THE COLLISION: Episode 105 – THE BOXTROLLS and Laika

by     Posted 26 days ago

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This week on The Collision, we talk about Laika’s newest film, The Boxtrolls.  We discuss what makes the movie unique, its strengths and weaknesses, why Sir Ben Kingsley is great, and more.  We also take a look at Laika, and how they’ve differentiated themselves from other animation studios beyond using stop-motion animation as opposed to CGI.  As always, we finish up with our recommendations.

Click here to listen to the new episode of The Collision, click here for the previous episode (“The Maze Runner“), 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.

Weekend Box Office: THE EQUALIZER Shoots to the Top with $35 Million

by     Posted 27 days ago

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As expected, The Equalizer came out on top this weekend, earning an estimated $35 million from 3,236 locations.  That’s surprisingly strong for a September debut – especially considering the movie is based on a TV series few people remember.  The credit goes to Denzel Washington, who has one of the best opening weekend records of any A-list actor.  Not all of Washington’s films in the past decade have gone on to be hits (Unstoppable, The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3), but the man can definitely open a movie.  The Equalizer is Washington’s best box office debut since 2012’s Safe House and it also gives director Antoine Fuqua the highest opening of his career.

 Title Weekend Total
1.  The Equalizer $35,000,000 $35
2.  The Maze Runner $17,500,000 $58
3.  The Boxtrolls $17,250,000 $17.2
4.  This Is Where I Leave You $7,010,000 $22.5
5  Dolphin Tale 2 $4,835,000 $33.6
6.  No Good Deed $4,600,000 $46.6
7.  A Walk Among the Tombstones $4,234,000 $20.8
8.  Guardians of the Galaxy $3,789,000 $319.1
9.  Let’s Be Cops $1,515,000 $79.6
10.  Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles $1,450,000 $187.1

 

Details after the jump.

TOP 5: THE EQUALIZER, David Fincher Retrospective, First BLACKHAT Trailer, THE BOXTROLLS, New Trailer for THE BABADOOK

by     Posted 28 days ago

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Two weeks ago I promised a recap of my time at MondoCon for today’s opening paragraph. As it turns out, I ended up doing a standalone recap of the event earlier in the week which frees up space for a recommendation today. In spite of its lukewarm reception thus far, director Shawn Levy‘s family dramedy This Is Where I Leave You is absolutely worth checking out. Sure, it can be formulaic at times. Yeah, some of the characters’ trials are a touch melodramatic. Still yet, Leave You is an enjoyable pic with great performances across its ensemble cast (especially from Adam Driver and Rose Byrne). It’s the type of mildly grown-up fare that I’d love to see Levy revisit sooner rather than later. If you haven’t already, skip the reviews and check it out for yourself. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Moving on to the reason we’re all here, this week’s Top 5 features interviews for and our review of Denzel Washington‘s The Equalizer, Matt’s retrospective look at the work of David Fincher, the first trailer for Michael Mann‘s crime drama Blackhat, our review and interviews for Laika’s The Boxtrolls, and a new trailer for writer/director Jennifer Kent‘s The Babadook because I haven’t yet hyped that film enough. Keep reading for a brief recap and link to each of the above.

Friday Box Office: THE EQUALIZER Heads For $35 Million Bow; THE BOXTROLLS in Third

by     Posted 28 days ago

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The Equalizer had no trouble claiming first place on Friday, opening to an estimated $12.6 million from 3,236 locations.  That puts the Sony/Columbia thriller on track for around $35 million this weekend: by far the best bow for an R-rated September release.  Based on the 1980’s TV series of the same name, The Equalizer looks like it will become the latest Denzel Washington vehicle to over-perform at the box office.  Since 2004, the actor has not had a single wide release open below $20 million – a record that even perennial box office favorites like Johnny Depp and Mark Wahlberg cannot match.  The Equalizer reunites Washington with Antoine Fuqua, his Training Day director.  Fuqua’s previous career high was the $30.3 million debut of 2013’s Olympus Has Fallen.

Friday’s top five after the jump.

Directors Anthony Stacchi and Graham Annable Talk THE BOXTROLLS, Changes During Production, Deleted Scenes, and More

by     Posted 28 days ago

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Now playing in theaters is Laika’s The Boxtrolls.  Making their stop-motion debut is directors Anthony Stacchi and Graham Annable and the film is based on the children’s novel Here Be Monsters by Alan Snow.  Featuring the voices of Isaac Hempstead WrightElle Fanning, Sir Ben KingsleyToni ColletteNick FrostSimon PeggRichard AyoadeTracy Morgan, and Jared Harris, The Boxtrolls is about a young orphaned boy named Eggs (Wright) who is raised by underground cave-dwelling trash collectors who he must save from evil exterminator Archibald Snatched (Kingsley).  For more on the film, read Matt’s review or click here for trailers, images, interviews, and everything we’ve posted on the film.

At the L.A. press day I landed a video interview with directors Anthony Stacchi and Graham Annable.  They talked about the technical challenges making The Boxtrolls, how the crew from Paranorman and Coraline never disbanded, if they had any big changes during pre-production, deleted scenes, what will be on The Boxtrolls Blu-ray, and a lot more.  Hit the jump to watch.

Sir Ben Kingsley Talks THE BOXTROLLS, What Surprised Him About Stop-Motion, Working with Ridley Scott, Robert Zemekis, and Anton Corbijn, and More

by     Posted 29 days ago

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Now playing in theaters is Laika’s The Boxtrolls.  Making their stop-motion debut is directors Anthony Stacchi and Graham Annable and the film is based on the children’s novel Here Be Monsters by Alan Snow.  Featuring the voices of Isaac Hempstead WrightElle Fanning, Sir Ben KingsleyToni ColletteNick FrostSimon PeggRichard AyoadeTracy Morgan, and Jared Harris, The Boxtrolls is about a young orphaned boy named Eggs (Wright) who is raised by underground cave-dwelling trash collectors who he must save from evil exterminator Archibald Snatched (Kingsley).  For more on the film, read Matt’s review or click here for trailers, images, interviews, and everything we’ve posted on the film.

At the L.A. press day I landed a video interview with Sir Ben Kingsley.  He talked about how they made The Boxtrolls, how much he knew about stop-motion prior to getting involved and what surprised him about the process, the amazing artistry, and what it was like working with Ridley Scott on Exodus: Gods and Kings, Robert Zemekis on The Walk, and Anton Corbijn on LifeHit the jump to watch.

Elle Fanning Talks THE BOXTROLLS, the Incredible Artistry, If She “Borrowed” Anything from the Set, and Getting to Work with Bryan Cranston on TRUMBO

by     Posted 30 days ago

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Opening this weekend is LAIKA’s The Boxtrolls.  Making their stop-motion debut is directors Anthony Stacchi and Graham Annable and the film is based on the children’s novel Here Be Monsters by Alan Snow.  Featuring the voices of Isaac Hempstead WrightElle Fanning, Ben KingsleyToni ColletteNick FrostSimon PeggRichard AyoadeTracy Morgan, and Jared Harris, The Boxtrolls is about a young orphaned boy named Eggs (Wright) who is raised by underground cave-dwelling trash collectors who he must save from evil exterminator Archibald Snatched (Kingsley).  For more on the film, click here for trailers, images, interviews, and everything we’ve posted on the film.

At the L.A. press day I landed a video interview with Elle Fanning.  She talked about how she got involved in The Boxtrolls, the incredible artistry, if she “borrowed” anything from set, the recording process, how excited she is to work with Bryan Cranston on Trumbo, if she’s allowed to watch Breaking Bad, and a lot more.  Hit the jump to watch.

THE BOXTROLLS Review

by     Posted 30 days ago

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Animation studio Laika isn’t just on the cutting edge of stop-motion animation.  They’re also the only studio putting out offbeat stories that unabashedly focus and celebrate true outsiders.  They make movies that are cute without being cutesy, strange without being self-conscious, and funny without being pandering.  Their latest film, The Boxtrolls, is by far their best yet as they’ve created a rich, gorgeous world filled with adorable characters, remarkable detail, and a clever comment on propaganda, which is ambitious for a movie that’s ostensibly a family film.  Laika may have made a name for themselves with Coraline and ParaNorman, but The Boxtrolls feels like the first movie that represents the heart and soul of this oddball studio.

Laika’s CEO and Lead Animator Travis Knight Talks THE BOXTROLLS, Making Enduring Pictures, the Funny End Credits, and More

by     Posted 31 days ago

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Travis Knight, The Boxtrolls producer and lead animator who worked on LAIKA’s first two groundbreaking movies, ParaNorman and Coraline, loves the 100-year-old art form and is always looking for bold and innovative ways to take it to places it’s never been before.  While ParaNorman and Coraline were contemporary American stories told with shadings of supernatural elements, The Boxtrolls is a period piece mashup of detective story, absurdist comedy, and steampunk adventure with a dark Dickensian twist.  Opening September 26th, the beautiful stop-motion 3D animated film features an extraordinary cast that includes Sir Ben Kingsley, Isaac Hempstead Wright, and Elle Fanning.

At our roundtable interview, Knight discussed how animating in stop-motion is less about patience than the ability to focus your imagination intensely for long periods of time, why it’s crucial to find the right voiceover actors who can bring believability to the characters and emotional authenticity to the performance, why he wants to make thought provoking, emotionally resonant, and enduring films rather than pop-culture confections, his childhood inspirations for dynamic storytelling, how the film’s 3D elements were designed from the beginning to bring the best aspects of technology into this hand-crafted world, the funny bit in the end credits, and his next awesome project.  Check out the interview after the jump and please note there are some spoilers.

Isaac Hempstead Wright Talks THE BOXTROLLS, Finding the Voice, Live Action vs. Animation, GAME OF THRONES, and More

by     Posted 32 days ago

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Isaac Hempstead Wright, best known for playing Bran Stark on HBO’s Game of Thrones, lends his impressive vocal talents to The Boxtrolls, LAIKA’s stunning 3D stop-motion animated adventure directed by Anthony Stacchi.  Wright voices the character Eggs, an orphaned human boy affectionately raised by a community of quirky, mischievous, fantastical creatures who live beneath the cobblestoned streets of Cheesebridge.  When the villainous Archibald Snatcher (Ben Kingsley) threatens to exterminate all the Boxtrolls, Eggs teams up with his spirited friend Winnie (Elle Fanning) to save his adopted family.  Opening September 26th, the film also stars Tracy Morgan, Simon Pegg and Toni Collette.

At a recent roundtable interview, Wright revealed what appealed to him about the project and his character, the challenge of shooting Game of Thrones while doing The Boxtrolls, how he found the voice for Eggs, his reaction to seeing his character on screen, what it was like working with a stellar cast, the difference between performing live action versus animation, his love of classical music and the piano, his attempt at powering his way through Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, his adventure holiday in Jordan’s Wadi Rum Desert, and rumors he’ll play Octavius in a film adaptation of the Shakespearian thriller, Caesar.  Check out the interview after the jump:

Elle Fanning Talks THE BOXTROLLS, Her Inspirations for the Voice, the Appeal of Fantasy, Future Projects, and More

by     Posted 33 days ago

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Elle Fanning is superb voicing the feisty, upper-crust 11-year-old Winnifred Portley-Rind in LAIKA’s beautiful 3D stop-motion animated fantasy-adventure, The Boxtrolls, opening September 26th.  When scheming social climber Archibald Snatcher (Sir Ben Kingsley) attempts to exterminate the kind creatures that raised the orphan boy Eggs (Isaac Hempstead Wright), Winnie helps her new friend devise a daring plan to save his adopted family.  Not only was Fanning drawn to playing the sassy character with a big heart and a dark imagination, but she liked what the unique story had to say about love and courage.

At a recent roundtable interview, Fanning talked about finding the right frame of mind to play her character, her inspirations for Winnie’s voice, how her voice-over experience compared to regular acting, what it was like using a posh English accent, how she created the right environment in the recording booth, the appeal of fantasy and how it provides a fun escape, her interest in ballet, her plans to attend college after high school, what she’s learned from traveling around the world, her desire to one day write and direct, and her upcoming projects: Young Ones, Low Down, Trumbo and A Storm in the Stars.  Check out what she had to say after the jump:

Sir Ben Kingsley Talks THE BOXTROLLS, What Convinced Him to Voice an Animated Villain, His Opinion of the Shakespearean Snatcher, and More

by     Posted 35 days ago

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Sir Ben Kingsley lends his extraordinary voice to the diabolical Archibald Snatcher in LAIKA’s breathtakingly beautiful 3D stop-motion animated adventure, The Boxtrolls, loosely based on Alan Snow’s best-selling children’s book Here Be Monsters!  The mischievous, trash-collecting creatures known as Boxtrolls live beneath the cobblestoned streets of Cheesebridge where they struggle to elude the evil Snatcher who claims they have stolen an orphan (Isaac Hempstead Wright).  Snatcher is determined to exterminate them in exchange for admittance into the town’s elite White Hats.  Opening September 26th, the film also stars Elle Fanning, Nick Frost and Tracy Morgan.

At our roundtable interview, Kingsley revealed what convinced him to bring to life an animated villain, why he found Snatcher a great character to play, how the script rang true as a refreshing family film, his unique approach to voicing his character, how he found the recording experience very freeing, why he appreciated a narrative that revealed the darker side of life, his satisfaction at seeing what the animators did with his character, the parallels between Snatcher and tragic Shakespearean characters like Richard III and Iago, and his enthusiasm for his upcoming films Learning to Drive and Robot Overlords.  Check out what he had to say after the jump.

Simon Pegg and Director Peter Chelsom Talk HECTOR AND THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS, Script Changes, Guerilla-Style Filmmaking, TIFF, and More

by     Posted 36 days ago

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Now playing in limited release in North America is director Peter Chelsom’s dramedy Hector and the Search for Happiness.  Based on the book of the same name by François Lelord, the film stars Simon Pegg as Hector, an eccentric psychiatrist who’s going nowhere and whose patients aren’t getting any happier.  One day, he musters up the courage to set out on a quest to find out if happiness really exists.  Led by a great performance by Pegg, the film’s definitely worth checking out.  The film also stars Rosamund Pike, Christopher Plummer, Toni Collette, Stellan Skarsgard, and Jean Reno.  For more on Hector and the Search for Happiness, click here to watch the trailer, and here’s all our previous coverage.

Recently I landed an exclusive video interview with Simon Pegg and Peter Chelsom.  During our wide-ranging conversation, we talked about how they came to work together, how Pegg’s childhlike curiosity made him perfect to play Hector, the guerilla-style filmmaking they employed for some of the scenes, script changes, deleted scenes, future projects like Star Trek 3 and Mission Impossible: 5, and so much more.  Hit the jump to watch.

THE BOXTROLLS Clip and New Featurette Covering the Creation of the Boxtroll Language

by     Posted 43 days ago

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The folks at Laika have already done such an incredible job making the Boxtrolls feel like real, living, breathing creatures that it’s easy to forget that there’s actually human beings in a sound booth voicing them.  Now, thanks to the brand new The Boxtrolls featurette, “Trolls Rights Off the Tongue,” you get to meet the men responsible for configuring the Boxtrolls’ language, Dee Baker and Steve Blum.

On top of that, we’ve also got a new clip from the film featuring Winnie (voiced by Elle Fanning) trying to teach Eggs (Isaac Hempstead Wright) to dress like a proper boy with a little help from the Boxtrolls.  Hit the jump to check out The Boxtrolls clip as well as that featurette.  The movie also features the voices of Ben KingsleyToni ColletteNick FrostSimon PeggRichard AyoadeTracy Morgan and Jared Harris, and is due to hit theaters on September 26th.

THE BOXTROLLS Motion Poster Puts Sparky to Work

by     Posted 74 days ago

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I know I can’t get enough of Laika’s The Boxtrolls and hopefully it’s the same for you as well because even after our San Diego Comic Con coverage and the teaser trailer that dropped last week, we’ve got a brand new motion poster for the film to share.

Hit the jump to check out The Boxtrolls motion poster featuring Sparky, Fish, Oil Can, Shoe and the rest of the gang trying to show off the film’s title prior to its September 26th debut.  The movie features the voices of Isaac Hempstead WrightElle FanningBen Kingsley, Toni ColletteNick FrostSimon PeggRichard Ayoade, Tracy Morgan, and Jared Harris.

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