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2018 Box Office on Track to Set New Record

2018 box office total

Despite the persistent fear that streaming will kill off movie theaters, the 2018 box office is on track to break records, domestically. The domestic box office revenue for the year just hit $11 billion, and will only continue to increase in the remaining days of 2018. This puts 2018 on the path to obliterate the previous record-holding year of 2016, where the annual box office topped-out at $11.4 billion. In short, it was a very good year for the movies. But some films weren’t so lucky…

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Prisoners of the Ghostland

Nicolas Cage has developed a reputation as a bit of an eccentric. No matter what movie he appears in, audiences look forward to seeing the actor unleash some of his patented Cage Rage, in which he lets loose and goes wild. More often than not, Cage doesn’t disappoint. But we apparently haven’t seen anything yet. According to Cage himself, his next movie – Prisoners of Ghostland – might be his most wild movie yet. The film will team Cage with Sion Sono, the Japanese director behind Why Don’t You Play in Hell?

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Sabine Wren in The Mandalorian

Is a character from Star Wars Rebels going to pop up in the upcoming live-action Star Wars series The Mandalorian? That’s the latest unconfirmed rumor. Word on the intergalactic street is that the helmet of Sabine Wren, a dropout of the Imperial Academy and a former bounty hunter who appeared on Rebels, is being used in The Mandalorian in some capacity. For now, this is all we really know. But this is Star Wars related, and we’re a film site, which means we have to speculate about it. Sorry, I don’t make the rules.

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spider-man into the spider-verse clip

As if meeting your hero isn’t hard enough, Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) has to meet three alternate versions of his hero. Or rather, three alternate Spider Heroes make grand entrances in the new Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse clip, much to the awe of Miles and Spider-Woman Gwen Stacy (Hailee Steinfeld), and much to the chagrin of his mentor, Peter Parker (Jake Johnson).

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Ben is Back Director Interview

Peter Hedges’ career as a screenwriter began by writing his first novel, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, which he then adapted into a screenplay for the 1993 film. In the years that followed, Hedges wrote more books, plays and the occasional screenplay, including the Oscar-nominated adaptation of Nick Hornby’s About A Boy. In 2003, he took his first crack at being a writer/director with Pieces of April, followed four years later with Dan In Real Life. and The Odd Life of Timothy Green in 2012.

His latest work, Ben Is Back, is particularly important to Hedges for a couple of reasons. First, he gets to work with his son, Lucas Hedges, one of the busiest young actors working today (Ben Is Back marks his third film in the last two months, after Mid90s and Boy Erased), for the first time since Lucas was a youngster. And second, he finally gets to work with his all-time favorite actress, Julia Roberts, who plays Holly Burns, the mother of Ben, a drug-addicted teen who returns home from rehab unexpectedly on Christmas Eve, setting off a series of events that put both mother and son in great danger. The entire film takes place is 24 hours and tests the patience and resolve of everyone involved, including Holly’s new husband Neal (Courtney B. Vance) and Holly’s daughter/Ben’s sister Ivy (Kathryn Newton). Part family drama/part thriller, Ben Is Back gives the elder Hedges a chance to work his creative muscles in ways he hasn’t as a filmmaker to this point in his career.

/Film sat down with Hedges at the recent Chicago International Film Festival to talk about working with his wildly talented son for the first time as an adult actor, the importance of being able to cast his favorite working actress in the lead role, and the thrill of turning a simple mother-and-son story into something of a chase movie. The film is now playing in New York and Los Angeles, and is set to open wide on Friday, December 14.

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henry cavill superman

The “will he, won’t he” saga of whether actor Henry Cavill will return to play Superman in another movie for Warner Bros. is beginning to approach “Ben Affleck Batman” territory, and the latest update indicates that fans may see Cavill suit up as the Man of Steel one more time after all. According to Jason Momoa, who co-starred with Cavill in last year’s Justice League, Cavill is “absolutely not” giving up the role.
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the mustang trailer

Robert Redford may or may not be retiring from acting, but he’s keeping busy behind the camera, executive producing an inspiring horse drama starring Red Sparrow‘s Matthias Schoenaerts. In The Mustang, Schoenaerts stars as a violent, unhinged convict who undergoes a unique state-mandated rehabilitation program that teaches him to tame wild horses.  Read More »

Mortal Engines 5

Mortal Engines director Christian Rivers is a protege of filmmaker Peter Jackson, who co-wrote and co-produced this adaptation with his The Lord of the Rings collaborators. This is a tight-knit group, so it’s no surprise that when they needed a company to tackle the visual challenges of a movie about a city that eats other cities, they turned to New Zealand-based Weta Digital, who have consistently proven to be one of the best in the world.

Last week, I sat down with visual effects supervisor Ken McGaugh and animation supervisor Dennis Yoo to talk about how things have changed since The Lord of the Rings, if they’re affected by Peak TV, how to potentially fix one of the biggest problem in the VFX industry, and more. Read More »

Black Widow director

For Marvel’s highly anticipated Black Widow movie, a solo outing that had been in demand for nearly a decade, the studio wanted to get it right. Over 65 female directors were considered at one point to direct the Scarlett Johansson vehicle, and that was slowly whittled down to a four-person shortlist. Ultimately Berlin Syndrome director Cate Shortland earned the gig, but one other high-profile female director was initially approached for the job of Black Widow director, only to turn it down.

Lucrecia Martel, who directed this year’s acclaimed Zama, revealed that she was approached by Marvel Studios to direct Black Widow, but turned it down when she learned that she wouldn’t be directing the action scenes. But while that may seem like an insensible offer from Marvel, it’s actually a practice that’s not so unusual for the behemoth movie studio.

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Cool Posts From Around the Web:

lord and miller interview

Bonnie and Clyde. Beavis and Butthead. Lord and Miller. Phil Lord and Chris Miller, the guys who brought us The LEGO Movie and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, are often mentioned in the same breath and referred to as a creative pair. So it was somewhat surprising when Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, the excellent new movie from Sony Animation, only credits one of them as a writer on the film (they’re both credited as producers).

I asked the duo about that when I sat down with them to chat about the new movie, and during the course of our conversation, we also talked about how they decided which Spider-People were going to make it into this inter-dimensional story, which ones appeared in earlier drafts, finding the right actors to voice the movie’s characters, and how the final film looks even weirder than they originally envisioned. Check out our Lord and Miller interview below. Read More »