Weekend Box Office: THE HOBBIT 2 Back on Top on 2013′s Final Weekend

by     Posted 300 days ago

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The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug pulled off a narrow victory over Disney’s Frozen on 2013’s final frame, making it just the second title of the year to spend three weeks on top of the domestic box office.  Smaug now equals the Christmas run (by ranking at least) of An Unexpected Journey, the first installment in The Hobbit trilogy.

 Title Weekend Total
1.  The Hobbit 2 $29,850,000 $190.3
2.  Frozen $28,845,000 $248.3
3.  Anchorman 2 $20,150,000 $83.6
4.  American Hustle $19,550,000 $60
5.  The Wolf of Wall Street $18,510,000 $34.3
6.  Saving Mr. Banks $14,020,000 $37.8
7.  Secret Life of Walter Mitty $13,000,000 $25.5
8.  Catching Fire $10,200,000 $391.1
9.  47 Ronin $9,870,000 $20.5
10.  A Madea Christmas $7,400,000 $43.7

Weekend Box Office: THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG Stays on Top with $31.4 Million; ANCHORMAN 2 in Second with $26.7 Million

by     Posted 307 days ago

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Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues may have pulled off a (very narrow) victory on Friday, but the weekend treasure remained in Bilbo’s hands.  The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug was down 57% from its debut, earning an estimated $31.4 million and a second frame on top of the domestic box office.  Anchorman 2 came in second with $26.7 million: a softer launch than the sequel’s omnipresent marketing suggested.  Meanwhile, American Hustle and Saving Mr. Banks made their first appearances in the top ten, and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Thor: The Dark World hit important milestones.

 Title Weekend Total
1.  The Hobbit 2 $31,455,000 $127.5
2.  Anchorman 2 $26,776,000 $40
3.  Frozen $19,163,000 $191.5
4.  American Hustle $19,100,000 $20.2
5.  Saving Mr. Banks $9,321,000 $9.9
6.  Catching Fire $8,750,000 $371.7
7.  A Madea Christmas $8,500,000 $28.3
8.  Walking With Dinosaurs $7,300,000 $7.3
9.  Dhoom 3 $3,305,000 $3.3
10.  Thor: The Dark World $1,328,000 $200.7

Weekend Box Office: THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG Claims $73.7 Million in US and $205 Million Worldwide

by     Posted 314 days ago

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One year after The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey set new records for a December release, The Desolation of Smaug is opening in line with expectations – without setting a new record, in other words.  The second chapter in Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy earned an estimated $73.7 million from 3,903 locations, or the fourth-highest December debut of all time.

 Title Weekend Total
1.  The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug $73,675,000 $73.7
2.  Frozen $22,184,000 $164.3
3.  Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas $16,000,000 $16
4.  The Hunger Games: Catching Fire $13,150,000 $356.9
5.  Thor: The Dark World $2,700,000 $198.1
6.  Out of the Furnace $2,320,000 $9.4
7.  Delivery Man $1,872,000 $27.9
8.  Philomena $1,756,000 $11
9.  The Book Thief $1,675,000 $14.8
10.  Homefront $1,637,000 $18.4

Weta Digital’s Sr. Visual Effects Supervisor Joe Letteri Talks THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG, MAN OF STEEL, DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES, More

by     Posted 316 days ago

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About a year ago I landed an extended video interview with Weta Digital’s Sr. Visual Effects Supervisor Joe Letteri for Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.  During our wide ranging conversation we talked about everything from how performance capture technology has reached a new level in terms of integrating CG characters into live-action filming, to how they didn’t use miniatures on The Hobbit, and so much more.  With the second installment in the trilogy (The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug) now in theaters, a few days ago I landed a new video interview with Letteri here in Los Angeles.   He talked about the technical advancements they made to create Smaug, how they decided to visualize Smaug’s speech, the time required to render visual effects like the billion coins in Smaug’s vault, just how many people worked on the film, the Desolation of Smaug extended edition, and so much more.

In addition, with Weta working on other projects, we talked about Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel (Weta did the incredible opening on Krypton), whether Weta will be doing some of the effects on Batman vs. Superman, the Tintin sequel, Matt Reeves’ Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, what it will take for motion capture to be recognized as a legitimate art form, and more.  Hit the jump to watch.

New to Blu-ray/DVD: THE HOBBIT Extended Edition, TWILIGHT FOREVER, BOY MEETS WORLD: The Complete Collection, and More

by     Posted 351 days ago

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This week’s new home video releases include a couple of long-awaited box sets, an even longer cut of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (read our review here), and a classic from filmmaker D.W. Griffith.  Briefly:

THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY Extended Edition Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 356 days ago

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Since its release, the one criticism leveled most consistently against The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was its length. Eager to fill the giant void in their profit margins left by the departure of Harry Potter, Warner Bros leveraged a three-film cycle out of Peter Jackson, stretching J.R.R. Tolkien’s comparatively slim novel far past its breaking point. The result was a pretty good film in a lot of ways, but one whose flabby center and general overindulgence prevented it from joining the pantheon of greats occupied by The Lord of the Rings.  As you may have gathered, adding another fifteen minute doesn’t exactly improve matters. Hit the jump for my full review of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Extended Edition Blu-ray.

German Trailer for THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY Extended Edition Features New Footage

by     Posted 1 year, 8 days ago

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For me, the theatrical cut of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey already felt like an extended edition, but if you couldn’t get enough of the first movie, the extended edition is on the way.  A German trailer has been released for the extended edition, so if you want to see new footage, and don’t mind that the characters are speaking in German, you’ll want to check it out.  Also, I think the Goblin King works better when he’s talking in German.  As we previously reported, the extended edition will feature an extra 13 minutes of footage, and nine hours of special features.

Hit the jump to check out the trailer.  Warner Bros. will release the extended edition, which contains 13 minutes of additional footage, on digital platforms on October 22nd.  On November 5th, the extended edition will be released on 3D Blu-ray, Blu-ray, and DVD.  Click here to pre-order the regular edition, and click here to pre-order the special edition package.

Geek Gifts: THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY Extended Edition with Bilbo/Gollum Statue

by     Posted 1 year, 79 days ago

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If you’re planning on picking up the extended edition of Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey later this year, you’ll have a few options.  Obviously there’s the standard 2D Blu-ray and then the 3D Blu-ray, but Amazon has unveiled a package for the disc that includes both the 2D and 3D versions of the film as well as an exclusive character statue by Weta.  The statue, titled “Riddles in the Dark,” portrays Bilbo and Gollum as seen in the film and was sculpted by Gary Hunt from the Weta Workshop.  It stands at 8” wide, 5.25” deep, and 7” tall.  Of course, the set also comes with the Hobbit extended Blu-ray, which includes 13 minutes of additional footage and 9 hours of behind-the-scenes documentary footage.

Hit the jump to take a look at this exclusive figurine.  The special edition package will run you $69.99 and is currently available for pre-order.  Keep in mind, if the price is lowered at any point before release, Amazon will charge you the lower price.  The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Extended Edition will be released on November 5th.

THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY Extended Edition Set for Digital Download on October 22nd and 3D Blu-ray, Blu-ray, and DVD on November 5th [UPDATED]

by     Posted 1 year, 86 days ago

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If for some reason you thought The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey needed to be even longer and filled with material that slowed down the plot, then you should get ready for the upcoming extended edition.  Warner Bros. will release the extended edition, which contains 13 minutes of additional footage, on digital platforms on October 22nd.  On November 5th, the extended edition will be released on 3D Blu-ray, Blu-ray, and DVD along with nearly nine hours of new bonus features.  For me, that’s worth way more than the 13 extra minutes.  Also, if nine hours of bonus features becomes the norm for each extended edition, that’s pretty damned impressive to have 27 hours of bonus material spread across three movies.

Hit the jump for full details and pricing. [Update: The first clip from the Extended Edition has been released online and is now included after the jump.]

THE AVENGERS and BREAKING BAD Lead 39th Annual Saturn Awards

by     Posted 1 year, 120 days ago

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For those who are upset that genre films are never recognized at the Oscars beyond sound and VFX categories, the Saturn Awards are for you.  The Saturns recognize accomplishment in sci-fi, fantasy, action, and horror for movies and TV shows that rarely receive any consideration from the Oscars and Emmys, although there is some crossover.  For example, among the TV nominees, Breaking Bad led with “Best Presentation on Television”, Best Actor for Bryan Cranston (tying with Kevin Bacon for The Following), and Best Supporting Actor for Jonathan Banks.  Over on the movie side, The Avengers netted four wins including Best Science Fiction Film, Best Director (Joss Whedon), Best Supporting Actor (Clark Gregg), and Best Visual Effects.  Among the other genre categories, Life of Pi won Best Fantasy Film, The Cabin in the Woods took home Best Horror/Thriller, and Skyfall earned Best Action/Adventure film.  Like any awards presentation, there’s bound to be debate about the winners, but it’s great that at least one long-running awards ceremony recognized Jonathan Banks and Clark Gregg.

Hit the jump to check out the full list of winners.  In the days ahead, we’ll have plenty of interviews with actors and filmmakers who attended the event.

Peter Jackson, Philippa Boyens, and Fran Walsh Talk about THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY – EXTENDED EDITION

by     Posted 1 year, 122 days ago

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The theatrical cut of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey already feels like an extended edition, but it turns out there’s plenty more footage to expand the first film of the The Hobbit trilogy.  Personally, I wouldn’t mind getting to know more about the individual dwarves, but it doesn’t look like there will be much of that.  As far as the dwarves go, Peter Jackson tells Empire, “You are going to get some serious Dwarvish disrespect of the elves at Rivendell.”  There will also be more time spent at some of the film’s key locales.  “You are going to get more of Hobbiton,” says producer / co-writer Philippa Boyens. “We always wanted to wend our way through Hobbiton, but in the end Bilbo has to run out of the door.”  I think we’re all pretty familiar with Hobbiton, so I’m not sure where else there is to go.  Co-writer Fran Walsh adds that we’ll also be spending more time in the Goblin Town and hear the Great Goblin sing his song.  “It is a great song,” says Walsh, “but it was just another delay in terms of moving the story along.”

Hit the jump for what else will be included on the extended edition, and how it will tie in to the next movie, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, which opens on December 13th.  The extended edition is expected to arrive sometime in November.

New to Blu-ray: THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY, BADLANDS Criterion, ZERO DARK THIRTY, and More

by     Posted 1 year, 220 days ago

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Here’s a look at this week’s new Blu-ray releases:

Hit the jump for details on the extras included on all the aforementioned releases.

THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 1 year, 221 days ago

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The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey exemplifies the difference between “disappointing” and “bad.” Director Peter Jackson created a modern classic with his Lord of the Rings trilogy, and fans had every right to expect the same genius from the prequel. Sadly, it was not to be: The Hobbit is too long, too bloated and too unsure of its ultimate purpose to rank alongside its fellows. That said, it still captures the essence of J.R.R. Tolkien’s imaginary world, as well as providing reliable entertainment in its own right. Hit the jump for my full review.

Weta Digital’s Joe Letteri Talks THE HOBBIT and the Film’s Oscar-Nominated Visual Effects, Plus a New Featurette on Digitally Created Creatures & Landscapes

by     Posted 1 year, 253 days ago

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With all of the focus landing on The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’s use of high frame rate/48fps, the rest of the production’s stunning achievements in visual effects have been unfairly shunted to the sidelines.  Thankfully, four-time Oscar/BAFTA/VES winner Joe Letteri recently spoke about the VFX behind the first film in Peter Jackson’s new trilogy and we were invited to check out the presentation.  As both the visual effects supervisor on the films and the current Director of Weta Digital, Letteri pulled back the curtain on the unbelievable amount of work, creativity and expertise that goes into making a film like The Hobbit.  Hit the jump to watch a video featurette on the film’s VFX, as well as a break down of Letteri’s presentation with some incredibly cool behind-the-scenes information.

Andy Serkis and WETA Digital’s Joe Letteri Talk THE HOBBIT, DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES, Whether Performance Capture Will Ever Be Recognized by the Academy, and More

by     Posted 1 year, 255 days ago

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At the VES Awards last week, I was able to get a few minutes with Andy Serkis and Weta Digital’s Sr. Visual Effects Supervisor Joe Letteri.  During our red carpet interview we talked about the audience reaction to The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the sequences that were the most challenging to get right, how far along they are on the sequels, and more.  In addition, Serkis talked about Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and they both talked about the perception of performance capture and why it seems to be overlooked by the Academy.   Hit the jump to watch.

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