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News Jab: US Box Office Report

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Sun, 15/12/2013 - 21:23

The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug No.1 but softer than Unexpected Journey

By Rich Matthews

Peter Jackson's second part of his Hobbit Lord Of The Rings prequel trilogy, The Desolation Of Smaug, opened some 13% lower than 2012's first outing (which took $84.6m to notch up the biggest ever December opening), An Unexpected Journey, but still took $73.7m with a worldwide opening of $204.9m.

That softer opening may not be the film alone, however, because the first Hobbit had no competition to speak of, while Smaug is fighting off strong holdovers Frozen (at number two with $22.2m, a US tally of $164.4m and a worldwide gross of $266m) and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (number four with $13.2m, US total of $357m and a global haul of $730m, surpassing the first Hunger Games' $691m).

And we haven't yet mentioned Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas, which opened at number three with a disappointing $16m, nearly $10m less than Perry's last Madea flick, Tyler Perry's Madea's Witness Protection in June 2012. However, both Madea and The Hobbit will likely gain momentum during the Christmas period, so both may come close to matching or surpassing the respective $65.7m US and $1bn global grosses of their last entries. Thor: The Dark World rounded out the top five with $2.7m, a US gross of $198.1m and a worldwide tally of $620m.

The back five of the top 10 was compromised of smaller fry, with Christian Bale underperformer Out Of The Furnace at six ($2.3, $9.5m), Vince Vaughn flop Delivery Man at seven ($1.9m, $28m), Judi Dench/Steve Coogan dramedy Philomena at eight ($1.8m, $11m, $28.3m), Geoffrey Rush Holocaust drama The Book Thief at nine ($1.7m, $14.9m) and Jason Statham vehicle (penned by Sly Stallone) Homefront at 10 ($1.6m, $18.4m).

In the specialist front, David O Russell's 70s heist flick American Hustle – starring Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence – posted a stellar per screen average of $115,000 to take its total to $690,000 from only six theatres, while Disney's Saving Mr Hanks – starring Tom Hanks as Walt Disney and Emma Thompson as Mary Poppins creator PL Travers – only managed an average of $28,000 and a $421,000 gross from 15 theatres.

The market starts to get even more cluttered this week as Will Ferrell returns as Ron Burgundy in Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues on Wednesday, while Friday sees the 3D film version of Walking With Dinosaurs stomp into view as American Hustle and Saving Mr Banks both expand nationwide. Then there's the traditional Christmas Day flurry that this year includes Keanu Reeves in 47 Ronin, Ben Stiller's The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty and Leonardo DiCaprio getting mental for Martin Scorsese in the long-awaited The Wolf Of Wall Street.

IN OTHER NEWS

A hero and a hellraiser: Film and theatre icon Peter O’Toole dies at 81 | The Independent

Emilia Clarke to play Sarah Connor in Terminator reboot | NME

On the Cinema Paradiso trail | The Daily Telegraph

Golden Globes: nominees react | Screen Daily

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Screenjabber Pubcast: Desolating the smeg

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Sat, 14/12/2013 - 20:04

Join Simon Thompson, Mark Searby, Andrew Jones, Christa Ktorides and host Stuart O'Connor for a little movie news and gossip and a long, hard look at this week's big release — The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.

You can listen to and download the podcast – or subscribe to it on iTunes ... plus you can follow us on Twitter and join us on Facebook.

PubQuest: We're looking to take the Screenjabber Pubcast on the road, and want your input. Know a great pub in London we should visit to record the show? Drop us a line and let us know.

WriterQuest: We're seeking some more writers, particularly those who want to cover video games for us. Please get in touch if you're keen.

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Christmas Gift Guide: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Sat, 14/12/2013 - 11:50

Having trouble buying a Christmas gift for that special someone? You can’t go wrong with a DVD or Blu-ray, so let Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment help you to pick the perfect present this Christmas.

Lock the doors and pull down the blinds – you’re not going anywhere once you’ve checked out these wonderful treats. There’s a whole new collection of brilliant DVDs, Blu-rays and box sets perfect for yuletide presents – and for when you’ve maxed out on mince pies and are stuck to the sofa …

And thanks to Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, we have FOUR special Blu-rays that you could win to give as a gift to a loved one (or as a special Christmas treat for yourself) – Ice Age 4: Continental Drift 3D, Life of Pi 3D, The Croods 3D and American Horror Story: Season 1-2.  Read on to find out how to win one of these fantastic prizes.


THE BIGGEST TV LAUGHS

 


How I Met Your Mother - Season 1-8 [DVD]

On the night Marshall (Jason Segel), finally got engaged to his long-time girlfriend, Lily (Alyson Hannigan), his best friend Ted (Josh Radnor) realised that he had better get a move on too if he was ever to find true love. At the same party, flanked by his friend, the outspoken and sharp-suited lothario, Barney (Neil Patrick Harris), Ted laid eyes on Robin (Cobie Smulders), and although he thought this was love at first sight, it was never meant to be and so his quest continued…

Still confused? Don’t be! How I Met Your Mother is the hilarious story of five friends living in New York City and one man’s journey to find his true love.

 

 

 

 

New Girl - Season 1-2 [DVD]

An ensemble comedy centring on a free-spirited young woman, her three male roommates and her best friend, as they navigate modern relationships and end up forming a charmingly dysfunctional – or strangely functional – family.

Jess Day (Zooey Deschanel) is an offbeat and "adorkable" woman in her late 20s who, after a bad breakup, moves into a loft with three single guys. Goofy, positive, vulnerable and honest to a fault, Jess has faith in people, even when she shouldn't.

Of her three new male roommates, Nick (Jake Johnson) is the most grounded. He had big plans for life, but somewhere along the way, he stopped caring and became a bartender. Schmidt (Max Greenfield) is a young professional who fancies himself a modern-day Casanova. Winston (Lamorne Morris) is an intensely competitive former athlete who has recently come to the realisation that he'll never play pro. Rounding out this group is Jess' childhood best friend, Cece (Hannah Simone), a deadpan, cynical model. She has the street smarts Jess lacks and spends a lot of time doling out no-nonsense relationship advice that only a professional model can give.

 

 


Modern Family - Season 1-4 [DVD]

The complete first four seasons of the Emmy Award-winning smash-hit mockumentary style comedy are included in this box set.

Boasting one of the best ensemble casts in all of television, the ground breaking Modern Family is a smart, fresh and laugh-out-loud funny look at what it means to be a family in today’s chaotic and constantly changing world. Hilarious stories, lovable characters and outrageous surprises are yours to own in this warm and witty series.

 

 

 

 

 

 

THRILLING TV DRAMAS

 


American Horror Story - Season 1-2 [Blu-ray]

A frightening seasonal anthology series brought to you by Ryan Murphy, the creator of Nip-Tuck. Each season of American Horror Story is conceived as a self-contained miniseries, following a disparate set of characters, settings and time periods in a twisted and uniquely terrifying journey through the core horror genre.

Season 1, American Horror Story: Murder House, revolves around the Harmons, psychiatrist Ben (Dylan McDermott), his wife Vivien (Connie Britton), and their teenage daughter Violet (Taissa Farmiga), who move from Boston to Los Angeles after Vivien has a miscarriage, and Ben has an affair. The Harmons move into a restored mansion and soon encounter the home's former residents, the Langdons: Constance Langdon (Jessica Lange), and her two children, Tate (Evan Peters) and Addie (Jamie Brewer), and the disfigured Larry Harvey (Denis O'Hare).

Set in 1964, American Horror Story: Asylum sees the return of many Season 1 cast members and takes viewers into a Church-run haven for the criminally insane, ruled with an iron fist by Sister Jude (Lange), a nun with a troubled past. This grisly tale begins in present day when Leo and Teresa, the unsuspecting newlyweds, choose to spend their honeymoon within the safe haven of a now-abandoned asylum. Or is it? 

 

 


Homeland - Season 1-2 [DVD]

Season 1: From Alex Gansa and Howard Gordon, executive producers of 24, comes Homeland. Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes), a CIA Agent battling her own demons becomes convinced that the intelligence that led to the rescue of Sgt Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis), a US soldier who had been missing and presumed dead for eight years was a set-up, and may be connected to an al-Qaeda plot to be carried out on American soil.

Season 2: In the wake of Israeli air strikes against Iran, the Middle East threatens to erupt in fresh violence. A woman swims through the chaos towards the American embassy, trying to make contact. The abused wife of a Hezbollah commander, she carries information about an attack – retaliation against Israel’s ally, the US. But this would-be informant insists she will only speak to her one-time CIA handler: Carrie Mathison.

 

 

 

 

The Bible - TV Miniseries [DVD]

Breathtaking in scope and scale, The Bible features powerful performances, exotic locales and dazzling visual effects that breathe spectacular life into the dramatic tales of faith and courage from Genesis through Revelation. This historic television event is sure to entertain and inspire the whole family.

The Bible is narrated by Robert Powell (Jesus of Nazareth), and stars Diogo Morgado as Jesus Christ, Roma Downey as Mary and a formidable UK cast including Jake Canuso (Benidorm), Louise Delamere (Waking the Dead), Kierston Wareing (Eastenders), Nonzo Anozie (Game of Thrones) and Peter Guinness (Centurion).

 

 

 

 

 

AMAZING TV ANIMATION

 

Family Guy - Season 1-12 [DVD]

Get in on the twisted fun watching this 34–disc set with more than 180 Family Guy episodes.

Join dimwitted (but big–hearted) Peter, his adoring wife Lois, silly siblings Chris and Meg, genius baby brother Stewie (the maniacal 1-year-old bent on world domination), and of course, Brian the dog – perhaps the only sane member of the family, even though he licks himself.

 

 

 
 


The Simpsons - Season 16 [DVD]

The Simpsons reside in the town of Springfield. Homer works as a safety inspector at the local nuclear power plant; Marge tries to keep the peace in her family; Bart is the mischievous 10-year-old hellion; 8-year-old Lisa is the intelligent, saxophone-playing vegetarian member of the family; and baby Maggie conveys emotions via pacifier sucks. Viewers also have come to know and love the rich, and sometimes quirky, universe of characters who inhabit Springfield.

In the milestone 350th episode, Homer befriends beer-loving barfly and roofer Ray Magini, guest-voiced by Ray Romano. After discovering a shared passion for sandwiches and the Three Stooges, Homer and Ray become inseparable friends. However, Marge believes Ray is a figment of Homer’s imagination and enlists the help of Dr. Hibbert to literally “shock” Ray Magini out of Homer’s system. Famed author and scientist Stephen Hawking also makes a return guest voice appearance as himself.

 

 

FILMS FOR ALL THE FAMILY

 


The Wolverine [Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + UV Copy]

Enjoy This stand-alone epic-action adventure set in modern day Japan reveals the untold story of Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), the most iconic character from the X-Men universe, and evolves the character saga to new levels of depth, intensity and visceral action.

Out of his depth in an unknown world he faces a host of unexpected and deadly opponents in a life-or-death battle than will leave him forever changed. Vulnerable for the first time and pushed to his physical and emotional limits, he confronts not only lethal samurai steel but also his inner struggle against his own immortality, emerging more powerful than ever before.

 

 

 



The Croods [Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + UV Copy]

From the makers of Shrek and Madagascar comes The Croods. Join the first modern family as they embark on the journey of a lifetime across a spectacular and unforgettable landscape.

When their cave is destroyed, everything the Croods have ever known is rocked by seismic shifts and generational clashes as they discover an incredible new world filled with fantastic creatures, and their world is changed forever. If they don’t evolve, they’ll be history.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters [Blu-ray + UV Copy

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters is the eagerly-anticipated sequel to the 2010 hit, Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief. And for the first time ever, available in 3D too.

It continues the adventures of Percy Jackson and his friends, as they look for the golden fleece, in order to save Camp Half-Blood's magical borders from sinister foes. Based on the popular book franchise.

 

 

 

 

 


 
The Heat [Blu-ray + UV Copy]

Uptight and straight-laced, FBI Special Agent Sarah Ashburn (Sandra Bullock) is a methodical investigator with a reputation for excellence – and hyper-arrogance. Shannon Mullins (Melissa McCarthy), one of Boston P.D.’s “finest,” is foul-mouthed and has a very short fuse, and uses her gut instinct and street smarts to catch the most elusive criminals.

Neither has ever had a partner, or a friend for that matter. When these two wildly incompatible law officers join forces to bring down a ruthless drug lord, they become the last thing anyone expected: buddies. From Paul Feig, the director of Bridesmaids.

 

 

ACTION BLU-RAY BOX SETS


 

 

Die Hard: Legacy Collection

All five films from the popular Die Hard franchise.

Die Hard (1988)
On Christmas Eve, New York cop John McClane (Bruce Willis) is visiting his estranged wife Holly (Bonnie Bedelia) in Los Angeles, where she works. They are attending a party at Holly's high-rise office block when terrorists, led by the suave Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) break in, taking everyone hostage. McClane manages to evade capture, however, and sets out to rescue his wife and the other prisoners. It is not long before he is running barefoot over shattered glass in a sweaty vest, muttering 'Yippy kay aye' as he dispatches the baddies with bullets and a certain earthy wit.

Die Hard 2 (1990)
Los Angeles cop John McClane is set to meet up with wife Holly on Christmas Eve, this time at Dulles airport in Washington DC. However, when terrorists take over the airport in an attempt to rescue dictator Esperanza (Franco Nero) from his incoming flight, it is up to McClane to restore order and ensure that Holly's plane lands safely. Get that sweaty vest out, and put some shoes on this time.

Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995)
John McClane becomes involved in a twisted game of Simon Says when an evil terrorist (Jeremy Irons) sends him dashing all over the city in an effort to find a series of explosive devices. Teaming up with electrician Zeus Carver (Samuel L. Jackson), McClane soon discovers that the bombs are an elaborate ruse intended to provide cover for a billion dollar bank job.

Die Hard 4.0 (2007)
Die Hard 4.0 finds McClane routinely asked to bring in a computer hacker, Matt Farrell (Justin Long) for questioning. In transit, events overtake them as they witness a full-scale cyber attack on the country's infrastructure led by mystery attacker Thomas Gabriel (Timothy Oliphant), who plans to systematically shut down or destroy the nation's major networks over three days. With time running out, McClane and his hacker friend have to stop the mastermind before it's too late.

A Good Day to Die Hard (2013)
Iconoclastic, take-no-prisoners cop John McClane, for the first time, finds himself on foreign soil after travelling to Moscow to help his wayward son Jack. With the Russian underworld in pursuit, and battling a countdown to war, the two McClanes discover their opposing methods make them unstoppable heroes.

 


 


Prometheus to Alien: The Evolution

Take the ultimate journey with the Prometheus To Alien: The Evolution Box Set. It all begins in Prometheus, as Charlize Theron, Michael Fassbender and Noomi Rapace search for the origins of mankind and encounter the mysterious "Engineers," capable of destroying all life on Earth.

Then Sigourney Weaver battles the most terrifying creatures in cinematic history in all four thrilling Alien films – Alien, Aliens, Alien³ and Alien Resurrection. Packed with nonstop action and excitement, this stellar sci-fi collection lets you explore the darkest corners of the universe ... and the deepest recesses of your imagination.

 



WIN A BLU-RAY THANKS TO TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX

We hope that this Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment Gift Guide has given you some handy tips on what to get your loved ones (and maybe even yourself?) for Christmas. And to help you make Christmas that little bit merrier, the lovely Santa's Little Helpers at Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment have given us FOUR Blu-rays – THREE 3D movies and one TV Box Set — to give away to THREE lucky readers:

Ice Age 4: Continental Drift
Scrat’s nutty pursuit of the cursed acorn, which he’s been after since the dawn of time, has world-changing consequences – a continental cataclysm that triggers the greatest adventure of all for Manny, Diego and Sid. In the wake of these upheavals, Sid reunites with his cantankerous Granny, and the herd encounters a ragtag menagerie of seafaring pirates determined to stop them from returning home.

American Horror Story - Season 1-2
A frightening seasonal anthology series brought to you by Ryan Murphy, the creator of Nip-Tuck. Each season of American Horror Story is conceived as a self-contained miniseries, following a disparate set of characters, settings and time periods in a twisted and uniquely terrifying journey through the core horror genre.

The Croods
From the makers of Shrek and Madagascar comes The Croods. Join the first modern family as they embark on the journey of a lifetime across a spectacular and unforgettable landscape. When their cave is destroyed, everything the Croods have ever known is rocked by seismic shifts and generational clashes as they discover an incredible new world filled with fantastic creatures, and their world is changed forever. If they don’t evolve, they’ll be history.

Life Of Pi
Based on the critically acclaimed, best-selling book, Ang Lee brings one boy’s spectacular journey to the big screen in the book that was considered unfilmable. A young man who survives a disaster at sea is hurtled into an epic journey of adventure and discovery. While cast away, he forms an unexpected connection with another survivor ... a fearsome Bengal tiger.

To be in with a chance of winning, just answer the following question:

Who wrote the novel Life Of Pi?

a) John Grisham
b) Yann Martel
c) Nora Roberts

d) Stephen King

As this competition is so good, we're going to give an extra entry for those who LIKE the official Screenjabber Facebook page (but don't forget to also email us with the answer to the question above – and please don't post the answer on the Facebook page).

Send your answer (plus your name, address, phone number and which particular box set you would like to win) to sj.competitions@yahoo.co.uk, with Fox Christmas in the subject line. And please make sure you read our terms & conditions before entering. The competition will close at NOON on Friday December 20, 2013. The judges' decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

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Taking Out the (Trailer) Trash

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Wed, 11/12/2013 - 22:25

By Norman Quarrinton

Trailers can sometimes spoil a film, but most of the time they fill you with a sense of anticipation, excitement and awe. So here is this week's roundup of what is coming soon to a cinema near you ...

Pompeii

Paul WS Anderson is back, and by the looks of it, so are the tedious slow-mo fight scenes that he is ever so fond of. Hooray. To be fair, though, this is a volcano movie, and we haven't had one of those for ages. Kit Harington (Jon Snow from Game of Thrones) plays a slave who becomes a gladiator, who becomes a hero during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Looks like there's a love story in there too somewhere. If you're a fan of horses and large clouds of smoke, this trailer's for you. Emily Browning and Jared Harris also star.
UK & US Release: February 21

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

I really wanted to like The Amazing Spider-Man. But I didn't. I hated it. Remember that bit with the cranes? What was that all about? Who thought that would be a good idea? Terrible. Just terrible. Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone were great though, so I'm prepared to give the franchise another chance. There's a whole bunch of clues and fanboy pleasing easter eggs in this trailer, but the most shocking thing it reveals is that the movie's title doesn't have a sub-heading. I personally think The Amazing Spider-Man: 2 Many Bad Guys would have been a great title.
UK Release: April 18
US Release: May 2

The Legend of Hercules

If the Pompeii trailer didn't quench your thirst for slow-motion action scenes, then you should definitely check this bad boy out. Otherwise, don't bother. This movie looks pants. Kellan Lutz plays Hercules, and Hercules is mad about stuff so he goes somewhere and becomes a slave which makes him even more mad, so then he starts smashing shit up. My Dad will love it.
US Release: January 10
UK Release: August 8

Godzilla

Pacific Rim without the robots. PASS. Just kidding, this actually looks very promising. British director Gareth Edwards is helming this reboot of the classic monster movie franchise and if you saw his 2010 film Monsters, you'll know he's the right man for the job. Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen play a couple in this movie, but they play siblings in The Avengers: Age of Ultron. Gross.
UK & US Release: May 16

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Showbiz Simon Says ...

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Wed, 11/12/2013 - 21:27

By Simon Thompson

There might not be a script yet, but the World War Z sequel has got a director. The job has gone to Juan Antonio Bayona – he’s previously helmed The Impossible and The Orphanage. Marc Forster’s original, based on the novel by Max Brooks, took $540 million worldwide. Brad Pitt will return in the lead role. Although the director has been named, no writers are attached to the project at this stage and there’s no release date so it is very early days.

★ Rosemary's Baby: The TV Show – it’s a thing. NBC has greenlit the four-hour miniseries which will be an adaptation of the 1967 best-selling novel by Ira Levin. The US TV network isn’t wasting any time on getting started as production is due to get under way in Paris in January. James Wong, best known for his penmanship on American Horror Story, will write the screenplay while Oscar and Emmy nominated Agnieszka Holland will direct.

★ Tom Cruise will return as Jack Reacher. After the original made $218 million worldwide on a budget of $60 million, Paramount has confirmed it is moving forward with a sequel. It’ll be based on that will be based on Lee Child's recent novel, Never Go Back. No word yet on a writer or a director, but there are claims that the studio will try to release the film before the fifth Mission: Impossible movie – that has a release date pencilled in for December 2015.

★ Andrew Garfield’s Spider-days might be numbered. He’s only contracted for three movies and hasn’t decided if he wants to swing on back for a fourth. He’s told Yahoo Movies: "I’m under contract for another one after this… as far as a fourth one? That's not anything to do with me. But yeah, I think what we’re doing here is we've established the world. And now we get to really play inside that world." Sony Pictures will release The Amazing Spider-Man 2 in May 2014 and The Amazing Spider-Man 3 in May 2016.

★ Bette Midler has signed up to play Mae West in an upcoming biopic from HBO. It is based on West's 1959 autobiography, Goodness Had Nothing to Do With It. She died in 1980 following a successful career on stage and screen spanning seven decades. It’ll focus on her early years on stage in Gotham, while facing legal issues for her risqué show Sex. William Friedkin will direct it and the script’s being turned out by Harvey Fierstein, but there’s no word on when it’ll air.

A fourth Beverly Hills Cop movie is on and it’ll see Eddie Murphy return as Axel Foley. Brett Ratner is on board to direct it. 2013 saw a TV spin-off go get dropped after just a pilot episode – Murphy was due to make regular cameos – but it was going to focus on his son, played by Tropic Thunder’s Brandon T Jackson. The new movie will reportedly see Axel return to his Detroit roots. The new movie is part of a deal between Jerry Bruckheimer and Paramount Pictures another sequel, Top Gun 2, is also moving forward. Tom Cruise is onboard the project that stalled following the death of Tony Scott in 2012.

A fifth Terminator movie is on the way, Terminator: Genesis, but it’s been confirmed a new new Terminator TV series is also happening. The show will follow a critical moment from the first Terminator film but where the film's story goes one way, the upcoming series will take the same moment in a completely different direction. According to reports, as the rebooted film trilogy and the new TV series progress, the two narratives will intersect with each other in surprising and dramatic ways. No word yet on an air date for the show; however, the fifth Terminator movie will hit cinemas in July 2015.

★ Californication’s been cancelled. The Showtime original series will end after the upcoming seventh season. The 12-episode final run will kick off in the US on April 2014. Rob Lowe is confirmed to be return as eccentric actor Eddie Nero in at least one episode with Roger Howarth, Heather Graham and Mary Lynn Rajskub all guest starring at some point in the final season. Showtime's president of entertainment David Nevins said: “With its unique blend of lyricism and excess, Californication has been one of our groundbreaking signature series. We will always be indebted to Tom Kapinos for leading the creative charge on this memorable comedy, and to David Duchovny for making us root for an unapologetic hedonist like Hank Moody.” Spank you very much.... and good night!

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Screenjabber Podcast: Chillin' with the guys

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Sun, 08/12/2013 - 18:01

Join David Watson, Simon Thompson, Doug Cooper and host Stuart O'Connor for the usual movie news and gossip and a look at a few of this week's UK new releases: the Oldboy remake, Nebraska, Kill Your Darlings, Homefront, Big Bad Wolves and Disney's spectacular Frozen. (Yeah, we forgot to talk about Getaway.)

You can listen to and download the podcast here – or subscribe to it on iTunes ... plus you can follow us on Twitter and join us on Facebook.

PubQuest: We're looking to take the Screenjabber Pubcast on the road, and want your input. Know a great pub in London we should visit to record the show? Drop us a line and let us know.

WriterQuest: We're seeking some more writers, particularly those who want to cover video games for us. Please get in touch if you're keen.

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Showbiz Simon Says ...

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Wed, 04/12/2013 - 22:39

By Simon Thompson

Production on Fast And Furious 7 has been indefinitely postponed by Universal following the death of Paul Walker. There are apparently immediate plans to resume work on the film already more than half-way through production. Because Paul was such a big part of the franchise and the seventh instalment itself, there is the option to scrap what has already been filmed and shoot the whole film again – studios have insurance to cover such things should tragedy hit a key cast member. As a result, there is no word on how (or if) the story will be rewritten, or whether the current 2015 release date will be changed.

Meanwhile, Universal Pictures has announced that a percentage of proceeds from the US home entertainment release of Fast & Furious 6 will be donated to Walker’s non-profit Reach Out WorldWide – the actor founded the organisation after witnessing deficiencies in local activations following the January 2010 Haiti earthquake. To donate directly, or to learn more about the invaluable work of Reach Out WorldWide, please visit the website.

★ The Blacklist has been renewed for a second season. NBC has picked up the James Spader starrer for a full 22-episode second season – the show is currently on a mid first-season hiatus and will kick back in January. Robert Greenblatt, chairman of NBC Entertainment, said in a statement: “The success of The Blacklist demonstrates that inspired storytelling is alive and well in broadcast television.” The show is already the number one new show of the season on US network TV.

★ George Miller has dismissed claims that Mel Gibson will make a cameo in Mad Max: Fury Road. When asked about whether we could expect to see the former A-lister, who played the original Road Warrior, he revealed: "It would have been nice somehow, but no, it's not true.” Miller's also let slip that test screenings have been going extremely well and that everyone involved is very happy. The film will finally hit cinemas in 2015 with Tom Hardy in the lead role.

★ Chucky wants to play again. Following the success of the straight-to-DVD sixth instalment in the franchise, creator Don Mancini has revealed on Twitter that a seventh film has been given the green light. The finale of The Curse Of Chucky did contain a few twists that made a sequel possible although there’s no word yet a storyline although Fiona and Brad Dourif and Summer Howell are expected to return. Also no word yet on whether the next film will be straight-to-DVD again or if a big screen outing is a possibility.

★ Harvey Weinstein is taking on TV with plans to transplant Sin City and The Mist to the small screen. Apparently the directors of both the original movies, Robert Rodriguez and Frank Darabont respectively, are both believed to be involved in the development process. We don’t know a lot right now but we do know that The Mist will be a 10-part miniseries and the Sin City project will quickly follow the 2014 cinema release of Sin City: A Dame To Die For.

★ Sacha Baron Cohen is to make spy comedy Grimsby for Paramount Pictures with Now You See Me helmer Louis Leterrier directing. Described as a parody of the Bond franchise, it’s about a British black ops agent who is forced to go on the run with his long-lost brother, who is a northern English soccer hooligan. The film was originally announced in the summer or 2012 but it’s only now that a director’s been attached to the project that has been written by Baron Cohen and Phil Johnston.

★ Jean-Claude Van Damme wants in on Terminator 5. Responding to an online petition from fans to try to get movie bosses to sign him up, JCVD wrote on his Facebook page: "I would definitely love to join The Terminator franchise with Mr Arnold Schwarzenegger, if I am offered the role. I would love to! Let's see if the studio is interested. Thank you." Alan Taylor, the guy who gave us Thor: The Dark World, is on board to direct but there’s no word on casting yet. But now we know Jean-Claude’s available ... which is nice.

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News Jab: Thanksgiving Weekend US Box Office Report

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Mon, 02/12/2013 - 09:00

Hunger Games: Catching Fire still blazing while Frozen thaws family business

By Rich Matthews

It was a blockbuster weekend all round at the US box office, with Liongate's The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Disney Animation's Frozen both setting new records at the Thanksgiving five-day box office. Both movies beat all previous Thanksgiving records, so now hold the number one (Catching Fire) and number two (Frozen) records for America's late-November holiday kick-off.

The previous record holder was Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone, which took $82.4m way back in 2001. Catching Fire took a huge $110.2m over the five days, with Frozen following up close behind with an equally massive $93m. Focusing just on the weekend itself, Friday through Sunday, The Hunger Games sequel still managed to post the fourth-biggest second weekend in history, taking $74.5m, with only The Avengers ($103.1m), Avatar ($75.6m) and The Dark Knight ($75.2m) ahead of it.

With an international gross standing at $276.5m, Catching Fire already has a massive global gross of $573m, so it's clearly to soar past the original and it's more of a question of just how much it can actually make – is $1bn possible? Frozen, meanwhile, posted the best opening ever for an animated Disney movie, eclipsing 2010's Tangled, which also opened at Thanksgiving to the tune $68.7m. But more importantly, it marked the biggest debut weekend ever over the holiday, easily surpassing previous title holder, Toy Story 2's $80.1m.

It would have been party time in Hollywood if it wasn't the tragic death of Fast & Furious actor Paul Walker in a car accident.

Other new openers during the turkey bonanza were the Jason Statham-starring, Sylvester Stallone-written Homefront, which took $7m to place fifth and Black Nativity starring Forest Whitaker and Angela Bassett at number eight with $3.9m. The big shock opening was Spike Lee's US remake of Korean chiller Oldboy, which could only muster $850,000 from 583 theatres to come a pitiful 17th.

The rest of the top 10 included Thor: The Dark World staying mighty at number three to take $11.1n for a US gross of $186.7m and a global grand total of $591.1m and The Best Man Holiday at number four with a $8.5m gross to take its tally up to $63.4m in the US. Vince Vaughn's Delivery Man actually held better than expected, so it may not be the predicted total disaster many suspected, only dropping 13 per cent to come sixth with $7m – it's US total is now $19.5m, which isn't so bad when you consider that it only cost $22m to make.

At number seven was WWII Geoffrey Rush drama The Book Thief, which expanded to 1,234 locations to gross $4.9m and a domestic total of $7.9m. The chart was rounded out by Stephen Frears' Judi Dench/Steve Coogan dramedy Philomena, which also expanded to 835 theatres to secure a jump in gross of nearly 3,000%, taking in $3.8m for a US gross of $4.8m and a worldwide tally of $19.2m, and aging Vegas Hangover comedy Last Vegas at number 10, which continued to outperform expectations with its $2.8m, domestic total of $58.7m and worldwide cume of $72.8m.

Nothing really huge now until December 13 when The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug will threaten Katniss and the Snow Queen.

IN OTHER NEWS

Fast & Furious 7 going ahead despite death of star Paul Walker | The Guardian

Spike Lee on Oldboy, America's violent history and mouthing off | The Guardian

An astronaut's view on Gravity | The Guardian

Bruce Dern is one of cinema's most underrated actors | The Guardian

AFI Conservatory dean steps down | Screen Daily

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Screenjabber Podcast: Losing Mr Cooper

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Sat, 30/11/2013 - 16:47

Join Neil Davey, Simon Thompson, Doug Cooper (briefly!) and host Stuart O'Connor for some movie news and gossip and a look at a few of this week's UK new releases: Saving Mr Banks, Carrie and Free Birds.

You can listen to and download the podcast here – or subscribe to it on iTunes ... plus you can follow us on Twitter and join us on Facebook.

PubQuest: We're looking to take the Screenjabber Pubcast on the road, and want your input. Know a great pub in London we should visit to record the show? Drop us a line and let us know.

WriterQuest: We're seeking some more writers, particularly those who want to cover video games for us. Please get in touch if you're keen.

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Watch some comedy DVD clips

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Fri, 29/11/2013 - 19:51

Last week saw the release of a host of new stand-up comedy DVD titles, all perfectly timed to get on your Christmas shopping list. We’ve got some great clips from a selection of these new releases to whet your appetite – three from pretty decent British comics, and one from an Australian genius (and the nicest comedian in the world) ...

Adam Hills: Happyism Live
Fresh from his triumph as host of Channel 4’s critically acclaimed entertainment show The Last Leg, Australian funnyman Adam Hills releases his first UK-filmed DVD, Happyism Live. This all-new offering from everyone’s favorite Aussie comedian sees him take to the famous Hammersmith Apollo stage for a first-class evening of comedy with the usual anecdotes and audience participation, all delivered in his refreshingly unique, laid-back style.

 

Seann Walsh: Seann To Be Wild
Seann To Be Wild is the highly-anticipated debut live DVD from one of the most dynamic and charismatic young comedians to emerge in years. Recorded at London’s Hammersmith Apollo, this DVD release will see one of the brightest talents on the UK comedy circuit dominate the stage with his charming and hilarious observational stories and unique physicality.

 

Jack Dee: So What? Live
The UK’s favourite grumpy comedian is back. Jack Dee makes a long overdue and very welcome return to stand-up comedy, as he releases hisnew live comedy DVD, So What? Live – his first release in eight years. This rare release from Jack is the only place fans can experience his latest new material and experience firsthand the original Glum Meister at his most miserable best.

 

Roy Chubby Brown: Who Ate All The Pies?
The nation’s most outrageous comedian returns to the stage with his epic 30th DVD release. Featuring Chubby’s characteristic blue humour and some surprising treats for die hard fans, it’s a must-own on DVD.

 

Ross Noble: Daleks
Surreal funnyman Ross Noble voices his thoughts on reversing trucks and their similarities to some nasty intergalactic despots.

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