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US Box Office Report

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Wed, 04/06/2014 - 07:59

Maleficent is magical while A Million Ways To Die In The West is DOA

By Rich Matthews

Disney did it again, with Angelina Jolie scoring the biggest opening of her career after four years away from the screen as Sleeping Beauty reboot Maleficent took $70m this weekend.

Internationally, the recast fairytale grossed $100.6m from 47 territories, including more than $10m in the UK. With Frozen edging up the all-time grossers chart – it's now number five – Disney looks to have another non-romantic true love hit on its hands, with its target female audience historically more loyal and prone to repeat visits than the the male-dominated fan groups who propel superhero and action movies to the top of the box office, only to drop away on the second weekend – which is evident in X-Men: Days Of Future Past dropping 64.1 per cent in its sophomore bow, taking $32.6m for a US tally of $162.1m.

The latest X-Men did set a new franchise record thanks to a far superior international gross than the rest of the series, crossing the $500m benchmark. Increasingly, geek movie are more dependent on strong legs internationally.

Godzilla also continued the US box office pattern at number four, losing a further 60.5 per cent to take $12.2m for a total of $174.7m – undoubtedly a hit, the Warner Bros monster movie will have to show real stamina if it's to hold on in the face of the rest of the summer tentpoles. It's global gross stands at $374.7m.

Just ahead of Godzilla (barely) at three was Seth MacFarlane's Ted follow-up, Western comedy A Million Ways To Die In The West – also from Universal. Showing that even the seeming Midas touch of Family Guy MacFarlane can't withstand the modern audience's apparent distaste for the oater, it only managed to lasso $17.1m, compared to the $54m-plus grabbed by the profane talking teddy bear in its debut bow. It also managed to bag $10.3m internationally, but it looks very unlikely to get anywhere near Ted's $549m "highest grossing R-rated comedy of all time" status. MacFarlane's next flick? Ted 2 is a sure bet.

The top five was rounded out by the underperforming Adam Sandler/Drew Barrymore reunion relationship comedy Blended, with an $8.4m gross for a meagre $29.6m domestic total.

There were no other new entries into the top 10, with Neighbors continuing to do outstanding business by taking $7.7m ($128.6m US, $207.9m global), The Amazing Spider-Man 2 still lagging behind the first reboot with $3.8m ($192.7m, $690m) and will be lucky to scrape much past $200m, Disney Jon Hamm baseball vehicle Million Dollar Arm at 8 with $3.7m ($28.1m), Jon Favreau's return to his indie roots Chef cooking up $2m ($7m), and Cameron Diaz/Leslie Mann/Kate Upton revenge comedy The Other Woman taking $1.4m ($81.1m, $172.4m).

Next weekend Tom Cruise looks likely to be staring at Oblivion and Jack Reacher numbers with sci-fi actioner Edge Of Tomorrow from Bourne launcher Doug Liman and Shailene Woodley gets a star test with The Fault In Our Stars.

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The Top 10 Crime Fighters

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Fri, 30/05/2014 - 08:52

For a while now, many have deemed RoboCop to be popular culture’s most recognisable crime-fighting characters of all time. In line with its Limited Edition Blu-ray Steelbook, Blu-ray and DVD release on June 9 from STUDIOCANAL, we count down not only the 10 most recognisable crime-fighters, but the best 10 the entertainment world has had to offer...

Dirty Harry 
Appearances... Dirty Harry (1971), Magnum Force (1973), The Enforcer (1976), Sudden Impact (1983), The Dead Pool (1988)
Played by... Clint Eastwood

It’s quite impressive that Eastwood has played Harry Callahan, his defining cop not afraid to cross ethical boundaries to serve justice, a total of five times over his illustrious career. An inspector with the San Francisco police department, his primary concern is to protect and avenge the victims of violent crime by any means necessary.

Popeye Doyle 
Appearances... The French Connection (1971), French Connection II (1975)
Played by... Gene Hackman

Based on real-life New York City police detective Eddie Egan, Hackman’s portrayal of the character Popeye Doyle is deemed one of the genres best characters, the actor winning the Best Actor Oscar for his efforts. A tough detective, Doyle is not afraid to cross the line to catch the criminals who deserve to get caught, dedicated to catching drug dealers littered throughout the city.

John McClane 
Appearances... Die Hard (1988), Die Hard 2 (1990), Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995), Live Free or Die Hard (2007), A Good Day to Die Hard (2012)
Played by... Bruce Willis

If you were to ask every uncle the world round who their action hero is, they would probably provide Willis as an answer – in no doubt down to the fact he is John McClane. Fighting megalomaniacs ranging from German terrorists to AWOL US mercenaries in locations ranging from skyscrapers to aeroplanes, McClane is the dependable force that will no doubt save the day – a legacy so strong that not even the somewhat poor fifth outing, A Good Day to Die Hard, could taint it.

Bruce Wayne AKA Batman  
Appearances... Batman (1989), Batman Returns (1992), Batman Forever (1995), Batman and Robin (1997), Batman Begins (2005), The Dark Knight (2008), The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
Played by... Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney, Christian Bale

Created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger for the DC comic strip, Batman bears no introduction. While his alias Bruce Wayne becomes the heir of Gotham after the murder of his parents, his caped crusading counterpart fights devilish villains ranging from The Riddler, The Scarecrow and The Joker. While Tim Burton's and Joel Schumacher’s films embraced the more fun aspect of this character, it was Christopher Nolan’s reboot of the franchise in 2005 that really translated the real-world murky crime underworld to Gotham, a feel that truly benefits Batman’s crime-fighting capabilities.

The Lieutenant 
Appearances... Bad Lieutenant (1992), Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (2009)
Played by...
Harvey Keitel, Nicolas Cage
Keitel depicts the eponymous Lieutenant in Abel Ferrara’s 1992 film, an extremely debauched law enforcer who takes drugs, engages in threesomes and lets petty thieves away with their crimes. As the film continues, his behaviour spirals out of control, with his efforts in catching the criminals ramping up to unethical degrees. Cage played the character in Werner Herzog’s reimagining, Port of Call New Orleans.

Judge Dredd 
Appearances... Judge Dredd (1995), Dredd (2012)
Played by... Sylvester Stallone, Karl Urban

Originating as a comic book character, Judge Dredd is an extremely recognisable character largely thanks to the helmet that he wears. A law enforcement officer in a violent dystopian future, he is judge, juror and executioner all in one who seeks out crime scenes to lay down the law as he sees fit. Stallone played an incarnation of the character in a badly received 1995 film (many were disappointed by the character removing his helmet...) but a fresh version starring Urban as the titular Dredd wiped the slate clean, providing the crime fighter with a lease of cinematic life.

Jack Bauer 
Appearances... 24: Seasons 1-8 (2001-2010), 24: Redemption (2008), 24: Live Another Day (2014)
Played by... Kiefer Sutherland

24 pretty much altered the way network television was viewed, enhanced even more so by Sutherland’s role-of-a-lifetime as Jack Bauer, an agent who mostly works for LA’s Counter Terrorist Unit (CTU). Throughout the series, which has just returned to screens after a four year absence, Bauer fights terrorists from around the world to prevent attacks on America, ranging from the political, the biological and the personal. Appearing in all 194 episodes to date, Bauer is one of TV’s greatest heroes, working alongside the White House and employing questionable tactics to acquire the information he needs. Altogether now: "Dammit!"

Alonzo Harris 
Appearances... Training Day (2001)
Played by... Denzel Washington

Washington plays LAPD narcotic detective Alonzo Harris in David Ayer’s critically-acclaimed Training Day; winning an Oscar for Best Actor, Washington plays the crime-fighter as a hard-core justice seeker, who is a master manipulator and somebody who the criminals would be afraid to cross. Engaging in illegal actions to seek justice, such is Harris’s status that some of these are sanctioned by higher authority making Harris an even more dangerous force.

Appearances... The Raid: Redemption (2011), The Raid 2: Berandal (2014)
Played by... Iko Uwais

Having now played Rama in two films, Uwais’ character has become something of an icon, participating in authentically-choreographed fight scenes (some of which take place for extended amounts of time), like nobody has before.  A loving husband and father-to-be at the beginning of the first film, Rama is shown as somebody who views survival as key and will do all he has to in order to fulfil his orders as a rookie police cop. By the time of Berandal, he is a rookie SWAT officer who integrates himself into a crime family to uncover corruption within the police force.

Alex Murphy – RoboCop
Appearances... RoboCop (1987), RoboCop 2 (1990), RoboCop 3 (1993), RoboCop (2014)
Played by... Peter Weller, Robert John Burke, Joel Kinnaman

When dedicated cop Alex Murphy is killed in the line of duty, he is transformed into a cyborg entity known as RoboCop by mega-corporation OmniCorp. His aim? To rid Detroit of its rising crime levels. Leading to scenes such as RoboCop proving he can out-fight a room filled to the brim with criminals, he is not only an imminent force in the films but in the history of cinema, perhaps proving one of the most recognisable crime-fighters of all time. Memorably, he is programmed to follow three prime directives: serve the public trust, protect the innocent and uphold the law. Comply or die, indeed.

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The Top 10 Revenge Movies

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Thu, 29/05/2014 - 08:06

The revenge movie is a tough genre to nail. Most usually, these films feature protagonists you can root for and antagonists you yearn to meet grisly ends. Whether set in a historical period, a familiarly contemporary place or a dystopian future, what unites these films is a character’s need to avenge those closest to them. With the DVD and Blu-ray release of Out of the Furnace set for June 2, we count down the best examples of revenge movies.

Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)
Sergio Leone’s classic Spaghetti Western follows Charles Bronson’s Harmonica-playing gunman who pursues the villain of the piece, Frank (Henry Fonda, playing against type). Much of the film is spent wondering why ‘Harmonica’ wants to exact revenge upon Frank - however, this is revealed to the audience in a crucial flashback which explains how Frank was the one to blame, not only for the hanging of Harmonica’s older brother, but the reason he decided to play the instrument in the first place which provides the epic with its musical motif throughout.

Get Carter (1971)
This British crime thriller from director Mike Hodges stars Michael Caine in the iconic role of Jack Carter, a London gangster who travels home to investigate the events surrounding his brother’s seemingly accidental death. With vengeance on his mind, Carter discovers foul play at work, and becomes more violent in his interrogations. 

Mad Max (1979)
This dystopian action classic stars Mel Gibson in the title role as an Australian policeman who sets out to avenge the death of his partner – wife and son, all murdered by a motorcycle gang in retaliation for the death of their leader. Directed by George Miller, Mad Mac depicts its revenge in a brutal manner, shooting Gibson to superstardom in the process. Two sequels followed, and another (Mad Max: Fury Road, starring Tom Hardy) is due out next year.

The Crow (1994)
A true cult gem, The Crow stars Brandon Lee (in what was his final role following his tragic on-set death) as Eric Draven, a man comes back to life after being brutally murdered in order to avenge his fiancée’s death, as well as his own. Fit with a costume and face make-up designed to make him look like a porcelain harlequin, Draven’s vengeances leads him into the murky underworld of Detroit.

Gladiator (2000)
Ridley Scott’s Oscar-winning epic stars Russell Crowe as Maximus Deciums Meridius. When the Emperor’s corrupted son Commodus (Joaquin Pheonix) murders his father to seize the throne, Maximus is reduced to slavery, and must rise through the ranks of the gladiatorial arena in order to avenge the death of his family.    

Kill Bill Vol. 1/Kill Bill Vol. 2 (2003/2004)
A true revenge thrill ride, Quentin Tarantino’s pet project, focusing on Uma Thurman’s largely unnamed Bride (her real name is Beatrix Kiddo) focuses on the female protagonist, left for dead by The Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, a group of highly-trained killers led by David Carradine’s eponymous Bill. Under no pretence as to what the motives of our lead character is, Thurman’s Bride - unnamed in Volume 1 - speaks directly to camera, informing us of her plans to... well, kill Bill.

Faster (2010)
If anybody plans to successfully avenge their brother’s death, it is almost always going to be Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, who does just that in Faster, a 2010 crime thriller which co-stars Billy Bob Thornton and Maggie Grace. Coming up against opposition from an old-school cop and egocentric hit man, Driver meets extreme obstacles in his quest to avenge the death which occurred when they were double-crossed during a heist years previous.

I Saw the Devil (2010)
A serial killer targets the wrong person when the secret agent fiancée of the female victim goes to the most extreme lengths to catch and exact revenge upon the sadistic murderer. This cat-and-mouse thriller grows more horrifying with every scene, not afraid to spin the crime drama on its head and to make the villain the hunted.

Blue Ruin (2013)
A festival favourite currently wowing critics and audiences alike, Blue Ruin follows Macon Blair’s Dwight who returns to his childhood home to carry out an act of revenge. However, the amateur assassin that he is means he is forced into brutal fight whereby protecting his family becomes more difficult than he could have imagined. Jeremy Saulnier puts this unlikely character at the forefront of this genre film, spurred on by a traumatising event. The end result will take your breath away.

Out of the Furnace (2013)
In Out of the Furnace (directed by Crazy Heart’s Scott Cooper), Christian Bale plays Russell Baze, a steel mill worker who is forced into a position where protecting those closest to him spurs wildly into a case of avenging those closest to him; embroiling himself into a murky underworld led by Woody Harrelson’s sociopathic drug dealer Harlan DeGroat, Baze must embed himself into a group of people in such a way that revenge will hit them most hard.

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US Box Office Report

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Mon, 26/05/2014 - 12:51

X-Men: Days Of Future Past claws to the top

By Rich Matthews

As expected, Fox's prequel/sequel X-Men: Days Of Future Past dominated the US box office over the Memorial Day weekend, grossing $90.7m in the standard three-day weekend, putting just behind the openings of Captain America: The Winter Soldier ($95m) and the ever-fading The Amazing Spider-Man 2 ($91.6m).

That's also behind franchise-best 2006's X-Men: The Last Stand, which opened on the exact same weekend to take $102.8m, non-adjusted. If you ignore the money and look only at bums on seats, Days Of Future Past also placed behind X2 and X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

However, compared to the two most recent franchise entries, director Bryan Singer's return to the world of mutants scored just shy of $40m more than last year's The Wolverine and franchise reboot X-Men: First Class. Its inability to really knock it out of the park and beat Last Stand is likely a reflection of the change in the volume of superhero movies in the marketplace, a dynamic that is also clearly having an impact on Spider-Man.

Days Of Future Past's saving grace – as is so often the case in today's moviegoing world – is a much better international performance, where it grossed a massive $171.1m in its worldwide opening, making it very likely to pass The Wolverine's $282m within a week or so, which will make it the franchise's biggest international performer, and the overall top X grosser when it finally leaves theatres.

At number two, Godzilla took a hefty 66 per cent tumble to gross $31.4m, taking its domestic total to $148.8m and a worldwide gross of $315.4m. With Japanese audiences complaining that this Godzilla is a fat American version of the 50-storey lizard, future-Star Wars-spinoff helmer Gareth Edwards' update is currently tracking on par with the inflation-adjusted gross of Sony's 1998 attempt. However, studios tend to turn a blind eye to inflation and Godzilla's final numbers may well prove big enough to warrant a sequel.

The giant aquatic reptile was followed up at number three by the third onscreen partnership between Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore, Blended, with a massively underwhelming $14.2m. Compare it to Grown Ups 2's $42m opening and this marks a real disappointment for Warner Bros, especially given it was a big piece of counter-programming that hoped to parlay the enduring appeal of Sandler and Barrymore's The Wedding Singer.

In comparison, the Seth Rogen/Zac Efron ribald R-rated comedy Neighbors sat just behind Blended, grossing $14m to take its tally to $113.6m and $181m worldwide. With Captain America finally dropping out of the top 10, the only other superhero in the chart, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, grossed a further $7.8m to raise its domestic gross to a disappointing $184.9m (80m behind the original reboot) and its worldwide tally to $673.9m, again $80m off pace.

The remainder of the top 10 saw Disney's Million Dollar Arm take $7.1m ($20.6m US), Cameron Diaz comedy The Other Woman gross $3.7m ($78m US, $164m worldwide), parrot animation Rio 2 bag $2.5m ($121.6m, $448.2m), Jon Favreau's indie Chef expanding its theatre count to take $2.3m ($3.5m) and Heaven Is For Real keeping the faith for $2m ($85.8m).

Next week brings a real test for Disney as the Angelina Jolie-fronted reimagining of Sleeping Beauty, Maleficent, makes its CGI-heavy entrance, while Seth MacFarlane sees if he can follow-up Ted's success with A Million Ways To Die In The West.

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Screenjabber Pubcast: Just some gigolos

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Sat, 24/05/2014 - 17:33

They're back! Join Doug Cooper, David Watson, Andrew Jones and host Stuart O'Connor for reviews of what's (slightly) old and new in UK cinemas: Frank, Blue Ruin, Bad Neighbours, The Wind Rises, Silent Sonata, The Two Faces of January, In Secret, Godzilla, Fading Gigolo, X-Men: Days of Future Past and Blended. Plus Amon Warmann joins the guys for a chat about the Modern Family season finale and the home entertainment releases Willow Creek, Birth of The Living Dead and The Wolf of Wall Street.

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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Top Dog: interview with Martin Kemp and Leo Gregory

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Fri, 23/05/2014 - 07:42

Screenjabber's Peter deGraft-Johnson sits down for a chat with director Martin Kemp and star Leo Gregory ahead of the release of Top Dog, a new football film with a dramatic twist.

Top Dog tries to bring a new side to the normal football films we've seen before, adding some real family drama to the mix. It's out to own on Blu-ray and DVD on Monday May 26 from Universal Pictures.

SYNOPISIS | Hooligan gang leader, Billy Evans (Gregory), is above the law. He knows it, and they know it. And when you regard the law as an irrelevance, all kinds of opportunities can open up for you – especially when you begin to exert your increasingly powerful influence over the back street pubs and clubs of east London. But he's about to discover that this time he's finally pushed his luck too far. And this time it isn't the law he'll have to contend with. It's something far more dangerous.

Top Dog tells the story of how Billy’s life takes a brutal turn for the worse when he bites off more than he can chew with underworld figure Mickey (Ricci Harnett) over a family member’s pub he wants to reclaim as the home of his football firm, the Acton Casuals.

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Taking Out the (Trailer) Trash

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Tue, 20/05/2014 - 07:43

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 the latest roundup of what is coming soon to a cinema near you .

Sex Tape

Bad Teacher co-stars Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel reunite with director Jake Kasdan to bring us this R-rated comedy based around the nightmare scenario of accidently leaking a sex tape. Segal and Diaz are a married couple who go down the DIY porno route in an attempt to spice things up in the bedroom. It would be a pretty short film if that plan worked out for them, which it doesn’t – the video finds its way onto “The Cloud” and hilarity ensues as the husband and wife duo battle technology as they try to erase the video’s existence. There’s so many f-bombs in this trailer that it eventually stops being funny, but there’s some great tech-based gags which makes it worth a look. Just don’t watch this trailer with your kids. You have been warned.
US Release: July 25
UK Release: September 5

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Looks like the die-hard TNMT fans will finally get the movie they’ve been waiting... oh no, wait, this looks terrible. What’s wrong with their noses? I know they’re mutant turtles, but WHAT’S WRONG WITH THEIR NOSES?!
US Release: August 8
UK Release: October 17

Jersey Boys

After last year’s Republican National Convention fiasco, in which he conversed with an inanimate for object for what felt like an eternity, it seemed likely that Clint Eastwood was on his way to a Hollywood retirement home. Thankfully that’s not the case. He’s obviously still a geriatric, but he’s a geriatric who makes great films and this one looks like another winner. Based on the Broadway/West End musical of the same name Jersey Boys is the story of Frankie Valley & the Four Seasons. Expect Itallian-American accents, plenty of foot tapping and the guy who plays Lucky Luciano in Boardwalk Empire.
UK & US Release: June 20

How to Train Your Dragon 2

“So it’s like Game of Thrones without the boobs?” is what I would say if I were a less cultured individual. Luckily for you guys, I am a very cultured individual who loves animated movies aimed at children. If you haven’t seen 2010’s How to Train Your Dragon, get down to Tesco or Walmart or Target or wherever it is you buy your DVD’s from, and have a rummage through the bargain bin because you can probably pick it up for under a fiver. Take a kid with you though, you’ll look a bit weird otherwise…And make sure it’s your kid, or the kid of someone you’re very close to, Don’t just go grabbing kids off the street. That’ll probably get you in trouble, and “I just wanted to buy a DVD, you honour” is not a solid defence. Trust me.
US Release: June 13
UK Release: July 4

Sin City: A Dame to Die For

Robert Rodriguez  reunites with Frank Miller, a man so conservative he makes the aforementioned Clint Eastwood look like Yoko Ono. You really have to separate the artist from the art when it comes to enjoying Miller’s work, or just be completely oblivious to his existence, because the guy really is a massive douche bag. Anyway, the long-awaited sequel to 2005’s Sin City has a cast list that’s just as impressive as its predecessor. The Clive Owen Appreciation Society might be a bit pissed-off though - he’s been replaced by Josh Brolin. (Rejoice, members of the Josh Brolin Fan Club).
US Release: August 22
UK Release: August 29

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US Box Office Report

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Mon, 19/05/2014 - 07:01

Godzilla stomps to the top

By Rich Matthews

Everyone expected Warner Bros/Legendary Pictures creature feature tentpole Godzilla to easily win the weekend at the US box office, but Gareth Edwards' labour of love trounced all predictions of $65m by grossing $93.2m.

Talk of a new franchise reborn filled the rarified Hollywood air, as the Japan-born literal blockbuster also grossed $103m internationally for a stonking first weekend's $196.2m. Conversation also turned to how this was a more successful launch than Sony's 1998 Roland Emmerich-directed attempt, which took $44m for a final domestic gross of $136.3 and global cume of $379m – but it's worth noting that the inflation-adjusted numbers tells a different story, with the opening in 2014 money coming to $106.2m by the same point.

That makes its US tally an impressive $230m and its total gross a bulky $633m worldwide in today's change – numbers that will undoubtedly make the new Godzilla a bona fide hit, if it hits them. Emmerich didn't really stand a chance 16 years ago because he was following up mega-blockbuster Independence Day, which took $817.4m in 1996 money (approximately $1.4bn adjusted, which is Avengers big), and Godzilla's gross paled in comparison. Back to the present, and Godzilla once again looks like a viable franchise and is a boost for Legendary (which paid for 75 per cent of the film's budget) as it parts ways with Warners to plough pastures new with Universal.

Meanwhile, Disney's Jon Hamm-starring baseball comedy Million Dollar Arm could only manage to score $10.5m for a number four ranking, with Seth Rogen/Zac Efron frat vs parents comedy Neighbors taking $26m in second place ($91.5m US, $146.3m worldwide) and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 $16.8m in third. Spidey 2's tally now stands at $172.2m in the US and $633.2m worldwide, which puts it a good $50m off the pace of the first reboot domestically, and needing another $120m to match its global gross. However, this could be mirroring the pattern of Sam Raimi's early noughties trilogy, which saw Spider-Man 2 grossing around $40m less overall that the first film. If that trends continues, Sony can expect The Amazing Spider-Man 3 to be the biggest yet. The top five was rounded out by Cameron Diaz/Leslie Mann/Kate Upton cuckold comdy The Other Woman with $6.3m ($71.7m US, $151m worldwide).

Bringing up the back five were godly grosser Heaven Is For Real ($4.4m, $82.2m), parrot sequel Rio 2 ($3.8m, $118m, $438m), Marvel's current barnstormer Captain America: The Winter Soldier ($3.8m, $251m and crossing the $700m worldwide mark with $703.4m), animated turkey Legends Of Oz: Dorothy's Return ($2m,$6.6m) and Christian comedy Moms' Night Out ($1.9m, $7.3m).

Godzilla's muscle will truly be tested next weekend, with Fox's mutant-crammed brain twisting bringing together of cast young and old for X-Men: Days Of Future Past, which is expected to bring the biggest gross of the year so of around $125m. The big lizard also has deal with the lesser threat of the reunion of Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore in Blended.

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London's moral compass put to test

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Thu, 15/05/2014 - 22:20

The moral compass of the British public was put to the test this week, with a hidden camera experiment, aiming to determine whether or not the average Londoner would pocket £1,000 found on the streets of the city.

To mark the release of The Wolf of Wall Street on Blu-ray and DVD from May 19, which sees broker Jordan Belfort resort to underhand tactics to become rich beyond his wildest dreams, a series of hidden cameras were set up on the back streets of East London, where a tempting wad of £20 notes laid in wait, ready to test the moral compass of the city.

The experiment began when the first passer-by Sam Elobeid, 23 from Whitechapel, walked straight into the trap. Following a few brisk glances over the shoulder and a slight bend of the knee, he swooped in for the money. Little did the he realise that, ready and waiting behind a street corner, stood a half-naked marching band accompanied by stunning majorette girls, inspired by Jordan Belfort’s own Stratton Oakmont office party entertainment. On the money-grabbing cue, the band marched from their hiding place and surprised the unsuspecting target with the loud and outrageous sights and sounds of a The Wolf of Wall Street office party.

Elobeid said, "I was walking to work and I saw £1,000 bundle of cash just sitting there. I just stared and thought ‘wow’, I could pick it up and maybe call someone to hand it in.  Then this band came and surprised me, they’re a little underdressed maybe… truly a shock!”

Throughout the day, over two hundred Londoners, from all walks of life including an old lady, groups of city workers and local builders passed the surveillance spot. A whopping 75% swooped in for the cash and the money was stashed in pockets, bags and even a pram. Some brave passers-by begun to simply stroll off with the money in hand, but no-one escaped unnoticed. Each and every one was greeted by a loud, brash procession of the half-dressed marching brass band and gorgeous baton-twirling ladies. What followed was a series of shocked, awestruck and somewhat embarrassed reactions, all of which were caught on camera.

Margaret Brown, 82 retired from Bethnal Green was caught on camera picking up the money, said “I thought it was my birthday!   Then this lot came at me, all dressed up and blowing trumpets....if you can call it dressed up, they had no clothes on! If I had kept the money I probably would have taken a holiday to Clacton in a caravan."

Gennardo Boccia, from Shoreditch said, "I was on my way to work and I saw this big pile of £20 notes.  I thought, ok, no work today, let's go to the West End and go shopping instead.  But then these guys came and scared me, the whole band with majorettes and trumpets. What would I really do with the money if I had kept it? A little shopping, but mostly just pay bills."

The footage captured suggests London could be a city worthy of Jordan Belfort’s ‘Wolf’ title. Check out the full video footage of the Are You Wolf Enough? experiment below ...

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US Box Office Report

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Sun, 11/05/2014 - 21:22

Seth Rogen and Zac Efron's Neighbors knocks Spidey off his perch in style

By Rich Matthews

In a slightly unexpected turn of events, the new ribald R-rated frat house vs new parents comedy Neighbors, starring unlikely cinematic bedfellows Seth Rogen and Zac Efron, chugged a Rogen-best $51.1m over the second weekend in May 2014.

That represented a good $10m more than most predictions from industry insiders, and easily trounced The Amazing Spider-Man 2, which took a hefty drop to web $37.2m in its second weekend at the box office.

Sony will be keeping a beady corporate eye on Marc Webb's sophomore webhead outing, which has now grossed $147.9m, but has already bagged $403m internationally for a global gross of $550.9m.

The first Amazing reboot had managed to haul in more than $50m more than the sequel in the US by this point, but it still looks set to better the first film's final international cume of $490.2m.

This falls in line with a general trend of declining domestic numbers for the wall crawler, paired with improving foreign funds. Neighbors was no slouch itself at the global box office, raking in $34.4 to take it's tally to $85.5m worldwide. If it continues at this pace, it should easily become Rogen's biggest movie to date.

The only other two new releases – Christian mom-com Moms' Night Out and indie animation Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return – could only muster just shy of $8m between them to languish down at seventh and eighth respectively. Clarius Entertainment, the independent behind the Oz flick, is likely to take a real bath as a result of such poor grosses for a wide release.

Sitting between them, and making up chart positions three to six, were a bunch of solid performers – Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann and Kate Upton continued to get female buns on seats with The Other Woman ($9.3m, US total $61.7m, worldwide $127.7m), other god-bothering drama Heaven Is For Real kept the faith for the current theatrical piety bubble ($7m for a domestic tally just past $75m), while sequels Captain America: The Winter Soldier ($5.6m, $245m, $696m) and Rio 2 ($5.1m, $113.2m, $423m) continued to keep tills ticking over nicely.

Expect Cap to pass the $700m mark very soon. Rounding out the chart at nine and 10 were YA blockbuster (in the US at least ) Divergent ($1.7m, $145m, $253m) and Paul Walker's last fully completed movie Brick Mansions ($1.5m, $18.3m, $26.6m).

On the specialty front, Jon Favreau's return to low-key indie comedy a la Swingers, Chef, posted a decent screen average of $34,000 on six screens, so it may have some real legs when it widens its release.

Rogen and Efron should enjoy their current lofty position at the top of the heap, because Godzilla is waiting in the wings to stomp over all contenders next weekend, and then mega-sequel X-Men: Days Of Future Past is predicted to debut with at least $125m on May 23, by which time summer madness will be in full swing.

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