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These Maps Prove 'Star Wars' Is More Popular Than 'Star Trek' In The U.S.

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star wars

Someone has definitively answered the question of whether we are a country united by "May the Force be with You" or "Live Long and Prosper."

Movato's real estate blog recently tallied the percent of each state's population that "liked" each of the two film franchises on Facebook.

According to the blog, "Star Wars" is an easy winner, being liked more in every state than "Star Trek."

star wars vs star trek

Of course, there's some room for error here. Surely, not every "Star Wars" and "Star Trek" fan is on Facebook, and, even if fans are many people may not necessarily "like" them. 

Movato further broke down their results to show which states have the highest percent of "Star Wars" and "Star Trek" fans.

states with most star wars fans

According to the map, "Star Wars" fans are more concentrated on the West coast.

Here are top five states that like "Star Wars" the most and least on Facebook:

States with highest % "Star Wars" fansStates with lowest % of "Star Wars" fans 
1. Alaska1. Mississippi
2. Washington2. Connecticut
3. Utah3. Maryland
4. Nevada4. Louisiana
5. Oregon5. Alabama 

Here's the breakdown of states with the highest percent of "Star Trek" fans.

states with most star trek fans

The results are pretty similar which could mean that there are more sci-fi fans out West. This could also mean that less people use Facebook in states in other parts of the country.

States with highest % "Star Trek" fansStates with lowest % of "Star Trek" fans
1. Oregon1. Mississippi
2. Alaska2. Louisiana 
3. Washington3. New Jersey 
4. Colorado4. Alabama 
5. Utah5. South Carolina 

You can read more on the study here.

SEE ALSO: A major "Star Wars" villain may return in "Episode VII"

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The New Batmobile Makes A Mockery Of Batman's No Gun Rule

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Earlier this week, “Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice” director Zack Snyder revealed our first good look at the new Batmobile that Ben Affleck’s Dark Knight will ride around.

The car has received a lot of positive feedback looking like a mix between a few previous iterations of the Batmobile including Christopher Nolan’s Tumbler, the classic shape of the model used in the 1989 film, and the tank version used in Frank Miller’s 1986 “The Dark Knight Returns" series.

Some Batfans may have noticed that the car that violates the Caped Crusader’s  “no guns” rule, which he follows since his parents were gunned down and murdered in an alleyway while he was young.

batmobile batman v superman

Whatever happened to guns being "the weapon of the enemy?"

batman no guns

Of course, when the character first appeared in the comics, this wasn’t always the case. Early versions of Batman show him with a gun, before his character was really established.

Batman Is A Killer, Yo

However, the Caped Crusader is known for his detective skills and ability to fight crime without resulting to bullets. There are countless times we’ve seen versions of the Bat break guns so it’s weird to see his latest vehicle with added artillery. 

So what’s the deal? Is Batman going to start killing? Is Zack Snyder giving us a very different version of the Dark Knight?

Not necessarily.

It’s not the first time the Batmobile has some added muscle to his car.

Tim Burton's 1989 batmobile had two machine guns mounted on the vehicle.

And while Burton's version of the film may have seen Batman use guns on both his car and Batwing plane to take down some of Gotham's underworld including the Joker, added machinery to the Dark Knight's vehicle has mostly been for non-lethal use.

The vehicle featured in the Emmy-winning "Batman: The Animated Series" featured a missile rack. The more military-style Tumbler in Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight" trilogy also had a missile launcher and a dual-barreled cannon but weren’t used to harm individuals.

the dark knight rises

The latest design for the Batmobile in the next Batman video game, "Arkham Knight," shows off a slew of guns which are meant to be non-violent: immobilizer missiles, a Vulcan gun, a 60mm cannon, and a riot suppressor gun with rubber bullets.

batman batmobile arkham knight

The guns on the newest Batmobile shouldn't come as a surprise. 

When Snyder first announced the new "Batman V Superman" film he introduced it by having "Man of Steel" actor Harry Lennix read a passage from classic Batman graphic novel "The Dark Knight Returns.

The comic shows an older Batman come out of retirement and reprise his role as the Dark Knight. While Snyder has previously said he will not be adapting the four-part graphic novel, it's clear he's drawing some inspiration from the story which features Batman going up against Superman.

The Batmobile featured in the graphic novel was designed as a giant tank that also had missiles, rocket launchers, and 200 RPM tranquilizer-firing machine gunsThe vehicle was introduced as something that could only be damaged from something from another planet (hint, hint: Superman). batmobile the dark knight returns

Again, here's the new Batmobile.batmobile batman v superman

We have yet to see how the guns on the new batmobile will be used. What do you think of the new look?

SEE ALSO: 'Batman V Superman' set photos tease another superhero in the film

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People Aren't Going To The Movies, And TV Might Be To Blame

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movie theaterA new report from The Hollywood Reporter citing experts from Hollywood and Wall Street says that this year’s summer box office has been so horrendously bad that there’s almost no way the films coming out in the fall and winter will be able to make up for it.

The domestic box office is down 5.6 percent at the year to date versus last year according to figures cited in the article, with the summer’s box office take dropping an astounding 15 percent from summer 2013. Franchises that normally produce sure-fire hits like Spider-Man and Transformers both saw films released this summer that underperformed domestically. The weekend of September 5 was the worst box office weekend since right after the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Analysts are saying that the movies slated for release this fall and winter won’t make enough money to bring the box office take up to what it was in 2013 unless something very unexpected happens. “Unless something comes out of left field, we’ll be down in third and fourth quarters,” analyst Erik Handler of MKM Partners told The Hollywood Reporter. “Something really needs to break out.”

What’s causing this massive decline in box office revenue? Analysts aren’t completely sure. “It was a disaster,” Doug Creuntz of Cowen & Co. said of the summer box office take to The Hollywood Reporter. “There was plenty of stuff for people to go see that they normally want to see. Something is going on that isn’t good for studios and theater chains. U.S. consumer habits are changing.”

One thing that could be causing this change is what critics have been calling the current ‘golden age' of television. The projects being made on TV recently take bigger risks and result in more engaging material than what’s currently being turned out by the studio movie system, which has caused some of Hollywood’s most talented writers and directors and actors to flock to television projects, which has in turn created even better TV. The increasingly popular anthology format allows big actors to sign shorter contracts, only participating for a season of a series, and then being free to make movies or pursue other things rather than being locked in for several seasons at a time.

Audiences interested in viewing material that’s critically-acclaimed increasingly have to go to TV to get it as studios continue to churn out movies that perform horribly with critics. Fans of big-name actors are now turning on the TV to catch their latest projects rather than heading to the movie theaters as many actors are saying that TV is where the best work is. And if all that is happening, why would one spend the money to go to the theater?

“Well, the fact of the matter is that we Baby Boomers really have to look to television now, and not only the performers and the writers, but the audience … And when I was coming up, television was a bad word. Now, it has a cache, and actors are clamoring to go on television because it’s a place that we can do the things we were doing in movies,” Fargo star Billy Bob Thornton told Collider. “You can do terrific work in television now, and have a lot of freedom.” 

Maggie Gyllenhaal has had similar things to say about her new role on the international political dramaThe Honorable Woman. “I think in my own mind there still is a hierarchy,” she recently said to The Guardian, in terms of the old mindset that television is inferior to film. “But then I think, this is better work than I’ve done in my life. I feel more proud of this than anything.”

The breakout crime drama True Detective was one of the year’s most talked about shows, with astounding performances from stars Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson. Many, including Harrelson, consider McConaughey’s role as the tortured detective Rust Cohle to be the greatest performance of the actor’s career; even better than the role in the movie Dallas Buyer’s Club which just won him an Oscar.

Those are but a few examples. The legendary director Martin Scorsese has a bunch of exciting work lined up in TV for next year, as does David Fincher, showing that TV is looking appealing to directors as well as actors who want meatier material to work with. Perhaps the thing that movie studios need to do to get people back into the theaters is a simple one; allow filmmakers to take the risks that come along with making better movies. Otherwise audiences interested in quality have little reason to get up off the couch.

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The Next James Bond Movie Will Start Filming In December

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Sam Mendes Daniel Craig SKyfall

Back in June, we reported that production on the highly-anticipated Bond 24 has been pushed to December 2014, with Skyfall co-writers Neal Purvis and Robert Wade returning to work on the original script by John Logan. Today, MI6-HQ.com reports that shooting has been scheduled to begin on December 6, 2014.

Director Sam Mendes will assemble his cast including Daniel Craig, Ralph Fiennes,Naomie Harris, Ben Whishaw and Rory Kinnear for a table read of the screenplay in late November at Pinewood Studios.

The filmmaker and producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson are currently casting for the Bond Girl and villain roles. We reported last month that the villain will be a towering man named Hinx, who has been compared to classic James Bond villains Jaws and Oddjob. While several Scandanavian actresses have tested for a secondary roles, the primary Bond Girl will be British.

Production is scheduled to take place in Austria, Rome, where an epic car chase will be filmed, and Morocco, with Pinewood Studios in the U.K. serving as the sequel's primary production home.

Bond 24 comes to theaters November 6th, 2015 and stars Ralph FiennesDaniel CraigNaomie HarrisBen Whishaw. The film is directed by Sam Mendes.

SEE ALSO: John Cleese: New James Bond Movies Have One Fatal Flaw

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Jennifer Lawrence Is Back In First Full 'Hunger Games: Mockingjay' Trailer

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jennifer lawrence the hunger games mockingjay

Lionsgate just released the first full trailer for “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part I” and it already looks better than just about every summer movie we’ve seen.

Jennifer Lawrence returns as Katniss Everdeen with a burning rage as she goes after President Snow (Donald Sutherland) and the Capitol for capturing her friend Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) in the last film.

The last film, "Catching Fire," made more than $864 million worldwide last year. According to a Fandango survey, the third “Hunger Games” film is the most anticipated movie of the fall.

"The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part I" is in theaters November 21. Advance tickets for the film will go on sale starting October 29 on Fandango.

SEE ALSO: Fans needed to go through a strange, swanky gallery to watch the new "Hunger Games" teaser trailer at Comic-Con

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Here's Why ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy’ Director Gave Out Play-Doh To Cast Members On Set

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Director James Gunn had a lot of fun on set with the "Guardians of the Galaxy" crew.

Not only did he play '70s music on set for the cast, it turns out he also rewarded cast members with Play-Doh for doing "an amazing job" on set.

Gunn has been sharing photos from the film's set every day on social media. Last week, Gunn shared a photo of himself with actor Spencer Wilding who played the guard that stole Star-Lord's cassette player. Wilding is seen with a small package of Play-Doh given to him by the director.

james gunn playdoh

"I would keep a pile of little Play-Doh containers onset and if someone did an especially amazing job that day - whether it was an actor, a grip, a stunt man, or a PA (production assistant) - they'd get a canister of Play-Doh," Gunn wrote in a lengthy post. "I probably only gave about 40 containers out over the entire shoot - on an 85 day schedule with a crew of a couple hundred, that isn't much." 

Gunn said he decided to choose Play-Doh because he loves its smell. 

He added that Spencer received the reward for acting out a scene that got cut from the final film in which he danced through the prison with the Sony Walkman.

The scene will be on the Blu-Ray for the film when it comes out, according to Gunn.

That could be a while since the film is still going strong at theaters. "Guardians of the Galaxy" has become the first film this year to cross $300 million at the domestic box office.

SEE ALSO: Awesome photos of wrestler Dave Bautista's 5-hour "Guardians of the Galaxy" makeup process

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Matt Damon And Paul Greengrass Reuniting For New 'Bourne' Movie

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matt damon paul greengrass

Hell has indeed frozen over.

We’ve heard Matt Damon say many, many times that he would only consider returning for Bourne 5 if director Paul Greengrass came back, and we’ve heard Greengrass say many, many times that there was no more creative story left in the world of Jason Bourne. Now it appears that they’ve stumbled upon an idea worth exploring, as Universal Pictures is currently in the process of making deals for both Damon and Greengrass to reunite on another Bourne picture—their third together.

Moreover, Universal is so bullish on this prospect that the plan is to have this ready in time for release in 2016. So where does this leave the Bourne Legacy sequel with Jeremy Renner? 

The folks over at Deadline report that the dealmaking process has begun to bring Greengrass and Damon back to the franchise in which they had so much success with the stellar The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum. Moreover, THR adds that if a deal makes, Greengrass will also write the script for Bourne 5.

The duo had always said they would return to the franchise if they felt there was another story to tell, but after Ultimatum both said they couldn’t see Jason Bourne’s adventures continuing.

Universal kept the franchise alive with the forgettable 2012 Tony Gilroy-helmed spinoff The Bourne Legacy, which saw Jeremy Renner playing another spy in Bourne’s program, but the studio was careful to leave the series open should Damon change his mind. Development continued on a Bourne Legacy follow-up with Fast Five helmer Justin Lin directing, and while the movie was originally slated to open in August 2015, it was subsequently pushed back to July 15, 2016.

A report surfaced a couple of months ago from Latino Review that claimed the Bourne Legacy sequel’s delay was due to the fact that Universal was working to bring Damon back into the fold, but producer Frank Marshall subsequently shrugged it of as nothing more than a rumor.

Well whether there was truth to the report at the time or not, Universal now currently has both Damon and Greengrass in the process of coming back, which is very, very good news. 

renner bourne legacySo where does this leave Renner’s spinoff franchise? Deadline reports that Universal is so bullish on the prospect of Damon returning that their intention is for this Damon/Greengrass film to be the next Bourne movie in production, taking over the July 2016 release date.

The Renner spinoff is still in development with Lin (who just signed on to direct the first two episodes of True Detective Season 2, so it’s not like he’ll be sitting idle in the wake of this news), but to be honest, The Bourne Legacy always felt like a space-holder until Damon (hopefully) returned. Will that sequel still move forward? It’s unclear, but Universal has got to be intently focused on the new Damon/Greengrass movie at the moment, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the Renner pic goes on the backburner for a little while.

Damon is next set to reteam with director Kenneth Lonergan on the drama "Manchester-by-the-Sea" before shooting director Ridley Scott’s sci-fi survival film "The Martian," then one imagines he’ll move into Bourne 5. As for Greengrass, he’s been considering a number of different projects after the success of "Captain Phillips," including a true story drama starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill. For now, though, it looks like he may be focused on the Bourne universe once again.

What do you think, folks? Are you enthused to hear that Greengrass and Damon are returning? Would you have liked to see Renner’s side of the franchise fleshed out more first? Sound off in the comments below.

SEE ALSO: Ben Affleck And Matt Damon 'Owe Everything' To 'Good Will Hunting' Co-Star Robin Williams

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The Plot For The 'Avengers' Sequel Has Just Been Revealed

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avengers age of ultron hanging out partyThe official plot for Avengers: Age Of Ultron has been released, and it suggests that even the best laid plans of Tony Stark sometimes go awry. 

Walt Disney Studio and Marvel Studios have provided Stitch Kingdom with an exclusive look at the official synopsis for the hugely anticipated follow-up to the third most successful film of all time - and it makes for some pretty interesting reading. 

So what does it tell us? You can check out the main blurb below: 

"When Tony Stark tries to jumpstart a dormant peacekeeping program, things go awry and Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, including Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye, are put to the ultimate test as the fate of the planet hangs in the balance. 

As the villainous Ultron emerges, it is up to The Avengers to stop him from enacting his terrible plans, and soon uneasy alliances and unexpected action pave the way for an epic and unique global adventure."


Sounds pretty intense, huh? Does this mean that Stark will be the first man to come into contact with Ultron because of his high-profile peace-keeping role? Could he even be seriously injured in an attack that then means the rest of the superheroes have to band together to avenge their friend? Will we finally see Bruce Banner as a doctor? Of course we still haven’t got a clue, but it’s fun to speculate. 

It also sounds as though there are going to a myriad of different conflicts - some of which could be romantically tinged - permeating throughout the adventure. I’m pretty sure that, despite their problems, Robert Downey Jr.’s sometimes irritating but always charming Iron Man, Chris Hemsworth’s Nordic God Thor, Chris Evans’ loveably shielded Captain America and Mark Ruffalo’s potentially furious The Hulk will still be able to muster up something impressive to tackle James Spader’s Ultron, who is described as being a "terrifying technological villain hell-bent on human extinction." And even if they're not enough, we can't forget the "two mysterious and powerful newcomers" in the shape of Wanda Maximoff and Pietro Maximoff, who are played by Elizabeth Olsen and Aaron Taylor-Johnson respectively, along the way too. And even after them there's still a line of defense that includes Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow, Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye, Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury, Cobie Smulders’ Agent Maria Hill, who will be waiting in the wings ready to jump into the fray when called upon too. It almost sounds as though it’s not fair on Ultron. Does he not have a tag-team partner he can call upon? I guess his endless army of robots probably counts. 

Joss Whedon has returned for writing and directing duties on The Avengers: Age of Ultron, which is the follow-up to his gargantuan 2012 blockbusterThe Avengers. Marvel’s head-honcho, Kevin Feige, is behind the scenes orchestrating proceedings as well, and he will no doubt have insisted that the film heads in a certain direction in order for it to assist future additions to the studio’s cinematic universe. 

Avengers: Age Of Ultron will finally blast into cinemas on May 1, 2015. 

SEE ALSO: Why People Love Working With 'Avengers' Director Joss Whedon

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How A Low-Budget Thriller Rocked The Box Office Over The Weekend

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no good deed idris elba taraji p hensonThis weekend's impressive $24.2 million opening of the low-budget thriller “No Good Deed” surprised most box-office analysts.

But putting on the hindsight goggles, there were several reasons the home invasion drama starring Idris Elba and Taraji P. Henson connected in a big way, and gave producer Will Packer his third No. 1 film of the year, on the heels of “Think Like a Man Too” and “Ride Along.”

Also read: ‘No Good Deed’ Blows Out ‘Dolphin Tale 2' at Box Office

Timing: There hadn't been a film aimed directly at African-American audiences since June, when “Think Like a Man Too” rolled out at No. 1. Sony's Screen Gems marketers know the territory well, and their campaign connected: 70 percent of the audience was African-American.

Star Power: Elba and Henson are well-established, if not A-list stars, and this pairing was ideal, as evidenced by how audiences — primarily women over the age of 30 — embraced their pairing. And both had delivered in earlier Screen Gems projects, Elba with Beyonce in 2009's “Obsessed,”and Henson in “Think Like a Man Too.” Now comes the question – which studio will step up and find a lead role in a major film for Elba, who has had supporting roles in “Thor: The Dark World,” “Pacific Rim” and “Prometheus”?

Packer Power: Producer Packer, who teamed with Lee Clay on “No Good Deed,” has clearly mastered the formula for connecting with his target audiences without breaking the bank. The production budget on “No Good Deed” was $13 million, which the film nearly doubled in its first three days.

idris elba no good deed

Social Media: Capitalizing on the high online profiles of its two stars (Henson has 2.8 million Twitter followers and Elba has 1.2 million), the studio mounted unique interactive Twitter and Instagram campaigns based on the film's woman-in-peril plot line. “No Good Deed” was strong on Facebook throughout its campaign, and surged on Twitter just before Friday's debut.

Screw reviews: The question isn't so much why Sony canceled the critics screenings for the Sam Miller-directed “No Good Deed,” so much as why they were ever scheduled in the first place. The twist ending aside, there was nothing to gain from screenings. Since the film had plenty of momentum going into its opening and the critics weren't likely to give it four stars, what would be the point? Critics had it at a crummy 14 percent positive on aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes, but audiences gave it a “B+” CinemaScore.

SEE ALSO: People Aren't Going To The Movies, And TV Might Be To Blame

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2 Reasons Why Disney Movies Often Don't Have Moms

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the little mermaid 3

There's a long history of Disney animated movies in which young protagonists grow up without a mother and sometimes without any parents.

Consider these classics in which a character has either lost a mother or there is no mention of her at all:

"Snow White"
"Bambi"
"Cinderella"
"Peter Pan"
"The Jungle Book"
"The Fox and the Hound"
"The Great Mouse Detective"
"The Little Mermaid"
"Beauty and the Beast"
"Aladdin"
"Pocahontas"
"The Hunchback of Notre Dame"
"The Emperor's New Groove"

Why is that?

In a recent interview with Glamour, "Maleficent" executive producer Don Hahn, who also worked on Disney classics including "The Lion King" and "The Nightmare Before Christmas," gave two explanations.

"One reason is practical because the movies are 80 or 90 minutes long, and Disney films are about growing up," Hahn said. "They're about that day in your life when you have to accept responsibility. Simba ran away from home but had to come back. In shorthand, it's much quicker to have characters grow up when you bump off their parents. Bambi's mother gets killed, so he has to grow up." 

The other reason Hahn gave is a lot darker. 

According to the Walt Disney biography "How to Be Like Walt: Capturing the Disney Magic Every Day of Your Life," Walt and his brother Roy both purchased a home for their parents in Los Angeles in 1937. After about a year, Walt's mother called up one morning in November asking if the gas furnace leaking in the house could be fixed.

'He had the studio guys come over and fix the furnace, but when his mom and dad moved in, the furnace leaked and his mother died,' said Hahn. 'The housekeeper came in the next morning and pulled his mother and father out on the front lawn. His father was sick and went to the hospital, but his mother died. He never would talk about it, nobody ever does. He never spoke about that time because he personally felt responsible because he had become so successful that he said, 'Let me buy you a house.' It's every kid's dream to buy their parents a house and just through a strange freak of nature — though no fault of his own — the studio workers didn't know what they were doing.'

Walt's mother, Flora, died on Nov. 26, 1938, after the success of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarves" and during the production of "Pinocchio," which was a theatrical failure.

Hahn suggested that Disney was haunted by his mother's loss.

"The idea that he really contributed to his mom's death was really tragic. If you dig, you can read about it," he added. "It's not a secret within their family, but it's just a tragedy that is so difficult to even talk about. It helps to understand the man a little bit more."

SEE ALSO: Why the "Guardians of the Galaxy" director gave out Play-Doh to cast members on set

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C-3PO Actor Demanded 2 Things Before Signing On For 'Star Wars: Episode VII'

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r2d2 c3po star warsJust like Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, and Carrie Fisher, actor Anthony Daniels is an incredibly important part of the Star Wars legacy. He's just slightly handicapped by the fact that you can't see his face under the C-3PO helmet. He and Kenny Baker, the man inside R2-D2, are the only actors to be part of every single film, so when Star Wars: Episode VII started to move into active development, it made perfect sense that they would return. The big question that was raised, however, was whether Daniels would once again be inside his C-3PO costume, as he always has been in the movies, or would instead be opting to use motion capture or simply provide his voice. According to the actor, it was never actually a choice. 

In a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, Anthony Daniels opened up about the process that led to him being cast in Star Wars: Episode VII - and in doing so revealed the two qualifications regarding the presentation of C-3PO that he demanded of the project in exchange for his performance. Daniels told the story of a conversation he had with director J.J. Abrams in the early stages in which the subject of the actor's performance came up. The filmmaker asked him if he had any interest in doing C-3PO as just a voice, and he refused. Said Daniels, "There’s no way I would just do the voice." 

But while Daniels was committing to once again wear the C-3PO costume, the other big request that he had was in regard to the design itself: he wanted it to change. While it sounds like none of the alterations have been made to the character aesthetically - meaning he will look just like the classic version - instead they were made to the interior of the suit and how it fit on the actor. He added, 

"I will tell you that the team then got together and built a new suit. They made an entirely new look-a-like with changes that you will never notice [on screen] that made my life a lot easier. I can get it on and off very quickly."

Star Wars: Episode VII will feature all of the legacy actors mentioned above - plus Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca - in addition to newcomers John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Lupita Nyong'o, Crystal Clarke, Pip Anderson, Christina Chong, Gwendoline Christie and Max von Sydow. The movie is still in production, and it will probably still be a long time before we get to see any footage from the film (it's still 15 months fron release), at least we keep getting cool tidbits like this that keep are excitement at the highest level. 

SEE ALSO: J.J. Abrams Shows Off First Footage Of X-Wing In 'Star Wars: Episode VII'

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9 Movies We Can't Wait To See At The New York Film Festival

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The New York Film Festival is fast approaching, and there's plenty to be excited about.

The festival boasts high-profile world premieres, much-anticipated US debuts as well as a slew of lesser-known works from the world's best filmmakers.

The festival runs September 26th through October 12th and tickets are currently on sale.

For New York City-dwellers looking to attend the festival, here are the films worth your time.

1. "Gone Girl"

gone girl ben affleckOfficial release date: Oct. 4

Who's in it: Ben Affleck, Neil Patrick Harris, Rosamund Pike, Missi Pyle, Patrick Fugit

Why to see it: Everybody's talking about the new David Fincher flick, and for good reason. The film's world premiere takes place on the festival's opening night and is already the subject of much Oscar buzz. The thriller, based on the New York Times bestseller by Gillian Flynn, centers around a man (Ben Affleck) and the mystery surrounding the disappearance of his wife on their fifth wedding anniversary. Fincher opened the New York Film Festival in 2010 with "The Social Network" and went on to win three Oscars.

Watch the trailer.

2. "Inherent Vice" 

inherent vice joaquin phoenixOfficial release date: Jan. 9, 2015

Who's in it: Joaquin Phoenix, Reese Witherspoon, Josh Brolin, Jena Malone, Benicio Del Toro, Owen Wilson, Michael K. Williams, Eric Roberts

Why to see it: A new work from auteur Paul Thomas Anderson is a rare event and certainly something to celebrate. PTA's follow-up to 2012's "The Master" comes sooner than expected, as "The Master" was released five long years after "There Will Be Blood," which itself came five years after "Punch Drunk Love."  This adaptation of Thomas Pynchon's novel of the same name follows a drug-fueled detective through 1970s Los Angeles as he investigates the disappearance of a former girlfriend. "Inherent Vice" marks the first time Anderson has adapted someone else's work. 

3. "Whiplash"

whiplash jk simmons miles tellerOfficial release date: Oct. 10

Who's in it: Miles Teller, JK Simmons

Why to see it: The film follows a young musician (Miles Teller) as he trains under his teacher (J.K. Simmons) to do whatever it takes to become a top jazz drummer. Everybody that has seen "Whiplash" loves it, and early reviews from Sundance indicate that Simmons steals the show in what is being hailed as the "role of his career." Miles Teller, who blew audiences away in "The Spectacular Now," has received equal praise for his work in the film. 

Watch the trailer.

4. "Birdman" 

birdman norton keatonOfficial release date: Oct. 17

Who's in it: Michael Keaton, Naomi Watts, Edward Norton, Emma Stone, and Zach Galifianakis

Why to see it:  Alejandro González Iñárritu ("Babel,""21 Grams") long-awaited returns to the director's chair stars Michael Keaton as a once-relevant actor known for playing a superhero who must overcome his personal troubles as he prepares to stage a Broadway play to reclaim his glory. Praise surrounding the film exploded after its debut at Telluride in late August, with many pointing out that the film brilliantly pays homage to (and skewers) filmmaking itself. 

Watch the trailer.

5. "Foxcatcher"

foxcatcher carell tatumOfficial release date: Nov. 14

Who's in it: Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo, Sienna Miller, Vanessa Redgrave

Why to see it: Bennett Miller ("Moneyball,""Capote") is no stranger to Oscar buzz as every single one of his films has been nominated for multiple Oscars.  "Foxcatcher" is poised to continue this impressive streak as it finally reaches theaters this fall after debuting at Cannes to much acclaim. Based on the true life story of Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum), the movie follows the athlete as he teams up with the eccentric millionaire John du Pont (Steve Carell) to train for the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

Watch the trailer.

6. "Maps To The Stars"

Julianne Moore in Cronenberg's "Map To The Stars"Official release date: TBA

Who's in it: Julianne Moore, Robert Pattinson, John Cusack, Mia Wasikowsa, Carrie Fisher

Why to see it: While David Cronenberg's later films have veered significantly from his earlier (and completely brilliant) horror films, his uniquely artistic approach ensures that no matter how traditional the plot may seem, things are going to get real weird. His latest film is a satricial look at Hollywood and the idea of celebrity and promsies to be a surreal, bizarre, and definitively Cronenbergian take on the concept.

Watch the trailer.

7. "Listen Up, Phillip"

listen up phillip jason schwartzman elizabeth moss Official release date: Oct. 17

Who's in it: Jason Schwartzman, Elizabeth Moss, Krysten Ritter

Why to see it: "Bored to Death" fans yearning for more of Jason Schwartzman in leading roles should find plenty to enjoy here. Schwartzman stars as Phillip, a young writer who escapes a dwindling relationship and seeks refuge in the summer home of his literary idol where he finally finds time to work on himself. The dark comedy premiered at Sundance earlier this year and has received tons of rave reviews

Watch the trailer.

8. "Pasolini"

pasolini willem dafoeOfficial release date: TBA

Who's in it: Willem Dafoe

Why to see it: Legendary New York filmmaking icon Abel Ferrara's second feature of the year ("Welcome To New York" is yet to be released in the US) is not a typical biopic. Willem Dafoe stars as the titular Pier Paolo Pasolini, and rather than showcase the notorious filmmaker's entire backstory, Ferrara chooses to focus only on the last day of his life. The film provides a rare glimpse of an interesting figure in such a way and at such an angle that only Abel Ferrara could pull off. 

Watch the trailer.

9. "Time Out Of Mind"

time out of mind richard gereOfficial release date: TBA

Who's in it: Richard Gere, Jena Malone

Why to see it: Oren Moverman's third feature ("The Messenger,""Rampart") stars Richard Gere as a homeless man trying to reconnect with his estranged daughter. While that may sound manipulatively sappy on the surface, Moverman has proven that he can handle heavily emotional material, as "The Messenger" had a similarly depressing sounding premise and wound up being incredibly moving. Gere is certainly ripe for an award-worthy performance, and "Time Out Of Mind" seems to be the perfect vehicle for one. 

SEE ALSO: 17 Highly Anticipated Movies To See This Fall

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'Ant-Man' May Play A Huge Role In The 'Avengers' Sequel

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Paul Rudd Ant Man highest resWhat's in a name? It's a question we often hear asked, and more often hear answered. In the case of a Marvel Studios film, a name is a lot of things. It's a promise of a very specific adventure that sets the tone and tells us who to expect to see on the big screen for the years to come. A title like The Avengers: Age Of Ultron promises all of that and then some in its title -- and once it dropped, there was one important link to Marvel comic history that fans assumed would fall into the "then some" category: the introduction of Ant-Man, and the creator of Ultron himself, Hank Pym. 

Unfortunately for some, this was denied by Age Of Ultron writer/director Joss Whedon from the beginning, as he stated that he was, "...crafting [his] own version of it where [Ultron's] origin comes more directly from the Avengers we already know about." So of course, who's the first Avenger everyone turns to when it comes to technological advances gone wrong? Everyone's assumptions naturally turned to Tony Stark's technical know how as being the "new" catalyst for Ultron's rise to power. However, judging by the new synopsis for The Avengers: Age Of Ultron, there's a possibility that the origins of the latest menace to The Avengers might be a little closer to the comics than we thought. 

As you'll recall, the synopsis for The Avengers: Age Of Ultron has the following nugget in its opening. 

"When Tony Stark tries to jumpstart a dormant peacekeeping program, things go awry and Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, including Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye, are put to the ultimate test as the fate of the planet hangs in the balance." 

It sounds like Tony Stark isn't going to create Ultron, so much as dust him off from the archives and create him anew in his own image. This right here could mean two separate possibilities for The Avengers: Age Of Ultron: it means that not only do we have a possible origin story for The Vision, we also have a possible tie to Ant-Man that could minorly tweak the origins of Ultron, but not so much as to say that Tony Stark created him on his own. If Whedon's previous statement is correct, and this Ant-Man casting scoop is any indication, Hank Pym and Howard Stark may have created Ultron together. 

With John Slattery in Ant-Man, and a casting call for a young Michael Douglas lookalike probably being fulfillled as we speak, it's not hard to connect the dots and assume that flashbacks will be a part of Ant-Man's origin story. Of course, considering the film quite possibly might be set in 2008, before or during the events of The Incredible Hulk, the whole film might amount to a flashback in the grand scheme of things. 

There are more knowns than unknowns when it comes to Ant-Man, and The Avengers: Age Of Ultron is just warming up when it comes to telling the public what it's all about. We'll find out a lot more about both films in the months to come, but with all of the information available to us right now, this seems to be the most entertaining theory as to how the comic origins of Ultron will be only be a slight departure from what happens in the films. 

The Avengers: Age Of Ultron will be released on May 1, 2015; with Ant-Man following its lead on July 17, 2015. 

SEE ALSO: The Plot For The 'Avengers' Sequel Has Just Been Revealed

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This Chart Shows Disney Is Going To Dominate Movie Theaters For The Next Two Years

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Disney's upcoming movie release schedule should have rival studios worrying. 

Variety senior editor Marc Graser tweeted out this photo showing Walt Disney Studios' film plans for the next two years and, as he notes, it is quite impressive.

disney movie schedule 2015 2016

The main reason Disney's film schedule is so strong is not only due to films being made in house, but also the company's dependence on movies from acquisitions over the last decade.

As a reminder, Disney purchased Pixar in 2006 for roughly $7.4 billion, Marvel in 2009 for $4 billion, and Lucasfilm in 2012 for $4 billion.

Here's a breakdown of those future releases.

Future Pixar movies

finding dory

"Inside Out" (Release: 6/9/2015)
"The Good Dinosaur" (Release: 11/25/2015)
"Finding Dory" (Release: 6/17/2016)

Pixar's track record is incredible and "Finding Dory" will be the follow-up to 2005 hit "Finding Nemo" which is reportedly the top-selling DVD ever.

Future Marvel Studios' films

hulk tony stark mark ruffalo robert downey jr. avengers sequel age of ultron

"Avengers: Age of Ultron" (release: 5/1/2015)
"Ant-Man" (release: 7/17/2015)
"Captain America 3" (release: 5/6/2016)
Untitled Marvel project rumored to be Doctor Strange (release: 7/8/2016)

Disney's Marvel Cinematic Universe is currently the envy of every other studio as they scramble to replicate Marvel's success on screen with other superhero franchises (Sony has rebooted its Spider-Man franchise while Warner Bros. is bringing new Batman and Superman films to screen. Fox has the X-Men and Fantastic Four.)

"The Avengers" holds the record for the highest-grossing opening weekend at theaters making $207 million upon release in 2012. The sequel will look to break that record early next summer.

Future Lucasfilm projects

star wars

"Star Wars: Episode VII" (release: 12/18/2015)

Disney has plans for multiple "Star Wars" films. In addition to "Star Wars" episodes VII, VIII, and IX, CEO Bob Iger has already said there will be at least three spin-off films.

Other films

Following the success of Disney's "Maleficent" earlier this year, the studio has also announced several live-action films. "Cinderella" and "Jungle Book" will come out next year.

There is also a sequel to "Alice in Wonderland" set for release in May 2016. The first film, released in 2010, starring Mia Wasikowska and Johnny Depp made more than $1 billion worldwide in theaters.

A steady cash flow from Marvel and Pixar movies would allow the studio to take some risks with other projects including Marvel's first animated picture "Big Hero 6" in theaters this fall and long-awaited film "Tomorrowland."

SEE ALSO: 2 reasons why Disney movies often don't have moms

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5 Simple Rules For Making Biopics About Geniuses

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stephen hawking theory of everything In the mad scramble to declare something—anything—the Oscar frontrunner at a Toronto International Film Festival conspicuously bereft of a 12 Years A Slave or a Gravity, awards pundits rallied around The Theory Of Everything, a biopic about theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking. (They’ve since moved on to another biopic, The Imitation Game, starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Nazi code-breaker Alan Turing, which won the prophetic People’s Choice award.)

Though deeply unnecessary—Errol Morris already found meaningful connections between Hawking’s life and his ideas in his great 1991 documentary A Brief History Of TimeThe Theory Of Everything isn’t an example of a bad biopic of a genius per se, but it’s a fine example of a typical one. It’s well-acted, attractively photographed, and certain to inspire audiences with the broad strokes of Hawking’s life, without communicating why that life was of any specific importance. It’s like Stephen Hawking was born not to speculate about black holes and the origins of time, but to make us feel great about ourselves. 

I’m generally not in the habit of telling filmmakers what to do, so much as reacting to what they’ve done. But the biopic genre needs a Martin Luther—or a Lars von Trier—to nail a few basic tenets to the church door, rather than allowing the production of yet another one-size-fits-all profile of a beautiful mind. With that (and The Theory Of Everything) in mind, I humbly offer five simple rules for making a biopic about a genius: 

1. EAT A SLICE, NOT THE WHOLE PIE. 

The major events of a person’s life don’t break down neatly into a three-act structure. Perhaps there are formative events from childhood that account for a person’s astounding achievement as an adult, and perhaps there’s something alluring about capturing the full scope of a single life, from birth to death. But inevitably, biopics that cover decades of turmoil—and their attendant need for old-age makeup and ash-gray wigs—are going to be lumpy and misshapen, covering a series of incidents that feel as disorganized as life itself. There may be some veracity to the approach, but narratively speaking, it replaces story arcs with a sequencing that’s more like “and then this happened, and then this, and then this.” The Theory Of Everything isn’t a birth-to-deather, but it follows Hawking from when he was a student at Cambridge and met his first wife Jane Wilde to the end of their 25-year marriage and beyond. It could be argued that it works within the discrete parameters of that one key relationship—the film is, after all, based on Wilde’s book, not Hawking’s—but it covers an awful lot of ground. 

Contrast that with Topsy-Turvy, Mike Leigh’s wonderful biopic about Gilbert & Sullivan, which limits its scope to the 15-month period in which composer Arthur Sullivan and playwright W.S. Gilbert collaborated on one of their most celebrated works, The Mikado. Leigh gets at the essence of that partnership—their specific roles, their personal friction and affection, their unique creative alchemy—while understanding the importance of The Mikado at that tenuous point in their careers, and the particular inventions and mores of the years 1884 and 1885. No doubt the making of The Pirates Of Penzance would have been tempting to include, as would the origins and/or end of their partnership, but life is too messy to be left unshaped and unstructured by dramatists. Choices have to be made. 

2. SHOW, DON’T TELL.

In Ed Harris’ lifeless biopic Pollock, abstract-expressionist painter Lee Krasner considers the splotches of paint that cover a large expanse of canvas at her feet. “You’ve done it, Pollock,” she exclaims. “You’ve cracked it wide open!” And with that, the Jackson Pollock who would galvanize the art world is born. “You’ve done it, Pollock! You’ve cracked it wide open!” has become a go-to ironic expression for mundane breakthroughs of all kinds—finding the optimal toaster setting, pouring beer with minimal foam, et al.—but it’s also a fine example of the common biopic sin of not allowing genius to be self-evident. Whenever characters stand around talking about a person’s brilliance, that means the filmmakers haven’t adequately conveyed why that person is brilliant. Or worse, they don’t trust the audience to come to that conclusion on its own. 

stephen hawking brief history of timeThe Theory Of Everything isn’t the worst offender, but it’s more interested in the condition of Hawking’s genius than its specifics. Where A Brief History Of Time used computer effects to illustrate the complex abstractions in Hawking’s book, The Theory Of Everything has scenes like Hawking filling up a blackboard with awe-inspiring mathematical gibberish, or casually scoring seven out of eight on a test that has thoroughly stymied all the other advanced physicists at Cambridge. It’s the clearest sign that we’re to be inspired by Hawking the man—his triumph over adversity, his preternatural brilliance, the active mind cocooned inside a broken body—while understanding virtually nothing about the importance of his ideas. Even A Beautiful Mind attempted to put the inner workings of its hero’s schizophrenic, delusional brain in clear visual terms. 

3. DO IT FOR THE RIGHT REASONS.

There’s a fundamental question that many biopics have trouble answering: Why are we telling this person’s story? Too often, the real answer is, “To make the audience feel good about themselves.” Breathless reports that The Theory Of Everything got a standing ovation after its premiere at Roy Thomson Hall at TIFF are equivalent to reports that a network sitcom had people in stitches. Just as a laugh track cues the response to the sitcom, a scene in Theory Of Everything where people actually stand and applaud for Hawking is meant to cue a response to the film. Hawking’s legacy is not in science, the film implies, but in showing other people that anything is possible. That could be the message of virtually any genius biopic, and it’s as banal as things get.

That’s a key stumbling block for biographies of any kind. How do you make a meaningful connection between a person’s life and work? How do the facts of their life illuminate their unique contribution to humankind? Hawking was married twice, has a child, survived a diagnosis that gave him two years to live, wrote a rare scientific bestseller. What does all that add up to, other than a bunch of stuff that happened? The truth is, the nature of genius is more elusive and enigmatic, and nearly impossible to capture in biographical details alone. And when a film like The Theory Of Everything tries to tally these details into the sum of a great thinker’s life, it’s being made for the wrong reasons. 

4. FIND A COMPLEMENTARY STYLE.

Many of the best biopics are conceptually bold, finding some equivalent visual language to account for why their subject is so special. Morris did this with A Brief History Of Time through his now-more-familiar mélange of effects and/or re-creations, and the hypnotic montage of visualized abstractions and a pulsing Philip Glass score. Not every short film in Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould is inspired, but given the problem of a reclusive, eccentric, difficult classical pianist, director François Girard and co-writer Don McKellar attacked it from every angle they could—documentary segments, stagings of key biographical scenes, animation, impressionistic fragments, and as much of Gould’s music as they could squeeze into the whole package. It’s a tacit admission that getting to know a genius like Gould is not only impossible, but undesirable; seeing him as a complex, multi-faceted, and fundamentally unknowable talent is enough. 

mishima screenBetter still is Paul Schrader’s approach to Yukio Mishima, a provocateur whose life and art—as novelist, poet, playwright, film director, political firebrand, sexual adventurer, and swordsman—resists any kind of biopic containment. Schrader’s Mishima: A Life In Four Chapters flashes back from the last day of Mishima’s life, when he put on a uniform and committed ritual suicide, to four extended segments (Beauty, Art, Action, and Harmony Of Pen And Sword) that combine to address the whole of his legacy, and the meaningful interaction between his real-life persona and his fiction. With particularly gorgeous contributions by Glass (again) and set and costume designer Eiko Ishioka, Schrader contrasts black-and-white scenes from Mishima’s life with dramatizations of his short stories in eye-popping primary colors. It’s as much about the disconnect between different sides of himself as the clear associations, and it’s a flexible enough conceit to cover an artist of many hyphenates. 

5. FIND THE SAINT IN THE ASSHOLE, FIND THE ASSHOLE IN THE SAINT.

Jesse James and the James-Younger Gang cut a vast criminal swath across the Heartland, robbing banks and killing upward of 180 people, enough to make him such a legend in his own time that his own murder, at the hands of Robert Ford, was related as much to fame as malice, greed, or ambition. But in the grand tradition of revisionist anti-Westerns, he’s the hero of The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford—ruthless and powerful, to be sure, but a truly awesome presence, less a violent man than a brilliant force of history. It wouldn’t be accurate to say the film is sympathetic toward him, but a vicious killer he is not, and the portrait is richer for it.

abraham lincoln daniel day lewisOn the flip side, Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln shows proper admiration for Abraham Lincoln as he led a fractured nation to pass the 13th Amendment against long odds. Spielberg and screenwriter Tony Kushner limit themselves to the final four months of Lincoln’s life—see Rule #1—showing the Great Emancipator as the Great Horse Trader, a savvy negotiator who was not above underhanded political tactics if they led to the right end. He’s not the cardboard saint of elementary-school history books, but a president who recognized that virtue alone wasn’t going to the job done. He had to get his hands dirty. Democracy is ugly, and there’s no value in clinging to righteousness if nothing gets accomplished because of it. 

The common denominators of the great genius biopics: Establish strict parameters, focus on the work first, and let everything flow from there. Otherwise, the main takeaway is that Jackson Pollock was kind of a jerk.

SEE ALSO: 9 Movies We Can't Wait To See At The New York Film Festival

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Everything We Know So Far About 'Transformers 5'

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optimus prime transformers 4Michael Bay’s Transformers: Age of Extinction was meant to be the start of a newtrilogy. Gone were Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox, replaced by Mark Wahlberg, Nicola Peltz and Jack Reynor. And with Bay behind the "wheel" of this massive sequel, the fourth Transformers movie did what previous Transformers movies have done: disappointed critics while earning boatloads of money

Despite the fact that the formula continues to work, Paramount has promised sweeping changes for the Transformers franchise by the time Transformers 5 rolls into theaters. Since massive pieces already are moving into place on the upcoming sequel, we figured now was a great time to get the lay of the land and catch you up on everything we know about the ongoing cinematic battle between the Autobots, the Decepticons, and mankind. 

Michael Bay

michael bay samsung CES 2014Love him or hate him, Michael Bay has been the face of the Transformers franchise, the driving creative force since Paramount unveiled the inspired-by-toys franchise in 2007. But from early indicators, Bay will move away from the massive robot series with the next movie. He recently told USA Today that he has different plans that don’t include Transformers movies, stating, "There's kind of a new chapter, a new direction in movies I want to make. I have a lot of stories to tell. And it's about flexing new muscles." That being said, Bay wavered on his interest in the Transformers series prior to settling in for Age of Extinction, and he cleansed his palette with Pain & Gain before stepping back behind the camera and staying with the series. Could Bay change his mind and direct Transformers 5? Absolutely. Something tells me if he left, he’d miss that classic give-and-take he has with fanboys and critics. 

Mark Wahlberg

transformers mark wahlberg bumblebeeSpeaking of Pain & Gain, it was Michael Bay’s collaboration with Mark Wahlberg on that film that led to the Happening actor taking a lead role in Transformers: Age of Extinction. But will Wahlberg and his character, Cade Yeager, stay in the story if Michael Bay moves on? It’s possible – original star Shia LaBeouf carried the initial trilogy – but unlikely. Right now, all casting is limited to rumors (as Paramount hasn’t confirmed anything), but during promotion for Transformers: Age of Extinction, Wahlberg explained to the media that he didn’t view that movie as a sequel, and that he "thought of it more as a stand-alone thing. I’ve never done a sequel." Which is true. Would he start now, for Transformers 5? He could, sure. If the price is right, and the story is there, Mark Wahlberg could be convinced to come back. Having him on the marquee helps. But the belief on Transformers has usually been that the robots sell tickets, not the all-star cast. So a new director could mean a new direction for Transformers 5, and that might mean a departure for Mark Wahlberg, as well.

Release Date

bumblebee transformers 4 age of extinctionParamount will have to make a decision on the director and possible star(s) of Transformers 5 rather quickly, because the sequel already has a release date. At CineEurope earlier this year, Paramount Pictures International SVP Edward Ryan confirmed the release date of June 24, 2016. This should come as no surprise. TheTransformers movies have enjoyed the weekend leading into the July 4 weekend, giving themselves plenty of run up to what has become a lucrative box-office weekend in years past. Will that date stick? Probably, though it is worth reporting that the usually reliable Box Office Mojo has no listing for Transformers 5 on that date. The only summer 2016 release they have from the studio is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 on June 3, 2016, while Universal has The Mummy (2016) down forTransformer 5’s weekend. So we’ll see if anything changes between now and then.

The Screenwriter

transformers grimlockWith a release date in their sites, Paramount has started the process on gettingTransformers 5 into production, and that begins with a screenwriter. For this, they have tapped Ehren Kruger to once again manage the ongoing adventures of the Autobots and Decepticons (according to IMDB). In a recent interview with Collider, Kruger admitted that the team works on one story at a time, but they always "certainly (are) laying the building blocks for some other stories we have in the back of our heads." To that, he added, "I have a Transformers 5 in my head. Whether that will be what Transformers 5 is, or I will work on it, who knows at this point?" That comment was followed by explanations about how Michael Bay, in the creative process, often changes – drastically – what the screenwriter pitches. Kruger says that his idea for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen was "a totally different story" than the one that ended up on the screen. But the writers’ strike contributed to that change up. A director switch at the helm of Transformers 5 could damage the work that Ehren Kruger is doing at this moment. We’re hoping that Paramount hires someone, quickly, who can collaborate with the screenwriter and deliver theTransformers movie fans have been waiting for. 

Megan Fox

transformers megan fox Because the future direction of Transformers 5 is unknown at the moment, rumors have been circulating about what could happen… and what fans might really want to happen. One particular rumor that generated real heat recently was the idea that Megan Fox might return to the franchise as Mikaela Banes, arm candy to Shia LaBeouf’s Sam. Now, keep in mind that Megan Fox left the Transformers series after Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. And she had a public blowout with Michael Bay at the time, referring to him as Hitler in the press. It’s hard to come back from that. However, fans hoping for a reunion point out that Bay hired Fox to play April O’Neil in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which he produced. The two appear to be on friendly working terms, and with Bay remaining on as executive producer forTransformers 5, there’s a chance Fox could stray back. Why would she? Well, because her movie career hasn’t exactly taken off after leaving the Transformersseries. The rumors suggest that Paramount would like a familiar face from the franchise to help sell Transformers 5 to fans. And have you seen Shia Labeouf lately? 

A G.I. Joe Crossover Movie

Dwayne Johnson The RockThe other prevailing rumor swirling around in the heads of Transformers 5 fans is that Paramount might want to boost both of its toy-based action franchise by combining them together in a Transformers / G.I. Joe mash-up movie. Can you imagine Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Bruce Willis going toe-to-toe with Optimus Prime? That’s the stuff of legend. But in an interview with Total Film, producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura went so far as to call it a "possibility" before throwing cold water on the hopes of fans. "I don't think [it’s] in the near future at all," he explained. "It's not something we talk about either. There's a lot more story to be told in both cases. And I think if at some moment we think, ‘You know what? It's time to bring the two of them together,’we'll do that. But I think they're strong enough to exist on their own." So this team up isn’t likely for Transformers 5, but maybe a few years down the road? Hold out hope. 

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

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Lionsgate Is Making A Movie With Two Of YouTube’s Biggest Stars

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smosh ian hecox anthony padilla

Lionsgate has announced that it has acquired the rights to distribute a film based on two of YouTube’s biggest stars.

Comedy duo Anthony Padilla and Ian Hecox, better known to the YouTube community as SMOSH, will star in a feature-length movie aptly titled "The SMOSH Movie." 

One of the earliest YouTube channels started in 2005, Smosh has more than 30 million YouTube subscribers. The channel’s main audience is geared toward 13-17 year olds.

The Smosh brand is one of DEFY Media’s biggest YouTube properties. In the past decade, Padilla and Hecox have spun their YouTube channel into a successful site, Smosh.com, which receives an average of 12 million unique monthly visitors along with top-selling mobile and game apps.

The duo are known on YouTube for their popular parody videos consisting of “Pokémon in Real Life” and a “What If” series comprised of videos like “If Movies Were Real” and “If Apps Were Real.”

anthony ian smosh pokemon in real life

The two first gained popularity in 2005 after a lip-dub of the "Pokémon" theme song went viral only to later be pulled due to a copyright claim.

"The SMOSH Movie" script was written by Eric Falconer ("How I Met Your Mother") and will be directed by Alex Winter ("Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure"). 

The film will be co-produced by digital content and distributor DEFY Media and AwesomenessTV.

With Winter working on the film, it's no surprise the movie will follow the duo in an adventure the likes of "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure."

Here’s the plot synopsis for the film: 

“The SMOSH Movie revolves around an embarrassing video of Anthony that resurfaces online right before his fifth high school reunion, leading the SMOSH duo into a headlong race to remove the clip before it ruins Anthony’s chances of reconnecting with high school crush Anna.  Anthony and Ian leap through a portal onto YouTube, and what follows is the adventure of a lifetime as SMOSH encounters one YouTube celebrity after another in their quest to alter a video and hopefully change their lives.”

There is no set release date yet for “The SMOSH Movie.”

SEE ALSO: This chart shows how Disney will dominate theaters for the next two years

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Dan Aykroyd Wants 'Ghostbusters' To Be A Marvel-Style Franchise

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Ernie Hudson, Dan Aykroyd Bill Murray Harold Ramis ghostbustersWith talk of the long-awaited third outing of Ghostbusters still rumbling on and, more recently, rumors emerging of an all-female reboot, original co-creator and star Dan Aykroyd has revealed that he’s hoping for much more than just a one-off return.

Speaking in London (he was in town promoting his brand of Crystal Head vodka), the 62-year-old said that had been looking toward some of the bigger franchise models for guidance.

"It’s beyond just another sequel, a prequel, another TV show. I'm thinking what does the whole brand mean to Sony?" he said. "What does Pixar and Star Wars mean to Disney? What does Marvel mean to Fox?"

Aykroyd said that the entire Ghostbusters team — “the executives, the creatives, Ivan [Reitman, the director] and myself” — were now looking at the next 10 years. Earlier in the year, Reitman exited the director's chair for the planned 2015 return, although he is still lined up to produce.

He added that the focus must be "not just another movie or another TV show, but what’s the totality of it? The whole mythology from the beginning of their lives, the end of their lives. Ghostbusters at nine years old, Ghostbusters in high school."

Using the Ghostbusters car Ecto as an analogy, Aykroyd said that the entire concept was now sitting in the garage without paint, wheels, a motor or a transmission. "It’s up on blocks, it needs new electronics, new everything," he said. "That’s what we have to do. The whole vehicle of Ghostbusters has to be rebuilt. That’s the ambitious thinking that’s going on now. Taking on the model of Marvel where we take all of the elements that are in this movie and we put them out there as different ideas."

Aykroyd also added that he thought the idea of a female-led Ghostbusters was a possibility for the third or fourth film. "We need to write it," he said.

SEE ALSO: Here's A Great Infographic Showing How 'Ghostbusters' Came To Be

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There's A Batman Easter Egg On The 'Star Wars: Episode VII’ Millennium Falcon

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"Star Wars: Episode VII" director J.J. Abrams loves teasing the upcoming sequel. This morning his production company Bad Robot released a video showing off the Millennium Falcon, the ship belonging to Han Solo and Chewbacca in the first series of films.

While we couldn't see the ship in full view, we got a peek at the underside along with a surprise.

The 37 second video opens up with the "Star Wars" theme showing the full spectrum of the ship. 

star wars millennium falcon

Let's take a look underneath.millennium falcon star wars episode 7

At the 16 second mark, the music abruptly changes to Hans Zimmer's score from "The Dark Knight Rises."

The end of the clip focuses on a mini Batmobile replica attached to the underbelly of the Millennium Falcon.batman tumbler star wars

The Batmobile in the clip is Batman's Tumbler featured in both 2008's "The Dark Knight" and 2012 sequel "The Dark Knight Rises."

Batmobile Tumbler

Why is there a Batman vehicle on the underside of the ship?

The answer goes back to earlier this summer. "Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice" director Zack Snyder has been sending fans into a frenzy by suggesting a fun "Batman"/"Star Wars" mash-up on social media.

Ever since San Diego Comic-Con, Snyder has been tweeting out photos merging the "Batman" and "Star Wars" universes together.

This is the latest tweet to appear after rumors the new Batmobile may have been stolen during filming.

While the "Star Wars" cast and crew have replied a few times, they've been relatively quiet until now. 

"Star Wars: Episode VII" is in theaters Dec. 18, 2015 while "Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice" will be released March 25, 2016.

Watch the video below.

SEE ALSO: The new Batmobile makes a mockery of Batman's "no gun" rule

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Why Liam Neeson Movies Are A Guaranteed Success At The Box Office

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liam neeson a walk among the tombstones

Liam Neeson returns to theaters this weekend in the action thriller "A Walk Among the Tombstones."

The film has some steep competition from the young-adult adaptation "The Maze Runner," which is expected to bring in north of $35 million this weekend.

Boxoffice.com projects "Tombstones," based on the Lawrence Block novel of the same name, to make $14 million on its opening weekend, on the low end for Neeson movies but respectable given its R-rating. Neeson's most recent film, "Non-Stop," opened to $28 million in February.

While Neeson's film may not beat out the YA film this weekend, here's why it will probably still be a hit.

The Neeson Formula

Neeson has been a highly successful and versatile actor for many years, but it was his 2009 surprise hit "Taken" that turned him into a bona fide action hero, making him popular with a younger generation. The film had a very basic premise: A retired CIA agent must rely on his "particular set of skills" as he travels across Europe in pursuit of his kidnapped daughter. 

Every single Neeson action film since "Taken" has tried to replicate its success, and the plot of "A Walk Among The Tombstones" fits the general formula of "Liam Neeson kicks butt and takes names," which means it should have no problem finding success at the box office this weekend. In "Tombstones," Liam stars as Matt Scudder, a private investigator hired by a drug kingpin to find out who kidnapped and murdered his wife. 

It is clear that studios are cashing in on Neeson's late-in-the-game career shift — even the marketing behind these films makes them seem incredibly similar. Neeson stands ominously with a gun in each one, and the poster for "Unknown" literally has the word "TAKE" at the very top, which is certainly no accident. 

Take a look at these virtually identical posters:

neeson posters

Neeson's Box-Office Power 

There's a reason studios want Neeson in their films. Most of his films are low-risk, high-reward with budgets averaging around $71 million and a worldwide box-office intake average of $213 million.

For films in which Neeson is the sole lead, the difference is even greater. Budgets average $35 million while intake is $202.7 million worldwide on average. 

Take a look at the grosses and estimated costs of some of the actor's previous movies.

MovieReleaseOpening WeekendWorldwideEstimated Budget
"A Million Ways to Die in the West" (R)5/30/2014$16.8 million$86 million$40 million
"Non-Stop" (PG-13)02/28/2014$28.9 million$202.4 million$50 million
"Taken 2" (PG-13)10/05/2014 $49.5 million$376.1 million$45 million
"Battleship" (PG-13)05/18/2012 $25.5 million$303 million$209 million
"Wrath of the Titans" (PG-13)03/30/2012 $33.5 million$305.2 million$150 million
"The Grey" (R)01/27/2012$19.7 million$77.2 million$25 million
"Unknown" (PG-13)02/18/2011 $25.5 million$130.8 million$30 million
"Taken" (PG-13)01/30/2009$24.7 million$226.8 million$25 million


The only films on this list with huge budgets are blockbusters Neeson wasn't carrying on his own like "Battleship,""Wrath of the Titans," and "A Million Ways to Die in the West." Action films in which he is the solo lead are usually big hits. 

The original "Taken" grossed $226 million worldwide on a budget of $25 million, while its sequel made over $376 million on an estimated $45 million budget. A common denominator among most of these films is a PG-13 rating, which could prove tricky for the R-rated "A Walk Among the Tombstones." However, the $25 million R-rated "The Grey" went on to gross a respectable $77 million worldwide in 2012.

Bottom Line

liam neeson a walk among tombstonesThe movie "A Walk Among The Tombstones" simply would not exist if it weren't for Liam Neeson's star power. In an interview with Hitfix's Drew McWeeny, Neeson reveals that writer/director Scott Frank spent many years trying to get the film made, and it wasn't until Neeson, a highly bankable international action star, got on board that the project was finally able to make it to the screen. 

Back in May 2012, Deadline reported that the film came together as part of a much larger deal between Cross Creek Pictures and Exclusive Media, two full-stop production companies that had previously collaborated on many films, most recently Ron Howard's "Rush." The three-year deal allows the two companies "to develop, finance, and produce at least two films per year, with budgets up to $65 million." 

The continued success of Neeson proves that Hollywood is content with the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" model of filmmaking. Without Neeson in the starring role, a B-movie script like that of "Non-Stop" would never get made, but because he got on board, the potentially uninteresting project became a financial success.

Although the film's R-rating ensures it won't reach as broad an audience as Neeson is used to, surprisingly positive reviews and a strong international market suggest "A Walk Among The Tombstones" should be yet another hit. 

SEE ALSO: Liam Neeson Getting Paid 20 Times More For 'Taken 3' Than The Original Film

AND: How Liam Neeson became an accidental action star at 61

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