Full ZOOTOPIA trailer shows off beautiful animation, plot details!

Disney has released a new trailer for Walt Disney Animation’s new film ZOOTOPIA. The film takes place in the sprawling metropolis of Zootopia, which is inhabited by a plethora of different mammals all living together in semi-harmony. The story kicks into gear when a rookie bunny cop (voiced by Ginnifer Goodwin) must team up with a fast-talking scam-artist fox (voiced by Jason Bateman) to crack a major case.

The film’s previous trailer revealed a pretty ingenious gag involving sloths who work at the DMV, which is not topped by this more traditional trailer—although it does feature a pretty solid GODFATHER joke. The movie does continue to look pretty swell, though, and I particularly like the flavoring of the characters, filling out the world with very distinct personalities for each type of animal. TANGLED’s Byron Howard and WRECK-IT RALPH helmer Rich Moore teamed up to co-direct this picture, so there’s certainly formidable talent behind the scenes, and the movie also marks composer Michael Giacchino’s Walt Disney Animation debut—whlie a mainstay at Pixar, Giacchino had yet to score anything for Disney Animation proper.

ZOOTOPIA also features the voices of Shakira, Idris Elba, J.K. Simmons, Nate Torrence, Jenny Slate, Tommy Chong, Octavia Spencer, Bonnie Hunt, Don Lake, Alan Tudyk, Tommy “Tiny” Lister, Raymond Persi, Katie Lowes, Jesse Corti, John DiMaggio and opens in theaters on March 4th.

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Christopher Nolan’s next film is WWII drama DUNKIRK, starring Tom Hardy, Mark Rylance & Kenneth Branagh!

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Exit STAR WARS, Enter Christopher Nolan. The most anticipated film of 2015 has been unveiled, and as if right on cue, details regarding Christopher Nolan’s next project have now been uncovered, giving us our next most anticipated film (aside from EPISODE VIII, of course). Word leaked out this weekend that Nolan had been spotted doing some location scouting in France for a World War II-set film about the evacuation of Dunkirk, and now Warner Bros. confirms that DUNKIRK is the “mystery Nolan movie” that Warner Bros. has dated for release on July 21, 2017, described officially as an “epic action thriller.”

But that’s not all! The press release adds that Nolan will be casting unknowns for his leads in the pic, but Tom Hardy, Kenneth Branagh, and BRIDGE OF SPIES standout Mark Rylance are all in talks to join the ensemble. Moreover, as hinted at by Paul Thomas Anderson, Nolan plans on using a combination of IMAX 65mm and 65mm large format film for the large-scale production, ensuring a positively massive image with which to immerse viewers and adding incentive for theaters to keep their 70mm projectors after the HATEFUL EIGHT roadshow.

Nolan is producing the action thriller with his longtime partner/wife Emma Thomas, and he wrote the original screenplay (presumably alongside his brother/frequent collaborator Jonathan Nolan). The story will be set during the legendary evacuation of Dunkirk during World War II, which over the course of eight days saved the lives of 338,226 soldiers from the impending invasion.

Filming will begin in May in France, using many of the real locations of the true events, but Nolan has already begun testing teenagers in London for the lead roles. He apparently wanted to nail down some of the adult roles before the holidays, which explains the casting of Hardy, Branagh and Rylance—all three of whom are terrific performers and will no doubt make for swell additions to Nolan’s latest pic. For Hardy in particular, this will be the actor’s third time collaborating with the director. One has to assume a Michael Caine casting announcement is imminent.

EW reveals Benedict Cumberbatch as DOCTOR STRANGE, new images & details divulged!

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The day has arrived, folks. After nearly a year of fan artwork and, more recently, some candid set photos, Marvel Studios has unveiled the first official image of Benedict Cumberbatch as the titular character in the upcoming superhero film DOCTOR STRANGE (plus a collection of other new images). Based on the comic of the same name, the movie revolves around a self-centered neurosurgeon who, after losing the use of his hands in an auto-accident, seeks a desperate fix way up in the Himalayas, where he discovers mysticism in the form of his future mentor The Ancient One, who imbues Stephen Strange with magic powers.

This first-look photo actually looks exactly like some of the fan art that’s been making the rounds, so clearly Marvel and director Scott Derrickson (SINISTER) aren’t veering too far away from the character’s comics origins when it comes to his looks. However, while Cumberbatch has been filming for a couple of months already, the EW photo shoot was the first time he had tried on the costume that Strange dons once gifted with magical powers. As a result, Cumberbatch said he was still in the process of figuring out his hand gestures:

“I’m still in the infancy of learning all that. It was like, okay, I’ve got to keep throwing these poses, these spells, these rune-casting things, everything he does physically. I’m thinking, there’s going to be a huge amount of speculation and intrigue over the positioning of that finger as opposed to it being there, or there. And I’m still working on that. We haven’t played any of those scenes yet. I felt really self-conscious. But, then, by the end, it was great. It’s like anything, you just have to experiment.”

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Cumberbatch also tells EW that folks are in for a treat once the visual effects come into play:

“These gestures are ways of creating the magic. It’s a beautiful thing, it’s balletic, it’s very dynamic. And once the boys in the backroom get to work on it, there’s going to be crazy shit going on… There’s all sorts of craziness [in Doctor Strange]. Falling, flying, jumping, fighting, punching, getting punched. It’s really rough and tumble.”

Indeed, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige says they’re leaning hard into the inherent weirdness of the property with this film:

“When this comic appeared in the early ’60s, it really informed, in a way that is pretty amazing, a lot of the psychedelic ’60s as we know it. I don’t know that they were doing anything weird in the bullpen in Marvel, but certainly the stuff they were doing inspired all those people who were doing mind-expansion experiments at the time,” explains producer Kevin Feige. “So, that’s inherent to the property. And that’s our mission statement for the visual effects on this movie.”

Folks who have been following the development know that Cumberbatch’s name was mentioned early in the casting search, but then Marvel entered prolonged negotiations with Joaquin Phoenix for the role. When Phoenix backed out, Cumberbatch came back into the equation, but Feige says Cumberbatch had been on their mind from the onset:

“[Benedict] was someone that we were very interested in for a very long time. But he kept getting more popular, and more popular, and he kept getting busier, and busier, and it looked like the timing wasn’t going to work. So we looked at some other actors for a while and ultimately decided, ‘We have to try and make it work with Benedict and with his schedule.’”

It’s a minor miracle that Cumberbatch hadn’t already been snapped up by a superhero property before this, but it’ll certainly be fascinating to see him make his debut as someone as weird as DOCTOR STRANGE. Moreover, I’m curious to see how the character fits within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With today’s release of the first official images of Cumberbatch in his Strange garb, EW is also providing confirmation that Mads Mikkelsen (CASINO ROYALE, ‘Hannibal’) is playing the film’s antagonist. The film also stars Rachel McAdams as Night Nurse and Michael Stuhlbarg as Nicodemus West.

DOCTOR STRANGE opens in theaters on November 4, 2016.

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Box Office: STAR WARS breaks largest second weekend record on Christmas with $153M, over $1B worldwide!

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With the largest second weekend of all-time, STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS has now grossed more than $544 million domestically and another $546 million internationally, totaling over $1 billion in worldwide ticket sales in just twelve days. Along with five other new wide releases, it also sits atop the second largest weekend of all-time with the top twelve films grossing over $285 million as DADDY’S HOME defied expectations, cruising to an easy second place finish with an estimated $38.8 million. Otherwise, expectations were mostly met when it comes to fellow newcomers in JOY, CONCUSSION and POINT BREAK while THE HATEFUL EIGHT performed quite well in its limited, 100 theater debut.

Topping the weekend for a second straight weekend with an estimated $153.5 million, STAR WARS is now the second highest grossing domestic release of 2015 with $544.5 million and the 15th highest grossing worldwide release of all-time. It’s also now the record holder for the largest second weekend of all-time, besting JURASSIC WORLD’s previous record by a massive $46.9 million. In fact, the records are piling up so quickly it’s becoming ridiculous as it is now the fastest movie to cross $100, $150, $200, $300, $350, $400, $450 and $500 million as well as holds the largest three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine and ten day gross.

FORCE AWAKENS has topped the two largest weekends of all-time and next weekend the only added competition is the expansion of Quentin Tarantino’s THE HATEFUL EIGHT. AVATAR’s domestic box office record of $760.5 million is very much in sight as FORCE AWAKENS is currently only $215.9 million shy of that number and has only been in domestic theaters for ten days. The question right now doesn’t necessarily seem to be a matter of “if”, but “when” followed by “How much?” A 3.5 times multiplier based on its opening weekend alone projects a $867.8 million domestic run… could it possibly go higher? A drop of 50% next weekend would still be enough to claim the largest third weekend of all-time as the stars seemed to be properly aligned for continued STAR WARS box office glory.

Here are the numbers from Box Office Mojo:

1 Star Wars: The Force Awakens $153.52M
2 Daddy’s Home $38.8M
3 Joy $17.5M
4 Sisters $13.88M
5 Alvin and the Chipmunks The Road Chip $12.7M
6 Concussion (2015) $11M
7 The Big Short Par. $10.52M
8 Point Break (2015) $10.22M
9 The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 $5.3M
10 Creed $4.6M
11 The Hateful Eight $4.53M
12 The Good Dinosaur $3.78M
13 Krampus $2.23M

AVATAR 2: James Cameron provides update, aiming for Christmas 2017 release!

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AVATAR is a tough film to talk about, if only for its generally divisive nature. It’s one of the most highest grossing films of all time and remains, at least strictly in terms of visuals, a sight to behold. And yet, its politics are so simple and uncomplicated, its morals so egregiously black-and-white, that it becomes hard to celebrate the film for the things James Cameron did right, which are not to be arrogantly sniffed at because of a script that lacked for insight and patient thought.

If nothing else, the AVATAR sequels present a chance for Cameron to recalibrate and rethink what he did correctly and incorrectly in the initial film, and he recently gave yet another update of where AVATAR 2 is in terms of pre-production. It was at the premiere of Cirque Du Soleil’s stage production of Pandora, entitled Toruk: The First Flight, that the director gave the Montreal Gazette a firmer sense of when we might finally see AVATAR 2; here’s what he had to say recently about the film. Here’s what he had to say now:

“Christmas of ’17 is the target…At least, that’s what we’ve announced. But I don’t consider that to be as important as the fact that when we get all three films done, we drop them a year apart. I call it a meta-narrative that runs across the three movies. Each film stands alone, but it also tells one much larger story.”

So, Christmas 2017 is now when they’re aiming to have AVATAR 2 in theaters, and Cameron went on to discuss where all the other stages of production are at, all of which sound to be pretty positive from the sounds of it. Here’s what he had to say about the other areas of production:

“We have design more or less finished, which is an enormous task. It’s been about a two-year task. [We’ve finished] all the creatures and the landscapes, and the new worlds within the world of Pandora that you see. The writing is ongoing, but almost finished. Technical development is done. Stages are done. Infrastructure. So we’re really poised to start after the first of the year,”

Hopefully, this is the last bit of news from Cameron about the film before production gets underway, or at least the next levels of getting this movie made are engaged. Focus may be on Marvel, Star Wars, and other ongoing franchises, but AVATAR offers as many tiers of inventiveness in terms of design than any of those films. With a fuller embrace of the inherent complexity of his storytelling apparatus, Cameron could easily make his next film a real contender against such heavyweights.

Guy Ritchie’s KING ARTHUR film pushed from Summer 2016 to February 17, 2017!

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You wouldn’t be faulted for assuming that a new movie of KING ARTHUR had to be another live-action version from Disney. And while the Mouse House is busy with multiple live-action versions of some of its most celebrated cartoons, THE SWORD IN THE STONE is not among them (yet). Instead, Warner Bros. has teamed up with Guy Ritchie (SHERLOCK HOLMES) to bring to the screen a new version of the boy who would be king. However, it appears Excalibur will have to wait in the stone a little longer.

Initially slated for July 2016, Warner Bros. has announced a shuffling of the schedule. According to Deadline, Ritchie’s currently untitled film will move to February 17, 2017 (President’s Day weekend). That is quite the change, for rather than serving the role as a tentpole picture in the usual summer blockbuster months, the film is being relegated to the winter calendar.

However, while that time of year isn’t known for exceptional box-office performances, Warner Bros. is basing the decision on experience. As Deadline notes, Warner Bros. is hoping to recreate the success of another February release: KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE. That film bowed last February and ended up with a domestic box office haul of $128.3 million on top of earning $286 million abroad.

Warner Bros. is also keeping in mind the previous performances of Ritchie’s films. Both of his SHERLOCK HOLMES films debuted in the winter months to strong box office performances. Beyond that, Warner Bros. hopes the new date will “capitalize on those kids on winter break holidays, not just here in the states, but also overseas where the title is being prepped to roll out throughout western Europe.”

The new iteration of the classic story stars Charlie Hunnam (PACIFIC RIM) as King Arthur. He is accompanied with a formidable cast that includes Eric Bana as Arthur’s father King Uther Pendragon, Djimon Hounsou as Resistance leader Bedivere, Jude Law as the villain Vortigern, and Astrid Bergès-Frisbey (PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES) as Guinevere.

ASSASSIN’S CREED marketing campaign begins, trailer date revealed?

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While not all video game adaptations garner high anticipation, ASSASSIN’S CREED is an exception that proves the rule. The film reteams the always-intriguing Michael Fassbender with his MACBETH co-star, Marion Cotillard (also always intriguing), as well as the director of MACBETH, Justin Kurzel. The last film these three collaborated on resulted in a worthy adaptation of the famous Shakespeare play and featured great acting alongside stylized direction. So their collaboration paired with the premise of the ASSASSIN’S CREED games makes the film adaptation something to look forward to.

The marketing for the film has been slow, with only a few set photos released thus far. And while we don’t know too much in the way of plot–if it is a news story or if it is based on a previous game–we do know the basics. Fassbender plays Callum Lynch, a new character who is able to tap into his genetic memories to experience the adventures of his ancestor in 15th Century Spain. With the knowledge he gains from being a descendant to the secret society known as the Assassins, he sets out to take on the Templar organization in the present day. So outside of this new character, the plot is very reminiscent of the games. But with exactly one year to go until it’s release, we have been given a new, mysterious glimpse into the film via viral marketing.

Via Slashfilm, we have learned that a new website for the film has been created. They also have a new banner to accompany it. Check the banner out below, and explore the website here.

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You’ll notice it’s not a website for the film, but rather for Abstergo, the corporation that serves as the source for the present actions of the Templars and responsible for many plotlines in the videogame series. They are the corporation that developed the technology which allows Fassbender’s character to tap into his genetic memories. And for those unfamiliar with the games, Abstergo is not your friend.

Where the site lacks in the way of reveals, the film’s official Twitter feed makes up for. Today, it posted this image of the business card for Abstergo’s CEO, Alan Rikkin. When you call the number listed on the business card, this is the message you receive:

“Hello, you’ve reached the voicemail of Alan Rikkin. I’ll be out of the office on business until March 25 with limited availability.”

Slashfilm offers the thought that March 25 isn’t just some arbitrary date. In fact, it is the day BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE hits theaters. You know whose voice that sounds like on the phone? Jeremy Irons, who is in both BATMAN V SUPERMAN and ASSASSIN’S CREED. So it’s possible that the trailer for ASSASSIN’S CREED will be attached to BATMAN V SUPERMAN. Pretty cool reveal, if that is indeed the case.

The movie is suiting up to be one not to miss. Along with Fassbender, Cotillard, and Irons, the film features Brendan Gleeson and Michael K. Williams. Also, the movie is being modeled after BLADE RUNNER and BATMAN BEGINS, so there’s that. ASSASSIN’S CREED hits theaters December 21, 2016.