Before Midnight 12

If you’re both 1) desperate for some distraction from the holiday hubbub and 2) eager to get a leg up on the rest of your office for the annual Oscar pool, here’s a way to kill two birds with one stone.

Over thirty screenplays for some of 2013′s top films have just been made available, legally and for free, through the studios. Highlights include John Ridley‘s 12 Years a Slave, Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke, and Julie Delpy‘s Before Midnight, Terence Winter‘s The Wolf of Wall Street, and many more.

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Despicable Me

They look practically indistinguishable from one another and often blur together into one massive horde, but the Minions have emerged as the most recognizable characters to come out of the Despicable Me franchise. Even those who wouldn’t be able to pick the films’ ostensible protagonist Gru out of a lineup are familiar with the creatures, and they’ve even proven popular enough to inspire their own spinoff.

Much of their popularity comes from their distinctive look: they’re small, round, yellow, and abso-freakin’-lutely adorable. But they didn’t always look that way. Directors Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud revealed in a recent interview that in fact, these little guys started out looking less like cheese puffs and more like big ugly orcs. Hit the jump to learn how they evolved.

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the_wind_rises-big-4

Award season is ready to get into full swing, and one of the early stages of the runup to the Academy Awards is the submission of Best Animated Feature options.

This year there are nineteen submitted features, including big studio fare (Cloudy 2, The Croods, Despicable Me 2, Monsters University), one from Studio Ghibli (The Wind Rises), a European effort we’ve covered a good bit (Ernest and Celestine) and a good few films that US audiences haven’t had much chance to see yet. One pleasant side effect of the animated Oscar list is that it draws attention to films that are new to many viewers.

That said, of the studio fare there are only a couple of compelling submissions, and enough of the rest are going to be new enough to Oscar voters that this might not be much of a race. The 86th Annual Academy Award nominations will be announced on January 16, 2014, and we’ll be curious to see how many films actually make the nomination cut. The awards will be held on March 2, 2014.

Read the submission list below.

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The 2013 Summer Movie Wager Results

2013 Summer Wager

With September here, we can put a period on the summer movie season. That means it’s time to go back to May and figure out who won the annual Summer Movie Wager. This year myself, Peter Sciretta and Jeff Cannata – formerly of the Totally Rad Show – picked the ten movies we thought would be kings of the summer box office. And, like most summers, the results were unpredictable and crazy. Who won? Who did the worst? Find out below. Read More »

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Calculating how much money a film’s made at the box office is (relatively) easy. Figuring out how much of that translates into profit for the studio can be a little trickier. Many more factors need to be considered, such as how much the picture cost to make and market, what cut of the international gross the studio gets, and so on.

But the folks at Universal have crunched those numbers, and lo and behold, they’ve discovered that 2013 is a pretty great year in at least one sense. One of the year’s releases has blown up big to become not just one of the studio’s top-grossing films of all time, but its most profitable. Find out which one after the jump.

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Rick Moranis in Ghostbusters

Rick Moranis isn’t locked in for Ghostbusters 3 yet, but if you’re curious where he thinks his character Louis Tully would’ve ended up, he has some ideas. Also after the jump:

  • Peter Jackson discusses the extended cut An Unexpected Journey
  • … and you can check out new behind-the-scenes pic from Desolation of Smaug
  • Jack Horner says the most recent Jurassic Park 4 plot “didn’t pass muster”
  • Lorenzo di Bonaventura has been in touch with actors about Red 3
  • Aussie electronic duo Empire of the Sun will score Dumb and Dumber To
  • Benjamin Bratt talks about replacing Al Pacino in Despicable Me 2
  • Doug Jones is still holding out hope for a third Hellboy
  • Val Kilmer‘s Heat sequel idea involves being married to Natalie Portman
  • See a poster for Warwick Davis‘ (fake) proposed Willow sequel

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Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill in 21 Jump Street
The still above from 21 Jump Street is an accurate representation of my reaction to the reveal that the sequel will be called 22 Jump Street. Also after the jump:

  • Check out pics from Transformers 4‘s Texas set
  • How much of Transformers 4 is set in China?
  • Freida Pinto and James Franco won’t return (duh) for more Apes 
  • Marc Forster is “open” to a World War Z sequel
  • Sofia Vergara gets another Machete Kills poster
  • See a trailer for Despicable Me 2‘s “Minion Rush” game
  • Watch tons of B-roll and interviews from Monsters University

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Despicable Me 2 - Steve Carell as Gru on Ellen

Steve Carell doesn’t actually need to dress up as Gru to play him for Despicable Me 2, but don’t tell him that. Also after the jump:

  • Broken Lizard is planning Weedfest and Super Troopers 2
  • Despicable Me 2‘s villainous El Macho is finally revealed
  • See new pics and a filmmakers’ message from Insidious Chapter 2
  • James Wan explores Abu Dhabi as a potential Fast 7 location
  • Michelle Rodriguez glowers in her Machete Kills poster

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