Lord & Miller Fired from the ‘Han Solo’ Movie in the Middle of Filming

Lord & Miller / Han Solo

Whoa! Major news to report. Directors Phil Lord & Christopher Miller will no longer be directing the Han Solo spin-off Star Wars movie, currently in the middle of filming. Lucasfilm and Lord/Miller have both released statements, via Hollywood Reporter, confirming the shocking news and admitting to «creative differences» as the reason. The project was already most of the way through filming, apparently with only a few weeks left, yet they’re not going to finish and will instead hand over the work to someone else (yet to be announced). This is a huge shake-up in Hollywood, and will be talked about for years. For now, the original May 25th, 2018 release date is still unchanged, with reshoots planned later this summer with a new director. ›››

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The Lessons Universal (and Hollywood) Should Learn From ‘The Mummy’

Lessons From The Mummy

Remember The Mummy? It hit theaters…*checks notes*…two weeks ago? Wow, time sure flies when you’re trying to forget you saw a certain movie.

The Mummy was sold as a film featuring Tom Cruise doing battle with a recently resurrected mummy, but mostly it sat there, lifeless and entirely void of any entertainment value, all thanks to a muddled script, slipshod editing, and bland direction. The film underperformed at the box office, an inauspicious start to Universal’s proposed “Dark Universe” franchise, which, for some strange reason, is supposed to turn the classic Universal Monsters into action heroes akin to the superheroes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The Mummy also ended up being one of the worst-reviewed films of Tom Cruise’s career, second only to Cocktail. Truly, this is a dark time for mummies and Tom Cruises everywhere.

What happens next? Where does Universal go from here? What lessons, if any, can Hollywood and Universal Pictures take away from this lifeless corpse of a film? Let’s light our torches, break the seal on this tomb and go exploring. 

The Mummy trailer 3

Star Power is a Thing of the Past

I’m not here to besmirch Tom Cruise. I like Tom Cruise as an actor. He’s an entertaining showman who loves risking his life to make (mostly) fun movies, and every once in awhile, he appears in something like Eyes Wide Shut or Magnolia to show people he has some range. Recently, a story in Variety had Universal Studio insiders trying to push all the blame for The Mummy onto Cruise. Per Variety, the original Mummy script was much more of an exciting summer horror movie, and Sofia Boutella’s eponymous mummy had as much screentime as Cruise’s character. Once Cruise came in, however, everything changed as he and his team reworked the film to better complement the actor. “This is very much a film of two halves: before Tom and after Tom,” the Variety story quotes Frank Walsh, The Mummy supervising art director, as saying. 

I don’t doubt this story for a second. However, this is nothing new. Cruise more or less has done this on all of his films for the last decade. According to Kim Masters in The Daily Beast, at one point the actor had a team of screenwriters “picking up $ 250,000 a week to rework scripts that Cruise might pick for his next project.” This is the sort of thing that comes with hiring a big movie star. Here’s the problem, though: the age of the movie star is over. Indiewire’s David Ehrlich summed things up nicely in his article “Alden Ehrenreich Playing Han Solo is Proof That Movie Stardom is Dead” when he wrote “We used to create movie stars, but now we only create movie stardom.” There was a time when a little-known actor like Alden Ehrenreich would never have been considered to play such a big role in a major blockbuster tentpole such as the Han Solo movie. But audiences don’t generally think in terms of star power anymore when deciding on what movie to see. Star power means very little these days.

Chris Pratt has gone from goofy sitcom player to big budget megastar, but does anyone – other than Pratt’s agent, perhaps – honestly think that Jurassic World did boffo box office because Pratt was in it? If that were the case, then why did Passengers, a film that paired Pratt with another big star, Jennifer Lawrence, fizzle at multiplexes across the country? Cruise may be the last of the true original movie stars, but studios need to realize that doesn’t carry the same weight as it used to. Universal seemed to think that by putting Cruise front and center for their first Dark Universe movie they didn’t have to worry too much about pesky little matters like “plot” and “coherent editing.” The Variety piece even somewhat acknowledges this sea change in audience reaction to stars with this excerpt: “Universal knew that if it wanted The Mummy to compete against the likes of Wonder Woman and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 it needed every ounce of Cruise’s waning star power. As the studio scrambled to deal with weak tracking, it released a portrait in late May of Cruise with other actors from the Dark Universe franchise, including [Johnny] Depp and Javier Bardem (who will play Frankenstein). Yet the studio couldn’t even assemble all the actors in the room at the same time, and the image had to be Photoshopped. The Internet reaction to the last-ditch marketing effort was tepid at best.”

None of this is Cruise’s fault, but it is unfortunate that he failed to realize the state of things while he was reshaping The Mummy. The Mission: Impossible films became truly engaging when they started to focus more on the team Cruise’s character surrounds himself with than just Cruise himself. The recent Mission: Impossible: Rogue Nation was less a showcase for Cruise than it was for Rebecca Ferguson, playing ass-kicking double-agent Ilsa Faust. And Cruise wisely let Edge of Tomorrow (or Live. Die. Repeat., if you want to be a weirdo about it) shift focus away from his character and on to Emily Blunt’s. These were two of the most-celebrated films of Cruise’s recent career, so you’d think he’d realize that had he let Boutella share the spotlight in The Mummy, the film would’ve been better-off. Hell, it’s bad enough that the mummy in The Mummy barely has any screentime, but equally bad is the way the film handles leading lady Annabelle Wallis, who doesn’t so much play a character in the film as she does a fountain of pointless exposition. If Universal’s Dark Universe wants to expand, it needs to realize that a universe is bigger than one man. Relying so heavily on one actor to launch an entire world is just silly.

dark universe!

Focus on One Film at a Time

I can’t believe I even need to say this, but it’s okay to make a big movie that doesn’t launch a cinematic universe. I know Marvel cracked the formula and created a license to print money in the process, but they’re the rare successful example. I get it: studios want a return on their investment. If they’re going to shell out the cash, they want to turn a profit. What better way than to create not just one film but a whole universe of films?

Counterpoint: you can make a big movie that stands on its own that still makes plenty of money. The best modern example is Christopher Nolan, who has spent a large chunk of his career creating big blockbusters that stand alone without launching entire franchises. Even when Nolan was working within the confines of a franchise with his Dark Knight trilogy, the filmmaker would frequently say he wasn’t thinking about sequels, he was only focusing on the film at hand.

Perhaps that’s the example studios would be wise to follow. If they must start their own cinematic universes, why not worry about them one film at a time. The Mummy feels like a 2-hour warm-up act. There’s nothing distinct in the film; nothing to make it stand-out on its own. Every frame seems tailor-made to set-up this cinematic universe, which completely robs The Mummy of any power it might have had.

If you want to get audiences excited for the next film in your series, you need to excite them with the film at hand. Personally speaking, had The Mummy been a fun summer movie with its own unique charms, I’d be thrilled to see where the Dark Universe goes. With The Mummy being the drab mess that it is, however, I’d be perfectly content if Universal never bothered to make any more of these films. If you go out to dinner only to find broken glass ground up into the first course of your meal, you probably wouldn’t feel like sticking around to find out how the second course tasted.

With the Marvel Cinematic Universe, audiences clamored for more because they were excited about the characters Marvel was focusing on. It was thrilling to imagine how these comic book heroes would eventually intersect into each other’s worlds. What characters are we supposed to be excited about with the Dark Universe? It’s certainly can’t be the human heroes, who as established by The Mummy are all bland and unremarkable. Is it the monsters, then? That’s hard to believe too, since The Mummy spends a good amount of its runtime ignoring its central monster, only to quickly dispatch her at the end in order for Cruise to take over.

If studios want audiences to return to the worlds they create, they have to make those worlds exciting, and populate them with individuals worth giving a damn about. Otherwise the entire endeavor is pointless. Universal would be wise to make their next Dark Universe film, The Bride of Frankenstein, distinct and memorable, or else they’re wasting everyone’s time.

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The post The Lessons Universal (and Hollywood) Should Learn From ‘The Mummy’ appeared first on /Film.


/Film

New Clip from War for the Planet of the Apes Released

New Clip from War for the Planet of the Apes Released

New clip from War for the Planet of the Apes released

Following yesterday’s Father’s Day promo20th Century Fox have released a new clip from War for the Planet of the Apes. You can view the new clip using the player below!

In War for the Planet of the Apes, the third chapter in the rebooted take on the enduring science fiction franchise, Caesar (Andy Serkis) and his apes are forced into a deadly conflict with an army of humans led by a ruthless Colonel (Woody Harrelson). After the apes suffer unimaginable losses, Caesar wrestles with his darker instincts and begins his own mythic quest to avenge his kind. As the journey finally brings them face to face, Caesar and the Colonel are pitted against each other in an epic battle that will determine the fate of both their species and the future of the planet.

The film, directed by the returning Matt Reeves (Cloverfield, Let Me In) also stars Steve Zahn (Dallas Buyers Club, Captain Fantastic), Terry Notary (Kong: Skull Island, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) and Karin Konoval (Rise of the Planet of the Apes, 2012).

War for the Planet of the Apes opens nationwide on July 14, 2017.

The post New Clip from War for the Planet of the Apes Released appeared first on ComingSoon.net.

ComingSoon.net

Jay Z drops a snippet of ‘Adnis’ from his mysterious new album ‘4:44’

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There’s still plenty of mystery surrounding Jay Z’s new project/album, 4:44, but we at least know now that it’s coming.

The rapper dropped a 30-second snippet of his track «Adnis» online Sunday night, with the album set to be released on Jun. 30 as a TIDAL and Sprint exclusive.

In the trailer for «Adnis,» Moonlight’s Mahershala Ali plays the role of a boxer, with Danny Glover holding the punching bag — although he disappears whenever Ali is in the shot. 

It does leave us wondering if 4:44 could be a visual album, in the vein of Beyoncé’s Lemonade. Read more…

More about Entertainment, Music, Jay Z, Entertainment, and Music
Mashable

First Trailer for Twisty Indie Horror ‘Midnighters’ from Julius Ramsay

Midnighters Trailer

«Look around, this isn’t what we planned.» A full-length trailer has debuted for a horror thriller premiering at the Los Angeles Film Festival this month, titled Midnighters, from director Julius Ramsay. Ramsay is making his feature directorial debut after working as an editor on TV shows like «Battlestar Galactica» and «Flashforward». The film is set around New Year’s Eve following a couple that accidentally kills someone on their way home. But there’s a twist when they realize this might have been a setup, while other mysterious things start to happen. Starring Alex Essoe, Perla Haney-Jardine & Ward Horton. It’s described as a «taught noir thriller in the vein of Blood Simple, Shallow Grave, and Blue Ruin.» Looks like it could be good. ›››

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FirstShowing.net

How Warner Bros/DC Can Learn From the Success of ‘Wonder Woman’

Wonder Woman

Well, Warner Bros can breathe a sigh of relief. Wonder Woman is a resounding success. The Gal Gadot-starring, Patty Jenkins-directed film made history by making $ 100 million in its opening weekend, the biggest opening for any woman-directed movie. The reviews have been glowing, and audience reception seems overwhelmingly positive. Wonder Woman is a bona fide hit for the studio, a home run that Warner Bros certainly needed. With the first well-received DCEU movie under their utility belts, all masked heads are turned to the next DCEU offering, Justice League, opening in November. Let’s look at how Warner Bros can learn from the success of Wonder Woman as they take the next big leap in their cinematic universe. ›››

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FirstShowing.net

12 hilariously viral moments from the UK election campaign 2017

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It’s widely known that General Election campaigns tend to be long, depressing affairs. But that doesn’t mean they’re totally devoid of fun.

Nestled among the repetitive answers and frustrating debates are brief, shining moments of hilarity. Sometimes these come from obvious places (politicians eating food), and sometimes less obvious (politicians asking random members of the public to «smell their spaniel»).

From tweets on the official House of Cards account to spectacularly odd campaign videos, we give you some of the most viral moments from the UK general election 2017 campaign trail: Read more…

More about Politics, Uk, Election, Jeremy Corbyn, and Tim Farron
Mashable

Make a Small Budget Go A Long Way – Advice From 3 Indie Films

The budget is one of the most important and one of the most difficult components in filmmaking. Many have struggled on working within the limitations of the budget they have and in result, have produced poor films by being overly ambitious and unwilling to compromise. The fact of the matter is that not every production is going to get the equipment or location of their dreams but that’s okay. A film does not have to suffer because it doesn’t have the financial backing that Lord of the Rings had. A successful film is one that embraces constraints and makes them work in the film’s favour. Cutting costs does not lower the value of the film. The goal of this blog post is to prove that films can be successful with little to no budget and provide advice that independent filmmakers have used themselves on prosperous films.

Clerks (Directed by Kevin Smith with a budget of $ 27,575)

Clerks was the debut feature film for director, Kevin Smith. Before there was Chasing Amy or Dogma, there was Clerks. It has the lowest budget that Kevin Smith has had to work around and yet it launched Smith’s career and won the “Award of the Youth” and Mercedes-Benz Award in 1994 at Cannes Film Festival.

Kevin Smith was able to achieve great success with extremely low funding which proves that big budgets do not make a film great. Filmmakers can do something just as good as big budget features do but with nothing at all. The trick is to embrace your limitations and make them work for you rather than against you.

Use what you have available

Location wise, Kevin Smith’s entire film is based in a convenient store in New Jersey and it’s video rental shop next to it. These spaces are actually places Kevin Smith was working at in the time of production and was given permission to use them during their closing hours. Which is exactly what happened; Kevin Smith and his cast stayed in the convenient store overnight in the span of approximately 21 days to film Clerks. Because the shop was closed while filming, Smith worked it into the script that some kids broke the blinds outside and that’s why they wouldn’t open (when in reality, it was locked from the shop being closed). Throughout the film, there is a large sheet that says “I assure you, we’re open”. The lesson here is to take advantage of the options you have to save money and make it work into the plot. Scripts can be rewritten and made better but budgets hardly ever have that flexibility.

Shoot in Black & White

Shooting in Black & White is a lot easier than shooting in colour because, to put it simply, it’s less colours. The colour grading in post will be a lot cheaper since every frame will look the same because it’s varying shades of black and white. This also makes lighting a lot easier and in the case of Clerks, you can trick the audience into thinking a scene that’s being filmed at night, is a daytime scene.

You also see this sort of technique in Spike Lee’s She’s Gotta Have It. In that film, Spike Lee could only afford so little colourful filming that he used it to indicate a hyper-realism, sort of dream sequence that appears like a fantasy in comparison to all the black & white scenes. This is an example of, again, using your limitations in a smart way and making it go in your favour as opposed to sloppy and cheap.

Cast Yourself

Instead of paying the fees for extras, Kevin Smith cast himself and friend, Jason Mewes as the two men who hang around outside the store. Kevin Smith’s character, Silent Bob has no speaking parts so the characters are relatively small and don’t necessarily carry the plot anywhere, they serve as another comedy element so instead of paying someone to play the small parts, he assigned the roles to him and Jason. This is a good way to save money; typically for extras, people without any acting experience can do just well enough.

Slacker (Directed by Richard Linklater with a budget of $ 23,000)

Before Boyhood, Linklater was known for bringing attention to a subculture society in Austin, Texas. Slacker was made in 1991 before the young adult bohemian lifestyle was really given any exposure. The film has no plot really; it revolves around short snippets of the people and their conversations throughout the day. The film never stays on one particular person for too long, it constantly moves throughout the city of Austin. The film shows that filmmakers can make it on the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress alongside Citizen Kane and The Godfather while having less than half of their budget.

Natural Light

The use of the sun as your primary light source is one of the easiest ways to cut down how much you spend on your film. Most of Slacker is filmed in the day which of course makes it much easier to limit the use of artificial light and therefore the budget. More than half of the film is filmed outside and the scenes that are filmed inside are contained in rooms with lots of windows that the actors or a particular object can get the most light from what is outside.

Camera

Slacker was filmed on a 16mm Arriflex camera. The 16mm film is a common film type used in most low budget films. It has also been the known film within most home movie making cameras. Sacrificing the quality of film will definitely lower the costs of production without lowering the quality of the finished film as clearly demonstrated by Slacker. Slacker also features a Fisher Price Pixel Vision camcorder in which they used to film the bar scene. The Fisher Price camera is literally a toy camera that Linklater used, with great difficulty, due to its cheap price and to give the scene a gritty texture. Slacker proves that you do not need the best quality equipment to make an important film.

Blair Witch Project (Directed by Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez with a budget of $ 60,000)

Blair Witch Project, which made its UK debut at Raindance Film Festival, is a “found footage” horror film surrounding a local Maryland legend, The Blair Witch. The film has been largely influential in the horror community as one of the first first-person mockumentaries that some people are convinced was based on a true story. It is known as one of the most profitable films of all time, grossing around $ 248 million with an original budget of $ 60,000.

Camera

Just like Slacker, Blair Witch Project has embraced their access to cheap cameras by buying dinky consumer cameras in which they equipped the actors with. Because it was a “found footage” film, the audience can excuse the poorer quality (compared to more modern and professional cameras) because it’s supposed to come off as “real footage”. One can excuse the shakiness and grain that comes with a lot of inexperienced filmmaking since it’s supposed to come from a “home movie” type of camcorder. After the filming was completed, on Halloween after the span of 8 days, the producers took the cameras back and managed to get a slight refund which made the budget go even further.

Marketing

The marketing of the Blair Witch Project can attribute to a lot of the film’s success. They decided to promote the film as if the Blair Witch was real, which many locals do believe. Promotion of the film consisted of fake police reports and interviews in order to create a sense of curiosity to draw in audiences. The team even made fake Missing Person flyers for the actors featured in the film in order to attract people to see the film for the actors “last known whereabouts”. It is referred to as one of the most “terrifying and successful” campaigns in film history.

The post Make a Small Budget Go A Long Way – Advice From 3 Indie Films appeared first on Raindance.

Raindance

Director Barry Jenkins’ 14 Favorite Films from the Criterion Collection

What kinds of films pique the interest of Oscar-winning filmmaker Barry Jenkins?

Have you ever dreamed of entering the Criterion closet and perusing their massive collection of historically and culturally important films? If you’re a cinephile, you probably have, but if you’re a celebrated filmmaker, like director Barry Jenkins, you actually get to do it. Back in November, while promoting what would become the future Oscar-winning film Moonlight, Jenkins visited Criterion and was invited to thumb through their library, and he not only got to live every cinephile’s dream, but he also had the exact response every cinephile would have once being enveloped in all of that cinematic goodness:

«This is a bit overwhelming. There’s too much good shit in here.»

Here are Jenkins’ top Criterion picks:

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No Film School

‘Wonder Woman’ Kicks Things Off with an Excellent $11 Million from Thursday Previews

FRIDAY AM UPDATE: Wonder Woman is off to an excellent start, bringing in an impressive $ 11 million from Thursday preview screenings, which began at 7 PM at 3,500+ theaters. Comparatively, this is just behind the $ 11.2 million Guardians of the Galaxy brought in before its $ 94.3 million opening and ahead of the $ 9.4 million Doctor Strange brought in on Thursday night before its $ 85 million debut last year. Both films were referenced in our preview below and the $ 85-95 million range might …
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