THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PART 1 Earns $17 Million from Thursday Showings; Can It Hit $150 Million?

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Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 is off to a fairly strong, if a tad underwhelming, start at the box office.  The film took in an estimated $17 million from Thursday night showings, which is actually short of its previous two entries.  The first Hunger Games took in $19.7 million from midnight-only showings in 2012 and ended up with a $152.5 million opening weekend, while last year’s Catching Fire earned a whopping $25 million from Thursday night showings on the same weekend last year, going on to gross $158 million for the weekend.  While experts have been predicting a massive opening weekend for the highly anticipated (and also well-crafted) Mockingjay – Part 1, these Thursday numbers have some wondering if it might miss the $150 million mark.  More after the jump.

Mahershala Ali Talks THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – Part 1, The Film’s Commentary on War and Propaganda, HOUSE OF CARDS, KICKS, and More

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Now playing in theaters is director Francis Lawrence’s The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1.  In the next installment, we find Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) at the forefront of the rebellion in District 13 while Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) and Johanna (Jena Malone) are held captive in the Capitol.  Unlike the last two films which focused on surviving the games Mockingjay – Part 1 is about the rebellion spreading throughout Panem and the way both sides play the media to gain the upper hand.  It’s an extremely well done movie and fans of the franchise will not be disappointed.  Joining the cast are Cressida (Natalie Dormer), Boggs (Mahershala Ali), Pollux (Elden Henson), Messalla (Evan Ross), and Castor (Wes Chatham) alongside Liam HemsworthWoody HarrelsonJulianne MoorePhilip Seymour HoffmanElizabeth BanksSam Claflin, and Donald Sutherland.

Last weekend in New York City I landed an exclusive video interview with Mahershala Ali.  During our extended conversation he talked about the process of making Mockingjay, working with director Francis Lawrence and fleshing out his character, the film’s commentary on war and propaganda, how he got into acting, the way he likes to work, House of Cards and keeping the show’s secrets under wrapsKicks (which he describes as “Goonies meets Boyz n the Hood,” and more.  Hit the jump to watch.

Brenton Thwaites in Talks to Join PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES

by     Posted 1 hour ago

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A fresh face has been added to the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, which is now over a decade old believe it or not.  A couple of weeks ago, we got word that a number of young actors were in the running to join Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales in the coveted new role of Henry, a British soldier.  The shortlist included The Fault in Our Stars standout Ansel Elgort, The Giver star Brenton Thwaites and others, but now it appears that the victor has been selected: Thwaites.  The 25-year-old Australian actor had two high-profile roles this year with Maleficent and the dystopian adaptation The Giver, in addition to the sci-fi indie The Signal, and now he’s in talks to join one of the most popular franchises around.  More after the jump.

Mark Gatiss Talks SHERLOCK Season 4 and the Return of Moriarty

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It’s almost cruel to report on Sherlock season 4 and the upcoming special when they’re so far away.  As we previously reported, a Sherlock “Christmas Special” is due out in December 2015, and it will be followed by three new episodes.  Filming on the special is set to begin in January with filming on season four happening later in the year, and the show’s co-creator Mark Gatiss told Britain’s Radio Times that “you can always expect tragedy as well as adventure,” although I’d say each season is fairly short on tragedy until the finale.

But fans of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s novels may already sense where the tragedy in season four might come in.  Hit the jump for more, but be warned that if you’re unfamiliar with the books, and/or if you don’t want to know about the return of Moriarty (Andrew Scott), there are spoilers ahead.

FX and FXX Announce January Premiere Dates for ARCHER, IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY, JUSTIFIED, THE AMERICANS, and New Series MAN SEEKING WOMAN

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FX and FXX have announced a slew of January premiere dates for both returning and new series.  Briefly:

  • Archer Season 6 begins on Thursday, January 8th at 10pm ET/PT on FX.
  • The 10th season of  It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia kicks off on Wednesday, January 14th at 10pm on FXX, followed by the comedy series premiere Man Seeking Woman at 10:30pm, starring Jay Baruchel.
  • Justified returns for its sixth and final season on Tuesday, January 20th at 10pm on FX.
  • The third season of the excellent drama series The Americans begins on Wednesday, January 28th on FX.
  • The final three episodes of American Horror Story: Freak Show will also air in January on FX, culminating in the season finale on January 21st.

More on each series after the jump.

First PENNY DREADFUL Season 2 Image Featuring Eva Green and Josh Hartnett; Vanessa and Ethan to Form a “Deeper Bond” This Season

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We’ve still got a while to go until Penny Dreadful returns, but Showtime just unveiled the very first image as well as a few additional details regarding what Vanessa (Eva Green), Ethan (Josh Hartnett) and the rest of the gang are up to in the new season.  Despite Vanessa’s little fling with Dorian Gray (Reeve Carney), it’s always seemed likely that she and Ethan would eventually get together and the new image and plot information do suggest that it could happen.  There’s no guarantee that this “deeper bond” means romance, but it does seem like a safe bet.

Hit the jump to check out the first Penny Dreadful season 2 image and to catch the new story details as well.

Thursday TV Ratings: HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER Winter Finale Rises; BIG BANG THEORY Slips

by     Posted 2 hours ago

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TV ratings for Thursday, November 20th are in.  Here’s a brief rundown:

  • ABC’s winter finale of the buzzworthy How to Get Away with Murder rose two tenths to a 3.1 rating in the 18-49 demo and scored 9.81 million viewers.  Elsewhere in Shondaland, Grey’s Anatomy matched last week’s 2.4 rating and scored 8.28 million viewers, while Scandal (read Allison’s recap here) dipped a tenth to a 3.1 rating and garnered 10.02 million viewers.
  • Over on CBS, The Big Bang Theory dropped half a ratings point to a 4.0 and raked in 14.65 million viewers, easily still besting everything else on TV.  Mom ticked up a tenth to a 2.7 rating and garnered 10.64 million viewers, Two and a Half Men rose two tenths to a 2.3 rating and scored8.97 million viewers, and Elementary matched last week’s series low 1.0 rating and garnered 6.41 million viewers.
  • Fox’s Bones matched last week’s 1.3 rating and garnered 5.24 million viewers, and Gracepoint (read Allison’s recap here) was also even with its last episode, notching a 0.8 rating and 3.21 million viewers.
  • The CW’s The Vampire Diaries ticked up a tenth to a 0.8 rating and scored 1.67 million viewers, while Reign matched last week’s 0.4 rating and scored 1.15 million viewers.

CHEAP THRILLS’ E.L. Katz Set to Direct YOU’LL BE THE DEATH OF ME for Lionsgate

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Don’t know who E.L. Katz is?  It’s probably because you haven’t seen the movie Cheap Thrills and if that’s the case, you’re missing out on one of the best horror movies of the year.  The film didn’t get much of a theatrical run, but apparently someone noticed Katz is top-notch talent because he just scored a new directing gig, a comedy thriller called You’ll Be the Death of Me.

Lionsgate and Mandeville Films are behind the endeavor with Two Night Stand’s Mark Hammer set to pen the script.  Hit the jump for more on You’ll Be the Death of Me and to check out what Katz is capable of.

First STRANGE MAGIC Trailer Reveals George Lucas’ New Animated Film; Plus New Images

by     Posted 3 hours ago

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With the ever-present nature of the internet, it’s rare nowadays that a movie can somewhat blindside you with its existence.  But that’s just what happened recently when Disney announced not only that an animated feature from Lucasfilm called Strange Magic exists, but that it’s coming out in a little over two months.  The film is based on a story by George Lucas, and today the Strange Magic trailer was released, giving us our first look at some footage.  Though the animation is impressive in some respects, the whole thing feels really dated.  There’s a heavy reliance on widely known pop songs, a trend that was all the range during the time of Shrek—over a decade ago.  The fairy tale revolves around a world filled with goblins and elves and is inspired by A Midsummer Night’s Dream and it might yet drum up some interest from a (very) young crowd of kids, but I have a feeling parents aren’t going to be crazy about this one.

Check out the Strange Magic trailer and some new images after the jump.  Directed by Gary Rydstrom (Lifted), the voice cast includes Alan Cumming, Evan Rachel Wood, Kristin Chenoweth, Maya Rudolph, Sam Palladio, Meredeth Anne Bull, Alfred Molina, Elijah Kelley, Bob Einstein, and Peter StormareStrange Magic opens in theaters on January 23rd.

Andy Serkis Suggests the PLANET OF THE APES Prequel Series May Span Four or Five Films

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Back in 2011, Rise of the Planet of the Apes opened with $54.8 million and went on to accumulate $481.8 million at the worldwide box office.  It made sense that Fox would want to move forward with two more films.  However, after Dawn of the Planet of the Apes kicked off its run with $72.6 million and took in a whopping $708 million worldwide, it seems as though a trilogy might not be enough anymore.

During a recent interview, Andy Serkis suggested that there’s a chance the series might not be capped at three films.  How many could there be?  Hit the jump to find out more.

THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES: Check Out the Music Video for Billy Boyd’s “The Last Goodbye”

by     Posted 5 hours ago

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Billy Boyd may not be getting any face time in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, but a music video for his end credits song “The Last Goodbye” just hit the web and not only does it include Boyd’s performance, but select clips from all six Middle-earth films as well.  Even as someone who hasn’t been particularly enthusiastic about the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies, the piece is still a beautiful send off that makes me look back and appreciate the time I got to spend with these characters.

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies doesn’t hit theaters until December 17th, but the soundtrack with “The Last Goodbye” will be available on December 9th.

New FIFTY SHADES OF GREY TV Spot Continues to Promise Sweet, Kinky Love

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Universal has released a new Fifty Shades of Grey TV spot.  Based on novel by E.L. James (which began as Twilight fan fiction), the story revolves around Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) and her introduction to a whole new world of sexual discovery and risqué activities in the hands of billionaire Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan).  The ads for this movie are so bizarre in how they seem to be selling the film as “Come watch softcore porn this Valentine’s Day in a public theater, but you don’t have to feel guilty because really it’s about love.”  I’ve heard far more than I wanted to about book (link not-safe-for-work or life), but the word “love” has never come up.  It’s erotica.  It’s best-selling erotica, but erotica nonetheless.

Hit the jump to watch the new Fifty Shades of Grey TV spot.  The film opens February 14, 2015, and also stars Marcia Gay Harden, Jennifer Ehle, Max Martini, Luke Grimes, Rita Ora, Eloise Mumford, Dylan Neal, Victor Rasuk, and Callum Keith Rennie.

Warren Ellis’ Comic Series GLOBAL FREQUENCY to Get another Shot at TV with Fox Ordering a Pilot from Producer Jerry Bruckheimer

by     Posted 5 hours ago

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Warren Ellis is one of my favorite comic book authors, and his short-lived WildStorm comic series Global Frequency could make for a great TV series.  The title refers to 1,001 people working for an independent, covert organization.  Each of these members has a highly specialized skill, a special phone, and in a time of crisis, the organization’s leader Miranda Zero and dispatcher Aleph will call and send this person on a mission.  You have two interesting female characters as the regulars and from there you can cast guest stars to essentially be a weekly lead.  That’s not to say an adaptation is an easy slam dunk.  Producer Mark Burnett (Survivor) prepped a pilot in 2005 with John Rogers (Leverage) spearheading creative development, and it leaked online.  Warner Bros. was unhappy with the leak and canceled the project as a result.

Now Global Frequency is getting another shot at television with Fox ordering a pilot from producer Jerry Bruckheimer.  Hit the jump for more.

SCANDAL Recap: “Where the Sun Don’t Shine”

by     Posted 6 hours ago

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Last week on Twitter, Kerry Washington promised that Scandal‘s holiday-break finale would be “bananas.”  “Where the Sun Don’t Shine,” though, was also a kind of recap of the entire season so far, boiled down into one hour.  There were some twists and turns and some dancing, and a good set up for the next half of this season, but was it completely bananas?  Hit the jump for why “I’m marrying a whore, but at least I know what I’m paying for.”

Composer Alexandre Desplat Talks THE IMITATION GAME, Coming to the Project Late, Finding Continuity in His Scores, His Love of Conducting, and More

by     Posted 14 hours ago

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Six-time Academy Award Nominee Alexandre Desplat is a remarkably versatile composer with a distinct voice who has collaborated with some of the world’s top filmmakers.  His films this year range from Wes Anderson’s The Grand Hotel Budapest, to George Clooney’s The Monuments Men, the blockbuster action thriller Godzilla, Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken and Morten Tyldum’s The Imitation Game.  Desplat’s compelling score for the Alan Turing biopic starring Benedict Cumberbatch features lots of keyboards, clarinets, and fast arpeggios which support the pacing of the film and capture the story’s thrilling intensity and the humanity of characters who are racing against time to crack the Nazi’s Enigma code during WWII.

In an exclusive interview, Desplat discussed his collaboration with Tyldum, the tight schedule he was under to deliver the film, how he created themes that resonated with the storyline of a film that has an extremely complex structure consisting of many flashbacks and flashforwards, his themes for Alan Turing and his friend Christopher, how he strives to find a sense of continuity when he scores a film, why the chronology of music is important, why he finds each collaboration with a director a new adventure even when they’ve worked together before, and his upcoming projects including Suffragette.  Check out the interview after the jump.

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