Hobbit Battle of Five Armies teaser

A movie’s budget has little correlation to success or quality. Films that costs just tens of thousands of dollars have gone on to great success; probably more films that cost tens of millions of dollars have failed horribly. It’s when films that cost hundreds of millions of dollars fail horribly that studios start worrying about their well-being.

But you have to spend money to make money and audiences today demand spectacle. Despite that demand, they also need it to be sold to them. So a film that costs $250 million might end up costing $500 million once the studio pays for TV commercials, billboards, press junkets and more. It’s a crazy, crazy business and there’s always a gamble even on the biggest properties.

When Warner Bros. decided to make J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit into movies, the gamble was a little smaller. Peter Jackson had already turned three Lord of the Rings movies into massive hits and a return to Middle Earth would certainly attract audiences. However, with a decade or so of new technology to work with, those movies were going to be expensive. They were going to be even more expensive when the decision was made to do not two, but three films in the series. Now, with the third film on its way to theaters, we have an idea of what that commitment cost. It is historically staggering. Read more about The Hobbit budget below. Read More »

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Smaug mo-cap

We’re pretty familiar with the sight of good actors jumping and rolling about in mo-cap suits while doing performance capture work for effects-based films. We’re especially familiar with that image when it comes to Peter Jackson‘s Middle-Earth movies. And yet there’s something special about seeing Benedict Cumberbatch, whose on-screen presence radiates control and composure, crawling on his belly and fire-breathing dialogue for the worm Smaug in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. A few short featurettes about the creation of the dragon, and the Smaug mo-cap work, have gone online. They’re probably more fun than at least half the other stuff you could be watching. Check out a few below. Read More »

Desolation Of Smaug extended edition

The inevitable extended edition of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug hits blu-ray in November, and it will have 25 minutes added to the film. The second chapter in Peter Jackson‘s three-film adaptation of The Hobbit (with some other Tolkien material added) will feature quite a few extended scenes, and a host of behind the scenes documentaries, and commentaries from Jackson and writer Philippa Boyens. The bonus content runs to nine hours, which should keep fans busy until the December opening of the third and final film. Watch a clip from the Desolation of Smaug extended edition below. Read More »

The Hobbit: The Desolation of an Unexpected Journey
When I walked out of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the first thing I said to someone was “After they release the other two movies, some fan will edit a cut of the three films into a great three hour movie.” Its funny how things change — with the Lord of the Rings films we were clamoring for extended editions, but now we think less is more (it may have something to do with the fact this is one and a half books stretched to three movies vs. three books adapted into three films).

We still haven’t gotten the third chapter of Peter Jackson‘s Hobbit adaptation, but some fan has edited the first two movies into a trailer for a mash-up movie titled The Hobbit: The Desolation of an Unexpected Journey. Lets hope that once The Hobbit: There and Back Again is released, a good editor will combine the three adaptations into one three-hour-long movie cut. For now, you can watch the epic mash-up The Hobbit: The Desolation of an Unexpected Journey embedded after the jump.

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2014 MTV Movie Award Nominations

We're the Millers

The 2014 MTV Movie Award nominations have been announced, and the list could be the perfect medicine to anyone a little upset with how the Oscars turned out. Best Picture winner 12 Years a Slave is among the nominees for Best Movie of the Year, but it’s joined by The Hobbit: The Desoluation of Smaug and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (along with fellow Oscar nominees American Hustle and The Wolf of Wall Street). Those last two led all nominees with eight apiece, followed closely by Hunger Games and…wait for it…We’re The Millers with six a piece.

As usual though, there are some fun categories and nominations for films Oscar ignored such as This Is The End, Anchorman 2, Spring Breakers, The Spectacular Now, Fruitvale Station and others. Below, check out the full list of 2014 MTV Movie Award Nominations. Read More »

smaug

Rest assured that when The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug hits Blu-ray on April 8, there will be hours of behind the scenes footage to illustrate in exhaustive detail the process of creating the film. But of all the possible views on the process of building The Desolation of Smaug, the one we’re perhaps most keen to learn about is the process of bringing its titular dragon to life.

A new featurette shows a bit of that process, including just a bit of footage of Benedict Cumberbatch in a mo-cap suit doing some all-in physical performance for Smaug. Oh, and in case you need some size reference for Smaug, one of his creators explains that he’s twice the size of a jumbo jet. Check out the video after the break.  Read More »

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
The Soundworks Collection has released a 10 minute behind the scenes documentary on the sound of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.

In this SoundWorks Collection sound profile we visit Park Road Post Studios in Wellington, New Zealand to talk with the sound team of Director Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug”. Featured interviews include re-recording mixer Michael Hedges, re-recording mixer Chris Boyes, re-recording mixer Michael Semanick, re-recording mixer Gary Summers, composer Howard Shore, and producer and co-screenplay writer Philippa Boyens.

Watch the video now embedded after the jump.

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Best Movies of 2013, According to IMDb Users

Waar

Over the past few weeks, and for the next few months, discussions will center on the best films of 2013. I did a list, the /Filmcast did a list and innumerable others will do the same leading up to the moment the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences crowns their best film of the year with the Best Picture Oscar.

But what do even bigger audiences think? Many film fans don’t have a blog, paper or podcast to spout off on. Many of those people turn to the Internet Movie Database to vote on the films they loved best in any given year. Now, the IMDB has published their top 50 films of 2013 according to over 10,000 users. Check it out below. Read More »

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