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New 'Amazing Spider-Man 2' Trailer Shows Off The Green Goblin

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Sony Pictures released another new trailer for “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.”

The final trailer hints at the larger Spidey universe we’ll likely see played out on screen for the next several films as Sony focuses on bringing Spider-Man's many villains to the big screen.

The footage is a lot of the same that we’ve already seen, but we probably see more of Dane DeHaan’s Green Goblin villain — along with other members of the Sinister Six — than before.

Andrew Garfield returns as Spider-Man in theaters May 2.

SEE ALSO: "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" looks like it will change an iconic comic scene

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Why The Director Of 'Blackfish' Hasn't Made A 'Penny' Off The Film

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Gabriela Cowperthwaite

Since its July release, controversial SeaWorld documentary "Blackfish"— about the devastating consequences of keeping whales in captivity  has raked in $2 million at the box office.

The film, which premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and debuted on CNN in October, has now been seen by roughly 25 million viewers.

As a result of the documentary, 28% of Americans say they are less likely to visit SeaWorld, a handful of high-profile musicians canceled gigs at the theme park, and SeaWorld shares have taken a beating as California considers passing a new bill banning the captivity of whales and dolphins.

But despite its obvious impact, "Blackfish" director Gabriela Cowperthwaite "hasn't made a penny" off the movie.

The 43-year-old filmmaker, who currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband and twin sons, tells the L.A. Times' Amy Kaufman that she made "Zero" from the movie, despite spending the majority of her time promoting the film since its release last year.

"Blackfish" was acquired at Sundance by CNN and Magnolia Films for roughly $1 million, but all of the money went to paying back investors. 

Cowperthwaite and her producing partner, Manny Oteyza, took initial funds from Judy Bart and Erica Kahn, who were looking for a way to break into the film business.

The investment was enough to fund the first few months of production, but with at least six more months needed to complete the film, the financiers said they had no more money to give. Desperate to complete it, Cowperthwaite and Oteyza deferred a year's worth of salary so that Bart and Kahn could contribute enough to finish the film.

While Cowperthwaite admits she isn't a "business-minded shark," she could eventually get paid if "Blackfish" ends up making enough money through DVD and on-demand sales.

In the meantime, Cowperthwaite is already ready for her next project.

"I've been doing this for over a year now, and have come this far as a steward, which seems to have worked," she told the LA Times. "So I feel a kind of responsibility to keep steering this in the right direction. But just how do you continue to do that when in your heart of hearts you know that you should be moving on to your next film?"

Veteran documentary filmmaker Louie Psihoyos, whose dolphin slaughter flick, "The Cove," won an Oscar in 2010, echoes her sentiments.

"Gabriela is now part of the vortex we all get swept up in," he says. "When you start to realize that you have the potential to really move the needle forward on big issues, it feeds you in ways that can be much more profound than just getting a paycheck."

SEE ALSO: Big Music Acts Cancel SeaWorld Performance After 'Blackfish' Doc Shows Mistreatment Of Whales

MORE: SeaWorld Shares Take A Beating As California Considers Whale Bill

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Hollywood Is Turning ‘The Giver’ Into A Movie, Here’s The First Trailer

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the giver jeff bridges

We've been waiting for this for a long time. 

Hollywood is turning Lois Lowry’s 1993 best-selling novel “The Giver” into a movie. The Weinstein Company released the first trailer for the film today. As far as young adult adaptations go, we’re pretty excited. 

The film has a huge cast ranging from Meryl Streep and Jeff Bridges to Alexander Skarsgard (“True Blood”), Katie Holmes, and Taylor Swift. 

Brenton Thwaites, who will be in this summer’s live-action “Maleficent” adaptation, will star as the lead. 

While we’ve seen a lot of trailers for other young adult adaptations, like upcoming “Divergent,” and more recently, “The Maze Runner," Lowry’s “The Giver” is pretty well known, if not mandatory school reading growing up. 

Here’s the official synopsis from The Weinstein Company: 

“The haunting story of THE GIVER centers on Jonas, who lives in a seemingly ideal, if colorless, world of conformity and contentment. Not until he is given his life assignment as the Receiver of Memory does he begin to understand the dark, complex secrets behind his fragile community.” 

"The Giver" is in theaters August 15.

Check it out below:

The film teases a website, Destiny.org, but it doesn’t seem to be working right now. 

destiny.orgHere's another photo from the film:the giver brenton thwaites

Producer Nikki Silver tweeted out a photo from the set back in October.

SEE ALSO: The final trailer for "The Amazing Spider-Man 2"

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9 Awesome New Images From Marvel's Next 3 Movies

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captain america winter soldier scarlett johansson

ABC premiered an hour-long special, "Marvel Studios: Assembling a Universe" Tuesday night, taking fans behind-the-scenes of its superhero movies while teasing some new ones.

If you didn't tune in, the highlight came from new images shown in the final few minutes.

Viewers saw a bunch of concept art for future Marvel movies ranging from "Guardians of the Galaxy,""Ant-Man," and "The Avengers: Age of Ultron."

Marvel since released many of the images online.

If you missed the special or are a big Marvel fan, you'll want to check these out.

We finally were able to get a glimpse at some concept art from "The Avengers: Age of Ultron."



We'll see a few new characters including the Scarlet Witch played by Elizabeth Olsen.

Read more on "The Avengers: Age of Ultron"here.



Aaron Taylor-Johnson will play her twin brother, Quicksilver.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Marvel Plans To Release 3 To 4 Movies A Year

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thor hammer the dark world

By now, fans are used to two Marvel movies per year, a trend which continues with next month's Captain America: The Winter Soldier and August's Guardians of the Galaxy. While doing press for Captain America: The Winter Soldier, producer/Marvel executive Kevin Feige revealed that it's possible the studio could release up to four movies per year sometime in the near future.

Badass Digest revealed that this potential plan has been in place since 2009, when Kevin Feige mentioned on the set of Iron Man 2 that Marvel's goal was to create such a distinct line-up of movies that it wouldn't feel like overkill to release four per year. When asked about those comments from five years ago, Kevin Feige had this to say.

"I think television is filling some of that now, in terms of bringing out more product. That's certainly the idea with the Netflix shows. But I don't know that we will necessarily say 'Okay, we're now moving strategically to three a year, now we're moving to four a year.' What I think is more likely - if [knocks on wood-like table] the next group of movies work and people want to see additional stories - we'll have too many franchises and you can't do one of each franchise every two or three years. We'd have to move to three a year, but that would have to be a natural move if it were to occur. We'd have a [script] draft, we'd have a filmmaker, we'd have a character the audience wants to see - let's slot in a place for a third one. Or a fourth one. But it's hard enough to deliver two quality, hopefully bar-raising movies a year."

There is still much we don't know about Marvel's Phase Three, except that Ant-Manwill kick things off on July 15, 2015, with Captain America 3 following on May 6, 2016, Second Untitled Marvel Project 2016 on July 8, 2016 and Untitled Marvel Project 2017 on May 5, 2017. As for the untitled movies, it's possible that Doctor Strange and Thor 3 could fill those slots, but nothing has been confirmed by Marvel. The site also speculates that Phase Three could also include a sequel to Guardians of the Galaxy, the long-rumored Planet Hulk and Ms. Marvel, before The Avengers 3 debuts in either 2018 or 2019.

SEE ALSO: Marvel Studios President Hints At Future Black Widow Movie

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These Maps Show All The Ways Movies Have Destroyed America

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godzilla destruction

If you've seen the recent "Godzilla" trailers, you know that Las Vegas is among the many locations to get destroyed in the film.

We've seen Hollywood destroy America from the East to West coasts on screen; however, no one's really tried to organize where, when, and how often different areas of the U.S. has been ravaged over the years.

Deadspin took a crack at it, and while they admit their list isn't perfect, it's a pretty great break down.

The site reviewed A LOT of disaster flicks, from "King Kong" and "Deluge" in 1933 to last year's "Pacific Rim," categorizing disaster flicks into 10 sub-genres — Monster Attacks, Creature Attacks, Climactic Events (floods/tornadoes), Geologic Events (volcanoes/earthquakes), Infections, Mankind (terrorism/nukes), Alien Attacks, Space Rocks, Superhero Battles, and Sharknados (for fun).

They then plotted the 189 movie attacks across 10 maps to see where the most damage has occurred in the U.S. Unsurprisingly, most take place in Los Angeles and New York.

Deadspin gave us permission to run a few of the maps below. 

You can take a look at all of the maps and movies here.

Monster Attacks On Film Across America

monster attacks in movies

New York and California win this category with versions of "King Kong,""Godzilla,""Jurassic Park: The Lost World," and "Pacific Rim." 

Creature Attacks On Film Across America

creature attacks map

"The Birds" and "Birdemic" take over California while Maine is home to water lurkers in "Jaws,""Jaws 2," and "Lake Placid."

Climactic Events on film in America

climactic events in movies map

 

The middle of the country is most ravaged by naturally-occurring events including "Twister" (Oklahoma). However, we can never forget "The Day After Tomorrow" crippled both LA and NY. 

Check out the rest of the maps at Deadspin.

SEE ALSO: The latest trailer for "Godzilla"

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'Frozen' Is Now The Fastest-Selling Digital Release Ever

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elsa frozen

Did you think that after months of hype, extending into a new year and through the Oscars, Frozen might have started to thaw? Think again: Frozen sold a whole lot of copiesin its first day out on DVD and Blu-Ray. How many? Bonkers many.

The actual number? 3.2 million sold within a day of the release. And yes, that’s a lot.

In fact, it’s now among the fastest-ever selling DVDs or Blu-Rays of all time. After it already made its mark as the actual fastest-ever in digital sales at the end of February, and after an Oscar win, and a crossing of the $1 billion threshold at the box office — well, this all just seems to be par for the course for this mega-hit. 

Frozen just can’t be stopped, and it’s serving as both a reminder of the enduring power of Disney (for better or for worse they continue to own a whole lot of the popular media consumed), and to the power of female stories in the box office.

As one study showed, after all, female-led films brought in more box office buck this past year than their male counterparts. Maybe this Frozen success will help remind other Hollywood studios that it’s time to start taking that seriously.

SEE ALSO: How 'Frozen' Went From Small Soundtrack To Worldwide Phenomenon

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5 Things We Know About 'Amazing Spider-Man 2' From Director Marc Webb

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amazing spider man 2 poster

From cryptic set photos posted on Twitter during production to announced plans for both future Sinister Six and Venom spin-offs, we have been caught in the mysterious web of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 for months and months now, but soon enough we will finally be getting all of the answers to our most dying questions. 

But while the countdown still sits at 43 days until the film arrives in theaters nationwide, earlier this week I had the pleasure of getting a very special early look at the new blockbuster. Along with a cadre of other film journalists, I was invited to enter the Sony Pictures Studio Lot in the Culver City area of Los Angeles where I not only got to watch five full scenes from the film – totaling a little over of 30 minutes of footage total – but also participate in a question and answer session with Marc Webb. With the director we talked not only about the new Amazing Spider-Mansequel and it's various characters, but also what lies beyond. 

Read on to discover the five coolest things we learned from the footage and the filmmaker! 

1. Top comedians were brought in to boost the humor
 
harry osborn amazing spider-man 2Spider-Man is perhaps best known for shooting webs, climbing up walls and swinging between the skyscrapers of New York, but from a personality stand-point the character has always been a funny guy. Peter Parker is a kid who (for the most part) loves being a superhero, and part of that process for him is constantly throwing out one-liners and witticisms that drive his enemies completely bonkers.
 
Marc Webb’s first Amazing Spider-Man did its part to bring back the funny to the character, working in scenes like Spidey’s altercation with a car thief, but for the sequel the director decided to take the humor to another level.

Discussing the idea of making Spider-Man even funnier than he was in the last film and really hitting on all of the iconic notes of the character, Webb revealed during the Q&A session that the production actually brought in a roundtable of comedians to help punch up Peter Parker’s dialogue, with star Andrew Garfield then testing the lines to make sure the lines fit with the portrayal. Said Webb, 

"We got some of the best comedians," the director said. "It’s sort of a private thing that you can’t really tell who’s in it, but these amazing, really brilliant comedians, many of them are comic book fans, come in and help us with coming up with jokes and one-liners and quips that are part of Spider-Man’s universe."

While I can’t say what the screenplay looked like before the punch-ups, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 footage that we saw did feature a good handful of funny Spidey wisecracks, the funniest coming in one of the early scenes in the movie when the hero is having a bit of a tête-à-tête with Aleksei Sytsevich a.k.a. Rhino (Paul Giamatti) and walks away humming the Spider-Man theme song. 

2. There’s a bit of a "Blues Brothers" influence
 
rhino amazing spider-man 2Following a flashback sequence that explains a bit more about what happened to Peter Parker’s parents and their fateful plane trip, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 opens with an incredibly energetic action sequence that has Spider-Man swinging through the streets in pursuit of a giant truck hauling dangerous chemicals (driven by Rhino) that is hurtling through the streets of Manhattan.
 
In addition to having a number of laugh-out-loud lines, the scene is packed with spectacle as well, as Spider-Man is joined in his chase by what looks like 100 cop cars. During the Q&A, one of my colleagues noted that the plethora of police was actually very reminiscent of the 1980 John Landis comedy The Blues Brothers. Funny enough, this same thought had occurred to the production team during the making of the movie.
 
"We came on set to know it as the Blues Brothers sequence," Webb said laughing, referencing a scene where all of the cop cars end up piling on top of one another. "I wanted to start off the movie in a more playful way, especially given the opening situation with the plane, because I wanted to bring it back into this playful part of Spider-Man that also felt big and action driven." 
 
Basically, you’re hopefully going to be laughing a lot during The Amazing Spider-Man 2 just listening to funny dialogue, but the blockbuster action sequences are certainly there to put a big wide smile on your face as well. 
 
3. Electro's Motivation

electro the amazing spider man 2Jamie Foxx’s Max Dillon a.k.a. Electro was a key figure in almost every sequence on display during the footage presentation, and does an interesting job establishing the character’s personality. Above all, what the character seems to be desperate for is to be needed.

During the aforementioned Rhino chase scene, Max runs into Spider-Man and is absolutely elated when the hero tells him that he needs his help (even if it is really just an off-hand remark). This resurfaces in a big way during a huge Times Square action sequence when the character - now all blue and sparkly - is elated to see himself on all of the bright digital billboards, and it’s taken to another level later when Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan) comes to him begging for help in a desperate situation. 

Being intrigued by this, I asked Webb about what we can expect from the comic book villain in terms of his emotional state and what drives him to the evil that he ends up committing. The director explained that when presented with the character, he and writers Bob Orci and Alex Kurtzman saw a guy that was both empathetic and a bit crazy. Said Webb, 

"[He] has been sort of ignored by the world, forgotten by people and he’s an outcast, much in the way that Peter Parker is an outcast, and he choose to react to that in a little bit of a different way. There is a wonderful pathos that Jamie enables at the beginning of the film and you haven’t seen that part yet, and you really feel for him, but there’s also a psychosis. There’s something mad about him and that eventually gets the better of him."

Digging further, I asked the director if we would actually get to see the inciting incident that made him the person he is. Playing coy, Webb put on a wry smile and simply said, "Sure." 

4. We will meet the guy from the end credits ofThe Amazing Spider-Man

Amazing Spiderman 2, creditsThe first Amazing Spider-Man movie ended with one of the most enigmatic post-credits sequences we’ve seen yet in modern comic book movies. The scene began in a prison cell with Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans), and after a flash of lightning we see that he is no longer alone, but instead with a mysterious man hiding in the shadows. The guest asks the incarcerated scientist if Peter Parker knows the truth about his parents, and after Connors says no the mystery man disappears in another lightning flash. Fans have spent the last two years speculating about the identity of the "Man in the Shadows," and now we have a promise that answers are on the way. 

The director didn’t really elaborate on the situation, but during the Q&A it was confirmed that by the time The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is over we will know exactly who that guy was. While most original theories from when movie came out suggested that the character was either Electro or Norman Osborn, those two are seemingly now off the table given that the former is being played by Jamie Foxx and the latter by Chris Cooper. Not wanting to give too much away, Webb explained that some things are just best left for the big screen. 

"We have to be very careful about what we reveal and we get a lot of flak for sometimes talking about too many things," he said. "But we also enthuse people to see the movie, and so in keeping with trying to make that cinematic experience for everybody at home really special, I’m going to withhold that answer from you." 

5. Working towards a larger Spider-Man universe

amazing spider man 1964Much like how Warner Bros. has started making a larger DC Comics world on the big screen and the folks over at 20th Century Fox are busy trying to find a way to bring the X-Men and Fantastic Four together, the extreme success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has inspired the people behind the Amazing Spider-Man franchise to think bigger. As a result, in the next few years will see the release of not just an Amazing Spider-Man 3, but also Sinister Six and Venom titles. It has already been made very clear that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 will be doing quite a bit of world-building to get the franchise to where it needs to be, and that was a subject that Webb expounded on during the Q&A. 

The director explained that while the Amazing Spider-Man movies were originally planned as a simple trilogy, the project began to grow in size as they started to play around with bigger ideas. Eventually they had so many ideas that they realized it couldn’t all fit in the second movie, so part of Amazing Spider-Man 2’s job became setting up storylines for future development. 

"There’s too much richness there, and so when we were talking about the beginning of the second film we were trying to plan out all of the emerging story lines. It just started to make sense to invest in other stories, and then in particular the Sinister Six."

It has already been confirmed that Webb won’t be returning to direct The Amazing Spider-Man 4 and that Sinister Six and Venom are likely going to be helmed by Drew Goddard and Alex Kurtzman, respectively, but the filmmaker has definitely made a more than significant contribution to the future of the franchise: 

"We’ve been trying to figure out how to develop a larger universe and there are some very exciting things coming around the corner with the Sinister Six and Venom and future Spider-Man movies. I want to be involved in any way I possibly can and we’re already talking. We’ve had these really wonderful discussions and there’s already been some announcements, but you know Alex and Bob and Drew Goddard and a lot of these really brilliant minds who are young and emerging are helping us develop something a little bit more elaborate and exciting. It’s just been a blast. It’s sort of a dream come true. We’ve had fantasies about what we could do, and they’re slowly coming to reality. I’m really excited about that."

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 arrives in theaters on May 2nd. 

SEE ALSO: New 'Amazing Spider-Man 2' Trailer Shows Off The Green Goblin

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'X-Men: Days Of Future Past' Reveals Who Is Coming Back For A Secret Cameo

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x men days of future past poster

Given that 20th Century Fox's upcoming X-Men: Days of Future Past merges the casts of the original X-Men trilogy and the 2011 prequel X-Men: First Class, fans will get the best of both worlds as past and present versions of these mutants are featured under one cinematic roof.

Today, we have word that a secret cameo has been revealed, so if you don't want to be spoiled by this new information, stop reading now.

SPOILERS AHEAD!

Digital Spy is reporting that X-Men: The Last Stand star Kelsey Grammer will have a cameo appearance as Hank McCoy, a.k.a. Beast in X-Men: Days of Future Past.

Here's what an unidentified insider had to say about the cameo, which will occur towards the end of the film as the actor playing an "alternate adult Beast."

"Producers had the brilliant idea to bring back Kelsey for Days of Future Past. It wasn't hard to get him to sign on for a guest appearance. He jumped at the opportunity the second it was brought to his attention."

It isn't known how this "alternate adult Beast" will differ from the character he portrayed in X-Men: The Last Stand, but it seems that the future timeline was altered somehow in the story. The cameo appears to have taken shape late in the game, with the appearance shot on the 20th Century Fox lot during post-production, under the guise of a separate project.

"Kelsey's special cameo was secretly shot during post-production on the Fox lot under the impression that Kelsey would be on set to film a pilot for a different project."

Nicholas Hoult plays the younger version of Hank McCoy, revealing in an interviewlast month that Hank now has the ability to transform in and out of his Beast mode, which, in essence, makes him a blue version of Marvel's Hulk. Here's what Nicholas Hoult had to say during that interview.

"What's happened up to this point is between the time of the last movie and this movie my character has created a serum which basically controls his mutation so his appearance is normal as long as he doesn't get worked up. Any animal instinct or urges, that kind of brings him out. So yeah, he changes into Beast a few times throughout the story and they've done some great action sequences with him this time, particularly in the mansion flying around on these chandeliers and stuff."

It's possible that, since the younger McCoy developed this serum in the past, it has altered McCoy's future, leading to this alternate version of Beast played by Kelsey Grammer.

Of course, this cameo has not been confirmed by 20th Century Fox yet, so stay tuned for more developments.

X-Men: Days of Future Past comes to theaters May 23rd, 2014 and stars James McAvoyMichael FassbenderRose ByrneJennifer LawrenceNicholas Hoult,Patrick StewartIan McKellenHugh Jackman. The film is directed by Bryan Singer.

SEE ALSO: 5 Photos Of The Mutant-Hunting Robots The X-Men Will Face In 'Days Of Future Past'

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Christian Bale Cast As Steve Jobs In Upcoming Biopic

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christian bale

Oscar winner Christian Bale is David Fincher's choice to play Steve Jobs in the untitled movie that Aaron Sorkin has written for Sony, an individual familiar with the project has told TheWrap.

Scott Rudin and Mark Gordon are producing with Film 360's Guymon Casady.

A representative for Gordon did not immediately respond to TheWrap's request for comment, while Sony declined to comment on the record. A representative for Bale also did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Fincher recently met with Sony's Amy Pascal to discuss the possibility of directing the film, and told her, in no uncertain terms, that he'd only take the reins of the project if Bale plays Jobs.

Also read: Steve Jobs Biopic: David Fincher Not in Talks to Direct, But He's Taking the Meeting

Fincher and Pascal had a tense relationship during the making of “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” but Pascal believes in him as a filmmaker — and is inclined to keep him happy, according to one insider. It helps that Pascal has a good relationship with Bale, following a positive experience on “American Hustle.” The film earned Bale an Oscar nomination during a highly-competitive year.

While Steve Jobs is a long way from Batman, Bale has been considered a prime contender to play the tech superhero since the project was first announced due to his physical resemblance to the Apple co-founder.

Also read: Steve Jobs Biopic Parody ‘iSteve’ Released by Funny or Die (Video)

Bale has not been approached to play Jobs yet, as the actor is taking a step away from the business to spend time with his family now that he has wrapped the role of Moses in Ridley Scott's “Exodus,” which is expected to have him back in the awards conversation after “American Hustle.”

Sorkin, who won an Oscar for writing Fincher's Facebook drama “The Social Network,” based his script on Walter Isaacson's bestselling authorized biography. That book was, in turn, based on more than 40 interviews that author had with Jobs, as well as interviews with friends, family and colleagues.

The film consists of three long scenes regarding Apple's buzzed-about product launches, including the Mac, NeXT (after Jobs had left Apple) and the iPod.

Production could begin before the end of the year, though an early 2015 start is more likely, as both Bale and Fincher will be busy this fall promoting their respective movies, “Exodus” and “Gone Girl.”

Also read: ‘Dark Knight’ Christian Bale Thinks Batkid Is ‘Fantastic’

Though Open Road's “Jobs,” which starred Ashton Kutcher, grossed only $35 million worldwide, Sony believes that there is considerable interest across the globe in a Steve Jobs movie made by and featuring A-list talent.

Bale, who will soon be seen in a pair of Terrence Malick movies, has no firm attachments to movies in development. The notoriously selective actor won an Oscar for his supporting performance in David O. Russell's “The Fighter.” He's repped by WME and attorney Carlos Goodman.

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Stan Lee Says He Isn't As Rich As You Think

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Stan Lee

Describing Stan Lee as “the original genius behind Marvel Comics and most of the superheroes you’ve ever loved or watched on the big screen” probably isn’t doing the 91-year-old comic book veteran any favors as he tries, seemingly, to rehabilitate his reputation for glory-hogging in a wide-ranging conversation to be published in this Friday’s new issue of Playboy.

Indeed, the (in)famously self-promoting Lee uses the interview to deliberately undermine the public perception — one he worked hard to create, as recently as last year with his reality show Fangasm — that he’s a tremendously wealthy comic book mogul primarily responsible for the success of some of Marvel Comics’ most iconic — and profitable — superhero characters.

Like most expressions of Lee’s history, the Playboy piece by David Hochman repeatedly references “Stan the Man” as “the creator” of characters including Spider-Man, the Hulk, the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, while co-creators Jack Kirby an Steve Ditko’s contributions are described merely as “working with” Lee, who was a Marvel staffer since the age of 18 (thanks to a familial relation with company boss Martin Goodman).

Proponents of both artists have argued for decades to the contrary; that it was Lee whose contributions were the more meager of the partnerships. But here Lee comes off as almost contrite as he explains in unusually stark terms, free of pizzazz or superfluous alliteration, his view of the enduring questions about his role in Marvel’s storied history, from character creation to Disney acquisition to his own monetary wealth.

On Lee’s current role at Marvel:

“I have no standing at Marvel where I decide what projects get made or who gets hired, and certainly none at Disney, which now owns Marvel.  I’m a guy they hire as a writer or producer and also to go to conventions and do things like that.  Mostly I’m just a pretty face they keep for the public.” 

On whether or not Lee owns rights to the characters he created: 

“I never did.  I was always a Marvel employee, a writer for hire and, later, part of management.  My role at Marvel is strictly honorary.  Marvel always owned the rights to these characters.  If I owned them, I probably wouldn’t be talking to you now.” 

On Lee’s net worth:

“My daughter was looking at the internet the other day and read that Stan Lee has an estimated $250 million.  I mean, that’s ridiculous!  I don’t have $200 million.  I don’t have $150 million.  I don’t have $100 million or anywhere near that.” 

On Lee’s not profiting (directly) from the Disney acquisition of Marvel :

“You have to understand, growing up during the Depression, I saw my parents struggling to pay the rent.  I was happy enough to get a nice paycheck and be treated well.  I always got the highest rate; whatever Martin paid another writer, I got a least that much.  It was a very good job.  I was able to buy a house on Long Island.  I never dreamed I should have $100 million or $250 million or whatever that crazy number is.  All I know is I created a lot of characters and enjoyed the work I did.”

Stan LeeOn the lingering controversy surrounding Lee’s work with Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko:  

“There was never a time when it just said ‘by Stan Lee.’  It was always ‘by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko’ or ‘by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.’  I made sure their names were always as big as mine.  As far as what they were paid, I had nothing to do with that.  They were hired as freelance artists, and they worked as freelance artists.  At some point they apparently felt they should be getting more money.  Fine, it was up to them to talk to the publisher.  It had nothing to do with me.  I would have liked to have gotten more money too.  And twice, not once, I offered a job to Jack Kirby.  I said to him, ‘Jack, why don’t you work for Marvel with me?’  I was the art director at the time.  I said, ‘You be the art director.  I’ll just be the editor and head writer, and you’ll have that security.’ He wouldn’t do it.  He didn’t want a staff job.  With him, as with Ditko, I don’t see where they were unfairly treated.  Jack was a great guy and so is Steve.  I’m sorry anybody feels there’s any acrimony.  I loved them both.” 

It’s worth noting here that for his part, Kirby did feel mistreated. “The King” passed away in 1994, but his heirs would later attempt to reclaim copyright to the Marvel characters he co-created in a lawsuit that was ultimately — and always destined to be, our legal consultants tell us — unsuccessful. Last year Deadline confirmed what had been rumored but discussed only off-the-record for some time; that Marvel attempted to settle with the Kirby estate, but that “attempts to strike a deal faltered.” To the best of our knowledge, the court battle has effectively ended but situation remains unresolved.

As for the rest of Lee’s Playboy interview, where things get sort of, well, horrifying is Lee’s discussion of original artwork not returned to his freelancers.

“In those days we didn’t think of it.  We were in a small office.  After the book was printed, the printer would send the original pages of artwork and all the color proofs back to us.  We had no room for them.  We gave everything away.  Some kid would come up to deliver sandwiches form the drugstore and we’d say, ‘Hey, kid, on your way out, take these pages and throw them somewhere.’  If one of those guys had brains enough to save some stuff, he’d be a very lucky man right now.”

That such artwork was not properly returned to artists like Kirby and Ditko remains one American comics’ most egregious… if the word isn’t actually “crimes,” then it’s something very close to it. Much has been written about this topic, such as this piece by Michael Dean from The Comics Journal. In it, Dean explains how original artwork was “held hostage” by Marvel until artists signed a release characterizing “the art return as ‘a gift’ from Marvel to the creators.

By signing the form, the creators agreed that the art had been work for hire and that Marvel was ‘the exclusive worldwide owner of all copyright’ related to the art. Creators were required to grant Marvel the right to use the artists’ name and likeness in promotions.”

Stan Lee, Iron ManKirby was willing to sign such a release in exchange for the ownership of what would turn out to be his extremely valuable original work, but Marvel had a special document prepared just for him that mitigated the nature of the “gift,” describing Kirby as, legally, merely a custodian of only a portion of the physical material on behalf of Marvel. Meaning that if Kirby accepted the terms, he could not sell it, reproduce it, display it, anything.

The document was imbued with other dubious implications that caused Kirby great concern. Ultimately a compromise was reached with respect to the legalese of the release, but even then, in 1987, only a fraction of Kirby’s more than 8,000 pages of Marvel artwork was returned.

As Lee remarks in the Playboy interview, if “one of those guys had brains enough to save [some artwork], he’d be a very lucky man right now.”

Well, there is some reason to believe it is Lee himself who may be in possession of that very material. In an episode of Hollywood Treasures, a 2010 SyFy series spotlighting lost relics from the entertainment industry, host Joe Maddalena presented Lee with the complete original artwork for Fantastic Four #12, the first Marvel Comics crossover, in which the FF encounter the Hulk. The footage is essential viewing, depicting a genuinely awestruck Lee inspecting the stunning Jack Kirby pages for the first time in nearly 50 years. But the most astonishing moment of the episode is an alleged exchange between Maddalena and an unidentified Lee associate, recounted by Maddalena as follows:

I said, “Does he have any artwork?” [Stan Lee's associate] goes, “Boxes and boxes in the garage.” I said, “What do you mean, garage?” He goes, “Storage units full.” I said, “Well, supposedly I’ve heard him say he doesn’t have anything.” The guy said, “Storage units full of artwork.” He goes, “He has no idea what he has. He’s never looked at it.”

Jack Kirby spoke at length about his history with Stan Lee in a must-read interview with Gary Groth for The Comics Reporter. The Lee remarks begin here, on page five.

You can read the entire Stan Lee Playboy interview at this link (it is safe-for-work).

SEE ALSO: Marvel Plans To Release 3 To 4 Movies A Year

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Movies Not Filming In California Is Costing State $9.6 Billion And 50,000 Jobs

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Entourage hollywood

California's film and television tax credits generated $4.3 billion in economic activity and bolstered 22,300 jobs, according to a study released Thursday by the Southern California Association of Governments.

But an exodus of films with massive budgets to production hotspots such as the United Kingdom and Canada that offer more generous subsidies was acutely felt in the Golden State.

It cost California an estimated $410 million in state and local tax revenues. It also meant sacrificing 47,600 jobs and $9.6 billion in economic output, the study's authors claim.

Also read: What State Is the Movie-Making Capital of the World? Hint: It's Not California or New York

“You cannot look at this program and not see it as a formidable economic and fiscal benefit,” Hasan Ikhrata, SCAG Executive Director, said in a statement. “California is very much at risk of losing its film industry, and without this program the past five years, the losses would have been even more painful.”

Also read: Movie Production Up 20% in L.A. Area – And It's Not Nearly Enough

The study comes as California lawmakers are debating whether or not to extend a program that Hollywood studios and their allies claim is vital to keeping the film business from moving out of state, and detractors liken to corporate handouts. Legislation has been proposed by Assemblymen Raul Bocengra and Mike Gatto that would expand the program to include films with budgets of up to $100 million, as well as broadcast television and other forms of programming. Currently, eligible productions must have budgets of $75 million or under and are limited to basic cable programming.

See photos12 of the Biggest Movies Shot in the U.K.: ‘Star Wars,’ ‘Guardians of the Galaxy,’ ‘Muppets’

Capped at $100 million per year, California's Film and Television Tax Credit Program lags behind many of the more than 40 states and a dozen countries that offer some form of production incentives.  New York's program offers $420 million annually, for instance, while states like Georgia and Louisiana offer incentive plans that are uncapped.

In 2013, 75 percent of the 41 live action feature films with production budgets in excess of $75 million were filmed outside of California, a list that includes “Man of Steel,” “Iron Man 3” and “Oz the Great and Powerful,” which decamped for New Zealand, Detroit and other far-flung destinations that offered sweeter deals.

Also read: L.A. Film Czar: Tax Incentives About Middle-Class Jobs, Not Corporate Welfare

The metropolitan planning organization's report also found that the 109 film projects that received support from the program returned 11 percent on public investment over the past three years.  The best bang for the buck came from television programs, which returned 19 percent on public funds. Independent feature films returned 15 percent, the study claims.

Projects such as ”Bridesmaids,” “The Lincoln Lawyer” and “The Social Network” that benefited from the incentives generated $247.7 million in state and local tax revenues, $4.3 billion in economic output and $1.6 billion in labor income, the study's authors report.

SEE ALSO: Louisiana Is The Shocking New Movie-Making Capital Of The World

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Everything You Should Know About 'Divergent' — Hollywood's Next Big Movie Franchise

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divergent shailene woodley

Hollywood's next big franchise hopeful "Divergent" is heading to theaters this weekend.

You may not know much about it, but the adaptation of the best-selling series is what teens will be heading out to see.

The film stars Shailene Woodley ("The Descendants"), Theo James ("Underworld: Awakening"), and Kate Winslet in a dystopian future.

After "The Hunger Games," it's Lionsgate and Summit Entertainment's latest Young Adult adaptation to the big screen.

While it's not expected to duplicate Jennifer Lawrence's break-out hit opening weekend, "Divergent" is expected to make upwards of $65 million falling in line with 2008's "Twilight" debut.

If you're not sure what all of the fuss is about, here's what you should know about Hollywood's next big film.

Meet Beatrice Prior, played by actress Shailene Woodley.



She lives in a future dystopian version of Chicago.



It's broken down and completely enclosed from the outside world.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Here's Stephen Colbert's Very Brief Cameo in 'The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug'

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Famous nerd Tolkien scholar Stephen Colbert fulfilled a dream when he appeared all-too-briefly in last year's The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug as an eye-patched spy in Laketown. Well in case you missed it the first time around, here's a video of his appearance. 

The movie finally hits home release April 8th, at which point you'll be able to annoy your friends by pausing the movie in the middle of the action to point out Middle Earth's greatest political satirist.

SEE ALSO: These maps show all the ways movies have destroyed America

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How Hollywood Can Make A Truly Great Video Game Movie

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aaron paul need for speed

If you want to know how Hollywood feels about movies based on video games, look no further than Aaron Paul, who stars in the video game–based Need for Speed.

"I didn't even want to read the script," conceded Paul in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. "I saw the script, and I was like, 'Oh, no, another video game movie'...… So it took everything in me to turn the first page."

Based on the critical reaction to Need for Speed, his first instinct might have been the right one: Need for Speed has earned a scathing 24 percent positive reviews for its "stock characters" and "preposterous plot."

Believe it or not, that dismal 24 percent actually makes Need for Speed one of the better-reviewed video game movies in history, above peers like Lara Croft: Tomb RaiderDoom, and Max Payne. But damning with faint praise is the best I can do, since it turns out there has never been a movie based on a video game that earned more than 50 percent positive reviews. In the parlance ofaggregator Rotten Tomatoes, that means critics have deemed no video game–based movie worth seeing.

At a time when Hollywood is more obsessed than ever with tracking down guaranteed hits, the video game industry — which actually earns more money than Hollywood every year — should be the safest bet in the world. But Hollywood has produced a single durable video game franchise: the Resident Evil series, which barely resembles the video games on which it's purportedly based (and which has been slammed by critics since day one).resident evil

What will it take to make a video game adaptation that will score with critics and audiences alike? To answer that question, let's take a trip through the genre's infamously terrible history.

Choose the right game to adapt

When Hollywood first tested the waters of video game adaptations in 1993, it picked a title that seemed like a can't-miss proposition: Super Mario Bros., which was primed for a tentpole summer release. The Mario games were universally adored, and the franchise was at the height of its mainstream popularity (a Q score survey at the time revealed that Mario was more recognizable to American children than Mickey Mouse).

What could go wrong? As anyone who's even remotely familiar with the Mario games could have told you, pretty much everything. Portly, personality-free Mario makes for a perfect gaming avatar, but he loses much of his charm when you slap a pair of overalls on Bob Hoskins.

The game's uninspired story — the princess has been kidnapped, run right until you save her — offers no material for a compelling film. And the deep weirdness of Super Mario World — with its warp pipes, marching turtles, mushrooms that make you grow, and flowers that make you shoot fireballs — offers a set of rules that works for a game, but seems positively psychedelic on film. The Super Mario Bros. movie was an ugly, creepy, incomprehensible mess, displeasing both mainstream audiences and fans of the video game.

But despite that early failure, Hollywood continues to choose its source material based on popularity. Is the crash-friendly Need for Speed really the most fertile ground for a character-driven movie? Is there anything about Angry Birds that offers a story worth telling on film?

If you want to make a good movie that's based on a video game, choose a game with a story that lends itself naturally to film. The ongoing development of a movie based on Metal Gear Solid — a game with a structure and scale that consciously emulates cinematic tropes — is a hopeful sign that Hollywood is beginning to catch on.

Invest some real money in the project

One advantage that video games have over live action-movies: Video game designers have a lot of leeway to build their worlds. If a development team decides, say, that they want their space marine to fight a wide variety of aliens on a lush, tropical ring world, there's little to stop them from doing it. But the same setting — which would require extensive CGI and green screen work — would drive the cost of a blockbuster movie exponentially higher.

masterchief halo new game 2014However, there is a significant precedent for this kind of project: Comic-book movies.

Studios routinely spend well over $100 million on comic book adaptations — even on titles with relatively small fan followings like Cowboys and Aliens ($163 million) and R.I.P.D. ($130 million).

It would be just as challenging to adapt Halo as Marvel's upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy, but only the latter is happening — and on paper, Halo is a much safer bet.

On the first day of its release, Halo 4 earned $220 million in sales — a number that's higher than any film premiere gross in history. In 2012, Microsoft reported that the Halo franchise had earnedmore than $3 billion in worldwide sales. But despite those extraordinarily promising signs, studios have repeatedly balked at the budget for a proposed Halo film, which has ranged from $100 million to $145 million during its decade in development hell.

To be fair, Microsoft had other extreme demands for the Halo movie, including creative control and merchandise rights, but it's clear that the budget has remained a sticking point.

Given the previous failures of the genre — and particularly pricey entries, like the $200 millionPrince of Persia: The Sands of Time — it's no surprise that Hollywood is gun-shy. But if Hollywood studios are to have any chance of attracting mainstream blockbuster audiences to a big-screen video game adaptation, they'll need to get comfortable with spending mainstream blockbuster money on them. 

Hire people who actually care about video games

Against the critical grain, I thought the first Silent Hill movie was actually pretty good — and that's largely because director Christophe Gans actually wanted to make a Silent Hill movie. Gans spent five years trying to obtain the film rights to the series, and when he did, he made sure his film felt like a logical extension of the Silent Hill universe.

Much of the film's score was culled directly from the games, most of its iconic monsters appeared, and Gans even kept a copy of the original game running on set in order to ensure he was accurately capturing its camera angles.

But when you branch away from movies based on a specific video game, there's an even better example: Disney's Wreck-It Ralph, which won over mainstream audiences with a compelling story, and scored extra points with gamers by packing the frame with loving winks to video game history.

It was more than just cameos from Sonic the Hedgehog and Pac-Man; it was an overall attention to detail that included references to everything from Final Fantasy 7 to Metal Gear Solid, and a knowledge of arcade culture that went as far as ending the film on a kill screen. That kind of commitment takes passion — and if you hire passionate people, you're far more likely to get a movie that captures the essence of what made the video game work in the first place.

Make a good movie first and a good adaptation second

If you've followed the last three pieces of advice, you're well on your way to making a good video game adaptation — but now it's time to focus on making a good movie, full stop. A recent, fascinating story at Polygon offers a deep dive into the troubled production of 1994's legendarily awful Street Fighter: The Movie.

When faced with the task of converting the fighting game's nonlinear story into a coherent movie, screenwriter-director Steven de Souza convinced Capcom that "seven is the number of characters an audience can keep in its head at any time"— which meant that half of the game's fighters wouldn't appear at all.

So far, so good. But after initially agreeing to use only half the game's fighting roster in Street Fighter: The Movie, Capcom successfully pressured de Souza to add no less than eight more characters from the game before production began — a number that works out to about six minutes of screen time per character. There are many, many reasons that Street Fighter: The Movie turned out to be a disaster, but its failure was assured as soon as the game's characters took precedence over its story.

Fan service has its value, and there's no point in making a movie based on a video game if you're going to throw out everything that was interesting about the game in the first place. But at some point, the creative team needs to take the lessons they've learned, put the controllers down, and figure out how to distill the interactive, discursive experience of playing a video game into a focused, narrative film.

need for speed aaron paulNeed for Speed may not be the movie to make Hollywood treat video games with as much reverence as they do comic books — but there are other video game–based movies, in various stages of development, that could be the game changers both industries need. Moon director Duncan Jones was the perfect choice to helm a movie based on World of Warcraft, which is scheduled for release in 2016. 

The Last of Us — a story-driven, post-apocalyptic action game that many deemed the best video game of 2013 — is a promising choice for a feature film. Sly Cooper, which is based on a game series that's a little like a Disney-fied Ocean's Eleven, seems like perfect fodder for a children's animated movie.

It's been frustrating watching Hollywood fumble its video game adaptations for more than two decades, but it's encouraging that the studios haven't stopped trying, and that adaptations on the horizon seem to be far more promising than BloodRayne or Hitman.

I suspect we're not far from the day when mainstream audiences line up for a video game adaptation as eagerly as Star Wars orIron Man — and once Hollywood sees the full potential, it will find a whole universe of untapped stories worth telling.

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Here's How Poorly Most Young Adult Adaptation Movies Perform At Theaters

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shailene woodley climbing divergent

"Divergent" is out in theaters this weekend and the film has a lot weighing on it.

It's the next big young adult movie adaptation to hit the big screen with Hollywood hopes of being the next money-making franchise.

The teen flick is expected to make north of $60 million opening weekend. Thursday night, the film opened to $4.9 million.

Despite that, Lionsgate’s stocktumbled about 6% Friday afternoon, but it really doesn’t make much sense.

Sure, it may not have received spectacular reviews, but neither did the "Twilight" series.

In reality, with $23 million so far at the box office, "Divergent" is already faring better than other young adult (YA) adaptations at theaters. 

And while “Divergent” isn’t going to be a "Hunger Games" or "Harry Potter," it will certainly be a healthy franchise for Lionsgate and Summit Entertainment.

We took a look at the box-office numbers for the first film in every potential YA series. (It wouldn't be fair to compare any of the latter "Harry Potter" film sequels to the potential of a new franchise.)

From 2001's "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" to February's bomb "Vampire Academy," here are the box-office openings for 10 young adult movies brought to the big screen.box office opening weekends young adult movies

Note how "The Hunger Games" blows "Harry Potter" out of the water. Even if the film's opening weekend was adjusted for inflation, it would have made $133.2 million. "The Hunger Games" had a $152.5 million debut.

The YA releases above averaged a total box-office opening of $42 million. (Taking "Harry Potter" and "The Hunger Games" out of the equation they average $22.3 million.)

The worldwide box-office numbers don't get much better for any of the other films.

The majority —"I Am Number Four,""Beautiful Creatures,""The Host,""The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones,""Ender's Game," and "Vampire Academy"— all made under $100 million at theaters.

worldwide box office young adult movies

Yet, most of those same movies — "I Am Number Four,""Beautiful Creatures," and "The Mortal Instruments"— hovered around $60 million. The anticipated adaptation of "Ender's Game" set Lionsgate back $110 million. 

"Divergent" is costing the studio an estimated $85 million making it one of the costliest YA's since "The Hunger Games."

box office budgets young adult movies

Now, here are all of those charts combined into one.young adult movie adaptations at box office

What you'll want to focus on here is the difference between the film's budgets and worldwide totals.

After the wild success of "The Hunger Games" in 2012 there was a giant young adult movie boom; however, it's been difficult for another movie to duplicate that model at theaters.

Since "Harry Potter" is an obvious outlier having grossed $974.8 million worldwide, here's another look at the same chart.

young adult movie adaptations

In no way will "Divergent" be the next "Mortal Instruments" or "Beautiful Creatures" at the box office. 

It's potential opening weekend of $60 million+ is a parallel to that of "Twilight" ($69.6 million) in 2008.

We all know the phenomenon that movie became.

SEE ALSO: Everything you should know about "Divergent"

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17 Movie Stars Coming To TV This Year

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frank underwood president house of cards

With the success of shows like True Detective and House of Cards, television continues to erase its reputation as film's kid brother.

It's no longer a step backwards for big screen stars to give TV a shot, and the 2014 pilot season proves just how willing movie types are to make the jump to the smaller screen.

1. Halle Berry

ShowExtant

The Pitch: After spending a year in space where she lived and conducted strange experiments, astronaut Molly Watts tries to resume a normal life with her family. 

Network: CBS

Premiere: July 2



2. Katie Holmes

Show: TBA

The PitchKatie Holmes stars in a Dangerous Liaisons-seque high society drama.

Network: ABC

Premiere: TBA



3. Mark Ruffalo, Julia Roberts, and Taylor Kitsch

ShowThe Normal Heart

The Pitch: A gay activist attempts to raise HIV/AIDS awareness during the early 1980s.

Network: HBO

Premiere: May 25



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The 20 Most Successful Actors At The Box Office

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Cameron DiazWhen it comes to acting, success can be measured in a lot of different ways — awards, respect, critical acclaim, prolificacy — but what movie executives really care about is profitability.

Which actor is going to sell the most tickets? Well, using the stats from Box Office Mojo, we can answer that.

Check out the top actors at the box office >

1. Tom Hanks

Career Box Office: $4.26 billion

Highest Grossing FilmToy Story 3

Career Average: $101 million per film



2. Morgan Freeman

Career Box Office: $4 billion

Highest Grossing FilmThe Dark Knight 
 
Career Average: $77 million per film


3. Harrison Ford

Career Box Office: $3.85 billion

Highest Grossing FilmStar Wars

Career Average: $101.4 million per film



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

How The New 'Divergent' Star's Salary Stacks Up Against Jennifer Lawrence's 'Hunger Games' Payday

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Shailene Woodley Divergent

Lionsgate Studios is counting on 22-year-old actress Shailene Woodley to carry the huge, three-part "Divergent" film franchise based on Veronica Roth's best-selling trilogy set in a future dystopia.

Woodley was apparently the "first and only choice" for the role of Beatrice "Tris" Prior, and the studio was willing to shell out a $250,000 - $500,000 paycheck to get Woodley on-board for the first installment alone.

If all goes well at the box office after the film's March 21 opening  which it's on track to do Woodley will have the bargaining power to negotiate a much higher salary for the sequels.

23-year-old Jennifer Lawrence, for example, earned $500,000 for the first "Hunger Games," but after the film earned a whopping $691 million at the box office, she scored $10 million for the second installment, "Catching Fire."The Hollywood Reporter notes that the higher figure "is a combination of salary, bonuses and escalators."

hunger games catching fireProducer Alix Madigan, who has worked with both Lawrence and Woodley, tells THR, "Their career trajectories are similar in the sense of doing independent films and then going on to the YA franchise. I think Shailene certainly has the talent and the charisma and the inherent likability to follow in Jennifer's footsteps."

Similarly, Kristen Stewart, 23, also started her career in indie films such as "Into The Wild," but everything changed when she landed the role of Bella Swan in 2008's "Twilight."

After the initial film raked in nearly $393 million globally, Stewart was able to negotiate an unprecedented $25 million paycheck against 7.5% of the theatrical gross for the franchise's final two "Breaking Dawn" sequels.

According to E! Online, actress Emma Watson, also 23, played Hermione Granger in eight "Harry Potter" films from 2001 to 2011 and earned $15 million for both "Deathly Hallows" installments.

So if the "Divergent" readers translate into box office ticket sales as expected, Shailene Woodley should be able to negotiate a hefty paycheck for the second and third installments, "Insurgent" and "Allegiant," slated for release in March 2015 and March 2016.

SEE ALSO: Shailene Woodley Will Earn A Pretty Measly Paycheck To Star In $85 Million 'Divergent'

AND: The Young Star Of Huge New 'Divergent' Franchise Is A Hardcore Hippie

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'Muppets' Sequel Performs Worse Than Original Opening Weekend

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muppets most wanted

It was an underwhelming box-office weekend for "The Muppets" sequel.

"Muppets Most Wanted" debuted to $16.5 million.

That's more than $10 million less than Disney's Muppet's movie with Jason Segel and Amy Adams that made $29.2 million in 2011.

Estimates predicted "Muppets Most Wanted" would open between $23-$26 million.

Still, the opening is better than other previous Muppet films including 1996's "Muppet Treasure Island" ($7.9 million). (Today, that opening would translate to $14.9 million.)

Easily leading the box office this weekend was Lionsgate and Summit Entertainment's latest franchise hopeful, "Divergent," starring Shailene Woodley ("The Descendants"). 

The first in at least three movies made $56 million opening weekend.

SEE ALSO: Everything you should know about "Divergent"

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