TOP 5: INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 2 Interviews, Oscar Beat, HARRY POTTER Spinoff Film Series in the Works from J.K. Rowling, Cinemath, TIFF 2013 Coverage

by     Posted 340 days ago

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Having played in limited release since August, director James Ponsoldt‘s high school drama The Spectacular Now finally made its way to my Midwestern neck of the woods this weekend and I jumped at the chance to see it last night. Although it elicited fewer laughs than I expected, the film levied an emotional punch that I’m still shaking off today. As has been noted by many before me, Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley‘s performances are fantastic and their chemistry is palpable from beginning to end (one scene in which Woodley’s Aimee describes her dreams of a perfect marriage stands out to me in particular). Moreover, Kyle Chandler‘s turn as Teller’s estranged father is as powerful as it is short-lived. If you have the slightest interest in the coming-of-age genre, and this film is playing nearby, take the time to see it. Few in the genre capture the nuance of high-school love and personal demons as honestly as The Spectacular Now.

With that ringing endorsement behind me, this week’s Top 5 includes a slew of Insidious: Chapter 2 interviews, Adam keeping his finger on the pulse of awards season with his recurring Oscar Beat feature, news that Warner Bros. and J.K. Rowling are teaming up for a new film series inspired by Harry Potter, a new installment of Cinemath that takes a look at the history of movie ticket prices, and a recap of our robust TIFF 2013 coverage. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, a brief recap and link to each of the above can be found after the jump.

Jason Blum talks INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 2, Bringing Back the Entire Cast, The Creative Freedom of Low Budget Filmmaking, STRETCH, MOCKINGBIRD & More

by     Posted 341 days ago

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Opening in theaters this weekend is James Wan’s Insidious: Chapter 2.  The follow-up to the 2011 surprise hit picks up exactly where the first left off with the Lambert family thrust into a world of psychics, demons and ghosts.  Insidious put an entirely original spin on the haunted house subgenre with its unique third act, and Chapter 2 digs deeper into that universe traveling further into the, well, Further and answering any last lingering fan questions.  Insidious: Chapter 2 stars Patrick WilsonRose ByrneBarbara HersheyLin ShayeLeigh WhannellAngus Sampson, and Ty Simpkins.

A few weeks ago at a Los Angeles press day I got to sit down with producer Jason Blum for an exclusive interview.  He talked about bringing back the entire cast from the first film, the creative freedom of low-budget films, going where he’s needed as a producer, attracting  name actors to small genre projects, and more.  He also gave updates on Stretch and Mockingbird.  Hit the jump to see what he had to say.

Universal and Producer Jason Blum Announce Development on Sequel to Surprise Hit THE PURGE

by     Posted 1 year, 71 days ago

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The Purge rode an intriguing hook—for a twelve-hour period every year, all crime is legal—to gross $36.4 million at the box office this weekend on a lean $3 million budget.  Given the high return on investment and repeatable premise, you know what comes next: Universal and producer Jason Blum have announced development on The Purge 2.

The Purge is essentially a home invasion thriller that centers on a family played by Ethan Hawke, Lena Headey, Max Burkholder, and Adelaide Kane.  I imagine the studio and Blum will explore the greater Purge universe to find a new story, so there is no guarantee the cast will return.  At this stage, it is also not clear if writer/director James De Monaco will return.  See Blum’s Twitter announcement after the jump.

Weekend Box Office: THE PURGE Takes First with $36.4 Million; THE INTERNSHIP Opens in Fourth

by     Posted 1 year, 72 days ago

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Between the record-breaking grosses of May and next week’s Man of Steel launch, this was supposed to be a quiet weekend at the box office. Universal’s The Purge had other plans. The low-budget horror film took first place and more than doubled its pre-release projections with an estimated $36.4 million from 2,536 locations. The box office bonanza did not extend to The Internship, however. The comedy opened in fourth with an estimated $18.1 million – half of what The Purge realized in 800 fewer theatres.

 Title Weekend Total
1.  The Purge $36,400,000 $36.4
2.  Fast & Furious 6 $19,800,000 $202.9
3.  Now You See Me $19,500,000 $61.3
4.  The Internship $18,100,000 $18.1
5.  Epic $12,100,000 $84.1
6.  Star Trek Into Darkness $11,700,000 $200.1
7.  After Earth $11,200,000 $46.5
8.  The Hangover III $7,380,000 $102.3
9.  Iron Man 3 $5,787,000 $394.3
10.  The Great Gatsby $4,230,000 $136.1

TOP 5: THE INTERNSHIP, INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 2, Set Images Galore from X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST, THE PURGE, 101 Best Written TV Series of All Time

by     Posted 1 year, 73 days ago

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For all of the uneasiness I felt watching The Internship play as a not so subtle promo for Google’s portfolio of services (what in the hell is Google Wallet?), the movie painted a dichotomy that I found interesting. While far from perfect, I thought the film did a nice job of contrasting the eternal optimism of a couple Gen X’ers with the often harsh practicality and cynicism I see embedded in myself and many of my fellow Millennials. Although this is hardly the platform from which to dive into a generational debate, The Internship at least introduced the idea that belonging to a generation that has had the wealth of the world’s knowledge at their fingertips for a good portion of their lives (not to mention video games and the lack of a military draft) faces a whole new set of unique challenges and insecurities. At the same time, it also sent an oft-overlooked truth that we (Millennials) don’t know it all, haven’t seen it all, and the “Culture of Meh” that we often embrace is cynical bullshit that I can only hope life experience will help pull us out of.

In addition to my “meh” soapbox, this week’s Top 5 offers The Internship interviews with Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson, and Rose Byrne, the first trailer and a set visit recap for director James Wan‘s Insidious: Chapter 2, a truckload of set images from X-Men: Days of Future Past, The Purge interviews with Ethan Hawke and more, and a look at the WGA’s list of the “101 Best Written TV Series of All Time”. Check out a brief recap and link to each after the jump.

Jason Blum Talks THE PURGE, the Benefit of a Limited Budget, Why Ethan Hawke Was Right for the Part, THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN Remake, and More

by     Posted 1 year, 76 days ago

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From Blumhouse Productions, the horror thriller The Purge illustrates the government’s response to an America overrun by escalating crime and overcrowded prisons.  For a 12-hour period, once a year, any and all criminal activity, including murder, becomes legal. And on this one particular night, James (Ethan Hawke) and Mary Sandin (Lena Headey), and their two children, will learn just how vicious the outside world can be.

During a press conference at the film’s press day, producer Jason Blum talked about why putting families in danger makes for good suspense and horror films, what made Ethan Hawke the right guy for this project, how different audience interpretation of the film will be, his reaction when he first read the script, deciding on the look of the masks, and the benefits of working on a limited budget.  He also talked about why he wanted to get involved with the remake of The Town That Dreaded Sundown, and how important it is to him to find a real reason why someone is actually shooting the footage, in one of his found footage films.  Check out what he had to say after the jump. 

James Wan, Leigh Whannell, Jason Blum, Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Lin Shaye and Barbara Hershey Talk INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 2 from Our Set Visit

by     Posted 1 year, 83 days ago

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One of the things that most impresses me about Blumhouse Productions it’s the smart way they’re making movies.  Through clever budgeting and location Blumhouse consistently manages to secure impressive talent for their projects, both in front and behind the camera, endowing their films with a credibility and quality that is unusual on the low-budget horror circuit.  Insidious was one of the films that helped set this trend for the company, and one of the most exciting things about the sequel is that they’re bringing back the whole bunch for round two.  Back in March I got to visit the set of Insidious: Chapter 2 and see firsthand the chemistry between the cast and crew, their enthusiasm to be working together again, and how thoughtful they all are about the work they’re doing.

During a break in filming, I sat down with a few other journalists for a press conference with Director James Wan, Writer Leigh Whannell, Producer Jason Blum, and actors Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Lin Shaye, and Barbara Hershey.  They talked about the higher stakes of the sequel, what makes Chapter 2 unique, exploring the world established in the first film, what we’ll see in the Further, shooting at Linda Vista Hospital, and a lot more.  Check out what they had to say after the jump.

Jason Blum Talks STRANDED, Scouting Haunted Locations and His Love for Horror, Plus PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 5, INSIDIOUS 2, AREA 51 and More

by     Posted 1 year, 160 days ago

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From Jason Blum (Insidious, Sinister) and Josh Gates (Destination Truth), Stranded is the new Syfy reality series that uses the same stripped-down first-person method from Paranormal Activity to document an unconventional and terrifying paranormal and psychological experiment, in which participants are stranded at haunted location for a week and must record the entire experience themselves.  Each of the six hour-long episodes features the self-recorded footage of a group of everyday paranormal enthusiasts, combined with strategically-placed security cameras at each location.

During this recent exclusive phone interview with Collider, executive producer Jason Blum talked about how Stranded came about and why he thought it was a great fit for what he’d already done on the narrative side, the process of selecting the individuals and locations for the show, how he got some fun ideas for future movies while they were scouting possible haunted locations, and where his love for genre and horror started.  He also talked about how he expects Paranormal Activity 5 to go into production in middle to late Spring for an October release, why he and the film’s partners thought there was further story to be explored for Insidious 2, what made him want to collaborate with Ryan Murphy (American Horror Story, Glee) on a modern-day remake of The Town that Dreaded Sundown, that he hopes Area 51 will be released soon, and that he’s not currently juggling quite as many projects as IMDB would lead you to believe.  Check out what he had to say after the jump. 

Jason Blum Talks PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 5, INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 2, THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN, AREA 51 and More

by     Posted 1 year, 172 days ago

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The new Syfy reality series Stranded, which debuted on February 27th, documents an unconventional and often terrifying paranormal and psychological experiment.  Each episode features the self-recorded footage of a diverse group of every-day paranormal enthusiasts who are left stranded at one of the most haunted locations in America and record the entire experience with hand-held cameras creating an unscripted first-hand account of their stay.

While we will share what executive producer Jason Blum had to say about the new show next week, we did want to share his updates on some of his current and upcoming feature films.  Blum told Collider that he expect Paranormal Activity 5 to go into production in middle to late Spring for an October release and that he hopes that franchise will remain ongoing, why he and the film’s partners thought there was further story to be explored for Insidious 2, what made him want to collaborate with Ryan Murphy (American Horror Story, Glee) on a modern-day remake of The Town that Dreaded Sundown and why he thinks that will appeal to audiences, that he hopes Area 51 will be released soon, and that he’s not currently juggling quite as many projects as IMDB would lead you to believe.  Check out what he had to say after the jump.

SINISTER Sequel Moving Forward

by     Posted 1 year, 172 days ago

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Jason Blum of Blumhouse Productions is following the “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” school of thought when it comes to micro-budget horror franchises.  Having seen great success with the Paranormal Activity series and with the second installment of Insidious due out later this summer, a sequel to last fall’s Sinister is now in the works.  Reportedly made for $3 million and bringing in around $80 million worldwide, the money is clearly behind forging ahead with establishing a third franchise.  Fans of the original will be happy to hear that the creative talent behind the camera will reunite for the sequel.  Hit the jump for more.

Ryan Murphy and Jason Blum Teaming on THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN Remake; Alfonso Gomez-Rejon Will Direct

by     Posted 1 year, 214 days ago

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MGM’s remake of the 1976 horror film The Town That Dreaded Sundown is moving forward, and some major players have boarded the project behind the scenes.  We first learned that the remake was in development this past November, but now Heat Vision reports that Glee and American Horror Story creator Ryan Murphy is teaming up with producer Jason Blum (Paranormal Activity franchise, Insidious) on the project.  The original slasher film was based on five unsolved, grisly murders in 1946 Texarkana and became a cult hit.

Alfonso Gomez-Rejon is in talks to direct the horror remake, which has a script by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (Carrie remake, Glee).  Gomez-Rejon has previously helmed a number of episodes of Glee and American Horror Story: Asylum, and is also a prolific second-unit director who most recently worked on Argo.  This new Sundown is said to keep the original film’s cinema verite style with an added procedural element akin to Zodiac.  Murphy also revealed that they’re doing a “weird meta thing with it,” whatever that means.  Production is gearing up to begin this spring.  Hit the jump to watch the trailer for the original film.

Blumhouse Picks Up Duplass Brothers Found Footage Movie PEACHFUZZ; A24 Acquires Sofia Coppola’s THE BLING RING for June Release

by     Posted 1 year, 215 days ago

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A couple of interesting acquisitions have been announced.  First up, Jason Blum’s Blumhouse Productions—known for its small budget, big profit model with the Paranormal Activity films and Insidious—has acquired a found footage movie called Peachfuzz, produced by the incredibly hard working brothers Mark and Jay Duplass.  Plot details on the project are being kept under lock and key, but Mark stars in the film that centers on a young man who answers a Craigslist ad “and gets much more than he bargained for.”  Production on the Patrick Brice film has already wrapped.

Hit the jump for news regarding writer/director Sofia Coppola’s The Bling Ring, starring Emma Watson.

INSIDIOUS CHAPTER 2 Set for August 30, 2013 Release; Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne to Return

by     Posted 1 year, 273 days ago

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Things are moving quickly on the sequel to 2011’s horror hit Insidious.  We learned this February that director James Wan and screenwriter Leigh Whannell were reteaming for the follow-up, and FilmDistrict announced today that Insidious Chapter 2 will be hitting theaters on August 30, 2013.  Wan is again directing from a script by Whannell, and Jason Blum is back to produce through his Blumhouse Productions company.  Moreover, the first film’s cast of Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Lin Shaye, and Ty Simpkins will also be back to reprise their roles.

Not plot details are given, but production on the low-budget sequel is set to begin on January 15, 2013.  Hit the jump to read the full press release.

Joe Carnahan to Direct Low-Budget Actioner STRETCH; Patrick Wilson Will Star

by     Posted 1 year, 291 days ago

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It’s easy to forget about it since it came out so early, but for my money director Joe Carnahan’s survival drama The Grey is still one of the best films of 2012.  It was considerably more low-key than his last pic, The A-Team, but I felt that Carnahan and Liam Neeson crafted something really special.  It looks as though the director may be sticking with “low-key” for his next project, as he’s now set to direct Patrick Wilson in the low-budget actioner Stretch for IM Global and Blumhouse Pictures, the studio behind the Paranormal Activity series, Sinister, and Insidious.

Hit the jump for more.

Surprise! PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 5 Set for Halloween 2013 Release

by     Posted 1 year, 302 days ago

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The fourth installment in the Paranormal Activity franchise literally opened in theaters three days ago, but Paramount has already given a greenlight and a Halloween 2013 release date for Paranormal Activity 5.  Though the decision isn’t exactly a shock, many expected Paramount to take a bit more time to figure out how to move forward with the series in the wake of Paranormal Activity 4’s relatively disappointing box office numbers.  The found footage horror pic scored only $30 million domestically this weekend, falling short of the opening weekend takes of PA 2 and PA 3.  Hit the jump for more.

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