Monday, March 31, 2014

Lindsay Lohan Could Have Starred in 'The Avengers,' Says Lindsay Lohan

Lindsay Lohan Visits

Lindsay Lohan could have starred in "The Avengers," but her pesky manager foiled her superhero dreams. At least, that's what the actress and current reality TV star has claimed on a recent episode of her OWN show, "Lindsay."

According to Lohan, she told her manager that she wanted a part in 2012's "The Avengers," but he didn't push hard enough for her casting. Instead, the role she coveted went to an actress Lohan deemed an "unknown." So who got it instead?

MTV speculates that since the most high-profile female roles were played by decidedly not-unknown actresses Scarlett Johansson and Gwyneth Paltrow as Black Widow and Pepper Potts, respectively, that Lohan must have been eyeing the part of Maria Hill, which ultimately went to Cobie Smulders. Now, anyone who's watched "How I Met Your Mother" over the past nine seasons would certainly quibble with Lohan's characterization of Smulders as "unknown," though she's certainly more low-profile than her fellow female co-stars.

So, could Smulders/Hill be the mystery woman to whom Lohan was referring? It's certainly possible, though of course, Lohan isn't saying. (And honestly, we're not 100 percent sure we'd take her at her word on this anyway.) Regardless of her missed chance at superhero stardom, Lohan says she still hopes to get back to her acting heyday (remember when she was beloved in "Mean Girls"?).

"Every day I'm not on a film set, I'm wasting my talent because that's what I was born, and live, to do," she said.

Photo by Theo Wargo/NBC/Getty Images for "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon"

from The Moviefone Blog


Chelsea Handler Is Putting an End to 'Chelsea Lately'

chelsea handler leaving e!

Amid her reported dissatisfaction with the network, late night host Chelsea Handler is expected to leave E! after her contract expires, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Handler's manager, Irving Azoff, confirmed the decision, telling THR that Handler will end her show, "Chelsea Lately," when her contract expires at the end of this year. Azoff said Handler is open to a number of alternatives, including radio, or hosting another late-night talk show on another network or digital platform.

"We have at least seven suitors and many ideas," Azoff told THR.

THR reports that Handler's reps have already arranged meetings for the comedienne at Sony Television, Lionsgate, and FX, though her hefty price tag -- a reported $9 million annually from E! -- may preclude her from getting offers for a nightly hosting gig similar to "Lately." However, Handler is currently enjoying her latest number one New York Times bestseller ("Uganda Be Kidding Me"), and is slated to shoot her first stand-up special this summer, which will air on cable later this year.

Handler made headlines when she openly criticized E! earlier this year, telling Howard Stern that the network was "a sad, sad place to live" and that "They don't know what they're doing. They have no ideas. It's a failure."

Through a spokesperson, E! declined to "comment on the future of 'Chelsea Lately' at this time."

Photo by Mark Davis/Getty Images

from The Moviefone Blog


This 'Louie' Season 4 Teaser Is, Well, One Big Tease (VIDEO)

louie season 4 teaser trailer

They don't call it a "teaser" for nothing, and that's exactly what the new promo for season four of "Louie" is: a big tease.

The 18-second clip offers pretty much zero information about what fans of Louis C.K.'s FX comedy can expect from its long-awaited return in May. In fact, we don't even hear from, or really even see, the titular character; all we get is his back to the camera as he stands on a ferry in front of the Statue of Liberty. A bemused-sounding narrator notes, "'Louie''s back."

It's not much to go on, but it's exciting all the same. C.K.'s show has been sorely missed since its third season ended way back in September 2012, and FX must know that the network doesn't have to reveal anything about what the latest season entails to get fans worked up over new episodes.

"Louie" and his back return on May 5.

from The Moviefone Blog


Your Enjoyment of 'The Conjuring 2' Is Being Blocked by a Lawsuit

conjuring 2 legal

While plans for at least two sequels to last year's horror hit "The Conjuring" were fast-tracked both before and after the film's financial success, studio Warner Bros. now faces an uphill battle in getting those movies made thanks to a legal battle over the rights to the film's protagonists.

The Hollywood Reporter writes that Evergreen Media Group, headed by Tony DeRosa-Grund, has filed a suit against Warner Bros. claiming that the studio has neglected to obtain the proper permissions to the case files of Ed and Lorraine Warren. The Warrens are real-life paranormal investigators (played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga in "The Conjuring"), and the rights to their case files are owned by Evergreen, which licensed them to Warner Bros.

But, according to Evergreen's lawsuit, Warner Bros. only obtained rights to less than one percent of the Warrens' files, and needed to re-license new files from Evergreen for new theatrical releases, which Evergreen claims Warner Bros. has failed to do. Warner Bros. also reneged on a promise to credit DeRosa-Grund as a producer on the film, the complaint says.

"DeRosa-Grund is upset by an alleged refusal for payment and credit over these film projects and is demanding that a Texas judge intervene to establish that the studio has stolen the underlying properties and order an injunction against further exploitation," THR writes. "He also says he is due big money from last year's horror blockbuster, alleging that his producer agreement entitled him to 5 percent of gross profits."

A spokesperson for Warner Bros. and its imprint, New Line, told THR that they were fighting Evergreen's "spurious claims," and added that existing arbitration from Evergreen in Los Angeles -- the company had previously filed suit against Warner Bros. for making a deal for a "Conjuring" TV show -- made the new suit, filed in Texas, "procedurally and substantively improper."

"The Conjuring 2" is tentatively scheduled for release on October 23, 2015. We'll see if this lawsuit changes that plan.

Photo courtesy Warner Bros.

from The Moviefone Blog


'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them' Will Be 'Three Megamovies'

JK Rowling Hosts Fundraising Event For Charity 'Lumos'

When "Harry Potter" spinoff "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" was announced last September, it was still unclear what form the film would take. While specific details are still being kept under wraps, there's at least some new information about "Beasts": it is set to become a trilogy.

The news was revealed in a New York Times profile of Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara, which discussed Tsujihara's critical role in convincing author J.K. Rowling to dive back into the Potterverse. Rowling is writing the "Beasts" screenplay, based on her own fictional Hogwarts textbook and its author, Newt Scamander.

The Times piece noted that Tsujihara and Warner Bros. have planned to release "three megamovies" about Scamander, focusing on the magizoologist (a person who studies magical creatures) as a young man in New York City in the early 1900s. Rowling wrote and released a slim version of the "Beasts" textbook in 2001, which included a handful of details about Scamander, including that he played a vital role in the Ministry of Magic -- where he worked with dragons and werewolves -- and eventually became headmaster of Hogwarts.

Rowling told the Times that if it wasn't for Tsujihara's single-handed influence, she never would have returned to her magical world.

"When I say he made 'Fantastic Beasts' happen, it isn't P.R.-speak but the literal truth," Rowling said. "We had one dinner, a follow-up telephone call, and then I got out the rough draft that I'd thought was going to be an interesting bit of memorabilia for my kids and started rewriting!"

"Potter" fans are no doubt thanking their lucky stars that Tsujihara was so persuasive. Now they (and we) just have to wait for news on when the first installment of the "Beasts" trilogy might make its way into theaters.

Photo by Danny E. Martindale/Getty Images

from The Moviefone Blog


The 'Poseidon Rex' Trailer Must Be Seen to Be Believed (VIDEO)

poseidon rex trailer

Move over, "Godzilla." Your nuclear origin story is old and tired. Make room for the sea-dwelling T-Rex in "Poseidon Rex," an upcoming horror movie about underwater dinosaurs, treasure, and the hapless twentysomethings who think that being young and hot will save their expendable little lives. For us, the trailer proves two things: 1. This movie is real, and 2. You can swim pretty well with T-Rex arms.

from The Moviefone Blog


'Expendables 3' Unscripted: Ask Sylvester Stallone, Dolph Lundgren, Wesley Snipes, and Randy Couture a Question

expendables 3 unscripted

What happens when four action legends walk into a room and answer your questions (and some of their own)? Well, we don't know, because our "Expendables 3" Unscripted, starring Sylvester Stallone, Dolph Lundgren, Wesley Snipes, and Randy Couture, hasn't happened yet. And that's where you come in.

You see, we need your questions!

You'll have until the end of the day Tuesday, April 1, to submit your queries. Leave them in the comments below, on Moviefone's Facebook page, or via Twitter using the hashtag #EX3Unscripted.

Watch for our "Expendables 3" Unscripted closer to the movie's August 15, 2014 release date.

from The Moviefone Blog


Dead Body Found During 'Avengers 2' Filming

avengers 2 dead body

The hotly anticipated superhero sequel "The Avengers: Age of Ultron" has already begun filming in some pretty far-flung locations. The team of superheroes was just in Italy and the production recently got underway in Seoul, South Korea, for what we can only assume were a collection of scenes where the various superheroes and equally super villains sit around and discuss their differences calmly, perhaps over a glass of regionally-specific South Korean tea. Production hit a tragic snag over the weekend, though, when a dead body was discovered while they were shooting. Gulp.

According to a report (via Kotaku), a body was discovered floating in the water underneath the Mapo Bridge, a widely used throughway that was completely shut down to accommodate the filming. (It's the first time the bridge has ever been shut down for a movie.) A security guard working for the production discovered the body, and South Korean police retrieved the corpse, which was believed to be about two weeks old.

Apparently the Mapo Bridge is an infamous suicide spot in Seoul. The Kotaku report points out that the government has installed anti-suicide LED lights and uplifting slogans along the bridge, like "The most shining moment of your life has yet to come." These measures have apparently failed, since the number of suicides on the bridge has steadily increased. This is a very sad story indeed.

It's unknown if the retrieval of the body affected the production, which required more than 100 stunt cars to simulate traffic on the bridge. The Joss Whedon-directed sequel, which reunites Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, and Samuel L. Jackson, along with new characters played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, James Spader, and Paul Bettany, is slated to open on May 1, 2015.

from The Moviefone Blog


'Frozen' Is the Highest Grossing Animated Movie of All Time

frozen box office highest grossingWell, it's official: "Frozen" is now the highest grossing animated film ever.

Over the weekend, following its strong release in Japan, Disney announced that the film had narrowly edged out "Toy Story 3" to become the highest grossing animated film in the history of the medium. It has made over a billion dollars worldwide, and has spawned countless annoying YouTube videos of teenagers singing their own uninspired renditions of "Let It Go."

What makes the success of "Frozen" so staggering is that, unlike "Toy Story 3," it wasn't a highly anticipated sequel. It was, instead, an adaptation of a brilliant but somewhat creaky Hans Christian Andersen story that was contemporized in amazing, ingenious ways. Filmmakers Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee knew that the Disney Princesses needed some fresh blood - not only did "Frozen" have two princesses, but the princesses were deeply flawed, human characters and the story itself was laced with a feminist subtext that emphasized self-empowerment and individuality over finding your dream man and wearing pretty dresses.

We got our first taste of "Frozen" last summer at Disney's Comic Con-ish D23 convention in Anaheim. The only footage from the film anyone had actually seen was a somewhat underwhelming, goofily staged teaser trailer, so it wasn't exactly clear what kind of movie "Frozen" would be. Then, during the animation presentation, we were shown the amazing "In Summer" musical number... followed by Idina Menzel coming out on stage and singing "Let It Go," as snow drifted from above. (Songwriters Bobby and Kristen Lopez's contribution to the film's success cannot be overstated.) Nobody knew what the movie was or how "Let It Go" would factor, but there were people holding back tears on that sweltering summery day (not me... of course not...) That was when it was very clear: "Frozen" is going to be huge.

So, congratulations "Frozen." You deserve it. You made little girls everywhere understand that compassion and kindness and self worth are what's truly important. And you did it with a song in your heart and a spring in your step. That's even more impressive than the stratospheric box office numbers.

from The Moviefone Blog


Box Office: 'Noah' Brings in a Flood of Older Moviegoers

box office noah

Once the storm clouds over "Noah" finally cleared this weekend, Darren Aronofsky's Biblical epic claimed an estimated debut of $44 million, about $9 million more than most pundits had predicted. The reason may be that the movie played to an underserved demographic who, thanks to canny marketing, were inspired to leave their sofas and come to the multiplex to see it. No, not Christians, but rather, older filmgoers.

In fact, this week's box office chart suggests that older viewers are making a big difference for hits throughout the marketplace. By the same token, the failure of Arnold Schwarzenegger's "Sabotage" offers a cautionary lesson about what happens when you depend on those older viewers and they don't show up.

Controversy over whether or not Christian viewers would find Darren Aronofsky's imaginative retelling of the Genesis tale sufficiently reverent to the Biblical text led to much speculation over whether such religious moviegoers would show up in sufficient numbers to make the movie a hit and, if they didn't, whether the movie could become a hit without them. But perhaps it was wrong to look at "Noah" as an effort by a major Hollywood studio to court skeptical Christians. After all, look at the movie's pedigree. Think of it as a $160 million art-house movie, a serious philosophical and theological exploration of an apocalyptically bleak source tale from the director of "Black Swan," featuring mature Oscar-winners Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, and Anthony Hopkins.

Seen from that perspective, "Noah" may or may not be the kind of movie that turns off Christian viewers, but it's also the kind that appeals to older viewers. Indeed, exit polling suggests that 74 percent of "Noah" viewers were older than 25. So while it's still not clear whether religious viewers showed up, fans of weighty storytelling and veteran thespians certainly did.

It's worth noting that the other current religious-themed hit, "God's Not Dead" (still in the top five in its second week), also takes a philosophical approach to issues of faith. In that sense, it's also designed to appeal more to older viewers than to, say, teens and kids. As a result, it added 398 screens this weekend (for a total of 1,178) and earned another estimated $9.1 million, almost identical to last weekend's take and good for a fifth-place finish.

Among the holdovers that make up the rest of the top five: There's "Divergent," an allegory about high school cliques that appeals to both current teens and anyone who remembers the hierarchical horrors of high school; and there's "Muppets Most Wanted" and "Mr. Peabody & Sherman," both family movies that appeal to moms and dads who remember the original 1960s and 1970s TV shows where the characters originated.

Elsewhere at the multiplex, Wes Anderson's "The Grand Budapest Hotel" tripled its theater count to emerge from the art-houses into the mainstream, where the nostalgic caper's appeal to older viewers proved contagious. It finished in sixth place with an estimated $8.8 million. That's a per-screen average of $9,033, second only to "Noah" (with an average of $12,335) among wide-release movies.

Jason Bateman's "Bad Words" also expanded from limited release, adding 755 theaters for a total count of 842. A grown-up comedy about a middle-aged spelling bee contestant, the film finished at No. 13 with an estimated $2.6 million, or $3,141 per screen.

Biopic "Cesar Chavez," the latest attempt to tap the Latino market, also depended on older viewers who remember the civil rights activist and labor leader from his crusades in the 1960s and '70s. Playing on just 664 screens, it opened in 12th place with an estimated $3.0 million, for a solid per-screen average of $4,518.

Not every movie that sought older viewers this weekend succeeded in attracting them.

Schwarzengger's "Sabotage," his third starring role since returning to acting from his decade-long political sabbatical, premiered with an even lower take than his other recent efforts, "The Last Stand" and "Escape Plan." It opened in seventh place, earning an estimated $5.3 million on 2,486 screens, for a weak per-screen average of $2,144. The 66-year-old action hero may not have much appeal to younger viewers who don't even remember his glory days, but his stiff-jawed brand of action heroism may be too stale for older viewers as well.

Of course, "Sabotage" may simply have suffered from bad timing. After all, from "Noah" to "Grand Budapest Hotel" to "Cesar Chavez" to "Bad Words," there were a lot of alternatives for its over-25 target audience to choose from.

Photo courtesy Paramount

from The Moviefone Blog


Sunday, March 30, 2014

Weekend Box Office: 'Noah' Debuts at Number 1 With $44 Million

weekend box office

After weathering a sea of controversy, "Noah" arrived in first place at the weekend box office.

Paramount's biblical epic starring Russell Crowe in the titular role opened with $44 million, according to studio estimates Sunday.

The imaginative take on the tale of Noah's Ark by filmmaker Darren Aronofsky led some religious groups to claim the story had been inaccurately portrayed and prompted Paramount to add a disclaimer to marketing materials saying that "artistic license has been taken" in telling the story.

Lionsgate's teen science-fiction thriller "Divergent" starring Shailene Woodley earned $26.5 million in its second weekend. Disney's globe-trotting Muppet sequel "Muppets Most Wanted" featuring Tina Fey and Ricky Gervais came in third place with $11.4 million in its second weekend.

Top 10 at the Weekend Box Office

1. "Noah" - $44.0 M

2. "Divergent" - $26.5 M

3. "Muppets Most Wanted" - $11.4 M

4. "Mr. Peabody & Sherman" - $9.5 M

5. "God's Not Dead" - $9.1 M

6. "The Grand Budapest Hotel" - $8.8 M

7. "Sabotage" - $5.3 M

8. "Need for Speed" - $4.34 M

9. "300: Rise of An Empire" - $4.3 M

10. "Non-Stop" - $4.1 M

WATCH the trailer for "Noah" (VIDEO)

from The Moviefone Blog


Saturday, March 29, 2014

Rumer Willis Does Dad Proud in New Tarantino Musical (PHOTOS)

rumer willis For the Record: Tarantino

Twenty years after "Pulp Fiction" exploded onto the scene, Bruce Willis's daughter, Rumer Willis, is tearing it up in a live Quentin Tarantino musical mash-up that pays homage to the indie blockbuster and every other Tarantino flick. And surprise, surprise, she's terrific.

Rumer Willis takes on multiple roles, most notably Mia from "Pulp Fiction" and The Bride from "Kill Bill" in "For the Record: Tarantino," which opened March 27 at DBA in West Hollywood, CA.

As The Bride, Willis belts out "Bang, Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)" in bridal attire, fights O-Ren Ishii with a samurai sword and, as Mia, does a seductive dance as she sings "Son of a Preacher Man." She also recreates the famous dance contest from the film, move for retro move.

Previous "For the Record" productions were homages to the films of Baz Luhrmann (in which Willis played Juliet), Martin Scorsese and Robert Zemeckis. Songs from the films are now sung, live, by performers who smoothly switch characters from film to film as scenes bleed (literally, in this production's case) into another. For example, the stunningly voiced Rogelio Douglas Jr., ("Parks and Recreation," "Orange is the New Black") plays Django, Marcellus Wallace, and Mr. White (the Harvey Keitel character from "Reservoir Dogs").

Shortly before Willis went on, Moviefone grabbed her backstage to chat about taking on one of her father's most famous films.

Willis, who was six years old when "Pulp Fiction" came out, admitted, "I never watched it in its entirety until I had to do this show." She shared that her dad, who will come see the show at some point, "was really excited. He thought it was really cool." Willis pointed out that March 27 also happens to be Tarantino's birthday. She says she only met the director "once, a very, very long time ago." Her favorite Tarantino movie? "I really like 'Deathproof,' but I have to say I really love 'Pulp Fiction,' just because Mia's character is such a cool, funky chick."

Mom Demi Moore showed up for opening night, as she did when Willis opened up in the Baz Luhrmann show last year.

This actually isn't the first time For the Record has done a Tarantino production, but it's been "completely re-imagined" since its first incarnation as their debut production, says the series' co-creator, Shane Scheel. "We opened with this show three years ago, the very first thing," which was more of a straightforward presentation of songs from the films, rather than the interactive, cross-film experience it is now.

"We did a full production of it for SXSW and at that point it was following Tarantino's world chronologically," says Scheel. "After we'd done the last couple of shows, we wanted to do the same thing, where we mash everything up, like a concert trip through the mind of Quentin Tarantino."

Scheel says that Tarantino saw the "very first version of the show and he loved it. We hung out afterward for a long time afterward and talked about the movies and his choice of music for the films." He says, "I'm confident he'll want to see this latest version."

The actors put in two months' worth of prep for the show. Each role is triple cast, so that on any given night, the lineup is never the same.

"For the Record: Tarantino" runs through May 17.

from The Moviefone Blog


Friday, March 28, 2014

'Jurassic World' Is Filming at the Honolulu Zoo

jurassic world honolulu zooDetails about "Jurassic World," the fourth movie in the blockbuster franchise, are being kept under lock and key, but a few tidbits are dribbling out.

Hawaii Film and Video Magazine (via reports that the production team set up shop in Oahu in January and plan to film at both the Honolulu Zoo and Kualoa Ranch, which will double as Isla Nublar.

Of course, what director Colin Trevorrow will shoot there remains to be seen. But it could be that the zoo will be part of a new park's exhibits.

All we know is that "Jurassic World" will be "epic!" -- or so says star Chris Pratt. Oh, and that there will probably be dinosaurs in it.

from The Moviefone Blog


The First 20 Minutes of 'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes' Is Just Apes, Says Andy Serkis

dawn of the planet of the apes andy serkisGet ready for a lot more apes.

In a revealing interview with Collider, actor Andy Serkis reveals that the beginning to this summer's "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" (the sequel to 2011's "Rise of the Planet of the Apes") is all apes, all the time -- and that we should brace ourselves for a third movie.

"The idea would be that this will segue into a third movie, which will lead us back to the origins, which leads us back to the very, very first movie," he says, referencing the 1968 classic.

"Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" is very different from its predecessor, which began with a bucolic family setting. This film will focus more on the tribe that Caesar (Serkis) leads.

"We start 10 years later. We start with all intents and purposes we think most of humanity's been wiped out," he notes. "The first 20 minutes of the movie, you think you're watching just apes. You forget human beings."

Serkis also talks about moving more into directing than acting, as he works on an adaptation of "The Jungle Book." Watch the interview for more scoop!

Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images for CinemaCon

from The Moviefone Blog


'Magic Mike 2' Starts Filming This Fall, Says Joe Manganiello

joe manganielloGet those dolla dolla bills ready, y'all - "Magic Mike 2" is getting ready to hit the stage.

In an interview with Collider, actor Joe Manganiello revealed that the sequel to the popular male stripper movie will start filming later this year.

"Yeah, it's gonna happen this fall. I think they're going to announce it soon," he said. "It's crazy. I didn't think that would be my first franchise. I never thought that would ever be the direction of my career. But that said, it's just proof that I don't know best, all the time. It was the most fun I've ever had, and I can't wait to get back in and mix it up with those guys."

As Collider notes, the film has yet to attach a director, though there's speculation that star Channing Tatum might jump behind the camera. Tatum is also writing the script again and recently shared a photo of himself hard at work.

It's unclear if all of the first movie's stars will return, including Oscar-winner Matthew McConaughey, Alex Pettyfer, and Matt Bomer. And little is known about the plot, though Tatum has described it as a "road movie."

So, rock-hard abs may soon be coming to a city near you!

Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

from The Moviefone Blog


BaneCat Does What He Wants Because He's BaneCat (VIDEO)


Since it's Friday, the Internet is feeling silly. That's really the only explanation for "BaneCat," the newest viral sensation that will have you howling with laughter. If I was Oprah, I would easily dub it one of my "favorite things." But then again, if I was Oprah I probably wouldn't be writing news posts about Oprah. I'd be on a private beach, in a bikini made of diamonds...

The premise of this "BaneCat" video is simple: a man's cat is dressed as and acts like Bane. Not only is the cat wearing the Bane mask from Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight Rises," but he's also speaking in that characteristic, implacable voice. And, like Bane, the cat is up to no good. It's so, so good.

While there isn't a whole lot to the video, it will still have you clutching your side and wishing it would never end. Also, it will hopefully take away some of the spotlight from this guy and his adorable little boy, who has previously ruled over the internet this week with an impossibly cute iron fist.

from The Moviefone Blog


'Noah' Review: 10 Things You Should Know About the Biblical Epic

noah review

Controversy has been swirling, like so many storm clouds, around "Noah," the new biblical epic by "Black Swan" filmmaker Darren Aronofsky. Any time Hollywood tackles the bible, feathers are going to be ruffled (get it?), and that was certainly the case this time around. Things were certainly strained throughout production, with Aronofsky and the studio going back and forth between which version would be released in theaters (the director now claims the movie is "98%" his).

Well, despite some objections, "Noah" is now upon us, in all of its glory. Russell Crowe plays the titular ark builder, with Jennifer Connelly playing his wife, Anthony Hopkins playing his grandfather, and Emma Watson playing his adopted daughter (also there are people like Frank Langella and Nick Nolte who contribute vocal performances). Even if you think you know the story, Aronofsky manages to spice things up, for sure.

But will this biblical epic sink or float to the surface? And how many people will it enrage in the process?

1. It's Unlike Any Biblical Epic You've Ever Seen

If you've seen one biblical epic, you've seen them all: stuffy accents, phony-looking beards, and a running time that eclipses most television miniseries'. When would you ever watch, say, "The Ten Commandments" or "The Greatest Story Ever Told"? (And no, "with your parents at Easter" doesn't count.) "Noah" is only similar to those other movies in that there are some beards (but they look pretty real) and that it's slightly too long. Otherwise, this is a different beast altogether -- it's literally unlike any biblical epic you've ever seen. And that's a good thing.

2. There Are Giant Rock Monsters

One of the cooler aspects of "Noah" is that several of the main characters are fallen angels that have been caked in the mud and rock of Earth, turning them into giant, towering rock monsters who move like old Ray Harryhausen characters and look like something out of "The Neverending Story." This is also a good thing. They have glowy eyes and gravelly voices and help Noah and his family construct the ark (what, you think it was all Noah? Guess again!) This should tell you how weird the movie is. Because it is...

3. Seriously -- It's Really, Really Weird

Aronofsky is an idiosyncratic (to put it mildly) filmmaker with a singular worldview and a distinct style. He did not change his patterns or approach because he was dealing with a $100 million+ budget instead of the hundreds of thousands that it took to make "Black Swan" or "The Wrestler" or "Requiem for a Dream." Noah's visions are aided by what amounts to a drug trip, the movie indulges in wonderfully whimsical embellishments like a creation story interspersed with big-bang imagery straight out of "The Tree of Life," and Noah is constantly awakened by bloody dirt visions. It's pretty amazing that this movie was made at all, much less by a major studio, much less at the discretion of Aronofsky. Some might call it... miraculous.

4. There Are No Laughs

If there's one downside to Aronofsky tackling a project of such weighty import, it's that he's never able to figure out a way to inject any humor into the material. Some would label Aronofsky a humorless filmmaker, but that's not true. Even when he's at his most dour (like, say, "Requiem for a Dream"), he's still able to find moments of levity and humor. Just think about how funny "The Wrestler" is, while also being deeply tragic. There's a lightness in Aronofsky's filmmaking style, too, that usually lifts things up. But with "Noah," things are very, very serious. All the time. Although I think one of the rock monsters cracks a joke at one point. Love those guys.

5. Russell Crowe Is Really Great

It's been a while since Russell Crowe has been categorically great. For a while, he's just been an oddball supporting actor, filling the roles that a drunk, fat Oliver Reed would have essayed in a previous life. And this has been, by and large, pretty great. Just watch him in "Man With the Iron Fists" and witness how compelling he can be just goofing around. But it's been a while since a meaty Russell Crowe performance has come along that you could really sink your teeth into; "Noah" is one of those roles. As envisioned by Aronofsky and his co-writer Ari Handel, Noah is a complicated, corrosive character and Crowe handles it beautifully. It's really wonderful to watch. Crowe initially felt like a "safe" choice; this performance is anything but safe.

6. The Animals Are Dull

One of the things I was most excited about when entering "Noah" is the fact that there would be a whole lot of animals, especially when I heard that they weren't really animals in the traditional sense but "designed" creatures (by the wizards at Industrial Light & Magic). Sadly, the animals are all monochromatic -- there isn't a brightly colored animal in the entire ark. And even more disappointingly, Noah's wife concocts some kind of voodoo smoke to put them all to sleep (seemingly forever). Disappointing!

7. Ray Winstone Is as Scary as a Wrathful God

Ray Winstone, from "Sexy Beast," plays Tubal-Cain, a descendent of the murderous Cain and a leader of the problematic "men" who are intent on building cities and weapons has doomed him to celestial punishment. After he unsuccessfully leads an army to try and take the ark, he acts as the boat's lone stowaway. It's a pretty neat storyline and he chews scenery (even computer-assisted scenery) wonderfully. Like Russell, he understands that when you're in a movie this big, you can let your performance swell similarly.

8. The Storm Is Pretty Spectacular

Industrial Light & Magic, the effects house founded by George Lucas, also handled the storm effects, which are probably the most gripping example of "atmospheric" computer generated effects since "Twister." Not only does rain fall from the heavens but it also erupts from the earth, and in one of the movie's most striking moments, Aronofsky pulls back and back and back until we're looking at the earth from space, and it's covered in thunderstorms. It's pretty stunning.

9. Al Gore Will Love This Movie

Noah is not only a staunch environmentalist, warning of apocalyptic doom, but he's also a vegan. He's an environmentalist icon, which is sort of telling that the religious right is condemning it because he actually cares about the salvation of the earth. It's really refreshing and another reason why this is a movie that borders on being truly essentially.

10. It's Almost Enough to Forgive Russell Crowe for 'Winter's Tale'

I said almost.

"Noah" is in theaters now.

from The Moviefone Blog


Here's the Part of 'The Matrix' That You Never Saw (VIDEO)

'The Matrix' Missing Scene

Prepare to feel old. ​"The Matrix" is turning 15. Sigh.

In honor of the anniversary of the iconic sci-fi movie's release (March 31, 1999), we did some digging and unearthed some lost footage that, for some reason or another, never quite made it into the final cut. Turns out, Neo had an annoying friend, a side-story that didn't make it into the final cut of the movie.

And, as it turns out, that was probably for the best.

from The Moviefone Blog


Proof That 'Say Anything...' Could Have Been Very, Very Cheesy (VIDEO)

Say Anything Kokomo Ending Parody

The ending of "Say Anything..." has secured its place in pop culture as a symbol of romantic hope, mostly remembered as that movie with that scene where John Cusack blares Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes" from a boombox he holds over his head. But what if what was playing was something very different? Like, really different?

Say, I don't know, The Beach Boys' "Kokomo"?

Shout out to Mandatory, who posted this re-imagining of the classic scene. It plays out subtly at first, but the longer you watch, the more you grow to appreciate just how hilariously different this classic moment could have played out had the song been, say, anything else.

from The Moviefone Blog


'Noah' Family Review: 5 Things Every Parent Should Know About the Religious Epic

noah review

Darren Aronofsky has been called a visionary director, and he's taken that vision and applied it to one of the most widely known Bible stories: Noah's Ark. "Noah" isn't a verse-by-verse adaptation of the Genesis tale, but it is inspired by it, with some embellishments and alterations that may excite some viewers but upset those who feel any movie about the bible should be a literalist interpretation. Starring Russell Crowe as Noah and Jennifer Connelly as his steadfast wife, the movie is intense, philosophical, and thought-provoking. The younger cast is equally as wonderful: Douglas Booth as Noah's loyal eldest son Shem; Logan Lerman as his questioning middle son Ham; and Emma Watson as Noah's daughter-in-law Ila. Consider taking your mature teens if you want a movie that will make you think.

The PG-13 rating is "for violence, disturbing images and brief suggestive content." This isn't a mild Sunday School tale; it's intense, so make sure to consider these five questions before going to the movie with your teens.

1. How do you feel about the religious subject matter? Depending on your family's beliefs, "Noah" is based either on the biblical truth, a religious fable, or something in-between. As the studio and Aronofsky have made clear, "Noah" is not a literal adaptation of the Genesis story. The National Catholic Register runs down some of the major differences between the biblical presentation and Aronofsky's interpretation and The Atlantic features a Q&A with the director about what drove him to make the film. Like any adaptation based on written source material, there are omissions, additions, and departures from the text. If you're comfortable talking about religion in art, this would be an insightful film to see together and discuss afterward. If you're looking for biblical accuracy, you may need to skip this one.

2. How does your kid handle violence in movies? It's no surprise that the bible can be incredibly violent, and the "Noah" story is no exception. While the message is about Noah's unwavering faith and commitment to the Creator, it's also about a whole lot of people dying. Sure, they are wicked, meat-eating cannibals, but they are also women and children. And it's not just the flood that kills people, it's Noah himself, and of course the Caininites. People are killed with axes, spears, and the Fallen Angel "Watchers" crush people to death. Then there's a horrific scene where it's clear people are being led to the slaughter for food, and when a horde of people tramples a wounded girl to death. One situation involving infanticide is harrowing to watch. None of those scenes are easy to handle even for an adult, so it will definitely be hard for younger viewers.

3. Do you worry about sex/language? The language isn't much of an issue, but there are a few references to sex. In one scene, Noah's eldest son Shem (Booth) is shown running after, tackling, tickling and then passionately kissing Ila (Watson) as his brother Ham not-so-secretly watches. Shem and Ila kiss several times and in another scene make love in the woods (but there's no nudity, and most of the love scene is off camera). They are also shown half-dressed in bed together in the Ark. Before the flood begins, Ham becomes obsessed with Noah finding him (and to a lesser degree his younger brother Japheth) a wife with whom to "be fruitful and multiply."

4. Who will enjoy the movie most? Darren Aronofsky fans. If you've been following his films since "Pi" and "Requiem for a Dream," you will definitely want to see how the director interprets this ancient Judeo-Christian story. In addition, moviegoers who appreciate epic stories, are into the stellar cast (Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Ray Winstone, Emma Watson, Anthony Hopkins, Douglas Booth, Logan Lerman), and can understand the biblical subject matter and mature scenes of violence.

5. What are critics saying about "Noah"? Critical reaction to the biblical drama is overwhelmingly positive, with a "generally favorable" score of 72 on Metacritic and a "fresh" 76 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. "As much a fantasia inspired by the Old Testament as a literal retelling of that tale, 'Noah' manages to blend the expected with the unexpected and does it with so much gusto and cinematic energy you won't want to divert your eyes from the screen," writes Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times. Moira MacDonald of The Seattle Times says: "An often strange yet always intriguing depiction, filtered through contemporary ideas of environmentalism and presenting its title character as a man of unshakable faith and almost unendurable burdens."

WATCH the trailer for "Noah" (VIDEO)

from The Moviefone Blog


No One Is More Excited About 'Jurassic World' Than Star Chris Pratt

chris pratt jurassic worldWe're not the only ones who are excited for "Jurassic World" -- leading man Chris Pratt is pretty pumped, too.

Pratt took to Facebook this week to express his enthusiasm for the upcoming fourth installment in the "Juassic Park" series, writing that he'd just finished watching the first three films and was happy to be part of the franchise.

Pratt went on to praise the script -- "awesome!" -- and his character -- so far unnamed, but "epic!" according to the actor -- while hinting that production would get underway soon. Director Colin Trevorrow previously described Pratt's part as "a classic hero in a very modern context. ... He's the guy who will get you through the jungle alive."

It's cool to see an actor get so amped up over an upcoming project, though we wouldn't expect anything less from the affable Pratt.

"Jurassic World" roars into theaters on June 12, 2015.

[h/t Slash Film]

Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

from The Moviefone Blog


Russell Crowe Facts: 19 Things You (Probably) Don't Know About the 'Noah' Star

Russell Crowe Facts Noah

Russell Crowe has been hard to miss since breaking out as the tough-yet-likable Bud White in 1997's "L.A. Confidential."

In the years following, the international star has racked up countless achievements, most notably his Oscar-winning performance in Ridley Scott's "Gladiator" (2000), and has cemented his status as one of Hollywood's top leading men. The actor steps back into antiquity again this Friday, as he teams up with Darren Aronofsky to portray Biblical patriarch Noah in, well, "Noah," a film already shrouded in controversy.

From his days as "Russ le Roq," to his jaw-dropping smoking habits, here are 19 things you probably don't know about Russell Crowe.

1. Contrary to popular belief, the actor was born in New Zealand, not Australia. Crowe did move to Australia as a young boy, however.

2. Both of his parents were movie-set caterers, and his father also managed a hotel. Crowe's maternal grandfather was a cinematographer, who received a British Honours medal (MBE) for filming footage of World War II.

3. Crowe was proudly wearing his grandfather's MBE medal during his Best Actor acceptance speech in 2001.

4. Crowe and some friends took a several-thousand-mile motorcycle trip around Australia after shooting wrapped on "Gladiator" (2000).

5. Crowe turned down the part of Wolverine in "X-Men" (2000), a role that eventually went to Australian Hugh Jackman.

6. The actor's on and off relationship with Australian actress and singer Danielle Spencer began in 1989, when the two co-starred in "The Crossing" (1990). After reconciling in 2001, the couple married in 2003 at Crowe's property in New South Wales. In Fall 2012, it was reported that Crowe and Spencer had separated.

7. Crowe has a special love of horses, which he says are just like people, and often has a difficult time parting from his horse "co-stars" when shooting finishes.

8. He lost a front tooth playing rugby when he was 10. It wasn't until he was set to star in "The Crossing" that the actor fixed the tooth and, even then, only at the urging of the director who personally took care of the cost.

9. He was the target of an Al-Qaeda plot. In 2005, Crowe revealed that the FBI talked to him when he arrived in Los Angeles for the 2001 Academy Awards. Apparently, the Bureau had overheard Al-Qaeda members talk about Crowe in relation to taking out iconographic Americans. After the incident, US Secret Service agents guarded the actor for several months.

10. During a brief hiatus from smoking, the actor admitted to David Letterman that he started smoking when he was 10 and had smoked more than 60 cigarettes a day for the past 36 years of his life. Yikes.

11. Crowe and businessman Peter Holmes à Court are the majority owners of the National Rugby League team the South Sydney Rabbitohs after buying $3 million worth of shares in 2006.

12. In June 2005, Crowe was arrested and charged with second-degree assault after throwing a telephone at a Mercer Hotel employee in New York City. The actor pleaded guilty and was conditionally discharged.

13. In the 1980s, the actor recorded a song titled "I Want To Be Like Marlon Brando." Crowe performed the song under the name "Russ le Roq," complete with a large pompadour hairdo. I'd pay good money to see that.

14. Crowe is the cousin of Martin Crowe and Jeff Crowe, former New Zealand national cricket captains.

15. The actor was nominated for three straight Best Actor Oscars from 2000-2002 for "The Insider," "Gladiator," and "A Beautiful Mind," respectively.

16. In 2001, Crowe's band, 30 Odd Foot of Grunts, performed on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno." The band formed in 1992 and had a sold-out US tour in 2001, but the group has since dissolved.

17. The actor reportedly plans to donate his brain to medical science when he passes away.

18. Crowe was offered the role of Aragorn in the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy and was intrigued to film a movie in his native country, New Zealand, for an extended time. He had to turn down the role, however, because it conflicted with "A Beautiful Mind."

19. To mentally prepare himself for his role as Bud White in "L.A. Confidential" (1997), Crowe lived in a tiny apartment where he could barely fit through the doors. His character is the largest cop on the police force, and Crowe isn't even six feet tall, so the actor said the small quarters made him feel like a giant when he arrived on set.

[Sources: Wikipedia, IMDb]

from The Moviefone Blog


Marvel's Kevin Feige on 'Captain America,' 'Doctor Strange,' and Oscar-Worthy Heroes

kevin feige captain america the winter soldierWho wouldn't want to be Kevin Feige for a day?

As the president of Marvel Studios, he's likely the only guy who knows absolutely everything that's going to happen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (or the MCU, if you want to sound cool). After a string of hits -- "Iron Man," "Thor," "Captain America: The First Avenger" and, of course, "The Avengers" -- that interconnect like one giant armor-clad, cape-donning soap opera, it's Feige's job to make sure they all make sense -- and make money.

Marvel's latest, "Captain America: The Winter Soldier," takes the titular super soldier (played by Chris Evans) and the shady security agency he works for (S.H.I.E.L.D.) and shakes them up in a way that has serious implications for the MCU, including next year's "The Avengers: Age of Ultron." But Feige wants to shake things up in other ways, too. In August, we'll travel to a far-flung corner of the universe with a gun-toting raccoon and sentient tree in "Guardians of the Galaxy." Who says this guy doesn't take risks?

Feige is notoriously tight-lipped about future projects, but I did my best to pry something out of him when we sat down to talk about "Captain America: The Winter Soldier."

Moviefone: Was "Captain America 2" always going to be about The Winter Soldier? I heard that screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely had prepared a second possible story.

Kevin Feige: Well, no. I'm glad you brought them up because the reaction to the movie's been very good and some people have called it our best script. I definitely think it's one of our best scripts without a doubt. And Chris Markus and Steve McFeely get so much of the credit for that. They were the sole writers on this movie from day one. They were essentially the sole writers on the first "Captain America" film. They helped us out on "Thor" and "Guardians of the Galaxy," too. They're just amazing collaborators and amazing screenwriters. Much of the tone of this movie was just something that we wanted the movie to have, and the [directors, Joe and Anthony Russo,] fully supported that idea. It was brought to life by Chris and Steve.

My memory of it is they did an outline very early on -- maybe just after the first movie came out, or while we were doing "The Avengers" -- that was just a slightly different incarnation of what this was. And then we brought them back in and sat down with them and I pitched them the idea that we're on this slippery slope and S.H.I.E.L.D. has slipped over the edge by this movie. That really helped with this conspiracy thriller angle that we wanted to do, the espionage element that was always so awesome in Brubaker's run and (films like) "Three Days of the Condor." Suddenly, we have a conspiracy. And they took it and they ran with it. And putting Winter Soldier into the middle of that made sense for the version of the story we wanted to tell.

"The Winter Soldier" is the most popular Captain America story in the last ten years. So even in my first meeting with Sebastian Stan -- he had screen tested for Cap and we thought, well, we don't think he's Cap but he's great. I think we just hired him for Bucky, by the way, off of his Cap audition. He didn't have to audition for Bucky. And in that meeting we said, "Have you heard of Winter Soldier?" And we talked to him a little bit about that, too. And we said, "But one day, if we should be so lucky, you might be getting metal on."

This movie features a kind of mini-team, with Cap, Black Widow, and The Falcon. In the Marvel comics, we see a lot of these team-ups. Could that happen in other movies? Is it possible we could see, say, the Hulk and Doctor Strange in a movie together?

Well, I don't know that we'll do that, but I will say that absolutely the fun of the MCU is that characters can pop up starting with Fury in "Iron Man" and then Tony Stark in "The Incredible Hulk." So we definitely like the idea of mixing and matching. Even Banner showing up in the tag of "Iron Man 3," right. That is great, great fun. I really believe in the Marvel team-up, the classic trope of peers teaming up. This movie sort of is that, if you look at it as a Widow/Cap team-up. So that definitely is something that is always at the top of our mind in terms of future projects.

The great thing about that, too, is that you can bring in someone like The Falcon without the burden giving him his own movie, or doing it with a lot of fanfare.

Well, yeah, absolutely. There are some characters that we have to think about it now, how to bring them in. The Falcon, it was a given that he would come in through the Cap world as he did in the comics. You can often see, you know, where characters start and then spin out into their own thing. I love the notion of new adventures for Cap and Falcon, you know, just the two of them together. They're so great together. The chemistry's great together.

But, on the other hand, I do think [Doctor] Strange is one that I certainly think you start off with his own movie. There's no right way or wrong way necessarily in the big picture, but because he's associated with such a different side of the Marvel Universe, to suddenly have our characters turn a corner and go, "Oh, hey, let's go see the Sorcerer Supreme." What? What are you talking about? Just like if Tony Stark in "Iron Man" had broken out of the cave and said, "You know what? I don't want to sell weapons anymore. I'm going to go talk to Thor because I want to learn to be a hero." You'd go, "Who's that?"

Word is that there are three or four directors in the running for the Doctor Strange movie. Where does that stand?

Well, it's real that we're meeting with directors now. I would not say it's down to three yet. I wish it was. I'd like to find a director as soon as possible and start continuing to develop the movie.

So, is it official that Strange will be in Phase 3 at this point?

Well, you know, Phase 3 is a few years along, so I hope it's there somewhere. But no, nothing's official.

Having somebody like Robert Redford in a Marvel movie, what does that say about the newfound respect comic-book movies are getting within the acting community? Can you imagine a day when a Marvel movie is, say, nominated for Best Picture?

I don't know. I will say this. The fact that we get incoming calls -- which is the industry term for an agent calling and asking if we have anything for so and so, which is how the Robert Redford thing came about -- is pretty amazing and wonderful, and, frankly, all the respect we need. Hey, these unbelievably talented actors who haven't necessarily done something like this before trust you to be the ones to put them in a movie like this for the first time. We take that very seriously. That also is more important than any of the other sort of accolades. The public loves it. Actors respect us enough to love it, and we take it very seriously. We really look at that as a big responsibility to say, here's a great actor willing to come into your sandbox. Let's make sure he has a good time and let's make sure he ends up looking awesome at the end of the day.

The awards thing, who knows? You know when "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" won [in 2004], I was very excited for that. Now nine or ten movies get nominated. We'll see what happens. You saw at the awards this year, where Chris Evans introduced the heroes montage, it occurred to me that in this three-and-a-half hour show they basically devoted a two-minute montage to movies people actually see. It was not just our movies. "Casablanca" was in there. "Die Hard" was in there. "Back to the Future" was in there. It was an honor to have our movies be a part of that.

"Captain America: The Winter Soldier" storms into theaters April 4. Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images for Disney.

from The Moviefone Blog


'Heathers' Cast: Where Are They Now? (PHOTOS)

Heathers Where Are They Now

When it debuted on March 31, 1989, "Heathers" proved to be a box-office disappointment, failing to earn back even half of its $3 million budget. Twenty-five years later, it's a bona fide cult hit, with lines like "F*** me gently with a chainsaw" and "What is your damage?" a permanent part of pop culture.

Dozens of high-school comedies owe their existence to "Heathers," most notably "Mean Girls" (directed by Mark Waters, brother of "Heathers" scribe, Daniel Waters.)

A planned TV series failed to materialize, but a "Heathers" musical debuted in 2010 (awesomely, "Veronica Mars" star Kristen Bell did a reading), and an Off-Broadway production opens on March 31, exactly 25 years after the film first hit theaters.

We've followed the ups and downs of Winona Ryder, Christian Slater, and Shannen Doherty's careers over the years, but not all of the cast is still acting and, sadly, some were hit by tragedy as macabre as anything in the movie itself.

Article photo courtesy of Everett Collection

from The Moviefone Blog


Thursday, March 27, 2014

Meet Russ le Roq, Russell Crowe's Big-Haired Alter Ego (VIDEO)

Russell Crowe Russ Le Roq

Ladies and gentlemen, meet Russ le Roq.

Before he was a world-renowned actor, Russell Crowe was just an everyday aspiring, baby-faced rockstar named Russ le Roq, trying to make it big with his band, "Roman Antix." Here he is at 21 years old -- complete with intimidating pompadour -- performing "What's The Difference" on youth music show "Shazam!" in late 1985.

Thank you, Internet, for never letting anyone's embarrassing past ever fade away.

from The Moviefone Blog


A 'Community' Movie Is a Real Possibility Now

community movie justin lin

Though its future on NBC is up in the air, "Community" still plans on fulfilling its "six seasons and a movie" prophecy -- and it's reportedly eyeing a surprising choice to helm the feature.

TV Guide reports that while the fiercely-beloved yet low-rated comedy has yet to be renewed for that sixth season, there are plans in place to make it a reality no matter. The same goes for a "Community" movie, with Justin Lin considered to direct, according to some inside sources.

Lin is best known for his work in action, directing four of the "Fast & Furious" movies and prepping to direct the upcoming "Bourne" sequel. But he's also directed three "Community" episodes, so his familiarity with the show's characters and tone would make him a good fit for a feature. TV Guide reports that Joe and Anthony Russo ("Captain America: The Winter Soldier") and Jay Chandrasekhar ("Super Troopers") have also directed episodes of the show, and could potentially be in the running to make the movie, too, if Lin is unavailable. (Which seems likely. The Playlist points out that aside from "Bourne 5," he's still pretty busy.)

Just when and how that flick materializes, though, is anyone's guess. As previously stated, "Community" still needs an answer from NBC about season six before it can pursue other avenues, including producing new episodes for Hulu (which TV Guide reports currently owns the digital rights to the show). Regardless of where it ends up, though, creator Dan Harmon is committed to seeing the show's journey come to its rightful completion.

"If the movie has to be made out of clay and duct tape in my basement, then that's how the movie will be made, because there has to be closure," Harmon said in an interview with HitFix. "The title of the book about the show is not 'Community: An Interesting Journey Into a Show No One Ever Watched.' The title of the book is obviously going to be, 'Six Seasons and a Movie.'"

Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

from The Moviefone Blog


George Lucas's Lack of Faith in 'Star Wars' Earned Steven Spielberg $40M

george lucas steven spielbergIt's obvious that George Lucas made a ton off money off of "Star Wars." But it turns out, it made Steven Spielberg pretty rich, too, thanks to a bet the two made before the release of the 1977 sci-fi blockbuster.

In an old interview with Turner Classic Movies that's currently making the rounds, Spielberg revealed that the two filmmakers -- and longtime friends -- made the wager precisely because Lucas didn't think his film would be a successful. It all came about after Lucas, burnt out from the "Star Wars" shoot, took a break to visit Spielberg on the set of his work-in-progress film "Close Encounters of the Third Kind."

"George came back from 'Star Wars' a nervous wreck," Spielberg told TCM. "He didn't feel 'Star Wars' came up to the vision he initially had. He felt he had just made this little kids' movie."

Recent revelations confirm that Lucas was in a sad state of mind while shooting "Wars," so it makes sense that he would visit his friend Spielberg for some moral support. But Spielberg said that Lucas was so impressed and intimidated by Spielberg's work on "Close Encounters" that he felt sure it would trounce "Star Wars" at the box office -- and wanted to put money on it.

"He said, 'Oh my God, your movie is going to be so much more successful than 'Star Wars'! This is gonna be the biggest hit of all time. I can't believe this set. I can't believe what you're getting, and oh my goodness,'" Spielberg recalled. "He said, 'All right, I'll tell you what. I'll trade some points with you. You want to trade some points? I'll give you 2.5 percent of Star Wars if you give me 2.5 percent of 'Close Encounters.' So I said, 'Sure, I'll gamble with that. Great.'"

The rest, they say, is history: "Star Wars" went on to become the second-highest-grossing film of all time (behind "Gone With the Wind"), raking in a mammoth $1.48 billion when adjusted for inflation. Business Insider calculates that Spielberg's cut of that haul totaled approximately $40 million.

"'Close Encounters' was just a meager success story. 'Star Wars' was a phenomenon," Spielberg told TCM. "Of course I was the happy beneficiary of a couple of net points from that movie, which I am still seeing money on today."

It seems that being a good friend really does pay off.

Photo by Valerie Macon/Getty Images

from The Moviefone Blog


This Toddler Has Some Seriously Cute Jedi Skills (VIDEO)

Toddler Jedi Kid Lightsaber Video

With the help of some clever special effects, this wee one has discovered the way of the Jedi -- and there's no stopping him now!

This adorable video from Action Movie Kid features a toddler wielding a plastic lightsaber, when suddenly, "Zwooom Zhvrooom," the lightsaber is carving up the aisle. JJ Abrams, sign this kid up for "Star Wars: Episode VII."

from The Moviefone Blog


'Gone With the Wind' Is Getting a Prequel (Novel)

gone with the wind prequel

It's the highest-grossing movie of all time, and now "Gone With the Wind" is getting a prequel -- in book form, anyway.

The New York Times reports that a new novel, called "Ruth's Journey," will debut in later this year and tell the story of "Wind"'s Mammy character, played by Oscar winner Hattie McDaniel in the 1939 film adaptation of Margaret Mitchell's 1936 book. Mammy was the slave owned by Scarlett O'Hara's family, known for her loyalty and her quick wit.

Author Daniel McCaig, who wrote "Ruth," told the Times that there are "three major characters in 'Gone With the Wind,' but we only think about two of them."

"Scarlett and Rhett are familiars, but when it comes to the third, we don't know where she was born, if she was ever married, if she ever had children," McCaig said. "Indeed, we don't even know her name."

The prequel, will finally correct that oversight, tracing Mammy/Ruth's life from birth to her arrival at Tara. The novel has been authorized by Mitchell's estate, just the third time that a "Wind" spin-off book has been officially sanctioned. McCaig also previously penned a "Wind" sequel called "Rhett Butler's People." Another sequel, "Scarlett" by Alexandra Ripley, came out in 1991.

Representatives from Atria, which will publish "Ruth," said the book will "flesh out" the Mammy character and make amends for the racist overtones in Mitchell's book. "Ruth" "respects and honors its source material, but it also provides a necessary correction to what is one of the more troubling aspects of the book, which is how the black characters are portrayed," said Peter Borland, Atria's editorial director.

The book is due out in October.

[h/t The Dissolve]

Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images

from The Moviefone Blog