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The Birth of Mickey

In 1928, Walt Disney, then an unknown animator, was forced to give up his relatively successful character of "Oswald the Lucky Rabbit" following a contract dispute with Universal.

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Live From Hollywood...

July 22

How Young Should Batman Be?

Ben Affleck in a scene from 2016's 'Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice' (image courtesy Warner Bros.)
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by Richard Lawson

Can this Batman be saved? Particularly, Ben Affleck's Batman, who was first introduced in last year's grinding and intermittently effective Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. He's set to appear next in this fall's Justice League, the DC universe's answer to The Avengers, and the kickoff to a larger series of movies. Which would presumably ensure that Affleck will be the definitive Batman for at least the foreseeable future. And yet, today The Hollywood Reporter has a report, from Hollywood, suggesting that Affleck's days in the sweaty rubber onesie may be numbered.

The official party line from DC is that they're not wavering on Affleck. He's their guy. But THR spoke to sources who said that Affleck's age, a decrepit 44, could be an issue. Of course, there was also the whole issue of Affleck stepping down as director of his solo Batman movie back in January, followed by the news, just last week, that the new director of The Batman, Planet of the Apes wizard Matt Reeves, will not be using the script Affleck wrote. So, Affleck's relationship with the whole franchise seems a bit shaky, and THR's latest report goes further - based on anonymous sources - towards confirming that.

The big question then is, if Affleck is asked to vacate the Batcave and find some quiet place to live out his golden years in peace, who should replace him? The thinking seems to be that someone younger would be most desirable (what’s new?), so that the actor could stick with the franchise for years and years and years. Who could that be?

Continue Reading at: Vanity Fair

Jul 20

Michael Fassbender Is Hunted in First Trailer for 'The Snowman'

by Dave McNary

Michael Fassbender and Rebecca Ferguson are in pursuit of an elusive serial killer in first trailer for "The Snowman," based on the thriller by Norwegian author Jo Nesbø.

Fassbender portrays crime squad detective Harry Hole, who discovers a beheaded victim on the first snow of winter. He's told at the start of the trailer, "A woman vanished last night. We just found the body. And the head is missing."

Fassbender is aided by a brilliant recruit, played by Ferguson, in his efforts to connect cold cases to the new one. "I'm thinking that he's going after women that he disapproves of," she notes.

The killer appears in the trailer to be tracking Fassbender and sending taunting notes. "He's been watching us the whole time," Fassbender says. "If we don't find him, he's never going to stop."

The film is directed by Swedish helmer Tomas Alfredson, whose credits include "Let the Right One In" and "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy."

See the trailer here:

Continue Reading at: Variety

Jul 19

Ron Howard shares first picture of Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian in untitled Han Solo film

Ron Howard at his director's monitor with a shot of Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian on the screen (image courtesy Instagram / Ron Howard)
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by Rebecca Lewis

Ron Howard is well and truly endearing himself to Star Wars fans thanks to his copious behind the scenes Instagram pictures – even if they don't tend to reveal much detail.

This time however, it's all change[d], as Howard has shared a picture of Donald Glover in character as Lando Calrissian in the Millennium Falcon's cockpit.

Glover can be seen on the monitors in front of Howard, wearing Lando's classic gold flight jacket; Howard captioned the snap: 'lining up a shot today from my director’s monitor.'

Howard was confirmed as the new director of the Han Solo spin off film after Phil Lord and Chris Miller were fired by LucasFilm.

'At Lucasfilm, we believe the highest goal of each film is to delight, carrying forward the spirit of the saga that George Lucas began forty years ago,' Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy said in a statement.

'With that in mind, we're thrilled to announce that Ron Howard will step in to direct the untitled Han Solo film. We have a wonderful script, an incredible cast and crew, and the absolute commitment to make a great movie. Filming will resume July 10.'

Howard came into the production when it was already reportedly about three-quarters through principal photography – replacing a director at this stage is almost unheard of for a studio.

Continue Reading at: Metro

Jul 17

George A. Romero, Father of the Zombie Film, Dies at 77

Zombie film director George A. Romero, pictured here in 2016, has passed away from cancer (image courtesy Getty)
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by Mike Barnes

George A. Romero, the legendary writer-director from Pittsburgh who made the 1968 cult classic Night of the Living Dead for $114,000, thus spawning an unrelenting parade of zombie movies and TV shows, has died. He was 77.

Romero, who put out five other zombie movies after a copyright blunder cost him millions of dollars in profits on his wildly popular first one, died Sunday of lung cancer, his producing partner, Peter Grunwald, told the Los Angeles Times, which first reported the news. Romero's family confirmed his death to the newspaper as well.

Romero's manager, Chris Roe, posted on Facebook that the director died while "listening to the score of The Quiet Man, one of his all-time favorite films, with his wife, Suzanne Desrocher Romero, and daughter, Tina Romero, at his side. He died peacefully in his sleep following a brief but aggressive battle with lung cancer and leaves behind a loving family, many friends and a filmmaking legacy that has endured, and will continue to endure, the test of time."

Romero's 1978 sequel Dawn of the Dead was made for $1.5 million and grossed $55 million. He followed that by writing and directing Day of the Dead (1985), Land of the Dead (2005), Diary of the Dead (2007) and Survival of the Dead (2009), a decomposing body of work that earned him the nickname Father of the Zombie Film.

Continue Reading at: The Hollywood Reporter

Jul 16

Box Office: 'War for the Planet of the Apes' Scares Off 'Spider-Man' With $56.5M

Caesar (played by Andy Serkis) in a scene from 'War For the Planet of the Apes' (image courtesy 20th Century Fox)
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by Pamela McClintock

Director Matt Reeves' War for the Planet of the Apes succeeded in scaring off Spider-Man: Homecoming at the North American box office, winning the weekend with an estimated $56.5 million from 4,022 theaters.

That's a relief for 20th Century Fox, considering many had expected a closer race between the two films. Sony and Marvel Studios' rebooted Spider-Man ended up declining more than expected in its sophomore outing, falling 61 percent to $45.2 million for a domestic total of $208.3 million.

War for the Planet of the Apes came in 22 percent behind sequel, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, which debuted to $72.6 million in 2014. That's not a terrible fall off but is another reminder of the troubling sequel fatigue that's causing Hollywood studio executives plenty of angst. Fox has said all along this would be the final title in the refurbished series about intelligent primates.
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The weekend's other new offering, Wish Upon, got lost in its debut with an estimated $5.5 million from 2,250 theaters to place No. 7. The supernatural horror pic, from Broad Green Pictures and Orion, stars Joey King, Ryan Phillippe and Elisabeth Rohm and revolves around a young girl who's given a music box by her father that grants her every wish, with terrifying consequences. Wish Upon received a C CinemaScore, not unusual for a horror title.

After War for the Planet of the Apes, the other big headline of the weekend was Michael Showalter's The Big Sick, which expanded nationwide after a stellar limited run. The romantic comedy placed No. 5 with $7.6 million from 2,597 cinemas for an early cume of roughly $16 million.

Continue Reading at: The Hollywood Reporter

Jul 15

'A Wrinkle in Time': Ava DuVernay Unveils Magical First Trailer at D23

by Aaron Couch

It's time for the first look at one of next year's most anticipated films.

The first trailer for director Ava DuVernay's A Wrinkle in Time debuted at D23 on Saturday.

The ambitious project is an adaptation of the 1963 children's classic by Madeleine L'Engle. The film stars Storm Reid as Meg Murry, a young girl whose scientist father (played by Chris Pine) has been missing after disappearing years earlier. The sprawling cast also includes Oprah Winfrey (Mrs. Which), Reese Witherspoon (Mrs. Whatsit), Zach Galifianakis (The Happy Medium) and Mindy Kaling (Mrs. Who).

DuVernay, Reid, Pine, Winfrey and Witherspoon came out to big applause.

They showed off the film's first trailer, which begins with Pine's character in voiceover.

"What if we are here for a reason? What if we are part of something truly divine? Imagine, 91 billion light-years traveled like that," says Pine, before he is shown trapped in a strange room.

The trailer, set to a cover of "Sweet Dreams," features ambitious set pieces and ambitious designs.

See the trailer here:

Continue Reading at: The Hollywood Reporter

Jul 15

Hollywood's summer box-office lesson: Reviews matter

by Ryan Faughnder, Contact Reporter

Hollywood is in the midst of its stormiest summer in years. Box-office ticket sales since the first weekend in May are down 8% from a year earlier, according to data firm ComScore, prompting the stocks of major cinema chains to drop.

But there's one ray of sunshine as the exhibition industry struggles to get people to the multiplex: Critically acclaimed movies are actually doing robust business.

The summer movie season - which accounts for about 40% of annual box-office revenue - typically relies on generic popcorn fare with little regard for quality. But the movies that have earned virtually unanimous praise from critics - including "Wonder Woman," "Baby Driver," "The Big Sick" and "Spider-Man: Homecoming" - are the ones that are breaking out.

Conversely, movies that have been reviewed harshly, such as "Baywatch" and "The Mummy," have also been rejected by American audiences, illustrating a hard reality in today's changing marketplace.

Reviews can often mean the difference between life and death for a movie, as the big screen is facing greater competition for audiences' attention. As prestige TV enjoys a golden age on HBO, FX, Netflix and Hulu, viewers are visiting review aggregation sites such as Rotten Tomatoes to decide what movies to see, if any. Early buzz is amplified by social media, where people share reviews and give their own opinions on what to see on the big screen.

Continue Reading at: Los Angeles Times

Jul 13

Bond producers to make Blake Lively thriller

Producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G Wilson working on a project with Blake Lively (image courtesy Getty)
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Based on the novel by Britain's Mark Burnell, The Rhythm Section will see her as a woman who becomes an assassin to avenge the deaths of her family.

Reed Morano, who directed the first three episodes of hit TV series The Handmaid's Tale, will direct the film.

Bond producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G Wilson said it was "exciting" to work with such a "talented" team.

Morano and Lively, they added, "have a strong vision for this very compelling story driven by a female protagonist".

The Rhythm Section is the first of four novels to feature Burnell's Stephanie Patrick heroine, inviting the prospect of a Bond-style film series.

Its announcement comes during a hiatus in production on the James Bond films, which Broccoli and Wilson have co-produced since 1995.

Continue Reading at: BBC

Jul 12

Paris Train Attack Heroes Will Play Themselves in New Clint Eastwood Movie

Director Clint Eastwood with the real-life heroes who also will be in their movie. From left: Anthony Sadler, Spencer Stone, Clint Eastwood, and Alek Skarlatos (image courtesy Getty)
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by Char Adams

The three California friends who foiled an alleged terror plot on a Paris-bound train in 2015 will play themselves in the upcoming Clint Eastwood-directed film about the harrowing attack, reports say.

It is unusual for the subjects of a film to play it's stars. But, in a headline-making move, Eastwood has tapped real-life heroes Alek Skarlatos, Spencer Stone and Anthony Sadler to portray themselves in The 15:17 to Paris, an upcoming film about the moments Ayoub El Khazzani opened fire on the crowded train out of Amsterdam, Variety reports.

The film is expected to begin during the men's childhoods - they grew up together - and show their long-lasting friendship leading up to the harrowing moments on the train, according to Variety.

The movie is based on the book by the trio and Jeffrey E. Stern. Judy Greer, Jenna Fischer and Ray Corasani also have roles in the feature, Deadline reports.

Continue Reading at: People

July 12

Quentin Tarantino Prepping New Movie Tackling Manson Murders

by Borys Kit

Quentin Tarantino is quietly starting to put together his latest project, and is talking to A-list actors for what is promising to be a unique take on the Manson Family murders.

The project, whose title is unknown, was written by Tarantino, who would also direct. Harvey and Bob Weinstein, who have produced and executive produced the previous Tarantino films, are involved, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter.

WME is said to be in the early stages of shopping the project to studios to co-finance and co-distribute the venture. The move apes the way Tarantino and the Weinsteins made the filmmaker's 2009 movie Inglourious Basterds, which had Universal Studios as a financial and distributing partner.

Sources say that Tarantino is putting the finishing touches on the script and that Brad Pitt, who worked with the filmmaker on Basterds, and Jennifer Lawrence have been approached. Studios could receive the package after Labor Day, according to one source. The plan is to shoot in 2018, possibly in the summer.

Script details are fuzzy but one of the stories centers on Sharon Tate, the actress and wife of director Roman Polanski who was murdered by Manson and his followers in 1969.

Continue Reading at: The Hollywood Reporter

Jul 11

Ryan Reynolds Celebrates 'Wonder Woman' Topping 'Deadpool' at the Box Office With Awesome Instagram Pic

Deadpool's message of love for Wonder Woman (image courtesy Ryan Reynolds / Twitter)

by Zach Seemayer

Deadpool isn't afraid to give credit where credit is due.

When Wonder Woman's domestic box office gross surpassed Deadpool's on Monday, Ryan Reynolds took to Instagram (once again, in his Deadpool persona) to congratulate the warrior princess on being a monetary powerhouse.

To show his love, the 40-year-old star posted a photo of the Merc With a Mouth's gloved hands forming a heart-shaped frame around his gold Wonder Woman necklace.

"The Merc May Be Filthier, but Her B.O. is Stronger," Reynolds captioned the pic. "Congrats #WonderWoman #BoxOfficeBoss."

Gal Gadot's empowering action epic has earned $368.4 million in the United States so far, just edging out Deadpool's impressive $363 million domestic haul.

Continue Reading at: ET

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