Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone? It could have happened, as Spielberg was offered the job, but he turned it down, deciding to take his career in "another direction." That direction, as it happened, was Minority Report and A.I. Artificial Intelligence. 

As you may or may not remember, it was around this time, fifteen years ago, that Spielberg's name was linked to the anticipated Philosophers/Sorcerer's Stone adaptation. This was back when J.K. Rowling's now-beloved magical series was only just starting to generate real buzz stateside. Take a look at this recently resurfaced news clipping, which announces that Steven Spielberg would not be directing Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone... 

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We have the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences and Oscars.org to thank for showcasing this 15-year-old clipping. It's included in the new Harry Potter Highlights page, which was recently added to the site's Collections feature. The page features photos and clippings related to the making of the Harry Potter movies, one of which is the above "Morning Report" from the L.A. Times, which notes that Spielberg opted out of adapting Harry Potter for the screen, in favor of the sci-fi thriller Minority Report, which starred Tom Cruise and grossed more than $35 million domestically in its opening weekend (beating Disney's Lilo & Stitch by a narrow margin). 

The LA Times clipping is dated February 2000. For a bit of perspective on the buzz that was circulating at that time, you can look at an article L.A. Times posted just a month prior, which noted that "the buzz is that Spielberg's next project will be a Harry Potter film for Warner Bros." The January article goes on to note that Spielberg's office issued a statement that denied any decision was made yet. And sure enough, a month later, it was announced that Spielberg was out. Then In March, news broke that Chris Columbus was confirmed to helm what would go on to be the first of eight Harry Potter movies. The rest is Harry Potter history.
harry potter old

So, what if Steven Spielberg had directed Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone? It's possible we would've gotten a series of animated movies. Back in 2010, right around the time that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 was set to arrive in theaters, LA Times ran an article recounting the history of the franchise, which included a comment from Alan Horn that revealed Spielberg's plans for the adaptation. That included combining some of the books and making it animated. 

...One of the notions of Dreamworks' and Steven’s was, ‘Let’s combine a couple of the books, let’s make it animated,’ and that was because of the [visual effects and] Pixar had demonstrated that animated movies could be extremely successful. Because of the wizardry involved, they were very effects-laden. So I don’t blame them. But I did not want to combine the movie and I wanted it to be live action."

In retrospect, it's hard to argue with Horn's preference for live-action and separate films. Heck, I doubt fans of the books would've argued with him back then either, as I can't imagine book fans would've appreciated the stories being condensed even more than they ended up having to be from page to screen. 

Did it all work out for the best? As an openly geeky fan of the books, I'm going to say yes, but it's a gray-area yes. We got the live action films, and they gave each book its own movie. Deathly Hallows actually ended up getting split into two movies, which is pretty much the opposite of combining books. And yet, we can still nitpick over the aspects of the story that were condensed, altered or altogether written out -- Respectful nod in the general direction of Peeves, wherever he's hovering. -- in the feature adaptations. 

Minority Report computer screenAnd as a Minority Report fan, I don't entirely regret Spielberg's decision not to direct Harry Potter, even if WB had been able to convince him that live action and separate movies would be the right approach. Still, who knows what Spielberg would have made from the Harry Potter books, had he chosen to pursue the adaptation(s). 

Steven Spielberg also went on to make A.I. Artificial Intelligence. He did not, however, direct the adaptation of Arthur Golden's Memoirs of a Geisha, which was also eying back in 2000. (Rob Marshall ended up directing that one.) 

It's interesting to look back at the history of bringing Harry Potter to the screen, particularly now as Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is in the works, with Harry Potter and the Order of the PhoenixHalf-Blood Prince and Deathly Hallows director David Yates attached to helm. Will the spinoff, which is being penned by J.K. Rowling herself, go on to be as huge as the Harry Potter franchise? Will we someday look back and wonder what might have been had the rumor about Alfonso Cuaron possibly directing been true? Perhaps, if the film(s) leave as big an imprint on pop culture as Harry Potter has. Fantastic Beasts is expected to begin filming this summer. 

In the meantime, you can look back at some of the Harry Potter franchise highlights at Oscar.org. And if you're a fan of "can you imagine?" scenarios, be sure to check out the news clipping about Tim Roth, who was originally on board to play Professor Snape, but decided to star in Tim Burton's Planet of the Apes instead. 

SEE ALSO: How Steven Spielberg Made Millions Off 'Star Wars' After A 1977 Bet With George Lucas

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Tom Hardy Won’t Be In Warner Bros.’ Big Suicide Squad’ Movie Anymore

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tom hardy

Tom Hardy won't be starring in Warner Bros.' anticipated "Suicide Squad" movie.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the actor is dropping out of the role due to a demanding schedule. 

Via THR:

The actor is currently shooting The Revenant, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s frontier drama that also stars Leonardo DiCaprio, and that shoot is now looking to go longer than initially planned. 

Press for "Mad Max: Fury Road" would also cut into "Suicide Squad" filming. 

The 37-year-old actor was set to play the Rick Flag in the adaptation of the comic-book movie which takes a look at villains recruited by a secret government organization to undertake high-risk missions. 

Flag is the leader of the group. 

THR reports "Nightcrawler" actor Jake Gyllenhaal is in talks to take on the role.

Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Jai Courtney, and Cara Delevigne are set to star in the Warner Bros. film due in theaters August 2016.

SEE ALSO: Jared Leto will be the first actor to play the Joker since Heath Ledger

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The Unique Hollywood Deal That Allows Director Richard Linklater To Own 'Boyhood'

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Boyhood Sundance

This story first appeared in the June 27 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

Richard Linklater's new film Boyhood might jump-start a rare phenomenon in Hollywood: the director as owner.

Richard Linklater BoyhoodWhen Linklater's longtime lawyer, John Sloss, structured the contract for the experimental coming-of-age drama -- Boyhood was made over 12 years for a modest $5 million and is set to open July 11 -- he insisted that financier IFC Films give the helmer part ownership of the movie's copyright. Unlike a typical deal that offers a percentage of profits -- or "points" -- so a director shares in the success but has no control over the movie's future, Linklater's pact gave him a say in where and how the film is released. Working together, IFC the financier and Linklater decided that IFC's distribution arm was their best option.

"This has been such a unique process and a complete leap of faith for all parties involved," Linklater tells THR. As an owner, he can join in marketing decisions, touch each part of the revenue stream and eventually sell his stake to a library (by contrast, many directors still are paid for home video on a "royalties" basis that is much lower than theatrical gross). Sloss won't reveal details but says Linklater's ownership is substantial.

Still, it came at a price. The 53-year-old auteur had to give up a big part of his upfront fee, normally in the low-seven figures. And that's precisely why most directors haven't taken this route. They stick to Hollywood's oldest adage: Take the money and run.

Ethan Hawke Boyhood"There has been an inherent distrust of Hollywood accounting," says Sloss, a partner in Cinetic Media and a Boyhood producer. "Historically, you took what you could upfront and were happy with it." But Sloss says industry accounting has become more transparent in recent years thanks to all the studio co-financing and slate financing deals. Directors like Linklater slowly are starting to realize they might not get screwed if they become an owner.

Indeed, Mel Gibson made hundreds of millions of dollars from his self-financed The Passion of the Christ. And Steven Soderbergh split the $6.5 million budget of Magic Mike with star-producer Channing Tatum, landing them tens of millions. George Lucas became a billionaire by taking a smaller fee on the original Star Wars and keeping ownership of merchandising, licensing and sequels.

"When talent invests his or her time and reputation but doesn't receive a full fee, they are effectively co-investors in that film," says attorney Peter Nelson, who represents directors Peter Jackson and Edgar Wright. "That gives talent the justification to negotiate either for a quick return and interest on their investment or, under unusual circumstances, co-ownership in the copyright of the film."

But few directors are willing to put up their own money or invest years of time and effort without guaranteed compensation. Top-grossers James CameronMichael Bay and Christopher Nolan aren't stakeholders in their films.

Richard Linklater golden globe awardThen there are director-producers who have backed others' features. John Singleton made several million dollars from Hustle & Flow (directed by neophyte Craig Brewer). Lucas most recently financed the World War II-set Red Tails, helmed by Anthony Hemingway. Jackson is an owner of District 9, which he financed and produced, but he never has enjoyed that status on a film he directed, including the Hobbit trilogy. "Copyrights and owning a negative are assets. And just like real estate, if you can accumulate enough assets, you will have some real value," says producer Steve Stabler, who together with Brad Krevoy sold a library of 65 films that included Dumb & Dumber for $32.5 million in 1996. In recent years, library values have skyrocketed. In 2010, investment firm Colony bought the Miramax library of films for $663 million.

Both Linklater (Before SunriseDazed and Confused) and IFC Films took a risk when they committed to Boyhood in 2002. It tracks the same actor (Ellar Coltrane) from age 6 to 18 alongside his sister (played by Linklater's daughter, Lorelei). Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquettestar as the boy's parents. "I walked into finance meetings and budget meetings over these past 12 years, and people looked at me like I had three heads," says Sundance Selects/IFC Films president Jonathan Sehring.

Boyhood Golden GlobesNow, buoyed by stellar reviews at Sundance, Boyhood will receive an aggressive platform release, starting in New York and Los Angeles. Sloss insists ownership is the wave of the future and says he is beginning to negotiate stakes for other directors, though he won't name them. "When studios began taking on co-financiers about 15 years ago, they had to open the kimono a little more," he says. "As people become better educated [regarding] the revenue streams, creators are going to take greater ownership over their content."

Others are skeptical, though. "I'm not sure director ownership is a trend," says indie producing veteran Anthony Bregman (Begin AgainFoxcatcher). "Maybe it's a trend for Richard Linklater."

SEE ALSO: PATRICIA ARQUETTE: 'My 'Boyhood' Salary Was Less Than I Pay My Dog Walker'

MORE: 'Boyhood' Wins Best Motion Picture At Golden Globes

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The 19 Actors With The Most Oscar Nominations Of All Time

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Meryl Streep oscars 2014

Meryl Streep received her 19th Oscar nod when the 87th Academy Awards nominations were announced Thursday morning.

Streep, who was nominated for best supporting actress in Disney's "Into the Woods," is, by far, the most-nominated actor of all time.

Despite her 19 nods, Streep has only won three times — for "Kramer Vs. Kramer" (1979), "Sophie's Choice" (1982), and "The Irony Lady" (2012).

No other actor comes close to Streep's 19 nominations. 

We've compiled a list of the actors with the most nominations for film roles consulting the Academy Awards Databases.

The 87th Academy Awards will air Sun., Feb. 23 at 8 p.m. EST on ABC. 

Meryl Streep, 19 nominations (3 wins)
meryl streep 2012 oscars
Katharine Hepburn, 12 (4 wins)katharine hepburn a philadelphia storyJack Nicholson, 12 nominations (3 wins)oscars 70s jack nicholsonBette Davis, 10 nominations (2 wins)bette davisLaurence Olivier, 10 nominations (1 win, 2 honorary awards)olivier hamletPaul Newman, 9 nominations (1 win, 1 honorary award, 1 Hersholt award)newmanSpencer Tracy, 9 nominations (2 wins)spencertracyMarlon Brando, 8 nominations (2 wins)marlonbrando

Jack Lemmon, 8 nominations (2 wins)jacklemmon under yum yum treePeter O'Toole, 8 nominations (1 honorary award)Peter O'TooleAl Pacino, 8 nominations (1 win)al pacino smilingGeraldine Page, 8 nominations (1 win)geraldine pageIngrid Bergman, 7 nominations (3 wins)Ingrid_Bergman_1940_publicityRichard Burton, 7 nominations (no wins)richard burtonJudi Dench, 7 nominations (1 win)Judi DenchRobert DeNiro, 7 nominations (2 wins)Robert De NiroJane Fonda, 7 nominations (2 wins)Jane Fonda CannesGreer Garson, 7 nominations (1 win)greer garsonDustin Hoffman, 7 nominations (2 wins)dustin hoffman

Fun fact: Walt Disney received 59 nominations (and 26 wins), making him the most-nominated person of all time.

SEE ALSO: All the Oscar nominations

AND: The biggest Oscar snubs and surprises

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'Fifty Shades Of Grey' Shatters Sales Record For R-Rated Movies

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50 shades of greyThe sexy romance “Fifty Shades of Grey” doesn’t open until Valentine’s Day weekend, but it already has movie fans hot and bothered. The much-anticipated adaptation of E.L. James’ steamy bestseller is the fastest-selling R-rated movie in the 15-year history of Fandango, the online ticket broker reported Friday.

In its first week of availability, Universal Pictures’ erotic love story starring Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan has outstripped sales for R-rated blockbusters “Sex and the City 2,” both of “The Hangover” sequels and “Gone Girl.”

fifty shades“Very few books can claim true national phenomenon status – and ‘Fifty Shades’ ranks with ‘Twilight,’ ‘The Hunger Games’ and ‘Gone Girl’ as novels that entered the zeitgeist from coast to coast,” said Dave Karger, chief correspondent at Fandango.

“Fans of the book have been waiting for years to see their favorite sexy characters come to life on the big screen, and they are clearly fueling the sensational advance sales.”

“Fifty Shades” has yet to come on tracking, but BoxOffice.com is predicting a $60 million first-weekend haul for the tale of a young woman’s introduction to erotic submission.

Sam Taylor-Johnson directed from an adaptation by Kelly Marcel. “Fifty Shades” has a $40 million production budget and was backed by Michael De Luca Productions, Trigger Street Productions, Focus Features and Universal. Dana Brunetti and DeLuca are the producers.

SEE ALSO: Here's The First Trailer For 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' That Was 'Too Racy' To Show On TV

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The Interesting Way Spike Lee Is Releasing His New Horror Movie

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spike lee thinkingDo The Right Thing director Spike Lee isn’t necessarily known for following the status quo. However, his choice to release his latest film Da Sweet Blood Of Jesus via Vimeo's Video On Demand (VOD) still definitely struck us as a bit odd. 

Lee and Vimeo made the joint distribution announcement earlier this week, revealing that Da Sweet Blood Of Jesus would be available for purchase and rental starting immediately on the video-sharing site. With the growing popularity of movies hitting home release and VOD these days, the news wasn’t all that shocking… aside from the Vimeo part. 

Vimeo’s General Manager of Audience Networks Greg Clayman appears to be thrilled with the deal, releasing a statement to voice the company’s support of the project. 

"Spike Lee is one of the most iconic filmmakers of our time and we couldn’t be more thrilled to work with him on this unprecedented release. We are huge fans of Spike and were drawn to the film’s independent spirit. Having built an audience and raised over a million dollars on Kickstarter, we are beyond excited to bring the film to fans directly one month ahead of the theatrical release."

da sweet blood of jesus spike leeI was very familiar with Vimeo’s seemingly endless supply of short creative videos and clips and even the occasional movie upload by a budding filmmaker, but a release from an accomplished director on the level of Spike Lee? Maybe we’re on the verge of a bigger distribution transition that we think and Vimeo knows they better start dipping their toes in the water before it’s too late.

Maybe the whole Sony hacking fiasco and the resulting release of The Interview simultaneously in theaters and VOD truly was the beginning of a growing trend or maybe Lee was just made an offer he couldn’t refuse. Regardless of the motives, this odd decision has definitely piqued our interest. 

Spike Lee has echoed his own excitement of the release, and sees this form of distribution as progress. He said:

"I’m hyped on my partnership with Vimeo to get my new joint Da Sweet Blood of Jesus out to the world in a new way. This is the future of film distribution. Please join us."

See his video pitch for Sweet Blood below. 

 

 

SEE ALSO: Spike Lee Is Using Instagram To Tell Wonderful Little Stories About How He Made His Movies

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Why 'MythBusters' Adam Savage Is Way In To Cosplay

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The world of cosplay is a dedicated fan club to all things comics and entertainment.

Cosplay hobbyists will spend an exuberant amount of time and money on their costumes to portray their favorite characters.

MythBuster co-host Adam Savage is no different. Having become somewhat of a Comic Convention celebrity, Savage explains his love for the culture. 

Produced by Justin Gmoser

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Director Paul Feig Explains Why He's Making A 'Ghostbusters' Reboot

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Ernie Hudson, Dan Aykroyd Bill Murray Harold Ramis ghostbusters

As with most movies, I’m optimistic for Bridesmaids director Paul Feig‘s upcoming Ghostbusters reboot.  He’s currently writing the script with Katie Dippold (she also wrote The Heat) and I think that his new, mostly female, take on the material will save us from the agony of watching what’s left of the old cast don the costumes to remind us that whatever movie they’re in can never match the original. 

Feig recently spoke about the Ghostbusters reboot and outlined his logic for taking the job in the first place

paul feig melissa mccarthyWhile we’ve heard that Melissa McCarthy is officially in talks to join the cast, Feig’s recent comments come from a more conceptual place.  

Feig told Empire (via Coming Soon) why he’s comfortable taking on the reboot:

"A lot of people ask why I didn’t create my own thing, but Ghostbusters never ran out of steam, it’s such a great idea, It’s such a fun franchise so why not bring it to a new generation? The old movie is never going to not exist. It’s not my plan to erase every copy! Hopefully they can all live together."

He also talked about the kind of jokes that will be in the piece, stating that he didn’t want the project to be dated a few years from now:

“We’re not recreating the old movie, but we want to do just enough fun nods that the fans will go, ‘Oh, okay, they’re acknowledging that the other movie existed.’ I like to watch parodies, but I don’t want to do them because they’re too referential. Comedy that’s too referential has such a short shelf life, whereas comedy that’s based around characters will be relatable 2000 years from now because people won’t change that much.”

And, in a last bit of information I was already taking for granted, the film will of course be set in New York.  “To me it’s such a New York movie and the biggest sin would be to pull it out of there.”

SEE ALSO: Infographic Bill Murray Anniversary Here's A Great Infographic Showing How 'Ghostbusters' Came To Be

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'American Sniper' Is On Track To Break Records

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American Sniper Bradley Cooper as Chris Kyle

The Clint Eastwood-directed “American Sniper” raked in $30.5 million in its wide-release debut Friday, putting it on track to earn up to $80 million over the Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, the Hollywood Reporter trumpeted Saturday.

That could put the war movie on track for the biggest January opening ever.

Over at Forbes, Scott Mendelson offered some context:

Going into yesterday, the biggest opening weekend for a movie Clint Eastwood directed and/or starred in is Gran Torino, which opened in wide release in January 2009 with $29.5 million. The biggest January debut weekend was Ride Along, which earned $48m over the Fri-Sun frame of its $48m Fri-Mon MLK weekend last year.

The biggest opening day in January was Cloverfield‘s $17.16m Friday as part of its (at the time) record-breaking $40m debut frame in 2008.

The biggest single day was Avatar‘s $25.8m on January 2nd during its third weekend of release back in 2010. The biggest R-rated openings of all-time are Hannibal ($58m), 300 ($70m), The Passion of the Christ ($83m Fri-Sun during its $125m Wed-Sun bow) The Hangover part II ($85m Fri-Sun during its $135m Thurs-Mon bow), and The Matrix Reloaded ($91m Fri-Sun during its $134m Thurs-Sun bow). Unless I’m forgetting one, the biggest non-comic book, non-fantasy/sci-fi action movie debuts are Fast & Furious 6 ($97.3m), Skyfall ($88.3m), Fast Five ($86.1m), Fast & Furious ($70.9m), Quantum of Solace ($67m), The Bourne Ultimatum ($69m), and Mission: Impossible II ($57.8m).

With those numbers in mind, Mendelson wrote, the haul of “American Sniper” is particularly impressive and proves that “a blockbuster can come from anywhere.”

“American Sniper,” starring Bradley Cooper as Chris Kyle, the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history, has nabbed a slew of Academy Award nominations and has an A+ CinemaScore rating in every possible category, the Hollywood Reporter noted.

Like “Lone Survivor” last January, “American Sniper” is proving that plenty of Americans are willing to see gritty, violent films about the most recent U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — and, as Mendelson noted, that those films need not be released in traditional blockbuster seasons.

Watch the trailer for “American Sniper” below:

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This Is How Bletchley Park From 'The Imitation Game' Looks Today

'American Sniper' Is Having A Monster Weekend

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ameriacn sniper cooper

Clint Eastwood's Oscar darling "American Sniper" opened in wide release this weekend with a record-smashing $90.2 million haul.

“American Sniper” stars Bradley Cooper as Chris Kyle, the most lethal sniper in US military history. The film has been exceeding expectations since it opened in limited release in just four theaters on Christmas Day, taking in an impressive $850,000 with a per-theater average of $152,500, which ranks the 11th-best per-theater average of all time.

On Thursday, the film nabbed six Academy Award nominations, including best picture and best actor for star Bradley Cooper, so the timing of its wide release this weekend could not have been better.

"American Sniper" is now the highest-grossing January debut of all time, more than doubling last January's "Ride Along," which took in $41.5 million. More notably, the film had the second-most-lucrative debut ever for an R-rated film, a record held by "The Matrix Reloaded," which took the spot all the way back in 2003 with $91.7 million. When final numbers are released tomorrow morning, "Sniper" might actually overtake it.

Here's a quick look at the highest-grossing films that have opened in January:

 

MovieRelease DateOpening WeekendWorldwide GrossEstimated Budget
"American Sniper"1/16/2015$90.2 million $109.9 million (so far)$58.8 million
"Ride Along"1/17/2014$41.5 million$154 million$25 million
"Cloverfield"1/18/2008$40 million$170.7 million$25 million
"Taken 3"1/9/2015$39.2 million$127.5 million$48 million
"Lone Survivor"1/10/2014$37.8 million$149.3 million$40 million
"Star Wars" (Special Edition)1/31/1997$35.9 million$579.6 millionn/a

 

"American Sniper" is also the biggest debut yet for Clint Eastwood, a record previously set by 2008's "Gran Torino" at just $29.5 million. "American Sniper" bested that on Friday alone with $30.5 million. Not only that, the film had the biggest-ever debut weekend for a best-picture Oscar nominee.

clint eastwood american sniper

 

NOW WATCH: Adam Savage Of 'MythBusters' Says This Scientific Fact Blows His Mind

 

SEE ALSO: Navy SEAL Sniper Instructor Describes America's Best Marksman Ever

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Chris Hemsworth's New Hacker Movie 'Blackhat' Bombs At The Box Office

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chris hemsworth blackhat

It looks like we have our first box-office bomb of 2015.

Chris Hemsworth's new movie, "Blackhat," about hunting down cyberterrorists, made just $4 million over the holiday weekend so far.

The Universal film, from director Michael Mann, cost an estimated $70 million to produce.

What went wrong? 

For one thing, the R-rated movie was competing against Oscar-nominated film "American Sniper." Director Clint Eastwood's film about the deadliest US Navy Seal sniper debuted to a huge $90 million at theaters.

It broke a few records, becoming both the largest January opening weekend ever and Eastwood's biggest debut for a movie.

There were also a few other male-centric films competing for viewers including Liam Neeson's "Taken 3," which debuted to a $40 million opening the weekend prior, and Kevin Hart's "The Wedding Ringer" featuring "The Big Bang Theory" actress Kaley Cuoco. The comedy made $21 million opening weekend.

"Blackhat" reviews have also been less than stellar. The Washington Post's Michael O'Sullivan says the film is "visually unattractive," and filled with "lame dialogue." Chris Nashawaty over at Entertainment Weekly calls the film a dud with Hemsworth miscast in the lead

The film still has the opportunity of performing well overseas since it not only features Chinese actors including Leeholm Tang and Wei Tang, but also includes many scenes in Hong Kong. 

SEE ALSO: "American Sniper" has a monster weekend at the box office

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Amazon Is Going To Make Movies

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movie theatre cinema

Amazon intends to make full-length films and release them in movie theatres, the company announced on Monday.

The technology giant says it intends to produce 12 movies a year, which will enjoy traditional theatrical releases, before becoming available to stream on Amazon Prime 4 to 8 weeks later. Amazon Studios, the company's media production arm, has already enjoyed multiple successes, including the Golden Globe-winning "Transparent." But this is the company's first foray into feature films.

The company says the service, called Amazon Original Movies," will focus on unique stories, voices, and characters from top and up-and-coming creators." It has yet to name any planned features.

The news comes as competition between Amazon Prime and Netflix intensifies. The rival streaming service is due to debut the sequel to "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" in August at the same time as it opens in cinemas, in what CNN described as "the realization of Netflix's long-held goal to let subscribers see films at the same time they've in movie theatres." In October, Netflix also signed a deal to bring 4 original Adam Sandler movies to their platform.

"Our goal is to create close to twelve movies a year with production starting this year," VP of Amazon Studios Roy Price said in a statement about Amazon Original Movies. "“Not only will we bring Prime Instant Video customers exciting, unique, and exclusive films soon after a movie’s theatrical run, but we hope this program will also benefit filmmakers, who too often struggle to mount fresh and daring stories that deserve an audience.”

The project will be spearheaded by Ted Hope, whose production company Good Machine was responsible for "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" and "Eat Drink Man Woman."

“Audiences already recognise that Amazon has raised the bar with productions in the episodic realm, tackling bold material in unique ways and collaborating with top talent, both established and emerging," said Hope. "To help carry the torch into the feature film world for such an innovative company is a tremendous opportunity and responsibility.”

As The Next Web notes, Amazon is currently doubling down on its original content. Just last week the company announced it had signed Woody Allen to produce his first-ever television show, which will be streamed exclusively over Amazon Prime.

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Why George Lucas Stopped Making 'Star Wars' Movies To Work On A Passion Project

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george lucas strange magic press conference

This weekend George Lucas will be releasing a new film, but it won't be to a galaxy far, far away.

Instead, "Strange Magic," a fairytale musical about fairies, goblins, and elves, will be the "Star Wars" creator's first full-length animated feature. 

The film seemed to come out of nowhere when Disney announced its January release in November 2014; however, it's a project Lucas has been working on for at least 15 years.

At a press conference for the film Friday afternoon, Business Insider asked Lucas why he would turn down working on more "Star Wars" movies to focus on an animated feature about fairies.

Lucas shared that the movie is really about his three daughters, Amanda, Katie, and newborn Everest, whereas "Star Wars" was about his sons.

He also explained that when he began working on the film, he hadn't sold his company Lucasfilm yet to Disney. After purchasing the company from Lucas in Oct. 2012 for $4 billion, Disney put up the rest of the money to finish Lucas's passion project while Disney took over the reigns on "Star Wars."

Here's Lucas's explanation in full to us. It has been slightly edited for clarity. 

Well, originally I had two daughters, and eventually, another daughter. ‘Star Wars’ was for 12-year-old boys. I figured I’d make one for 12-year-old girls. You know, the 12-year-old boy one worked for everybody from eight months to 88 and boys, girls, dogs, whatever. It really worked. So, I said, well, maybe I can do one like this, but it’s slightly more female-centric. [In ‘Strange Magic,’] we still have sword fighting, we still have things, but truly a story that hopefully will work for everybody. But, what’s really something, I said, well, maybe I’ll do this.

And, I just wanted to have fun. I was directing 'Star Wars' while I was doing these. I’d go out and shoot and this movie we’d put it on the shelf for awhile, and the guys would kind of work. I had a little group of guys and girls that were working on this thing. 

It’s a project that I’ve been doing for a long time, and then, when it came to sell the company I realized that it wasn’t completely finished, but I said, well, I still want to retire. I’m not going to wait this out. I want to retire now. Time is more important to me than money. And, so, I just did it and hoped that Kathy [Kennedy] and everybody who has been working on the film and everything would follow through and Disney would put up the money to finish it. I mean, it was mostly done, so it wasn’t like they had to put up a whole bunch of money to finish it. It turned out extremely well. It’s what I envisioned, but, I know it’s been … maybe two years since I sold the company, but time moves very slow in animation. 

george lucas daughter katieamanda lucas george lucas daughter

"Strange Magic" is in theaters Jan. 23. 

You can watch the trailer below.

 

SEE ALSO: George Lucas originally wanted to direct "Star Wars: Episode VII"

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The New 'Star Wars' Movie Will Have A Female Stormtrooper

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stormtrooper star warsStar Wars: The Force Awakens has constantly kept us hungry for more and more details about the films, and the debut trailer that popped online a few months back only increased our appetite. We still desperately want to know what all the classic characters have been up to and how the new ones fit in, but we also enjoy the little things. For example. the latest rumor about the film seems to suggest that a certain glass ceiling within the ranks of the Empire will be shattered with the notoriously-inaccurate marksmanship of a Stormtrooper blast.

According to BBC journalist Lizo Mzimba on Twitter, a relatively unknown actress named Amybeth Hargreaves will be playing a female Stormtrooper in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. No further details were given, but it was an oddly specific enough of a casting call that the unconfirmed claim has been making waves on the Internet:

 The beautiful 30 year-old London-based Hargreaves doesn’t have much of a resume (or, even an IMDb account), and besides various commercials and a music video, according to Spotlight, she only has one proper film credit to speak of - a 2012 project called The Martyrs. If that sounds like a somewhat weak resume, it could be because she may be only performing as a double in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Following up his first Tweet, Lizo Mzimba added that the actress may actually be connected to the project through confirmed star Gwendoline Christie: 

 It's worth noting that Amybeth Hargreaves is listed as being six feet tall - which is rather tall for a woman - but she's still a bit shorter than the six foot three inches Game of Thrones actress. Still, one can't rule out that that the unknown actress was on set in that capacity. Nevertheless, the idea of her playing a female Stormtrooper nevertheless remains an intriguing possibility.

 In the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy, it was, of course, established that the Stormtroopers were originally clones of bounty hunter, Jango Fett, whose D.N.A. template was specifically chosen for combat and battlefield cunning. However, going back to the Original Trilogy, it’s hard not to notice that the army that would be portrayed in the prequels as a sublime legion of genetic war machines had somewhat lost their edge. (To put things kindly.) That being said, the fact that John Boyega’s character has seen wearing a Stormtrooper outfit supports the idea that Episode VII's batch of troopers are not just a bunch of watered-down Jangos, and instead that at some point the Empire stopped relying on clones and simply began enlisting civilians as Stormtroopers.

Has the new Galactic Empire taken to gender equality measures in its lackey-hiring process? We shall certainly find out when Episode VII hits theaters on December 18th. 

SEE ALSO: 'Star Wars' Is The Most Anticipated Movie Of Next Year

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The 'Batman V Superman' Fight Scenes Will Be Epic

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batman superman the dark knight returns

The only thing more fun than watching superheroes fighting supervillains is watching superheroes fighting other superheroes (just ask Loki), and to that effect, Warner Bros. is taking its first big step into a DC cinematic universe with Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. According to rumors, the first trailer for Batman V Superman will arrive in theaters next month with Jupiter Ascending, and it’s sure to offer a first look at what a big-budget onscreen fight between Superman and Batman looks like.

There are a couple of sticky questions to overcome whenever Batman and Superman face off (as they have several times in the comics). The first is the question of why two people who are generally on the same side would want to seriously fight each other, and the second is how to make it a fair fight since Superman’s strength, speed and various abilities make him ludicrously overpowered compared to Batman.

With regards to the first question, there have been indications that Batman and Superman end up coming to blows over the partial destruction of Metropolis in Man of Steel. As for the second question, Batman V Superman choreographer Guillermo Grispo has touched on the subject in an interview with Los Andes Diario (helpfully translated by Batman News), offering his assurance that the power imbalance won’t just be ignored, but that it also won’t be addressed by Batman simply using trickery and gadgets to fight Superman. There will be punching.

“Warner Bros., they are very strict, so I can’t say much, but it’s no surprise if I say Batman and Superman come face-to-face in the movie. It’s one of the most important sequences and I was actively involved in the design of the fight: the exchange of punches and the physical movement were put together with my partner Ryan Watson.

There’s a thought that Batman has no chance, that the other [Superman] will squash him like a bug. But when you see the movie, and how it all comes out, there’s a very intelligent explanation as to why they would have a firsthand confrontation though it seems to be totally to Batman’s disadvantage.”

Grispo’s recent credits include Kingsman: The Secret ServiceMan of Steel and Riddick, and he mentioned in the interview that he nearly ended up working on The Dark Knight, but contract disputes got in the way. Fortunately, Batman V Superman came along and Grispo was offered the chance to finally bring Batman’s fighting style to life and avoid what, in his view, were mistakes that Christopher Nolan made in his Batman fight scenes.

“Now Batman is going to fight the way I’ve always dreamed seeing him fight… he’s a character so prepared in martial arts that you can do a lot of things with him, but filmmakers usually don’t go all the way with it. Even in the last Nolan movies the action scenes aren’t very good from a technical, martial arts point of view to things like choreography, filming, bad camera movements…

But hey, don’t get me wrong, Nolan is great, my hat’s off to him. He makes fascinating stories, but I think that he did not pay too much attention to the fights. Those are the kind of details that Zack, being so physical himself, loves preparing. I think there’s going to be a big difference when you see these Batman fights in comparison to the previous ones.”

Meow. At this rate, the movie is going to be called Batman V Batman - or perhaps Snyder and Nolan could just arrange for a crossover scene where their respective Batmans (Batmen?) face off against one another to see who is the better fighter.

Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice opens in U.S. theaters on March 25th, 2016.

SEE ALSO: The Big 'Batman Vs. Superman' Movie Is Delayed Until 2016

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These Amateurs Recreated Hollywood-Like Action Scenes — And The Results Are Pretty Awesome

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A cool video has emerged of amateur filmmakers recreating Hollywood-inspired special effects.

The footage, shot by a young filmmaking group called 'Scrape the Sky' in Nancy, France, shows the viewer how to reproduce classic movie effects on a tight budget.

Produced by Jason Gaines. Video courtesy of Associated Press.

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People Are Up In Arms Over The Obviously Fake Baby Used In 'American Sniper'

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American Sniper fake baby bradley cooper

"American Sniper" is currently breaking box-office records and garnering critical acclaim with six Oscar nominations, while at the same time igniting a lot of controversy.

The latest issue that has filmgoers up in arms is the use of a fake baby in the Clint Eastwood-directed war biopic.

During what is supposed to be an emotional scene, the doll's stiffness is evident as Bradley Cooper and his onscreen wife, played by Sienna Miller, pass the partially mechanized baby back and forth as they discuss Cooper's character leaving for another tour.

American Sniper Baby

You can even see Cooper moving the doll's arm:bradley cooper american sniper fake baby gif

Critics were quick to take notice:

  • "I have never seen so many terrible fake babies in one film."—The Sunday Times
  • "Laughably fake."—Film School Rejects
  • "They’re conspicuously wobbling rather than moving, which makes the crying sound effects seem a bit eerily detached."—The Telegraph
  • "Jarringly fake ... There's just no excuse for that kind of bush-league nonsense."NewsOK
  • "It's so obvious, and neither one of them looks like they are comfortable holding it. The weight's all wrong, and it shows from the way they have to try to liven it up with their own body language. Cooper in particular looks like he's just plain never held a baby." —Hitfix

It didn't get past viewers, either:

But it was journalist Mark Harris' tweet that finally prompted a response from production.

Harris tweeted:

"That plastic baby in American Sniper is going to be rationalized by Eastwood auteur cultists until the end of days."

"American Sniper" screenwriter and executive producer Jason Hall replied via Twitter (and later deleted):

"hate to ruin the fun but real baby #1 showed up with a fever. Real baby #2 was no show. (Clint voice) Gimme the doll, kid."

Many have hypothesized that Eastwood's fast-paced shooting style didn't allow production enough time to find another real baby.

The Hollywood Reporter explained the difficulty of having a real baby on a film set:

Shooting in California poses some challenges when employing a real baby given the state's strict laws (part of the movie was shot in Los Angeles). Infants must be at least 15 days old, and babies from that age up to six months can be employed for only one period of two consecutive hours in any given day. Moreover, that time frame has to be between 9:30-11:30 a.m. or from 2:30-4:30 p.m., and one studio teacher along with one nurse must be on set during filming.

Doesn't sound ideal for Eastwood's directing style.

 

NOW WATCH: Why 'MythBusters' Adam Savage Is Way In To Cosplay

 

SEE ALSO: There's A Bitter Debate Forming Around 'American Sniper'

MORE: Here's How 'Birdman' Shot That Crazy Scene Of Michael Keaton Running In Times Square In His Underwear

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