New to Blu-ray: HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2, BATMAN: The Complete TV Series, STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS – The Lost Missions, and More

by     Posted 16 days ago

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This week’s new Blu-ray releases include one of the best animated films of the year, a wrap-up for a recently cancelled TV series, a classic TV show on Blu-ray for the first time ever, a musical from Clint Eastwood, and more.  Briefly:

Director Dean DeBlois Talks HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2, Major Story Changes During Production, John Powell’s Score, DRAGON 3, and More

by     Posted 23 days ago

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DreamWorks Animation’s How to Train Your Dragon is one of my favorite animated films of the past decade, and so I came into this summer’s sequel, How to Train Your Dragon 2, with some sky high expectations.  Luckily, director Dean DeBlois delivered a follow-up that maintained the sensibilities that made his 2009 film so great while also expanding the scope and raising the emotional stakes of the franchise with this follow-up.  What makes the Dragon films unique is that they are deeply compassionate in nature, which is sadly something that’s all too rare in film these days.  Throw in astounding visuals, an incredible score by composer John Powell, and organic, compelling character evolution, and How to Train Your Dragon 2 manages to be not only one of the best animated films of the year, but one of the best films of the year period.

In anticipation of the Blu-ray release of How to Train Your Dragon 2 on November 11th, I recently got the chance to hop on the phone with DeBlois.  After I gushed about his films and directorial talents for far too long, the filmmaker discussed his behind-the-scenes documentary that’s included on the Blu-ray, the major story changes that took place during production, the difficulty of telling a mother-son story, the fact that Powell one-upped himself with the score, where he’s at with How to Train Your Dragon 3, and much more.  If you’re a fan of animation and/or the Dragon movies, the interview is a fascinating read.  Take a look after the jump.

Oscars: 20 Films Submitted for Best Animated Feature Consideration

by     Posted 24 days ago

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A total of 20 films have been submitted for consideration for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, with titles ranging from The LEGO Movie to The Boxtrolls to The Tale of the Princess Kaguya.  This is an odd year in that there’s really no clear frontrunner yet.  Pixar didn’t release anything, and response to Walt Disney Animation’s sole offering, Big Hero 6, isn’t coming close to the near universal praise of Frozen last year.  DreamWorks Animation has a strong film in How to Train Your Dragon 2, but the sequel suffered a somewhat disappointing box office performance domestically.  Princess Kaguya comes from the revered folks at Studio Ghibli and studio co-founder Isao Takahata, so it could be a formidable force in the race, and I’d say The LEGO Movie is a strong contender to take home the trophy as well given its wildly positive response from critics and audiences alike.

Check out the full list and more commentary on the contenders after the jump.

Oscar Beat: What Awards Prospects Does the First Half of 2014 Have to Offer?

by     Posted 143 days ago

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We’ve now passed the halfway point of 2014, and while we dusted off our awards column Oscar Beat to rundown the post-Cannes Film Festival atmosphere back in May, the Oscar season doesn’t begin in earnest until September.  That said, given that fall isn’t the only time of the year that’s considered eligible for awards notice, I thought it fitting to take a look back at the last six months to see what films might pop up in the Oscar conversation later this year.  Read on after the jump.

Friday Box Office: TRANSFORMERS 4 and TAMMY Lead Weak Fourth of July Frame

by     Posted 146 days ago

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Transformers: Age of Extinction remained on top of the box office for an eighth straight day on Friday, earning an estimated $10.6 million to easily dominate the week’s three new releases.  All of the new titles opened on July second and, as expected, Warner Bros.’ Tammy was strongest.  The comedy took second place with an estimated $6.6 million yesterday, putting its three-day total at $18.1 million.  Fellow newcomers Deliver Us From Evil and Earth to Echo battled in the middle of the pack, with less than $250,000 separating their debuts from holdovers How to Train Your Dragon 2 and 22 Jump Street, both of which are entering their fourth weekend in theatres.

Details and Friday’s top six films after the jump.

Weekend Box Office: TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION Brings in $100 Million for 2014′s Highest Opening

by     Posted 152 days ago

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It’s official.  Transformers: Age of Extinction is 2014’s undisputed box office champion… at least in terms of its opening weekend.  The sequel earned an estimated $100 million from 4,233 locations, making it the first film of the year to hit triple digits in its debut and replacing Captain America: The Winter Soldier as this year’s highest opener.  As expected, Transformers 4 is also a big hit overseas, earning a reported total of $201 million worldwide in its first three days.

 Title Weekend Total
1.  Transformers 4 $100,000,000 $100
2.  22 Jump Street $15,400,000 $139.8
3.  How to Train Your Dragon 2 $13,100,000 $121.8
4.  Think Like A Man Too $10,400,000 $48.1
5.  Maleficent $8,237,000 $201.8
6.  Jersey Boys $7,610,000 $27.3
7.  Edge of Tomorrow $5,210,000 $84.1
8.  The Fault in Our Stars $4,800,000 $109.5
9.  X-Men: Days of Future Past $3,300,000 $223.3
10.  Chef $1,694,000 $19.4

 

Full story after the jump.

Weekend Box Office: THINK LIKE A MAN TOO on Top with $30 Million; JERSEY BOYS Remains in Fourth

by     Posted 159 days ago

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Not much changed between Friday night and Sunday morning, at least in terms of box office position.  Sony is still on top with Think Like A Man Too, the sequel to 2012’s surprise hit.  The studio can also claim the second spot on the chart courtesy of 22 Jump Street, which held remarkably well considering its outsized debut last weekend.  How To Train Your Dragon 2 did not hold up quite as well, though it did stay ahead of new comer Jersey Boys.  Given the more modest expectations for director Clint Eastwood’s musical adaptation, however, that hardly counts as a victory for the DreamWorks sequel.

Title Weekend Total
1.  Think Like A Man Too $30,000,000 $30
2.  22 Jump Street $29,000,000 $111.4
3.  How to Train Your Dragon 2 $25,300,000 $95.1
4.  Jersey Boys $13,520,000 $13.5
5.  Maleficent $13,012,000 $185.9
6.  Edge of Tomorrow $10,340,000 $75.5
7.  The Fault in Our Stars $8,600,000 $98.7
8.  X-Men: Days of Future Past $6,200,000 $216.7
9.  Chef $1,845,000 $16.9
10.  Godzilla $1,820,000 $194.9

Full story after the break

Friday Box Office: THINK LIKE A MAN TOO Leads with $12.2 Million; JERSEY BOYS in Fourth

by     Posted 160 days ago

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It’s another sequel-heavy weekend and another big frame for Sony.  After claiming first place last weekend with 22 Jump Street, the studio is on top again thanks to Think Like a Man Too.  The follow-up to 2012’s surprise box office hit earned an estimated $12.2 million from 2,225 locations on Friday, including $1.8 million from Thursday night previews.  That puts the sequel on track for at least $32 million through Sunday: enough to knock 22 Jump Street to second but not quite enough to surpass the $33.6 million debut of Think Like A Man.

Details and Friday’s top five chart after the jump.

Weekend Box Office: 22 JUMP STREET Leads with $60 Million; HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2 in Second

by     Posted 166 days ago

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In this weekend’s box office battle of the sequels, 22 Jump Street remained firmly out front after its strong Friday opening.  Jump Street earned an estimated $60 million through Sunday, giving it the second-highest R-rated comedy debut of all time.  Meanwhile, How to Train Your Dragon 2 took in an estimated $50 million.  That beats the original film’s $43.7 million debut, but remains far below what many expected.

 Title   Weekend     Total
1.  22 Jump Street   $60,000,000     $60
2.  How to Train Your Dragon 2   $50,000,000     $50
3.  Maleficent   $19,008,000     $163.5
4.  The Fault in Our Stars   $15,725,000     $81.7
5.  Edge of Tomorrow   $16,175,000     $56.6
6.  X-Men: Days of Future Past    $9,500,000     $205.9
7.  Godzilla   $3,155,000     $191.3
8.  A Million Ways to Die in the West   $3,077,000     $38.9
9.  Neighbors   $2,484,000     $143.1
10.  Chef   $2,000,000     $13.8

 

Full story after the jump.

Gerard Butler and Craig Ferguson Talk HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2, the Evolution of the Film, LONDON HAS FALLEN, and More

by     Posted 166 days ago

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How to Train Your Dragon was not only a great and highly entertaining film that did huge worldwide box office numbers, but it was one of the best uses of 3D that I’ve seen in the cinema.  Needless to day, I was excited to see the sequel, How to Train Your Dragon 2, and it did not disappoint.  Five years have passed since the heroic young Viking Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) befriended a dragon named Toothless that led the residents of Berk to live side-by-side in peace with the fire-breathers.  Hiccup now has the respect of his father, Stoick the Vast (Gerard Butler), the love of his girlfriend Astrid (America Ferrera) and has discovered his long-lost mother (Cate Blanchett), but the power-hungry Drago Bludvist (Djimon Hounsou) is threatening everything.

At the recent L.A. press day, Collider had the opportunity to chat with Gerard Butler and Craig Ferguson, who are both clearly friends, as well as co-stars.  During the very playful interview (they kept teasing me about the skulls all over my sweater), they talked about when they learned the first film was going to be such a huge worldwide hit, how special it is to be a part of this franchise, how things were different the second time around, and how much the film changed over the course of making it.  Gerard Butler also talked about what can be expected from the Olympus Has Fallen sequel, London Has Fallen, and how all of the characters end up back together.  Watch the video after the jump.

THE COLLISION: Episode 93 – 22 JUMP STREET and HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2

by     Posted 167 days ago

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This week on The Collision, we’re talking about 22 Jump Street and How to Train Your Dragon 2.  We talk about comedy sequels, the work of directors Phil Lord & Christopher Miller, playing against expectations, our conflicting opinions about HTTYD 2, and much more.  As always, we finish up with recommendations.

Click here to listen to the new episode of The Collision, click here for the previous episode (“The Fault in Our Stars and Edge of Tomorrow“), click here to add the podcast to your RSS, and click here to find us on iTunes. To keep up to date with The Collision, you can follow us on Twitter at @MattGoldberg and @AdamChitwood.

TOP 5: 22 JUMP STREET, First Trailer for DUMB AND DUMBER TO, HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2, BIRDMAN Trailer, E3 2014 Coverage

by     Posted 167 days ago

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Following on the heels of one of my favorite comedies of the past five years is no small task and yet 22 Jump Street manages to stand toe-to-toe with its hugely successful predecessor at almost every turn. Sure its self-awareness can be heavy-handed at times, but the film’s deconstruction of comedy sequels is refreshingly on point and far more incisive than a summer blockbuster has any right to be. As far as performances go, while Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, and Ice Cube deserve all the praise they receive for carrying the movie, I can’t say enough about how much Jillian Bell brings to the table in every single scene she’s a part of. The former SNL writer is responsible for my biggest laugh of the film which is saying a lot when you consider the consistent laughs that 22 elicits. Add in a near perfect end credits sequence for good measure and the result is the rare sequel that knows exactly what it is, where it came from, and where it wants to go.

We’ll talk more about 22 Jump Street after the jump while the rest of this week’s Top 5 highlights the first trailer for Dumb and Dumber To, interviews for and a review of How to Train Your Dragon 2, the excellent first trailer for director Alejandro González Iñárritu‘s Birdman starring Michael Keaton, and a look at some of the most popular video game trailer premieres from E3 2014. Keep reading for a brief recap and link to each of the above.

Djimon Hounsou and Kit Harington Talk HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2, GAME OF THRONES, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, and More

by     Posted 168 days ago

How-to-Train-Your-Dragon-2-Djimon-Hounsou-Kit-Harington

How to Train Your Dragon was not only a great and highly entertaining film that did huge worldwide box office numbers, but it was one of the best uses of 3D that I’ve seen in the cinema.  Needless to day, I was excited to see the sequel, How to Train Your Dragon 2, and it did not disappoint.  Five years have passed since the heroic young Viking Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) befriended a dragon named Toothless that led the residents of Berk to live side-by-side in peace with the fire-breathers.  Hiccup now has the respect of his father, Stoick the Vast (Gerard Butler), the love of his girlfriend Astrid (America Ferrera) and has discovered his long-lost mother (Cate Blanchett), but the power-hungry Drago Bludvist (Djimon Hounsou) is threatening everything.  For more on the film, read Matt’s review.

At the recent L.A. press day, Collider had the opportunity to chat with Djimon Hounsou and Kit Harington, who are both new to the popular franchise.  During the exclusive interview, they talked about what makes their more villainous characters the hero of their own story, and how much the film changed from what they were first told to what we see on screen.  Kit Harington also talked about what it’s like to be a part of Game of Thrones, which recently became the most watched show in HBO’s history, while Djimon Hounsou talked about what fans can get excited about with Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, which he hasn’t actually seen yet.  Watch the video after the jump.

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2 Review

by     Posted 169 days ago

how-to-train-your-dragon-2-review

2010′s How to Train Your Dragon is a wonderful movie.  In addition to being beautifully animated, it’s a story about understanding, ingenuity, and compassion wrapped in the almost-always-endearing child-and-his/her-pet tale.  Dean DeBloisHow to Train Your Dragon 2 physically expands the canvas of the original by bringing in new characters, new locations, and new dragons, but in his attempt to make the sequel bigger, he’s also spread it thin.  Although it still keeps the central focus on the relationship between Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and Toothless, the pacing is erratic as the story tries to hop between plotlines, themes, and scattered characters.  The movie is still sprinkled with charm, humor, and warmth, but it never holds together as tightly as the original.

Composer John Powell Talks HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2, the State of Film Scoring Today, His Career, Taking a Break, Hans Zimmer, and More

by     Posted 169 days ago

how-to-train-your-dragon-2-john-powell-interview

If you’ve seen DreamWorks Animation’s How to Train Your Dragon, you know that not only is it an incredible film, but the entire feature is elevated by a truly magnificent score from composer John Powell.  He imbues the compassionate story with a genuine sense of wonder and emotion, and Powell resumes his composing duties on the upcoming sequel How to Train Your Dragon 2 to fantastic results.  I recently got the opportunity to speak with Powell for an extended conversation in anticipation of the release of How to Train Your Dragon 2 on June 13th and the soundtrack, which is available now, and we covered a wide range of topics.

During the interview, Powell discussed his approach to scoring the follow-up without repeating himself, working with Sigur Rós frontman Jónsi to craft original songs for the movie, whether the knowledge of another sequel (or sequels) impacted his work, looking back over his career, collaborating with Hans Zimmer, how working in animation differs to live-action, his thoughts on the state of film and TV scoring today, the evolution of DreamWorks Animation, his decision to take a break, and much more.  If you’re at all interested in the world and process of film scoring, Powell is full of great insights.  Read on after the jump.

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