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Hollow in the Land – Official Trailer (2017) Dianna Agron, Shawn Ashmore

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The Martian: how the audiobook hit rocketed to film glory

In 2011, after a long search for an agent, Andy Weir gave up on big publishing. He had a small and dedicated following as a longtime writer and webcomics artist. So he just posted a book he’d been writing, called The Martian, to his personal website. His readers wanted to be able to read it on their e-readers, so then he added it to Amazon.

The next thing he knew, the thing was climbing the charts. And now, his book is the basis of an Oscar-nominated film with Matt Damon. Weir, in short, is living the dream of many self-published authors.

He acknowledges that his path was unusual, of course. “Everything went backwards from the normal way books get made,” Weir told the Guardian. “I didn’t think anyone would be interested in giving me a print deal. Obviously I misjudged that. Heh.”

In fact, one of the strangest items in the Martian origin story is who first approached Weir for a proper deal. It wasn’t print publishers or film producers. It was a small Canadian audiobook company called Podium Publishing. Run by a pair of friends, James Tonn and Greg Lawrence, the company produces what it calls “award-winning quality” audiobooks “for indie-minded” authors.

Tonn and Lawrence had once hoped to run a music label together, but the advent of Napster and iTunes quashed that dream. They were both attracted to artists who wanted to work outside of the mainstream channels to success – and they wanted to run something that served that community.

When, as an audio engineer, Lawrence began working in audiobooks, the fit seemed natural. “Audiobooks were an auxiliary business,” Lawrence told the Guardian.

 

“They were tacked on to the end of a publishing deal. Publishers would really only do an audiobook if [the print book] was so big that they were looking for ways to make money.” Lawrence and Tonn thought they could change that, by working with the sort of writer who was interested in publishing their audiobook independently.

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Lawrence was the one who actually found Weir’s book, on Amazon. He is a big science fiction fan and says he was attracted to the story, of course, but also simply felt that the way the book was written helped its audiobook prospects. The book is structured such that the narrator, Mark Watney, is recording logs of his time on Mars. “That’s a dream for audio,” Lawrence said on the phone.

The company initially bought both print and audio rights, although they promised Weir they’d return the print rights if he got a deal with a big publisher. (They kept that promise.) They enlisted RC Bray, a popular audiobook narrator, to record it. It was the first fiction project they chose. The product became a top-seller on Audible, and promptly began winning industry awards, including a 2015 Audie. While no one releases audiobook sales figures, some measure of the audiobook’s popularity might be gauged by the fact that it now enjoys over 100,000 reviews on Amazon. “A great book,” reads one. “Out of hundreds of books in my library this is one of the best.”

Part of The Martian’s success as an audiobook is undoubtedly timing. Originally conceived as a narrow industry serving the blind, the audiobook business has exploded in the past few years. In 2015, the Audio Producers Association reported that more than 25,000 audiobooks were published in 2014, compared with about 6,700 in 2010. Podium itself plans to double its production of audiobooks – it has done about 200 so far – within the next year.

Some of the increased interest is undoubtedly about the ease of buying and listening to audiobooks in the age of easily accessible digital audio. But, like podcast producers, audiobook producers also trace some of the success of their products to the way they can be listened to while engaged in some other activity – like cleaning the house, or knitting, or driving home from work. “It’s not so much what you’re doing, but that you’re trying to work reading into your life, whatever you’re doing,” Tonn said.

It remains to be seen whether “independent” audiobooks can follow The Martian’s path. Self-publishing has been a dubious challenge to traditional publishers, at best. And although the Amazon book sales rankings often see self-published books cracking the bestseller lists, audiobooks from the self-published don’t usually seem to crack the Audible Top 10.

But Lawrence sees a real future for such writers. Podium doesn’t contract with large publishers to produce audiobooks; it will remain strictly indie for now. They say they work best with authors like Weir. “He had to have his hopes and his dreams dashed against the rocks,” Lawrence said. “He spent a lot of time trying to get an agent, and he just couldn’t do that. That experience made him think differently about writing, and about getting his work out to people.”

As for Weir, when asked if he was surprised by the way things turned out, he said he was. “Yes I was. But it worked out really well. The audiobook proceeds have been far more than I ever anticipated.”

Source:

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/jan/27/the-martian-audiobook-hit-rocketed-oscars-glory

‘Blade Runner 2049’ Arrives With $50M Overseas; ‘It’ Tops $600M WW

The numbers we’re seeing internationally are in line with where Sony had BR2049debuting ahead of the weekend. Predictions from outside the Culver City lot’s gates were pegged closer to the mid-$50Ms. But industry sources see the $50.2M bow as pretty good internationally, particularly the UK and Australia figures which are higher than expected given the U.S. opening.

 

The top market was the UK with an $8M launch, on par with comp Interstellar and ahead of Mad Max: Fury Road (+15%). Prior to release in the UK last week, folks at industry gatherings were buzzing about the fantastic reviews on the Ryan Gosling/Harrison Ford-starrer, particularly The Guardian’s 5-star praise party. The film, however, did not score No. 1s in all markets this session, notably France where a local title from the Intouchables guys landed on top, and in other hubs where IT refuses to quit.

Despite all this activity, the No. 1 international movie this session hails from Chinawhere the National Day holiday period has wrapped. Leading proceedings is Never Say Die from the Mahua Fun Age troupe with about $66M for the FSS. The movie crossed $220M on its second Sunday in the Middle Kingdom.

Turning back to BR2049, Asian play will be key for the film. The best markets ultimately should include a mix of the UK, Korea, Japan, China and France. China is dated for November 10 while Japan, a huge market for Blade Runner 2049, is going October 27. Korea is October 12 and in Europe, it will have a chance to build if it can keep screens — the next major release on the horizon is Thor: Ragnarok starting October 24.

Next week is about expansion internationally. There are a number of film festivals running and so awards season movies are getting a push, but there is no major wide rollout. Blade Runner heads to Korea, notably, while Kingsman: The Golden Circlewill bow in France and Fox’s War For The Planet Of The Apes finally hits Japan. Universal/Blumhouse’s Happy Death Day gets a head start in such markets as Brazil, Taiwan and the Netherlands and STX’s interplanetary adventure The Space Between Us lands in China just as its Foreigner bows Stateside.

Source:

‘Blade Runner 2049’ Arrives With $50M Overseas; ‘It’ Tops $600M WW; ‘Despicable 3’ Hops Past ‘Zootopia’ – Intl Box Office

DC’s heroes unite in the new Justice League trailer

A new trailer for DC’s superhero ensemble movie Justice League has arrived, and it paints a bleak picture for the post-Superman world we were left with after the events of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Superman’s death looms heavy over the trailer. It opens with Lois Lane dreaming about becoming engaged to Clark Kent in Kansas, only to wake up and find him still missing. We then get a glimpse of how the rest of the world is feeling his loss. TV newscasters say that violence, war, and terrorism is on the rise. But there’s darker things on the horizon. Bruce Wayne tells Diana Prince that he’s been dreaming of something dark coming for the world, and they begin to recruit other heroes to unite fend off the coming Parademon invasion. The trailer shows off a bit more of the battles that we’ve seen teased in other trailers. “Divided, we are not enough,” Bruce Wayne tells the other heroes, “the world needs Superman, and I made him a promise, which is why I’ve brought you together.”

Justice League is coming after DC said that it was scaling back its interconnected superhero universe after it has largely underwhelmed audiences and at the box office. The future of the universe will likely follow in the steps of this year’s wildly successful Wonder Woman, with films that only lightly connect to one another, rather than continuing to follow in the same model as that of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe.

The film will hit theaters on November 17th.

 

Source:

https://www.theverge.com/2017/10/8/16443712/justice-league-trailer-heroes-superman-batman-wonder-woman-watch

‘Pacific Rim: Uprising’ Takes Place Surprisingly Long After the First One

For those of you who’ve been waiting to see more skyscraper tall mechanical monsters clash with the flesh and blood variety, we’ve got some good news for you. The next chapter of Guillermo del Toro’s massive mechs versus monsters saga, Pacific Rim 2, just took a huge, lumbering step forward.

Talking to Yahoo, del Toro, who delivers his gothic haunted house horror film Crimson Peak later this year, revealed that, after many false starts and pushed release dates, Pacific Rim 2 will indeed begin filming this November. And just in case you were wondering, it’s going to be big, and end big. He said:

We have an epic battle at the end [that] we started designing a couple weeks ago.

As it stands, we don’t know much about the plot of Pacific Rim 2, and probably won’t for some time. It reportedly picks up a few years after the first film, and has more of a focus on the monstrous Kaiju, the creatures from another dimension. Presumably this means that, after thinking they were banished back to where they came from on the other side of the interdimensional rift at the bottom of the ocean, they have found a way to come back and once again we need to turn to the Jaegers, the giant mechanical suits designed to combat this particular menace.

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To be fair, I don’t care too much about the specific plot subtleties and dynamics. That wasn’t really Pacific Rim’s strong suit, and I still loved it. Whatever we get is gravy, but as long at Guillermo del Toro is at the helm, and this film has the same feeling of glee, like a small kid playing in the dirt, smashing his toys into one another, and making explosion noises with his mouth, that’s all I need.

There hasn’t been any casting news to speak of in regards to Pacific Rim 2, so it remains to be seen if we’ll encounter any familiar faces. Del Toro has given strong indications that we will see the return of Charlie Day’s Kaiju obsessed Dr. Newton Geiszler and Burn Gorman’s Gottlieb, but we don’t know if Jaeger pilots like Charlie Hunnam’s Raleigh Beckett and Rinko Kikuchi’s Mako Mori will be back. Both Hunnam and Gorman are in Crimson Peak, so they at least have a current working relationship with del Toro that could pay off.

There are going to be some interesting questions to be answered. Like what are Geiszler and Gottlieb up to now that they don’t have Kaiju to study? What do you do with the Jaegers when there is no threat (fingers crossed it turns out like Robot Jox)? Are they just rusting away somewhere? Are the pilots just homeless and unemployed now? I can see the two scientists cooking up some wacky scheme to peer into the other dimension to check up on the monstrous horde, only to have it backfire and allow them back into our world, but that’s pure supposition.

However the story turns out, we’ve got a while to wait, as production for Pacific Rim 2was halted indefinitely, and now the release date is set for February 23, 2018.

Source:

https://www.cinemablend.com/new/Pacific-Rim-2-Just-Took-Huge-Step-Forward-72558.html

‘Once Upon a Time’: Chinese fantasy-romance features complex plot, crazy visuals

Personal identity is as complicated as the plot in “Once Upon a Time,” a CGI-heavy Chinese fantasy-romance. Heroine Bai Qian (Liu Yifei) is a goddess who can transform into a multi-tailed white fox. She’s also the exact double of Susu, the lost love of Prince Ye Hua (Yang Yang), who looks just like — well, that’s supposed to be a surprise.

The movie was directed by Zhao Xiaoding and Hollywood special-effects veteran Anthony LaMolinara (whose credits include 2004’s “Spider-Man 2”). The elaborately costumed actors travel through a computer-generated magical universe and interact with animated characters (mostly realistic, although one incongruously resembles Sprout, Green Giant’s former spokes-vegetable). The imaginative visuals upstage the battle scenes and amorous intrigues.

Image result for ‘Once Upon a Time’: Chinese fantasy-romance features complex plot, crazy visuals

“Once Upon a Time” derives from a Chinese novel, “Three Lives Three Worlds, Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms” (published in English as “To the Sky Kingdom”). The story is so involved that a recent Chinese-TV adaptation of the book ran for 58 episodes. This movie’s condensed telling is somewhat bewildering, although the essentials eventually become clear. But then they’re really just a pretext for such fairy-tale wonders as an underwater city, a living island and a hummingbird air force.

Source:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/goingoutguide/movies/once-upon-a-time-chinese-fantasy-romance-features-complex-plot-crazy-visuals/2017/08/10/aec881ce-77a5-11e7-9eac-d56bd5568db8_story.html?utm_term=.81111d033139

John Wick To Become a Cinematic Universe

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Lionsgate has come out the winner of a bidding war for a female-centric spec action script titled Ballerina — beating out the likes of Warner Bros. and Universal — and that the studio plans to use it as a spring board as a possible John Wick spinoff (aka creating a cinematic universe based on Keanu Reeves’ badass character).

Written by Shay Hatten, Ballerina is described as being similar to La Femme Nikita, the 1990 female-centric assassin movie that launched Luc Besson’s career, but with a “more pulpy, hyper-stylized bent a la Quentin Tarantino or Matthew Vaughn.” Basil Iwanyk will produce the movie through his Thunder Road banner, which also produces the John Wick movies.

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Details about the movie are being kept under wraps, but the story will apparently center on a young woman raised to become an assassin who goes on the hunt for the ones (other assassins) that killed her family. The script hit the studios last week and sources say Lionsgate saw in Ballerina the potential to further expland its successful John Wick movie franchise, which currently has a third film in the works.

Cinematic universes are all the rage right now. Marvel and Disney kickstarted everything with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Warner Bros. followed suit with their DC Extended Universe as well as one based on James Wan’s The Conjuring, Universal has united its monster movies under a Dark Universe oh, and let’s not forget Paramount’s Transformers cinematic universe and so on.

What do you think of a possible John Wick cinematic universe?

How War For The Planet Of The Apes’ Bad Ape Is Important For The Franchise’s Future

Among the new characters War for the Planet of the Apes is introducing is Bad Ape (played by Steve Zahn), a chimpanzee who’s smart like the apes in Caesar’s tribe, but has been living on his own. The War trailers have presented Bad Ape as being eccentric because of his time in isolation, but according to director Matt Reeves, the character is important to the future of Apes reboot series because he represents the wider world of Apes beyond Caesar and his followers. Reeves explained:

There are apes who grew up without the benefit of Caesar’s leadership and they might not just be pockets of one or two, there might be actually colonies, and might that be where future conflicts come for Caesar’s apes? They have the benefit of the integrity that he’s instilled in them, so what’s going to happen when they encounter others who didn’t have that?

When Caesar released the ALZ-113 gas at the primate shelter, he boosted the intelligence of all its inhabitants, and most of those apes have been the core members of his tribe in the years following. But as the ALZ-113 virus (contracted by Will Rodman’s neighbor, Douglas Hunker) spread across the world and killed off most of the human population, it would also seem that it functioned just like the concentrated gas and increased the intelligence of all apes elsewhere, whether they were wild or lived in captivity. So Caesar’s tribe is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg when it comes to ape society in this brave new world, but as Caesar learned when he battled Koba in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, just because apes are all smart doesn’t mean they’ll all get along. You know, like how it is with humans.

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Matt Reeves also laid out to Yahoo Movies that while this reboot series is still a long ways away from meeting up with the original Planet of the Apes movie, War for the Planet of the Apes does set up how Earth as we knows it is on a trajectory to turning into the alien-like world seen in the 1968 blockbuster. Reeves continued:

 

You realize that evolution — 5000 years of evolution — after the humans have destroyed themselves, have allowed the apes to take over the planet. That’s accelerated and changed dramatically through the ALZ-113 in Rise (the manmade virus that decimated humans), so they’ll never meet up, but what it does is it tells the end of the story in a way that is taking all of these stories and removing the question of ‘what happened?’ and instead focussing it on the ‘how?’ So this ends up getting to be a blockbuster that’s all about character and all about the sort of thematic, of us holding the mirror up to ourselves.

War for the Planet of the Apes will wrap up the conflict between apes and humans that began at the end of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, with Caesar leading the apes and Woody Harrelson’s Colonel McCullough leading the humans. Bad Ape will presumably aid Caesar to the best of his ability during the story, and the outcome of this war will determine what becomes the dominant species on Earth.

 

 

Among the new characters War for the Planet of the Apes is introducing is Bad Ape (played by Steve Zahn), a chimpanzee who’s smart like the apes in Caesar’s tribe, but has been living on his own. The War trailers have presented Bad Ape as being eccentric because of his time in isolation, but according to director Matt Reeves, the character is important to the future of Apes reboot series because he represents the wider world of Apes beyond Caesar and his followers. Reeves explained:

There are apes who grew up without the benefit of Caesar’s leadership and they might not just be pockets of one or two, there might be actually colonies, and might that be where future conflicts come for Caesar’s apes? They have the benefit of the integrity that he’s instilled in them, so what’s going to happen when they encounter others who didn’t have that? When Caesar released the ALZ-113 gas at the primate shelter, he boosted the intelligence of all its inhabitants, and most of those apes have been the core members of his tribe in the years following. But as the ALZ-113 virus (contracted by Will Rodman’s neighbor, Douglas Hunker) spread across the world and killed off most of the human population, it would also seem that it functioned just like the concentrated gas and increased the intelligence of all apes elsewhere, whether they were wild or lived in captivity.

 

So Caesar’s tribe is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg when it comes to ape society in this brave new world, but as Caesar learned when he battled Koba in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, just because apes are all smart doesn’t mean they’ll all get along. You know, like how it is with humans. Matt Reeves also laid out to Yahoo Movies that while this reboot series is still a long ways away from meeting up with the original Planet of the Apes movie, War for the Planet of the Apes does set up how Earth as we knows it is on a trajectory to turning into the alien-like world seen in the 1968 blockbuster.

 

Reeves continued: You realize that evolution — 5000 years of evolution — after the humans have destroyed themselves, have allowed the apes to take over the planet. That’s accelerated and changed dramatically through the ALZ-113 in Rise (the manmade virus that decimated humans), so they’ll never meet up, but what it does is it tells the end of the story in a way that is taking all of these stories and removing the question of ‘what happened?’ and instead focussing it on the ‘how?’ So this ends up getting to be a blockbuster that’s all about character and all about the sort of thematic, of us holding the mirror up to ourselves. War for the Planet of the Apes will wrap up the conflict between apes and humans that began at the end of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, with Caesar leading the apes and Woody Harrelson’s Colonel McCullough leading the humans. Bad Ape will presumably aid Caesar to the best of his ability during the story, and the outcome of this war will determine what becomes the dominant species on Earth. You can watch the video below to learn about Bad Ape’s background before catching the third Apes reboot entry.

Source:

http://www.cinemablend.com/news/1677600/how-war-for-the-planet-of-the-apes-bad-ape-is-important-for-the-franchises-future

xXx 4 finds funding, Vin Diesel returning as Xander Cage once again

xXx: Return of Xander Cage, the third instalment in the Triple-X franchise, was met rather tepidly by American audiences, taking just $44.9 million from an $85 million budget.

However, thanks to an impressive Chinese haul — partly thanks to marketing putting actor Donnie Yen before Vin Diesel on posters — taking the total takings to $346.1 million, a sequel is coming.

New launched Los Angeles-based production-financing entity H Collective is backing the project, along with numerous other films, including Aaron Paul’s thriller The Parts You Lose.

Return of Xander Cage director D.J. Caruso is currently working on the fourth instalment, confirming Ruby Rose, Nina Dobrev, Deepika Padukone, and the majority of the main cast will reprise their roles.

“In today’s Hollywood, it requires strong partners to produce and finance such big-budget movies as the xXx series, and The H Collective is a welcome and exciting new company that we look forward to working with,” the film’s producer Joe Roth told Variety.

The production company hopes to release four projects every year, one of those being action-comedy White House Chef, which will see a Chinese chef working for The White House ‘save the First Family after he becomes unintentionally involved in a secret terrorist plot targeting an important state dinner’. 

Source:

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/news/xxx-4-vin-diesel-movie-xander-cage-a7798491.html