Box Office: FOCUS to take down FIFTY SHADES this weekend!

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Will Smith and Margot Robbie team up this weekend in con artist movie FOCUS, which should pretty easily take first place ahead of holdovers like FIFTY SHADES OF GREY and KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE. Meanwhile, Blumhouse horror movie THE LAZARUS EFFECT also opens nationwide; unless it seriously over-performs, it will have to settle for runner-up status.

Here are the predictions from Box Office Mojo:

Forecast (Feb. 27-29)
1. Focus – $21 million
2. Kingsman – $11.5 million
3. The Lazarus Effect – $10.5 million
4. SpongeBob – $10.2 million
5. Fifty Shades – $10 million

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Thor, Black Widow and Nick Fury get their AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON posters!

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We’ve seen Iron Man and Hulk, so now it’s time for a trio of other Avengers to get their day in the spotlight with their very own AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON posters. While we haven’t really seen too much of Scarlett Johansson’s character in the promotional materials thus far, this new Black Widow one-sheet gives us a good look at her costume—and it’s got some upgrades! It appears that the AGE OF ULTRON Black Widow will be LED-equipped, as her suit in this poster features some light-up material across her sleekly designed black suit. We’ve also got Chris Hemsworth’s Thor, who looks basically the same, and Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury, who appears to have found a new eye patch.

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AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON opens in theaters on May 1st.

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RIP Leonard Nimoy star of STAR TREK, age 83

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It appears that Leonard Nimoy has died at the age of 83 following a brief illness. Nimoy most famously portrayed Spock in the Star Trek TV Series and the films that followed. According to the New York Times, who reported his death, Nimoy had been hospitalized earlier this week with end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Aside from Star Trek, Nimoy appears on the TV series Fringe and was an avid photographer and author, with several books published under his name. Personally, I think this a huge loss because Nimoy was such a thoughtful and compassionate person who wasn’t afraid to use his celebrity to advocate for causes he cared about. He really did march to the beat of a different drum and, by example, encouraged other people to do the same. Born in 1931, he left an indelible mark on pop culture during his time on this planet.

BLADE RUNNER 2 sets Harrison Ford to star, Denis Villaneuve to direct!



Harrison Ford is officially returning as Rick Deckard in the sequel to Alcon Entertainment’s BLADE RUNNER with Academy Award nominated director Denis Villeneuve (PRISONERS, ENEMY) in talks to direct. Last we heard about the film Ridley Scott, who directed the original 1982 film and will produce the sequel, confirmed earlier reports that Ford was interested in the script and said the film would shoot this year. He was half right, with the production now set to begin in the summer of 2016.

Hampton Fancher, who co-wrote the original, and Michael Green (GREEN LANTERN) wrote the original screenplay based on an idea by Fancher and Ridely Scott. The film will take place several decades after the original, and according to Scott the film will feature Ford in a small but critical role with his character appearing in the third act of the film.

State Johnson and Alcon co-founder/co-CEO Andrew Kosove commented on Ford’s return:

We are honored that Harrison is joining us on this journey with Denis Villeneuve, who is a singular talent, as we experienced personally on Prisoners. Hampton and Michael, with Ridley Scott, have crafted a uniquely potent and faithful sequel to one of the most universally celebrated films of all time, and we couldn’t be more thrilled with this amazing, creative team.

Putting the issue of whether or not BLADE RUNNER needs a sequel aside, everything about this sounds exciting. With Ford returning in a smaller capacity, the film is open to an original and inventive story that won’t be tethered to repeating the original film. Villeneuve is a talented director who proved himself a courageous director with last year’s ENEMY. He’s a filmmaker with distinct vision and keen visual style, which is exactly what an audacious sequel like this needs.

Hulk smashes the next AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON character poster!

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We’ve reached the point in the AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON marketing campaign where the deluge of character posters begins, and for once it’s actually a warranted practice. There are a lot of characters in writer/director Joss Whedon’s upcoming Marvel sequel, so it’ll be fun to see each one get his or her time in the spotlight—it’s just gonna take a week or so to get through them all. Following yesterday’s Robert Downey Jr.-fronted one-sheet, today Disney has released an AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON Hulk poster, revealing the big green guy in all his glory.

Obviously there have been technological advances since Hulk’s portrayal in THE AVENGERS, and indeed mo-cap pioneer Andy Serkis worked with Mark Ruffalo on the Marvel sequel. Based on this poster there’s much more detail in the musculature and, yes, chest hair for the alter ego this time around. Moreover, we can see a number of Ultron robots closing in on the guy in the midst of a particular battle sequence.

AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON opens in theaters on May 1st.

New pics from FANTASTIC FOUR, JURASSIC WORLD, and SPECTRE!

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A batch of new FANTASTIC FOUR reboot images have landed online, giving us a closer look at director Josh Trank’s upcoming superhero adaptation and its central characters played by Miles Teller (Mr. Fantastic), Kate Mara (Invisible Girl), Michael B. Jordan (Human Torch), and Jamie Bell (The Thing). The project had been shrouded in secrecy for quite a while before the big trailer reveal last month, and while we exclusively debuted a pair of behind-the-scenes images from the film, today’s batch of photos are the first official stills.

In Collider’s interview with Trank and the film’s producer Simon Kinberg, the director previously said that his take on the material was influenced by the sci-fi body horror of David Cronenberg’s films. These new images certainly showcases more of that darkness, and in an interview with Empire (which debuted the photos), Trank further likens the tone of his FANTASTIC FOUR to a “dark Amblin movie,” saying he’s aiming high with this adaptation:

“There’s the opportunity to make something that is challenging and tragic and dramatic. The opportunity is right there in the material. We’d rather steer it in that direction as opposed to just embracing a tone that comes right off the page.”

FANTASTIC FOUR opens in theaters on August 7th.

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As expected, Empire just shared some additional details on the latest Bond movie to go along with those SPECTRE covers. The outlet unveiled one still from the film and one behind-the-scenes shot. The still marks our very first look at Dave Bautista’s “henchpersonage,” Mr. Hinx. Here’s what Bautista had to say about taking the role:

“When I came over to meet Sam [Mendes], I only asked two questions. I asked him if Mr. Hinx was a badass. He said, ‘Yes, he’s a badass.’ I said, ‘Well, is Mr. Hinx intelligent?’ He said, ‘Very.’ That’s what I like about Mr. Hinx. He’s very well-dressed and very well-mannered. I’m not just here to fight people. He has a sense of humour. He definitely knows what a metaphor is.”

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The behind-the-scenes shot features director Sam Mendes working with Lea Seydoux who’s playing the “mysterious” Dr. Madeleine Swann. Seydoux also offered up some thoughts on her role:

“I don’t consider myself a Bond girl. I think I’m not really the stereotyped Bond girl. I feel quite different. You can’t be like, ‘Oh, James.’ You have to find something else. She’s not a fighter, she’s a doctor. She fights in another way.”

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The film is due in theaters on November 6th and also stars Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Monica Bellucci, Naomie Harris, Ben Whishaw, Rory Kinnear, Andrew Scott and Ralph Fiennes.

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More JURASSIC WORLD images have come online, and a few of them showcase Chris Pratt‘s character Owen chilling out with some raptors. On the one hand, I applaud writer-director Colin Trevorrow for making a bold move that shakes up the franchise, and we should wait to see how it plays out. It’s kinda cool that the most dangerous dinosaur in the franchise has become domesticated and now works alongside a human rather than eviscerating him. That could be neat. I’m not sure how yet, but I’m not ruling out the possibility.

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The film also stars Bryce Dallas Howard, Nick Robinson, Ty Simpkins, Vincent D’Onofrio, Irrfan Khan, Jake Johnson, Omar Sy and Judy Greer. JURASSIC WORLD opens in theaters in 2D, 3D, and IMAX 3D on June 12, 2015.

Neill Blompkamp’s ALIEN film to follow the events of ALIENS!

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In case you haven’t heard, a new ALIEN movie is on the way thanks to persistence and Instagram. DISTRICT 9 and ELYSIUM director Neill Blokmamp got the idea for a new ALIEN film and, instead of going to 20th Century Fox or reaching out to see if there was interest, he went ahead and started putting the movie together himself. After posting some of the concept art online, Fox apparently came calling, resulting in the announcement that the studio had officially set Blomkamp to direct a film set within the ALIEN universe as his next movie, with Ridley Scott producing.

Not much is known about the film other than what we saw in concept art, which showed the return of Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley as well as Michael Biehn’s Hicks. The press tour for Blomkamp’s most immediate next feature, CHAPPIE, is ongoing, and folks are trying pretty hard to get details out of the filmmaker. Sky Movies succeeded, with Blomkamp revealing how his new ALIEN movie fits into the franchise as a whole:

“I want this film to feel like it is literally the genetic sibling of Aliens, so it’s Alien, Aliens and then this film.”

It’s early days yet, but it certainly sounds like Blomkamp plans on at least partially disregarding ALIEN 3 and ALIEN: RESURRECTION. Sure they’re not great films, but it’d be weird to just pretend like that part of Ripley’s story never happened. But again, it’s early days, so I’ll be interested to see how Blomkamp addresses (or doesn’t address) the events of those films in his movie. The filmmaker also discussed his desire to maintain the “nightmare” element of the series:

“It’s a Freudian nightmare. That element to me is what is so appealing; to put the audience on the edge of their seat the whole time in a traditional, monster-stalking-you, dark-corridor-way. I love that. And then when you mix in all of the deign elements and the life cycle of the alien, it’s a powder keg of creativity for me.”

But possibly even more curiously, both Blomkamp and Weaver spoke with a sense of finality with regards to this new movie, with Weaver saying the following:

“I would love to take Ripley out of sort of orbiting around in space and give a proper finish to what was such an excellent story. So when someone like Neill Blomkamp said, ‘Well, I’m interested in finishing the story,’ my little ears perked up… I think it’s a great series. It deserves a proper ending—I know the fans would love that.”

I’m sure Fox feels differently about “ending” what’s been such a successful franchise for the studio, but if Blomkamp and Weaver could come up with a fitting conclusion to Ripley’s story, that would certainly be more satisfying than where we left off with RESURRECTION. This is Blomkamp’s next movie, so I imagine he’ll spend the rest of the year writing the script and beginning prep work, with production likely getting underway in the first half of 2016 if it all comes together.