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Ninja training is not for the weak (like me)

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Fri, 26/07/2013 - 15:00

By Stuart O'Connor (left, in disguise)

Yesterday I realised that I need to exercise MUCH more often – once every two years is simply not enough. How did I learn this? By spending an hour at a gym in Covent Garden, dressed as a ninja and being trained by a beefy British Army bloke named Rusty.

The press release below can fill in the context:

GYMBOX LAUNCHES LIMITED-EDITION GI JOE FITNESS CLASS

Fitness gurus GYMBOX have launched a first-of-its-kind exercise class combining the best elements of a military bootcamp with the ancient art of ninja training, all to mark the DVD & Blu-ray release of GI JOE: RETALIATION this week.

The unique class, which is a fusion of military and ninja techniques, combines hardcore cardio and aerobic exercises with martial arts based moves helping to fire any participant into the ultimate commando shape. The GI Joe fitness class was launched today with an hour-long pilot session taking place at GYMBOX in Covent Garden. The blockbuster movie starring Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Channing Tatum and action legend Bruce Willis follows the exploits of the Joe’s as they join forces with the ninja assassins to take on a global terrorist.

GYMBOX managing director Richard Hilton says: “Our members are always looking to try fun and innovative ways to keep fit so teaming up with Paramount Pictures for the release of the GI Joe: Retaliation DVD to launch this class is sure to be a success.”

GI Joe: Retaliation is available now on Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray and DVD

Rusty spent an hour putting us through our paces – first with some cardio work (jogs, sprints, squats and pushups) before getting into some martial arts fight training ninja-style (you can see the results below). It was a fun, sweaty and tiring hour that made me realise I need to hit the gym a little more often – I'm still hurting today. And the main lesson we all learnt from the gym session? The ninjas in GI Joe: Retaliation have got nothing at all to worry about.

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News Jab: US Box Office Report

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Mon, 22/07/2013 - 18:54

The Conjuring is magic while R.I.P.D. is D.O.A

By Rich Matthews

By rights, Hollywood should be questioning its summer tentpole release strategy. Universal's $130m Men-In-Black-with-ghosts comic-book adaptation R.I.P.D, starring Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds, opened at a woeful number seven with only $12.8m for the weekend.

With Warner Bros/Legendary's Pacific Rim (number six, suffering a 57% drop to take $16m for a US tally of $68m), Disney's The Lone Ranger (number 11 with a total of $81m), Sony's White House Down (number 12 with $68.5m) and Sony's earlier Will Smith stinker After Earth (long gone from the charts, with a US gross of $59.6m) all falling flat, it's clear that summer 2013's cluttered release schedule, loaded with the fruit of the studios' less-films-costing-more policy, may not be good for overall business.

Likewise, an unprecedented number of animated releases means that Dreamworks/Fox's latest, racing-snail tale Turbo, opened with one of Dreamworks Animation's lowest-ever opening grosses, $21.5m landing it at number three, behind rival CG behemoth, Despicable Me 2 at number two, raking in a further $25m to take its US gross up to $276m and its global haul to $584.6m. Also failing to get a grip in the scrabble was retiree action sequel RED 2, with the Bruce Willis headliner landing at number five, grossing an okay $18.5m, which is nonetheless less than the original's opening numbers. However, the main cause for celebration was the triumph of James Wan's $21m-budget horror The Conjuring, which opened at number one with a triumphant $41.5m, far exceeding expectations, even those of maker New Line. Those behind The Conjuring would be justified to feel smug at topping the box office ahead of all its mega-budget rivals.

The rest of the top 10 saw Adam Sandler ensemble sequel Grown Ups 2 take fourth with a gross of $20m for a total of $79.5m, while the Sandra Bullock/Melissa McCarthy buddy cop comedy The Heat fell to eighth, but took a decent $9.3m to raise it's tally to $129.3m. World War Z and Monsters University rounded out the chart at ninth and 10th, respectively, with the Brad Pitt zombie flick adding a further $5.2m to its $186m total ($456.4m global) and the Disney/Pixar prequel scaring up $5m to climb to $249m and $532.9m worldwide.

Things calm down a little next weekend, with only The Wolverine slashing into the charts on wide release, before family fave The Smurfs 2 bounds up on July 31.

IN OTHER NEWS

Actor Dennis Farina dies at 69 | USA Today

Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright rule out new episodes of Spaced | NME

Superman and Batman to unite in blockbuster battle of the superheroes | The Independent

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Screenjabber Podcast: Drinking at the end of the world

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Sat, 20/07/2013 - 17:15

Join podcasters Stuart Barr, Doug Cooper, Andrew Jones and Stuart O'Connor for some newsy chat about the 2013 Emmy nominations and the RoboCop remake, plus reviews of new films The World's End, The Frozen Ground, Breathe In, Easy Money and Eden ...

We also have a separate interview with Chong Kim, whose shocking story is the subject of Eden.

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 that we should visit to record the show? Then 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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News Jab: US Box Office Report

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Mon, 15/07/2013 - 07:36

Pacific Rim is smacked down by Grown Ups 2

By Rich Matthews

As discussed in last week's column, Guillermo del Toro's internet fanboy fave Pacific Rim could only to land at number three at this weekend's US box office, taking a dangerously low $38.3m. One of the last Warner Bros/Legendary Pictures co-productions (Legendary is moving to Universal), Pacific Rim cost an estimated $190m to produce, with Legendary stumping up the bulk of the budget on the monsters versus robots tentpole. With an international opening of $53m, Pacific Rim finished the weekend with a global haul of $91m. Legendary will be crossing its fingers that it has legs as longs as its giant robots internationally.

In a triumph of appalling taste, Adam Sandler's first sequel, Grown Ups 2, managed to gross $42.5m to come in at number two. It represents a real victory for Sandler, who really needed a hit after a string of box office bombs. We don't have much more to say about.

But both of the new releases were trumped by Despicable Me 2 in its second weekend, clearly stacking up to a real blockbusters – $44.8m for a US total of $229.2m and a worldwide gross of $472.4m. The Universal/Illumination sequel will pass the final international gross of the first film early next week.

Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy continued to raise box office temperatures with The Heat, grossing a strong $14m for a total of $112m, on course to be the biggest comedy hit of the summer so far. Limping along behind at number five is Disney dud The Lone Ranger, lassoing a precipitous $11.1m to whinny up a truly woeful $71m. Having cost an estimated $250m+, Disney is estimated to lose at least $150m on the Johnny Depp/Jerry Bruckheimer/Gore Verbinski turkey.

Rounding out the top 10 in positions five to the end, were Disney/Pixar prequel Monsters University ($10.6m, US tally $237.8m, global total $474.2m), Brad Pitt zombie actioner World War Z ($9.4m, $177m, $423.1m), Channing Tatum/Jamie Foxx action flop White House Down from Roland Emmerich ($6.2m, $62.9m, $82.7m), stand-up concert flick Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain ($5m, $26.4m) and Superman reboot Man Of Steel ($4.8m, $281m, $619.2m).

Next weekend sees Dreamworks racing snail animation Turbo, horror The Conjuring, Bruce Willis OAP action sequel Red 2 and undead cops movie R.I.P.D, starring Jeff Bridge and Ryan Reynolds. So expect Despicable Me 2 to still be number one ...

IN OTHER NEWS

Glee star Cory Monteith dead at 31 | The Wrap

The curse of the modern movie trailer | The Daily Telegraph

Studios scrap Hulu sale plans | Screen Daily

Mark Cerny: ‘PS4′s architecture offers more customisation than PC’ | VR-Zone

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Screenjabber Podcast: Jaeger bombs all round

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Thu, 11/07/2013 - 22:13

And in a packed programme this week, podcasters Stuart Barr, Doug Cooper, Simon Thompson, Jenny Priestley, David Watson, David Howland and Stuart O'Connor discuss the next Bond director, the 2014 Oscars, the future of 3D and the sequels of the future. They also find time to review Pacific Rim, Monsters University and Trap For Cinderella.

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 that we should visit to record the show? Then 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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News Jab: US Box Office Report

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Tue, 09/07/2013 - 10:40

Despicable Me 2 trounces The Lone Ranger over July 4 weekend

By Rich Matthews

By the end of the five-day Fourth of July weekend, Universal and Illumination's Steve Carell-fronted sequel Despicable Me 2 managed to gross nearly three as much as Disney's Johnny Depp/Jerry Bruckheimer/Gore Verbinksi Pirates Of The Caribbean wannabe blockbuster The Lone Ranger.

DM2 now has $142m in the bank, compared to Ranger's $48.9m, which doesn't seem so bad until you factor in Ranger's estimated budget of more than $250m, compared to Despicable's approximate cost of $75m. DM2 almost matched the first five-day tally of Toy Story 3 and managed to pull in a global total of $293.2m from 45 countries.

Disney's attempt to start a new mega-franchise only managed a worldwide gross of $78.3m, which has prompted box office observers to already label it a costly bomb, this year's John Carter and the third high-profile failure after Will Smith's After Earth and Channing Tatum/Jamie Foxx actioner White House Down. The Lone Ranger will need Johnny Depp's big international following to take the heft and move the film into anywhere near profit, but at the moment it doesn't look good. For DM2, it's just a question of how big can it go now.

At number three, the Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy comedy The Heat held strong, dropping only 36% to take $25m for a total of $86.3m. The top five is rounded out by Disney/Pixar prequel Monsters University with $19.6m and a tally of $216m and Brad Pitt zombie hit World War Z, with $18.2m to approach the $160m mark.

The rest of the top 10 is made up of the aforementioned White House Down ($13.5m, $50.5m, $67.9m), Superman reboot Man Of Steel ($11.4m, $271m, $586.8m), stand-up comedy film Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain ($10.1m, $17.5m), stoner armageddon This Is The End ($5.8m, $85.6m, $90.7m) and indie magician thriller Now You See Me ($2.8m, $110.4m, $169.5m).

Next weekend sees Adam Sandler's first sequel (and attempt to get back on the blockbuster comedy track) Grown Ups 2, co-starring Kevin James, Chris Rock and David Spade, taking on Guillermo del Toro's human-piloted robots vs giant monsters spectacular Pacific Rim. Against all common sense, tracking has Sandler looking likely to win the weekend. Please, America - go and see Pacific Rim, just to keep the natural balance of the world in check.

IN OTHER NEWS

The Last Of Us sells 3.4m | T3

A Field in England figures revealed | Screen Daily

Government cuts BFI funding by 10% | The Knowledge

Community's Donald Glover reduces role for Season 5 | Den of Geek US

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Screenjabber Podcast: Look at all our shit!

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Sat, 06/07/2013 - 12:17

This week listen in as podcasters Doug Cooper, Ian Ford, Tom Mimnagh, Simon Thompson, David Watson and host Stuart O'Connor are not joined by film "expert" Kanye West. But they do give their verdicts on Bula Quo, The Internship, Now You See Me, The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser, Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer, The Bling Ring and A Field in England.

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 that we should visit to record the show? Then 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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News Jab: US Box Office Report

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Mon, 01/07/2013 - 09:33

The Heat burns White House Down while Monsters U is still No.1

By Rich Matthews

It was business as usual this weekend at the US box office as Pixar/Disney prequel Monsters University retained the top spot, taking $46.2m for a domestic total of $171m and an impressive global tally of $300.3m.

The big new releases of the week – Sandra Bullock/Melissa McCarthy cop com The Heat from Bridesmaids director Paul Feig and Channing Tatum/Jamie Foxx terrorist actioner White House Down from Independence Day director Roland Emmerich were sandwiched either side of Brad Pitt zombie apocalypse drama World War Z, which landed at three with $28.8m and totals of £123.7m and $259m.

The Heat looks likely to simmer along nicely after debuting at number two with $40m McCarthy and Feig's last film together, Bridesmaids, opened to $26.2m and went on to take in $288.4m worldwide. Expect the female-centric pic to have staying power over the weeks to come. Meanwhile, expensive Sony tentpole White House Down is already considered a flop with its disappointing $25.7m opening at number four in the chart. It's possible that the $150m action flick was damaged by the recent Gerard Butler White House actioner Olympus Has Fallen, but this represents the second high-profile failure for Sony this summer, alongside Will Smith clunker After Earth.

At number five, Man Of Steel just about stayed in the air, grossing $20.8m and crossing the magic $500m mark worldwide. It will be interesting to see what final gross will be considered a success for the Superman franchise by Warner Bros, but Steel has already passed "failure" Superman Returns, it's now just a question of how much more it will gross.

The rest of the top 10 was populated by holdovers, with comedian apocalypse This Is The End ($8.7m, 74.7m), illusionist indie thriller Now You See Me ($5.5m, $104.7m, $153m global), carmageddon sequel Fast & Furious 6 ($2,4m, 233.3m, $682m), prequel sequel Star Trek Into Darkness ($2m, $220m, $438m) and Google comedy flop The Internship ($1.4m, $41.7m, $56.5m).

Internationally, Universal's Steve Carell animation sequel Despicable Me 2 opened in eight territories and grossed an excellent $50m, setting a UK record for Universal with $23m, so expect it to rocket it the top of the US chart when it opens next weekend. Whether or not Johnny Depp's Pirates-with-cowboys actioner The Lone Ranger can compete remains to be seen.

IN OTHER NEWS

BBFC to regulate mobile content | Screen Daily

James Cameron sued by artist Roger Dean over Avatar | BBC News

Alec Baldwin apologises to Glaad over anti-gay Twitter comments | The Guardian

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Screenjabber Podcast: The Apocalypse Part 2

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Sun, 30/06/2013 - 16:16

Join podcasters Doug Cooper, Mark Searby and Stuart O'Connor as they discuss the newly-announced film lineup for FrightFest 2013, as well as this week's UK cinema releases: Despicable Me 2, Hummingbird, Stand Up Guys, The East, Stories We Tell and apocalyptic comedy This Is The End.

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 that we should visit to record the show? Then 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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News Jab: US Box Office Report

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Sun, 23/06/2013 - 22:24

Monsters beat zombies as MU scares up more business than World War Z

By Rich Matthews

Pixar/Disney prequel Monsters University scared $82m out of the US public this weekend to take the top spot at the American box office. It was closely followed by Brad Pitt’s notoriously troubled zombie adaptation World War Z, which clocked up a healthy $66m, marking the biggest opening of Pitt’s career. There’s already talk of Paramount fast-tracking a sequel to establish Pitt’s first full-fledged franchise. The performance of the top two helped make this weekend the second best of the year so far.

Still flying at number three, Zack Snyder’s Superman reboot Man Of Steel did take a dive in altitude, dropping a hefty 65% to take $41.2m for a 10-day total of $210m in the US and global tally of $283.3m. Whether Man Of Steel can now soar to the heady heights promised by its $126m opening is now slightly in doubt.

Slacker comedian apocalypse This Is The End held at number four with a solid decline of only 37.3 per cent to take $13m, with a total of $57.8m. Then indie magic thriller Now You See Me continued to over-perform by taking $7.9m for a $94.5m total.

The rest of the top 10 was filled out by Fast & Furious 6 ($4.7m, for a US tally of $228.4m and a global haul of $645.7m), limping Vince Vaughn/Owen Wilson Google “comedy” The Internship ($3.4m, $38.4m), future horror The Purge ($3.4m, $59.4), Star Trek Into Darkness ($3m, $216.6m, $430m), and likely biggest film of the year Iron Man 3 ($2.2m, $403m, $1.2bn).

Next weekend brings comedy big hitter The Heat, starring Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy and Roland Emmerich Washington DC attack flick White House Down, starring Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx. Then July kicks off in style with expected family mega-sequel Despicable Me 2 and Johnny Depp fantasy Western The Lone Ranger.

IN OTHER NEWS

Digital cinema conversion nears end game | Variety

Game of Thrones tops list of most pirated TV shows | The Hollywood Reporter

James Gandolfini funeral service set for Thursday in NYC | Deadline Hollywood

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