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A lot of you know quite a bit about film, but I bet the video below features a few details that will be new to all but the most technically-aware readers.

The site filmmakerIQ.com has put together a great video that explains the origins of film compositing as used in special effects. It begins with the short in which Georges Melies tore his own head off three times in a row to present audiences with himself surrounded by three talking heads. The explanation moves from there to the early blue screen process, and then to the means used by Disney to make the compositing in films like Mary Poppins look amazingly good. (Do you know the name Petro Vlahos? After this, you will.)

This video explains the intricate technical hurdles that made blue-screen compositing so time-consuming, and does a great job explaining the shift to green-screen use and digital. It’s a great video that breaks down a complex process to easily understandable bits. Read More »

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Yesterday Joss Whedon introduced a short video at San Diego Comic Con that announced the full title for the Avengers sequel. Avengers: Age of Ultron will be released in 2015, and the name tells us that the malicious adamantium robot Ultron — a longtime Marvel Universe nemesis with many different incarnations — will play a major role.

A comic book storyline published earlier this year bears the same name, naturally leading many fans to expect that the movie will be an adaptation of that storyline. (A story which features prominent roles for characters Marvel Studios cannot use.) Turns out that the movie is really using the title and presence of Ultron, and possibly little more from that comic book story. Watch Joss Whedon explain the story — which he says he’s been thinking about since before The Avengers was done — bel0w. Read More »

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Joss Whedon took the stage at Hall H today to intro a brief teaser clip for a new film. The footage featured animated close-ups of metal being pounded into shape as we hear clips of dialogue from The Avengers. But as the metal object revolves and the camera pulls back the head of Ultron is revealed.

Smash cut to title: The Avengers: Age of UltronRead More »

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When The Amazing Spider-Man 2 hits theaters on May 2, 2014, it will be the fifth straight Spider-Man movie set in New York. Knowing that, a fan at San Diego Comic-Con asked star Andrew Garfield what other famous Spider-Man comic book stories he’d like to see on screen. Garfield said, “I’d like to see him with The Avengers…but I’m not supposed to say that.” The crowd went wild.

It was just one of the many awesome things discussed during the panel. Director Marc Webb explained how the first film was meant to set up multiple movies and that Rhino (Paul Giamatti) is mostly in this one to establish a fun tone. Dane DeHaan talked about Harry Osborn’s complicated relationships with Peter Parker and Norman Osborn while Jamie Foxx spoke about Electro’s costume and origin. Oh – and they screened about 3 minutes of never before seen footage. Read about the footage here, and hit the jump for everything else. Read More »

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Sure, the whole superpower thing is a little far-fetched, not to mention the alien attackers, the vengeful god, the interplanetary wormhole, and the idea that a superhero team would employ a regular guy whose job it is to shoot arrows. (I love Hawkeye as much as the next gal, but come on.) But through all that nonsense, it’s always been clear that the Marvel Cinematic Universe takes place in our world, in our time. Just like Stan Lee and his co-conspirators envisioned it decades ago. Loki doesn’t attack “Gotham” or “Metropolis,” but New York City.

As anyone who’s been to New York City knows, the media is a big part of this town. Several major publishers are headquartered here, including Conde Nast, Time Inc., and the New York Times. Obviously, there’s no way in hell they’d ignore such major events, involving such glamorous celebrities, happening right in their front yards. In her MediAvengers series, artist Kimba McG imagines what their headlines might look like if the Avengers were real, with pitch-perfect mock-ups of covers for TimeVanity FairUs Weekly, and more. Hit the jump to check ‘em out.

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Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye in The Avengers

Two pretty big rumors regarding The Avengers 2 are whipping around the Web today, so we figured they were worth a look. The first one seems most plausible. It concerns the possible inclusion of the Black Panther in the sequel and the hint comes from the chairman of South Africa’s Cape Town Film Studios. He said Marvel has been in contact about filming the Joss Whedon sequel there.

The second rumor is that Hawkeye could be recast. Jeremy Renner played the character in Thor as well as The Avengers, but citing a lack of activity in Phase Two and his negative comments about his role in The Avengers, one source believes the character could become the next War Machine or Hulk. Read More »

Magnus Rex

One of the worst kept secrets in Hollywood is that major movies use fake titles when they’re in production. The purpose of the misdirection is to throw the general public living and working around the shoot locations off the scent of a picture that might have huge fan interest.

Thirty years ago, Star Wars fans had no idea the Return of the Jedi was being filmed near them because it was called Blue Harvest. Even today the practice continues. People would riot if they knew Christopher Nolan was filming The Dark Knight Rises in their town, so the film goes by the name Magnus Rex. (Not that it takes long for people to realize what’s up.) Captain America: The Winter Soldier and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 are being referred to as Freezer Burn and London Calling respectively.

A Reddit user has made a gallery of movie posters using the film’s production titles and it’s quite funny. Check it out below. Read More »

Iron Man 3 Final Header

Briefly: Tony Stark has defeated the Iron Monger, Whiplash and now he’s beaten Harry Potter, Jack Sparrow and Batman, too. Iron Man 3 opened this weekend with a whopping $175.3 million box-office take, the second best opening weekend of all-time. The only film Stark couldn’t beat? His own. 2012′s The Avengers remains the all-time record holder with $207.4 million from Friday to Sunday.

What’s even more impressive about the Shane Black-directed film? As it opened internationally a week prior to the US opening, Iron Man 3 has now grossed $680 million globally in its first week, outgrossing the entire run of both Iron Man ($585.2) and Iron Man 2 ($623.9 million).

The only questions now are, can Iron Man 3 combine the grosses of 1 and 2? Which other summer movie could topple it, if any? And will there be an Iron Man 4? [Box Office Mojo]

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