Watch Air New Zealand THE HOBBIT Safety Video with Peter Jackson and Elijah Wood

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Air New Zealand is all in on the Lord of the Rings tourism industry.  They created a 5-minute safety video set in Middle Earth to show passengers before each flight with plenty of Hobbit sight gags.  Directed by Taika Waititi (Flight of the Conchords), the production values are solid and the clip is entertaining, as far as airline informational videos go.  The result will make you actually pay attention to the safety instructions on your next flight to New Zealand.

Watch the video—featuring appearances by Peter Jackson, Elijah Wood, Sylvester McCoy, Dean O’Gorman, and Weta Workshop co-founder Richard Taylor—after the jump.

Charlie Kaufman to Rewrite IQ 83 for Steve Carell to Star

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It looks like Charlie Kaufman and Steve Carell may work together after all.  Carell was originally set to star in the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind scribe’s excellent-sounding musical Frank or Francis, but the feature was postponed due to lack of financing.  He then turned his attention to the FX pilot How and Why, only to see the network pass on picking it up to series earlier this year.  Now Kaufman has been tapped to rewrite a star vehicle for Carell, and it sounds kind of great.  The Adaptation. and Being John Malkovich screenwriter will pen an adaptation of Arthur Herzog’s science-fiction novel IQ 83, which revolves around the outbreak of a disease that is slowly making everyone dumber.  More after the jump.

New THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PART 1 TV Spot Features Teary-Eyed Josh Hutcherson

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Whether you’re into the non-stop Hunger Games marketing campaigns or not, there’s no denying that Lionsgate knows how to deliver quality promotional material.  At this point, we’ve already seen a teaser trailer, a full-length trailer and a TV spot for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 yet this latest TV spot still rocks some brand new footage and a relatively unique tone.  The film’s promotional push isn’t just laying it all out there to get as many moviegoers into theaters as possible.  Lionsgate is actually taking more of a storytelling-centric approach, having each new piece add a layer to the situation, encouraging viewers to become invested well before the movie even comes out.

Hit the jump to check out the latest The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 TV spot featuring Willow Shields’ Primrose Everdeen, a little encouragement from Elizabeth Banks as Effie and a super sad Josh HutchersonMockingjay – Part 1 is due in theaters on November 21st.

THE HOBBIT Movies Cost $745 Million, But That’s Okay Because They’ve Already Made Nearly $2 Billion

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Calculating the budget of Hollywood films is a tricky business.  Rarely is the “official” number the actual amount that a movie cost, and even if a movie seems to have made more than its reported budget, that doesn’t factor in the cost of marketing and distribution; roughly, a movie has to make about one and half times its budget to become profitable.  The cost, obviously, goes up with sequels, as studios put more money into a film that now has a much higher probability of becoming profitable thanks to brand recognition based on the first film.  In the case of The Hobbit franchise—a series of prequels to one of the most popular and successful film trilogies of all time—one can imagine the amount of money Warner Bros. spent to bring them to fruition.

But now one doesn’t have to imagine that number, as it is being reported that the cost of the three Hobbit films has now totaled $745 million.  That’s, uh, a lot of money, but even still, it’s looking like most of what the final installment, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, makes in theaters will be profit.  More after the jump.

Edward Norton Revisits the Decision to Not Play The Hulk in THE AVENGERS

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Remember when we first got word that Edward Norton would not be reprising his role as The Hulk in The Avengers?  It wasn’t pretty.  When the news dropped, it was being reported that Norton wanted in, but Marvel wanted someone with a lower price tag.  However, when Marvel reps chimed in, they claimed that they passed on Norton because they needed someone who “embodies the creativity and collaborative spirit of our other talented cast members,” essentially accusing Norton of not being a team player.  Shortly after, Norton’s agent fired back claiming that Marvel’s statement was a “purposefully misleading, inappropriate attempt to paint our client in a negative light.”  Soon thereafter, Norton took the more righteous route by posting a sincere thank you to Marvel and to the fans who supported his run as Bruce Banner.

Four years later, Norton’s got an outstanding new feature on his resume that could score him an Oscar nomination, but The Hulk talk still rages on.  Hit the jump to find out what Norton had to say about ditching the role.

Christopher Nolan and Matthew McConaughey Talk INTERSTELLAR Secrets, Sci-Fi Ambitions, and CG Hurdles in Lengthy Interview

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The release of Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi epic Interstellar is finally within arm’s reach, and as the date looms closer we’re starting to hear much more from Nolan himself and his impressive cast about how the project came together, the experience of making it, and the extent to which Nolan grounded the space-centered film in reality.  All of this and more is touched on during a lengthy roundtable interview with Nolan, Matthew McConaughey, Jessica Chastain, and Anne Hathaway in the latest issue of THR, and we’ve taken the liberty of gathering up some of the highlights from the fascinating and somewhat revealing conversation.

Hit the jump to see what they had to say about Nolan’s long-standing fascination with sci-fi, his first meeting with McConaughey, tackling large-scale CG effects, and more.  The film opens in 70mm IMAX and 35mm on November 5th and everywhere else on November 7th.

Dark Horse Graphic Novel POLAR: CAME FROM THE COLD Scores Big Screen Adaptation

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Poor Constantin Films is clearly trying to deliver a hit, but minus the Resident Evil franchise, the company doesn’t seem to be having much luck as far as the domestic box office goes.  I don’t even know what happened to that ridiculous looking Tarzan animated movie they were working on, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones failed to spawn a franchise and Pompeii didn’t do too well either.  Perhaps a graphic novel adaptation could get the company a winner.

It’s being reported that Constantin is joining forces with Dark Horse Entertainment to turn the graphic novel Polar: Came from the Cold into a feature film.  Hit the jump for more on the endeavor.

AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON Trailer to Air During Next Week’s AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.

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If you caught tonight’s episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., you already know the big news; ABC will air the very first teaser trailer for Joss Whedon’s Avengers: Age of Ultron during next week’s episode.

Be sure to tune in to ABC on Tuesday, October 28th at 9pm ET/PT for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 2, episode 6, “A Fractured House,” to catch the Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer reveal.  Hopefully the promo will hit the web immediately after and make its way into theaters next weekend as well.  Hit the jump for more on the film.  Avengers: Age of Ultron arrives on May 1, 2015.

Warner Bros. Digital Division Developing CRITTERS, MORTAL KOMBAT and STATIC SHOCK Series

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Warner Bros. just gave its new digital division a name and unveiled its first development slate to go along with it.  Blue Ribbon Content will focus on delivering short-form, live-action series under the guidance of Sam Register who assumed the role of President of Warner Bros. Animation and Warner Digital Series back in April.

Blue Ribbon’s got a lot going on, but the highlights include a new Mortal Kombat series, an adaptation of the comic Static and a new rendition of the cult classic Critters as well.  Hit the jump for more on all of them.

Ray Fisher Says He Didn’t Know He Was Getting a Solo CYBORG Movie

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Apparently now that Warner Bros. has unveiled the release dates for its DC movie slate, the stars can start talking about the films – to a degree.  Just yesterday we shared some quotes from Jason Momoa on Aquaman and now we’ve got Ray Fisher talking Cyborg, too.

The guy doesn’t have a single feature film credit to his name, but soon enough, he’ll have two pretty big ones – Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League Part One.  On top of that, much to Fisher’s surprise, he’s getting a Cyborg standalone movie, too.  Hit the jump to find out which Justice League members Fisher has met and what it was like to first find he’s getting a solo movie mere hours before the Warner Bros./DC release date announcement hit.

BAD SANTA 2 Still Coming Even if Billy Bob Thornton Admits It Won’t Be as Good as the First

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I liked Bad Santa when I saw it in 2003.  I actually haven’t seen it since then so I have no idea how it ages or holds up or any of that, but apparently there’s an appetite for a sequel.  Makes sense, I guess I’d probably check out Bad Santa 2 if it happens.  A few years back Steve Pink was going to helm, but then those duties fell to Doug Ellin.  Ellin is still busy wrapping up the artistic juggernaut of the Entourage movie, so even though there’s a chance his Kubrickian penchant for perfection will keep him in the editing room for another few years on that project, one could also reasonably assume he’d make time for this sooner or later.

If the script is good.  That’s what they’re waiting on.  Even though Billy Bob Thornton himself wisely admits there’s no way they can top the first one (the success of that film seemed like lighting in a bottle, and audiences are harder to shock eleven years later).  Head inside for more on Bad Santa 2.

Kim Basinger Joins Shane Black’s NICE GUYS; Patrick Stewart to Play White Supremacist Leader in GREEN ROOM

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An L.A. Confidential reunion of sorts is in the works.  THR reports that Kim Basinger is set to join the cast of director Shane Black’s 1970s noir film The Nice Guys, reuniting her with her L.A. Confidential co-star Russell Crowe, who plays a hired leg breaker that teams up with a private eye (Ryan Gosling) in order to solve the case of a missing girl and the seemingly unrelated death of a porn star.  Basinger will play the chief justice in the film, a character who is in bed with criminals.  The film returns Black to noir territory after co-writing and directing one of the best Marvel films yet, Iron Man 3.  The cast is filling out quite nicely, with Matt Bomer, Cara Delevingne, Keith David, and Beau Knapp all onboard.  The film is slated for release on June 17, 2016.

Hit the jump for casting news concerning Patrick Stewart playing a white supremacist leader.

New PEE-WEE HERMAN Movie is “Imminent” According to Paul Reubens

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As long as this is closer to Pee Wee’s Big Adventure and a decided departure from 1988′s ill fated Big Top Pee-Wee I think we’ll be in fairly decent shape.  Paul Reubens is claiming that an official announcement regarding a new Pee-Wee Herman movie is almost incredibly f*cking nigh.  This is excellent news considering the fact that it’s been well over two years since our last update on the project.  Given the fact that Reubens sounded optimistic then (though not quite this optimistic), let’s hope there’s a bit more going on than last time around.

There’s no word on if Judd Apatow is still involved or if they are using any of the script that he worked on, but I’m hoping there’s a strong steward aboard either way because I don’t want my Pee-Wee ship sailing rudderless.  Hit the jump for more on the new Pee-Wee Herman movie. 

New to Blu-ray: SNOWPIERCER, MAD MEN: The Final Season Part 1, LA DOLCE VITA Criterion, and More

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This week’s new Blu-ray releases include the latest from filmmaker Bong Joon-ho, one of the best shows on television, a Federico Fellini classic, and more.  Briefly:

Watch Benedict Cumberbatch Pretend to Be a Dragon in THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG Extended Edition Clip

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One of the more impressive aspects of director Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug was the characterization of the titular dragon.  Benedict Cumberbatch not only provided the voice for the sleepy/cranky character, but he did performance capture as well that was then used to inform the animation of the dragon’s movements.  In anticipation of the release of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Extended Edition on Blu-ray, a behind-the-scenes clip has been released that shows Cumberbatch performing as Smaug.  It’s a pretty fun watch, and you can definitely see how Cumberbatch’s movements influenced the finished product.  Additionally, Warner Bros. has released an assortment of other clips (both from the film and behind-the-scenes) from the EE release that are sure to pique interest, and we’ve included them as well.

Take a look at the The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Extended Edition clips after the jump.  The film will be available on Blu-ray 3D and DVD on November 3rd, and is currently available on Digital HD.

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