Box Office: MOCKINGJAY PART 1 dominates Thanksgiving, hits $225M domestic!

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If last weekend’s box office debut of THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PART 1 was a tad underwhelming, it made up some ground with a big Thanksgiving haul. The sequel took in an estimated $56.8 million for the three-day weekend and brought its domestic total above $225 million after twelve days. That left only table scraps for this weekend’s box office newcomers. PENGUINS OF MADAGASCAR came in second with an estimated $25.8 million while HORRIBLE BOSSES 2 opened way back in fifth place with $15.7 million.

Here are the numbers from Collider:

1. Mockingjay – Part 1 $56.87M
2. Penguins of Madagascar $25.8M
3. Big Hero 6 $18.77M
4. Interstellar $15.8M
5. Horrible Bosses 2 $15.7M
6. Dumb and Dumber To $8.29M
7. The Theory of Everything $5.08M
8. Gone Girl $2.47M
9. Birdman $1.88M
10. St. Vincent $1.77M

The trailer for STAR WARS EPISODE VII: THE FORCE AWAKENS!

It’s here! Disney has released the very first STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS for director J.J. Abrams‘ highly anticipated sequel, which falls into the franchise as EPISODE VII if anyone’s counting. As far as teaser trailers go, this one is pretty incredible. Abrams doesn’t simply rely on nostalgia to make this thing exciting, offering up tantalizing teases through some genuinely compelling filmmaking. As far as character first-looks go, we can clearly see John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, and Oscar Isaac as seemingly “good guys” in full costume, and then an obscured baddie (Adam Driver?). The money shot of the Millennium Falcon is spectacular, and overall I’m extremely enthused to see a heavy reliance on practical locations and effects work. This is great, great stuff.

The film also stars Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Lupita Nyong’o, Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson, Andy Serkis, Gwendoline Christie, Max Von Sydow, and more. Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens in theaters on December 18, 2015.

New trailer for EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS is epic in scope and scale!

20th Century Fox has released a new Thanksgiving trailer for EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS to try and pull you out of that turkey coma. The film is director Ridley Scott’s take on the Biblical story of Moses, and there’s no denying that this new trailer is positively epic. Scott has made an absolutely massive film here; one that harkens brings to mind the scale of KINGDOM OF HEAVEN and GLADIATOR. The visuals continue to be kind of spectacular, so now the question is whether Scott can bring something new to the table emotionally for this age-old story. The film stars Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton, John Turturro, Aaron Paul, Ben Mendelsohn, Sigourney Weaver and Ben Kingsley.

EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS opens in theaters on December 12, 2014.

Box Office: PENGUINS and BOSSES try to take on the MOCKINGJAY!

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PENGUINS OF MADAGASCAR and HORRIBLE BOSSES 2 should do decent business over the long Thanksgiving weekend, though its unlikely that the two new franchise titles come anywhere close to taking first place from THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PART 1.

Here are the predictions from Box Office Mojo:

Forecast (November 28-30)
1. Mockingjay Part 1 – $52 million ($77 million five-day)
2. Penguins of Madagascar – $34 million ($47 million five-day)
3. Horrible Bosses 2 – $25 million ($37 million)
4. Big Hero 6 – $18 million ($25 million five-day)
5. Interstellar – $14 million ($20 million five-day)

Guillermo Del Toro gives an update on PACIFIC RIM 2!

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About a month ago Guillermo del Toro told Haleigh that he’s going in a very different direction with PACIFIC RIM 2. Some favorite characters from the first film will return, but others won’t because del Toro is hoping to use them at the end of PACIFIC RIM 2 in an effort to ramp things up for a third film.
Who are the lucky ones to make it into PAC RIM 2? We’ve got two names for you – Charlie Day and Burn Gorman.

First off, here’s what del Toro had to say about the Pacific Rim 2 timeline:

“It’s a few years after the first one. It’s not an immediate follow-up. It is the world having been freed of Kaiju, what happens to the world after – what happens to the Jaeger technology once the Kaiju are not a threat. It’s quite a jump.”

Here’s what del Toro said when asked about Day and Gorman and if we’ll get more science in the second film:

“Yes. It’s quite a different movie from the first one in that, but I think that two of our main characters like in the first one are Burn and Charlie. They are really, really – I mean, honestly, they are probably the guys I have the most fun writing along with Hannibal Chau so just from a purely selfish drive, I like writing them. I love writing for Charlie and Burn. I mean, [Burn’s] in Crimson Peak for that reason, because I love working with him. You’re gonna get a lot of that, but the Kaijus are very different and you’re gonna see a very different type of the robots I think. It’s gonna be quite a different adventure.”

Beginning the movie in a Kaiju-free world seems like a very promising starting point, especially as far as the main characters are concerned. If Kaiju are no longer a threat, will that change the nature of Geiszler and Gottlieb’s work? And what happens to Jaeger pilots like Raleigh (Charlie Hunnam) and Mako (Rinko Kikuchi)? Are they out of work entirely?

Del Toro has mentioned that there will be a lot of new Kaiju in PACIFIC RIM 2, so clearly the world will need Jaegers again at some point, but the idea of seeing the population transition from a period of post-Kaiju peacefulness to another ambush has loads of potential.

NOW YOU SEE ME 2 now titled NOW YOU SEE ME: THE SECOND ACT!

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2013’s NOW YOU SEE ME was one of those quiet box office successes that kind of flew under the radar. The magician-centric heist picture didn’t garner great reviews, but it opened to a solid $29.3 million and went on to gross $351.7 million worldwide. With an international hit on its hands, Lionsgate/Summit unsurprisingly put the wheels in motion for a sequel. G.I. JOE: RETALIATION director Jon M. Chu takes over from previous helmer Louis Leterrier this time around with the entire main cast returning plus Daniel Radcliffe, Lizzy Caplan, and Jay Chou (THE GREEN HORNET). And now that filming is set to get underway soon, star Mark Ruffalo has revealed the official NOW YOU SEE ME 2 title: NOW YOU SEE ME: THE SECOND ACT.

With pre-production on the sequel now underway, Ruffalo opted to break the news of the NOW YOU SEE ME 2 title at the table read for the film by way of Instagram. The official synopsis for the picture simply says the story involves the Four Horsemen (Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco) going face-to-face with a new enemy “who enlists them to pull off their most dangerous heist yet”, but we do know that Radcliffe will be playing the son of Michael Caine’s character.

NOW YOU SEE ME: THE SECOND ACT opens in theaters on June 6, 2016.

Ridley Scott won’t direct BLADE RUNNER sequel, set to start shooting early 2015!

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For a filmmaker of 76 years of age, Ridley Scott is showing no signs of slowing down. He just shot PROMETHEUS, THE COUNSELOR, and this December’s Biblical epic EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS in quick succession, and while he’s prepping the sci-fi thriller THE MARTIAN to start production early next year, he’s also still talking about sequels to PROMETHEUS and BLADE RUNNER. It’s the latter that he addresses today, revealing that while he won’t be directing BLADE RUNNER 2, it is poised to begin production next year. That’s somewhat surprising news given that we haven’t heard anything about a replacement director being set, but Scott now says he’ll only be involved in the picture as a producer. However, he also let slip how Harrison Ford fits into the film’s story.

In a lengthy profile in Variety, it’s mentioned that Scott already knows what he’ll be shooting after THE MARTIAN, but it won’t be BLADE RUNNER 2:

“[Screenwriter Hampton Fancher and I] talked at length about what it could be, and came up with a pretty strong three-act storyline, and it all makes sense in terms of how it relates to the first one.”

Scott says the film should start production within the next year with someone else directing, and he also revealed that Ford’s involvement in the picture will be significant yet minimal:

“Harrison is very much part of this one, but really it’s about finding him; he comes in in the third act.”

That’s certainly a smart way of bringing Deckard back while also making the shooting schedule agreeable to Ford’s interest level (he and Scott famously butted heads over whether or not Deckard is in fact a replicant).

Though Scott seems confident that production on BLADE RUNNER 2 will start filming in 2015, the project is still in development so depending on how quickly they find a director, that target may or may not be hit. I remain skeptical that a BLADE RUNNER sequel is necessary and without Scott’s involvement as a director I’m much less interested in the project, but I’ll admit I’m curious to see what kind of story the director and Fancher have put together.