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Here's How 'Thor: The Dark World' Looks Without Visual Effects


thor loki thor the dark worldAlong with top-grossing animated picture "Frozen,""Thor: The Dark World" just helped Disney have its best quarter at the company ever. 

The film has made more than $644.8 million worldwide and continues 

If you've seen the sequel, you know it's filled with visual effects.

It took a series of VFX companies — Blur Studio, The Third Floor, Luma Pictures, Method Studios, and Double Negative— to bring the film to life. 

Many of the studios have released videosbreaking down exactly how the movie was made.

A lot of blue and green doubles for everything from Thor's beautiful home of Asgard to big-action sequences.

London was perfectly safe ...

... when it looked like a ship was tearing it apart.

A lot of the film's dark scenes ...

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

New 'Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes' Trailer Shows All-Out War


dawn of the planet of the apes

20th Century Fox just released the second trailer for "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes."

The film is the sequel to 2011's "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" which starred James Franco.

While Franco will appear via flashback video in this film, Gary Oldman and Jason Clarke ("Zero Dark Thirty") will star along with Keri Russell ("The Americans") continuing the story of Caesar, the ape from the first installment.

Here's the synopsis from Fox:

"A growing nation of genetically evolved apes led by Caesar is threatened by a band of human survivors of the devastating virus unleashed a decade earlier. They reach a fragile peace, but it proves short-lived, as both sides are brought to the brink of a war that will determine who will emerge as Earth's dominant species."

The film is in theaters July 11.

SEE ALSO: 15 movies you should see this summer

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Here's What Andrew Garfield Wants Kids To Take Away From Seeing 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2'


amazing spiderman 2 web pattern

“The Amazing Spider-Man 2” kicked off the summer season as the first large May release. 

While the Spidey sequel is filled with giant action sequences, villains, and a set-up for the future of the Sony franchise, Andrew Garfield says it has a particularly strong message that should resonate with kids and adults alike.

jane aronson andrew garfield worldwide orphansRecently, we attended an event for the Worldwide Orphans (WWO) with Spider-Man actor Andrew Garfield and CEO & Founder Dr. Jane Aronson.

Garfield has worked with the organization, which helps better the lives of orphaned children, since 2011, when he traveled to countries including Ethiopia and Haiti as an ambassador. 

The actor spoke with Business Insider briefly about what he wants kids to get out of the film.

"The way I feel about Spider-Man and Peter Parker is he is a metaphor for all of our lives in the sense that we are all Peter Parker," Garfield told us. "We are all ordinary, we all [have] the same imperfections and struggles. We all have flaws and we all are fallible. And we are all Spider-Man in a sense that we have something extraordinary to give. We have some superpower whether that be for heroism, whether that be for art, whether that be for creativity, whether that be for science, mathematics, athleticism."andrew garfield amazing spider man 2Garfield referenced his own experience growing up in a middle-class working family in the South of England.

"I was conditioned to believe that unless I was going to be a lawyer, a doctor, or a businessman, I wasn't worth it," said Garfield. "And that somehow got deep into my psyche."

In the sequel, Garfield explained how we see a similar theme with characters like Jamie Foxx's Electro becoming ostracized. Electro the amazing spider man 2"What we're dealing with in the film is this very simple idea that if you're not seen and you're not heard and you're not given validation and you're not given a place in your society and you're not appreciated for who you are ... it creates an unhealthy response," says Garfield. 

One scene from the film shows Garfield's Spider-Man help out a boy being picked on by larger kids. Spidey swoops in to save him and then walks him home.

We see the same boy again later in the film standing up to Paul Giamatti's Rhino, before Garfield steps in to take the reins.the amazing spider man 2 kid

The scene stands out in a flurry of superhero movies that generally don't give the main hero a moment to help out an individual — more specifically, a child. There is a scene in 2005's "Batman Begins" where the Caped Crusader helps out a young boy played by “Game of Thrones” actor Jack Gleeson (Joffrey), but the majority of superhero films from "The Avengers" to this year's "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" are seen making worldly efforts to help save mankind as opposed to individuals. In "Man of Steel," we witnessed a young Clark Kent save a busload of children before becoming Superman, but later demolishing Metropolis (Chicago) putting hundreds in harm's way. 

Garfield previously told The Guardian he was introduced to the character of Spider-Man because of his own bullying experience growing up.

"The beautiful thing about Peter and Spider-Man is it makes everyone in the audience go, 'I can be extraordinary, too. In fact, I just am extraordinary, I just have to identify what my personal, individual extraordinariness is,'" says Garfield. "So if they can get that from this movie, even on a subconscious level, I think that would be wonderful."

Garfield added, "This doesn't mean you have to swing around New York City, this just means follow your bliss, find out what you love and dedicate yourself to it."

SEE ALSO: Future Spider-Man villains are teased during the "Amazing Spider-Man" end-credits

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'Almost Famous' Was Almost Named After One Of These 44 Songs


almost famous golden god

It's been nearly 14 years since the release of Cameron Crowe's Almost Famous — the story of an aspiring music journalist who tours with the fictitious band Stillwater and gets a firsthand taste of the 1970s rock 'n roll lifestyle. Years later, we're still getting fascinating new details about the beloved film. 

In celebration of Empire's 300th issue, the famed director released several handwritten lists of titles he considered for Almost Famous, most of which lack the elegance of the original title (i.e. In Thru the Outdoor). The list was created after DreamWorks vetoed his other working title Untitled, and forced him to come up with something new.  

Check out the complete list of titles Crowe considered: 

“Dancing on the Page”
"My Back Pages"
"A Thousand Words"
"Songs for Beginners"
“Rewind Forward”
"Rewind to the End"
“Mixes to Myself”
“Rock Mix”
"My Opening Farewell"
"Original Cover"
"Rock School"
"1000 Words"
"On the Way Home"
"In Thru the Outdoor"
"Pictures & Pages"
“Pictures on the Page”
"The Three of Us"
“Rewind the Page”
“Goin’ Back”
"Words by Heart"
“Words Can’t Say”
"Words for You"
“Words Get in the Way”
“Words in a Distance”
“Words of a Song”
"Words on Fire"
"Words or Music?"
“Words and Music”
“Momentarily Uncool”
“Wish Me Luck”
“Words Fail Me”
“Written in My Soul”
“Song for Penny”
“Suitable Rubies”
“Breakfast at Noon”
“Days of Future Passed”
“Before I Forget”
“Hotel Kisses”
“Real Uncool”
“Late for Breakfast”

As Slate points out, music aficionados will notice that a lot of these titles are song lyrics, song titles, and album names like Led Zeppelin's "Tangerine" and Bob Dylan's "My Back Pages."

Thankfully, Crowe admits that most of the names on this brainstorm list are pretty bad. We agree. 

SEE ALSO: Director Cameron Crowe Has A Great Story On How Philip Seymour Hoffman Crafted An Amazing Scene In 'Almost Famous'

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How Pat Kiernan Transcended Marvel Universes To Appear As A News Anchor In 'Spider-Man 2' And 'Avengers'


Pat Kiernan Pats Papers Newspaper 2NY1 morning news anchor Pat Kiernan is starting to make a name for himself in the Marvel Universe.

After appearing as himself in 2012's "The Avengers," the 45-year-old local anchorman also has a hefty cameo in "The Amazing Spider-Man 2."

The roles are significant, considering it makes Kiernan the only link between the two Marvel universes.

So how did Kiernan receive such an honor?

Pat Kiernan

He tells Vulture how the TV news-to-movie process works:

Generally, the writers send our people both the entire script and the script for the scene in question. NY1 evaluates it to make sure that it’s not something that’ll discredit the brand, and if they’re okay with the script, then they’ll present it to me and if I’m into it, I’ll either read it as they’ve written it or I’ll go back to them with follow-up questions or suggested changes. They send us a script, we put it in the TelePrompTer, I try to take a little extra care with my hair and makeup that morning, and when we’re in a break, I sit down and read the story to the camera. Then we just send them a hard drive of the video clip.

But just because NY1 participates, doesn't mean that Kiernan always makes the cut.

I remember I did a scene, a fairly long scene, for The Avengers. I went to the premiere and I’m waiting the whole movie for my line. Finally, in maybe the final two minutes, there’s a montage of several television reporters, and you kind of see me blurry in one corner of the montage and hear my voice for three seconds. I was like: “That’s it?!” 

Read Kiernan's full interview on Vulture here >

SEE ALSO: Tour The New York Filming Locations Of ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’

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Kevin Costner's 'Draft Day' Eerily Predicted Last Night's NFL Draft


kevin costner draft day

The Cleveland Browns know that Draft Day was a fictional movie, right? 

Forgive us for detouring into the world of the NFL Draft, but the events that unfolded last night in Radio City Music Hall so closely resembled the plot of Ivan Reitman’s recent football drama Draft Day that you could have assumed Kevin Costner actually WAS in the war room of the Cleveland Browns, manipulating fellow owners and cranking out ludicrous trades to get the franchise player he coveted all along. 

The Cleveland Browns entered the NFL Draft holding the No. 4 overall pick. Not quite the coveted No. 1 pick – as was written into Reitman’s Draft Day script -- but still a high-value selection. The team traded it with the Buffalo Bills in an effort to move down the board… just like what happened to Kevin Costner in Draft Day

The Browns weren’t finished, though. As the first round of the NFL Draft played out, Cleveland pulled off a second trade, this time moving from the No, 9 slot (which they got from Buffalo) to slide up to No. 8. Sly maneuvering, Mr. Costner. You played on the weak will of a rival owner to jump up one slot and get the player sitting on the top of your Draft board. What a night! 

Wait, the Cleveland Browns weren’t done? Didn’t you see Draft Day? There’s always room for more wheeling and dealing when other teams are on the clock. As the final picks in the NFL Draft’s first round started coming off the board, up-and-coming Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel – a recruit known as "Johnny Football"– remained in the green room, waiting for his name to be called. Surely, the Cleveland Browns didn’t have enough firepower – enough Hollywood magic – to make this happy ending come true. 

And yet, they did. Cleveland pulled the trigger on its third trade of the day, landed "Johnny Football," and completed what felt like a true-life version of Ivan Reitman’sDraft Day. And it was glorious to watch! 

Bill Livingston, columnist for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, wrote this morning: 

Sonny Weaver Jr., the wheeler-dealer of a Browns general manager of the movie Draft Day, met his match in [Browns General Manager Ray] Farmer. The Browns seemed to hopscotch all over the draft board in the first round, but the payoff was the most enigmatic, electrifying, polarizing and exciting quarterback on the board."

You could almost envision Kevin Costner, with that grin, looking down at the roster of players he’d somehow managed to pull on Draft Day. It’s amazing when life imitates art so closely. And as this Tweet best summarized:  

SEE ALSO: Johnny Manziel Tumbles In The NFL Draft, Gets Picked By Cleveland

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10 Fictional Products From Movies That Now Exist In Real Life



Defictionalization is when something that previously only existed in a movie universe comes to life.

Films and TV shows are now taking advantage of this more than ever before.

In the world of TV, Castle has spawned a series of books by Nathan Fillion’s crime novelist character; Parks and Rec has spawned a guide to Pawnee written by the characters themselves; and Archer is now releasing an album recorded by Judy Greer’s character Charlene (and not, apparently, by Judy Greer).

Here are ten great examples of fictional products from movies that became defictionalized in interesting ways.

10 items made real after movies >

'Forrest Gump's' Bubba Gump Shrimp Company is now a real restaurant with branches all over the world.

In Forrest Gump, Bubba talks Forrest’s ear off about shrimp while the two are serving in Vietnam. After Bubba’s death, Forrest vows to revive his buddy’s dream of opening a shrimp company with Bubba. In the film (as well as the source novel), he makes good and creates a shrimp company worthy of Fortune 500 Magazine.

Similarly, in 1995, the marketing division of Viacom (the parent company of Paramount which produced the movie) decided to partner up with the Rusty Pelican Restaurant Company (also owned by Vicaom) to create the restaurant chain. It has since become a massive success with 38 locations worldwide.

Because of this synergy, The Rusty Pelican chain was given access to the Paramount prop room to stock its walls with Forrest Gump memorabilia. Additionally, the chain had plenty of other kitschy Forrest Gump-related features including being able to hail your waitress with a “Stop Forrest Stop” sign and a menu that serves 12 shrimp-related specialties.

A scientist got permission from George Lucas to call a parasitic bacteria "midichlorians."

In the long-time-ago and far-far-away galaxy where Star Wars is set, midi-chlorians are microscopic organisms that separate Jedi Knights from ordinary folks. The average human has 2,500 midi-chlorians per cell, while Anakin Skywalker has 20,000.

Meanwhile, in our present-day galaxy, Dr. Nathan Lo of the University of Milan discovered a parasitic bacteria living inside of the mitochondria of ovarian cells in 2004. It was originally named IridES1. but Lo decided he wanted a cooler sounding name and renamed it “Midichloria mitochondrii” in 2006 after getting permission from George Lucas himself.

Just like how the Star Wars midi-chlorians are an energy source, the midichloria mitochondrii bacteria have a symbiotic relationship with the mitochondria organelle which is considered the energy center of the cell.

A fake film from within Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez's 'Grindhouse' is now a franchise of its own.

In 2007, Quentin Tarantino had the ambitious idea to recreate the “double feature” experience of B-movie theaters where for the price of admission, viewers could see two movies on one bill. Tarantino directed the 87-minute Death Proof while friend Robert Rodriguez directed the 91-minute Planet Terror. To simulate the moviegoing experience, the film included fake movie trailers — including a fake film titled Machete which included Rodriguez mainstays Danny Trejo, Cheech Martin, Jeff Fahey, and Tito Larriva.

Grindhouse ended up bombing, but many of the moviegoers enjoyed the fake movie trailers enough that it created the buzz necessary for Rodriguez to turn the Machete trailer into a full-length feature film. And now a franchise.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Rotten Tomatoes Data Reveals The Most Overrated And Underrated Movies


Spy Kids

A great interactive graphic highlighted on Reddit shows that critics' reviews aren't always accurate representations of popular opinion about a particular movie.

Ph.D. student Ben Moore analyzed critic and public ratings from popular review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes.

The site assigns each movie a percentage based on the share of positive reviews it got from critics. Rotten Tomatoes also gives an "audience" rating that shows how many users rated the movie positively.

Moore looks at the difference between critic reviews and audience ratings from the site.

The most overrated movies (films reviewed positively by critics but disliked by audiences) might surprise you:

  1. "Spy Kids" (critics: 93%, audience: 45%)
  2. "3 Backyards" (critics: 76%, audience: 31%)
  3. "Stuart Little 2" (critics: 81%, audience: 40%)
  4. "Momma's Man" (critics: 91%, audience: 50%)
  5. "About a Boy" (critics: 93%, audience: 54%)

The kids' movies that made the list could be explained by the fact that most of the people who are rating the movies on Rotten Tomatoes probably aren't kids, and therefore not the target audience of the film.

But it's still surprising to see "Spy Kids" was so beloved by critics.

Now here's a look at the most underrated movies from Moore's analysis:

  1. "Facing the Giants" (critics: 13%, audience: 86%)
  2. "Diary of a Mad Black Woman" (critics: 16%, audience: 87%)
  3. "Grandma's Boy" (critics: 18%, audience: 86%)
  4. "Step Up" (critics: 19%, audience: 83%)
  5. "Because I Said So" (critics: 5%, audience: 66%)

Many of the movies that made the "most underrated" list were popular with moviegoers but not necessarily considered great cinema.

You can check out the interactive graphic with dozens more movies at rCharts.

(via Reddit, lejeuneytunes)

SEE ALSO: This Deleted 'Amazing Spider-Man 2' End-Credits Scene Gives A Huge Hint At The Next Sequel

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How Shared Movie Universes Are Hurting Superhero Films


iron man thor captain america

Marvel’s Cinematic Universe has become the model for episodic blockbuster storytelling in Hollywood – resulting in $6.3 billion in box office revenue (and counting).

Of course, those numbers do not include revenue from Blu-ray/DVD sales, licensing, and retail merchandise, which have added millions more to the Disney coffer. There’s no doubt that Marvel Studios’ recent shared cinematic universe was a game-changer – weaving nine films  (so far), the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. TV series, and five one-shots into a single narrative web. In spite of a few hiccups, the ambitious project is paying off, raising interest (and box office profits) for any film bearing the Marvel Studios logo.

Not long after the shared universe approach drove record-breaking ticket sales for the first Avengers team-up, Sony and 20th Century Fox began work on longterm franchise plans of their own, in addition to Warner Bros., who hopes to expand on Man of Steel with Batman vs. Superman, a Justice League team-up, and subsequent spinoffs. However, now that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 has become one of 2014′s most divisive blockbusters (primarily because of its shared universe stage-setting), it’s time to face a question that has lurked in the shadows: Are shared movie universes hurting superhero films?

A History of Shared Universe Hiccups

tony stark iron man 3When it was first announced that Marvel Studios intended to develop a branching film project, centered on assembling ofThe Avengers, many fans were worried that quality execution would falter in the shadow of branding ambition – worry that became justified when Iron Man 2 hit theaters.

Director Jon Favreau has (reportedly) indicated behind closed doors that Marvel’s push to get The Avengers shared universe up and running negatively impacted the filmmaker’s original vision for Iron Man 2. Instead of a straightforward continuation of the Tony Stark storyline, Favreau was tasked with introducing key “Phase 1″ characters and narrative threads. As a result, without adequate time to develop, despite brief hints at something more distinct, Mickey Rourke’s Ivan Vanko/Whiplash was turned into a hollow caricature – a one-note villain bent on revenge.

Often, superhero stories are only as good as their villains, and while Iron Man 2 helped set the stage for Marvel’s current success, it did so at the expense of an intriguing narrative about the conflict between two genius sons, from very different backgrounds, attempting to do right by their (deceased) fathers.

Shared Universe Sacrifice

amazing spider man 2Sony (and director Marc Webb) faced a similar challenge with The Amazing Spider-Man 2 – which, interestingly, also features a pair of abandoned sons investigating the legacies of their respective fathers. Unfortunately, the studio did not learn from Iron Man 2 criticisms - short-changing villains and supporting characters in favor of setting up their own Sinister Six “shared universe” plot.

No doubt, plenty of viewers still found value in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, especially in Spider-Action beats as well as the Peter Parker/Gwen Stacy relationship; that said, in our recent interview with Webb, the director admitted that balancing the current story with future set-up was a major challenge – albeit a fun challenge:

It’s tricky but it’s fun. And we have a great team developing, and everybody gets sort of assigned a different thing. There’s some really exciting stuff coming out with the Sinister Six that I’m really enthused about. And Alex [Kurtzman] is working with them. And there are these great ideas from a bunch of people that are really smart, so I can spread the pressure out. But it’s not pressure, it’s fun! Are you kidding me? It’s very cool. (laughter) We sit around a room and we spitball and we talk about ideas. We do try to be careful about how we plan that out. And that is a little but of a puzzle sometimes.

No one is claiming that an intertwined franchise narrative should be easy to shape and that some sacrifices won’t need to be made, but The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is a poignant example of shared universe threads hurting the overall quality of a standalone film experience. Many (not all) viewers that enjoyed The Amazing Spider-Man 2 still felt that Electro and Green Goblin were underdeveloped and underserved by the narrative – with only two or three scenes to establish and then catalyze the characters into villainy. They are both interesting and effective antagonists, but they fall short of doing anything more than causing trouble for Spider-Man.

Wasn’t There More to this Story?

amazing spider man 2 gwen stacy andrew garfieldMany moviegoers still hold Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2 in high regard because the film not only upped the action quota, it invested heavily in its villain, showcasing Alfred Molina’s Doctor Octopus/Otto Octavius as more than a ruthless evildoer. Octavius was relatable, tragic, and (most importantly) reflected key aspects of his rival, Peter Parker. For all of the times we’ve heard Amazing Spider-Man series producers describe their villains as “complex,” the latest film rarely allows those complexities to be put on display.

The disconnect became even more obvious when it was revealed that key scenes (shown in trailers) featuring Electro, Harry and Norman Osborne, as well as Gwen Stacy were all cut from the film – stripping away layers of potential character development. Without question, plenty of movies use deleted scenes in pre-release marketing, but in this particular case, fans have become fixated on the missing scenes – since they seem to indicate that a different, and more nuanced, version of the film exists. Electro the amazing spider man 2

At 142 minutes, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is already a lengthy film – suggesting that Webb was, likely, tasked with pairing down the runtime. Based on the final product, it’s likely that the filmmaker was forced to reshape story in post-production, removing scenes that helped flesh-out his villains, while ensuring that shared universe threads were in place. For that reason, the “deleted” scenes have become a curiosity for disappointed viewers, leading to an online petition (this is the Internet after all) calling on Sony to release a Director’s Cut.

In a grand scheme, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 could just be an awkward but necessary step in shared universe building (like Iron Man 2) – one that might be worthy of the hiccups when The Amazing Spider-Man 3 hits theaters. That said, with three, four, or five Sinister Six members still waiting to be revealed (depending on who you believe), and only two films left before the super villain team-up releases, Webb and his team still have a lot of characters and plot beats to introduce – meaning that new Amazing Spider-Man 3 characters might not be given any more attention than Electro and Green Goblin were allowed in Part 2. If that turns out to be the case, is a Sinister Six team-up really worth all the effort – especially if the alternative would have been straightforward (and self-contained) entries in the “untold story” of Spider-Man?

Days of Self-Contained Storytelling Past

x men days of future past beast wolverineOf course, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 isn’t the only comic book film hoping to take advantage of a shared universe. Fox has been hard at work on the ambitious time-traveling epic, X-Men: Days of Future Past, uniting the First Class reboot cast with the heroes and villains from the original X-Men film trilogy, while also paving the way for an all-new entry in the series, Apocalypse. Reports indicate that Fox is investing heavily in the project – in the hopes of positioning the X-Men series – which typically does acceptable but not remarkable business at the box office – as a legitimate competitor in the superhero shared universe game.

Days of Future Past is rumored to be the most expensive comic book adaptation to date, but will epic visuals and an all-star cast of new and returning faces also result in an impactful film experience? The film is relying on interesting elements (time travel, cross-franchise character pairings, sentinels) but with over twenty main characters and two separate time periods, Fox may be running the risk of over stuffing their X-Men movie with spectacle – leaving little room for actual mutant drama.

halle berry x men days of future pastAfter all, the series was rebooted in X-Men: First Class because most viewers found X-Men: The Last Stand to be a hollow production that relied on visual spectacle and vapid mutant cameos rather than developed characters set in an engaging story. Is there enough room to do anything interesting with a character like Quicksilver or Colossus, when Days of Future Past is tasked with exploring themes and fan-favorite mutants from First Class - as well as the original trilogy – all while centering the proceedings (once again) on Hugh Jackman’s scene-stealing Wolverine?

Days of Future Past may find a balance between its characters and the franchise-building plot elements; or it may, instead, be another example of over-reaching shared universe ambition.


Characters Before Shared Universes

guardians of the galaxy chris pratt star lordLater this summer, Marvel Studios will release Guardians of the Galaxy which will branch-out from the core Avengers storyline – while containing key threads that contribute to the ongoing shared universe. At first, the prospect of launching an entire superhero team outside of the established Avengers narrative sounded like a risky endeavor – especially since the Guardians of the Galaxy comic books are a) set on a galactic playing field and b) do not share nearly the same level of brand recognition as A-listers like the Incredible Hulk and Captain America. Not to mention that two out of five Guardians will be entirely CGI creations – a talking raccoon and a tree that only says three words, “I am Groot.”

Nevertheless, Guardians of the Galaxy has become one of the most talked about summer films of 2014. Why? The trailer put the characters front and center – highlighting the ragtag group of likable troublemakers. We’ve still got a few months before the film hits theaters, but there’s reason to be optimistic that, in spite of requirements to tie Guardians of the Galaxy into The Avengers‘ Thanos arc, director James Gunn will do his zany heroes justice. The project allows for the best of both worlds: a film that functions as a self-contained space adventure full of intriguing (and diverse) characters – while also adding a few more bricks in the expansive cross-film narrative. guardians of the galaxy first photo

Still, Gunn faces similar challenges as Webb’s Sinister Six setup – with five Guardians, at least four antagonists, and the Nova Corps to introduce. For that reason, it’s certainly possible that the filmmaker will, in the end, have a difficult time balancing elements of his story. That said, despite ties to The Avengers 3, Gunn has indicated that he prioritized the standalone experience over setting up plot threads that will pay-off five years later. Each member of the team, and the villains, have a substantive role to play in the current film plot – intertwined motivations that bring the Guardians together (while allowing room for subtle contributions to the shared universe).

Until the film releases, there’s no guarantee that Gunn will deliver, but with claims thatRocket Raccoon is the “heart” of Guardians of the Galaxy, it’s hard to imagine the filmmaker sidelining character development in the interest of setting-up Marvel Phase 3 projects.

Will DC do Justice to its Superhero League?

superman batman crossover man of steel the dark knightOf course, the biggest question mark in the discussion of superhero shared universes is: can Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment successfully introduce their Justice Leagueteam over the course of two films? For months we’ve know that Batman vs. Supermanwould include appearances by several Justice League characters – though it remained unclear whether or not they’d be in costume or simply cameo as “human” alter egos. However, with the announcement that Zack Snyder will direct a Justice League film after Batman vs. Superman, fans have become concerned that the filmmakers are rushing their shared universe – in the interest of catching up with Marvel Studios.

Industry insiders have previously indicated that producing standalone films first, before the Justice League team-up, would make the most sense – with others arguing that, given the right story, it would be possible to introduce all of the characters in one (or two) films (then spin them into solo installments). We don’t know if Batman vs. Superman will utilize the Justice League roster in a meaningful way but, at this point, we expect the team-up film will arrive before a Wonder Woman (or Cyborg) spin-off. justice league

Will the “backdoor pilot” approach to shared universe building hurt future DC superhero films and their respective central characters? Time will tell. After all, DC heroes are different from those in the Marvel universe, leaving room for different ways of bringing a character like Aquaman, for example, to the big screen.

With two full years before Batman vs. Superman hits theaters, it’s too early to say whether or not DC’s shared universe will, in the long run, hurt their superhero films. Nevertheless, like the other directors responsible for setting up an entire shared universe, Snyder is facing a tough challenge. Without a doubt, if any iconic Justice League heroes are short-changed in the process, fans will demonize the studio for rushing a team-up at the expense of quality character stories.

With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility, Right?

thor captain america avengersWhile Marvel Studios has managed to increase interest (and box office returns) by incorporating all of their characters into a shared universe, it remains unclear if the same strategy will work for everyone else. In fact, thanks to middle-of-the-road reviews (and possible franchise fatigue), The Amazing Spider-Man 2 has underperformed at the domestic box office. In the long run, Webb’s film will do fine (and earn Sony a solid profit) but the movie could be an early indicator that viewers might be averse to serialized film story lines (at least in certain cases).

What makes moviegoers accepting of shared universe stories in one franchise and not another? Answer: Not all shared universes are created equal – and only certain characters are even capable of carrying an entire universe. Even though the X-Menfilm brand has typically been lumped into a single series (with the exception ofWolverine spin-offs), the franchise is composed of a wide range of mutant heroes and villains.  The X-Men may be a sub-branch of Marvel Comics but there are still plenty of mutant stories to tell – stories that are completely separate from The Avengers movie universe.

amazing spiderman 2, flying carFor that reason, if shared superhero universes in film and television are to continue, filmmakers need to find a more coordinated and nuanced way to build them. Cramming several characters into a single film might help the end goal of expanding an otherwise self-contained storyline, but if audiences are turned-off in the process, what’s the point?

Maybe was Sony overly ambitious in thinking that The Amazing Spider-Man, and his Sinister villains, are capable of maintaining their own shared universe – especially now that producer Avi Arad is stating that Peter Parker is the only Spider-Man they’ll depict onscreen. If characters like Miles Morales are truly off the live-action movie table, it’ll be very interesting to see how the studio intends to continue expanding this specific superhero universe – unless they just plan to reboot the franchise (again) after they complete Peter Parker’s “untold” story in The Amazing Spider-Man 4.

Maybe we should just prepare now for The Spectacular Spider-Man reboot?

SEE ALSO: Marvel Is Making Movies More Like TV, And That's Okay

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Seth Rogen And Zac Efron's R-Rated Comedy 'Neighbors' Dominated The Box Office


neighbors seth rogen zac efron

Spider-Man who? 

R-rated comedy “Neighbors” blasted past “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” at theaters this weekend.  

The comedy about a fraternity house with Zac Efron as its president moving next door to Seth Rogen’s family with a newborn baby had a big $51 million weekend. 

“The Amazing Spider-Man 2” made $37.2 million in its second weekend. 

“Neighbors” nearly had a bigger opening weekend than Seth MacFarlane’s 2012 movie “Ted” ($54.4 million). That movie went on to become the highest-grossing R-rated comedy ($549 million). 

Of course, MacFarlane is hoping to beat that number this summer when his next movie, “A Million Ways to Die in the West,” opens May 30 with Charlize Theron. 

“Neighbors” may have seen a bit of a bump this weekend after Rogen was prominently in the news this past week after making comments about Justin Bieber in which he said he doesn’t “know anyone who likes Justin Bieber.”

SEE ALSO: 15 movies you should see this summer

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25 Photos That Show What It Would Be Like If 'Godzilla' Tore Through The US Today


bryan cranston godzilla

"Godzilla" is out in theaters Friday and is expected to be one of the summer's biggest movies.

The original film from Ishiro Honda was released in 1954. On its 60th anniversary, Warner Bros. and Legendary are rebooting the franchise with inspiration from the first movie.

Director Gareth Edwards ("Monsters") described how his new film is draws from the original black-and-white to us during the film’s press junket in New York.  

“For a lot of people who don’t know about Godzilla, or they grew up on some of the more, child-friendly versions, it’s a surprise to watch the original because it’s really a very serious metaphor for Hiroshima and Nagasaki," said Edwards.

Warner Bros. recently released a ton of images before the film's release highlighting an international cast including Bryan Cranston ("Breaking Bad"), Ken Watanabe ("Inception"), Aaron Taylor-Johnson ("Kick-Ass"), and Elizabeth Olsen ("Martha Marcy May Marlene").

Warning: Minor spoilers follow.

Forget what you know about the 1998 “Godzilla” movie from Sony.

For those unfamiliar with the original 1954 “Godzilla,” the movie introduces a monster mutated from a nuclear reaction.

The reboot brings the creature back to its roots.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

'Godzilla' Is Bogged Down By A Bunch Of Boring Characters


godzilla attacks bridgeWarning: There are some spoilers ahead.

"Godzilla" opens in theaters Friday. We were able to catch an early screening of the film and it may not be everything you're hoping for.

Don't get us wrong. It's a good movie that starts out strong with Bryan Cranston ("Breaking Bad") and ends with a big payoff fight sequence that had the crowd in our theater roaring. If it's a good monster film you want, you won't be disappointed.

The problem is that "Godzilla" gets bogged down in the middle of the film by characters you just never feel 100% invested in.

Though manytrailers may have you convinced otherwise, Cranston is not the star of the movie, but rather a minor supporting character. He plays nuclear engineer Joe Brody who's desperate to find answers to the cause of tremors in Japan after the power plant he worked in was destroyed 15 years ago.bryan cranston godzillaIt's unfortunate, not only because marketing effectively uses the actor's likeness to sell "Godzilla" in nearly everysingleteaser and trailer, but also because Cranston brings the most life and vitality to the movie.

The three-time Emmy-winning actor gets lost in his role. Whether he's joking about forgetting his birthday or chewing out police officials at the top of his lungs for hiding secrets, the audience hangs on every word he says. 

Instead, the movie gets turned over to Joe's son, Naval officer, Ford Brody. He's played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson who you may recognize from 2010's "Kick-Ass."aaron taylor johnson godzillaAfter reuniting with his father in Japan, Ford's on a mission to get home to his wife Elle (Elizabeth Olsen) and 5-year-old son in San Francisco.

While he bounces around from Japan to Hawaii and then the U.S. West coast fighting off brief encounters with monsters at each location, it's difficult to fight a nagging feeling about the believability of Ford's family.

Olsen is 25 years old and Taylor-Johnson is 23. Both look a bit young to be the parents of a five-year-old. If anything, they feel more like the babysitters. elizabeth olsen godzilla That's not to say the movie doesn't attempt to have a human element. Underneath the monster movie is a story about two fathers — Joe Brody and his son Ford — who have different parenting techniques. The story juxtaposes two very different birthdays, first introducing us to Joe, who's too involved in his work to have time for his boy on his day of birth, and, later, with Ford who makes time for his family on his birthday.

It's just that the storyline is most convincing when Cranston is a part of the picture early on. 

There's an emotional moment when both Ford and his father revisit their old home in the quarantined section of Japan and Joe and the audience see a "Happy Birthday Dad" banner that wasn't shown in the first stretch of the film. That resonates but gets muddled in the film's larger monster plot.

The thing about Ford is that he's supposed to be the action film's hero and this awesome dad, but there's just nothing that stands out about his character that doesn't feel awfully generic. If he was in a room with Matt Damon's Jason Bourne and Liam Neeson's Bryan Mills from "Taken," he wouldn't be the last man standing.

Olsen, who has been praised for her indie work in "Martha Marcy May Marlene," isn't given much to do either as a worried wife and mother who just happens to be at the exact location where havoc is wreaked.elizabeth olsen godzilla

Then there's Ken Watanabe and Oscar-nominated Sally Hawkins who play scientist sidekicks; however, both feel like two glorified extras re-emerging every so often to tell us something about the monster.godzilla ken watanabe It’s something reviews are picking up on:

The Hollywood Reporter:

"Superbly made but burdened by some dull human characters enacted by an interesting international cast who can't do much with them, this new Godzilla is smart, self-aware, eye-popping and arguably in need of a double shot of cheeky wit."

The Wrap:

"Director Gareth Edwards (“Monsters”) gets the money shots right, but neither he nor screenwriter Max Borenstein (working from a story by David Callaham) makes the human characters interesting enough to get us through two mostly Godzilla-free acts."


Edwards seems to have miscalculated our investment in his cast (including Elizabeth Olsen, uncharacteristically bland as Ford’s wife)"

The Playlist:

"Its second crucial error is having Aaron Taylor-Johnson take over the movie from Cranston. Compared to Cranston, he is wooden, dull, and uncommanding, and the movie begins to deaden with his lead weight (the emotional and dramatic transference the movie tries to give Taylor-Johnson simply doesn’t resonate like Cranston's lead)." 

Most will head to the film not for the performances, but for the action, and if you've avoided most trailers and teasers for the film, then you'll be in store for a series of surprises. However, Warner Bros. did itself a disservice by revealing a bit too much in trailers much as Sony did with "The Amazing Spider-Man 2."

There's one instance early on with Cranston that should pack an emotional punch when he's sobbing; however, because this scene is spoiled almost entirety in a trailer it doesn't hold the same emotional weight on screen.bryan cranston godzilla crying

Later in the film, when Godzilla finally made his monstrous entrance, while the crowd cheered and applauded, the big reveal didn't feel extraordinarily special as his full figure was shown in trailers and images leading up to the film.godzilla movie

There are really two big surprises trailers don't give away. *spoilers* Though eagle-eyed viewers may have noticed Godzilla isn't the only monster in the film — an international trailer made this very clear — you probably wouldn't guess that there are more monsters in the film as well. In addition, there was a scene near the end of the movie that left our fanboy-filled audience roaring that I won't give away. *spoilers*

Still, the best parts of the film may come near the end — or any time — when Godzilla is seen *spoilers* going head-to-head with another monster. *spoilers*

I won't give away what happens in the film's final battle, but that was by far one of the most enjoyable parts of the movie. However, for anyone who saw last summer's collaboration between Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros., "Pacific Rim," the fight may feel reminiscent of the giant sequences between monsters and robots ripping each other apart in that movie.

One other scene that stands out is one where Taylor-Johnson's Ford attempts to cross a bridge high above water that had us on the edge of our seats.godzilla bridgeOverall, Director Gareth Edwards ("Monsters") first attempt at a big-budget film, is a success.

Some reviews are saying the "King of the Monsters" isn't getting enough screen time. That's not true. He's in plenty of the film — whether he's teased, roaring, or going to town on other monsters. 

Edwards knows how to tease Godzilla's appearance and does it well with inspiration from the 1954 original. When a tail or foot or scales on the monster's back are teased, it brings to mind images of Steven Spielberg's 1975 hit "Jaws."

godzilla in oceangodzilla tailgodzilla bus reflection

The reboot just doesn't do anything extraordinarily special to stand out and feel like something you haven't already seen.

Check out a trailer below.

SEE ALSO: 25 photos that show what it would look like if Godzilla invaded the US

AND: This deleted "Amazing Spider-Man 2" end-credits scene gives a huge hint at the next sequel

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There's A Great 'Back To The Future' Reference In The New 'A Million Ways To Die In The West' Trailer


Back To The Future Part III poster

Seth MacFarlane loves his references. You could spend days if not months watching all of his television series and Ted counting the number of references he makes to other movies and shows.

We expect that the tally will grow even bigger with the upcoming release of A Million Ways To Die In The West, and today we got word of a very special one that directly targets Back To The Future. And did I mention that it includes a fantastic cameo? 

According to our own Josh Tyler, the moment can be spotted in a new green band trailer currently showing in front of Neighbors in theaters (whether or not it will be posted online remains a mystery). Coming right at the very end of the spot, the sequence begins with Seth MacFarlane's character, Albert, walking up to a stable that is glowing with a strange blue light.

He opens the door to discover both Christopher Lloyd's Dr. Emmett Brown (in his full Back To The Future Part III cowboy gear) and the time-traveling DeLorean (Josh notes that it is actually the one from the first Back to the Future and not the third - Nerd!). Somewhat freaked out, Albert stammers and says something to the effect of "What's going on here?" To which Doc replies, "It's a weather experiment!" The moment reportedly got a huge response in his theater. 

Just in case this is going over anybody's head, this is a reference to Back To The Future Part III where both Doc and Michael J. Fox's Marty (not present) travel back in time to the old west. The big, nerdy question that comes out of it, however, is whether or not this means that A Million Ways To Die in the West fits in the continuity of theBack to the Future franchise. We may have to wait until the scene comes online for further analysis, but I'm totally open to the idea that the events of Seth MacFarlane's new comedy occur around the events of Robert Zemeckis' old one. 

While this sounds like a pretty great moment, I wouldn't count on it to be A Million Ways To Die In The West's only one. After all, Ted featured not only an amazing appearance by Sam Jones - a perfect moment built for the lead character's obsession with the camp classic Flash Gordon movie - but also some very funny moments with an almost mute Ryan Reynolds, playing Patrick Warburton's character's new boyfriend. So while you may now know about this cameo, hopefully there will be more that come as a surprise. 

A Million Ways To Die In The West, which marks both MacFarlane's second directorial effort and first live-action lead role, follows the story of a cowardly sheep farmer who learns to become a man with the help of a stranger after being dumped by his girlfriend. The movie's excellent supporting cast includes Charlize Theron, Amanda Seyfried, Giovanni Ribisi, Neil Patrick Harris, Sarah Silverman, and Liam Neeson. Look for it in theaters at the end of this month on May 30th. 

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

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Here's The First Image Of The New Batmobile From The Batman/Superman Movie


We're getting our first glimpse at the Batmobile from the highly-anticipated Batman / Superman movie.

Director Zack Snyder just teased an image of Batman's new ride hinting that he may show it off tomorrow for fans.

Take a look:

Here's the full image:batman vs superman batmobile

What do you think?

It looks like it's going to be a throwback to the one we're familiar with from Tim Burton's 1989 movie.

As a reminder, here's what that car looked like:1989 batmobile replica

The Batmobile will be a big presence in the next Batman video game this fall, "Arkham Knight." Here's how that car will look.

arkham knight batmobile

The Batman / Superman film is set for a May 6, 2016 release.

SEE ALSO: It's a terrible idea for Warner Bros. to release "Batman Vs. Superman" the same weekend as "Captain America 3"

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Superhero Franchises Are Going To Have A Problem When They Run Out Of Compelling Bad Guys


Amazing Spider-man 2 Green Goblin

Over decades, superhero comics have harnessed a delicate formula that's allowed for experimentation in storytelling, with characters living and dying and living again, massive crossovers buttressed by smaller moments between characters, and not necessarily good vs. evil superhero throwdowns.

The films, however, have been different. Case in point, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, which finds Spidey battling three marquee villains, with plenty left to come in sequels. Many suggest villain overload is to blame for the film's underwhelming opening weekend. But is it possible that the Spider-Man movies are ahead of all the other superhero franchises specifically because of its villains? 

There are three ways superhero movies can deal with supervillains, all a threat to the long-term planning of a franchise. The first, and most popular one, is to erase the recognizable baddie permanently, usually by death. If you've got an expensive actor in the bad guy role, it can be difficult to retain him or her if he or she no longer figures into the main plot, and you've got to eliminate them to make room for more bad guys.

The problem is, who's to say the next villain will be as compelling as the last? Not every baddie is a winner: look at the Iron Man films, which are mostly bearable when Robert Downey Jr. gets to charm the audience, not when Tony Stark locks horns with a supervillain. 

The second option is to keep the villain around, risking an absolute absence of suspense. Sure, some comic villains have compelling personalities, and some, like Magneto of the X-Men, can be overexposed and still able to plumb new depths. But the repeated Loki fakeouts in Thor: The Dark World stretched the audience's affinity for the God of Trickster.

Maybe some of those villains can change their spots: see James Franco's Harry Osborn in Spider-Man 3. But by that point, Osborn had outlived his usefulness, and he was killed off immediately after. A villain who just sticks around is like an actor who won't get off stage even though the curtain call has already completed. 

loki thor poster thor 2 sequelThe third solution is to reboot, which is how the Joker popped up in two separate Batman mythologies. A reboot, of course, usually requires a change of cast and crew, as well as an audience ready for two radical revisions of a popular character. As evidenced by The Amazing Spider-Man 2, that's rare: no one's exactly been raving for Dane DeHaan's Green Goblin, and in fact it may have been a mistake to reintroduce that particular villain into the world of Spider-Man. The Joker is Batman's primary nemesis: Green Goblin could conceivably be called Spidey's chief antagonist, but not enough to repeat him so soon after the incarnation from the Sam Raimi films. 

The problem is that the major superhero franchises are in danger of exhausting all the top tier villains, and there are very few left to choose from. The X-Men series has room for some of the mutants' many combatants, particularly the title character in X-Men: Apocalypse , but they're all going to be unfairly measured against Magneto, who has already shown up in five X-Men movies. Wolverine has barreled through two uninspired versions of archnemesis Sabretooth, and Iron Man and Thor have already made headway against their chief foes.

We've seen The Fantastic Fourbattle iconic rivals Dr. Doom and Galactus, and we're going to again. And speaking of which, the Superman/Batman movie has the heroes facing off against cinema's third Lex Luthor, leading into a new series of Batman adventures hamstrung by the fact that we've already seen 10 of his greatest adversaries, four of them twice each. Captain America has a couple of notorious opponents to fight, but Chris Evans is lickety-split after his contract runs out. 

winter soldier captain americaIt's great that Marvel is pursuing newer heroes for their upcoming slate, but look down the list of antagonists for the heroes in Ant-ManBlack PantherDoctor Strange and Captain Marvel. The threats these heroes have faced are really only enough for one movie, not really a franchise. Not to diminish the rich history of these characters, but the history of repetition proves that executives will take even less risks on bad guys then they will good ones. At least they can benefit from Marvel's shared universe and fight established villains from other Marvel films. Fox, meanwhile, just cast Tim Blake Nelson in The Fantastic Four to play a character that could end up becoming Mole Man somewhere down the line. Yeah, audiences will be on pins and needles waiting for that. 

It was folly re-introducing the Green Goblin into the Spider-Man mix, drawing unavoidable comparisons with the earlier films. But with him comes the promise of more, a potential Sony realizes with The Sinister Six. The Spidey villains are numerous and diverse enough that they could be squeezed into any Spider-Man story, bizarre but specific enough to stand out on any poster for their elemental attributes. Osborn's Green Goblin is basically the introduction into a world that could accommodate a good dozen or more big screen-ready villains, only a couple of whom have already been used.

These movies will reach a saturation point as far as tiresome villains, probably when Spidey finds himself wrestling with Hydro-Man and the Hypno Hustler. Until then, Sony has lucked into a series with scores of villains that can challenge the wall-crawler for decades, none of them beholden to an overarching story or theme that bottles their potential and handcuffs the mythology. So why does it feel like every other superhero franchise has already reached that saturation point? 

SEE ALSO: Why Marvel's Connected Universe Can Be Bad For Storytelling

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Mel Gibson Was Offered The Role Of X-Men's Wolverine Back In 1997


hugh jackman wolverine

Before director Bryan Singer became attached to X-Men, 20th Century Fox had a decidedly different take on the source material. Their original plan was to cast Bob Hoskins, who recently passed away, as the indestructible Mutant with the antimantium claws.

Before they eventually decided on Dougray Scott, they also went after Mel Gibson, who was hugely popular at the time, and Russell Crowe, who was not. As luck would have it, fate stepped in, and Dougray Scott had to bow out of the film, due to obligations to Mission: Impossible 2, which needed him back for reshoots. Unknown Hugh Jackman would step in to fill the role, and the rest, as we know, is history.

Today, we get to see what Mel Gibson would have looked like as Logan had he actually been cast in a piece of concept art from Miles Teves.

X-Men was released July 14th, 2000 and stars Hugh JackmanPatrick StewartIan McKellenFamke JanssenJames MarsdenHalle BerryAnna PaquinTyler Mane. The film is directed by Bryan Singer.

SEE ALSO: 'X-Men' Are Fighting Extinction In New Trailer

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Bryan Cranston Fans Will Be Disappointed With 'Godzilla'


Warning: There are some mild spoilers ahead.

godzilla bryan cranstonWhen you head out to see "Godzilla" this weekend, you probably expect to see a lot of Bryan Cranston in the film.

The "Breaking Bad" actor has been in nearlyeverytrailer for the big-action reboot.

Here you can see him warning us about a giant creature who is set to "send us back to the stone age."

The actor narrates another trailer in which he tells us to keep our families safe, "whatever it takes." 

Cranston does significant narration on four trailers and three 30-second spots for the movie. So it's not a big leap to think the actor is probably the main star of the film. 


Despite heavy marketing featuring the actor, Cranston's barely in the movie.

The actor shows up for about the film's first third before the movie gets turned over to Aaron Taylor-Johnson ("Kick-Ass"), the film's real lead. 

godzilla bryan cranston

It's unfortunate since Cranston is probably the best part of the movie. (We've expanded on this more in our review, here.)

While it's not such a big deal that Cranston isn't the main star, the reason fans may get upset is because it feels like a huge bait and switch.

Of all the 12 trailers and teasers released on the official "Godzilla" YouTube page, Cranston appears prominently in seven of them.

We counted the number of appearances by both Taylor-Johnson and Cranston across those trailers. An appearance includes any time the actor is recognizable in the trailer and is not limited to facial screen time. As an example, it's clear to tell that both this and this are shots of Cranston. This moment, where Cranston's character watches a power plant crumble, may not be as clear and was omitted from our count.bryan cranston godzilla

We found that both actors share just about the same amount of trailer screen time. If the shot above was included in our count, Cranston would have a slight edge.

There was one big hint early on Cranston wouldn't be the movie's main star.

Every other actor in the film received top-billing on the film's poster over Cranston.bryan cranston godzilla poster

It's an incredibly smart move on Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures to put the spotlight on Cranston after his AMC show "Breaking Bad" closed out to record ratings and overwhelmingly positive reviews.

Similarly, DreamWorks' March release "Need for Speed" used its "Breaking Bad" star Aaron Paul to sell that movie, too.

Paul was front and center on the film's poster.need for speed poster

And the first trailer for the film even looked like a continuation of the AMC series.

The film didn't perform well at theaters domestically ($43.1 million), but went on to make $202.9 million worldwide. Paul was the most recognizable and marketable star in the film other than Michael Keaton.

Estimates from Boxoffice.com expect "Godzilla" to make north of $75 million opening weekend.

SEE ALSO: "Godzilla" is bogged down by a bunch of boring characters

SEE ALSO: 25 photos that show what it would be like if Godzilla tore through the US today

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Here's The First Photo Of Ben Affleck's Batsuit In The 'Batman/Superman' Movie


Here's you first image of Ben Affleck as Batman in the new "Batman / Superman" movie.

One day after teasing an image of the new batmobile, director Zack Snyder released an image featuring the Caped Crusader's new ride along with the new Batsuit.

Here's a larger look at the suit and car:batman vs superman batsuit batmobile

Let's take a closer look at the new Bat symbol:ben affleck batman vs superman bat symbol

See how the batsuit has changed over the years »

What do you think?

The suit looks heavily influenced by Frank Miller's "The Dark Knight Returns" comic which features an older Bruce Wayne reprising his role as Batman and facing off against Superman.The Dark Knight Returns

That follows in line with comments Warner Bros.' CEO Kevin Tsujihara made last year saying Affleck's version of the Caped Crusader will be "tired and weary."

It was previously reported Snyder also met with Miller.

Synder has said he will not adapt the four-part graphic novel

The untitled "Batman / Superman" movie will be released May 6, 2016.

NOW: See how the batsuit has changed over the years

SEE ALSO: The first image of the Batmobile

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Statistics Show Hollywood Should Be Making More Superhero Movies


amazing spider man 2

The rickety Amazing Spider-Man 2 has critics debating just how many superhero movies America can handle.

This was the subject of Samuel Adams’s weekly survey at CriticWire, which led RogerEbert.com’s Matt Zoller Seitz to write a forceful essay declaring: “This genre is where imagination goes to drown itself.”

He levels many popular arguments against superhero movies, ranging from valid critique of some action cinematography to easy comparisons with junk food.  But the fact that there are real criticisms to be made of the movies the genre has produced doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with the genre, or that we should expect it to peter out soon.

The truth is, there aren’t nearly enough superhero movies available. By historical standards, we’re so deprived of superhero movies that there’s probably a shadow war being fought between paranormal forces of good and evil over the matter.

Here’s what I mean. Seitz smartly compares superhero flicks to other genre fare, like Hollywood westerns and zombie movies. Here’s his argument:

Thirty-six years after "Superman, the Movie," we still haven't seen a range of big budget superhero films as tonally different as post-"Night of the Living Dead" zombie pictures, or Hollywood westerns released after Vietnam, when the genre was allegedly dead. What do George Romero's ghoul films, "Dead/Alive," the "Rec" series, "Shaun of the Dead,""Zombieland" and the "Days" movies have in common besides a basic situation? Almost nothing. What do "Little Big Man,""The Wild Bunch,""Blazing Saddles,""Silverado,""Unforgiven" and "Open Range" have in common besides horses and ten-gallon hats? Almost nothing. What do modern superhero movies have in common? Entirely too much. Once in a great while you get an outlier like "Hellboy" or "Watchmen" or "Kick-Ass." There's a reason why anybody seeking to counter gripes of superhero film sameness brings up "Hellboy" or "Watchmen" and "Kick-Ass": because most superhero movies are not "Hellboy" or "Watchmen" or "Kick-Ass." They're "Thing Crashing Into Other Thing 3." 

In other words, other box-office-dominating, pulpy, male-oriented movie trends of the past produced better, more inventive, and more diverse ranges of works than the superhero boom has. Hence, the superhero boom is, creatively and perhaps soon commercially, a bust.

But take a look at the following chart comparing the genres Seitz cites:

Superhero movie chart

This chart, cribbed together from a few different sources, gives an estimate of the growth of zombie, western, and superhero movies from 1930 to 2013. It attempts to stick to American movies, although US cuts of foreign films have surely snuck in. It includes older double-heading serials and some direct-to-DVD fare. It is almost definitely incomplete. Even so, it’s clear that throwing superhero movies in with the other genres is, numerically, comparing flying apples to tobacco-juice-spitting oranges.

For example, superhero movies haven’t had nearly as much time to compete. The first zombie movie came out in 1932, which is why the chart starts there. But westerns had a lead of hundreds of short films and serials. There were “westerns” as early as the late eighteen-hundreds. Meanwhile, the first Batman movie didn't come out until 1966.

The chart also shows how long it takes to get to the “poets of genre.” By the time we get to High NoonShane, and The Searchers (all AFI Top 10 Westerns), there had already been more than 1500 movie westerns made. After accounting for the fact that many of the early westerns were only an hour long, that’s still more than 750 hours of lassos and revolvers.

Even when considering zombies as separate from the larger horror tradition (whose numbers have long surpassed westerns and was going strong in the ’50s), there had already been about 36 predecessors to George A. Romero’s 1968 Night of the Living Dead. And many of the most lauded non-Romero zombie films, including most that Seitz lists, have come out in the last 10 years.

That’s a 30-year gap filled mostly with titles like Curse of the Living Dead,Garden of the DeadReturn of the Blind Dead, and Deathy Deathy Death Death 3: More Death.  Critics say that quality movies like The Incredibles andHellboy are outliers, but your odds of finding a good superhero movie on average remain far greater than finding a good horror movie. So while Seitz is right that most superhero movies aren’t Hellboy, it’s actually truer to say that most westerns aren’t Silverado and most zombie movies aren’t 28 Days Later.

man of steel posterNow, I don’t mean to suggest that the quality of a genre is related solely to its lifespan. Genres don’t evolve in isolation. Last summer Zack Snyder with Man of Steel was not just having a frame-by-frame conversation with 1951’sSuperman and the Mole Men. But even so,  there have been many wonderful films in the past 50 years—shouldn’t the vast amount of good examples available to contemporary filmmakers have made everything much better by now? And yet garbage persists.

It seems that to get genre fare that approaches art, expect to wade through a lot of trashy entertainment. The quality and range of the western and zombie canons probably have little to do with the inherent crudity of genre, and a lot to do with having been around long enough to offer opportunities for different generations and artists to add their own touch.

The numbers also make it easy to decide whether we have “too many” superhero movies right now. As BadassDigest’s Devin Faraci pointed out last month, four superhero movies in one year are nothing compared to 70 westerns. Of course, to someone who thinks all the Marvel films are trash, then even four might be “too many” for their tastes. But, with the likes of Dallas Buyer’s ClubTwelve Years a SlaveInside Llewyn Davis, and The Grand Budapest Hotel receiving critical attention and turning a profit, it’s hard to argue that Marvel’s presence is killing great art.

And thinking about how few superhero movies there are, and how much less time the genre has had onscreen, actually suggests that Marvel’s specific achievements are critically undervalued. Consider how, out of the eight Avengers-related movies, none have scored under 65 percent on Rotten Tomatoes (yes, a metric to regard with caution). Most are highly regarded by critics and fans alike, and The Avengers was hailed as a near-perfect PG-13 blockbuster action movie. This is especially impressive given that 3D and CGI technology is still in the pioneering phase (remember, we’re only five years out from Avatar).

In fact, critics liked the first four Marvel shared-universe movies more than the original Star Wars trilogy. And remember that while most reviews of the first Star Wars movie were positive, Pauline Kael at the New Yorker described it as “an epic without a dream. But it’s probably the absence of wonder that accounts for the film’s special, huge success.” Likewise, the much-beloved Hammer Horror films were a critical guilty pleasure at best when they first came out.

thor hammer the dark worldThe truth is that pulpy adventure stories and genre fare, whether they’re using old-school or computer-generated effects, will always have to do more to be taken seriously by critics who search for true beauty for a living. I doubt there will ever be a time when an article saying “all these formulaic Hero’s Journey plots are ruining everything” won’t find a readership.

If we really want to see poetic superhero movies, then we need to expect a few more Daredevil-style duds firstBut luckily there is still a lot of potential for innovation: getting a major female superhero movie, letting Guillermo Del Toro do Dark Universe however he wants, and most importantly getting others in to compete with Marvel and take the genre new places.

Of course, there are good reasons to be skeptical that a high-art superhero wave will arrive anytime soon. Many of the genre flaws that Seitz rightly highlights aren’t native to caped crusader flicks but rather to modern blockbusters in general (including western The Lone Ranger and zombie movie World War Z).

For example, several respondents to the CriticWire survey pointed out the exhausting amount of advertising and media space that goes in to marketing these movies. This could be a symptom of the bureaucratic corporate giants that now dominate what used to be self-sufficient studios, marking the slow death of a loved medium. Or it could be the sad reality that it takes 50 million dollars’ worth of shouting to get the general public off the couch and into the theater.

The most compelling argument against superhero films, I think, says we’ll never get a diverse range of works if the CGI-inflated cost of entry is so high that indie filmmakers can’t participate. But there’s reason for optimism on that front. There have only been a few tiny superhero movies in recent memory: The Specials in 2000 for $1 million, and Super in 2011 for $2.5 million. Slightly higher-budget were Kickass for $30 million, Dredd 3D for $50 million, andHellboy for $66 million. These were all decent movies, although none ended up as bona fide sleeper hits financially. There’s theoretically no reason, though, that another Super-sized picture couldn’t break out if executed well.

So even if this decade isn’t the time for it, in the long run odds are we’ll see superhero movies that will make even the most reluctant critics happy. Sure, in 10 years Iron Man might be getting tiresome. But in 20, with luck, Terrence Malick's reboot of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen will rock. 

SEE ALSO: Superhero Franchises Are Going To Have A Problem When They Run Out Of Compelling Bad Guys

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27 Sentence Diagrams Of Famous Action Film Catchphrases


Ever wondered what makes action movies — often cheesy and grandiose — timeless favorites?

Aside from the weapons and explosions, dialogue probably plays a larger role than most think. And like books, word order, vocabulary, and grammatical construction give these lines their power.

Pop Chart Lab created a poster of famous lines from the most well-known action movies ever. Depending on the part of speech and function within the sentence, each word sits on a separate line in a different color.

For example, consider "The Godfather."

first lines The Godfather

"I," is the subject of the sentence, as shown by grey text. The first line in a sentence diagram always represents the subject.

Next comes the verb, "will make." Pink signifies the helping verb "will" while olive green shows the main verb, "make."Because "will make" is an action verb, the diagram separates the verb and the direct object with a straight line. A slanted line (like in "Planet of the Apes") would show a linking verb and its subsequent predicate adjective or nominative.

Adjectives, articles, and other modifiers appear on slanted vertical lines below the words they modify.

A more grammatical version of Don Corleone's words would include an implied "that"— "I'll make him an offer [that] he can't refuse." The word "that" often begins subordinate clauses, as shown by the dotted line connecting the two diagrams.

Below, read 26 other catchphrases from some of the greatest action films of all time.

From "Independence Day":

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From "Planet of the Apes":

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From "Robocop":

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From "Predator":

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From "The Terminator":

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From "The Princess Bride":

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From "Action Jackson":

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From "Dirty Harry":

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From "They Live":movie diagrams

From "Scarface":

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From "Apocalypse Now":

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From "Demolition Man":

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From "Commando":

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From "Point Break":

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From "Hard To Kill":

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From "Rocky IV":

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From "The Outlaw Josey Wales":

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From "Jaws":

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From "Sudden Impact":

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From "Cobra":

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From "Once Upon A Time In Mexico":

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From "Total Recall":

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From "Passenger 57":

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From "Commando":

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From "Air Force One":

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From "Casino Royale" (and all the others):

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You can purchase the full, 18 x 24 poster (shown below) for $23 here.

movie diagrams poster

SEE ALSO: 23 Sentence Diagrams That Show The Brilliance of Famous Novels' Opening Lines

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