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The Original Poster For 'Gremlins' Reveals An Awesome Easter Egg


Gremlins posterEarlier this month, Gremlins celebrated its 30th anniversary, so the timing couldn't be more perfect for this great little easter egg.

Take a look at the poster for the 1984 film, which shows someone carrying a box full of Gizmo. See if you can spot a very subtle nod to Steven Spielberg's production logo.

It's ok if you didn't see it. Even with the poster blown up, it's barely noticeable. Slash Film brought our attention to it, posting the above poster, along with a close-up of the button on the jeans positioned between the underside of the box and the Gremlins title... 

Gremlins poster easter eggClose up, you can just make out the iconic silhouette of Elliot and E.T. flying past the moon on a bicycle. It's a nod to Steven Spielberg's production company, Amblin Entertainment, the logo of which was inspired by Spielberg's beloved 1982 movie E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial... 

Amblin logoSteven Spielberg executive produced Gremlins, which was directed by Joe Dante and written by Chris Columbus.

It's a great little Easter Egg that I doubt many of us noticed. Then again, when was the last time any of us stared at the poster for Gremlins? Either way, it's a cool little nod to Amblin worked into the poster, which was done by the late great poster artist John Alvin, whose other contributions to the art form include the posters for Blazing SaddlesE.T.The Color Purple and a number of Disney films, including The Lion King

Gremlins arrived in theaters June 8, 1984 and introduced us to three very important rules for the care of an adorably furry little creature called a Mogwai. Keep it away from bright light ("Bright light!"), don't get it wet, and never (never-never-never) feed it after midnight. Little Gizmo is acquired by Randall Peltzer (Hoyt Axton), a traveling salesman who picks the Mogwai up from a little store in Chinatown and gifts it to his teen son Billy (Zach Galligan). As you might guess, though Billy takes the three instructions very seriously, things don't go so well for Gizmo.

The water reaction is weird enough, but things get much worse when Gizmo's offspring get ahold of some food after midnight. Creepy-critter horror ensues. The 1984 film was followed up by a goofier (total guilty-pleasure) sequel, Gremlins 2: The New Batch. There was talk of rebooting the original film as recently as last April

SEE ALSO: 15 Secret References You Never Noticed In Your Favorite Movies

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This Is Why You Shouldn't See 'Transformers: Age of Extinction' In 3-D


bumblebee transformers age of extinction

The Autobots are back for a new battle in Transformers: Age of Extinction. This time Sam Witwicky is gone, but a brave inventor named Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg) has stepped in to help Optimus Prime bring down the evil Decepticons, who once more threaten humanity. With the help of some new Autobots and some new human characters, a new battle for the Earth begins. 

Our theatrical review will weigh in on whether or not this new release is worth your time, while this column will focus solely on the film's use of 3D. Considering seven separate categories, To 3D Or Not To 3D evaluates the full scope of the 3D viewing experience. Think of it as a consumer's guide for your movie-going, complete with a viewers poll where you can weigh in on how you plan to see Transformers: Age of Extinction yourself.


3D is made for spectacle. Michael Bay's middle name is "spectacle." Giant battling robots. Massive metropolis destruction. Transformers: Age of Extinction seems custom-built to be dazzling in 3D. 


Bay is no newbie to 3D, as Transformers: Dark of the Moon was the first in the franchise to go with the added dimension. For that film, Bay shot sections of the film in 2D with a 3D post-convert, and others in 3D. For Transformers: Age of Extinction, he did the same, though this time the 3D cameras he employed are a new smaller digital IMAX camera. You can bet that a great deal of care was put into both the in-camera 3D and the post-converted. Or at least with a budget of $165 million, you'd assume so. I won't pretend that I could pick out what scenes where shot in 3D and which were post-converted. 


This is that element of 3D that seems to reach right out into the theater. Unfortunately, for all its robot battles, flying metal, explosions and hurled debris, very little noticeably breaks out in Transformers: Age of Extinction. I saw some soot. And the opening credits penetrate into the theater. Sadly, that's about it. 


Conversely, this is the aspect of 3D that reaches beyond the screen, giving a deeper sense of depth to the film's world. Unfortunately, Bay's fondness for very tight close-ups truncates much of this option's use. There are scenes of sprawling valleys, cavernous space ships, and bustling cities, but by and large the added depth is barely noticeable because Bay's camera is so often in motion. One scene where Beyond The Window does have impact involves the human heroes scuttling down some thick wires, making their way from a spaceship to a skyscraper. An overhead shot looking down, down, down to the streets many stories below is shocking, and actually better sells their plight than a 2D version would. 


Those 3D glasses make 3D pop, but also make the movie darker. To combat this, 3D prints must be adjusted accordingly. Honestly,Transformers: Age of Extinction actually does this perfectly. It’s possible that this is because most of the movie seems to take place during magic hour, but nonetheless, it's never too dark to make out what's going on, whatever the setting. 


This is a very simplistic way of seeing how much 3D you're getting in a given scene. Remove your 3D glasses; observe the blur, and you can see just how many levels of depth the movie is employing at any given moment. Running this rudimentary test a couple of times in Transformers: Age of Extinction, I did observe a good amount of blur, but as there's a lot of smoke, and blank backgrounds of open sky, the 3D often felt cut off by Bay's aesthetic. 


Bad 3D can be bad for you, causing nausea, headaches and/or eyestrain. I actually had repeated troubles focusing on Transformers: Age of Extinction as a result. Bay is a big fan of swish pans, and moving his camera in elaborate choreography, but with dueling planes in my right and left eye, my vision couldn't always keep up. Certainly not helping things is that Bay's use of lens flares is literally painful in 3D, as the light doesn't only shine bright, but seems to be directly targeted at the audience and their retinas. 

Final Verdict: If you're looking for some spectacle, Transformers: Age of Extinction will deliver with big battles, lots of destruction, and various eye candy. However, the 3D is just too much. Added onto everything else, it became an obstacle to focus on this action-stuffed adventure. When my eyes wouldn't focus, I closed one to watch the movie in DIY 2D for a bit. It certainly made Michael Bay’s latest film easier to watch, but is not a method I'd recommend. Just skip the 3D ticket and instead opt for good ol’ 2D 

SEE ALSO: This Is The Shot Michael Bay Uses In All Of His Movies

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'Pacific Rim 2' Release Date Set With Guillermo Del Toro Returning To Direct


pacific rim backgroundPacific Rim 2 is officially a “go”.  Though director Guillermo del Toro’s 2013 “monsters vs. robots” film was in no way a box office disaster, the colorful, bombastic epic failed to catch on with general audiences in Transformers fashion.  It just squeaked past the $100 million mark stateside, but fared much better internationally, bringing its worldwide total to $411 million.  Fans (myself included) hoped this would be enough to convince Legendary Pictures to greenlight a sequel, and we’ve been hearing more updates on the follow-up in the past few months.

Most recently, del Toro revealed that he’s writing the Pacific Rim 2 script with Zak Penn (X2), and now the filmmaker has announced that the pic will hit theaters on April 7, 2017 in IMAX 3D.  Moreover, he revealed that an animated series set within the Pacific Rim world will be unveiled sometime before that date.  More after the jump.

Universal Pictures made the release date announcement this evening, as the studio will be taking over distribution duties from Warner Bros. following Legendary’s split last year.  It appears that WB willingly let the franchise go, as they had the first option on the sequel.  Additionally, it was announced that del Toro will indeed be returning to the director’s chair for Pacific Rim 2, so we’ve got plenty more inventive kaiju vs. robot action on the way.  The April date is a shift from Pacific Rim‘s July release, but I’m hopeful that it will fare better earlier in the year, when audiences haven’t yet suffered from box office fatigue.

Pacific Rim screenwriter Travis Beacham will also be contributing to the script, though in a more limited capacity since he’s busy running the upcoming TV series Hieroglyph. Del Toro is currently in post-production on his first “adult” film in the English language, Crimson Peak, but the 2017 date gives him plenty of time to complete that picture and move back into the Pacific Rim world.

And if that wasn’t enough, del Toro revealed that fans will be treated to more Pacific Rim goodness before the sequel, saying they’ll be developing a new Pacific Rim animated series and continuing the comic book series that began with Year Zero, written by Travis Beacham.  Exciting stuff, yeah?  Sound off with your thoughts in the comments, and watch del Toro make the announcement in the video below.

SEE ALSO: 'Pacific Rim' Is An Engineer's Worst Nightmare

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Here Are All The Vehicles You'll See Turn Into Robots In The 'Transformers' Sequel


transformers mark wahlberg bumblebee

The only thing bigger than the explosions you'll see in "Transformers: Age of Extinction" this weekend, is the array of different Transformers that will appear on screen. 

Before they turn into Transformers, they're just a bunch of really cool, expensive vehicles.

We've broken down how much the cars in the new film cost, ranging from $15,000 to $2.4 million.

Let's start out with the most recognizable vehicle. Here's the estimated $150,000 2015 Western Star 5700.

The 5700 won't hit the market until later this year and the exact pricing is unknown, however its predecessor, the 4900, retails for as much as $150,000 depending on configuration.

It will transform into Autobot leader Optumus Prime.

While Optimus Prime opens the film in the form of a rusted out 1973 Marmon cab-over truck, the autobot leader eventually takes the form of an awesome 2015 Western Star 5700-based semi.

We'll see two iterations of the famous Chevy Camaro on screen. This vintage modified '67 Camaro can run up to $60,000.

Even though the autobot scout originally appeared in Transformers canon as a humble VW Bug, Michael Bay's Bumblebee continues to take the form of Chevy's Camaro.

A well maintained version of a '67 Camaro SS can cost as much $60,000.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Seth MacFarlane Will Match $1 Million In 'Reading Rainbow' Kickstarter Donations


Seth MacFarlane

LOS ANGELES (AP) — LeVar Burton's "Reading Rainbow" fundraising effort is getting a boost from a generous pal, Seth MacFarlane.

MacFarlane has promised to match up to $1 million in pledges made on the Kickstarter website so that an online version of "Reading Rainbow" can be made available without charge to an expanded number of underfunded classrooms, Burton said in a statement Thursday.

MacFarlane's offer is in effect through 3 p.m. EDT on July 2, when the online fundraiser is to conclude.

Burton said he was left nearly speechless by the "extraordinary generosity" of his friend, the TV and movie writer-producer-actor whose credits include "Ted" and "Family Guy." MacFarlane's spokeswoman confirmed the offer.

MacFarlane jumped in after hearing that "Reading Rainbow" needed to raise at least $5 million, Burton said. The Kickstarter campaign's initial goal was $1 million.

More than $4 million had been pledged by 83,000-plus contributors as of Thursday afternoon.

Burton, star of "Roots and "Star Trek: Next Generation," was host of the children's literacy program that aired on public television through 2009. "Reading Rainbow" was launched as a best-selling tablet app in 2012, and aims to expand its reach with a subscription-based home version that will start at $5 monthly.

An educator-specific format will be created for schools and made available free to 1,500 of the neediest classrooms with the first $1 million in donations, according to RRKidz, the for-profit company co-founded by Burton.

The additional donations, including from MacFarlane, will enable the format to be extended to at least another 6,000 such classrooms, according to Burton.

"It was my mother who taught me that, by picking up a book, I could 'go anywhere' and 'be anything,'" Burton said in a posting on Kickstarter.

Contributors can claim rewards ranging from autographed memorabilia to a private dinner with Burton to a chance to put on the visor that the actor wore on "Star Trek."



Kickstarter: http://www.helpreadingrainbow.com

SEE ALSO: Here's Why 'Reading Rainbow' Was The Best Kids' TV Show Ever

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Here's What It's Like Trying To Fight An Imaginary Robot On Set Of 'Transformers: Age Of Extinction'


transformers age of extinction behind the scenes"Transformers: Age of Extinctionis aiming to be one of the most staggering special effect films of the entire summer.

One of the most challenging aspects for the cast is acting alongside giant Transformer robots that are computer generated (and painstakingly so).

Business Insider recently caught up with Mark Wahlberg's stunt double on the film, Dan Mast, who told us when it came to interacting with the Transformers on set, the cast wasn't taking on a giant shape-shifting robot but rather just staring at a really big stick, sometimes with the face of a Transformer atop it.

"Anytime there was a robot that I was interacting with, we would have a giant pole so we could see the eye-line," said Mast.

When one of the robots would "attack him," there were actual explosive charges set around where he would have to dodge the transformer.

Transformers stunts

However, the stunt man didn't have much interaction with the Transformers.

"For the most part, a lot of the robot interactions is robot on robot," Mast said. "There weren't too many robot-human interactions."

Mast, who usually does more practical stunt work in films like "Divergent," said it's a big change doing that sort of digital stunt work in the film.

michael bay mark wahlberg transformers age of extinction

"There's a big difference," Mast told us. "If we're doing anything on the green screen we're able to fake a lot of things, we're able to fake a lot of the impact, but if we're on an actual set and I have to go through a real window it becomes much more difficult." 

Mast said other than the addition of the Transformers, little digital effects were used in the movie. 

"There wasn't a whole lot of green screen on this particular film," said Mast. "A lot of the sets, they were really built and they were really there. It's not like doing [the special effects heavy] '300' or something like that. Everything was very real, and that was one of the cool things working with Bay."

For Mast, the biggest difference between practical and digital stunt work is really a matter of emotion.

"[Practical stunt work] is physically more demanding, but the reactions are more real," Mast said. "It's a little bit harder on the body but we get over that and in the long run when you watch the film... it pays off."

"Personally," he added, "I prefer the real thing."

SEE ALSO: Mark Wahlberg's Stunt Double Explains What It Takes To Work On 'Transformers'

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'Transformers: Age Of Extinction' Could Be The First Movie To Make $100 Million Opening Weekend This Year


transformers grimlock

"Transformers: Age of Extinction" could very well do something no other film has managed to do yet this year — make $100 million at the box office opening weekend.

Not any of the other big Hollywood blockbusters have hit the mark, though a few have come close:

"Captain America: The Winter Soldier": $95 million
"Godzilla": $93.2 million
"The Amazing Spider-Man 2": $91.6 million

Last year, "Iron Man 3" cleared the $100 million mark the first weekend of May. In 2012, "The Hunger Games" passed $150 million opening weekend in March.

What's going on?

Right now, the box office is about 11% behind last year's gross. Sure, "X-Men: Days of Future Past" has performed well, crossing the $200 million mark domestically, but there just haven't been a lot of big films released everyone has wanted to rush out and see. There is no "Avengers," or DC Batman film and Katniss Everdeen of "The Hunger Games" won't return to theaters until November.

That could change with "Transformers: Age of Extinction."

So far, the fourth installment has made $8.7 million in midnight showings. Fandango told us the film represented 96% of the ticket seller's weekend sales.

Boxoffice.com is tracking the Michael bay directed sequel to bring in $99 million this weekend.

Sure, the reviews aren't great. Right now, the sequel is sitting at a sour 17% on Rotten Tomatoes; however, none of the Transformers films have fared well with critics. The original 2007 "Transformers" is the best of the bunch and that has a 57% rating.

The numbers are in the sequel's favor though. The previous two installments, "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" and "Transformers: Dark of the Moon," have made $109 million and $97.9 million respectively opening weekend.

However, this time around Bay is not only introducing an entirely new cast led by Mark Wahlberg — stripping Shia LaBeouf from the franchise — but also a new roster of Transformers characters. The only ones fans will recognize from previous films are lead Autobot Optimus Prime and Bumblebee. Ratchet, from previous installments, is briefly seen.

This film does have the advantage of introducing dinobots, dinosaurs that transform into robots, which have caused a lot of excitement around the film.

SEE ALSO: Here are all the vehicles you'll see in "Transformers: Age of Extinction"

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7 Of The Greatest Movies Never Made


star wars episode VI return of the jedi

A multitude of interesting films miss out on getting made every year for a variety of reasons, but there are some that stand out from the rest because the thought of “what if” is simply too fascinating to dismiss.

But in many cases, the studios’ decisions to pass on a project can’t be entirely criticized — some of the following projects are flat out bizarre and could just as easily be a financial disaster as a hit.

Still, it would be amazing to see any of the following seven projects realized even if they sound pretty crazy. 

The best movies never made >

"Gladiator 2," directed by Ridley Scott and written by Nick Cave

Of all the “what ifs” on this list, "Gladiator 2" is probably the craziest of the bunch and likely never had a chance of actually being made. To start with, how do you make a sequel for a film whose protagonist died at the end? No, this wasn’t an origin story or a film about a different character. Screenwriter Nick Cave explains it best.

“[Crowe] rang me up and asked if I wanted to write 'Gladiator 2,'” Cave explained. “For someone who had only written one film script, it was quite an ask. ‘Hey, Russell, didn’t you die in "Gladiator 1"?’ ‘Yeah, you sort that out.’”

From there, it appears that Cave held nothing back in crafting a reason for Crowe’s character Maximus to return to the screen while writing one of the most insane stories that only a rocker could think up. “So, [Maximus] goes down to purgatory and is sent down by the gods, who are dying in heaven because there’s this one god, there’s this Christ character, down on Earth who is gaining popularity and so the many gods are dying, so they send Gladiator back to kill Christ and his followers,” Cave explained.

“I wanted to call it 'Christ Killer,'” he continued. “In the end you find out that the main guy was his son so he has to kill his son and he was tricked by the gods. He becomes this eternal warrior and it ends with this 20-minute war scene which follows all the wars in history, right up to Vietnam and all that sort of stuff and it was wild.”

Cave is probably embellishing this story at least a little at this point, but the script did reach the studio with Ridley Scott and Crowe in tow and the basic plot he describes is true according to reports. “It was a stone-cold masterpiece,” he said. “I enjoyed writing it very much because I knew on every level that it was never going to get made. Let’s call it a popcorn dropper.”

"Return of the Jedi," directed by David Cronenberg or David Lynch

When George Lucas was looking for directors for the last film in the "Star Wars" trilogy, "Return of the Jedi" (or "Revenge of the Jedi" as it was then called), he approached two young directors known for their uncompromising visions: David Cronenberg and David Lynch. But Lynch declined Lucas’ offer in order to direct "Dune, "and Cronenberg would later do the same, directing "Videodrome" and "The Dead Zone" shortly after.

Many years later, Cronenberg would explain why he turned down the offer. “You’re really restricted by the format that’s been established,” he said. “So for a really inventive or innovative director, that’s being put in a straitjacket.” There little doubt that Lynch felt the same way and while he moved on to a similar sci-fi project, he was afforded much more creative influence that Lucas was surely offering.

So while neither Cronenberg nor Lynch were truly close to directing "Return of the Jedi," it’s still a fascinating “what if” for a film that could have benefitted from either director’s strong vision. While it’s hard to picture exactly what a Lynch "Star Wars" film might have been, there’s no doubt that a Cronenberg version would been significantly darker, even if he played within Lucas’ terms.

"Batman: Year One," directed by Darren Aronofsky

For a director who has frequently leaned toward art-house style filmmaking (before this year’s box office hit Noah), it’s interesting that Darren Aronofsky has often been attached to big-budget commercial films throughout his career.

He was once attached to the "RoboCop" reboot, the "Watchmen" adaptation, and last year’s "The Wolverine"— all films you wouldn’t normally associate with the talented director. But by far the strangest of the films he worked on was a Batman reboot entitled "Batman: Year One," which would later pave the way for Christopher Nolan’s "Dark Knight" trilogy.

Following the "Batman and Robin" disaster, Warner Bros. was looking to inject some fresh blood into the property and hired Aronofsky following the success of his second feature, "Requiem for a Dream." Aronofsky then brought in comic writer Frank Miller, who had worked with the director on an unproduced script for "Ronin," and the pair got to work crafting what is one of the most fascinating depictions of the iconic character.

“My pitch was 'Death Wish' or 'The French Connection' meets Batman. In 'Year One,' Gordon was kind of like Serpico, and Batman was kind of like Travis Bickle (the protagonist of 'Taxi Driver'),” Aronofsky explains in an excerpt from the book "Tales From Development Hell: The Greatest Movies Never Made" written by David Hughes.

In Hughes’ book, the synopsis for the film is described as follows:

Young Bruce Wayne is found in the street after his parents’ murder, and taken in by ‘Big Al,’ who runs an auto repair shop with his son, ‘Little Al.’ Driven by a desire for vengeance toward a manifest destiny of which he is only dimly aware, young Bruce (of deliberately indeterminate age) toils day and night in the shop, watching the comings and goings of hookers, johns, pimps, and corrupt cops at a sleazy East End cathouse across the street, while chain-smoking detective James Gordon struggles with the corruption he finds endemic among Gotham City police officers of all ranks.

It isn’t hard to see why Warner Bros’ balked at the idea of departing so radically from the comics and opted for the more conventional Batman story Nolan would later pursue. But there’s no denying that it would have been extremely interesting to see Aronofsky and Miller do what they wanted with the character, even if it didn’t really feel all that much like an actual Batman story.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Forget 'Transformers' — This Bizarro Flick Is The Best Movie Coming Out This Weekend



There's no need to rush and see the new-and-improved, Marky Mark-infused “Transformers: Age of Extinction” opening this weekend.

Michael Bay’s latest opus is sure to be another bloated, overlong example of excess, and its fate as a franchise is already sealed — Paramount recently confirmed “Transformers 5” for a 2016 release.

While “Age of Extinction” makes mincemeat out of the box office this weekend, a much better, original property sneaks into theaters as well — Bong Joon Ho’s English-language debut “Snowpiercer.”

The film is a rare example of bizarro genre filmmaking and I can’t recommend it enough.

“Snowpiercer” is set seventeen years in the future where all that remains of humanity has been packed onto an impossibly long train navigating an otherwise uninhabitable Earth.

The passengers aboard this train have established a class system where all groups are represented, from the impoverished to the extremely wealthy. As you might expect, this system doesn’t fly for very long, and an uprising (led by Captain America himself) begins to take hold. The plot may read like your standard piece of allegorical science fiction, but with talented director Bong Joon Ho at the helm, “Snowpiercer” is unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.

SnowpiercerThe film is always engaging in a “where is this insanity going” kind of way. It masterfully fuses contrasting tones throughout and there is literally never a dull moment. I want to stress just how ambitious and batshit crazy “Snowpiercer” is, but any further details would ruin the magic of watching it unfold naturally before your eyes. Take my word for it — “Snowpiercer” goes places you don’t expect.

The production value and action sequences are top-notch and are only elevated by the fantastic performances from A-listers like Chris Evans, Ed Harris, John Hurt and Tilda Swinton, in what may be her most fun and depraved role yet.  

The film’s budget is estimated to be around $40 million and has already doubled it since opening in foreign markets all the way back in late 2013. That money goes a long way, as “Snowpiercer” easily bests every mega-budget blockbuster released this summer thus far.

tn 1000_hr_snowpiercer_1As I mentioned earlier, the film is all over the place thematically and while one scene may be darkly humorous, the next is just plain twisted. This can be attributed to Bong Joon Ho’s impeccable direction and unique style, and fans of his work (Korea’s ‘The Host, “Mother”) will feel right at home as they laugh, cringe and otherwise marvel at the crazy choices made throughout.

Yesterday, Bong Joon Ho took to Reddit’s AMA section where he eloquently answered fan questions. When asked if the comedy in his otherwise dark films “comes about naturally or if it’s a more conscious decision”, Joon Ho responded:

“Just the idea of whether it be a comedy or a thriller or a sad film, to maintain one tone throughout is very hard to accomplish and feels MORE artificial. I think that in life, comedy and drama and terrifying moments are all mixed together, don't you agree? That's how life is, so it's not like I deliberately or consciously calculates these types of contrasts, it happens naturally. And it's more challenging to do a scene or movie in one tone.

The main cast of SnowpiercerLike with very serious moments in life, if you take one step back, it could be very funny if you look at it with a cynical point of view, or very very happy moments in life, you take a few steps back and it could be very sad. It's really all about distance, how far away you are can change the way you see it drastically.”

Bong Joon Ho also took a moment during the AMA to explain the purported different cuts of the film, stating:

“There was the test of a different version and we tried different things with the editing, but the Weinstein Company decided to release the director's cut, and we have released the same version everywhere. And in the 27th, this Friday it will be in theaters as the director's cut, and I am very happy and I hope you all enjoy it. Just because it's a director's cut does not mean the movie is very long. If you take out the credits it is 1 hour and 59 minutes. I heard the new Transformers movie is 2 hours and 45 minutes long.”

“Snowpiercer” will likely gross mere fractions of “Transformers” intake this weekend, but money made is certainly not indicative of quality. I walked out of both the second and third “Transformers” movies (don’t ask me why I even bothered to walk in), and despite the occasional glorious action set-piece, the films are bland, wholly unoriginal, offensively stupid and, worst of all, incredibly boring. “Snowpiercer” is what happens when a great director has a great script that isn’t motivated by marketing a new line of children’s toys.

Check out the trailer:

SEE ALSO: Millennials Are Old News — Here’s Everything You Should Know About Generation Z

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BEFORE THE CRASH: Here's What It Was Like When 'Everyone' In America Was Rich


super sweet 16Looking back on it now, the years leading up to the Lehman collapse seem like a dream.

This was the era when:

-- Your friend who had majored in English went to work for an investment bank.

-- Your parents thought it would be a good idea to buy a second (or third!) home upstate.

-- "My Super Sweet 16" came into existence.

We wanted to go back to see just how absurd this moment was.

So we've scoured American (and a slice of global) culture and society from 2003 to 2008 to find the most absurd examples and reflections of financial excess. 

In retrospect, it is now ludicrously clear that we should've seen it all coming...

Bravo's "Flipping Out," the show about trying to buy homes, renovate them, and put them back on the market, may have best captured the Zeitgeist.

Though "Cribs" is arguably a close second.

MTV's "My Super Sweet Sixteen," about rich teenagers' lavish 16th birthday parties, was another good sign we'd reached peak excess.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

'Transformers: Age Of Extinction' Has The Largest Opening Ever In China


mark wahlberg transformers 4

Let the critics say what they want about "Transformers: Age of Extinction," the movie is a huge hit.

Not only is Michael Bay's fourth installment of "Transformers" the biggest opening of the year so far making an estimated $100 million upon debut; however, it's also the largest premiere ever in China.

The film debuted to a whopping $90 million in the country. 

That shouldn't come as a big surprise. 

The studio heavily catered to the world's second-largest box-office market and it was a huge payoff.

A lot of the movie's filming occurred in China and Paramount Pictures held the film's global premiere in Hong Kong.

The sequel also has a big cameo from one of the country's most popular actresses, Li Bingbing, while Ken Watanabe voiced a samurai transformer. 

Paramount Pictures Vice Chairman Rob Moore told Reuters the Asian audience is critical for the studio.

"Ensuring we have the best movie for Asia and for China is definitely part of the strategy," said Moore.

Previously, the largest American film debut in China was "Iron Man 3," making $64.5 million, according to Box Office Mojo.

With those two large debuts, "Transformers: Age of Extinction" has now made more than $300 million worldwide. The movie cost an estimated $165 million to make. 

At this rate, the film should be well on its way to being the highest-grossing movie of the year until November swings around ushering in the release of "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part I."

Currently, "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" is the highest-grossing movie of the year with $712.7 million.

SEE ALSO: Here's how much the vehicles in "Transformers: Age of Extinction" cost

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Here Are All The Vehicles You'll See Turn Into Robots In The 'Transformers' Sequel


transformers mark wahlberg bumblebee

The only thing bigger than the explosions you'll see in "Transformers: Age of Extinction" this weekend, is the array of different Transformers that will appear on screen. 

Before they turn into Transformers, they're just a bunch of really cool, expensive vehicles.

We've broken down how much the cars in the new film cost, ranging from $15,000 to $2.4 million.

Let's start out with the most recognizable vehicle. Here's the estimated $150,000 2015 Western Star 5700.

The 5700 won't hit the market until later this year and the exact pricing is unknown, however its predecessor, the 4900, retails for as much as $150,000 depending on configuration.

It will transform into Autobot leader Optumus Prime.

While Optimus Prime opens the film in the form of a rusted out 1973 Marmon cab-over truck, the autobot leader eventually takes the form of an awesome 2015 Western Star 5700-based semi.

We'll see two iterations of the famous Chevy Camaro on screen. This vintage modified '67 Camaro can run up to $60,000.

Even though the autobot scout originally appeared in Transformers canon as a humble VW Bug, Michael Bay's Bumblebee continues to take the form of Chevy's Camaro.

A well maintained version of a '67 Camaro SS can cost as much $60,000.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

15 Easter Eggs In 'The LEGO Movie'


batman winking the lego movie

"The LEGO Movie" has been one of the highest-grossing movies of the year.

The surprise hit from directors Chris Miller and Phil Lord has taken in $467 million worldwide.

The animated picture came out on DVD and Blu-Ray last week. First, if you haven't seen the movie, you should check it out. If you have seen it, you've probably missed a lot of references or cameos by actors.

We watched the DVD commentary for the film over the weekend where the directors revealed a lot of Easter Eggs you may not have noticed the first time around.

Here are the ones they mentioned along with a few we've picked up on while watching.

Let's start with an easy one.

1. President Business' horns are made out of coffee cups.

His entire wardrobe is a play off of his business persona. His cape is a tie.president business coffee cups

2.Spot the non-Lego

You can see a ruler stand in for a bridge in the opening scene.

lego movie ruler

3. The card in the beginning is a hint at the movie's twist later on.

Early in the film there's a title card that reads, "8½ Years Later." That's the age of Finn, the boy we see later in the movie.

4. Emmet's soap suds are Lego pieces.

The bubbles in the early shower scene are ice cream scoops.the lego movie bubbles

5. Look closely at the posters in Emmet's house.

They're nods to Lord and Miller's previous movie, "21 Jump Street." The directors mention "Macho and the Nerd" is actually the Russian title for the film starring Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill.macho and the nerd lego movie easter egg

6. Octan, the company run by Lord Business in the film, is the fictional gas company from Lego.octan the lego movie

octan legos

7. Batman's license plate reads "BAT2DBONE."

Keep your eyes focused on the back of Batman's ride right before he flies into the sun and you may be able to make out his clever license plate. the lego movie batman license plate

8. There's a pig that explodes into a pile of sausages.

pig the lego moviesausage lego movie

9. Vitruvius' staff is a lollipop stick.vitruvius lego movie

10. A Ninjago ninja makes an appearance in the film. 

The Lego property is getting its own movie will be released next year.ninjago lego movie

11. There are a lot of celebrity cameos.

Shaquille O'Neal actually voices the Shaq Lego.

shaq lego movie

The stars of "21 Jump Street," Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill voice Superman and Green Lantern, respectively. Directors Lord and Miller said they told Hill to be as annoying as possible to Superman's character.superman green lantern lego movie
Dave Franco, who also appeared in "21 Jump Street," and Jack Johnson play construction workers.construction workers lego movie

Cobie Smulders voices Wonder Woman.wonder woman the lego movie

Actual "Star Wars" castmembers Anthony Daniels and Billy Dee Williams reprise their roles as C-3PO and Lando Calrissian. Keith Ferguson voiced Han Solo.lego movie star wars

12. Real brick films made by fans are displayed on monitors near the end of the movie.

The videos, from a fan competition to appear in the movie, can be seen on the DVD and Blu-Ray.the lego movie fan films

13. Director Chris Miller made some of the drawings seen in the movie.chris miller drawings lego movie

14. There are Lego versions of Phil Lord and Chris Miller in the end scene of the film. 

We didn't spot them, but the directors said they were put in there unknowingly by animators.

15. You can spot a Catwoman helmet and an Oscar in the end credits.

Both are nods to animation co-director Chris McKay who has been nominated for Primetime Emmys and loves the Batman character.catwoman easter egg lego movie

SEE ALSO: The 30 most expensive movies ever made

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How Mark Wahlberg Went From High-School Dropout To Hollywood's Top Tough Guy


Mark Wahlberg

Not many actors can say they've been a rapper, underwear model, producer, and ex-con, but then again not many actors are Mark Wahlberg.

Born in Boston, Wahlberg has made a name for himself as one of Hollywood's top actors, but he has also gone on to be one of the industry's best businessmen.

Starring in the upcoming "Transformers: Age of Extinction," Wahlberg continues to transform himself into an even bigger star.

See how he became Hollywood's top tough guy.

The youngest of nine children, Wahlberg was born on June 5, 1971 in Dorchester, Massachusetts — a blue-collar neighborhood in Boston.

Source: Biography

Wahlberg eventually dropped out of school at 13 and turned to a life of selling drugs and stealing cars. At 17, Wahlberg went through one of the darkest times in his life when he was arrested for assault. He served a 45-day sentence at one of the worst prisons in Boston.

Source: 60 Minutes

During this time, faith played huge part in Wahlberg's life and still does today. The actor attends church twice every Sunday and is a devout Irish Catholic. "It’s the most important part of my life," Wahlberg has said. "I don’t try to push it on anybody, and I don’t try to hide it."

Source: The Huffington Post

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The Most Annoying Thing About 'Transformers' Is Michael Bay's Fixation On Objectifying Women


mark wahlberg tessa nicole peltz transformers

"Transformers: Age of Extinction" had a huge opening weekend, becoming the first film this year to have a $100 million debut.

While it's fun to look at, the movie is an exercise in excess: too many plots, too many new Transformers to learn (unless you're a diehard fan), and too many characters (Kelsey Grammer is part of a giant CIA unit that joins forces with the Decepticons).

Considering how female roles in film have drastically changed since the first film's release in 2007, possibly the most annoying thing in the continuing franchise is director Michael Bay's constant objectification of young women on screen.

It started in "Transformers" with Megan Fox and carries on through the current "Age of Extinction" release with actress Nicola Peltz.

Here's probably what you remember of Fox from the first film in the series:

megan fox transformers

megan fox motorcycle transformers

She was replaced by Victoria Secret model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley in the third film as the new pretty woman in revealing clothing.

rosie huntington transformers 3 rosie huntington transformers 3

In the latest sequel, we're introduced to Tessa Yaegar (Peltz), a daddy’s girl with dreams of going to college, who is banned from dating but has a secret older boyfriend, and who loves to party with her girls. (There’s actually an opening scene where she drops a line to friends about high school ending soon: “Yeah girls, almost time to get wasted!” We never see those characters again.) 

It’s the most clichéd role in the entire film and one of the worst characterizations of a female in recent movies.  nicole peltz transformers

Similar to the Rosie Huntington scene above, the first time we’re introduced to Peltz, we see her legs walking down a long driveway. The camera slowly pans its way up her body until her face is finally revealed. 

In case the audience doesn’t get it from her blonde hair and short shorts, her dad Cade (Mark Wahlberg) almost immediately (and throughout the film) makes a comment about the length of her shorts asking her to change (spoiler: she doesn’t). His friend Lucas Flannery (T.J. Miller) also chimes in about Tessa’s sex appeal.

There’s nothing wrong with showing a beautiful girl in a movie and highlighting her body, but can't these women be portrayed in a non-stereotypical light? Fox’s character was at least knowledgeable about car mechanics in the first film. In "Age of Extinction," we don’t see much emphasis on creating a strong female character for Tessa.

For most of the movie her character is yelling out, screaming for Daddy Wahlberg to save her from danger. (She actually uses the word Daddy.)

Many of her scenes look like this:

tessa screaming transformers 4

mark wahlberg running transformers 4

At one point when Tessa’s screaming, she can’t figure out how to escape from a non-moving vehicle she just jumped inside when she could have just opened the door. 

Wahlberg’s character tells her to shatter the window glass but she continues sobbing and whimpering waiting for someone to save her instead. It's kind of pathetic to watch, at least for any female in the audience. 

We've seen these same damsel-in-distress scenes in previous movies with Fox and Huntington-Whiteley.megan fox transformersrosie huntington whiteley transformers 3

This is exactly what females on screen have been trying to work against for years.

It’s why “Avengers” director Joss Whedon introduced audiences to "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" to fight against the “blonde bimbo” stereotype. 

Weak feminine characters were a staple of action movies in the '90s and early 2000s (Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane Watson in "Spider-Man" comes to mind).

With so many strong female heroines in movies today — “The Hunger Games” and “Divergent” — it’s annoying to see Tessa act like a helpless, whining teenager in 2014.

The only saving grace in this film are the two other female actresses, Sophia Myles who plays a geologist assistant and Li Bingbing as a Chinese factory owner. But there isn’t enough of them. 

li bingbing transformers

At one point in the film, Wahlberg says Tessa wouldn’t last on her own without him. She says it’s the other way around, but the next two hours prove she’s anything but right. Why can't we have a strong, sexy female lead in a "Transformers" film?

Sure, sex sells, but so does a realistic badass female character.  

Look no further than “The Hunger Games” and “Frozen.”

SEE ALSO: Here are all the vehicles you'll see turn into robots in the "Transformers" sequel

AND: "Age Of Extinction" was the most difficult "Transformers" movie to make

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Here's The First Photo Of Henry Cavill As Clark Kent On Set Of 'Batman V Superman'


henry cavill batman v superman set

A lot of fan photos and videos of the "Batman V Superman" set have been hitting the web since filming began in Michigan recently.

Now, we have a clear look at Henry Cavill dressed as his Superman alter ego, Clark Kent. 

Comingsoon.net caught sight of this first.

The photo comes from The Royal Marines Charitable Trust Fund, an organization which helps raise money for injured marines and their families.  

Cavill is seen holding up a shirt for the foundation. The actor recently helped launch the Royal Marines 1664 Challenge in which commander units are participating in a five-phase challenge consisting of skiing, sailing, cycling, kayaking, and running that covers the span of 1034 miles. 

You can read more about the challenge here.

SEE ALSO: 'Game of Thrones' actor will reportedly play Aquaman in the "Batman V Superman" movie

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$90 Million Chinese Opening For ‘Transformers’ Is A Watershed Moment For Hollywood


transformers age of extinction autobots

The jaw-dropping $90 million opening weekend of Michael Bay's “Transformers: Age of Extinction” in China — just $10 million under its domestic opening — could be a game-changer for Hollywood.

That the People's Republic of China has emerged as a critical market in the global box office, and could eventually overtake the U.S. as the world's No. 1 film market, isn't news to anyone in the film industry. But the spectacular “Age of Extinction” showing brings that reality into a sharper focus than ever before.

“It's a game changer,” IMAX Chief Executive Greg Foster told TheWrap. “We live in a global world and this shows beyond a doubt that China is knocking on that door.”

Also read: ‘Transformers 4' Thunders to Year's First $100 Million Box-Office Opening

The opening for “Age of Extinction” is the biggest ever in China for a foreign film, and more than doubles the first weekend of “Transformers: Dark of the Moon,” and that one wound up with a $165 million total. That puts “Age of Extinction” on course for an eventual haul in excess of $200 million in China, and it will be interesting to see how that compares with its domestic take.

“The importance of China is going to increase significantly in the eyes of all major distributors,” BoxOffice.com vice-president and senior analyst Phil Contrino told TheWrap. “They will be eager to mimic Paramount's accomplishment.”

With openings throughout Europe and Latin America on the way, “Transformers: Age of Extinction” will be taking a run at $1 billion in worldwide grosses, and international ticket sales are likely to provide roughly 70 percent of that.

China is currently the second-biggest film market in the world and growing. The country's box-office grosses in 2013 hit $3.6 billion, and 2014 should exceed $4.5 billion. The U.S. box office, by comparison, is expanding at a significantly slower pace, hovering at $10.9 billion in 2012 and 2013, a slight increase from 2011's $10.1 billion.

mark wahlberg tessa nicole peltz transformersIt wasn't just the massive opening, but how Paramount achieved it that will resonate.

From the start, the $200 million “Age of Extinction” was envisioned as a global blockbuster, with a clear intent to score big in the People's Republic.

The studio, Di Bonaventura Productions and Hasbro brought on CCTV's China Movie Channel and Jiaflix Enterprises as co-producers. Chinese star Li Bingbing was cast in a key role and the film was shot in Hong Kong and Shanghai and features national landmarks as the Great Wall and well-known skyscrapers as its backdrops. Director Bay and star Mark Wahlberg spent a lot of time in China before and after the film's world premiere there.

“I think it's become clear that studios can't afford to make movies of this scope without planning for them to be successful worldwide, and especially in China,” said Paramount's head of distribution Don Harris.

Other films, notably ‘Iron Man 3,'” have catered to the Chinese market with local premieres, the casting of Chinese actors and even extra scenes shot specifically for that audience. But “Transformers” was clearly a joint effort from its Chinese and American producers from the start.

“The fact that it was done organically made all the difference in the world,” said Foster.

The IMAX numbers were huge, too. The $10 million in grosses generated from a record 150 screens more than doubled the previous three-day record set by “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” last year. And 19 of the top 20 locales featured IMAX screens.

Also read: China Box Office Will Surpass U.S. by 2020 (Study)

It wasn't just China that powered the massive $200 million foreign haul for “Age of Extinction,” the year's biggest. It opened No. 1 in Russia ($21.7 million), Korea ($21.5 million), Australia ($10 million) and Taiwan ($8.3 million) and 33 other foreign markets.

It's worth noting that Chinese box office returns don't bring the same returns for the studios. Their share of the box office from China is typically around 25 percent, rather than the roughly 50 percent domestic split. That's because Chinese film officials know they're in a position of power, which has also resulted in limitations on how many U.S. films are allowed to enter the market, and when. And the Chinese have at times proven difficult to deal with, mainly because of their desire to grow their domestic film industry.

The practical ramifications of seeing the day when the U.S. will lose its status as the top global market will be seen over the next few years, but Foster said he didn't expect to see any attitudinal fallout from American audiences.

“I've never gone to a movie because it was made somewhere. You go because it's a good movie and you want to invest your time in it,” he said. “And I think that's true all over the world.”

SEE ALSO: 'Transformers: Age Of Extinction' Has The Largest Opening Ever In China

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'Age Of Extinction' Was The Most Difficult 'Transformers' Movie To Make


bumblebee transformers 4 age of extinction"Transformers: Age of Extinction" is a huge success at theaters making more than $300 million worldwide since its debut.

However, the film wouldn't be a reality without the visual effects team at Industrial Lights and Magic (ILM) who has been hard at work for about a year and half bringing the sequel to the big screen.

We recently spoke with ILM's visual effects supervisor Scott Farrar, who has overseen every single "Transformers" film to date. He tells Business Insider the fourth installment of the franchise was the most difficult film to work on yet with the crew working until nearly two weeks before the movie's release date to perfect the film. 

"This one was a lot harder," Farrar told Business Insider. "There were quite a number of new characters. Each and every one has a lot of new characters, but this one has new and more styles of characters just because of colors and construction. [There are] 10 new characters or so but what was hard about this one was that there were more shots than we’ve done before."

transformers age of extinction autobotsFarrar says handled more shots than ever before on "Age of Extinction." An estimated 500 people worked on the film's visual effects which comprise about 90 minutes of the film's two-and-a-half hour runtime.

"Sometimes another company was involved to do some of the shots. That was not the case," said Farrar. "We did all the shots or were in control of them." 

For the fourth film, the ILM team had to work on more shots in less time. The addition of IMAX and 3D in the film also added to the film's complexity.

"The shots were very very dense," said Farrar. "It wasn’t just a character against a bad guy. In many cases it was two or three robots, all with speaking parts, in scenes where they might be inside the Night Ship and it’s not just a ship and the characters, it’s hundreds of layers of sparks and lighting effects and all these different things to give the space a reality."

"[With 3D] there's all this stuff where you’re rendering two eyes not just one," he added. "It’s not like a simple shape. A robot, you can see inside it - all the little parts - thousands of little things are moving and turning and I think that’s fun for the audience."

The most difficult process though is bringing the Transformers themselves to life which Farrar says could take up to 15 weeks to build.optimus prime transformers 4

"The initial problem with a Transformers character is that you always want them to move fast and as cool in spite of the fact that they’re very very heavy," says Farrar. 

"Optimus is supposed to be about 30,000 pounds, but if you have him lumbering around like a big, slow robot like you see in old movies it's not very interesting," he adds. "A big factor, especially with Michael Bay, is you got to make things look cool."

When coming up with ways to move the different Transformers there's thought put into individualizing each robot.transformers grimlock

"We try to come up with character differences. Inspite of Grimlock, the T-Rex, the spinosaurus looking different, you also want them to act different. Some of the animators think about that as they work out what their characters are," says Farrar. 

Despite the added labor of the latest installment, Farrar says communication with director Michael Bay was easier the fourth time around.michael bay transformers 4 set

"We did a live transmission almost daily, sometimes more than once with him," Farrar explained. "[Bay's] in his office down in Santa Monica. We're up here in San Francisco. We don't all have to be in the same room, but he can call us up and say 'Transmission in 10 minutes, okay?'  We go to our room and ... at any given moment we can pull up any shot that we're working on any piece of a shot, any part or artwork or anything and pull it up. We can look at it and talk about it. We both see it. We see him on camera, he sees us on camera, and we do this live feed every day. Without that, I don't know how we would get this movie done." 

"If I have anything that's a problem, I don't do email. I need to know the answer right now," Farrar added. "I'll pick up the phone, talk to him. He'll pick up the phone, talk to me. We don't have time for email."

More "Transformers": The most annoying thing about "Transformers" is Michael Bay's fixation on objectifying women

SEE ALSO: How much the Transformers cars in the new film cost

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Sony Has Spent $59 Million On PS4 Ads In 5 Months


Greatness Awaits, PS4

One of the reasons for Sony's success with the PS4 might have more to do with marketing than simple troll-tactics. While last year the company used every single misstep by Microsoft as a marketing gimmick to promote the PlayStation 4.

However, with Phil Spencer in charge of the Xbox brand following the departure of Don Mattrick, the Xbox brand has done a complete 180 (no pun intended). Microsoft is now back in the running and utilizing everything within their grasp to regain their footing.

In light of this, Sony has actually ramped up their marketing throughout the early half of this year, and the company has actually spent the most in advertising their console compared to both Microsoft and Nintendo. 

The Wall Street Journal revealed a spending chart for the three big manufacturers and the numbers just might shock you as far as spending and advertising goes. 

There's a chart that explains exactly how much has been spent on TV ads in a PS4 versus Xbox One visual breakdown from iSpot.tv. Check it out below. 

PS4 vs. Xbox chart

As you can see, Sony has spent $59 million in television advertising from the start of the year up until May. It wasn't as if Microsoft has been too far behind, as the company has rolled out $34.7 million in advertising leading up to May. 

It's interesting that both companies targeted Comedy Central – presumably hitting up the elusive 14 – 34 male demographic? 

Just looking over the chart it definitely appears as if Microsoft aimed for the higher quality channel, with AMC getting some love while Sony had ESPN on the list. I imagine TBS and TNT are about equal in terms of prominence. 

What's more is that according to the Wall Street Journal article, more than $226.5 million has been spent on TV advertising within the first five months of 2014... so far. 

Funnily enough, it wasn't just the standard TV ad that has been most effective for Sony. As mentioned in the article, the “Greatness” ad that first appeared as a digital promotional piece across websites and video sharing sites has really helped penetrate Sony's target market... 

“PlayStation’s most digitally effective spot, according to iSpot, so far this year is the “Greatness” ad. That spot, which features scenes from some of the brand’s top games, aired 1,058 times on national TV since its March debut and has an estimated ad spend of $9 million, iSpot said. “Greatness” has received more than 2.5 million online views and more than 17,000 social actions, including tweets, likes and shares.”

Don't remember what the ad looks like? Well, here's a reminder. 

The ad has supposedly generated 7.4 million digital actions (or reactions). That's pretty darn effective and is scarily close to the PlayStation 4's install base, which has been estimated at 8.1 million. I'm sure someone will do an article about the relation of digital engagement to the compulsion of making a purchase somewhere down the line. 

The Xbox One's most effective ad has been the “all-in-one” piece, which has aired 1,300 times and has been viewed one million times online, with 6,000 digital social actions being accounted for. The “all-in-one” ad campaign had a budget of $12 million. The entire Xbox One ad campaign to date has generated 2.2 million digital actions. 

Apparently spending more on specific, targeted ads doesn't always equate to more positive reactions from the community. 

SEE ALSO: There's One Big Issue That's Slowly Killing The Xbox One And PS4

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Bryan Singer Teases The Script For Next 'X-Men' Movie


"X-Men: Days of Future Past" may still be raking in cash at theaters, but director Bryan Singer is already looking ahead to the next sequel out May 2016.

Singer joined Instagram today and his inaugural image was a tease at the next film's working script.

Check it out below:

Fans will notice the prologue starts in the same setting as the end-credits scene seen at the end of "Days of Future Past" this summer. 

That scene showed a camera pan over Ancient Egypt and gave a brief glimpse at Apocalypse, one of the X-Men's most famed villains.

Apocalypse X Men

"THE FOUR HORSEMEN" reference alludes to four mutants he recruits to work alongside him that were briefly teased in the end credits.

The script is written by Singer, Simon Kinberg, Michael Dougherty, and Dan Harris.

SEE ALSO: Here's what the "Days of Future Past" end-credits scene means for the sequel

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