Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Terminally Ill Star Wars Fan Manages To See Rogue One Before Dying

From cinemablend, The campaign to somehow allow terminally ill Star Wars fan Neil Hanvey to see Gareth Edwards' Rogue One: A Star Wars Story succeeded, and just in time. In a post shared with friends, family members and Star Wars fans around the globe who helped spread the word on Hanvey's condition -- as well as his final request -- Neil's wife Andrea explained that the screening took place, and that Neil died shortly after the screening. She writes:

On behalf of all our family we would like to thank everyone who has passed on their condolences following Neil's death last night. We would also like to thank the tens of thousands of people who supported the #RogueOneWish campaign. All the messages of love during the past week have given us a great deal of comfort during a very difficult time. We would also like to thank everyone at St Michael's Hospice, especially Amy Duncan, without who #RogueOneWish would not have happened. All donations at Neil's funeral will go to the Hospice's Family Support team and will be used to fund work with children and young people. An online donation page will be set-up shortly.

A bit of backstory. Neil Hanvey, his wife Andrea, and the staff at St. Michael's Hospice launched a campaign using the hashtag #RogueOneWish to try and get Disney and Lucasfilm to show Hanvey the upcoming spinoff movie early. Social media jumped on board, and the viral campaign even reached Mark Hamill, who showed his support for making the screening happen. Well, it happened. On Saturday night, according to the following Facebook post, Neil Hanvey was able to screen Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Two days later, he was gone.

On behalf of Neil Hanvey, his wife Andrea and all his family, we want to thank everyone who supported the #RogueOneWish...Posted by St Michael's Hospice on Monday, August 22, 2016

This isn't the first time the team behind the rejuvenated Star Wars franchise reached out on behalf of a terminally ill fan to grant a dying wish. You may recall that in the run up to Star Wars: The Force Awakens, J.J. Abrams moved mountains to answer the call of a similar social-media campaign for Star Wars fan Daniel Fleetwood to screen a rough cut of the movie. The hashtag #ForceForDaniel was used to spread the word on that campaign, and the internet responded in overwhelming fashion.

Stories like this show the deep compassion and camaraderie felt in the Star Warscommunity. But they also show how plugged in Kathleen Kennedy and her directors are to the people for which they are making these movies. It's a beautiful and compassionate story about fan respect, and one that I'm thrilled the Star Warsuniverse is able to share. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens in theaters on December 16, and after hearing stories like this, it makes me want to pay to see it multiple times, just as a way of saying thank you.

'Rings' trailer

Monday, August 22, 2016

Making of Blair Witch

Over the years in this crazy town, I've gotten to work with a lot of super talented people, and Ben Rock is one of them. He directed a couple short films that I wrote, directed me in a bunch of plays that I acted in, and became a buddy. Now he's written a little retrospective about working on the movie that gave him his start, and I thought you horror nerds might be way into it. Read more here!

Box Office

From ew, Kids across the nation aren’t the only ones feeling the back-to-school blues, as this weekend’s three new wide releases failed to drum up much interest at the box office, though year-to-date numbers are up around 5.2 percent from the same frame in 2015.

Warner Bros.’ DC Comics adaptation, Suicide Squad, won the box office crown for the third week in a row, pulling in a soft estimated $20.7 million atop a quiet crop of fresh titles. The action flick drops more than 50 percent across its third frame, a dip in-line with the trajectory of WB’s previous superhero title, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Suicide Squad’s estimated domestic total now outpaces the gross of 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy, currently the top-grossing film ever to be released in August, which previously held the record for the month’s highest opening weekend ($94.3 million) before Squadblasted onto the scene with a $133.7 million debut. After 17 days in release, Guardians, en route to $333.2 million overall, had only amassed $222.7 million as compared to Squad’s $262.3 million earned over the same period.

Shedding more than 50 percent of its audience for a No. 2 finish, the R-rated animated comedy Sausage Party pulls in an estimated $15.3 million over its sophomore weekend, bringing its already-impressive domestic total to just over $65 million on a $19 million budget after just 10 days in North American theaters.

Warner Bros. scores a second top-three movie this weekend as the Miles Teller/Jonah Hill action-comedy War Dogs opens to an estimated $14.3 million on 3,258 screens for a modest per-theater average of $4,389. Though it holds off fellow newcomers like Kubo and the Two Strings and Ben-Hur, which take aim at very different audiences, Dogs earns an underwhelming B grade on CinemaScore, which means poor word of mouth could see the film take a nosedive next weekend.

Kubo, the latest stop-motion title from LAIKA, lands at No. 4 with approximately $12.6 million, the lowest opening gross of any of the animation house’s wide releases. Still, Kubo earned the best reviews of any LAIKA title in history on Friday, besting both the Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic scores of films like The Boxtrolls,ParaNorman, and Coraline by a wide margin. The $60 million film also earned a rare A grade on CinemaScore, indicating the film could travel atop long legs toward a domestic finish in the $50-$60 million range.

Rounding out the top five is Paramount’s epic flop, Ben-Hur, an adaptation of Lew Wallace’s Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (which was previously adapted as a 1959 movie starring Charlton Heston). The $100 million picture, which Paramount reportedly marketed heavily toward Christian audiences, opens to an estimated $11.4 million in the U.S. and Canada, while a further $10.7 million comes from foreign territories for a global premiere of $22 million. Ben-Hur’s less-than-impressive weekend total places the film in the same boat as films likePompeii and Exodus: Gods and Kings, both expensive historical epics that failed to catch on with North American audiences.

Expanding to 472 locations, the Jeff Bridges crime thriller Hell or High Water adds $2.7 million to its growing total, averaging a decent $5,614 per screen. On the specialty front, Natalie Portman’s feature directorial debut, A Tale of Love and Darkness, averages $18,000 per theater for the week’s highest location average, while Kingslave: Final Fantasy: XV earns a modest $114,000 from 24 theaters across its opening weekend.

Check out the Aug. 19-21 weekend box office estimates below.

1. Suicide Squad - $20.7 million
2. Sausage Party - $15.3 million
3. War Dogs - $14.3 million
4. Kubo and the Two Strings - $12.6 million
5. Ben-Hur - $11.4 million
6. Pete’s Dragon - $11.3 million
7. Bad Moms - $8.1 million
8. Jason Bourne - $8 million
9. The Secret Life of Pets - $5.8 million
10. Florence Foster Jenkins - $4.3 million

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Happy Birthday, JPX!

Yeah that's right!  Throw down some birthday props!

Had a great time toy hunting with this foo last month.  One of my favorite things to do ever.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Adam West is back as Batman

(CNN)  Here's a perfect one for a Throwback Thursday: Adam West, Burt Ward and Julie Newmar are reprising their famous "Batman" roles in the new animated film "Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders."

The trio starred in the 1960s television story with West starring as Batman, Ward as Robin, and Newmar as the villainous Catwoman.

West celebrated by retweeting Warner Bros. Home Entertainment's tweet about the trailer and adding "I'm back!"

I'm back!— Adam West (@therealadamwest) August 17, 2016
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment is owned by CNN's parent company.
"Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders" will be released for Digital HD on October 11 and Blu-Ray on November 1.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

“Twin Peaks” Audiobook Features Kyle MacLachlan, Original Cast Members

David Lynch’s classic TV series “Twin Peaks” returns in 2017, and before it returns, co-creator Mark Frost is releasing a book that tells the story of what has happened in Twin Peaks following the show’s final episode in 1991. The new book The Secret History of Twin Peaks is out October 18 via Flatiron Books. It’s now been revealed that the audiobook edition will feature the voices of several original “Twin Peaks” cast members, Entertainment Weekly reports.

Kyle MacLachlan, Russ Tamblyn, Michael Horse, Chris Mulkey, and David Patrick Kelly will all appear in the book’s audio edition, which is also out October 18. The audiobook also features Amy Shiels, James Morrison, and Robert Knepper, who will star in the upcoming 2017 season (alongside Trent Reznor, Sky Ferreira, Sharon Van Etten, Eddie Vedder, and others).

A reissue of the “Twin Peaks” soundtrack is out September 9. [via pitchfork]

Monday, August 15, 2016

John Williams to score 'Episode VIII'

From slashfilm, In news that is simultaneously not surprising in the slightest but also a complete and total relief, John Williams has revealed that he will return to compose the score for Rian Johnson‘s Star Wars: Episode 8. This will be the eight Star Wars film scored by the legendary composer, whose iconic and instantly recognizable melodies and themes are as important to this universe as any character on the screen.

The news comes to us via Masslive, who reviewed a recent concert that saw Williams and the Boston Pops perform music from across his lengthy career. During a brief pause between tracks, Williams revealed the big news the audience:

Williams told the crowd he would begin work in a few weeks on the much-anticipated “Star Wars: Episode VIII” after seeing an early cut. (Sorry fanboys, Williams said he does not yet know who Rey’s parents are.)

He said he accepted the invitation from Lucasfilm producer Kathleen Kennedy mainly because he was enchanted by actress Daisy Ridley’s portrayal of Rey and does not want another composer scoring her scenes.

'Under the Shadow' trailer "tensest movie of the year"

Sniff - R2D2 died

From newyorktimes, Kenny Baker, the British actor best known for playing the robot R2-D2 in six “Star Wars” films, died on Saturday at his home in northwest England. He was 81.

His death was confirmed by a spokeswoman for Lucasfilm, the company that created and produces the enormously popular “Star Wars” franchise. The Associated Press reported that a nephew, Drew Myerscough, said he found Mr. Baker dead at his home in the town of Preston.

Mr. Baker was a little person whose adult height was widely reported to be 3 feet 8 inches. He referred to his short stature as “my height difficulties” in an autobiographical sketch on his official website, but it would have been impossible for a taller man to play the role that made him famous.

“They said, ‘You’ve got to do it; we can’t find anybody else. You’re small enough to get into it and you’re strong enough to be able to move it,’” he said of R2-D2’s cylindrical metal costume in a video interview in Stockholm that he shared on his site. “I was a godsend to them, really.”

Mr. Baker was born on Aug. 24, 1934, in Birmingham, England. He began his entertainment career in 1950 as part of a traveling troupe in Britain called Burton Lester’s Midgets.

He soon left that act and toured the country for many years, performing in theaters, nightclubs and holiday resorts in a variety of roles: circus clown, performer in an ice-skating show and, later, part of a musical comedy and variety act alongside the performer Jack Purvis. (Mr. Purvis, who died in 1997, was also in “Star Wars,” as the cloaked Chief Jawa, who shoots R2-D2,and played roles in the second and third “Star Wars” films as well.)

The traveling act brought Mr. Baker financial security and a measure of fame in Britain, but it was an entertainment ecosystem that was wiped out by the invention of television. Then came R2-D2.

That role began with the first “Star Wars” movie, released in 1977 — and now officially known as “Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope” — but it was a part he almost did not take.

“This film came along and I turned it down,” Mr. Baker said in the Stockholm interview. “I said, ‘I don’t want to be stuck in a robot, what for, for goodness sake.’”

He ultimately relented and, he said, agreed to take the job as a favor to George Lucas. The role had no lines — the character’s signature beeps and boops were not voiced by Mr. Baker — and, seated inside the robot, he never showed his face. But R2-D2 so changed his career that in later years he told an interviewer that if he could go back in time, he would do it again without pay.

“Had I known I would have done it for nothing because he was broke at the beginning, he didn’t have a penny, George,” Mr. Baker said.

But he might have asked for a share of the film’s profits, he added, referring to the celebrated British actor who played Obi-Wan Kenobi. “I’d be a millionaire like Alec Guinness was!”

Mr. Lucas said in a statement on Saturday that Mr. Baker was “an incredible trooper who always worked hard under difficult circumstances.”

“A talented vaudevillian who could always make everybody laugh, Kenny was truly the heart and soul of R2-D2 and will be missed by all his fans and everyone who knew him,” he added.

Mr. Baker played R2-D2 in six “Star Wars” films: the original, its two sequels, and the prequels released in 1999, 2002 and 2005. He also appeared in a number of other high-profile movies, including “Mona Lisa,” “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” “Time Bandits” and “Amadeus.”

No information about his survivors was immediately available. His niece Abigail Shield first reported his death to the British newspaper The Guardian.

Box office report

From ew, Suicide Squad, which broke August records with a $133.7 million opening last weekend, takes the box office crown for the second weekend in a row despite taking a steep dive across its sophomore frame, pulling in an estimated $43.8 million for an overall haul of around $222.9 million.

A tumble this large (67 percent) is in the film’s DNA, of course, as Warner Bros. consistently produces critically condemned DC Comics adaptations that open huge (Batman v Superman, Man of Steel) but ultimately shed a significant portion of their audience across their second weekend.

Though studio projections pegged Sausage Party for a debut in the $20-25 million range, the comedy overperforms with adults this weekend, serving up an impressive estimated $33.6 million debut on 3,103 screens. The film’s underwhelming B grade on CinemaScore indicates audiences aren’t as impressed with the film as critics (it currently holds a 67 rating on Metacritic), but they still showed up in numbers large enough to give Suicide Squad a run for its money (Sausage Party out-paced Suicide Squad on Friday).

History shows R-rated films featuring animated characters typically open in the $10-$13 million range (South Park, Team America, Paul), though live-action comedies featuring Sausage Party’s voice talent (Pineapple Express, This Is the End) tend to debut higher and run on longer legs. While Seth Rogen and co. have undoubtedly built a bankable familiarity with audiences, Sausage Party’s simple concept — it revolves around personified food items fighting back against the humans who want to savagely eat them — is inherently funny enough to appeal to a wide range of people in the over-18 demo.

STX’s Bad Moms, another R-rated comedy, continues to impress after its third weekend in release with a slight 18.2 percent drop to No. 5 after pulling in an estimated $11.5 million from Friday to Sunday. The inexpensive, female-driven adult laugher carries a budget of $20 million, meaning the film is already a smashing success as its U.S. grosses alone top the $71 million mark after 15 days in wide release.

Comedies perform better between May and August (Spy, Trainwreck, The Heat, Bad Teacher), though R-rated titles featuring women typically have longer legs year-round (last December’s Sistersamassed nearly $90 million domestically), given they’re a relative rarity within a market that typically caters to men.

Pete’s Dragon, the most prominent family-oriented release of the week, earns a soft estimated $21.5 million on a modest (for Disney standards) budget of $65 million. While its domestic numbers might not be anything to write home about, family films often stretch lower openings longer than films in other genres. Combined with international totals, Pete’s Dragon’s North American cumulative should ride the wave of nostalgia (it’s based on the beloved 1977 film of the same name) up and over its production costs by the end of its run.

On the international front, with both The Secret Life of Pets ($40 million from 47 territories) and Jason Bourne ($18.6 million from 59 countries) feeding the beast, Universal Pictures International crosses the $1 billion mark for the 10th consecutive year. Bourne also lands at No. 4 on the domestic chart, falling 39 percent to around $13.6 million during its third weekend, bringing its U.S. total to just under $127 million.

Hitting the adult demographic in typical fashion, Meryl Streep’sFlorence Foster Jenkins lands at No. 8, earning an estimated $6.6 million from 1,528 locations. The film’s $4,306 per-screen average and solid critical reviews line up with Streep’s last August outing, 2015’s Ricki and the Flash, which grossed $6.6 million on 1,603 screens. Though the numbers are small in comparison to the film’s wide release brethren, Streep’s consistency with the mature crowd (97 percent of Florence’s opening weekend audience was over 25) can’t be denied, and her latest outing should perform well in the coming weeks, finishing somewhere in the $28-$35 million range with strong critical reviews (86 percent on Rotten Tomatoes) and a decent A- grade from audiences on CinemaScore.

In limited release, CBS and Lionsgate’s crime thriller Hell or High Water averages a healthy $18,500 from 32 theaters, making its mark on specialty audiences as it lands as the week’s best-reviewed new title (99 percent on Rotten Tomatoes with an average score of 8.5/10). The Film Arcade’s Don’t Think Twice also continues to perform well, adding 13 theaters this weekend for a three-day gross of $367,500, a mere 2 percent dip from its $373,556 total last weekend. The Mike Birbiglia-directed film, which boasts some of the strongest reviews of the year thus far, has now made around $1.2 million since debuting in July.

Check out the Aug. 12-14 box office estimates below:

1. Suicide Squad - $43.8 million
2. Sausage Party - $33.6 million
3. Pete’s Dragon - $21.5 million
4. Jason Bourne - $13.6 million
5. Bad Moms - $11.5 million
6. The Secret Life of Pets - $8.9 million
7. Star Trek Beyond - $6.8 million
8. Florence Foster Jenkins - $6.6 million
9. Nine Lives - $3.5 million
10. Lights Out - $3.2 million

Friday, August 12, 2016

'Twin Peaks' update

From darkhorizons, Though Showtime had numerous TV shows to promote and talk about at their Television Critics 

Association panel, the one that everyone was asking network President and CEO David Nevins about was David Lynch’s “Twin Peaks” revival.

No footage from the new episodes were screened but it has been confirmed that filming has wrapped with Lynch currently in the midst of editing the show ahead of a premiere in the first half of 2017.

One of the big questions is episode – how many have been done? Turns out even the network doesn’t know. Nevins says: “We don’t even know for sure how many episodes there will be.”

President of Programming Gary Levine adds: “It is a fluid process. David Lynch who is doing it all, he co-wrote with Mark [Frost], he directed every episode, he’s editing every episode, scoring every episode. It’s a process of seeing how it evolved. That organism continues to evolve. Until he’s figured that out and shows it to us, we actually won’t know.”

They also confirm episodes won’t have to conclude within a 60 minute timeframe either, but one thing they won’t do is release the entire season at once – it will be a weekly show.

Incredible new "Rogue One" trailer debuts during the Olympics!