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Real-Life 'Bling Ring' Member Calls Film 'Trashy And Inaccurate'


the bling ring

Next month, Sofia Coppola's "The Bling Ring" will premiere at the Cannes Festival. 

The film is based on a string of celebrity robberies that occurred between 2008 and 2009 by a group of teens who became known as "The Burglar Bunch" and "Bling Ring." 

However, not everyone is pleased with the film. 

"Bling Ring" member Alexis Neiers took to Twitter to dish her feelings on the film after being prompted by Los Angeles Times entertainment writer Amy Kaufman to watch the new trailer. 

She said the trailer falsely reflects what occurred in real life calling it "trashy and inaccurate."

Earlier in the month, Neiers appeared behind the film when the initial teaser came out. Neiers took to her blog originally writing positively about Coppola's adaptation:  

"When I found out last March that Sofia Coppola was making a movie about the Bling Ring at first I was shocked and then I became optimistic after I heard what her intentions for the film were. I can only hope that this movie does not just tell the story of Los Angeles teens robbing the homes of celebrities." 

Actress Emma Watson of "Harry Potter" fame will play a young Neiers in the film. 

"The Bling Ring" premieres at the Cannes Festival May 16 before debuting as a limited release in the US starting June 14.

SEE ALSO: Watch the full-length trailer for "The Bling Ring">

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Robots Fight Aliens In New 'Pacific Rim' Trailer


It's been a long time since we've seen new footage for "Pacific Rim," Guillermo del Toro's alien vs. robot film. 

Warner Bros. released an extended trailer for the film today, one that was originally intended to be shown at film convention WonderCon.

In a note accompanying the trailer, del Toro explained the reasoning behind releasing the trailer:

"This was originally intended for only WonderCon, but after listening to so many of you asking for more of the movie online, I think it's time for me to show you more footage. Enjoy, my friends!"

The film feels a lot like "Transformers" taking on aliens from "Cloverfield."

"Pacific Rim" is in theaters July 12. 

SEE ALSO: 27 visions of the apocalypse in film >

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'Downton Abbey' Star Lily James Cast As Disney's Cinderella


mary downton abbey"Downton Abbey" actress Lily James will go from living like an aristocrat to the orphaned daughter of one.

Disney just announced James will star in the titular role of its live-action adaptation of "Cinderella."

James will join Cate Blanchett who was earlier announced as the evil stepmother.

Sir Kenneth Branagh ("Thor") is directing the film.

If you don't have James' "Downton Abbey" character pegged as sweet enough to earn the little glass slipper, her latest red carpet look at the Laurence Olivier Awards this week may change your mind. 

lily james downton abbey

SEE ALSO: What critics are saying about Disney's " Iron Man 3">

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Brad Pitt Forced To Reshoot 40 Minutes Of 'World War Z' To Fix Disastrous Ending


Brad Pitt Vanity Fair cover

Screenwriter Damon Lindelof is known for writing epic stories such as "Prometheus,""Star Trek Into Darkness" and the acclaimed ABC TV series "Lost."

So it's no surprise that Brad Pitt came to the successful writer/producer in search of advice for how to help his upcoming, troubled film "World War Z."

In a new interview with Vanity Fair, Lindelof reveals that "WWZ" has had to re-write and reshoot 40 minutes of the movie to find a coherent ending — and how the budget ballooned to around $200 million.

Lindelof tells Vanity Fair contributor Laura M. Holson that Pitt told him, explaining "When we started working on the script, a lot of that stuff had to fall away for the story to come together. We started shooting the thing before we locked down how it was going to end up, and it didn’t turn out the way we wanted it to."

The actor asked Lindelof to watch an early edit, and told him, “The thing we really need right now is someone who is not burdened by all the history that this thing is inheriting, who can see what we’ve got and tell us how to get to where we need to get.”

Pitt wasn't the only one who knew the ending needed fixing. Paramount executive Marc Evans watched the director’s cut and told VF: “It was, like, Wow. The ending of our movie doesn’t work. I believed in that moment we needed to reshoot the movie.”

After viewing the film, Lindelof agreed the film's ending was abrupt and incoherent — and missing a huge chunk of footage.

“I said to them, 'There are two roads to go down here,'” Lindelof tells the mag. “Is there material that can be written to make that stuff work better? To have it make sense? To have it have emotional stakes? And plot logic and all that? And Road Two, which I think is the long-shot road, is that everything changes after Brad leaves Israel.”

Lindelof's suggestion meant getting rid of an already-shot, 12-minute Russian battle scene and shooting a completely different ending.

“I didn’t think anyone was going to say, ‘Let’s throw it out and try something else,’” Lindelof recalls. “So when I gave them those two roads and they sounded more interested in Road B”—which meant shooting an additional 30 to 40 minutes of the movie—“I was like, ‘To be honest with you, good luck selling that to Paramount.’”

Hopefully Pitt's passion for the project will prevail. As Lindelof recalls of his initial meeting with the actor, “He took me through how excited he was when he read the book, what was exciting for him, the geopolitical aspect of it.”

The film will be distributed by Paramount, a unit of media conglomerate Viacom, which is majority owned by the private National Amusements, Inc.

SEE ALSO: The Rolling Stones Summer Tour Is One Of The Most Expensive Ever >

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A Woman Pulls Her Face Off In New 'Wolverine' Trailer


the wolverine woman pulling face apart wtf rough day

Last month, new footage for this summer's "The Wolverine" movie was shown in Las Vegas at movie convention, CinemaCon. 

The trailer has finally hit the web! 

Other than seeing Hugh Jackman seriously angry as Wolverine, the most exciting — and unexpected — part of the trailer is when a woman starts peeling her face off. 

What is going on!?

The film will follow the Wolverine as he heads to Japan and is inspired by the 1982 comic book series by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller.

"The Wolverine" comes to theaters July 26. 

SEE ALSO: 10 movies you need to see this summer >

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The Biggest Differences In China's Version Of 'Iron Man 3'


iron man 3 china

When "Iron Man 3" debuted in China Wednesday the film had extra bonus footage you won't see outside the country. 

But, don't worry.  

When the film hits U.S. theaters Fridays, you'll be missing four extra minutes of added product placement. 

In March, Marvel announced it would release a version of the movie exclusively in China that would feature extra scenes with more Chinese actors. 

Marvel and Chinese distributor DMG entertainment collaborated to produce the film.  

The additional scenes revolve around two Chinese actors, Xueqi Wang and Bingbing Fan. Wang is seen in all other versions of the film as Dr. Wu briefly. 

Here's what's in the added scenes via The New York Times: 

1. The film opens with the question: “What does Iron Man rely on to revitalize his energy?” Movie goers are then blasted with the words "Gu Li Duo," a milk drink in the country.  

Last year, Yili, the manufacturer of the drink withdrew baby formula tainted with mercury. Since then, the New York Times reports the Chinese government has been trying to calm parents about the safety of its milk products. 

Wang is seen drinking a carton of Gu Li Duo on screen. 

2. Fan appears as a nameless assistant to Dr. Wu while using Chinese medicine to aid Iron Man. 

3. Chinese electronics maker TCL and industry giant Zoomlion make appearances. 

4. Happy, cheering Chinese schoolchildren on a television with Iron Man. 

The Hollywood Reporter says the response from China bloggers has been mixed with criticism aimed at the blatant use of advertisements in the film.  

"The appearance of Yili [the manufacturers of the Gu Li Duo drink] is really shocking. And I don’t know what that Zoomlion [a brand name which appears in a China-only scene] was – and after an online search I realized it’s a heavy industry enterprise in China." 

Kotaku's Eric Jou told Shanghaiist.com the version added nothing to the film:  

"The Chinese version is a hot mess of poor planning. The addition of Fan Bingbing and Wang Xueqi does absolutely nothing to advance the flow and plot points of the movie, I mean, seriously who the f--- comes to China for heart surgery?" 

"Iron Man 3" debuted in China Wednesday to a record-breaking $2 million midnight premiere.  

The film opens Friday in the U.S. Boxoffice.com projects it to earn $157 million opening weekend. 

SEE ALSO: What critics are saying about "Iron Man 3">

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'IRON MAN 3' Is Finally Showing: Get The Full 'Iron Man' Backstory Here


iron man robert downey jr

"Iron Man 3" is upon us and it's time to catch up on the franchise. We care because you care, and because Robert Downey Jr.'s past Iron Man movies have grossed $1.3 billion, between "Iron Man,""Iron Man 2," and "Marvel's The Avengers."

Expect that number to get a lot higher with "Iron Man 3," which opens in the U.S. Friday, May 5 after debuting overseas to a massive $195 million haul. 

The Disney film already has awesome reviews. Get excited. 

However, as hot as the series is, many people still don't know the story of billionaire playboy Tony Stark and his adventures as Iron Man. We're here to help out with that. 

Time to get caught up on "Iron Man" and get psyched for "Iron Man 3."

Meet Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.): a narcissistic, billionaire playboy in charge of his father's weapons and defense technology company, "Stark Industries."

He travels the world demonstrating defense technology to interested buyers.

During a missile demo in Afghanistan for the army ...

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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11 'Great Gatsby' Book Covers From Around The World


the great gatsby movie cover

The first cover of F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby" in 1925 features the artwork of Francis Cugat.

"Celestial Eyes," the name of the painting, is inarguably one of the most recognizable book covers ever created. 

Fitzgerald took such a fancy to the artwork that he wrote it into the book.

If you head to bookstores now, you may be hard-pressed to find those eyes staring out at you.

Last week, publisher Scribner released a movie tie-in edition of the classic featuring Leonardo DiCaprio looking out at the reader with Carey Mulligan looking distantly onward below.

If you're partial to the original jacket, don't worry. You can still purchase the classic look.

The New York Times reports Scribner sells approximately 500,000 copies of the book each year.

Since its initial printing in 1925, "The Great Gatsby" has been translated into 42 languages including Spanish, French, and Russian.

Though Cugat's book jacket is the most iconic one to associate the book with today, its far from the only fancy book art.

We've compiled some of the different covers of the book since its launch.

"The Great Gatsby" is in theaters May 10.

There are many variations on the American version of the novel. Many reference the lavishness and looks of the roaring '20s:

gatsby book cover

great gatsby fitzgerald

This version cleverly hides Daisy's face to keep the illusion of her face.

 great gatsby daisy

While another highlights Gatsby's car from the trailer.

the great gatsbyThis one references the green light from the book.

gatsby cover bookA movie tie-in with the 1949 film features Alan Ladd in one of the novel's end scenes. Note the line at the top, "The Great Novel Of The Sinful Twenties."

great gatsby coverIn other countries, the book looks really different. Here's one version of a book in China.

china great gatsby

This Russian paperback is more regal.

great gatsby russia

A Swedish version of the book depicts a climactic scene from the book.great gatsby german

This French cover suggests a meeting between Gatsby and Daisy.

great gatsby france

And a Spanish cover shows part of Gatsby's car.

great gatsby spanish

"The Great Gatsby" comes out May 10. Check out 9 other movies to see this summer >

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The 'Star Trek Into Darkness' Premiere Had An Awesome Backdrop [PHOTOS]


Zoe Saldana Star Trek Into Darkness Premiere"Star Trek Into Darkness" cast members Zoe Saldana, Chris Pine, Alice Eve and Zachary Quinto reunited on the white carpet Thursday night for the U.K. premiere at The Empire Cinema in London.

J.J. Abrams arrived with his wife as writer/producer Damon Lindelof signed autographs and gave interviews.

But even more eye catching than the film's good-looking cast were the space-age props set against a historic London backdrop.

"Star Trek Into Darkness" opens in theaters May 17.

The UK Premiere of "Star Trek Into Darkness" took place at The Empire Cinema. The modern federation symbol stood out against the historic London buildings.


The carpet quickly filled with cast members Chris Pine, Alice Eve, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana and Benedict Cumberbatch.

Zoe Saldana, who plays Nyota Uhura, commanded the photographers' attention.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Stephen Colbert Says 'Iron Man 3' And 'Man Of Steel' Are 'Destroying America'


Stephen Colbert Iron Man

Don't count Stephen Colbert as one of the people who will be purchasing tickets for this summer's upcoming blockbuster movies.

The "Colbert Report" host takes specific issue with "Man of Steel" and "Iron Man 3," joking that they are "destroying America."

"First of all, Superman is the quintessential American hero," Colbert said on his show. "Yet they gave the part to some limey named Henry Cavill."

Colbert continued to claim that the film is White House propaganda pushing President Barack Obama's agenda.

But what Colbert is most upset over is Marvel accepting financing from China-based studio DMG Entertainment to fund "Iron Man 3."

"To pay back their Chinese puppet masters," Colbert stated, Marvel released another version of the film which includes "significant Chinese elements -- including one of the country's top actresses, Fan Bingbing."

And Colbert says that makes him "angry-gry." 

Watch his rant below:

SEE ALSO: The biggest differences in China's version of 'Iron Man 3' >

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Channing Tatum Takes Out Terrorists In 'White House Down' Trailer


white house down channing tatumSony released a new trailer for its upcoming summer film, "White House Down," and it's great.

The film follows John Cale (Channing Tatum) as he interviews for a Secret Service position at the White House. 

However, the interview takes a turn for the worse when a hostage crisis gets underway. 

Instead of running off, Cale heads into danger fighting off terrorists and teams up with the president (Jamie Foxx) to take back the White House.

This is how you get hired.

The film comes from director Roland Emmerich ("Independence Day"). The chemistry between Foxx and Tatum here is electric. That shouldn't be a surprise after seeing the two together on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!"

"White House Down" comes to theaters June 28.

SEE ALSO: Movies you need to see in theaters this summer >

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'Iron Man 3' Breaks Box-Office Records With $175.3 Million Opening Weekend


Robert Downey, Jr. as Iron Man.

"Iron Man 3" blew away the competition at the box office this weekend.

Tony Stark's big return to theaters brought in a massive $175.3 million in its debut.

Box office estimates had the third film in the franchise earning anywhere from $135-$170 million. 

Though it didn't duplicate the success of last year's "The Avengers" which brought in an astounding record-breaking $207 million opening weekend, "Iron Man 3" now sits second on the list, beating out "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2.

The film has now earned $680 million worldwide, and is well on its way to becoming one of the highest-grossing films of all time. (To rival "The Avengers," it will need to earn at least $1.5 billion.)

Here are the top five grossing weekends at the box office


Opening Weekend              

Worldwide Box Office
"Marvel's The AvengersDisney$207.4 million          $1.5 billion
"Iron Man 3"Disney$175.3 million$680 million to date
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2"Warner Bros.         $169.2 million  $1.3 billion
 "The Dark Knight Rises"Warner Bros. $160.9 million  $1 billion
 "The Dark Knight"Warner Bros.  $158.4 million $1 billion

Disney will announce its second quarter earnings this Tuesday.

Now, catch up with the entire "Iron Man" trilogy here >

SEE ALSO: What movies to check out this summer >

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11 Things You Don't Know About 'The Great Gatsby'


great gatsby dicaprio carey mulligan

F. Scott Fitzgerald always wanted his novel "The Great Gatsby" to become a "consciously artistic achievement."

Today, it is just that. 

His American classic is mandatory reading across English classrooms. There was a time, however, when no one wanted to read about Gatsby and his lost love, Daisy.

With Baz Luhrmann's anticipated film adaptation in theaters this month, we reread our copy of the book. 

Our copy of the 182-page novel includes a 22-page introduction from publisher Charles Scribner III, which we took the time to read this time around.

It shares many details about the early drafts of Fitzgerald's novel, the lengthy process and pains with which he went through to produce it, including struggles to come up with a title, and the immediate failure of the book. 

Some would say, "Gatsby" was simply ahead of its time.

The book was highly influenced by Fitzgerald's failed play "The Vegetable: or from President to Postman."

Fitzgerald spent a year and a half working on the comedy — a satire on the American Dream and spoof of President Harding's administration — which he hoped would make him a famous Broadway playwright.

The young author began work on "Gatsby" after the first draft of "Vegetable" was complete while traveling between Long Island, Great Neck, and New York City for play rehearsal.

"Vegetable" was a disaster opening night in the fall of 1923 in Atlantic City, NJ.

(Source: "The Great Gatsby")

"Gatsby" was originally set in the Midwest—not New York—around 1885.

The original concept was to have a "Catholic element" in the novel.

Today, the story takes place in the summer of 1922 — during the Jazz Age — in both Long Island and New York City.

(Source: "The Great Gatsby")

There's a short story dedicated to Gatsby's childhood.

During Fitzgerald's early manuscript of "Gatsby," he wrote about a Catholic boy growing up in the Midwest.

According to Fitzgerald, this was to describe Gatsby's childhood in a prologue; however, it was cut from the book.

Instead, the bit was published nearly a year before "The Great Gatsby" in June 1925 in the short story, "Absolution."

(Source: "The Great Gatsby")

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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'Iron Man 3' Has The Second-Highest Weekend Ever At Theaters — Here's Your Box-Office Roundup


iron man 3 tony stark

"Iron Man 3" blew all of the competition away this weekend. 

The three-quel earned a massive $175.3 million opening weekend. 

That's not a surprise.  

Moviegoers not only saw the film as a sequel to 2010's "Iron Man 2," but also as a followup to last year's highest-grossing film, "The Avengers." 

The result may not have been as high as the opening weekend for "The Avengers"—the movie wasn't as kid friendly—but the film still set box-office records in China and here as the second-highest opening weekend at theaters. 

Meanwhile, the rest of the box office took a huge beating. 

Out of the top ten this week include Gerard Butler's "Olympus Has Fallen,""Jurassic Park in 3D," and "G.I. Joe: Retaliation."  

"Retaliation" took a hard hit this weekend dropping five spots and more than 65%. After six weeks, the film has taken in $355.9 million worldwide.  

Here are this weekends winners and losers in Hollywood: 

10. Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper's "The Place Beyond the Pines" dipped 50% this weekend earning $1.3 million. The Focus Features film has earned $18.7 million at the box office.  

9. "Scary Movie 5" barely holds on with $1.4 million. The sequel featuring Lindsay Lohan has earned $49.4 million worldwide. It's the lowest-grossing film in the series to date. "Scary Movie 4" earned $178 million worldwide. 

8. Oddly enough, Disney's big March hit, "Oz the Great and Powerful" jumped five spots this weekend earning $1.8 million despite bowing out of 450 theaters. The Sam Raimi directed film has earned $484.8 million worldwide. 

7. Reese Witherspoon's arrest isn't hurting the income of her latest film, "Mud." If anything, it's helping to make her indie film more popular.The film moved up four spots earning $2.2 million at theaters.  

6. Amanda Seyfried's "The Big Wedding" manages to only dip two spots after a weak opening last week. The Lionsgate film took in $3.9 million. 

5. DreamWorks Animation's "The Croods" saw one of the lowest dips at theaters (37.2%) earning $4.2 million. The caveman flick has earned $517.9 million worldwide. That's good for animation studio as analysts are worrying its next film out, "Epic," may not hold water at theaters. 

4. "Oblivion" finally took a hard hit at theaters in week three earning $5.8 million. Tom Cruise's latest action thriller has earned most of its money overseas (66%) bringing it to a total of $222.8 million worldwide. 

3. While Cruise's audience disappeared, Jackie Robinson fans helped keep "42" afloat with $6.2 million. The Warner Bros.' baseball film has earned $78.3 million without playing internationally. The film cost an estimated $40 million to produce.  

2. The Rock's "Pain and Gain" dropped 62.5% in its second week in theaters earning $7.6 million. The Michael Bay-directed film has now earned $33.9 million at theaters. 

1. "Iron Man 3" beat all estimates for the weekend taking in a huge $175.3 million. Compared to previous installments of the series, the third film blew "Iron Man 2" ($128.1 million) and "Iron Man" ($98.6 million) out of the water. The film is well on its way to earning $1 billion at the box office. Since its international debut at the end of April, the film has earned an incredible $680 million worldwide. 

"The Great Gatsby" is in theaters this weekend. See what you don't know about the book >

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Iron Man 3's Mindblowing Opening Weekend In 4 Charts


"Iron Man 3" opened to an outstanding $175.3 million this weekend at theaters.

Just how large is that figure?

Considering the box office has been in a miserable slump this year, it's pretty huge.

The figure made it the highest-opening film at theaters this year and the second-highest opening weekend of all time.

First, here's the opening weekend gross for "Iron Man 3"compared to the previous two installments in the franchise.  

The blue line shows actual figures while the red shows ticket sales adjusted for inflation.

iron man opening weekends

If that's not impressive, "Iron Man 3" is the first film to take in more than $100 million opening weekend this year.

See how it compares with the other highest-opening box-office weekends of the year to date:

highest box office openings 2013

If you're still not impressed, "Iron Man 3" also demolishes all of the other box-office grosses for the year so far. 

Here are the five highest-grossing films of the year so far:

highest grossing movies 2013

However, the most staggering appeal about the opening weekend for "Iron Man 3" is that its intake in one weekend is larger than all of the earnings for the box-office top 12 each weekend prior in 2013.

Take a look at the five largest box-office weekends of the year:

largest box office weekend 2013

SEE ALSO: How the rest of the box office fared this weekend >

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Fans Are Torn Over The Big Twist In 'Iron Man 3'


ben kingsley iron man 3 the mandarinWarning: If you haven't seen "Iron Man 3," there are major spoilers ahead.

"Iron Man 3" is doing phenomenal at theaters.

It took in a massive $175.3 million at the box office opening weekend, broke opening-day records in China, and is closing in on $700 million worldwide already. 

While it's highly successful, and people are calling this the best "Iron Man" yet, many fans have one big gripe with the film. 

All the trailers for "Iron Man 3" present Ben Kingsley as the main villain, a terrorist named The Mandarin.  

Rave reviews before the film debuted pinned Kingsley as a spectacular adversary for Tony Stark, one of the best in ages. 

One review specifically claimed he was reminiscent of Heath Ledger's Oscar-winning performance of the Joker in 2008's "The Dark Knight." 

There's only one problem. 

If you've seen the film, Kingsley doesn't play a villain at all. 

Rather, he plays Trevor Slattery, a drunken, aspiring actor playing the role of the Mandarin for the camera.  

The commercials completely duped us. They were one giant rick roll.

Many of the reviews for the film discussed a giant twist in the film, and it turns out this was it.

Don't get us wrong, Kingsley's phenomenal in the role. We were so intrigued—and thrown off—by the odd take on the character that it was difficult whether or not to be upset with director Shane Black for pulling one over on us. 

guy pearce iron manInstead, Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce), who barely received any praise in reviews, turned out to be the main villain, a scientist driven mad with ambition and power.

In the Extremis comics, upon which the film is loosely based, Killian commits suicide. By the end of the "Iron Man 3," he outted himself as the real Mandarin. 

The only reason we see Kingsley as "The Mandarin" was to "give evil a face" as Killian described it on screen.

While movie goers in our theater didn't seem to be annoyed at all by this twist, overall, fans appeared torn over Marvel's decision to reinvent the classic character:

Director Shane Black told Entertainment Weekly his and co-writer Drew Pearce's argument behind the big Mandarin twist:

“What if he’s sort of this all-things-to-all-people uber-terrorist? What if he is the myth, and in the end that is what we’re dealing with, a created myth that [a research group] has perpetuated and cobbled together using elements from popular consciousness,” Black says. “It felt like it said more about the world we live in than just having [Iron Man] fight another terrorist, as opposed to putting a spin on it that said something about the way we view terror, perhaps.”

If you saw "Iron Man 3" did you enjoy the big twist in the film?

SEE ALSO: "Iron Man 3" scored big this weekend at the box office >

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Is 'World War Z' The Next Big Hollywood Flop?


brad pitt world war z

When "World War Z" hits theaters this June, Paramount is hoping its zombie film with Brad Pitt will be a huge blockbuster hit with potential sequels in the works. 

However, June's cover story of "World War Z" reveals that the production for the film sounds more like a Hollywood horror than the movie itself. 

The amount of drama on set is causing concerns that the film could be the first blockbuster flop of the year. 

The Vanity Fair article claims the film suffered from a lack of leadership, communication on set between producers and director Marc Foster ("Quantum of Solace"), budget overages from the moment filming began, and a lack of a clear ending when shooting started. 

After getting ABC's "Lost" screenwriter Damon Lindelof to review the film, production threw out an expensive 12-minute ending to reshoot an additional 30-40 minutes of the film that would need to be completed in three weeks time. 

According to Lindelof, Pitt told him they "started shooting the thing before we locked down how it was going to end up, and it didn't turn out the way we wanted it to."

(Remember, Lindelof is the man who co-wrote "Prometheus," a film that, despite its box-office intake, left audiences scratching their heads after leaving theaters.)

Vanity Fair reported Paramount paid $1 million to win the rights to Max Brooks' 2006 apocalyptic novel, "World War Z." Originally, the book rights were in a heated bidding war between Brad Pitt's production company, Plan B, and Leonardo DiCaprio's Appian Way. 

Since then, Paramount told the magazine the budget for the film which started at $150 million has at least ballooned to $170 million. It cites other rival film studios claiming the budget has inflated anywhere from $210 to $250 million. 

Vanity Fair estimates with marketing and advertising costs added, "World War Z" will need to earn $400 million worldwide to break even. 

If that's true, it wouldn't only make the film one of the most expensive zombie movies ever made, but also one of the priciest films to hit theaters. 

The Anatomy Of A Zombie Flick 

Typically, the average zombie film budget is low and never hits anywhere near $100 million to produce.

Here are the top five highest-grossing Zombie films according to Boxofficemojo.com:


Production Budget

Worldwide Gross

"Hotel Transylvania


$85 million

$346.9 million

"Resident Evil: Afterlife"

Sony / Screen Gems  

$60 million 

$296.2 million

"Warm Bodies"


$35 million

$116.5 million



$23.6 million

$102.4 million

"Dawn of the Dead"

Universal$26 million

$102.4 million

Looking at these stats, a starting point of $150 million seems markedly high for a zombie film.  The highest-grossing film on that list is a children's animated film from last year.  

However, two industry insiders are comparing "World War Z" to another apocalyptic film instead: 2007's "I Am Legend" featuring Will Smith.

Business Insider spoke with Jeff Gomez, CEO of Starlight Runner Entertainment, and Phil Contrino, Vice President and Chief Analyst of BoxOffice.com, to discuss the projections for Paramount's zombie thriller. 

Contrino says a big budget is a tough hurdle for any movie to overcome, especially one that's not part of an established franchise, but it's not the end for Pitt's zombie film. 

"I think $120 million to $150 million here is a very possible goal for "World War Z," says Contrino. "It's a kind of movie that people really respond to. I think people are missing the comparison to 'I Am Legend,' another zombie movie that was extremely successful."

I am Legend2007's "I Am Legend" featuring Will Smith as the last man on Earth cost an estimated $150 million for Warner Bros. to produce. 

The film opened to a $77.2 million and went on to earn $585 million worldwide. 

The only difference is Smith's science-fiction flick—also loosely based on Richard Matheson's novel of the same name—didn't open in the summer. Rather, it debuted December of 2007. 

"World War Z" was originally slated for a December 2012 release before being pushed back. 

Gomez's Starlight Entertainment is tracking the film to draw similar numbers to "I Am Legend," noting Brad Pitt's universal appeal should also help the film at the box office. 

"We don't think it will be a disaster, because Brad Pitt is a huge draw internationally and the film's spectacle and PG-13 rating will cross demos," Jeff Gomez, CEO of Starlight Runner Entertainment tells Business Insider. "If the film doesn't gel from a narrative standpoint, or gets a negative response through social media on the first weekend in the States, we still see it doing comparable box office to "I Am Legend." 

What will it take for the film to be profitable?  

Right now, BoxOffice.com is tracking the film to earn $40 million opening weekend and $105 million domestically.

For a film more than a month away, the figure is calculated through looking at traction on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter as well as historical figures for similar films and big players in any movie. In this case, that would be Brad Pitt. 

However, $40 million is a far reach from $400 million. In order to get there, it will need to pick up steam at home.   

"If this movie doesn't hit $100 million domestic, then it's in a lot of trouble,"— Phil Contrino, VP/Chief Analyst, BoxOffice

"$150 million would be the goal in North America to start really thinking, 'Okay, we can maybe get to $400 [million],'" says Contrino. "But, $150 million here seems like a long shot at this point." 

Contrino says Paramount should start worrying if the film doesn't hit the $100 million mark in North America.  

"If this movie doesn't hit $100 million domestic, then it's in a lot of trouble. It needs to at least do that," says Contrino. "It would be a bad sign for overseas [earnings] as well. $100 million would be a definite disappointment for something like this." 

To reach blockbuster-sized status, Paramount will have to overcome more hurdles than just an inflated budget, but other variables that may effect the film's success: 

An Inexperienced Film Crew 

Brad Pitt World War ZVanity Fair suggests the reason Pitt was able to work on his passion project at Paramount was because he's friends with Paramount Pictures chairman and chief executive, Brad Grey, who co-founded Pitt's production company. 

"World War Z" will be Pitt's first time as both producer and star of a film. 

His previous credits as a producer include 2011's "Moneyball" and Oscar-nominated "The Tree of Life." At Paramount, Pitt produced "Eat Pray Love" starring Julia Roberts which earned $204 million worldwide. 

Director Marc Foster ("Monsters Ball,""Finding Neverland") has one action flick under his belt, 2008's James Bond sequel "Quantum of Solace."  

While the film had monetary box office appeal earning $586 million at theaters, it received a lot of backlash from fans and critics alike 

Grey acknowledged Foster's limited experience in blockbuster films, and Paramount answered by hiring an experienced crew to work with them and to more or less experiment with "World War Z."

From Vanity Fair: 

"Paramount surrounded Forster and Pitt (as a producer) with a highly trained crew experienced with making expensive, special-effect-driven action movies. 'What you want to do, in my judgement, is breed more producers and directors who know how to make these pictures,' said Grey. 'That is not an easy thing to do. Mistakes can be made if you don't have experience. But I think it's good, when all is said and done, to learn trial by fire.'"

A Storyline That Strays Far From Source Material 

world war z bookOne of the main reasons people are so hyped for "World War Z" is because it's based on Max Brooks' 2006 novel. 

For those unfamiliar with the book, it doesn't take place during a zombie war, but after it. The story follows a U.N. employee interviewing survivors about their experiences during the zombie apocalypse. 

However, when the plot came out, suggesting the film would take a different route it was a massive let down to fans and bloggers. 

It will be a lot different. 

Brad Pitt set out for the film to be a passion project, reflecting Brooks' novel; however, he admitted to Lindelof it was altered heavily. 

"When we started working on the script, a lot of that stuff had to fall away for the story to come together," Pitt told Lindelof. 

Vanity Fair revealed just how different the film will be from the novel: 

"Carnahan [the second screenwriter for 'World War Z'] deviated significantly from Brooks's book, scrapping the first-person accounts and basing the story on a former United Nations field specialist and family man named Gerry Lane, who was not a character in Brooks's manuscript but was borrowed from Straczynski's [the first 'World War Z' screenwriter] draft. The movie became an action adventure, with Lane forced to leave his wife and two daughters to hopscotch the globe." 

Contrino doesn't think this will affect the box-office draw at all citing other films that have strayed from source material including Harry Potter. 

However, Gomez thinks the adaptation of this book could be crucial not only to the success of this stand-alone film, but for Paramount's hopes at turning this into a franchise. 

"If the filmmakers have abandoned logic for the sake of cool visuals, an essential aspect of this potential franchise will be short-changed, and the movie may not do as well," says Gomez.

A Big Name Who May Not Bring The Money Anymore

Pitt's theater appeal may not be as large as Paramount thinks it to be.

The actor's last films haven't been spectacular draws to the box office either. The Weinstein Company's fall 2012 release "Killing Them Softly" bombed opening weekend earning $6.8 million. 

He hasn't had a big hit at theaters since 2009's "Inglorious Basterds" and that earned $321 million worldwide.

The only Pitt films to ever gross more than $400 million worldwide are "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" ($478 million) and "Ocean's Eleven" ($450 million).

So is it a definite Hollywood bust? 

men in black 3The film has the odds stacked against it, but absolutely not. 

For one thing, a lot of movies have problems on set.  

"The trickle-down effect from that story [Vanity Fair] can be potentially harmful," says Contrino. "It's not the kind of publicity you want before you open a movie, but I think often too much is made over a movie going over budget and the release date being pushed back. That kind of stuff happens more often than you know about." 

One recent example to look at is "Men in Black III." Sony's third film in the franchise suffered from multiple delays, rewrites, and a demanding Will Smith who reportedly had a $9,000 per month trailer for the film. 

"Just because those things happen to a movie, doesn't mean it's going to be a disaster,"— Phil Contrino, VP/Chief Analyst, BoxOffice

The film cost a whopping estimated $250 million to produce. Granted, "MIB3" was a sequel; however, it went on to become one of the most successful movies of 2012 scoring $624 million worldwide

Overall, Contrino doesn't think the on-set horror stories will have a big effect on the movie going experience.  

"Just because those things happen to a movie, doesn't mean it's going to be a disaster," says Contrino. "If they [Paramount] already spent that much on the production side, they're not just going to sit back. Expect a huge marketing push to try and salvage some profitability." 

We still have more than a month until "World War Z" hits theaters June 14. 

For now, check out the latest trailer:

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The First 'Iron Man' Was Supposed To Feature The Mandarin As The Villain


iron man 3 ben kingsleyEven if you haven't seen "Iron Man 3" yet, you're probably aware from the numerous trailers that the main villain is pitted as The Mandarin. 

It appeared a conscious choice given the character is considered Tony Stark's primary arch nemesis in the comics. 

It also allowed the series to come full circle. 

If you recall from the first film, a terrorist group kidnapped Stark named "The Ten Rings." It was a simple nod to The Mandarin who wears ten magical rings.  

It turns out the villain was supposed to be the primary bad guy in the first film.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, "Iron Man" trilogy producer and Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige said the role just "didn't work":  

“He [The Mandarin] was in every Iron Man 1 script until about 10 weeks before we started filming,” says Feige. “He was a contemporary of Tony Stark. He was younger. He was involved in business deals with [Stark.]” This Mandarin was trying to secure Stark’s vast weapons manufacturing resources, and Jeff Bridges’ character — Obadiah Stane, a mentor of Stark’s, would have been a kind of sidekick villain. “We’d have revealed that Obadiah was the mole on the inside,” Feige says. “But it did’t work. It didn’t work.” 

Instead, we received Jeff Bridges as a villain.

"Iron Man 3" has already taken in a massive $680 million at theaters worldwide.

SEE ALSO: Iron Man 3's mindblowing opening weekend in 4 charts >

More "Iron Man": Fans are torn over the big twist in the new film >

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Big Data Firm Claims To Know The Secrets To A Successful Hollywood Script


Oz the great and powerful

The rise of big data is taking hold in Hollywood.

Studios are becoming more and more reliant on consultants to make decisions at every point of production.

A major advocate of this trend is former statistics professor Vinny Bruzzese, who has started aggressively pitching the script evaluation services of his company, Worldwide Motion Picture Group (MPG), according to a New York Times profile.

For as much as $20,000 per script, Bruzzese and his analysts will break down the script and compare it to other movies in an extensive database. MPG uses data from focus group results for similar films, a survey of 1,500 potential moviegoers, analyzes similar film genres and how they have fared, and ad tests for movies.

The price sounds like a bargain compared to traditional script doctors who can charge between $250,000-$300,000 per week, according to Variety.

Do MPG's insights really help? Unfortunately their contributions to movies remain closely guarded secrets.

The only insights mentioned in the Times were that bowling scenes and demonic possessions don't work in movies and guardian superheroes do better than cursed superheroes.

We, however, are not sure where Bruzzese is going with this advice.  Films with bowling scenes range from "The Big Lebowski" to the climactic scene of "There Will Be Blood."Cursed" superheroes could hint toward "Hellboy" and "The Hulk." However, 2007's "Ghost Rider" spun off a sequel last year. Spider Man could be considered a cursed hero and his movies have made more than $3 billion at theaters worldwide

Regardless, MPG is proud of its track record for script consulting and other services, as described on its website:

Since 2005, we have conducted research testing hundreds of films, 109 of which each went on to gross domestically over 100 million at the box office. 45 have been nominated and have won Golden Globes and Oscars.
 Of those 45:

  • 67 Golden Globe nominations, leading to 21 wins.
  • 85 Oscar nominations, leading to 27 wins, including Best Picture.

We have tested films in every genre, including animation, documentary and short films, compiling a significant database of benchmarks with which to compare results.

Clients include every major motion picture studio and over 100 production companies, both indie and mainstream.

Screenwriters aren't so sure.

"The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" screenwriter Ol Parker told the NYT he finds the process too mechanic. 

"It’s the enemy of creativity, nothing more than an attempt to mimic that which has worked before," said Parker. "It can only result in an increasingly bland homogenization, a pell-mell rush for the middle of the road." 

Others including producer Scott Steindorff ("The Lincoln Lawyer") believe "everyone is going to be doing this soon."

SEE ALSO: Is 'World War Z' the next big Hollywood flop? >

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Kids Battle For Earth's Future In The First 'Ender's Game' Trailer


enders game asa butterfield

The first trailer for "Ender's Game" is here, and it's full of gorgeous landscape shots, Harrison Ford narration, and Ben Kingsley—fresh out of his "Iron Man 3" role—covered in facial tattoos.

The film, based on the 1985 novel from Orson Scott Card, is set in a futuristic Earth preparing to undergo battle with an alien race (Formics) for a third time. 

Director Gavin Hood ("X-Men Origins: Wolverine") brings us the adaptation ripe with Oscar nominee talent in Ford, Viola Davia, Abigail Breslin, and Oscar-winner, Kingsley. 

The main protagonist, Ender, is played by Asa Butterfield ("Hugo"). 

For those unfamiliar with the story, the first 50 seconds of the trailer play similar to another anticipated alien film due out this summer, Guillermo del Toro's "Pacific Rim."  

However, instead of equipping men with the task to relinquish the Earth of aliens, children are sent to military school to combat the threat.

"Ender's Game" comes to theaters November 1.

Here's a shot of that beautiful landscape we were talking about from the trailer: 

enders game

SEE ALSO: Is "World War Z" the next big Hollywood flop? >

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