Technology and techniques in the making and distribution of movies have progressed immensely in the last few years. But there is, and could be, much more on the near horizon. This article takes a look at some things that have recently come to, or may be coming to, the movie industry.
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Live From Hollywood...
Box Office: 'Terminator: Genisys,' 'Magic Mike XXL' fizzle in U.S.
by Pamela McClintock, THR
Leftovers were the dish of choice at the Fourth of July box-office picnic.
Firework champs "Inside Out" and "Jurassic World" beat new entries "Terminator: Genisys" and "Magic Mike XXL" to all but tie for the holiday weekend crown in their third and fourth weekends, respectively.
Universal has "Jurassic World" winning the weekend with $30.9 million for a T. Rex-like domestic total of $558.2 million — the fourth-best showing of all time in North America and eclipsing "The Dark Knight" ($534.9 million). Disney has "Inside Out" earning $30.1 million for a domestic cumulative of $246.2 million. Rival studios have both films earning closer to $30 million, meaning the final race won't be called until Monday morning.
Either way, the duo trounced the two new entries, both of which opened Wednesday and did notably less business than expected. It's never good when the Fourth of July falls on a Saturday, but overall revenue for the weekend was still up narrowly over last year, or by more than 3 percent.
"Terminator: Genisys" — which never expected "Jurassic World" to still be so strong — placed No. 3 with an estimated weekend gross of $28.7 million for a five-day debut of $44.1 million, a poor start that threatens the revival of the storied franchise (two other installments are already dated).
In terms of the Wednesday-Sunday stretch, "Inside Out" is the clear winner with $45.3 million; "Jurassic World" took in $43.8 million, meaning "Genisys" is No. 2 if estimates hold.
Actor Dustin Hoffman doesn't like the current state of the movie industry (image courtesy Sky News)
Hollywood star Dustin Hoffman has blasted the film industry, saying it is in the 'worst' shape it's ever been in.
The 77-year-old actor - who previously starred in 'The Graduate' and 'Rain Man' - has claimed that while the TV industry is riding the crest of a wave at the moment, the film business has hit an all-time low.
He reflected: 'I think right now television is the best that it's ever been and I think that it's the worst that film has ever been - in the 50 years that I've been doing it, it's the worst.'
In particular, Dustin bemoaned the mindset suggesting that good movies need to cost millions of dollars.
He told the Independent newspaper: 'It's hard to believe you can do good work for the little amount of money these days.
'For the Love of Spock': Leonard Nimoy's son creates Spock documentary
Leonard Nimoy poses on the set of the television series 'Star Trek' in this undated photo (image courtesy AP)
by Luqman Adeniyi, AP
Adam Nimoy has found a way to spend countless hours with his late father Leonard Nimoy: He's creating a documentary for the actor who played Spock on "Star Trek."
Nimoy said the "Spockumentary" funded through a Kickstarter campaign that raised over $600,000 will focus on the pop icon and his legacy. The TV director and film professor said it would explore his father's life onscreen and off-screen.
"For the Love of Spock" began as a project for the father and son duo before Leonard's Nimoy's death in February at age 83. Nimoy said his father wanted to keep it Spock-centric, but once he passed he knew he had to include more about his father.
"I think it's going to be a nice kind of way just to work through all these feelings I am having and to move on with my own life," Nimoy said.
Nimoy turned to crowdfunding because he was not getting the financial support he expected from studios. The documentary will include clips from the "Star Trek" films and TV shows, Nimoy's other works and interviews from fans and family as well as William Shatner who played Captain James R. Kirk; J.J. Abrams who directed the 2009 film reboot, and celebrity fans like Seth McFarlane. Zachary Quinto, who plays Spock in the new movie franchise, will narrate the film.
Deep Web: Silk Road doc tracks FBI investigation of the trafficking site
by LIAM LACEY
Hidden away as part of the unindexed area of the Internet known as the "deep Web," the Silk Road website was an online underground bazaar, connecting buyers and sellers for all kinds of things, including illegal drugs such as heroin, cocaine and LSD. Everything was anonymous and theoretically untraceable, via the Tor network, paid for in the digital currency, bitcoin.
Somehow, the FBI managed to crack it, purportedly from a log-in vulnerability that led to an IP address. In October, 2013, they arrested 29-year-old Ross William Ulbricht while he was logging into the administrator's site of Silk Road at a San Francisco public library.
Ulbricht's arrest and trial are the primary subject of the new documentary by actor-turned-filmmaker Alex Winter (he made the Napster doc, Downloaded). Although it's a fascinating subject, the director doesn't bring much rigour or insight to the complexity of the case. Keanu Reeves, Winter's former co-star from the two Bill & Ted movies, provides some Matrix resonance to the narration.
The FBI said that Ulbricht, a former science and engineering grad student, was Silk Road's mastermind, operating under the title Dread Pirate Roberts (a name taken from the novel and film The Princess Bride). He was charged with money laundering, computer hacking and drug trafficking and attempting to procure murders, though the murder charges were later dropped.
'Creed': First Trailer for 'Rocky' Spin-Off Brings the Nostalgia
By MICHAEL ROTHMAN
The first trailer for "Creed," the "Rocky" spin-off, which focuses on the career of Apollo Creed's son, is live and there's a lot to take in.
Michael B. Jordan, who plays Creed's son, opens up the clip, getting ready for a fight. But things quickly turn dark. The young Creed is told "you're not built for this," as a trainer reminds him that his father died in the ring.
We find out that Creed didn't really know his father and "every punch I've thrown has been on my own."
Phylicia Rashad takes on the role of Mary Anne Creed, the late Apollo's former wife.
Then, the magic happens midway, as we see Creed meet Rocky.
"I heard about a third fight between you and Apollo, behind closed doors," Creed tells Rocky.
"How do you know all this?" Rocky asks, to which Creed replies, "I'm his son."
Director Justin Lin shared the title and a picture from the third installment of the rebooted Star Trek franchise on Twitter Monday evening. Lin tweeted a picture of a vintage-looking Starfleet badge with the caption "Let the next Starfleet voyage begin!" with the title "Star Trek Beyond" hashtagged, as well as "#LLAP," a nod to the late Leonard Nimoy's classic line, "Live long and prosper."
Star Trek Beyond will be a follow up to J.J. Abrams' Star Trek and Star Trek: Into Darkness. Details on the movie's plot are scarce, but the film has begun production in Vancouver and will hit theaters next July.
In this image the character Ted, voiced by Seth MacFarlane, appears in a scene from "Ted 2." (image courtesy Universal Pictures / AP)
by Brent Lang
Raunch isn't selling like it once did.
"Ted 2" is the latest bawdy comedy to struggle at the box office, opening to just $32.9 million this weekend, exposing some kinks in the R-rated comedy genre's armor. The disappointing returns come on the heels of "Spy's" underwhelming $29.1 million debut earlier this month. Neither film is a box office disaster -- "Spy" stands to be profitable, and foreign grosses should push "Ted 2" into the black -- but they are not the ticket selling phenomenons many analysts expected they would become.
"Entourage" also carried an R rating, and bombed with a dismal $39.7 million in receipts. It's unlikely that any MPAA designation could have saved that moldy bro-mance. Its failure is attributable to its origins as a bigscreen version of a television series that is several seasons removed from the zeitgeist.
The difficulty is that unlike other genres, novelty is a key selling point for comedies. That makes them unusually execution dependent.
"When a comedy is a sensation, it's normally a picture that no one saw coming," said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with Rentrak. "R-rated, raunchy comedies are one of the few areas where originality is king."
In the past, a R rating was seen as an essential ingredient to a comedy's success. Envelopes had to be pushed to the bleeding edge, sacred cows needed to be eviscerated, in order to differentiate bigscreen comedies from edgier television fare, or so the thinking went. In previous summers, profits followed this willingness to expand the boundaries of what was appropriate fodder for jokes (Try not to avert your eyes as Rose Byrne breastfeeds Seth Rogen in "Neighbors"! Get gleefully repulsed while Maya Rudolph defecates in the street in "Bridesmaids"! What debauchery will the "Hangover" wolf pack get into next?).
Frontal nudity abounded and blue language became positively ultraviolet as comedies engaged in a dizzying game of one-upmanship. It helped that unlike superhero movies, which carry pricetags north of $100 million, these films are a cost-effective bunch, rarely setting studios back more than $60 million.
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'Ted 2' stumbles while 'Jurassic World' rules box office again
Bryce Dallas Howard, from left, as Claire, Chris Pratt as Owen, Nick Robinson as Zach, and Ty Simpkins as Gray, in a scene from the film, "Jurassic World." (image courtesy AP)
The party wasn't as wild the second time around.
Universal's "Ted 2" debuted to an underwhelming $32.9 million across 3,442 theaters, roughly $15 million less than most analysts had expected the pot-smoking teddy bear comedy would bring in during its opening weekend. The mellow-harshing start was largely attributable to the presence of two box office juggernauts in Disney/Pixar's "Inside Out" and Universal's "Jurassic World," which racked up $52.1 million and $54.2 million, respectively.
"Jurassic World" now ranks as the fifth highest grossing domestic release of all time with $500 million in stateside receipts, behind "The Dark Knight's" $534.8 million haul. It marks the third consecutive weekend that the dinosaur thriller has topped North American charts, and the fastest that a film has ever crossed the $500 million mark.
With "Jurassic World" continuing to be an indomitable box office force, "Inside Out" took runner up position for the second consecutive weekend. The critically heralded family film has earned a sizable $184.9 million since opening last weekend.
"Ted 2" got off to a more sluggish start than its predecessor, "Ted," which got things going with a massive $54 million start on its way to a $549.4 million global haul. Perhaps the plot, in which Ted tries to convince a court that he's a person so he can have a child with his wife, was too downbeat, or the post Deflate-gate Tom Brady cameo, proved more polarizing than tantalizing to audiences. Whatever the case, it's a disappointment considering that many box office sages had predicted "Ted 2" would be the summer's biggest comedy. Media Rights Capital helped fund the $85 million production, which brought back original star Mark Wahlberg and director, co-writer, and vocal maestro Seth MacFarlane.
Amy (Amy Schumer) chats it up with LeBron James as a "Downton Abbey"-loving version of himself in "Trainwreck." (image courtesy Universal Pictures)
By Josh Rottenberg
From Seth MacFarlane's perspective, getting NFL star Tom Brady to do a cameo in "Ted 2" was a no-brainer, the casting equivalent of having a receiver wide open in the end zone.
Early in the process of writing the comedy sequel, MacFarlane knew he wanted the foul-mouthed, pot-smoking teddy bear and his best friend John (Mark Wahlberg) to try to steal someone's sperm so Ted and his human wife could have a baby. Who would that ideal unwilling donor be? For MacFarlane, the answer was clear: "Logically," he says, "for two guys from Boston, Tom Brady would be at the top of the list."
The fact that Wahlberg was friends with the New England Patriots quarterback — and that Brady had once done a cameo on MacFarlane's animated TV series "Family Guy" — made the choice that much easier. Though the prospect of being the focus of a raunchy set piece in an R-rated comedy might have made some athletes uncomfortable (these people are on Wheaties boxes, after all), MacFarlane says, "We figured we had a good shot with Tom."
Brady is hardly the only professional athlete getting drafted into movies.
In July, retired New York Giants defensive end Michael Strahan will strip down for a cameo in "Magic Mike XXL," while Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James will show off his comedy chops opposite Amy Schumer and Bill Hader in director Judd Apatow's new film, "Trainwreck," playing himself as the sensitive, "Downton Abbey"-loving friend of Hader's sports physician.
"Celebrity has become ubiquitous, and everyone touches the globe now," says "Ted 2" producer Scott Stuber. "These sports stars transcend just athletics. They host 'Saturday Night Live.' They do television commercials. They're seen at the Met Gala with their wife, tuxed up and looking like a movie star."
Dark Shadows Haunt People in 'Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension' First Full Trailer
The first full trailer for horror movie "Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension" has arrived. The movie focuses on a family who moves into a house and discovers a box of tapes which contain the recording of paranormal activity around them.
The trailer opens with Chris J. Murray's Ryan watching a recording that he finds in his new home. The recording shows a woman asking young Kristi and Katie to concentrate seemingly in order to be able to communicate with supernatural beings. It continues with Ryan finding an old video camera and he realizes that something was going on in his house long time ago.
"I think this camera can see things you can not see with naked eye," Ryan says. The trailer gives a hint about the ghost that may appear in the film as a little girl repeatedly says, "Bloody Marry," in the video. Ryan's daughter says, "He's gonna take me away." In the end, a mysterious portal on her wall is opened and it may be the way to enter "ghost dimension." The nearly 3-minute trailer is full of screams, fright, and dark shadows which haunt people.
Counting by the billion, Hollywood's summer starts to sizzle
by Jake Coyle, The Associated Press
"A million dollars isn't cool," said Justin Timberlake as Sean Parker in "The Social Network." "You know what's cool? A billion dollars."
He was talking about Silicon Valley, but he might as well have meant today's Hollywood. And lately, the movie business has been hot enough to be very cool.
When "Jurassic World" crossed $1 billion globally on Monday after just 13 days of release, it did it faster than any movie before. And it wasn't just the first film this year, or even this season, to reach that mark. "Jurassic World" is the third billion-dollar movie this summer following "Furious 7" ($1.5 billion) and "Avengers: Age of Ultron" ($1.4 billion).
Those two films already rank among the five highest grossing films ever, and "Jurassic World" is certain to join them. A billion dollars is starting to look easy.
The summer box office got off to a so-so start, but, suddenly, business is booming at the multiplex. After "Jurassic World" set an opening record two weeks ago, almost doubling expectations, Pixar's "Inside Out" followed up with a forecast-busting debut of its own, with $90.4 million.
An industry where the sky is often rumored to be falling, for the moment, is roaring.
Things shouldn't look this tense, considering how much 'Jurassic World' is bringing in at the box office! (image courtesy Universal)
By Greg Cwik
Like the lab-engineered Indominus rex and its insatiable appetite, Jurassic World continues to devour and destroy everything that gets in its way, chomping its way to No. 1 at the box office for a second straight week. By pulling in $102 million this weekend, Jurassic World joins Joss Whedon's The Avengers (2012) as one of the only two films to gross more than $100 million on two separate weekends. Given it already has $981.3 million, it'll probably become the fastest film to break the $1 billion mark.
Pixar's Inside Out, which has been reportedly making grown-ups bawl like babies around the country, made $91 million, the second-best opening for a Pixar film behind Toy Story 3's $110.3 million in 2010. It's also the highest gross for an original property, meaning a film that isn't a sequel, remake, reboot, retread, or non-sourced work, beating James Cameron's Avatar, though that film opened on 500 fewer screens. Around the globe, Inside Out opened to roughly 42 percent of the world, and its international rollout will continue in the coming weeks.
Will Ferrell Battles Mark Wahlberg in the Laugh-Out-Loud Trailer for Daddy's Home
By K.C. Blumm
The tagline says it all: "It's Dad Vs. Step-Dad" when Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell go head to head in the new comedy Daddy's Home.
The first trailer for the film, which comes out on Christmas Day, shows Ferrell as a doting stepfather, whose life is turned upside down when absentee dad Wahlberg returns to spend time with his two kids.
Clad in tight jeans and a leather jacket, Wahlberg is the former Saturday Night Live star's worst nightmare, or as one observer puts it: "There is no doubt this man is your better in every way."
The film features a memorable scene shot at a Pelicans-Lakers game in January, where Ferrell hit a cheerleader in the face with a basketball, but that's not the only crazy stunt, as the trailer shows.