Ron Burgundy Dodge Durango ad

Though the Oscars featured plenty of product placement (hey there, Samsung), they didn’t spend much time dwelling on the art of product placement in movies. But the marketing-minded folks at Brandchannel have, and now they’ve released their 2014 Product Placement Awards.

By their metric, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues and Pain & Gain were among the top movies of the year, while The Secret Life of Walter Mitty was a particular low point. If nothing else, the list is worth checking out because it’s probably the only best-of list to include both Philomena and The Smurfs 2. Dig into their results after the jump.

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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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Conjuring

Only one day has passed but there’s already another rumored front runner for the Star Trek 3 directing gig: Rise of the Planet of the Apes director Rupert Wyatt. Read about that, and lots more, in this edition of Sequel Bits:

  • A rumored plot has been revealed for a sequel to The Conjuring.
  • Karl Urban wants more originality in Star Trek 3.
  • Matt Damon is still open to Bourne and Rounders sequels.
  • Anchorman: The Legend Continues graces the cover of Entertainment Weekly.
  • Plus, we get our first hint of how Ron Burgundy starts the film.
  • Despite rumors, Tara Reid could still be in Sharknado 2.
  • The Smurfs 2 will feature extra footage in India.
  • 22 Jump Street might have a big surprise cameo.
  • Andrew Stanton said Finding Dory originally came from a Disney request.

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Dredd 3D

Karl Urban is pinning his hope on the fans to make Dredd 2 happen. Also after the jump:

  • Sharknado 2 will terrorize New York City
  • The Chinese government welcomes The Smurfs 2
  • The Expendables 3 adds Ronda Rousey and Victor Ortiz
  • Charlie Day says Horrible Bosses 2 might film this fall
  • Mac and Farva say Super Troopers 2 will shoot this year
  • Christopher Guest hints at a Spinal Tap reunion in 2014
  • How to Train Your Dragon 2 poster takes to the sky
  • See two new pics from Curse of Chucky

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‘The Smurfs 2′ Trailer

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If you were looking for a “debutante falls in with kids from the wrong side of the tracks” movie for seven year-olds this summer, The Smurfs 2 is probably it. The film once again features Hank Azaria as the Smurf-hating Gargamel and Neil Patrick Harris as the human who befriends the little blue guys. This first trailer lays out a plot where Gargamel creates some fake Smurfs as part of some inane plan, then kidnaps Smurfette to try to turn his fake Smurfs into real ones.

Don’t try to make too much sense out of it; the idea basically seems to be to create a framework for butt jokes that kids will love, with maybe a little room for some moralizing. Ardent Azaria and Harris fans, and those who need to figure out if they’ll want to take their kids to The Smurfs 2, may be the only ones who should give this one more than a passing glance. Check it out below. Read More »

MacGruber

I hope you’re excited for Human Centipede III, because shooting in LA has already begun. Also after the jump:

  • Will Forte is working on MacGruber 2 this summer
  • Could the Fast Five vault heist happen in real life? (No.)
  • Charlie Sheen returns to his Latino roots for Machete Kills
  • Glenn Morshower won’t be in Transformers 4, but you could be
  • Rumor has it Sharon Stone wants a Basic Instinct 3
  • J.J. Abrams hasn’t ruled out a third Star Trek
  • Hatchet III and The Smurfs 2 get new posters

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Clerks II

In case you were wondering, yes, Kevin Smith is still pretty sure Clerks III will be his best film ever. It’s not clear whether Rosario Dawson totally agrees with that sentiment, but apparently she wants in too. Also after the jump:

  • Danny Boyle dishes on the Trainspotting sequel
  • Gru is an awkward parent in Despicable Me 2 clip
  • Terry Crews goofs around in a Cloudy 2 featurette
  • Before Midnight debuts an international poster
  • New poster reminds us of Global Smurfs Day
  • Get a peek at Keenser in Star Trek Into Darkness
  • Listen to a bit of the Star Trek Into Darkness score
  • Chris Pine was “scared” to play Captain Kirk

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‘The Smurfs 2’ Trailer: Smurfs Gone Wild

Unless you’re still in grade school, odds are you weren’t dying for another installment of The Smurfs. But the first film was a runaway hit worldwide, grossing an impressive $563 million worldwide, so now we have The Smurfs 2 to contend with next summer.

Directed once again by Raja Gosnell, the CG sequel sees Gargamel (Hank Azaria) hatching a new plan to get that Smurf juice he so desperately needs. It involves the invention of the Naughties, a pair of small creatures (voiced by Christina Ricci and JB Smoove) that appear to be like the Smurfs in every way besides having gray skin and more ‘tude. Watch the trailer after the jump.

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