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The Producers

Have you ever noticed during the opening credit roll in a movie that for most jobs there is only one or two people listed but often there are four, five or sometimes as many as ten producers and/or executive producers listed! What the heck?! Who are these mysterious producers, and what do they do? We answer those questions in this article called The Producers.

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Aug 23

Jennifer Lawrence Tops Forbes' List of Highest-Paid Actresses – Trailed by Melissa McCarthy and Scarlett Johansson

Jennifer Lawrence at the Oscars earlier this year (image courtesy Jeff Kravitz / FilmMagic)

By Alexis L. Loinaz

There's a silver lining to Jennifer Lawrence's very busy Hollywood playbook: all the green that it generates for the hardworking golden gal.

The actress, who has headlined no fewer than 12 films in the last four years, has topped Forbes' annual ranking of Hollywood's highest-paid actresses for the second year running.

And that's a tidy sum there: The actress banked a cool $46 million in 2016, largely goosed by her windfall from the hugely profitable Hunger Games franchise and its final installment, Mockingjay – Part 2, which raked in $653 worldwide.

Lawrence, 26, also appeared in the true-to-life Joy, which grossed $101 million, and, Forbes reports, scored a hefty advance for her role in the upcoming sci-fi drama Passengers.

Coming in second is Melissa McCarthy: The 45-year-old funnylady, fresh off hits like The Boss and Tammy, reportedly scored an eight-figure paycheck for headlining the recent Ghostbusters reboot. The actress also has a booming clothing line, which she launched in last month.

Behind her, with $25 million in earnings, is Scarlett Johansson, who reportedly locked a lucrative $17.5 deal to star in the upcoming Ghost in the Shell, based on the cult-hit manga comic series.

Continue Reading at: People

Aug 23

Gosling, Hathaway among celebs planning to attend TIFF

by The Canadian Press

Ryan Gosling, Jennifer Garner, Anne Hathaway and Joseph Gordon-Levitt are among the stars bound for the Toronto International Film Festival.

The festival made its final programming announcements on Tuesday, including its list of stars expected to walk the red carpet.

Other talent expected to attend includes Xavier Dolan, Tom Ford, James Franco, Ewan McGregor, Adam Driver, Aaron Eckhart, Dakota Fanning, Woody Harrelson, Denzel Washington and Scarlett Johansson.

The festival also announced Mark Wahlberg will sit down for an intimate chat in front of an audience.

The Oscar-nominated actor-director, who will be seen at the festival in "Deepwater Horizon," is among the stars in the In Conversation With lineup.

Other guests in that lineup include: Palestinian actor-director Hiam Abbass; Brazilian actor Sonia Braga; French actor Isabelle Huppert; Indian director Karan Johar; Chinese actor Zhang Ziyi; and Nigerian film stars Kunle Afolayan and Genevieve Nnaji.

Continue Reading at: CTV

Aug 21

Weekend Box Office: 'Ben-Hur' Crashes Chariot With $11.4M Opening

Jack Huston plays the title role in this new imagining of 'Ben-Hur' (image courtesy Parmount Pictures)

by Pamela McClintock

Timur Bekmambetov's Ben-Hur was shut out of the box-office chariot race this weekend, debuting to a mere $11.4 million from 3,804 theaters despite a hefty production of nearly $100 million and getting beat by a pair of smaller new films, War Dogs and Kubo and the Two Strings.

Overall, Warner Bros.' Suicide Squad stayed No. 1 in its third weekend, grossing $20.7 million 3,924 theaters for a domestic total $262.3 million. The R-rated Sausage Party, from Sony and Annapurna, took second place with $15.3 million from 3,103 locations for a strong 10-day domestic total of $65.9 million. Sausage Party dipped 55 percent.

Ben-Hur - slammed by critics but earning an A- CinemaScore - is the latest sword-and-sandal movie to underperform. It also hoped to wow faith-based moviegoers, but even that effort lagged. (The film counts Hollywood Christians Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, the producing team behind the 2014 hit movie Son of God and the 2013 miniseries The Bible, among its executive producers.)

Continue Reading at: The Hollywood Reporter

Aug 20

The new Ben-Hur remake strips an iconic story of its style, message, and purpose

Tony Kebbell (left) and Jack Huston star in Timur Bekmambetov's screamingly unnecessary Ben-Hur remake. (image courtesy Paramount)

by Peter Suderman

There aren't many surprises in the new Ben-Hur. It’s a noisy, dull, thoroughly soulless affair built on banal dialogue, flat acting, and slapdash computer-generated imagery that barely looks better than your average Playstation game.

It does nothing that its source material - namely the 1959 MGM epic Ben-Hur and the 1880 Lew Wallace novel it was based on - didn't do better, and does lots of things worse. In other words, it’s almost exactly the movie you'd expect from the director of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.

The most baffling thing about the new Ben-Hur is why it was made at all. Why remake one of Hollywood’s most enduring and iconic productions? And why remake it with director Timur Bekmambetov at the helm? The result is a remake with no guiding principle beyond mere existence.

Remakes, as a category, don’t always have the best reputation, and are frequently derided as signs of Hollywood's creative bankruptcy. That's not totally unfair - especially given how many turn out like this year's Ben-Hur. But the best remakes show us how cinematic do-overs can work, and in some cases even improve on their originals, by expanding on the ideas of their source material. The key to a successful remake is making it relevant and accessible to new and different audiences.

Take a movie like The Thing, John Carpenter's 1982 sci-fi/horror classic. It's based on science fiction writer John W. Campbell's 1938 novella Who Goes There?, as well as on the 1951 Howard Hawks film version The Thing From Another World.

All three versions share the same core premise: While isolated in icy Antarctica, a group of men encounter an alien creature that can take the form of any creature it kills. But Carpenter's outrageously gory film emphasizes the physical horror of the creature's violence, as well as the psychological terror and trauma of not knowing who might be an enemy in disguise. It wasn't just a modernized treatment of the Howard Hawks version; it was very, very much a John Carpenter film.

Click the Continue Reading at link to read the rest of the interesting article on remakes.

Continue Reading at: Vox.com

Aug 19

Hey Hollywood, you got away with remaking 'Ben-Hur,' but hands off these 12 movies

A new version of "Ben-Hur" (left, starring Jack Huston) is hitting theaters Friday, but it's racing over sacred ground because of the 1959 classic starring Charlton Heston (images courtesy Paramount / Getty)

by Ethan Sacks

It's time to knock off the knockoffs.

This Friday, Hollywood is off to the races with the latest remake of a treasured film - this time a new "Ben-Hur." The new, faith-based take might be more faithful to the 1880 best-seller, but those damn dirty execs should've kept their stinking paws off material associated with the Charlton Heston version (itself a remake).

This is nothing new: Studios are always trying to recycle old classics. What sociopath greenlit a shot-for-shot remake of "Psycho"? Heck, not just classics. Last year's "Point Break" remake? Completely pointless.

So the Daily News is making a stand, officially demanding these 12 films remain off limits for repeat offenders:

Click the Continue Reading at link to see the classic movie picks.

Continue Reading at: NY Daily News

Aug 17

'Ben-Hur' remake likely won't be able to topple 'Suicide Squad' at the box office

by Ryan Faughnder

Lew Wallace's 19th-century novel "Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ" has been adapted into two popular movies - the 1959 Charlton Heston classic, plus a 1925 silent film. But Hollywood has little hope for the latest lap in the chariot race.

Paramount Pictures and MGM's big-budget reimagining of "Ben-Hur," opening this weekend, is aiming for an opening of $20 million in ticket sales in the U.S. and Canada through Sunday. However, several people who have seen pre-release audience surveys expect it to gross $10 million to $15 million. That would be a poor result for a movie that cost about $100 million to make (after rebates), and would make it one of the biggest flops of the summer.

The studios had bet that they could draw modern audiences to their new "Ben-Hur" with its updated action sequences, including the climactic chariot race, and an uplifting faith-based message. However, moviegoers have shown little interest in the movie so far.

Though reviews were not yet out for the new "Ben-Hur" as of Tuesday, it's clear that the filmmakers faced a daunting task in bringing the tale back to the big screen and living up to the legacy of the source material. The Heston version, directed by William Wyler, won 11 Oscars, was a huge financial success and is considered a landmark Hollywood epic.

Check out the trailer here:

Continue Reading at: Los Angeles Times

Aug 16

Sony Pictures' digital marketing blitz proves a success for Sausage Party

by Brent Lang, Reuters

Younger audiences flocked to Sausage Party this weekend, pushing the raunchy, low-budget comedy about a group of grocery products trying to avoid being eaten to an impressive $33.6-million (U.S.) debut.

In order to get members of the so-called millennial generation to show up in force, Sony Pictures deployed the largest digital marketing campaign in the studio's history, leaning on social-media platforms such as Snapchat, YouTube and Twitter to drive buzz. Typically the studio spends 12 per cent of its marketing budget for a film on digital promotions, but in the case of Sausage Party, Sony allocated nearly half of its promotional spending to online efforts.

"We doubled down on digital," said Rory Bruer, Sony's distribution chief. "That's what propelled us into the zeitgeist."

The bet worked and the core audience was persuaded to turn off or, at the very least, silence their smartphones for the duration of Sausage Party's 88-minute run. Sixty per cent of the audience for the film was male and 54 per cent of ticket-buyers were under the age of 25, just the types of consumers Sony was shooting to attract.

Continue Reading at: The Globe and Mail

Aug 14

Weekend Box Office: 'Sausage Party' Feasts on $33.6M; 'Pete's Dragon' Flounders

Frank (left, voiced by Seth Rogen) and Brenda (voiced by Kristen Wiig) in 'Sausage Party' (image courtesy Sony)

by Pamela McClintock

David Ayer's much-debated Suicide Squad may have stayed No. 1 in its second outing, but the true hero of the late summer box-office barbeque was Sausage Party, which came in ahead of predictions to score the best opening for an R-rated comedy in at least a year with $33.6 million from 3,103 theaters.

Originality paid off big time for Sausage Party in a season otherwise dominated by a slew of sequels and remakes that have disappointed.

Case in point: Disney's CG/live-action hybrid, Pete's Dragon, an update of the studio's 1977 film, opened to a lackluster $21 million-$22 million from 3,702 locations despite being the first new family offering since July.

Overall, Suicide Squad claimed the weekend crown with $43.8 million from 4,255 theaters - a 67 percent drop from the $133.7 million collected last weekend. It's one of the biggest decline for a studio superhero movie, and for WarnerBros. and DC, it's deja vu all over again after Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice tumbled 69 percent earlier this year in its second weekend.

That doesn't mean Suicide Squad is a slouch. The movie has now earned $465.4 million worldwide, including $222.9 million domestically and $242.5 million overseas, where it earned another $58.7 million over the weekend from 62 markets.

Sausage Party, costing a modest $19 million to make, is a needed boost for Sony and another win for Megan Ellison's Annapurna Pictures, which developed the project on behalf of producing duo Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg (This Is the End, The Interview). Comps are difficult since there haven't been a slew of R-rated animated comedies; in 1999, South Park - Bigger, Longer and Uncut debuted to $11.3 million, and $19.3 when adjusting for ticket price inflation.

Continue Reading at: The Hollywood Reporter

Aug 12

The New Rogue One Trailer Just Introduced Your New Favorite Droid (Sorry, BB-8)

by Crystal Bell

The newest trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story dropped Thursday night (August 11) during NBC's Olympics coverage, and as promised, director Gareth Edwards has delivered a darker, more immersive, more realistic look at that galaxy far, far away - set to the harrowing sound of the Imperial March. Check out the thrilling new trailer below.

At the start of the film, spiritual planet Jedha is seized by the Galactic Empire, which only further fuels the conflict between the Empire and the Resistance. ("Imperial flags reign across the galaxy," says Forest Whitaker's grizzled Rebel fighter Saw Gerrera in the opening scene of the trailer.)

Jedha, a desert planet that often attracts spiritual pilgrimages, is known as the Mecca of the Star Wars universe, a place where people still believe in the Force. (Remember: Jedi are thought to be extinct at the time of Rogue One.) There's also a popular theory that Jedha is also a place to harvest kyber crystals, which are used to make lightsabers - and the megalaser for the proposed Imperial weapon, the Death Star.

Meanwhile, protagonist Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) is a rebel without a cause (with a gun holster inspired by Han Solo), and that's exactly the kind of attitude the struggling Rebellion needs. As seen in the trailer, she's tasked with a mission from Mon Mothma: stealing the Galactic Empire's plans for their shiny new weapon of mass destruction known as the Death Star. Sounds easy enough, doesn't it?

Check out the trailer here:

Continue Reading at: MTV

Aug 11

Why Hollywood's all-female movie remakes aren't doing women any favours

We wonder if the all-female 'Ghostbusters' even stood a chance (image courtesy Columbia Pictures)

by Abigail Chandler

The relentless attack levelled at the all-female Ghostbusters reboot hasn't stopped Hollywood from running with its current love of all-female remakes.

Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett and Rihanna (!) are all lined up to star in Ocean's 8, the remake of Clooney/Pitt/Damon vehicle Ocean's Eleven, which itself was a remake of a Sinatra/Martin/Davis Jnr vehicle. We may have reached peak remake, here.

As well as this, there's also the ongoing plan to make an all-female Expendables movie (nicknamed Expendabelles), although that's gone a bit quiet of late.

While it's nice that Hollywood now believes that women can bring in box office bucks too (thanks, Katniss Everdeen!), this all-female remake trend really isn't doing women any favours.

Yes, we're seeing a bunch of awesome women lead big-budget movies, which is great, but by putting them in a remake they're being set up to fail from the very beginning.

Convincing Hollywood that women can lead a tentpole movie has been an exhausting uphill battle, which is still far from won. So when the Ghostbusters remake gets mediocre reviews and makes an estimated $70 million loss, its failure can be laid at the feet of the female stars.

'Oh well, looks like women can't lead films after all', Hollywood can shrug smugly, before heading off for a round of golf at its men-only country club.

Of course, any Ghostbusters remake would have been a disaster. The original is an extremely well-loved movie that anything else would struggle to live up to, and the fact that women were daring to encroach onto Ghostbustin' territory just gave already-enraged fanboys even more reason to drown out the positive word-of-mouth that the film's been getting.

If the film had been an original movie about a group of funny women fighting a supernatural threat, then perhaps it would have fared far better. Maybe the problem here isn't the female cast, but Hollywood's preoccupation with remakes.

Continue Reading at: Metro UK

Aug 10

How Seth Rogen and Michael Cera got away with showing an orgy in 'Sausage Party'

Seth Rogen (left) and Michael Cera star in R-rated animated comedy "Sausage Party" in which they both play hot dogs (image courtesy Los Angeles Times)

by Josh Rottenberg

If Seth Rogen and Michael Cera have their way, you may never look at a hot dog quite the same again.

Nearly a decade after the two first worked together on the raunchy 2007 high-school comedy "Superbad," Rogen, 34, and Cera, 28, voice a pair of sexually frustrated, existentially angsty frankfurters in the R-rated animated comedy "Sausage Party," in theaters Friday. A demented and gleefully profane spin on animated kids’ movies, the film is set in a supermarket where food items - including Rogen's Frank and Cera's Barry, as well as a hot dog bun (Kristen Wiig), a bagel (Edward Norton), a taco (Salma Hayek) and others - dream of a Valhalla-like world beyond the doors of the store.

Take the most adorable characters in a Pixar movie like "Toy Story" or "Cars" and imagine them saying and doing the most offensive and wrong things imaginable and you're in the ballpark.

For Rogen - who, along with longtime collaborator Evan Goldberg, was a writer and producer on "Sausage Party" (Kyle Hunter and Ariel Shaffir co-wrote the screenplay) - the film is the latest in a string of R-rated genre twists on his resume, from romantic comedies ("Knocked Up") to apocalyptic movies ("This Is the End") to Christmas films ("The Night Before"). Directed by animation veterans Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon at a modest budget of under $20 million, the film is expected by the studio to open at around $15 million.

Click the Continue Reading at link to go to the original article and read the Q & A with Seth Rogen and Michael Cera

Continue Reading at: Los Angeles Times

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