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Jennifer Lawrence has an explanation of her polarizing new movie 'Mother!' that she wants you to read before seeing it


Mother Paramount Pictures

Darren Aronofsky's "Mother!" has alienated viewers and won over some critics, but Jennifer Lawrence, the film's star, has an explanation of the divisive movie that she wants viewers to hear before going into it. 

Lawrence told Entertainment Weekly that Aronofsky, her partner, told her about the "allegory"behind "Mother!" before he wrote the script, and she thinks audiences should know what to look for while watching it. 

"It was the most unique sounding movie I’d ever heard, and incredibly brave," Lawrence said. "I feel like there’s different schools of thought on this movie. Some think: don’t tell anyone anything, let them figure it out on their own. I feel like it’s better to know and understand the metaphor and allegories because then you know what you are looking at. I’ve been spilling the themes and metaphors all over town!”

She went on to unpack the film's environmental and religious themes, which dictated how the cast approached its filming on set.

"The movie was called 'Day Six' [on set]: it could be about the creation and the end of the universe," she said. "You have the creation of man and women and then the corruption of man and woman and then overpopulation and creation of religion and so on and so forth. ... So what he's saying is this is the entire world, This is our one earth. This is all our sink. So stop bouncing on it!"

"Mother!" earned Lawrence her career-worst opening last week, and it received an "F" grade from CinemaScore, a company that polls audience reaction to opening weekend movies.

SEE ALSO: 'Mother!' has had the most divided reaction of any film this year

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I went to a drive-in movie theater for the first time and I was blown away


drive in photo final

The INSIDER Summary:

  • I went to a drive-in theater for the first time in Warwick, New York, to see "It."
  • I was so blown away by the experience that I wish I never had to go back to a regular movie theater.
  • Unfortunately, drive-ins are a dying business that rely on nostalgia to stay afloat.

Ever since the famous scene from "Grease," I've always wanted to go on a date to a drive-in theater (preferably without being "stranded at the drive-in" like Danny Zuko). Unfortunately, drive-ins are a dying breed. According to the drive-in database, there are only 323 operating drive-in movie theaters in the entire country, and most of them are in rural communities, far from the Long Island suburb where I grew up.

This past weekend, my childhood bucket list wish came true when I went to see Stephen King's "It" at a drive-in theater in Warwick, New York, with my boyfriend. The evening was so unlike any other movie-going experience I ever had that it completely ruined "normal" movie nights for me. I wish I never had to go to a regular theater again.

Sadly, I live about two hours from the nearest drive-in theater, so it will remain a special occasion trip for me. However, here's why drive-ins rule.

There's a sense of small town community

When we pulled up to the drive-in to buy tickets, we were greeted by the local high school soccer club looking to raise money for their team. They handed out coupons for ticket and popcorn discounts, with some profits donated directly to their school's athletic club. Most movie theaters are owned by giant corporations so they all have the same soulless vibe, but the Warwick Drive-in felt more personal: an outdoor theater in a small town staffed by locals with regular events for the community.

Drive in Theater

It's more comfortable to sit in your car

Let's face it — unless your local movie theater is one of those theaters that's replacing seats with full-on La-Z-Boy recliners, movie theater seats are pretty uncomfortable. At the Warwick drive-in, unless you have a packed car, you can tilt your seat back, relax, and have plenty of room for snacks — minus the sticky floors. I even saw some movie-goers park their cars backwards, pop the trunk, and spread out a picnic blanket to watch the movie under the stars. 

You don't have to stay silent 

My boyfriend and I happened to see a pretty terrifying movie (I highly recommend seeing "It" by the way), so it helped to get through the scary parts by making some commentary out loud ("Oh no! Look out for the clown!""Did they really just do that?") without fear of being shushed. 

Since each movie-going group is in their own private, relatively-soundproof space, the atmosphere is less stiff and more casual. You don't have to spend your date or outing with friends sitting in silence for two hours — you can interact with what's on the screen in front of you (and even sneak a text or two). 

It's more of a destination

Drive-in theater

Drive-in theaters are more destinations than regular theaters in part because they're such a rare, retro throwback to the golden age of cinema. But drive-ins are also a destination even if you live relatively close by. At the Warwick drive-in, you have to arrive at least an hour early to get a good viewing spot. But don't worry about being bored — there are park benches, a playground slide, and a giant grassy area for kids to play on and parents to picnic while waiting for the movie to start.

Plus, at most drive-in theaters, your ticket covers the cost of a double feature, so you can watch two movies for the price of one. 

Check out this list of drive-in theaters around the country to find one near you.  

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The original ‘Lion King' director says he has one fear about the live-action movie being made


scar simba lion king

The INSIDER Summary:

  • Disney is working on a live-action adaptation of "The Lion King" from director Jon Favreau.
  • It's set for a July 19, 2019 release date.
  • One of the original codirectors Rob Minkoff told INSIDER he met with Favreau to discuss the movie and even visited the set. 
  • Minkoff says he wore a VR headset that let him fly around Pride Rock. 
  • He shared that the movie will mostly be the same, with a few deviations from the animated version.
  • Minkoff is hopeful they'll do a good job given how the animated movie was successfully adapted into a Broadway show. His only concern is that fans don't love it more than the original animated movie.

Production on the live-action version of "The Lion King" is underway.

If you're worried about Disney turning another one of its animated classics into a live-action movie, it has the blessing of at least one of the original movie's directors.

"It's incredible that the movie has sort of stayed relevant as long as it has,""The Lion King" director Rob Minkoff told INSIDER at Disney's D23 Expo in July.

The animated movie has a deep legacy. And Minkoff feels the inevitable live-action movie will enhance it just like the Broadway show that launched in 1997.

"The Broadway show took it into kind of a different realm and traveled all around the world for such a long time," he said. "And now being remade into another new film that's kind of incredible that it's happening. It's actually very exciting." 

Minkoff and producer Don Hahn both received a heads up from Sean Bailey, the president of Walt Disney Studios productions, the day before the live-action movie was announced.

rob minkoff don hahn lion king

"The studio's been really deferential to us and respectful, which is not a given," Hahn said. "There's nothing in our background that says they need to do that, but they have been."

Currently, the movie is set for a 2019 release. It's one of nearly two dozen live-action adaptations Disney has planned for its animated classics for the foreseeable future. "The Lion King" will be directed by Jon Favreau ("Iron Man"), who recently adapted another one of Disney's animated classics, "The Jungle Book," to rousing success. That movie made over $966 million at the box office worldwide.

So far, Donald Glover has been cast as the adult voice of Simba, the role originated by Matthew Broderick in the 1994 movie. James Earl Jones will reprise his role as Mufasa and John Oliver will voice his advisor, Zazu. Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen are in talks to bring Timon and Pumbaa to the big screen.

the lion king cast

Hahn, who recently served as executive producer on the live-action "Beauty and the Beast" adaptation, told us he'll be serving as a producer on "The Lion King" as well. 

For fans concerned about another one of Disney's beloved classics getting the live-action treatment, they'll be happy to know Minkoff has been in touch with Favreau about the new film. 

"I did get a chance to go and visit their set with Jon, who I've known for some years, and he was very, very gracious about it. Very kind," said Minkoff. "[Favreau] actually said he had an experience [after] he made the movie 'Elf.' When it was made into a Broadway show, nobody ever called him." 

will ferrelll jon favreau elf

Favreau wanted to do right by one of Disney's all-time classics. So after the two ran into each other in Burbank one day, the two got together to catch up and talk about the film. 

"We went to lunch and had a great conversation about it and [Favreau] invited me to go and check out what they were doing, and it was really cool to put on the VR headset and fly around Pride Rock," said Minkoff of his time on set. "So I think it's going to be a different movie, mostly the same, but different."

"Obviously, treating them as more realistic animals means they're not going to have quite the same articulation and expressions that we would have in the traditional animation," he quickly added. "But they're just at the beginning stages of it."

So maybe don't expect to see Simba making any silly faces mocking Zazu during the watering hole scene where he sings about his dreams to rule the Pride lands. 

lion king simba funny face

Favreau debuted a near shot-for-shot recreation of film's opening to fans at at July's D23 Expo that received a standing ovation. While Minkoff said he had seen some material, he wasn't sure if it was what was shown at D23 Expo at the time he spoke with INSIDER.

jon favreau

"The way Jon talked about the film, he was like there's a great love and reverence for the original film and they don't want to disappoint people," said Minkoff. "That's their big question: What should be the same and what should be different? And so they're really going through that process and kind of feeling their way through it to try to make it its own thing."

Whether that means that they add in some deleted scenes or musical numbers that weren’t in the original animated movie remains to be seen. Both Minkoff and Hahn told INSIDER it’s still early days in production to know where they'll land creatively on that.

"The movie is more than 20 years old at this point, so it's sort of like trying to give it a slightly different, maybe different kind of a comedic edge, or whatever it is. With any movie, you don't really know what it is until it's done, until you see the film," said Minkoff of the live-action adaptation. "But [Favreau] was very respectful and sort of said [that] obviously it's a very important legacy for the company. It's become a huge part of Disney history. They're all taking it very seriously. I hope they do a good job."

the lion king hakuna matata

Minkoff said he has a lot of faith in the live-action production because of how the animated movie was adapted for its Broadway musical. He said they were originally unsure of how that would turn out.

"We got together with [then Disney CEO] Michael Eisner at the time and he said, 'OK, we're going to do this.' And they had done 'Beauty and the Beast,' which was a fairly faithful recreation of the movie on stage. And we were all like, 'If it's too faithful it's going to be terrible.' People running around doing like 'Cats,' it's going to be awkward and odd," Minkoff said of an original concern some had for "The Lion King" on Broadway. 

But then it was suggested it would be great if they had Julie Taymor direct, who, at the time had adapted several Shakespeare plays into plays and movies.

The Lion King

Taymor's vision was a hit from the time the show debuted in summer 1997. The show has had productions in over 20 locations worldwide including Tokyo, Madrid, Shanghai, Paris, and Mexico City. In 2014, the Broadway musical surpassed sales of "Phantom of the Opera" to become the most successful stage musical of all time, grossing over $6.2 billion worldwide. 

"She was exactly the right person to do it," Minkoff said. "She made it different. She made it right for the stage. She wasn't so bound by the film, and what she brought to it made it a unique, special, incredible thing which is why it's so successful and so powerful and has lasted so long."

"I'm hoping the film is the same [as the Broadway show], because obviously I don't want people who love our movie to suddenly love that movie more," Minkoff added of Favreau's forthcoming live-action adaptation. "Truthfully, that is the only thing that worries me."

"The Lion King" is set to debut in theaters July 19, 2019. If that's too far away, you can get your fix of the Circle of Life on the newly released signature collection for the animated movie on Blu-ray and DVD. 

SEE ALSO: Disney showed a shot-for-shot recreation of the opening from 'The Lion King' live-action movie and fans went nuts

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Why Olivia Munn actually lost money acting in 'Ocean's Eight'


olivia munn

Actress Olivia Munn has a cameo in the upcoming all-female heist thriller "Ocean's Eight," but the brief role apparently cost her rather than made her money. 

Munn told Entertainment Weekly Radio that she had to pay up front for her expensive wardrobe for the scene she appeared in, which took place at the annual Met Gala in New York City — and she received no reimbursement. 

"It's a whole scene at the Met Ball and they're like, 'Do your own glam.' I got the dress, all that, and then you submit the bills for it because I'm part of your movie," she said. 

"But the bills come right back to you," she continued. "It actually cost me money to be in 'Ocean's Eight.'"

"Ocean's Eight" stars Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Rihanna, Anne Hathaway, and several other notable names.

It is an extension of the "Ocean's" film series, and it's slated for release on June 8, 2018.

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25 new photos from 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' were just released — here they all are


star wars the last jedi rey luke

Disney and Lucasfilm released a bunch of new photos for "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" Tuesday and they tease new looks at Rey, Luke Skywalker, Captain Phasma, Kylo Ren, and more. 

There are also a few great behind-the-scenes images featuring the cast and crew on set and out of character. If some look familiar, it's because they were featured in footage released at Disney's D23 Expo in July.

With so many new photos out we're hoping it means it's time for a new trailer soon? We've only had one teaser trailer so far ahead of the film's December 15 release. Mark Hamill himself hinted one could be coming October 9

For now, keep reading to see all of the new photos teasing "The Last Jedi."


"The Last Jedi" will kick off where the last "Star Wars" ended with Rey and Luke Skywalker's first interaction.

We finally have a high-res look at Skywalker (Mark Hamill) reaching out for his original lightsaber from Rey.

Rey will presumably be training with Skywalker on Ahch-To much like how Skywalker trained with Yoda after finding him in "The Empire Strikes Back."

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

7 reasons why Jennifer Lawrence's new horror movie flopped


mother movie screenshot jennifer lawrence

This post includes minor spoilers for "Mother!"

Jennifer Lawrence's new movie "Mother!" bombed at the box office this past weekend. It made $7.5 million domestically on a $30 million budget.

Together with grosses from international markets, "Mother!" is probably going to end up grossing just about its budget. That means it'll lose money, after marketing and distribution costs are accounted for.

It's Jennifer Lawrence's worst box office performance yet for a wide release, making even less money than the hated and forgotten "House at the End of the Street" in 2012.

Its failures were a mixture of marketing strategy, bad timing, and just some inherent elements with the nature of the film. Here's what went wrong.

1. The marketing was too mysterious.

The trailers for "Mother!" didn't give much away. You know that Javier Bardem and Jennifer Lawrence live together in a creepy house, and also that Michelle Pfeiffer and Ed Harris show up. Besides that, it's not clear what's causing the terror in the horror movie.

Withholding information about the movie in the marketing can work really, really well. Take "Inception" and "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," for example. But those movies, at least, had dazzling images and intriguing premises to share. Paris folds over itself, Jedis disappear when a new dark force rises in the galaxy. With "Mother!," all we know is that Jennifer Lawrence is terrified in a moldy-looking house. It's creepy, sure, but not compelling enough.

2. It faced off against the most popular R-rated movie in half a century.

"Mother!" had the unfortunate timing of opening at the box office on the second weekend of the most popular R-rated horror movie since "The Exorcist." "It"smashed the September box office weekend record with $123 million.

If you're planning to see an R-rated horror movie, which are you going to see? The really popular one beloved by critics? Or the one no one knows anything about?

it pennywise clown movie

Exactly. "It" made $60 million its second weekend, which is remarkable staying power, since horror movies typically drop around 60 to 70 percentage points on their second weekend. The movie totally overwhelmed "Mother!" at the box office.

3. "Mother!" didn't make sense as a wide release in the first place.

There are, broadly speaking, two strategies for distributing a movie in theaters.

One is called a "wide release," which is when the distributor books thousands of screens to show the movie on its opening weekend. Based on box office performance, the number of screens dwindle over time. This strategy is normally reserved for broadly appealing movies made by bigger studios.

The other is called a "limited release." With that strategy, the distributor typically books a single-digit number of screens in major cities for the opening weekend. Based on box office performance and word of mouth, it books more screens over subsequent weeks to get the movie in front of more people. This strategy is normally reserved for movies that likely have a more niche audience, movies that are meant to win Oscars, and/or movies that need buzz to compensate for a marketing budget that can't sell it to an enormous audience at once.

black swan

"Mother!" is a violent, uncompromising artistic vision that definitely belongs in the second camp. Paramount, the movie's distributor, seems to have wanted to get a huge audience based on Jennifer Lawrence's and Javier Bardem's star power, and based on director Darren Aronofsky's previous movie "Black Swan."

It didn't work. "Black Swan" itself started out as a limited release itself, as did Lawrence's arthousey movies, like "Silver Linings Playbook" and "Winter's Bone." Paramount deserves props for believing in a director's darling like "Mother!," but it was just the wrong movie for that kind of strategy.

4. The people who hated it hated it.

Looking at the chatter on Twitter, you'd never know that "Mother!" was mostly well-received by critics. According to Rotten Tomatoes, 68% of critics gave it a positive review, which isn't amazing, but it's nothing to sneeze at either.

Audiences were less than enthusiastic. The movie got an "F" from Cinemascore, which measures audience reviews. ("The Emoji Movie" got a C, so take that for what you will.)

The people who disliked the movie disliked it a lot, and were venomous on social media. That kind of environment made it hard for good word-of-mouth to spread.

5. People weren't into the allegorical nature of the movie.

"Mother!" is a lot of things. Among them, it's an allegory for environmental protection using symbolism from the Bible. The dark Aesop's fable-type register of the movie didn't work for a lot of people.

6. It doesn't help that Aronofsky and Lawrence are spending all of their time explaining it.

In the past week, Aronofsky and Lawrence have been giving interview after interview trying to clarify the movie to potential audience members. It's just doing more damage. Their efforts are awkward and make them seem more annoying.

Take this one, where a reporter from Entertainment Weekly asked Lawrence what she thought the movie was about. Here's what Lawrence answered:

"I have different answers. One of them in short is: the movie was called Day Six [on set]: it could be about the creation and the end of the universe. You have the creation of man and women and then the corruption of man and woman and then overpopulation and creation and religion and so on and so forth."

Aronofsky in particular is being relentlessly mocked on social media for the way he talks about his movie. Here's his explanation of the title:

"The very first thing I wrote — before I started on the script — were the six letters of ‘mother’ and then I paused for a second. I remember this so clearly: I pressed shift-1 and put the exclamation point. That title was there before I wrote a word."

It doesn't help that he named the movie with a lowercase "m" for a really dumb reason. Nor do his questionable fashion choices.

If you're explaining your movie to an audience, either your movie is too dumb, or you think your audience is too dumb to get it. Neither is a good look.

7. It's just really violent.

A cult kills a baby, tears it to pieces, eats it, and beats up Jennifer Lawrence. It's not easy to recommend to friends.

OK, but should I still watch it?

Leaving the internet chatter aside, "Mother!" is a great movie, in this critic's opinion.

If you're into bombastic, fun, funny, and over-the-top horror with a messy message about creativity, it's fascinating to behold.

It's also worth noting that Paramount will be just fine. The movie cost $30 million, which isn't so big for a major studio. They think it's worth the artistic virtues. The studio has also released a bunch of insane movies this year, like "Monster Trucks" and "Transformers: The Last Knight."

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J.J. Abrams' decision to direct a new 'Star Wars' movie is upsetting another studio paying him $10 million


jj abrams

For "Star Wars" fans, J.J. Abrams is perceived as the savior of the latest trilogy of the saga, as the director of "The Force Awakens" has agreed to take over production on "Star Wars: Episode IX" following the departure of original director Colin Trevorrow.

But that's not how it looks over at Paramount.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Abrams is currently under a $10-million-a-year contract in overhead and development with the studio. It's been his home since his feature debut in 2006 with "Mission: Impossible III," and his departure to go and make another "Star Wars" movie means the studio brass have to once more wait for Abrams to sprinkle his box office magic on one of their titles.

Abrams always called directing "The Force Awakens" a once in a lifetime job, and because of that, then head of Paramount Brad Grey was gracious enough to let Abrams jump over to Disney/Lucasfilm to make the movie. (Though he made sure Abrams' next movie would be at Paramount, according to the trade.)

But with "The Force Awakens" earning over $1 billion at the global box office, and breaking countless records, Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy had Abrams on speed dial when she needed someone reliable to take over "Episode IX."

That left current Paramount chairman and CEO Jim Gianopulos with two choices: defy the powerful Lucasfilm and Disney machine and make it difficult for Abrams to take the movie, or sit on his hands and wait a little longer.

He chose the latter.

star trek into darknessbenedict cumberbatch Abrams' last movie for Paramount was 2013's "Star Trek Into Darkness," which earned over $460 million worldwide. He was also a producer on studio hits "Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation" and "10 Cloverfield Lane" in 2015. Since then, he's been engulfed in the "Star Wars" saga. And with no finished script yet for "Episode IX," and the release date pushed to December 2019, Abrams' deal with Paramount will have expired by the time he's done (it ends the summer of 2018).

For his troubles, THR reports that Gianopulos has received money from Disney to compensate the loss of Abrams. But not that much: sources say it's less than seven figures. And the problem with giving a director a big contract like Paramount gave Abrams: "How to enforce them is as complicated as the deals themselves," one source told THR.

But if Paramount didn't do the deal with Abrams, another studio would have. So Gianopulos and Paramount, which THR reports will likely renew their deal with Abrams after the summer 2018 expiration date, continue to wait for Abrams to come back home and give them a hit. 

SEE ALSO: How the smartest movie-theater owner in the country has severely jeopardized his company's brand

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The 'It' movie originally had another script — here are 15 ways it could have been different


it pennywise clown movie

When "Ithit theaters earlier this month, it arrived with a screenplay credited to Cary Fukunaga, Chase Palmer, and Gary Dauberman.

Those first two names are a vestige of an earlier incarnation of the movie, which was primed to be Fukunaga’s follow-up to "Beasts of No Nation" until the director parted ways with New Line over budget cuts, which he reportedly felt would "compromise his artistic vision."

The studio eventually hired Andy Muschietti to direct the film, and given the box office, you’ve got to figure everyone’s pretty happy with how "It" turned out. Fukunaga’s original script has been floating around online for a while, and it makes for fascinating post-viewing reading. The movie that’s in theaters keeps most of the skeleton of Fukunaga and Palmer’s version, but there are a few key differences.

Grab a flashlight and a gang of nerdy teens, and let’s explore.

SEE ALSO: 7 reasons why Jennifer Lawrence's new horror movie flopped

Pennywise looked different.

Here’s how Fukunaga and Palmer envision the infamous clown: “Not Bozo, or Ronald McDonald, but something more old world, freakish, like that of a 19th-century acrobat — bald, lithe, almost child-like."

Fukunaga considered Ben Mendelsohn and Mark Rylance for the part, but he eventually cast the younger Will Poulter. (Poulter left the project with Fukunaga, leaving room for Bill Skarsgård to jump in.)

Everyone knew Georgie got his arm ripped off.

In the finished film, Bill holds out hope that his little brother is still alive, and his search for Georgie motivates a lot of the action. Not so in the original draft, where it’s common knowledge that the poor boy suffered a terrible death.

There were more parents around.

Bill’s mom has actual lines, and she and the dad (who’s anachronistically named Zach) have a tiny arc about getting over Georgie's death.

Beverly’s mom’s in the picture, too. Unfortunately, this doesn’t make Bev’s home life any better: Mom is heavily drugged-up, and she has a gross scene where she lectures a squeamish Beverly about periods, then holds up a bloody tampon.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Jake Gyllenhaal delivers an incredibly powerful performance in 'Stronger' that could lead to Oscar consideration


stronger movie lionsgate

Jake Gyllenhaal has shown for over a decade that he has an impeccable ability to choose roles that can highlight his ever-expanding talents. But his latest role could get him his first Oscar nomination since 2006's "Brokeback Mountain."

In "Stronger" the actor plays Jeff Bauman, the real-life man who lost both his legs in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. In the movie, Bauman is a free-spirit Bostonian who, like most in the city, grinds out his days so he can race to cheer on his beloved Red Sox, Bruins, or Patriots (depending on the time of year) at a nearby bar with friends and family. But after the bombing, Bauman suddenly becomes the unlikely face of the "Boston Strong" motto the nation uses to recover. That brings Bauman a level of celebrity he never wanted.

Gyllenhaal plays Bauman in two parts. Before the bombing he's a free spirit who can sweet-talk anyone to get his way. And when it comes to his ex-girlfriend, Erin (Tatiana Maslany from "Orphan Black"), he lays on the charm big time, even promising her that he'll be at the finish line to root her on at the marathon — a decision that leads to his horrific injury. Following the bombing, the charismatic smile is gone and Bauman, along with family members, is left trying to navigate a world that can't get enough of him after he not only survived the blast but also helped the police identify one of the bombers.

For both versions of Bauman, Gyllenhaal goes all-in, delivering a tour-de-force performance that is the heart and soul of the movie. But the secret weapon of "Stronger" is Tatiana Maslany.

stronger 2 lionsgate

As Erin, Maslany plays a woman riddled with guilt as she feels responsible for what happened to Bauman.

Though the horrific event brought them back together, Erin struggles with becoming a part of his close-knit family, especially getting the approval of his often tipsy mother (played by Miranda Richardson). Erin is the person who keeps Bauman driven through his rehab and comforts him during his mental trauma.

It's her refusal to enable Bauman during his darkest moments that finally makes him realize how vital she is to him and what his life means to others.

Maslany's performance resembles Amy Adams' in "The Fighter," where Adams played an outsider trying to fit in with a dysfunctional family as she fell for the boxer "Irish" Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg). The role garnered Adams an Oscar nomination for best supporting actress. Maslany is worthy of the same attention.

At the helm of "Stronger" is David Gordon Green ("Pineapple Express"), who once more shows he can direct any genre. But he wisely stays in the background, keeping the storytelling by the numbers. He pushes all the much-deserved attention on his stellar cast.

"Stronger" opens in theaters Friday.

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The real-life con man played by Leonardo DiCaprio in 'Catch Me If You Can' says check fraud is 'a thousand times easier' today


catch me if you can

The former con-man portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio in the 2002 film "Catch Me If You Can" says that it's now "a thousand times easier" to write fraudulent checks against your bank account than it was during his criminal heyday. 

Frank Abagnale Jr., the former convicted scam artist turned FBI fraud-security consultant, told the Wall Street Journal on Thursday that check forging has become a much simpler art in the age of modern technology. 

"Today, one simply sits down, opens a laptop and says, 'Who's my victim today?'" Abagnale said. 

He went on to walk the WSJ interviewer through the "simple" and minute processes of common check fraud, tracing a step-by-step example of a convenience-store check payment:

"Think about this: You go into a convenience store today and write a check for $9. You have to hand the clerk the check with your name and address, phone number, your bank’s name and address, your account number at your bank, the routing number into your account. That’s your wiring instructions. Your signature that’s on the signature card at your bank. ...

Anyone who would see the face of that check—from the clerk who took it at the counter to the one that made the night deposit—could draft on your bank account tomorrow, would have all the drafting instructions. Or they could go online [and order checks] that look exactly like your checks, but put their name on it and put your account number on it. So every check they write gets debited against your account. It’s so simple to do."

Abagnale spent five years in prison in the 1970s after he was arrested for running a series of notorious scams from 1965 until 1970.

His criminal check fraud enterprise, posing as a credentialed pilot, doctor, and lawyer as a teenager, and eventual career as a security consultant with the FBI (upon release from prison) were the subject of Steven Spielberg's "Catch Me If You Can." 

Read the Wall Street Journal interview here.

SEE ALSO: The 20 actors who have made the most money at the U.S. box office

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A director who tried to charge white men more to see his new movie says he's getting death threats


shiraz higgins

Canadian filmmaker Shiraz Higgins is navigating the backlash following a controversial ticket pricing he proposed for his new movie, which has since led to a flood of racist comments and even death threats.

For the September 28 premiere in Victoria, British Columbia of his new movie, "Building the Room," a documentary about stand-up comics, Higgins wanted to charge white males $20 while women paid $10 for tickets to the screening.

Calling it "justice-pricing," Higgins did an interview with The Canadian Press earlier this week using the false name "Sid Mohammed" to promote it, as he was concerned about the backlash if he used his real name. Higgins claims the email address he created for the pseudonym has since gotten death threats. He also said his cast and crew have suffered "racist attacks."

Higgins then lowered the price for "White Cis-Straight Able-Bodied Males" to $15, everyone else would pay $10.

Many have called this a publicity stunt by Higgins, as he's known to pull stunts in the past. A few years ago, he invited reporters to meet a Salvation Army youth pastor who was allegedly endorsing gay marriage, but in reality the pastor was an actor, and the bit appeared in Higgins’ film. But Higgins told The Hollywood Reporter that the justice-pricing was not a stunt but a way to "spark a conversation about income inequality." 

"It was never intended to be a national conversation," Higgins said. "It's a local screening, featuring an unknown cast of comedians, from an unknown director, in an little known city. For some reason, the national media thought it was a story that needed to be run far and wide."

Higgins said he never intended to keep white men out of the screening. 

This comes on the heels of the Alamo Drafthouse doing women-only "Wonder Woman" screenings this past summer. The theater chain was flooded with comments on social media by men who opposed it. Drafthouse is currently involved in two lawsuits over the matter. 

SEE ALSO: How the smartest movie-theater owner in the country has severely jeopardized his company's brand

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20 modern classic movies everyone needs to watch in their lifetime



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

And if you have some time on your hands, 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.

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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 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's 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

How the director of Jake Gyllenhaal's new movie went from 'Pineapple Express' to tackling the Boston Marathon bombing


Stronger Roadside Attractions final

There aren’t many directors in Hollywood with a filmography like David Gordon Green.

In a business where if you’re lucky enough to find a niche you milk it for all its worth, Green jumped from being one of the top rising directors in the independent film world in the 1990s, to now making a diverse array of mainstream movies, from “Pineapple Express” to his latest, “Stronger” (opening in theaters on Friday).

“I always need to change it up,” Green told Business Insider while attending this year’s Toronto International Film Festival. “It’s really satisfying to be able to switch gears.”

Green certainly switches things up with “Stronger,” a look at the life of Boston Marathon bomber survivor Jeff Bauman. Played by Jake Gyllenhaal, we follow Bauman as his life completely changes after he loses both his legs in the bombing, and becomes an unlikely hero in the aftermath.

pineapple expressGreen had never made a biopic before, but diving into a new genre has never stopped him. He had never directed a comedy before the Seth Rogen/James Franco stoner comedy “Pineapple Express,” or done TV before directing episodes of HBO's cult hit "Eastbound & Down." So when he was approached to come on and help develop screenwriter John Pollono’s adaptation of Bauman’s book, he jumped at the chance.

“I’ve always been curious about what happens when people are involved in a headline news event, what their lives are like afterwards; after the headlines fade,” Green said.

In “Stronger,” he shows the good, bad, and ugly of Bauman’s life after becoming the face of “Boston Strong,” the motto that became prevalent across the nation after the bombing. Now the movie, which currently has a 96% Rotten Tomatoes score, is gaining Oscar buzz.

That’s not to say Green hasn’t struck out while attempting things that people might think are out of his lane. The Jonah Hill comedy “The Sitter” (2011) and dramedy based on the popular 2005 documentary “Our Brand Is Crisis” (2015), were both critical and financial flops, but the truth is you probably didn’t know he was the director on those movies.

And that’s what allows Green to continue being diverse in his choices. While the auteur label is loosely thrown around these days for any director who shows a bit of flair, the disadvantage of that is suddenly your work is raised to a level where you have to deliver a specific style to appease the audience, as well as the studio that you’re working for. In the case of those directors, if you don’t deliver at the box office, your days of making your kind of movies are done.

Green has evolved by doing things the complete opposite way.

Though he certainly has skill, he isn’t a show-off with it. Instead, most of the work he does is centered on the storytelling. And telling good stories will always get you work. In the case of “Stronger,” Green leaves the talents of Gyllenhaal and costar Tatiana Maslany, who plays his girlfriend in the movie, Erin, to carry the movie.

That’s also the case with the work he’s done on television. HBO comedies “Eastbound & Down” and “Vice Principals” (currently airing its second, and final, season) highlight the genius comedy of Danny McBride, but it’s often Green who is directing the episode and giving it the structure needed to tell the stories (as zany as they are).

Halloween Compass International PicturesAnd Green isn’t done changing things up. Through his production company Rough House Pictures, which Green started with McBride and “Eastbound & Down” co-creator Jody Hill, he’s about to start filming his first horror movie.

Since wrapping on “Stronger,” Green and McBride have been writing a script for the reboot of “Halloween.” Executive produced by the franchise creator John Carpenter, and produced by Blumhouse Productions (“Get Out,” "Split"), Green will also direct the movie, which is slated for release in October 2018, and will include franchise star Jamie Lee Curtis in the cast.

“It’s amazing,” Green said of working on the project. “Sitting down with John Carpenter a couple of weeks ago at his house and getting script notes, it’s crazy. And I think he’s going to do the music for it.”

Carpenter created the score for the original movie, which has since become one of the most iconic pieces of music ever put on screen.

Looking at his career, Green doesn’t knock his early work in the independent film world, like "George Washington,""All the Real Girls," and "Undertow." But he says the goal was always to get where he’s at now.

“Once ‘Pineapple Express’ happened and was successful I was able to confidently say, ‘I’d like to do a lot of different things, please,’” Green said. “Big ideas, little ideas, I like it. It's just messy and it’s fun. I’m just trying to challenge myself.”

SEE ALSO: How the smartest movie-theater owner in the country has severely jeopardized his company's brand

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'Battle of the Sexes' is uplifting, entertaining, and gets Emma Stone out of her comfort zone


battle of the sexes fox searchlight final

In 1973, at the height of the women’s liberation movement, former tennis great Bobby Riggs went up against current world number one women’s tennis pro Billie Jean King, in a match that would go down as a landmark moment in the quest for equal rights for women in the US.

A new movie, “Battle of the Sexes” (in select theaters Friday, wide release next week), delves into the match with a feel-good Hollywood vibe that touches on issues that, sadly, are still relevant 44 years later.

Perhaps the best thing directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris (“Little Miss Sunshine”) did in looking back on the spectacle of the match was expand it beyond the tennis. Though we see right from the start of the movie that King (played by Emma Stone) is headstrong in getting women tennis players the same money men get on the tour — even quitting the Association of Tennis Professionals and starting a new female circuit to prove her point — she’s also attracted to women.

This aspect of King’s life takes up much of the first half of the movie. King, the face of women’s tennis, spends most of her off-the-court time with a hairdresser named Marilyn (Andrea Riseborough). And the last thing she’ll seriously consider is the middle-of-the-night call from retired pro and gambling addict Bobby Riggs (Carell), who proposes an exhibition match between the two.

battle of the sexes 3 fox searchlight finalThings turn more dramatic in the movie when King watches Riggs destroy her tennis colleague Margaret Court (Jessica McNamee) in the first “Battle of the Sexes” match. Feeling it’s her obligation to redeem her sport, and the women who play it, King agrees to play Riggs.

Dayton and Faris get us into the setting by using archival footage – a highlight is celebrities and tennis players of the era giving their thoughts on the match and who they are rooting for. The male-superiority comments  come fast and furious, but the most shocking clip is then up-and-coming tennis player Chris Evert saying she thinks Riggs is going to beat King.

Carell plays Riggs perfectly. Lighthearted, but not over-the-top comedic, his portrayal is a guy who thirsts for the limelight, and will do some very chauvinistic things to get there.

There are also strong supporting performances by Sarah Silverman playing Gladys Heldman, who helps create the Virginia Slims Tour with King and other female tennis pros; Alan Cumming, playing the gay costume designer who is really the only person King can talk truthfully to; and Bill Pullman, who plays the perfect heel Jack Kramer, a former pro who in the 1970s started the Association of Tennis Professionals, and in the movie is King’s biggest adversary in building up women’s tennis.

But the standout in the movie is Stone as King. The movie is clearly on her shoulders, and though she in no way engulfs herself physically into the character (in a lot of ways it’s just Emma Stone in a wig), it’s the strong writing (by Simon Beaufoy) and direction that makes Stone believable in the role, which is very different from what she’s played in the past.

Perhaps it’s because this is the first time Stone is playing a real person, but she can’t go back to her comfortable comedic tricks to pull in the audience. She plays King with the perfect blend of the brooding she had in “Birdman” (toned down from being way over-the-top in that movie), and the vulnerability that earned her an Oscar for “La La Land,” to show the conflict and pressure King faces at this time in her life both personally and professionally.

That character development, and a thrilling ending when King and Riggs finally play (trust me, it’s exciting regardless if you know the outcome), leads to a movie that will leave you with a good feeling coming out of the theater.

And that’s all we’re really asking for these days.

SEE ALSO: The director of "Pineapple Express" has an intense new movie about the Boston Marathon bombing that's getting Oscar buzz

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'Wonder Woman' had a bad foreign box office performance compared to most superhero movies (TWX)


wonder woman 2017

Warner Bros. has a lot to be proud of about its release of “Wonder Woman,” as the first female-centered superhero movie of all time took in over $400 million at the domestic box office to top the summer movie season.

But in a time when the foreign box office is arguably more important, the studio failed to perform overseas as strongly as other superhero movies.

Only 49.8% of the movie’s $819 worldwide box office came from foreign territories, and that’s one of the worst international performances by a superhero movie released in the last decade, according to Forbes

Typically, superhero movies earn as much (if not more) in their theatrical revenue overseas compared to North America. Outside of “Wonder Woman,” only 2008’s “Iron Man” ($266.7 million foreign vs. $318.4 million domestic), 2008’s “The Incredible Hulk” ($128.6 million foreign vs. $134.8 million domestic), and 2011’s “Green Lantern” ($103.2 million foreign vs. $116.6 million domestic) didn’t make more internationally.

In the case of these titles, “Iron Man” and “The Incredible Hulk” were released before the superhero movie craze, while “Green Lantern” was just awful.

In a comparison with Sony’s superhero summer 2017 release, “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” Forbes showed that Spidey outperformed Diana Prince in Europe, while in South Korea, it was even worse as “Spider-Man” earned 6% of its worldwide gross there, while “Wonder Woman” only took in 2%. However, “Wonder Woman” outperformed “Spider-Man” in Australia, Taiwan, and Brazil.

There are multiple theories why “Wonder Woman” wasn’t stronger internationally — chauvinism, star Gal Gadot being Israeli — but the most realistic Forbes can find is that Warner Bros.’ overseas marketing isn’t as strong as the other studios when it comes to superhero movies. “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” is the only superhero title from the studio that earned over 60% of its worldwide gross overseas ($542.9 million foreign vs. $330.3 million domestic). Marvel has 11 titles that have taken in 63% or more.

It's something for Warner Bros. to strive for when “Wonder Woman 2” comes out.

SEE ALSO: How the director of Jake Gyllenhaal's new movie went from "Pineapple Express" to tacking the Boston Marathon bombing

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Here's what the cast of 'The Lego Ninjago Movie' looks like in real life


Olivia Munn Koko Lego Ninjago Movie Warner Bros

Warner Bros. is keeping up the Lego film franchise with its newest installment, "The Lego Ninjago Movie."

The stop-motion movie focuses on the young Lloyd and his struggle with having an evil father named Lord Garmadon. From X-Men actress Olivia Munn to "Neighbors" star Dave Franco, the cast is packed with star power.

Keep scrolling for a look at the voice actors in "The Lego Ninjago Movie."

SEE ALSO: A bunch of new 'Star Wars' Legos are coming to stores Friday — and they may give hints about the upcoming movie

The main character of "The Lego Ninjago Movie" is Lloyd, aka the Green Ninja and leader of the Secret Ninja Force.

Lloyd is voiced by Dave Franco, who you probably recognize as James Franco's little brother and star of "Neighbors" and "21 Jump Street."

Lord Garmadon is an evil warlord who wants to destroy the city where Lloyd lives. He's also Lloyd's father (it's a complicated relationship).

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The 100 best things to watch on Netflix right now


Friends cast

With all of the new original movies and TV shows coming to Netflix each month, it can become a bit overwhelming finding the perfect thing to watch.

We're here to help.

INSIDER rounded up a mix of current and classic TV shows and Oscar-winning and feel-good movies that should feed the need for whatever sort of mood you're in. Bookmark this page for the next time you're looking for something to watch.

Note: Netflix titles change up every month and vary by region so title availability could change. 

1. "Captain America: Civil War" (2016)

There are were so many superheroes packed into the third "Captain America" movie that this may as well have been the third "Avengers" movie. The heroes were forced to choose sides as Captain America (Chris Evans) and Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) went head to head over a government-issued superhero registration act that would force them to reveal their identities to the world. 

Spider-Man's addition to the Marvel universe is one of the big standouts of the superhero-filled sequel

You can read our review of the movie here

2. "Mean Girls" (2004)

You may not have realized it, but Rachel McAdams was Regina George in the film. 

You can read more about the movie here

3. "Breaking Bad" (2008-2013)

If you haven't watched AMC's hit show about chemistry teacher Walter White becoming a drug dealer after he's given several months to live, you're missing out. Watch it for Bryan Cranston's performance alone, which won the actor four outstanding lead actor in a drama series Emmys.

You can read more about the show here.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The 20 highest-grossing horror movies of all time, including the new movie version of Stephen King's 'It'


stephen king it

Fervor for the latest take on Stephen King's "It" has pushed the new film near the top of the highest-grossing horror films in history.

To find out where "It" sits on the worldwide list, we turned to Box Office Mojo for its international box office data on the highest-grossing horror movies.

While "It" recently became the top-earning horror film of all time at the U.S. box office, it still has a few classics to pass up before it can be crowned the world's top-performing scary movie (including foreign markets).

Here are the 20 highest-grossing horror films of all time: 

Note: We have not adjusted the grosses for inflation.

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20. The Ring (2002) — $249.3 million

19. "Get Out" (2017) — $252.4 million

18. "The Village" (2004) — $256.6 million

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Why Netflix's 'thumbs up, thumbs down' ratings system is fundamentally flawed (NFLX)


Stranger Things

For years, Netflix would let you rate movies and TV shows anywhere from one to five stars. That changed in April, when Netflix removed the star system in favor of a new system that simply asked users: “Thumbs up, or thumbs down?”

Netflix’s explanation at the time was that the previous star-rating system was confusing to customers.

In that old system, if a movie on Netflix had four stars, people assumed that was the average rating among all users. After all, that’s what stars usually mean on online services that feature reviews, like Yelp. In reality, though, a movie with four stars meant Netflix was predicting you would rate that movie four stars based on your habits (and the habits of similar users).

With so much confusion around how the star-rating system worked, Netflix argued people were less motivated to rate titles since they thought their vote would be a drop in the bucket among the millions of other votes. People didn’t understand that using star ratings would only improve Netflix’s ability to understand your tastes. So Netflix introduced a new, more straightforward binary system earlier this year: Just give any title a thumbs up or thumbs down and Netflix would learn from your ratings.

Netflix made one other change, too: You would no longer see how many "stars" a movie had. Now, you only see a percentage — a number that represents the likelihood you'll enjoy what Netflix is suggesting.

This system might sound good on paper, but the flaws start appearing upon closer inspection.

Forget the smaller issues, like how titles that get a thumbs-down continue popping up in your various suggested lists (seriously, Netflix, I don't want to watch "Disjointed"). The bigger issue here is that the percent-match system is no better than the star system before it; if anything, it's just as confusing as before, and it still turns up results I don't agree with.

disjointedFor example: On my account, Chelsea Handler’s Netflix talk show "Chelsea" is a 90% match. A Netflix show called “White Gold” is a 97% match. “Fuller House” is a 92% match. I tried all three of these shows, and I couldn't get past the first 5-10 minutes; I'm simply not interested in these shows.

Meanwhile, movies I’ve seen and really enjoyed are given comparatively lower percentages. I loved “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” but Netflix says we’re only a 79% match. “Guardians of the Galaxy” is easily my favorite Marvel movie, but Netflix says we're only an 84% match.

stranger things netflixNetflix would be better off with a more straightforward system, where a percentage or stars don't represent the likelihood you'd enjoy a film or a show, but represent how all other users rated that content. That's how most online ratings systems work — Amazon, Yelp, you name it — and it would make sense for Netflix.

The problem is, Netflix won't abandon this new system. The company is very particular about the information it wants to show users (since it won't show much), and Netflix likely has some statistics that support how well the current percent-match system works. For instance, Netflix has repeatedly said in the past that there's a difference between what you rate highly and what you actually like watching; the percent-match system probably supports this fact.

That said, there's a bigger underlying issue here: The mechanic that powers the new percent-match system is a binary thumbs-up or thumbs-down decision, which is inherently flawed. 

This boils down to a philosophical issue: "Good" is not the same word as "great," just like "bad" is not the same word as "horrendous." Simply saying a movie or show was "good" or "bad" simply doesn't accommodate the myriad shades of grey. As one Reddit user put it, "there is now absolutely no difference between 'I guess I didn’t hate this movie' and 'This is the greatest movie I’ve ever seen in my life, and I want to see more like it.'"

daredevilThis is also conventional wisdom for the film industry at large: Almost every single movie or TV show review you'll find is rated on some kind of gradient or scale, a number between zero and 10. Even Roger Ebert, the inventor of giving movies "thumbs up" or "thumbs down," eventually rated movies from zero to four stars when he launched his own website. And before that, when "Siskel & Ebert" was on the air, both critics always backed up their binary choices with a ton of explanation and nuance that Netflix's system simply doesn't capture.

It's fine if Netflix wanted to change stars to percentages — they still mean the same thing: the likelihood Netflix thinks you'll like what it's suggesting — but people should still be able to rate movies from zero to five stars instead of a simple thumbs up or down. It feels almost antithetical to deprive people of choice in an age where people crave more nuance and information, where even Facebook's "Like" button is now supplemented by other emotions. I understand Netflix invested a significant amount of time and money into this current setup, but at the very least, I think it's time to get rid of the thumbs.

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'Kingsman: The Golden Circle' wins a bland weekend at the box office


Kingsman Golden Circle 20th Century Fox final

The domestic box office is feeling a little hungover from the last two week's monster take from Warner Bros./New Line Cinema's horror "It."

This week, audiences had a diverse selection of titles in wide release to choose from: "Kingsman: The Golden Circle,""The Lego Ninjango Movie," and the horror "Friend Request." Though the "Kingsman" sequel took the win, all three titles underperformed compared to industry projections.

"The Golden Circle," continuing the James Bond-like antics of franchise star Taron Egerton along with new additions Channing Tatum, Halle Berry, Julianne Moore, and Jeff Bridges, took in an estimated $39 million on 4,000 screens, according to Exhibitor Relations.

That's just below its $40 million projection. However, thanks to the added star power, the movie was able to earn more in its opening weekend than the 2015 original, "Kingsman: The Secret Service," which opened with $36.2 million. It pulled that off with just a 51% Rotten Tomatoes score, compared to the 74% score that "The Secret Service" got.

"It" came in second with a strong $30 million third week. The adaptation of the Stephen King novel is now the highest-grossing R-rated horror movie of all time (not counting inflation) with a domestic total of $266 million.

Lego Ninjango Warner Bros final"The Lego Ninjango Movie" placed in third with $21 million. That's below the $30 million projection for the latest title from the successful animated franchise of the Lego brand. This is the first disappointing opening for the titles, which include 2014's "The Lego Movie," with a $69 million opening and a lifetime worldwide box office of $469.1 million.

2017's "The Lego Batman Movie" opened to $53 million ($311.9 million worldwide lifetime gross). With "Lego Ninjango" costing around $70 million (not counting marketing), it looks like Warner Bros. animation will take a hit with this one. And with each title dropping in earnings, it would be helpful if the next one could be an overachiever.

The horror "Friend Request" had the task of trying to attract fans of the genre following the hit that "It" is. The low-budget title didn't succeed. Taking in only $2.4 million over the weekend (it was made for $9.9 million), it proves that horror audiences won't just run to anything that has scares.

SEE ALSO: How the director of Jake Gyllenhaal's new movie went from "Pineapple Express" to tackling the Boston Marathon bombing

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