A Moment In History

How Star Wars revolutionized movie merchandising

Before the 1977 release of Star Wars merchandising tie-ins with movies were very rare. That all changed when George Lucas was forward-thinking and negotiated licensing and merchandising rights for Star Wars.

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Apr 27

Will a 'Star Wars' Movie Hit Theaters in 2020?

by Pamela McClintock

Lucasfilm and Disney made big news Tuesday when announcing that Star Wars: Episode IX will invade theaters May 24, 2019.

But the studio made no mention of any further dates for more Star Wars film, begging the question, Will there be a spinoff announced in the coming weeks or months for 2020 as Lucasfilm figures out its plan for the continuation of the revived franchise?

Most are betting the answer is yes, and that the Force won't be taking a year off in 2020. CEO Bob Iger recently said Lucasfilm, which Disney bought in 2012, is already plotting what could be the next decade-and-a-half of Star Wars movies. Lucasfilm's current plans will have seen one Star Wars film released each year from 2015 through 2019.

There's heated speculation about a spinoff starring Boba Fett, the fan-favorite bounty hunter from the original trilogy. Fans have also clamored for an Obi-Wan Kenobi spinoff that would see Ewan McGregor reprise his role from the prequels, playing the Jedi Alec Guinness portrayed in the original trilogy. And then there's the possibility of a Darth Vader stand-alone.

"They will want to keep the momentum going," says box-office analyst Paul Dergarabedian.

Disney could use the upcoming D23 Expo in July as a venue to announce future movies. (Many geeks expected such news at the recent Star Wars Celebration.)

The dating of Episode IX also made headlines for cementing the return of Star Wars to summer, the corridor used for the first six films overseen by George Lucas before he sold Lucasfilm to Disney.

Continue Reading at: The Hollywood Reporter

Apr 26

Jonathan Demme, Oscar-Winning Director, Is Dead at 73

Jonathan Demme was an Oscar-winning filmmaker who observed emphatically American characters with a discerning eye, a social conscience and a rock 'n' roll heart. (image courtesy The New York Times)


Jonathan Demme, the Oscar-winning filmmaker who observed emphatically American characters with a discerning eye, a social conscience and a rock 'n' roll heart, achieving especially wide acclaim with "The Silence of the Lambs" and "Philadelphia," died on Wednesday at his home in Manhattan. He was 73.

His publicist, Leslee Dart, confirmed the death. Mr. Demme disclosed that he had cancer in 2015.

Mob wives, CB radio buffs and AIDS victims; Hannibal Lecter, Howard Hughes and Jimmy Carter: Mr. Demme (pronounced DEM-ee) plucked his subjects and stories largely from the stew of contemporary American subcultures and iconography. He created a body of work - including fiction films and documentaries, dramas and comedies, original scripts, adaptations and remakes - that resists easy characterization.

A personable man with the curiosity gene and the what-comes-next instinct of someone who likes to both hear and tell stories, Mr. Demme had a good one of his own, a Mr. Deeds kind of tale in which he wandered into good fortune and took advantage of it. A former movie publicist, he had an apprenticeship in low-budget B-movies with the producer Roger Corman before turning director.

Continue Reading at: The New York Times

Apr 25

'Kingsman: The Golden Circle' Trailer Delivers Spy Action With a Southern Twist

by Aaron Couch

Eggsy (Taron Egerton) is back - and with some southern charm for Kingsman: The Golden Circle.

The trailer was set to debut Monday on CBS' The Late Late Show?, but it hit online early.

Director Matthew Vaughn's follow-up to the 2015 hit also sees the return of Colin Firth, who is joined by series newcomers Channing Tatum, Halle Berry, Elton John and Jeff Bridges.

A different trailer, with quite a bit more plot detail, screened last month at CinemaCon. The full breakdown is here, but the long and the short of it is that after the Kingsman headquarters is blown up, Eggsy and Merlin (Mark Strong) must travel to Kentucky, to get some help of some southern spies - and for a surprise reunion with Harry (Firth). Upon going to Kentucky, they meet Tatum's character - a spy whose gadgets include a lasso that can cut a man in two.

Fox is releasing Kingsman: The Golden Circle on Sept. 22.

Check out the trailer here:

Continue Reading at: The Hollywood Reporter

Apr 24

Fast and Furious spin-off revs up with Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham

Jason Statham in a scene from 'Fast and Furious' (image courtesy AP / Universal)

by Andrew Pulver

The continuing success of the Fast and Furious car action franchise has resulted in plans for a spin-off movie featuring Dwayne Johnson, Charlize Theron and Jason Statham, it has emerged.

According to Variety, producing studio Universal have hired Chris Morgan – who worked on the last six films in the series – to write a screenplay for a project that would "revolve around Johnson and Statham teaming up to go after Theron's character". Johnson's character, diplomatic service agent Luke Hobbs, first appeared in Fast Five, while Statham's Deckard Shaw, after a brief appearance in the end credits of Fast & Furious 6, was the chief antagonist in 2015's Furious 7. Theron's cyberterrorist character Cipher is a recent addition to the series, appearing in the recent eighth instalment alongside Johnson, Statham and Vin Diesel.

Plans for a spin-off have been bolstered by the latest film's exceptional box office results: The Fate of the Furious (AKA Fast & Furious 8) has achieved the number one position in the US for the second week in a row with a current total of $163m (£127m), and has added a further $745m internationally (led by $193m in China) for a global total of $907m.

Series producer Neal Moritz recently confirmed the intention to cap the series – which has so far made more than $4.8bn wordwide – at 10 films, saying: "We kind of have the ending point of the franchise, but we don't know the in-betweens yet ... the plan is to make two more movies."

Continue Reading at: Guardian

Apr 23

Weekend Box Office: 'The Promise,' 'Unforgettable' Crash; 'Fate of the Furious' Hits $980M

by Pamela McClintock

Universal's The Fate of the Furious left the competition in the dust at the North American box office, grossing $38.7 million in its second weekend for a 10-day domestic total of $163.6 million and $908.4 million globally.

The action movie fell 61 percent in North America, a fairly good hold for the front-loaded franchise. Fate of the Furious is also doing massive business overseas, where it earned another $163.4 million for a foreign total of $744.8 million - led by China with an astounding $318 million.

Back in the U.S., The Boss Baby placed No. 3 with $12.8 million for a domestic cume of $137 million and $358.1 million worldwide, followed by Beauty and the Beast with $10 million for a global total of $1.1 billion.

Among the fresh crop of offerings, it was nothing short of a car crash, save for Disney's nature documentary Born in China. The doc earned $5.1 million from 1,508 theaters to place No. 4 and come in ahead of the other new films.

Warner Bros.' female-centric thriller Unforgettable, starring Katherine Heigl, debuted to a mere $4.8 million from 2,417 locations, marking a career worst for Heigl for a nationwide opening. "It just didn't resonate with our intended audience," said Warner Bros. domestic distribution chief Jeff Goldstein.

Helmed by veteran producer Denise Di Novi in her feature directorial debut, Unforgettable, placing No. 7, stars Heigl as a jilted woman whose jealousy of her ex-husband's new wife turns pathological. Rosario Dawson and Geoff Stults also star.

If there's any solace, it is that the film only cost $12 million to make.

The same can't be said for Armenian genocide drama The Promise, directed by Terry George and starring Christian Bale alongside Oscar Isaac. The big-budget movie bowed to $4.1 million from 2,251 theaters after costing a hefty $100 million to produce. The pic was fully financed by the late Kirk Kerkorian, who was of Armenian descent.

Continue Reading at: The Hollywood Reporter

Apr 23

James Cameron's Avatar sequel to be released in 2020

A photo of the Avatar crew posted to the movie's official Facebook page.

By Zulekha Nathoo

The long-awaited sequel to the science fiction epic Avatar from famed Canadian director James Cameron will require a little more patience from fans - three-and-a-half years to be exact.

According to the movie's official Facebook page, the next Avatar film will open in theatres Dec. 18, 2020. It's one of four upcoming films in the franchise.

"Avatar takes flight as we begin concurrent production on four sequels," the post reads alongside a birdseye photo of the crew involved in the project.

Following the first sequel, the next one will be released a year later, on Dec. 17, 2021.

The franchise will take a three-year break before returning to the screen with two more installments, on Dec. 20, 2024 and Dec. 19, 2025 respectively.

Avatar was the first film to gross more than $2 billion US when it was released in 2009 and earned nearly $2.8 billion worldwide.

Continue Reading at: CBC

Apr 22

Star Trek 4: ‘NO guarantee’ film will go ahead after Beyond disappointment

by Shaun Kitchener

Zachary Quinto plays Spock in the new films, but after Star Trek Beyond failed to meet sky-high box office expectations in 2016, the future of the franchise has been thrown into doubt.

Speaking on Today, Quinto gave an update and didn’t sound too certain.

"I know that they are working on a script for another one and we'll see how that all plays out," he said.

"But the nice thing about that experience is that the time in between those big tentpole films allows us to go off and cultivate a lot of different creative experiences for ourselves."

He added: "I'm hopeful that we'll do another one, but there's no guarantee."

In December, Simon Pegg hinted that he is working on the new script with Doug Jung, so it seems that even if no plans are set in stone, the possibility of a fourth movie has at least not been scrapped.

Star Trek Beyond received strong reviews and audience feedback but its worldwide box office gross of $343.5 million was some way down on its predecessors.

By contrast, Star Trek Into Darkness (2013) generated $467.4 million and 2009's Star Trek took $385.7 million.

Continue Reading at: Express

Apr 21

Guardians of the Galaxy 2: Nathan Fillion reveals DELETED cameo - is it Arkon?

A screen cap from Nathan Fillion's post regarding the scene cut from 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2' (image courtesy Nathan Fillion / Instagram)

by Shaun Kitchener

The actor took to Instagram to share a photo of himself in costume on the set of the movie, but said the scene did not make the finished film.

He seems to be a sort of viking-like character in control of a ship - leading to an assumption that he could have been Arkon from Weirdworld.

However, the likelihood is that Fillion was part of a sequence set on Earth at a film festival; a scene revealed by James Gunn to have been scrapped.

Fillion's photo caption reads: "From a scene you won't see in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2."

"Is the movie still spectacular without it? Yes."

Guardians Vol 2 is now weeks away from release, and Gunn was recently confirmed to be returning to write and direct Vol 3.

He explained: "Much of what's happened in the MCU for the past ten or so years has been leading, in a big way, to the Avengers' Infinity War.

"Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will happen after all that."

Continue Reading at: Express

Apr 20

The Last Jedi: Mark Hamill 'fundamentally disagrees with virtually everything' written for his character

Luke Skywalker looks back in this scene from 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' (image courtesy Disney / Lucasfilm)

by Christopher Hooton

Mark Hamill aka Star Wars Press Junket MVP is at it again, this time speaking his mind on the plot of upcoming saga movie The Last Jedi in no uncertain terms.

"When I read 8, I told Rian [Johnson, the writer-director], 'I fundamentally disagree with virtually everything you've decided about my character'," Hamill said during an ABC interview.

He did however clarify: "But it might be a good sign! I was really wrong about 7; I said, 'When I turn around [at the end], the audience is going to hoot and holler because it's such an obvious cheat'.

"I didn't foresee John Williams's incredible music and the shots of Daisy [Ridley] or the build-up to it all."

Luke is set to play a key part in The Last Jedi, ominously declaring at the end of the first trailer "It's time for the Jedi to end."

Last week, Hamill outlined what he saw as a "great missed opportunity" with Han Solo's death in The Force Awakens.

Continue Reading at: Independent

Apr 18

Alien: Covenant promos see eerie found-footage teasing fate of the doomed crew

by Amy West

20th Century Fox has released two new promos for Ridley Scott's hotly-anticipated sci-fi sequel Alien: Covenant ahead of the film's upcoming release date. The short clips see Katherine Waterston's character Daniels and Billy Crudup's Christopher Oram sending transmissions to Earth from aboard the Covenant... but the broadcasts are anything but heartwarming.

Found footage snippets – from cameras attached to exploration suits – interject their communications, adding an ominous undertone to messages sent back home as it spells out their future fates. "Hi Dad, I'm here on the Covenant. We're each allowed one transmission back to Earth so..." Daniels begins before the body-cams reveal her and other crew members wading through waters and traversing a seemingly undiscovered paradise.


Check out the two teasers here:

Continue Reading at: International Business Times

Apr 17

It's Official: The Fate of the Furious Sets New Global Opening Record

A promotional image for 'The Fate of the Furious' (image courtesy Universal)

With actual figures now in, Universal Pictures' The Fate of the Furious has now officially set the record as the biggest opening of all time with $532 million in global box office, including $98.8 million from the U.S. and Canada and $433.2 million from 63 international territories this weekend. The record was previously held by Star Wars: The Force Awakens with $529 million. This is also the all-time biggest international weekend by a large margin, beating the previous record holder Jurassic World ($316.7 million).

The Fate of the Furious elevated Universal's international box office past $1 billion on Friday. Universal is the second studio to reach this milestone in 2017. It is Universal's 11th year in a row grossing $1 billion in international box office and this is the second fastest getting there after 2015.

The film opened No. 1 in every territory and scored all-time opening weekend records in 19 territories. They are Argentina, Colombia, Egypt, Estonia, India, Indonesia, Israel, Lebanon, Malaysia, Middle East, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal, South Africa, U.A.E., Uruguay, and Venezuela.

The Fate of the Furious is Universal's highest-grossing opening weekend of all time in 27 territories. They are the above 19 territories plus Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Denmark, Ecuador, Israel, and Mexico.

Continue Reading at: ComingSoon.net

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