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Matt Damon reveals what to expect in the next 'Bourne' movie


matt damon bourne supremacy

Next summer's fifth installment of the Jason Bourne franchise will be Matt Damon's first in the title role since he left the series after the release of 2007's "The Bourne Ultimatum."

What's Bourne been up to all this time?

"We find him in a dark and tortured place," Damon told Entertainment Weekly about the character.

The movie will take place 12 years after "Ultimatum," and it turns out the film — which is helmed by "Ultimatum" director Paul Greengrass — will also touch on many worldly issues that have risen since we last saw Damon as Bourne.

"There's been the financial collapse, the great recession, and all these issues of cyber warfare and civil liberties" which Damon says will be part of the backdrop.

The new film, not yet titled but opening July 29, 2016, also stars Alicia Vikander, Tommy Lee Jones, and Vincent Cassel. Julia Stiles, who starred in the first three "Bourne" movies with Damon, will be returning as well.

The four previous "Bourne" movies have combined to earn over $1.2 billion worldwide. The last movie, "The Bourne Legacy," with Jeremy Renner in the lead, was the lowest earner in the franchise with a $276 million worldwide take.

SEE ALSO: How to make money off your viral video

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20 modern classic movies everyone needs to watch in their lifetime


wall-e pixar disney

There's never a bad time to dive back into the archives and watch some good movies.

And if you have some time off around the start of the new year, this might be a good time to binge some modern-day classics.

With that in mind, I've come up with 20 essential titles from the past 15 years that you should reexamine or, if you've never seen them, delve into.

SEE ALSO: RANKED: All 13 late-night talk shows from best to worst

1. “Donnie Darko” (2001)

Jake Gyllenhaal was just starting to get on everyone's radar when he scored one of his first lead roles, playing a troubled teen who is tormented by visions of the future and a disturbing-looking bunny. "Donnie Darko" has become a cult classic, as it captured the angst of the youth who at the time the movie was in theaters were coping with the confusion of a post-9/11 world.

2. "Bowling For Columbine" (2002)

Michael Moore's fourth feature film, which won an Oscar for best documentary, might be his best. The controversial director uses the events of the Columbine High School massacre to address the US' addiction to guns. Sadly, 14 years later the issues explored in this movie are still relevant.

3. "City of God" (2002)

This incredibly stylish look at the slums of Rio de Janeiro charts the lives of two boys as they grow up among guns and drugs. The cast is made up mostly of nonprofessional actors, which gives an authenticity to the movie. But what's most surprising about this extremely violent film is how much comedy is layered into it.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The top illegally downloaded movies of 2015

Here's how the massive earnings from the new 'Star Wars' really get split up


the force awakens x wing disney final

Though "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" is making a killing at the box office, that doesn't mean the over $1 billion it's earned worldwide so far goes directly into the pockets of the filmmakers and studio Disney.

Not counting that weekly box-office reports don't generally factor in a film's production or marketing costs, the theater chains also split ticket sales with studios.

A studio takes an average of 53% of ticket earnings in the US, according to NBC News. But it seems Disney anticipated the worldwide smash "The Force Awakens" would be and was able to secure more than 60% of ticket sales.

In most deals, studios get a bigger cut in the beginning of a release — one reason why the opening weekends of movies are so important. Then over time, deals favor the theaters. With the higher-than-average 60% of tickets sold, Disney is making out very well through most of the film's theatrical run.

As the NBC story notes, theater chains aren't exactly crying poverty. The must-see attraction that "The Force Awakens" has become means more popcorn, soda, and other items sold outside of ticket sales that account for the main revenue of any Cineplex.

But what's most exciting about "The Force Awakens" to the theaters is that it could woo in people who haven't gone out to the movies in years. "Avatar" was credited with driving up moviegoing attendance over the three to six months after its release, and "Force Awakens" will likely do the same.

All of this means that if your movie has a trailer showing before the new "Star Wars," you're feeling pretty great right now, too.

SEE ALSO: The 50 games coming in 2016 you can't miss

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The 21 most anticipated movies of 2016


Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them EW Cover 2

For film, 2015 was an exciting and storied year, from the release of critically acclaimed movies like AI-exploration thriller "Ex Machina" to "Spotlight," the ensemble drama chronicling The Boston Globe's Pulitzer-prize winning coverage of the Catholic Church, to "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" and its record-breaking box-office debut.

But this year's poised to be even better with a thrilling lineup of reboots, sequels, and buzzed-about debut series hitting the box office.

From Pixar's "Finding Dory," the long-awaited follow-up to "Finding Nemo," to J.K. Rowling's screenwriting debut, "Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them," here's what's coming up in 2016.

SEE ALSO: RANKED: The 10 best movies of 2015

SEE ALSO: The 50 most successful movies of 2015

"Kung Fu Panda 3"

Release date: January 29

It's been four years since the release "Kung Fu Panda 2," but the third installment of the DreamWorks franchise is rearing to go with the same all-star cast including Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman, and Academy Award winner J.K. Simmons. 



Release date: February 12

Ryan Reynolds trades in his DC Comics Green Lantern suit for Marvel's Deadpool who, after being subjected to an experiment that leaves him with incredible healing powers, hunts down the man who almost destroyed his life.

"Zoolander 2"

Release date: February 12

It's been nearly 15 years since we first met Derek Zoolander and Hansel, but the models are back for another round of "Steel Blue." Joining the roster of comedy stars for the sequel are Penelope Cruz and former SNL cast members Kristen Wiig and Fred Armisen.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' will break the all-time US box-office record by Monday


star wars rey jakku

The third weekend in theaters for "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" was another strong one. The film earned an estimated $88.30 million, according to BoxOffice.com (a record for New Year's weekend), putting it atop the weekend box office for a third consecutive week.

But many are eyeing what the film's number will be by Monday. 

If estimates hold, "Force Awakens" (now at an estimated $740.27 million) will pass the lifetime domestic total of "Avatar" ($760.5 million), making the seventh "Star Wars" the all-time US box-office record-holder. And doing it in only 18 days!

The Will Ferrell/Mark Wahlberg comedy "Daddy's Home" finished in the silver for a second straight week with an estimated $29 million, but it has quietly done great business at the box office.

Though many thought it would be the duo of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler in their comedy "Sisters" that would be the counter-programming to "Star Wars," their movie hasn't grabbed audiences as has "Daddy's Home." Ferrell and Wahlberg's latest comedy has earned around $20 million more, though "Sisters" has been in theaters a week longer. ("Sisters" took in an estimated $12.58 million this weekend.)

Hateful EightWhile Quentin Tarantino's "The Hateful Eight," came in third with an estimated $16.24 million. Marking the first weekend the gory western was in wide release, it seems the film's strong roadshow 70mm limited release starting over Christmas increased the attraction beyond Tarantino's fan base. The movie has now made over $29 million, to date. (It's budgeted around $44 million, though the 70mm release was a hefty price tag as well.) 

Expect for "The Force Awakens" to dominate the second weekend of 2016. The only big competition it will have is Leonardo DiCaprio's "The Revenant" going into wide release. The film has had a strong limited run so far, but it would be quite a surprise if it topped "Star Wars" next weekend. 

SEE ALSO: 20 modern classic movies everyone needs to watch in their lifetime

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NOW WATCH: Daisy Ridley was only in one other film before 'Star Wars' — now she's the star of one of the biggest movies ever

RANKED: Every character in 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' from best to worst


rey star wars

The excitement for "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" seems to have no end. The seventh episode in the franchise has cleared the $1 billion mark in worldwide grosses as it sits in the No. 10 spot on the all-time list, and is eyeing the domestic box-office crown currently held by "Avatar" ($760.5 million) as soon as New Year's Day.

What really makes "The Force Awakens" work so well, at the end of the day, are the characters — some we've grown up watching and others we're meeting for the first time but who've already left an indelible mark.

Here we analyze all the characters in the movie and rank them, moving up to the best.

It should be noted that we're judging how good the characters are only within the context of "Force Awakens."

Warning: spoilers for the movie follow.

SEE ALSO: RANKED: Every 'Star Wars' movie from best to worst

24. General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson)

There always has to be a sniveling evil henchman, and General Hux is that in "The Force Awakens." But outside of trying to one-up Kylo Ren and giving bombastic speeches to the troops at Starkiller Base, there isn't much to Hux. Guess there's always the next movie ...

23. Admiral Statura (Ken Leung)

Admiral Statura is among the heads of the Resistance who figure out how to take on Starkiller Base. Jury is still out if this was just a role for an actor director J.J. Abrams likes to use — he was in "Lost"— or if there's more to the character beyond "Awakens."

22. Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill)

Yes, the whole story revolves around trying to find Luke, but it was kind of a bummer when we finally saw him. All we got was a stare. He will have more of a presence in the future movies, but there wasn't much payoff for all the buildup — and media hype around his role here.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The 10 biggest movies coming in 2016


finding doryThis year is not going to be the box office bonanza 2015 was, and that's an expectation we need to get out of the way right from the start.

But, as with any year, there are going to be 10 films that rise above the rest to theatrical glory.

And we here at Cinema Blend, like a bunch of box office analysts who've watched "Moneyball" one too many times, are going to try and rank the films of 2016 in order of their financial worth. 

10. "Alice Through The Looking Glass"

"Alice In Wonderland", through some sort of dark magic and appropriate marketing, managed to cross $1 Billion mark 5 years ago.

With that much time passing between installments, and the change in directors from Tim Burton to James Bobin, there's tons of doubt that "Alice Through The Looking Glass" will be as lucky the second time around.

But there may be enough magic left in the public's eyes that the film could just barely edge into the year's top 10 standings. If there were ever a film we were intending to keep a keen eye on throughout the year, it'd be this one.

Release date: May 27, 2016
Worldwide Box Office guess: $488 Million

9. "Star Trek Beyond"

"Star Trek" has been a successful film franchise for quite some time now, but it really hasn't found itself real high up on the top 10 since the franchise's reboot in 2009.

Seeing as the first film in the reboot only got as high as 7th in the box office standings, and the second film didn't even place in the top 10, we're a little bearish on "Star Trek Beyond"'s standings at this year's box office.

The novelty of Justin Lin becoming the first helmer to take the franchise out since J.J. Abrams is both a draw, as well as a push for audiences even remotely interested in the U.S.S. Enterprise's ongoing mission.

Release date: July 22, 2016
Worldwide Box Office guess: $496 Million

8. "Suicide Squad"

Spinoffs are going to have their day in box office court this year, as "Star Wars" and now DC Comics are experimenting with side stories to help sweeten their box office returns.

While the healthy degree of skepticism behind "Suicide Squad"'s potential success will handicap the film a little bit at the multiplex, there's no doubt that the morbid curiosity of fans far and wide is more of an asset than a liability.

It won't be the second coming, but it'll probably be enough to keep fans entertained until the next DC Comics picture.

Release date: August 5, 2016
Worldwide Box Office guess: $535 Million

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Alex Gibney explains why his Steve Jobs documentary may cause you to put down your iPhone for good


Steve Jobs Man in the Machine Magnolia Pictures

For Alex Gibney it all started with the death of Apple cofounder Steve Jobs on October 5, 2011.

"The motivation to make the film was why so many people who didn't know Steve Jobs were weeping when he left," Gibney told an audience last week who had recently seen his film "Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine."

Gibney opens the film with footage of people all over the world crying at makeshift memorials for Jobs, lifting their iPads and iPhones picturing a single burning candle in remembrance. Gibney also included people giving emotional video testimonials online reacting to Jobs' death, including a young boy who shouts in amazement, "He made the iPhone!"

Steve Jobs memorial Kevork Djansezian GettyGibney acknowledges that, like many of us, he loves his Mac and his iPhone. But it was more than that to him.

"I grew up on IBM and PCs, and when I switched over to Mac it felt like I'd been liberated," Gibney told Business Insider. "I really did buy into that — I had entered a new zone and these were my people."

That "sticking it to the man" quality Apple had, as Gibney perceived it, came to a crashing halt for the filmmaker when he started making the Steve Jobs documentary 2 1/2 years ago (financed by CNN Films).

"I do react differently now," Gibney told Business Insider about using his iPhone since making the film. "I get a lot more pissed off."

steve jobs unveils first iphoneIn the film he shows Jobs as a marketing genius who revolutionized the personal computer and then made us addicted to mobile devices. But behind the scenes Gibney paints him as a maniacal taskmaster who ruled by intimidation and mind games. In one instance, while giving the exit interview to a top employee who was leaving Apple, Jobs gave him a "Godfather"-like speech promising him he'd be hunted down if he took any other Apple employees (or in Jobs' words, "his family") with him.

And Jobs wasn't any better in his personal life. The film highlights that in Apple's early days Jobs repeatedly denied being the father of his daughter Lisa. Then, when a DNA test proved he was the father, he paid only $500 a month in child support.

"I didn't want to do the official bio pic of Steve Jobs," Gibney said. "In fact, just the opposite. I never really made a film like this before where you sort of go in and wonder."

That wonder led him to many closed doors when he started out.

Alex GibneyThe Oscar winner is known for making unapologetic films that have exposed everything from Enron and Jack Abramoff to legends James Brown and Frank Sinatra to most recently the controversial Church of Scientology.

So needless to say when he reached out to Apple for assistance in getting people within the company to talk to him for the film he was given a swift "no." Gibney also tried to speak to Jobs' widow, Laurene, but was turned down.

"I had to go down different pathways to find interesting information, and that's why you can't call it a complete biography," Gibney said. "It's not that. It's about an idea, like, 'Why is he so important to us?' That means you have to reckon with him, but we also have to reckon with ourselves."

To do that, Gibney retraces the rise of Jobs from 26-year-old Apple CEO to an icon behind one of the top companies in the world.

But he also exposes some things that could make you think less about the company.

The film suggests that workers in China who were on the assembly line making the iPhone 4s, along with earning considerably low wages, suffered nerve damage while putting the phones together. Its top supplier, Foxconn, over a two-year span, had 18 workers kill themselves. The suicides allegedly got so serious that Foxconn installed nets around the building the workers lived in to dissuade jumpers.

Foxconn Kin Cheung APGibney also spotlights the company's alleged elaborate tax avoidance. By enacting a loophole called a "Double Irish," Apple uses holding companies in Ireland (a lower-tax country) to pocket around $137 billion in profits, according to the film.

These revelations have made Gibney rethink what his iPhone means to him, and he hopes those who see the film will do the same. But he knows it will be hard, as Apple products, particularly the iPhone, are now constantly attached to our hands. And with that comes a blind faith.

Gibney recalls the backlash by Apple workers and fans of its products after the premiere of the film at the South by Southwest Film Festival earlier this year.

Here's how Eddy Cue, Apple's senior vice president of internet software and services, reacted to it:

Gibney believes what Jobs was incredible at was making Apple products a reflection of you. His goal with the film was to show that a company that makes so many people happy is still just a corporation at the end of the day — a corporation Gibney believes was trained by Jobs to be ruthless and unforgiving to succeed and make the most money possible.

"We are to believe that what you have in your hand is all good," Gibney said. "I love my iPhone, but I have to look myself in the eye and say, 'Is it turning me into someone that I like?'"

Watch the trailer:

Apple did not respond to Business Insider's request for comment on this story.

SEE ALSO: The director of 'Going Clear' says Scientologists have been coming after him pretty hard

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'Avengers' director Joss Whedon confirms he's done making any more Marvel movies


joss whedon Kevin Winter Getty Images final

The Marvel Cinematic Universe owes a great deal of its success to the masterful work of Joss Whedon. In terms of story and direction, the man guided the franchise from "The Avengers" all the way through the immensely successful Phase 2 films. However, despite all the success the filmmaker has finally decided to make a break from Marvel Studios.
ComicBook.com reports that during a recent Q&A session, Joss Whedon clarified the nature of his current relationship with Marvel, stating that he is no longer involved in the creation of Marvel films or shows in any significant capacity:

"I've gone off the reservation for a while. It was five years that I was working on either 'Avengers' or 'S.H.I.E.L.D'….That was an enormous gift they gave me; they handed me several hundreds of millions of dollars and said 'do what you do,' which is very rare and I was very lucky. At the same time, it's important for me not just to have my own thing and do something smaller, but also to create a new challenge for myself because I will start to repeat myself."

Honestly, it just sounds like the act of working for Marvel wore Joss Whedon out. On a professional level, Marvel keeps their properties pumping out at a fairly constant rate. Whedon did not direct every Phase 2 film, but he described his role during that period as that of a "showrunner," meaning he had some degree of involvement in everything, and was likely constantly trying to keep multiple plates spinning. He even admitted very publicly that the making of "Avengers: Age of Ultron""broke" him due to the required commitment. On a more personal level, we also have to remember that Whedon took quite a bit of flak when "Age of Ultron" failed to live up to the standard set by its predecessor. Fans are great to have on your side, but the second you don’t satisfy their every need they turn on you quickly; Whedon found that out earlier this summer.

Based off of these comments, it seems clear that the filmmaker wants to scale down his projects in the near future and not work for a major studio that will hand him a blank check. Fans of his work on "Firefly" and "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" know how well he works when it comes to serialized television, so hope remains that we have yet to see the peak of his potential.

Check out the rest of Joss Whedon's Q&A session below:

While Joss Whedon’s deft hands guided Earth’s Mightiest Heroes capably through the last few years, fans should feel comfortable knowing what’s coming. Marvel seems to have a knack for finding strong filmmakers to helm their biggest movies – see: Shane Black, The Russo Brothers, Jon Favreau – so we have the utmost faith in their ability to keep that trend alive. Good work, Mr. Whedon, now take some much needed rest.

SEE ALSO: John Oliver explains the key to a successful New Year's resolution

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RANKED: The 10 movies people are most excited to see in 2016 according to Fandango survey


finding nemo

As we ring in the new year, it's time to look forward to a new crop of superhero movies, sequels, and, well, movies that just look really good. 

New entries in beloved franchises make up the most anticipated films of 2016, according to a survey conducted by online ticket-buying company Fandango. The results were released on Monday.

Here are the top 10 movies that fans are most excited to see, which range from the first "Star Wars" spin-off to the sequel of a modern Disney classic.

SEE ALSO: The 21 most anticipated movies for 2016

10. "The Jungle Book" (April 15)

9. “Zoolander No. 2” (February 12)

8. “X-Men: Apocalypse” (May 27)

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Werner Herzog takes on internet addiction in the trailer for his meditative new movie


Werner Herzog Andreas Rentz Getty final

In his new movie, "Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World," filmmaker Werner Herzog takes on the internet and our rapid addiction to it.

Having its world premiere at this month's Sundance Film Festival, the documentary, according to its synopsis, is "a treasure trove of interviews of strange and beguiling individuals — ranging from Internet pioneers to victims of wireless radiation, whose anecdotes and reflections weave together a complex portrait of our brave new world."

Would we expect anything different from Herzog, the brilliant mind who brought us docs like "Grizzly Man" and "Encounters at the End of the World"?

Watch the trailer:

SEE ALSO: RANKED: The 10 movies people are most excited to see in 2016 according to Fandango survey

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Forget BB-8 — the real breakout character of ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ is this riot gear-wielding Stormtrooper


The Force Awakens' villain, Kylo Ren

"Star Wars: The Force Awakens" introduces a lot of new characters from Gwendoline Christie's fierce Captain Phasma and Oscar Isaac's Resistance pilot Poe Dameron to Adam Driver's fiery Kylo Ren.

However, the one character fans can't stop talking about is a Stormtrooper in riot gear who throws down with Finn in the middle of the film.

You probably noticed him in one of the film's many ads showing off his awesome riot gear moves.

stormtrooper riot

The trooper yells out to Finn calling him a traitor for abandoning the First Order before going toe-to-toe with him. The internet has grown accustomed to calling the trooper TR-8R after his one line of dialogue. And from there, a meme was born.

Keep reading to see some of the best memes featuring everyone's new favorite Stormtrooper.

This posits how Finn was probably seduced into becoming part of the Resistance.

RAW Embed


Many people are obsessed with TR-8R's spin moves.

RAW Embed


People have been adding a gif of the Stormtrooper spinning his riot gear into images.

RAW Embed

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

One of the most important characters in 'The Force Awakens' didn't make it in its Monopoly game


star wars force awakens trailer

“Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” much like “Avengers: Age Of Ultron” and “Guardians Of The Galaxy,” is one of those films that inspires a metric ton of merchandise. Yet in a world where you can buy oranges with BB-8 on the sack's label, you apparently can't buy a Monopoly themed off of the film with Daisy Ridley's Rey available for play.

Reports have been sweeping the internet, most recently through a post on Entertainment Weekly's site, showcasing just who your token options are for the new variant of the popular board game. Obviously marketed towards eager crowds who are ready to obsess over “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” the game contains the following tokens for play: Finn, Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, and Kylo Ren. If you want to play as any other characters from the canon, you're out of luck, as those four tokens are all that's included in the game.

Now the largest fundamental flaw of this version of “Star Wars” Monopoly is, quite frankly, that there are too few tokens. Normally, you'd see a Monopoly game contain around 8 or 9 tokens in its compliment of game pieces. Not only does this allow for more characters to make it into the line-up, it also manages to allow more people to play a game of Monopoly. This is the pattern two previous versions of “Star Wars” Monopoly have adhered to, and neither the Classic Trilogy nor the “Episode I” variants excluded Princess Leia or Queen Amidala from their roster of players. So what's the big deal with the latest version?

monopoly 02This is one of many questions fans have been asking using the hashtag "#WheresRey," similar to the campaigns that asked why Black Widow and Gamora were in their respective Marvel toy line-ups. The official word from Hasbro is that the game was released in September, and Rey was not included to avoid revealing a key plot. In fact, for a while, the trailers had us wondering if John Boyega's Finn was going to be the main character, and undersold Daisy Ridley's Rey to a certain extent. So naturally, the toy line for the film seems to have taken a similar line, at least in its opening phases.

That said, Rey has proven to be more than a popular character in the new "Star Wars" film, she's also possibly the most important character of the new batch of figures to enter the Galactic Civil War. Surely, Disney and its toy manufacturers will take up the cause, and start to produce / promote more Rey products – rather than let a strong portion of their newly growing fan base wander off to more progressive parts. Right?  If we can't convince them to even the playing field when it comes to the products linked to “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” then perhaps one of their young fans could be more effective in the cause. Below is a letter from an 8 year old girl, asking about Rey's absence in “Star Wars” Monopoly, and it's quite possibly the most effective argument that can be made for why her inclusion is so important to all aspects of “Star Wars” lore:

Ultimately, the folks at Hasbro and Disney have dropped the ball with omitting Rey in their latest line of “Star Wars” merchandise. But it doesn't have to be that way forever. With “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” continuing to be a box office juggernaut, there's still time for the powers that be to correct their error and provide fresh product for the burgeoning fan base. We'll see what happens next, but in the meantime, you shouldn't let a marketing snafu hinder your enjoyment of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” - which is currently in theaters, and contains tons of Rey-centric action! 

SEE ALSO: Forget BB-8 — the real breakout characters in 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' is this riot gear-wielding Stormtrooper

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How a 29-year-old basketball player landed a star role as the new Chewbacca in 'Star Wars'


chewbacca the force awakens

Warning: Spoilers ahead if you haven't seen "Star Wars: The Force Awakens."

In the midst of finding lesser-known actors to play the new leads of the "Star Wars" saga, like Daisy Ridley and John Boyega, the casting department of "The Force Awakens" also had to try to find a double for one of the franchise's best-known roles: Chewbacca.

Actor Peter Mayhew, the 71-year-old, 7-foot-2 London-born actor who has been the man behind the Wookiee since "Episode IV: A New Hope" opened in 1977, reprises the character once more in "Awakens." But given Mayhew's age and abilities (he is often seen walking with a cane), the filmmakers needed someone younger to assist in the film's physical scenes.

So the casting directors had their orders: span the globe to track down 7-footers with blue eyes (to match those of Mayhew).

peter mayhew harrison fordJoonas Suotamo, 29, is a longtime basketball player from Finland. He played when he went to college at Penn State from 2005 to 2008 and more recently on his hometown club team in Espoo, located just outside Helsinki. But what many didn't know was that Suotamo has an interest in acting. Having graduated from Penn State with a film degree, he had always wanted to act, but his size sapped him of his confidence.

"I loved doing theater in high school," Suotamo told Business Insider. "But I just didn't believe my chances to get any acting part were possible because of my size, so I studied more behind the camera."

At 6-foot-11, he was perfectly suited to play power forward and center on the basketball court, but after graduating from Penn State with no incentive to turn pro, Suotamo returned to Finland, playing on the side while starting a video-production company and selling insurance to pay the bills.

"I actually sold the insurance over the phone, so my size wasn't a factor when approaching people with my pitch," he said with a laugh.

joonas2 final

But at the end of 2013, word got to the Finnish national basketball coach that a movie production was looking for a blue-eyed 7-footer, and while Suotamo is a tad shorter than that, the coach instantly thought of him.

"I was told to send in an audition tape of me doing a caveman impression," said Suotamo, who went to his old high school after the students had left for the day and had his girlfriend film his performance.

At that point, Suotamo acknowledges, he had no idea which movie he was auditioning for.

"When I got the first few documents to sign, I could decipher it was 'Star Wars,'" Suotamo said. He found that the film title on the paperwork, "Foodles," matched internet rumors of the alias the "Star Wars" production was operating under.

Suotamo's father used to show him the original "Star Wars" trilogy when he was a kid, and Suotamo says he always wanted to be Luke Skywalker. Aware of the franchise's ever-evolving storyline, as the audition process continued, Suotamo thought he was in the running to play a new character. Then he took his first trip to the production headquarters in London.

joonas1"I took three trips there [during the audition], and on the first time I got more details and realized what my role would be," he said of playing Mayhew's double as Chewbacca.

So Suotamo went back and watched the original trilogy constantly to study Chewbacca. Suotamo told Business Insider it was the perfect role for him, as he has always been fascinated by the movements of others. "At basketball practice, I was the one who would always mimic the style of my teammates," Suotamo said. "So playing Chewbacca is something I've always prepared myself for, unknowingly."

In April 2014, Suotamo got the call that he needed to fly to London to meet "Force Awakens" director J.J. Abrams. He was told there that he got the role.

Suotamo was on set for five months, working alongside Mayhew, who would talk to his understudy for hours about the intricacies of Chewbacca.

Following his daily morning trip to get black makeup applied around his eyes so his skin wouldn't show through the eye sockets of the Chewie mask, Suotamo would spend his time before being called to set standing next to a full-length mirror, imitating Mayhew's movements. He wanted to keep the character fresh in his mind. Chewie's scenes were often shot twice, once with Mayhew in the suit and a second time with Suotamo.

But Suotamo refused to divulge to Business Insider exactly how much screen time he had in the movie.

"I will never get into it," he said. "That's for people to guess and figure out."

"He had this love and respect and connection for this character of Chewie all his life," Abrams said of Suotamo to Yahoo. "The fact that he got to play Chewie in so many scenes was a powerful thing for him, but Peter was often there while Joonas was doing this, almost as a consultant."

As a fan of the saga, Suotamo will never forget filming the scenes on the Millennium Falcon set. "I couldn't believe I was standing next to the chess table," he said. "I heard it was built exactly the same way, and even the smell of it was exactly the same from the original movies, I'm told."

Then there was filming the death of Harrison Ford's character Han Solo, which was one of Chewbacca's most dramatic scenes of the movie. "It was a tense feeling on set," Suotamo remembers of the shooting. "Everything was much more quiet than usual. Between takes, no one would talk much. Watching Harrison and Adam Driver do the scene was emotional."

star wars force awakens harrison ford chewbaccaThen there was emotion of a different sort on the day Ford's left leg was broken by a hydraulic door on the Falcon. Suotamo says he was right behind Ford when the accident happened. And like many others on set, he attempted to lift the hydraulic door off of Ford.

"That was a horrible day," Suotamo said. "I immediately tried to lift it, but it wouldn't even move. It was stopped by an emergency button, but none of us knew that. We were all freaking out. But [Ford] was great, he wanted everyone to not worry about him."

After seeing the film with the cast at the London premiere, Suotamo says he has seen "Force Awakens" three or four more times — basically, whenever family and friends want to see it.

Suotamo enjoys the anonymity that comes with playing Chewbacca for now, though he has an agent and hopes to continue acting — including opportunities in which he's not behind a mask.

When asked whether he was signed on to play Chewbacca in future "Star Wars" movies or replace Mayhew when the actor retires from the role, Suotamo gave a cryptic reply: "I would assume things will stay the same."

But one thing he'll say for certain: "I'm not planning to go back to selling insurance."

SEE ALSO: RANKED: Every character in "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" from best to worst

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Movie studios are rolling out changes to make box-office revenue even bigger in 2016


Star wars rey droid

2015 was an impressive year at the box office. But if you look closely at the numbers, good fortune tended to bless a particular set of large-scale releases, while there were many other smaller flops hidden in that record-setting $11 billion North American revenue.

Now you'll see studios and movie chains tweaking a few things so they can do even better in 2016 and beyond, and it will affect how you watch movies.

Hollywood will stick with the formula that got us here: You can expect more “event” releases that seemed to take over the country last year like “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and "Jurassic World” (which both made over $1 billion worldwide and broke box-office records domestically). Plus, movies that don't produce the ticket sales they were projected to will get hurried out of theaters more quickly.

To help revenue for those movies that don't capture the nation's attention like a "Star Wars" spin-off no doubt will, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that the second-largest theater chain in the country, AMC, is planning to beef up its target marketing efforts. So if moviegoers who are part of their loyalty packages, like AMC Stubs, attended the last movie directed by David Fincher, say, they will get ticket offers to his next movie.

And studios have realized that a film’s lifespan now lives and dies on social media. So expect any movies that aren’t trending on opening weekend to be kicked to the curb by the chains rather quickly. Last year, the bomb "Jem and the Holograms" was taken out of wide release with unprecendeted speed.

You'll also see blockbusters more spread out during the year, not just lumped in the summer and holiday seasons, as they have been in the past. This is an adjustment movie chains have asked studios to make for years, and studios are finally responding. In 2016, you’ll see big releases come out in February (“Deadpool”) and March (“Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”), typically considered down months in the movie business.

SEE ALSO: 18 Hollywood moms whose lookalike daughters are following in their footsteps

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Director Michael Bay reveals he's worth half a billion dollars, and wants to give it all away


Michael Bay Francois Durand Getty final

Michael Bay is among the five highest-grossing directors of all time (he’s currently number four with a worldwide box office of $5.776 billion), and in a recent interview with Rolling Stone he revealed that he personally is worth half a billion dollars.

Well, he did it in the typical Michael Bay casual style:

“I’d say about half,” he told the magazine. “Half a ‘B.’”

That’s not a surprise from a director known best for his lucrative popcorn escapism like “Bad Boys,” “The Rock,” “Armageddon." And then there's his flashy lifestyle that Rolling Stone highlights in the piece: a $17 million Miami home (once owned by Hulk Hogan), $50 million Gulfstream G550 jet, a Bentley, Ferrari, Lamborghini, and two Camaros from his lucrative “Transformers” franchise (that he produces and sometimes directs).

optimus prime transformers 4But what was surprising to hear following his "half ‘B’" admission is what he plans to do with all his wealth.

“You save up your money and you give it away. That’s what I’m going to do,” Bay said. “I’ll probably do a very large wildlife-protection fund — something with Africa big game.”

But before he does that, he still has a few other things to do.

Bay’s next film, “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi” (opening January 15), is a different kind of movie for the 50-year-old, as it tells a scaled-down (for Bay standards) version of the attack on the US Embassy in Libya.

13 Hours Paramount finalAnd he revealed in the Rolling Stone story that he will direct the fifth film in the “Transformers” franchise.

Once more, saying it in Bay fashion:

“I’m doing ‘Transformers’… 5, is it?”

We’ve lost track, too.

SEE ALSO: Prince William explains how fatherhood changed his perspective on life

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The case for why Rey in 'Star Wars' is actually Obi-Wan Kenobi's granddaughter


star wars force awakens trailer

[Spoilers ahead — but really the movie’s been out for more than 1o days. Why are you reading "Star Wars" analysis if you haven’t seen the movie yet?]

Who is Rey?

Like much of the world last weekend, I had the sincere pleasure of seeing a brand new Star Wars movie. For an entire weekend (and two viewings) my younger brother and I regressed back to our pre-adolescent (and adolescent) selves, relishing the escape from our now very adult lives and responsibilities. For us, as with many others, much of our childhood was spent trying to answer life’s big questions: does Princess Leia become a Jedi? Do she and Han go on to have children? If so, do they become Jedi? What was Obi-Wan doing during his 30 years in hiding? Yada yada. The list of exciting mysteries is endless. It was always these many unanswered and endless open narrative questions, misdirections and the potential for surprise twists (“Luke, I am your father”) that made Star Wars extra special and filled our daydreams with plenty of great raw material. I even wrote a final paper in high school that was bookended by references to the mythical tropes of the Original Trilogy. I’ve done a lot of thinking about this ...

While there are dozens of new questions posed about our beloved galaxy in The Force Awakens, the “white whale” is who is Rey’s family? If you’re reading this, you’ve probably already seen the movie, so I won’t make a case for why this is so important — just that we all know how key parentage is to the whole saga. It’s the theme of lineage and the passage of the godly Force that elevates this series to modern mythology ...

I left the theater after my first (and even second) viewing entirely convinced that Rey is Luke Skywalker’s daughter. Duh. All signs point to this (the inheritance of the lightsaber, Maz Kanata’s cryptic insights, the final scene with Luke, etc). After all, the whole story is about the sins and redemptions of the Skywalker family, right?

Not so fast. After days of marinating, I’m convinced: that was all misdirection — too narratively easy for what should be the biggest reveal in this new trilogy. In the following post, I’ll make a reasoned case that Rey is in fact Obi-Wan Kenobi’s granddaughter — both because of clues planted in The Force Awakens and especially because it would bring the nine episode series to a much more satisfying emotional conclusion; lending more poignance to the earlier films, including the maligned Prequels.

First, the clues:

The accent

The only two “good guys” in the entire series who have British accents are Obi-Wan and Rey (if you exclude C-3PO). This likely isn’t an accident since other British actors (i.e., John Boyega, Liam Neeson) perform with American accents.

The Jedi mind trick scene

The scene in which Rey persuades her stormtrooper (007) captor to open her cell door and drop his weapon strongly echoes Obi-Wan’s successful uses of the Jedi mind trick in both the OT and Prequels — one of his signature abilities. This is not the plot twist you’re looking for.

Poking around Starkiller Base

The scenes of Rey scaling the walls and tiptoeing around the First Order’s Starkiller HQ echo Obi-Wan in A New Hope sneaking around the Death Star and disabling the tractor beam. A superficial homage to Episode IV or a breadcrumb leading to answers about the Third Trilogy’s protagonist?

“Ben Solo”

The only reference to Obi-Wan in The Force Awakens comes with the reveal of Kylo Ren’s real name: Ben. That climactic moment serves to highlight two key things: (1) a reminder of the overall importance of “Old Ben” Kenobi to the broader Star Wars story, and (2) the notable absence of any references to Obi-Wan up until that moment — the only major A New Hope character not to get a prior visual cameo or major plot point (so we think). This omission looks like a filmmaker’s “sleight of hand,” guiding us away from a reveal about Obi-Wan later in the new trilogy.

But the clues continue to pile up, addressed here: https://www.youtube.com/embed/4mjFfdrTJrQ

  • Similar costumes between Rey and Obi Wan (in the Prequels).
  • Both Ewan McGregor’s and Alec Guinness’s voices appear in the key basement lightsaber flashback scene at Maz’s: http://time.com/4156306/ewan-mcgregor-obi-wan-force-awakens/
  • And, lastly, JJ Abrams has suggested that Rey’s loneliness is a key to her origin, likely referencing Obi-Wan’s status as a lonely hermit between Episodes 3 and 4. Unless Rey is Yoda’s granddaughter, but probably not.

Sure, these are all basic clues that could easily be discounted, but there’s ample fodder with which to rack your brain ...

The deeper strain of this “Rey Kenobi theory,” however, is rooted in the concept that Star Wars has always had a certain narrative symmetry: good versus evil, light versus dark, small versus big, faith versus technology. Characters even refer to bringing “balance to the Force.” These patterns abound in the Star Wars universe, appearing again and again in both minor and major ways. Many have even been critical of how closely The Force Awakens mirrors earlier narrative patterns and beats. That criticism is fair, but it’s being used for intentional effect to both guide and misguide and play with our assumptions and expectations.

With that said, here are the juicier reasons why Rey being Obi-Wan’s granddaughter would ring true and be so satisfying to the completion of the story:

alec guinness star wars obi wan

Symbolism of the lightsaber

While the movie seems to imply that Rey’s inheritance of Luke’s blue lightsaber is a passing of the torch” from one Skywalker to another, we shouldn’t forget who gave Luke that lightsaber in the first place: Obi-Wan. The lightsaber had been in Obi-Wan’s possession for 20 to 30 years or so between Episodes III and IV, and is even presented to Luke from a wood chest similar to the chest later seen in Episode VII in Maz Kanata’s castle-bar (yet another clue). It is Obi-Wan’s passage of the lightsaber to Luke, along with encouragement to learn the force that propels the entire story forward. This key scene in Episode IV (arguably the most important scene in all seven movies) even includes Obi-Wan’s misdirection about Luke’s father, a narrative trick repeated in The Force Awakens. All that being said, think about how much more poignant Episode VII's final scene of Rey handing Luke his own lightsaber becomes if it’s again a Kenobi reuniting a Skywalker with their weapon, compelling them back to the fight. Of course we all know that the burden of the lightsaber is now Rey’s whether she wants it or not ...

Reversal of the mentors

It wouldn’t be wild speculation to assume that Luke will now train Rey in the ways of the Jedi in Episode VIII. If Rey is a Kenobi (admit it, you’re convinced), this would be a profound and emotional reversal of the role of mentor and teacher: a Kenobi training a Skywalker followed by a Skywalker training a Kenobi. Narrative symmetry.

Parallels to Kenobi vs. Skywalker duels

Both Episodes III and IV end with fateful duels between Obi-Wan and Anakin/Darth Vader. While there are certainly duels between Skywalkers (V and VI), I’d suggest that Rey and Kylo Ren’s duel at the end of VII becomes much more dramatic if we eventually learn that they are refighting the battle of their grandfathers, not two battling cousins or siblings.

Depth of Obi-Wan as a character

One obvious question that grows from the “Rey Kenobi theory” is: with whom would Obi-Wan have had a child? When? Like monks, aren’t Jedi supposed to resist attachments? Despite Obi-Wan’s significant role in the first six movies, we know surprisingly little about him and what makes him tick. A backstory (uncultivated in I, II & III) about a forbidden love, perhaps, can enrich and deepen his character in surprising ways. It might answer another question: what was Obi-Wan doing while in hiding for those 20 to 30 years before finally connecting with Luke on Tatooine? Maybe he wasn’t the lonely hermit that we thought.

The twist of the series

Assuming that Rey isn’t just the hero of this new trilogy, but also the character that ultimately brings “balance to the Force,” the reveal that Rey is a Kenobi and not a Skywalker, as we’re being led to believe, would be the twist of the entire nine episode arc.

We’re told at many points in the Prequels that Anakin Skywalker was “the chosen one” — the Jedi who would bring balance to the Force. Not only was this obviously false, but in Episode VII we’ve essentially learned that Luke has also failed miserably in his attempt to bring peace to the galaxy. Luke’s Jedi training of Ben Solo (a Skywalker descendant) was clearly such a disaster that it turned him to the dark side. In all, the Skywalkers are a pretty mixed bag: powerful, but emotional, petulant and frequently tempted by the allure of evil. It’s Ben Kenobi in the earlier episodes that is truly virtuous, noble and pure of heart. He’s our true hero. He’s incorruptible. He sacrifices himself at the end of A New Hope to show Luke the power of faith in the Force, saving him and the galaxy in the process. Wouldn’t it then make complete narrative sense for a Kenobi (Rey) to be the true hero of the saga — perhaps even saving the soul of another conflicted Skywalker (Ben Solo/Kylo Ren) later in the new trilogy? How satisfying would that be to learn that the nine episode arc is really, underneath it all, about the Kenobi family and not the Skywalkers?

My favorite moment in the series comes in Episode V when Luke has abruptly and hastily cut short his training and Force Ghost Obi-Wan laments, “That boy is our last hope.” Yoda replies, “No ... there is another ...”

Written originally to be a reference to Leia, how dramatic would it be for the “another” to ultimately mean a Kenobi? After all, we do learn pretty quickly in Episode VII that Leia never becomes a Jedi. If Rey is a Kenobi and if by the close of Episode IX she’s brought “balance to the Force,” then all of the previous movies take on a new meaning. Even Obi-Wan’s Force ghost from Episodes V and VI takes on a much more spiritual purpose than to just provide convenient story exposition. If Rey is revealed as a Kenobi, it changes the entire paradigm of the series.

While of course the “Rey Kenobi theory” is just a nerdy (very nerdy) theory and could easily be false, in my opinion it’s just too potentially satisfying to be ignored. If the narrative patterning (nostalgic borrowing from the OT) from Episode VII is carried into the next movies, I’m guessing (hoping) this will be revealed in Episode VIII — the big twist that people will be talking about for days, weeks and years into the future.

Ben Ostrower is the founder and creative director of Wide Eye Creative, an independent digital design agency based in Washington, D.C.

This post originally appeared on Medium.

Follow Ben Ostrower on Twitter: @benostrower

SEE ALSO: How a 29-year-old basketball player landed a star role as the new Chewbacca in 'Star Wars'

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This toy may spoil a huge character in 'Captain America: Civil War'


captain america civil war

Warning: There are some big potential spoilers ahead for "Captain America: Civil War." 

Some toy retailers may have just given away a huge twist in "Captain America: Civil War."

I just opened up an email announcing new comic book toys, and the first toy featured may have given away a huge plot point in the upcoming Marvel film which pits Captain America against Iron Man. 

captain america civil war poster

Last chance to head back before spoilers. 


Are you ready?




Giant Man Civil War

That Funko Pop may look like Ant Man, but look closer. It says Giant-Man, which is what Ant-Man becomes when he grows to enormous sizes. 

In the comics, Hank Pym – the original Ant-Man played by Michael Douglas in the "Ant-Man" movie – uses the shrink-enabling Pym Particles to grow to 12 feet tall, with increased strength to match. Based on this toy, it looks like the second Ant-Man, Scott Lang – played by Paul Rudd – will be towering over the rest of the Avengers at some point in the upcoming film.

With no Hulk or Thor scheduled to appear in the film, it looks like this guy might be bringing in a lot of the muscle.

After all, "Ant-Man" director Peyton Reed hinted back in July that we could see the character.

"Listen, I think with Hank Pym and Scott Lang, and with that technology, I think it's safe to say at some point somewhere you're going to see some real growth for that character,"Reed told Screen Junkies. "I hedge my bet there, because it could be sort of growth as a human being, emotional growth, or literal giant growth. There's a good chance of that."

"Captain America: Civil War" is in theaters May 6, 2016.

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Sylvester Stallone has a very ambitious idea for the 'Creed' sequel


balboa creed

Following the breakout success of Ryan Coogler’s “Creed,” a spin-off of the “Rocky” franchise that's earned over $100 million in the US to date, talk is heating up about what the possible storyline could be for the now-official "Creed" sequel.

Though it’s hard to say if Coogler will return to direct it, as he’s currently negotiating to helm Marvel’s “Black Panther" movie, MGM CEO Gary Barber told Variety, “There’s no doubt that we’re making a ‘Creed 2.'"

And now Rocky himself is dishing on some ideas to the trade paper.

Sylvester Stallone told Variety in an interview that one storyline he and Coogler were developing would take place in the past and feature Carl Weathers returning to play Apollo Creed.

“Ryan has some ideas of going forward and backward and actually seeing Rocky and Apollo together,” Stallone revealed. “Think of ‘The Godfather 2.’ That’s what he was thinking of, which was kind of ambitious.”

Creed Warner BrosWeathers as Apollo was featured in “Creed,” but only in footage from the old movies. In the film, Apollo's illegitimate son, Adonis (Michael B. Jordan), aspires to be a great boxer like his father. The Apollo character, the heavyweight champion who fought Rocky in the first and second films, died in the beginning of “Rocky IV” (1985).

Stallone said that another, simpler storyline option for the sequel is keeping it in the present and having Adonis take on a new fighter.

As “remakequels” seem to be the popular dish in the movie business currently, don’t be surprised if the filmmakers find a way to feature Weathers in the next "Creed" movie in some way. 

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