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Universal Is Dominating The Box Office Right Now With Two Big Films

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kevin hart ride along ice cube

It's no secret January is a slow month at theaters. 

Usually, its the month for a few horror flicks to debut ("Paranormal Activity,""Devil's Due"), and there's always at least one mega bomb ("I, Frankenstein").

Despite that, Universal's been defying the odds with two break-out hits.

Here's a look at the past two box-office weekends. Take a look at the top two spots.

Weekend of 1/17/14:box office

Weekend of 1/24/14:box office weekend

With no real competition at the box office (sure, there's Disney's strong horse "Frozen" which is nearing $1 billion), "Ride Along" and "Lone Survivor" have been able to take serious advantage at theaters.

"Ride Along" features Kevin Hart as a security guard who goes on a 24-hour-patrol with his cop brother-in-law (Ice Cube). The film may not have been received well by critics; however, audience reception is great and the film has made $75.5 million since its release less than two weeks ago. It cost an estimated $25 million to produce.

ride along kevin hartThe movie comes from Tim Story, the same man who directed 2012's box-office breakout "Think Like a Man." Don't remember the film? It stopped the four-week run of "The Hunger Games" atop the box office upon its April debut.

However, the main star power here is Kevin Hart, who's becoming a huge star fast.

Forget his role in Warner Bros.' "Grudge Match" at the end of last year. After "Think Like A Man," and the comedian's successful stand-up film "Let Me Explain," Hart will flood theaters with a few movies this year — "Think Like A Man Too" and "About Last Night." He's definitely someone to keep your eye on this year.

Right now, "Ride Along" currently holds the highest-grossing opening weekend for the year at $41.5 million and may continue to hold that record for a while even with the "RoboCop" reboot coming up in a fortnight. Estimates for the Sony/Columbia Pictures flick are currently placing the film around a $25 million opening

Universal's other gem of the moment, "Lone Survivor" is based on a true story following four NAVY SEALs during a mission in Afghanistan.

lone survivor mark wahlbergStarring Mark Wahlberg, the film nearly debuted bigger than "Ride Along" at $37.8 million when the film had its wide release. The movie has continued to have great word of mouth and will soon cross the $100 million mark. 

That's good news for the studio after a disappointing blow with "47 Ronin" at the end of last year — the costly $175 million+ Keanu Reeves' samurai picture brought in $121 million worldwide.

With a teen flick out this weekend, Focus Features' "That Awkward Moment" starring Zac Efron and Michael B. Jordan ("Fruitvale Station"), it should be another good weekend for the two Universal flicks. However, it will also face some competition from the re-release of "Gravity" in 3-D and IMAX and a sing-along version of "Frozen."

SEE ALSO: "I, Frankenstein" bombs at theaters

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Vin Diesel Says 'Riddick' Sequel Is In The Works

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vin diesel facebook

We know Vin Diesel loves announcing news to his fans first via Facebook. 

In a lengthy seven-and-a-half-minute video, he told fans on the social media network another "Riddick" movie is in the works.  

You wouldn't know Diesel was making a big announcement from the start of the video. The first three-minutes involves the "Fast and the Furious" actor dancing and lip-syncing to Katy Perry's "Dark Horse." 

Around the 3:12 mark Diesel makes a pretty big announcement about an impending sequel to last year's "Riddick" after thanking fans for their support to bring the third film in the series to screen. 

"Universal just called me and told me that 'Riddick is number one on the DVD charts. There's no way in the world 'Riddick' would have been made without you guys. You know that. You guys have been a part of our page since 2012 and remember how arduous a road it was for us to actually get the movie made, and to make it rated 'R,' and to do it with such a low budget. It's a win for all of us and I really, really, really, really thank you guys so much. Yeah, I'm excited, and of course, Universal's also saying they want to develop the next one." 

Last year's "Riddick" made $98 million worldwide and was made on a $38 million budget.

The first film in the series, "Pitch Black," came out in 2000. Reception for that film was great as it more than doubled its $23 million budget at theaters ($53 million). The second film in the series, "The Chronicles of Riddick," (made on a wide scale budget of $105 million) came out in 2004 and wasn't a huge blockbuster making $115.8 million.

Diesel's video continues with him making a mention of how he couldn't go to the Grammys because he's working on "Fast and the Furious 7."  

Watch the announcement and Diesel's dance moves below.

 

SEE ALSO: Universal is dominating the box office

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Here's A GIF Of Tom Hiddleston Auditioning For The Role Of Thor

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Chris Hemsworth isn't the only one capable of wielding Thor's mythical war hammer, Mjölnir.

Before he played villain Loki, Tom Hiddleston was close to playing the Asgardian God of Thunder himself.

When he was cast in the film, Hiddleston originally signed a contract to play either Loki or Thor.

Footage of Hiddleston's original audition tape to play Thor will be featured on the DVD and Blu-Ray for "Thor: The Dark World" when its out February 25.

A sneak peek from the discs has already made its way online via SuperHeroHype in the form of two GIFs. 

Tom Hiddelson Thor AuditionTom Hiddleson Thor Audition

Even though the role ultimately went to Hemsworth, Hiddleston told Chelsea Handler back in November he enjoyed the audition process and had a feeling he was more fit to play the anti-hero.

"I auditioned and I swung the hammer but they were always looking for Loki as well," said Hiddleston. "I think the closer I got, they were like, 'You should play the bad guy.'"

Ultimately, Marvel made the right choice in casting Hiddleston as Loki considering that he has gone on to become a fan favorite

That being said, it's fun to think of what kind of mischievous Thor he could have made.

SEE ALSO: A brilliant ad with Tom Hiddleston's Loki arguing with children.

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Marvel Is Already Working On 'Captain America 3'

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nick fury captain americaMarvel is wasting no time in planning the next Captain America sequel.

Anthony and Joe Russo, the directors of the upcoming "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" are being brought back to direct a third installment in the series, according to Variety.

This is a big commitment from Marvel considering "The Winter Solider" hasn't even hit theaters yet (and that the first Captain America film wasn't exactly Marvel's biggest box-office draw).

However, Variety reports Marvel wanted to secure the directors after being so impressed by the production, test screenings, and current buzz for the upcoming film.

The film may be in its early stages of development, but the Russos are already putting together the foundations for the "Captain America 3" storyline. This includes Chris Evans returning as the star-spangled hero.

Marvel had no comment on the story.

"Captain America: The Winter Solider" premieres April 4th.

SEE ALSO: The full-length trailer for "Captain America: The Winter Soldier"

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Marvel Exec Transitions To Screenwriter For 'Thor 3' Script

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chris hemsworth thor the dark world

As "Thor 3" production starts to get underway, Marvel announced that one of their own executives will work on the film's script 

Craig Kyle will co-write the sequel's screenplay with longtime friend Christopher Yost, who also co-wrote the "Thor: The Dark World" script. 

Marvel announced Wednesday that Kyle will be transitioning from his executive role at the company to full-time screenwriting.  

That's a big change for the former SVP of Production and Development at Marvel Studios who started out at the company as the sole Creative Executive for the company's animation department. 

The "Thor" property has been a lucrative one for Disney and Marvel as "Thor: The Dark World" made $632.9 million worldwide.  

If that seems like a bit of a risk for Marvel, Kyle is one of the men behind the company's original character X-23, a female clone of Wolverine and co-wrote a few X-Men comics.  

He also served as executive producer and co-producer on both "Thor: The Dark World" and "Thor" respectively. 

In addition he has also developed, produced, and written a few of Marvel's original animated projects ranging from "Next Avengers" to "Thor: Tales of Asgard."  

There is no current release date for "Thor 3."

SEE ALSO: See Tom Hiddleston try out for the role of Thor

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OSCARS SCANDAL: Academy Revokes Song Nomination After 'Unfair' Campaigning

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Alone Yet Not Alone

In an extremely rare and cringe-worthy move, the Academy has revoked a Best Original Song nomination after accusations of improper campaigning.

The song “Alone Yet Not Alone,” music by Bruce Broughton and lyric by Dennis Spiegel, was a surprise nomination for the little-seen film of the same name  beating out more likely nominees such as Taylor Swift or Lana Del Rey's "Young and Beautiful" on "The Great Gatsby" soundtrack.

Bruce Broughton

"The decision was prompted by the discovery that Broughton, a former governor and current music branch executive committee member, had emailed members of the branch to make them aware of his submission during the nominations voting period," reports Variety.

But Broughton insists he has done nothing wrong. 

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly after the nominations, Broughton was open with the fact that he urged the members of his branch to simply consider the song.

“What happens is that the music branch of the Academy puts all the songs on a disc and I was concerned that this song would be really easy to overlook. So, yeah, I wrote some people and said, ‘Could you just take a look.’ That was literally the extent of the campaigning,"Broughton admitted before the current controversy. "I received in the mail songs from other films that were pressed and recorded CDs. We didn’t do anything like that at all.”

But that didn't stop the Academy from voting to rescind Broughton's nomination, making it one of the few times in history this has happened.

While campaigning happens all the time in the Oscars race, the Academy argued that it was unethical for Broughton to do so as an officer in the organization.

Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs said in a statement, “No matter how well-intentioned the communication, using one’s position as a former governor and current executive committee member to personally promote one’s own Oscar submission creates the appearance of an unfair advantage.” 

Broughton has responded by saying “I’m devastated. I indulged in the simplest, lamest, grass-roots campaign and it went against me when the song started getting attention. I got taken down by competition that had months of promotion and advertising behind them.”

Broughton and lyricist Dennis Spiegel are out of the running completely and a new nominee will not be added.

Instead, the category will only have four honorees this year:

1. “Happy” from Despicable Me 2 (Music and Lyric by Pharrell Williams)

2. “Let It Go” from Frozen (Music and Lyric by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez)

3. “The Moon Song” from Her (Music by Karen O; Lyric by Karen O and Spike Jonze)

4. “Ordinary Love” from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (Music by U2)

But Broughton and Spiegel aren't the only ones hurt by the Oscar exclusion, as it is also a blow to the song's quadriplegic singer, Joni Eareckson Tada.

"With limited lung capacity due to her disability, Tada, who is also an Evangelical minister, had her husband, Ken, pushing on her diaphragm while she recorded the Oscar-nominated song to give her enough breath to hit the high notes," adds Variety.

Watch the group recording the once-Oscar nominated song below:

SEE ALSO: The 9 Biggest Snubs And Surprises From The Oscar Nominations

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Here Are All The Movie Trailers You'll See During The Super Bowl

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amazing spider man

Other than the big game and the Super Bowl commercials Sunday, we're excited for new movie trailers.

Five of the big studios will show televised spots for new spring and summer films.

A 30-second spot to advertise during the game costs around $4 million this year.  With that in mind, most studios are putting out two TV spots.

Missing from the line up this year are Warner Bros. and Fox who won't promote their movies during the big game.

Perhaps the biggest reveal will be the first footage from the next "Transformers" sequel.

Between the big game, Bruno Mars' half-time show, and the plethora of ads, here's what trailers you can expect to see:

DISNEY 

"Need for Speed" 
Release Date:
March 2014need for speed aaron paulDisney has been releasing a lot of TV spots and behind-the-scenes featurettes for the video game adaptation lately. "Breaking Bad" fans will see Aaron Paul racing fast cars.

"Captain America: The Winter Soldier" 
Release Date: April 4captain america black widow chris evans scarlett johanssonYahoo! just debuted three new posters for the "Captain America" sequel starring Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson. A new trailer should be revealed tomorrow.

Here's Johansson's new Black Widow poster:scarlett johansson black widow captain america

Bonus: You'll see the muppets in a commercial for the Toyota Highlander. The Muppet sequel is in theaters March 21.

LIONSGATE / SUMMIT ENTERTAINMENT

"Draft Day" 
Release Date: April 11

It's only appropriate that an ad for a football film should debut during the big game. The film will be one of a few movies starring Kevin Costner this year as he returns to the big screen. Lionsgate released its promo today.

PARAMOUNT

"Noah"
Release Date: March 28

Russell Crowe stars as the biblical character who builds an ark. The film is the next project from Darren Aronofsky ("Black Swan"). Paramount released its Super Bowl spot Wednesday.

"Transformers: Age of Extinction"
Release Date: 
June 27
transformers age of extinction mark wahlbergThis is the Super Bowl spot we're most excited for as it will give the first look at Michael Bay's fourth installment to the "Transformers" franchise. This time around, Mark Wahlberg will star as the lead.

SONY

"The Amazing Spider-Man"
Release Date: 
May 2
amazing spider man 2

Andrew Garfield returns as the web slinger in the first real summer blockbuster. We've seen a few posters and trailers for the film filled with villains.

"RoboCop"
Release Date: February 12 
robocop reboot

Joel Kinnaman ("The Killing") will step into Detective Alex Murphy's shoes in the reboot of the 1987 classic. Samuel L. Jackson and Michael Keaton also star.

UNIVERSAL

"Neighbors"
Release Date: May 9

neighbors seth rogen

Mac (Seth Rogen) and Teddy (Zac Efron) are at odds after Mac's family moves next door to a frat house.

SEE ALSO: All of this year's Super Bowl ads

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Here's A Sneak Peek Of 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2' Super Bowl Trailer You'll See Sunday

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Sony released a teaser for its "Amazing Spider-Man 2" Super Bowl spot Sunday.

It's a really good 30-second spot with looks at all three of the villains in the sequel so we're a bit surprised this isn't the big game spot itself. Instead, it's one of those "see what happens next" ads.

"The Amazing Spider-Man 2" is in theaters May 2.

Yes, that was the Green Goblin. Unfortunately, he passes by on the screen too quickly for a really clear look. He'll be played by Dane DeHaan.green goblin spider man

SEE ALSO: Photos from "The Amazing Spider-Man 2"

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'A Million Ways To Die In The West' Trailer Shows How Wild Seth MacFarlene's West Will Be

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"The American west is a terrible place and time. Everything out here, that's not you, wants to kill you," Seth MacFarlane says in the first trailer for "A Million Ways to Die in the West."

That's how life is for MacFarlane, who co-wrote, directed, and stars in the upcoming wild, wild western that takes place in 1882 Arizona.

The trailer shows off the film's A-list cast from Charlize Theron and Liam Neeson to Sarah Silverman and Amanda Seyfried, but also has enough death, violence, and salty old west language to make it restricted and NSFW, so be warned!

The film comes out guns blazin' in theaters on May 30th.

SEE ALSO: Why Seth MacFarlane Killed Brian Griffin

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Jesse Eisenberg Will Play Lex Luthor In 'Batman/Superman' Movie

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jesse eisenberg lex luthor batman superman movie

Well, this is a shocker.

Warner Bros. announced Jesse Eisenberg has been cast as Lex Luthor in the "Batman/Superman" movie.

Jeremy Irons has also been picked to play Alfred.

The news of Eisenberg in the Luthor role is a bit of a surprise. Of all the names that have been tossed out there for the part — from Denzel Washington to Joaquin Phoenix— the "Social Network" actor's name hasn't come up.

As much of a surprise as his casting may be, Eisenberg starred in last year's summer blockbuster "Now You See Me." The magic movie starring Morgan Freeman and Woody Harrelson made $351.7 million worldwide. In Warner Bros.' mind, Eisenberg definitely has the appeal of a younger audience.

Earlier, "Fast and Furious" actress Gal Gadot was recently cast in the superhero film as Wonder Woman.

Eisenberg and Irons will join returning stars Henry Cavill and Amy Adams along with Ben Affleck who was cast as the Caped Crusader last year.

The "Batman / Superman" movie was originally set for a July 2015 release date but just pushed back from July 2015 to May 2016.

Here's the press release from Warner Bros.: 

BURBANK, CA, January 31, 2014 – Warner Bros. Pictures announced today that Jesse Eisenberg has been set to star as Lex Luthor and Jeremy Irons will play Alfred in the upcoming Zack Snyder untitled Superman/Batman film. The dual announcement was made today by Greg Silverman, President, Creative Development and Worldwide Production, and Sue Kroll, President, Worldwide Marketing and International Distribution, Warner Bros. Pictures.

Snyder stated, “Lex Luthor is often considered the most notorious of Superman’s rivals, his unsavory reputation preceding him since 1940. What’s great about Lex is that he exists beyond the confines of the stereotypical nefarious villain. He’s a complicated and sophisticated character whose intellect, wealth and prominence position him as one of the few mortals able to challenge the incredible might of Superman. Having Jesse in the role allows us to explore that interesting dynamic, and also take the character in some new and unexpected directions.”

The director added, “As everyone knows, Alfred is Bruce Wayne’s most trusted friend, ally and mentor, a noble guardian and father figure. He is an absolutely critical element in the intricate infrastructure that allows Bruce Wayne to transform himself into Batman. It is an honor to have such an amazingly seasoned and gifted actor as Jeremy taking on the important role of the man who mentors and guides the guarded and nearly impervious façade that encapsulates Bruce Wayne.”

Eisenberg received Academy Award®, Golden Globe Award, Screen Actors Guild Award® and BAFTA Award nominations for his starring role as Mark Zuckerberg in David Fincher’s “The Social Network.” He also starred in Woody Allen’s “To Rome with Love” and Louis Letterier’s “Now You See Me.” He next appears in “The Double” and “Night Moves.”

Irons won the Academy Award® for his portrayal of Claus von Bülow in “Reversal of Fortune.” His work in the film also garnered him a Golden Globe Award. He won an Emmy Award and a Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Award® for his performance in the TV miniseries “Elizabeth I,” opposite Helen Mirren, and recently starred on the small screen as Rodrigo Borgia in Neil Jordan’s highly acclaimed Showtime series “The Borgias,” for which Irons earned a Golden Globe nomination. He was recently nominated for a SAG Award® for the PBS Great Performances television miniseries “The Hollow Crown,” for his performance as Henry IV.

Snyder’s film stars Henry Cavill, reprising his role as Superman/Clark Kent, Ben Affleck as Batman/Bruce Wayne, and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman/Diana Prince. The film also reunites “Man of Steel” stars Amy Adams, Laurence Fishburne and Diane Lane.

The new film is currently being written by Chris Terrio, from a screenplay by David S. Goyer. Charles Roven and Deborah Snyder are producing, with Benjamin Melniker, Michael E. Uslan, Wesley Coller, David S. Goyer and Geoff Johns serving as executive producers.

The film is set to open worldwide on May 6, 2016, and is based on Superman characters created by Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster, Batman characters created by Bob Kane, and Wonder Woman created by William Moulton Marston, appearing in comic books published by DC Entertainment.

SEE ALSO: The big 'Batman Vs. Superman' movie is delayed an entire 10 months

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A 'Back To The Future' Musical Is Opening Next Year

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back to the future

For "Back To The Future" fans that always wanted to see Marty and the time-traveling DeLorean on stage, set your watches (and flux capacitors) for next year.

Universal Stage Productions and the film's director Robert Zemeckis have announced that the 1985 classic starring Michael J. Fox is currently being developed into a musical. 

The musical is planned to premiere on London's West End next year to align with the film's 30th anniversary before hopefully making its way to Broadway.

"The 'Back to the Future' Musical is a project that Bob Zemeckis and I have been exploring for almost ten years," the film's producer Bob Gale said in the announcement. "We're thrilled to be at last in partnership with a creative and producing team that will create a show that is true to the spirit of the film."

The show will include new music by the film's composer, Alan Silvestri along with songs from Huey Lewis & The News and Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode" which played a major role in the film.

"We intend to use music from the movie along with brand new songs," Gale went on to say. "We can't think of a better way to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the film."

SEE ALSO: 10 Things 'Back To The Future 2' Got Right About Today's Tech

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New 'Captain America' Trailer Shows Off 'Winter Soldier' Villain

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Disney teased a new trailer for "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" ahead of the start of Super Bowl XLVIII. 

Soon after, Marvel released a full trailer for the sequel showing a closer look at the new antagonist.

Chris Evans returns as Captain America with Scarlett Johansson as The Black Widow from "The Avengers." Anthony Mackie ("The Hurt Locker") joins the cast as Sam Wilson/The Falcon. 

"Captain America: The Winter Soldier" is in theaters April 4.

Here are a few things we noticed:

The Falcon!falcon captain americacaptain america falcon the winter soldier

Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) isn't looking so good.nick fury captain america winter soldier

It looks like they lost someone from S.H.I.E.L.D. (given Agent Maria Hill in the background).captain america death

SEE ALSO: Here are all the trailers to expect during the Super Bowl

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Here's The First 'Transformers' Trailer Shown During The Super Bowl

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This is probably one of the most anticipated trailers during the Super Bowl. 

Paramount revealed its first look at the new "Transformers" sequel starring Mark Wahlberg in the titular role. 

Wahlberg replaces Shia LeBeouf who starred in the first three films. "Transformers: Age of Extinction" comes to theaters June 27. 

Director Michael Bay just shared the trailer on his personal website. 

Now, that you've watched the trailer, let's discuss.

Here's Nicola Peltz, who will be playing Wahlberg's daughter, Tessa, in the film.transformers age of extinction

Signature Michael Bay explosions!
explosions transformers

This film will see the introduction of dinobots. They're exactly what they sound like.transformers 4 optimus prime dinobot

Take a look at a few of the other transformers you'll see in the film:transformers 4 age of extinctiontransformers 4 age of extinctiontransformers 4 age of extinctiontransformers 4 age of extinction

SEE ALSO: Check out a new "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" trailer that debuted during the game

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Aaron Paul's Extended 'Need For Speed' Super Bowl Trailer

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A short trailer for DreamWorks and Disney's "Need For Speed" debuted during the Super Bowl. 

Here's a longer look at trailer teased. The film adaptation of the Electronic Arts' video game stars Aaron Paul ("Breaking Bad") Dakota Johnson, Dominic Cooper, Michael Keaton, and Scott Mescudi. "Need for Speed" is in theaters March 14.

Here's the 30-second spot shown during the Super Bowl:

Paul premiered a longer 1:30 spot for the film:

SEE ALSO: A new trailer for "Captain America: The Winter Soldier"

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Watch A Nearly Four-Minute Long 'Amazing Spider-Man' Sequel Trailer

Here's What Will Happen To 'Hunger Games' And Philip Seymour Hoffman's Other Unfinished Films

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Philip Seymour Hoffman Hunger Games Catching FirePhilip Seymour was found dead in his West Village apartment this weekend of an apparent drug overdose.

As his Hollywood colleagues mourn the actor's loss, many are still left wondering what happens to Hoffman's many projects he had in the works.

Hoffman had a fairly hefty role in "The Hunger Games" franchise, having just been introduced as game master Plutarch Heavensbee in November's super successful "Catching Fire," which earned nearly $860 million at the box office.

At the time of his death, Hoffman was just finishing up shooting on "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2," but Lionsgate says his passing won't affect either film's Nov. 21, 2014 and Nov. 20, 2015 release date.

According to Lionsgate, the majority of Hoffman’s scenes had been completed, with just seven days left to shoot on “Mockingjay — Part 2.”

"The Hunger Games: Mockingjay" cast and crew released a joint statement saying, “Philip Seymour Hoffman was a singular talent and one of the most gifted actors of our generation. We’re very fortunate that he graced our ‘Hunger Games’ family. Losing him in his prime is a tragedy, and we send  our deepest condolences to Philip’s family.”

Meanwhile, Variety reports "Hoffman was also attached to direct the Prohibition era drama “Ezekiel Moss,” which Exclusive Media was set to start selling at the European Film Market in Berlin" but due to the circumstances, "the company released a statement saying it will not be presenting the film to buyers, 'while producers explore the next steps for the film.'"

But with five projects currently in the works, Hoffman had an additional two in the can.

Thriller “A Most Wanted Man,” co-starring Rachel McAdams and Robin Wright, is scheduled for an August release, while IFC has yet to finalize release plans for “God’s Pocket,” which Hoffman promoted at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.

The project most affected by Hoffman's untimely passing is his upcoming Showtime series “Happyish.”

"The comedy-drama about a disheartened advertising man was built largely around the actor and had shot only one episode, the pilot," reports The Wrap. "Showtime will now have to choose between recasting the role and abandoning the project.

As of Sunday, the network had yet to make any decisions on the future of the show, which did not have a premiere date set. The episodes after the pilot were in the process of being written, reports The Wrap.

“It took us a while to get to Philip Seymour Hoffman,” Showtime president David Nevins said when announcing the show last month, adding that it was “totally worth it.”

SEE ALSO: Hollywood Reacts To Philip Seymour Hoffman's Shocking Death

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Philip Seymour Hoffman's 5 Best Films

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Hollywood is rocked by the shocking death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman. 

The 46-year-old actor was found dead in his NYC apartment of an "apparent drug overdose," according to The New York Post. 

While actors and friends have reacted with a mix of emotionswe remember some of the actor’s best performances including his four Oscar nominations.

5. “Charlie Wilson’s War” (2007) 
charlie wilson's war philip seymour hoffman

Hoffman beat out Tom Hanks for an Oscar nomination for his take on swear-heavy CIA agent Gust Avrakotos in the political drama. 

4. "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead" (2007) 

philip seymour hoffman before the devil knows youre deadAlong with Ethan Hawke, the actor starred as a man who robs his own parents, leading to the death of his mom and a blood trail of more bodies in his wake. Despite all that, we still found a way to relate to his character who is desperately trying to cover his tracks. 

3. “The Master” (2012) 
the master philip seymour hoffmanThe Weinstein Company film placed Hoffman as Lancaster Dodd, the leader of a cult religious following called “The Cause.” Hoffman’s performance easily secured an Oscar nod for Best Supporting Actor. 

2. “Doubt” (2008) 

philip seymour hoffman doubtThe actor’s portrayal of a priest’s relationship with an altar boy walked the line between whether Hoffman’s character was innocent or guilty perfectly. It resulted in his second Best Supporting Actor nomination. 

1. “Capote” (2005) 

Based on Gerald Clarke's "Capote," Hoffman’s take on the eccentric gay writer won him his sole Oscar for Best Actor.

Watch a clip of the actor in "Capote" below:

SEE ALSO: What will happen to Hoffman's unfinished films

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There Is Only One Show That Is Consistently Able To Compete With The Super Bowl

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mary downton abbey

It seems silly for any show to go up against the big game on Super Bowl Sunday.

However, while a record-breaking 111.5 million tuned in to watch the biggest football game of the year, there's one show that has consistently been able to bring a large viewership — to PBS.

For the third year in a row, "Downton Abbey" has been the second highest-rated show after the Super Bowl.

The BBC series, now in its fourth season, grabbed 8.2 million viewers.

That's a huge increase from previous years. 

Last year, the show had an audience of 6.6 million. In 2012, 4 million tuned into the series 

While 8 million may not sound like much, if you take a look at every other network that isn't FOX Super Bowl Sunday, the number is pretty significant. The only show on a competing network that comes close is CBS' NCIS.

Via TVbythenumbers:

super bowl ratings

PBS promoted "Downton Abbey" on Twitter using the hashtag #DramaBowlPBS.

10.2 million tuned in to watch the US season 4 premiere.

SEE ALSO: Everything you need to know about the return of "24" to Fox

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This Movie About Plane Crashes Uses No Special Effects — And It's Absolutely Gripping

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charlie victor romeo movie still

Last month, I finally got around to watching "Flight," the Robert Zemeckis film starring Denzel Washington as the pilot who amazingly (and drunkenly) flips an airliner upside down to stop an uncontrolled dive and save nearly everyone on board.

The computer-generated crash is harrowing, but not as compelling as the second plane disaster movie I saw that week: "Charlie Victor Romeo," which recreates six plane crashes from the past 30 years.

In the movie, engines blow due to bird strikes. Hydraulics fail. Planes crash into the ocean and into mountains.

For a movie presenting such spectacular events, it's remarkably simple. There are no special effects (it is shot in 3D; more on that in a minute). Actors play multiple roles. All you see is the interior of the cockpit, populated by pilots and crew members (plus the occasional shot of the mouth of an air traffic controller).

The dialogue is pulled directly from Cockpit Voice Recorders (thus the film's name, pilot speak for C-V-R), edited slightly for clarity.

The idea, the filmmakers Robert Berger and Patrick Daniels told Business Insider, was to depict real drama. What you're watching, Daniels said, is people dealing with incredibly difficult situations.

"The simplicity of the film serves the content," Berger said, adding that fancy special effects would distract from the human experience of watching people struggle with dangerous situations.

Charlie Victor RomeoThat goes for the dialogue, too. Terms and abbreviations familiar to pilots will go right over the heads of the audience. Berger and Daniels aren't worried about their refusal to dumb down the content. "There's a lot to learn from context," Berger said, adding that the public is smarter than most films give them credit for.

Daniels compared the experience to watching an opera in Italian. "Even if you don't understand every term, there's a poetry and musicality to the text." Viewers pick up what's happening from the tone and faces of the actors. "People don't need things explained to them all the time," Daniels said.

The choice to film in 3D, they said, was not a "gimmick," but an affordable way to make the audience feel closer to the actors. I didn't think it added much, partly because in the small theater, I was already quite close to the screen.

While "Charlie Victor Romeo" will appeal more to aviation geeks and professionals than the average movie-goer, Berger and Daniels have made an absorbing film. They prove you don't need simplified dialogue, bombastic special effects, or star actors to engage the audience.

The drama — made all the more real by the knowledge that the dialogue is accurate — is in watching people try to save their lives and those of their passengers.

"Charlie Victor Romeo" is playing at Film Forum in New York City until February 11.

SEE ALSO: Unmasked TSA Blogger: We 'Gawked' At The Body Scans Of Fat Passengers

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'Amazing Spider-Man 2' Director Hints B.J. Novak Will Play Villain In Sequel

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BJ Novak Amazing Spiderman 2

The "Amazing Spider-Man 2" already has it's fair share of villains (there are more instances of Electro and the Green Goblin in a teased four-minute Super Bowl spot than the web-slinger himself), but director Marc Webb may have just added another to the roster — "The Office" star B.J. Novak. 

While showcasing a trailer for Novak's new book, "One More Thing" on Twitter, Webb hinted at Novak's role in the upcoming sequel:

Fans of the comics, will deduce that A. Smythe may stand for Alistair Smythe.

That character gets transformed the Ultimate Spider-Slayer, another one of Spider-Man's known enemies.

The sequel is already jam-packed with three villains — the Green Goblin (Dane DeHaan), Electro (Jamie Foxx), and the Rhino (Paul Giamatti).

Before you groan over the addition of another potential villain, Novak's character could simply be a setup for future "Spider-Man" sequels or for the many spinoffs Sony is planning based on Spidey's villains.

"The Amazing Spider-Man 2" is set for release May 2.

SEE ALSO: Watch the four-minute "Spider-Man" trailer teased during the Super Bowl

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