Universal had to know that exhibitors would show some strong resistance to the studio’s plan to release Brett Ratner‘s film Tower Heist On Demand only three weeks after it bows in theaters. That’s even with the VOD plan going into effect in only two markets (Atlanta and Portland, OR) and for the family-unfriendly price of $59.99.

The response of one theater chain has been intense, and more than a little bit knee-jerk. Cinemark, the third-largest theatrical chain in the US, says it will not program Tower Heist in any of its 300 theaters if Universal goes forward with the early premium VOD plan. Read More »

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The first trailer released for Brett Ratner‘s new film Tower Heist was very obviously a trailer for a Ratner film, complete with pumping music, flying shots of the tower in which the action takes place, and a jokey introduction to the story and cast. (Which features Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, Matthew Broderick, Téa Leoni, Gabourey Sidibe, Casey Affleck, Stephen Henderson, Judd Hirsch, Michael Peña, and Alan Alda.)

This second trailer is much more focused on the crazy stuff the cast gets up to as they try to rob a Wall St. power broker who has defrauded the staff of his high-rise building. Check out the wacky action — which is also very recognizably Ratner — after the break. Read More »

I’ll admit to feeling some degree of surprise when I first heard that director Brett Ratner would be co-producing the upcoming 84th Academy Awards, but at the same time, Ratner’s career has always been one of surprising success. For instance, using only a modicum of skill, Ratner was able to turn out three Rush Hour films, which went on to gross almost $1 billion worldwide. And the huge returns of Ratner’s X-Men: The Last Stand only ensured that this guy would not be going away anytime soon.

So maybe Ratner’s Oscar gig will be similarly successful to mass-market audiences. Turns out the director has an ace up his sleeve for the upcoming ceremony: he wants Tower Heist star Eddie Murphy to host it. Read More »

Watch the trailer for Tower Heist, below, and see how long it takes to guess who made it. (Assuming you don’t already know.)

The film follows a group of people who work in a wealthy New York City high rise building. When the building’s penthouse resident (Alan Alda, playing a Bernie Madoff-like scumbag) defrauds everyone in the building, the motley crew (led by Ben Stiller and including Casey Affleck, Matthew Broderick, Téa Leoni, Michael Peña, and Gabourey Sidibe) recruits a criminal (Eddie Murphy) to help them steal their money back. Read More »

For a movie that hinges on a murder plot, Horrible Bosses feels surprisingly lighthearted. That’s because despite the title and the marketing, the film’s draw isn’t the fucked-up wish fulfillment of giving your dirtbag superior what he deserves. Instead, its appeal lies in the easy, enjoyable chemistry of its leads — Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, and Jason Sudeikis – and the fun of watching them screw up royally, over and over, in increasingly zany ways. To put it another way, it’s Office Space meets Apatovian buddy comedy, minus the dark stuff and the sweet bits but with more consistent laughs as a result.

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Almost exactly a year ago, Brett Ratner was attached to direct a Millennium/Nu Image film based on the legend of Heracles/Hercules. The film was in development for years, but after Brett Ratner was attached to direct that he went on to make Tower Heist, and we haven’t heard much about Hercules at all.

Now the Ratner/Hercules pairing returns, but in different form. this time housed at MGM and going under the name Hercules: The Thracian Wars. Read More »

This Thursday, DirecTV is launching a revolutionary new service called Home Premiere which will allow subscribers to view movies just two months after they open in theaters. Not only is the National Association of Theater Owners strongly opposed to this, we recently surmised that it could just be the next step in the total and utter death of movie going as we know it. Today, twenty-three high profile Hollywood filmmakers agree.

Why on earth would you give audiences an incentive to skip the highest and best form of your film? My films aren’t going to the home early, but many will, and that will weaken the movie theater industry—and then my movies are threatened.

That’s the sentiment of James Cameron, the director of the two highest grossing films of all time. He and Peter Jackson, Michael Bay, Kathryn Bigelow, Guillermo del Toro, Roland Emmerich, Jon Landau, Shawn Levy, Michael Mann, Todd Phillips, Brett Ratner, Adam Shankman, Gore Verbinski and Robert Zemeckis are part of the roster of filmmakers who have signed a letter expressing the creative community’s problems with this service. Read it in full after the jump. Read More »

Like him, or hate him, Morgan Spurlock has quickly become a staple of the documentary world. It all started with the premiere of Super Size Me at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival. His personal adventures have taken us inside of the world of fast food, into the battlefields of the Middle East, and now into the world of product placement. Well… it’s not that simple. Spurlock set out to make a film about product placement and instead may have created the most meta movie ever produced.

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