Paramount Pictures is celebrating their 100th Anniversary this year. It's a remarkable achievement for any company, but unfortunately the legendary studio hasn't had a lot to celebrate. After coming off arguably the most financially successful year in the studio's history, 2012 may turn out to be one of the worst. Their biggest "hits" to date have been a re-release of "Titanic" in 3D and Sacha Baron Cohen's "The Dictator" (the later barely getting into the black). The company distributed DreamWorks Animation's hit "Madgascar 3" and got a financial percentage of the mammoth "Avengers" grosses thanks to a deal with Walt Disney Studios, but to say it's been quiet on the Melrose lot is something of an understatement (we won't even go into the big delays for "G.I. Joe: Retaliation" and "World War Z"). That's all about to change, however.
Next time you dig a penny out your pocket at the store, you may find Oscar winner Daniel Day-Lewis suddenly crossing your mind.
In this newly-released photo from Steven Speilberg's upcoming Oscar hopeful "Lincoln," the actor looks to be the spitting image of the 16th U.S. president who helped reunite a fractured America -- and rocked one of history's greatest beards.
Lewis has picked up two best actor Academy Awards (for "My Left Foot" and "There Will be Blood"), and Touchstone Pictures are no doubt hoping he'll be the one to best this awards season.
Instead of attempting to cover his entire career, the film will wisely focus on just the last act of Lincoln's life, tracing his momentous presidency through the Civil War and abolition, and ultimately leading to his death at the hands of assassin John Wilkes Booth. Day-Lewis' Honest Abe will therefore be starting the film with the weight of the world already on his shoulders.
“Our movie is really about a working leader who must make tough decisions and get things done in the face of overwhelming opposition,” Spielberg said in a press release.
Oscar winner Sally Field ("Norma Rae," "Places in the Heart") plays First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln, while "The Dark Knight Rises'" Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays their eldest son, Robert.
Tommy Lee Jones, David Strathairn and Jackie Earle Haley also star in the highly-anticipated film .
"Lincoln" opens November 9.
HOLLYWOOD - Fans of Pixar in Southern California have been in heaven this weekend as the legendary animation house has been the subject of a very special tribute at the famed Hollywood Bowl.
Under the direction of Thomas Wilkins, the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra has been performing selections from the scores of Randy Newman, Thomas Newman, Michael Giacchino and Patrick Doyle alongside projected imagery from their respective Pixar films. In fact, every film has been given a share of the spotlight (yes, even the much maligned "Cars 2") and the concert is a wonderful trip down memory lane. The Bowl has put on two shows so far, Friday and Saturday night, and the third and final performance is tonight, Sunday August. 5 (as of publication, some seats were still available).
2012 has been a year of major transition for Zac Efron. The former "High School Musical" and "17" again star has found his way-out of teen-themed flicks into more mature fare. It began at the Sundance Film Festival with a small role in Josh Radnor's dramedy "Liberal Arts" and was soon followed by the Nicholas Sparks romance "The Lucky One" which was an impressive double for Warner Bros. grossing $60 million domestic. In May, Efron made his Cannes Film Festival debut with Lee Daniels' polarizing drama "The Paperboy" where he reportedly held his own opposite co-stars Nicole Kidman, Matthew McConaguhey and John Cusack. Before "Paperboy" finds its ways into theaters this October, Efron will make another trip across the atlantic to Italy for the Venice Film Festival premiere of Ramin Bahrani's drama "At Any Price."
Debuting at this year's Toronto Film Festival (where it will be looking to score a U.S. distributor), director Mike Newell's adaptation of Charles Dickens' "Great Expectations" stars "War Horse"'s Jeremy Irvine as Philip "Pip" Pirrip, the novel's chief protagonist and narrator. Also starring are Holliday Grainger ("The Borgias") as Estella, Ralph Fiennes as Magwitch and Helena Bonham Carter as the vengeful Ms. Havisham.
In advance of the film's TIFF premiere, several new images have hit the web that offer a look at the film's four main stars. Check them out in the gallery below and let us know what you think!
The 2012 Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 6-16. You can check out a list of all the selected titles here.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences hasn't always gone in the creative direction ABC would prefer for the awards show of all awards shows, the Academy Awards, and a report indicates they are not thrilled with the host selection for the 2013 Oscars.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Jimmy Fallon is in negotiations to host the 85th Academy Awards and that his former "Saturday Night Live" mentor Lorne Michaels will produce. This would be the first time either has taken the mantle of ABC's February ratings jewel.
HitFIx has reached out to the Academy for an official comment with no response. However, the organization told the Times there were no talks ongoing at this time.
Fallon has been the host of "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" since March 2009. He replaced Conan O'Brien who went on to briefly host "The Tonight Show" later that year. "Late Night" originally began in 1982 with David Letterman behind the interview desk. Fallon directly competes - for half an hour - opposite "Jimmy Kimmel Live" which has grown a loyal audience on ABC since 2003. Kimmel has traditionally put on a post-Oscar installment of the show after the event for the past few years. The prospect of Fallon emceeing one year's most watched program is not sitting well with ABC. They have reportedly voiced their displeasure over Fallon's involvement, but contractually it is the Academy's decision.
As for Michaels, his involvement is a pleasant surprise. The "SNL" and comedy innovator is an executive producer "Late Night" and a veteran movie producer. His films include the "Wayne's World" franchise, "Mean Girls," "Tommy Boy" and, more recently, "Baby Mama." Even if Fallon doesn't come on board, Michaels involvement would mean the Academy is attempting to bring more humor back to the event.
Reports indicate that outgoing Academy President Tom Sherak worked to bring Michaels and Fallon on board. Howard "Hawk" Koch was elected AMPAS' new President earlier this week.
The 84th Academy Awards was hosted by Billy Crystal and produced by produced by Brian Glazer and Don Mischer. Over 39.3 million viewers watched the show, the second highest total in five years. It received a 25.5 rating, the show's highest rating mark since 2005.
Who do you think should host the 2013 Oscars? Share your thoughts below.
If there is any film I'm disappointed I missed by skipping the 2012 Cannes Film Festival it's Andrew Dominik's "Killing Them Softly." His last picture, "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford," was one of the best films of 2007 and of the 21st Century's first decade. He's re-teamed with the producer and star of "James," Brad Pitt, for his follow up.
The Toronto International Film Festival announced additional selections to this year's edition of the festival including a large number of documentaries and some intriguing vanguard titles.
Among the doc highlights, Daniel Gordon's "9.79*" revisits the 100 meter final from the 1988 Seoul Olympics which is notorious for Ben Johnson's anabolic steroid scandal. "Artifact" chronicles Thirty Seconds to Mars and Jared Leto's long legal battle against EMI. "As if Were Catching a Cobra" captures the insurgent movements among Arab artists in Egypt and Syria. Ken Burns, David McMahon and Sara Burns' "The Central Park Five" comes to Toronto after screening at Cannes in May. Recent Sony Pictures Classics acquisition "The Gatekeepers" takes an in-depth look at Israel's secret service agency and screens for the firs time after its debut at Jerusalem International Film Festival. Matthew Cooke uses interviews with subjects such as 50 Cent, Eminem, David Simon and "Freeway" Rick Ross to chronicle the war on drugs in "How to Make Money Selling Drugs." "Iceberg Slim: Portrait of a Pimp" examines the life of the cult cultural icon. Alex Gibney tackles the power of the Catholic Church in "Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God." Janet Tobias' "No Place on Earth" discovers that five Jewish families spent over a year and a half in Ukraine's caves to escape the Nazis during WWII. Snoop Dogg allegedly finds spirituality in "Reincarnated." Another look at Roman Polanski in Marina Zenovich's "Roman Polanski: Odd Man Out" Jamie Kastner brings disco back in what the festival describes as a "hilarious new package" in "The Secret Disco Revolution." "Shepard & Dark" looks at the friendship of Sam Shepard and Johnny Dark through years of written correspondence. "Show Stopper: The Theatrical Life of Garth Drabinsky" recounts the rise and fall of the infamous Canadian entertainment mogul. Participant Media and Dan Setton looks at the continuing struggle of the Palestinian state. "Storm Surfers 3D" follows two best friends in their quest to find the biggest and most dangerous waves in the world.
Among the intriguing Vanguard titles, Rodney Ascher's "Room 237" makes a stop on the festival circuit in Toronto as does Michel Gondry's "The We and the I" and Luis Prieto's English language remake of Nicolas Winding Refn's "Pusher."
TIFF is also continuing its family friendly selections, known as TIFF Kids. This year's movies include the world premiere of "Hotel Transylvania," "Finding Nemo 3D," French-language animated Cannes selection "Ernest & Célestine" and the live-action "Igor & the Cranes' Journey."
The Toronto International Film Festival runs from Nov. 6-16. Look for complete coverage from Venice, Toronto and Telluride from HitFix's editorial team.
Long rumored, but discounted by some, the Venice Film Festival has officially announced that Paul Thomas Anderson's "The Master" will make its highly-anticipated premiere at the prestigious European fest.
Anderson's follow up to the Oscar-nominated "There Will Be Blood," this new drama centers on a young drifter (Joaquin Phoenix in comeback mode) and the founder of a cult-like religion (Philip Seymour Hoffman) which is beginning to finally gain traction with the general public. The filmmakers and their surrogates continue to deny the connection between the fictional religion and Scientology, but as more footage is revealed the allegory is becoming harder to discredit. The picture also features Amy Adams and Laura Dern.
The Weinstein Company is releasing "The Master" in the United States and recently moved the film's limited opening up to Sept. 14. Along with the Venice news, it's a slam dunk that the film will also screen at the 2012 Toronto Film Festival which takes place a week before its release date.
In the early hours of July 20th, I found myself starring at a tiny video screen inches from my seat. My JetBlue flight had just landed at LAX after a five-hour flight from JFK and I'd randomly turned to CNN as my plane was taxing toward the gate. There I discovered that a shooting had taken place at a midnight screening of "The Dark Knight Rises" in suburban Denver. Turning on my phone, I discovered twitter was being overrun with messages of disbelief and anger. Only a few hours before, on the same plane, I'd completed a lengthy article on "Rises" Oscar chances. My intent was to post it when I got home, just in time for the film's opening day. As the details of the shooting became more and more horrific, it became clear publishing my commentary anytime soon would be incredibly inappropriate.
It's been less than 10 full days since one of the worst single shootings in American history, but even for someone not dealing with the tragedy on a day to day basis it feels more like 10 weeks. Cable news networks devoured the story like the fire that enveloped the Hindenburg. Within half a day the shooting had been politicized and over-analyzed in everything from theater safety to the depiction of violence in movies. However, like so many events in our 24/7 news cycle, the public's attention has ultimately been diverted - mostly to the non-stop barrage of Olympics news and imagery (HitFix included). And to be frank, while the thriller's box office has been slightly under its processors haul, its 60% drop this past weekend had as much to do with the nation sitting in front of their televisions and watching tape-delayed opening ceremonies and swimming from London than the Aurora shootings. And for every friend or acquaintance who admits they are weary of seeing "Rises" because of Aurora, there are there or four who have already seen the film multiple times. Make no mistake, James Holmes is as disturbed as they come, but what happened in that theater could have taken place in a health club, a shopping mall or your local McDonald's. The reality of how it could have been prevented is another conversation entirely and will no doubt become a bigger issue when the story circles back when Holmes eventually faces a jury of his peers.
In Hollywood, the industry has been so shocked by the events that it's seemingly been frozen like a deer in headlights. The other major studios quickly realized they needed to join Warner Bros. in keeping the box office grosses for that weekend under wraps, but many of them are trying to quickly forget what could have been their own greatest nightmare. Warner Bros., the studio behind "The Dark Knight Rises," has been taking what can only be described as a day by day approach and trying not to over publicize its charity efforts. This is uncharted waters for any entertainment company or corporation. Some might see their conservative actions as callous, but the legal ramifications for any public move the Time Warner division makes at this point is serious business.
Happily, Christian Bale took it on himself to visit the survivors of the shooting and the only real evidence of his trip was the Facebook and twitter photos he took in the hospital, because this was for the fans, not the local or national news media (as one publicist friend at a rival studio remarked, "He can now pretty much run for president now," which of course he can't because he's British). The tributes continued Friday when the consistently remarkable composer Hans Zimmer released an original track titled "Aurora" from which digital sales go directly to a victim's fund.
So, with the Olympics in full swing and social media more obsessed with the Olympics and Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson's "break-up," does it break the bounds of good taste to discuss the awards season chances for "Rises" now?
Other pundits had weighed in "Rises" chances before the film opened. One respected Oscar expert even reported on the film's triumphant response at the official Academy screenings on opening weekend after the shooting (and "moment of silence" or not, its something I personally would have postponed, if possible). At the moment, Warner Bros. is trying to delicately walk the balance of convincing moviegoers to return to the movie theater without disrespecting the victims. Sort of like the fear of flying for some. You have to remind everyone a major jetliner hasn't crashed in over a decade. This "shouldn't" happen again tomorrow. Truth be told, no one will know the true effects on movie going habits until after the Olympics. Or, at the tail end when "The Bourne Legacy," "The Campaign" and "Hope Springs" debut on August 10. So, wondering whether a full fledged awards campaign is still in the cards for "Rises" has to be the furthest thing from the minds of anyone on the Warner Bros. lot. Will that be the case two or three months from now? We'll see. "Rises" earned somewhat unexpected rave reviews from influential critics at the LA Times, Time, Salon, the Hollywood Reporter and the New York Times (it got a solid B+ in my book). It's likely to land on the top 10 lists of a number of major critics and will have grossed over $425 million in theaters when all is said and done. All notable facts and figures for most tentpole awards season contenders. But, still. Even writing this post we wonder: Is it too early to talk about awards season and "The Dark Knight Rises" again?
When victims of Aurora are still in the hospital? Perhaps I'm oversensitive, but that's the easy reminder that Oscar should always take a back seat to the real world.
"Rises" and its Oscar chances can wait.