Brian Grazer Replaces Brett Ratner as Oscars Producer

Earlier today, Eddie Murphy dropped out of his Oscar-hosting job after his Tower Heist director Brett Ratner resigned from his Oscar-producing gig. But if the Academy has things their way, Murphy may return yet. Producer Brian Grazer has been tapped to replace Ratner as the new Oscar producer, and apparently his first job will be to get Murphy back. More after the jump.

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What do you call a movie that’s not NOT funny and not NOT entertaining? Tower Heist sounds right. The latest film from director Brett Ratner has some fun moments to keep the audience engaged but never puts the claws in. It never grabs you. Never makes you laugh until you cry or pump your fist with excitement. It’s a by the numbers crime comedy that lives and dies with its setting, its actors and a few choice moments. Most of the time it’s mindless and, if that’s your kind of thing, you may love it. But if you demand a movie that demands something of its audience, Tower Heist will be sorely disappointing. Read More »


This week, Dave Chen, Devindra Hardawar and Adam Quigley chat about the fall of Netflix, enjoy the listlessness of The Trip, debate the impressiveness of The Last Exorcism, and try to figure out who would pay $60 for Tower Heist. Special guest Matt Patches joins us from

You can always e-mail us at slashfilmcast(AT)gmail(DOT)com, or call and leave a voicemail at 781-583-1993. Tune in on Sunday night (11/6) at Slashfilm’s live page at 10 PM EST / 7 PM PST as we review A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas.

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Last week, Universal Pictures revealed that it would be releasing the Brett Ratner comedy Tower Heist on VOD for $59.99 just three weeks after its November 4 opening in Atlanta and Portland, Oregon. The move immediately sparked outcry from exhibitors across the country — Cinemark, the U.S.’s third-largest theater chain, quickly announced that it would not be showing Tower Heist in any of its 3,800 theaters, and several smaller chains including Galaxy Theatres, Regency Theatres, and Emagine Theatres followed suit this week.

Now it seems the exhibitors have won the standoff, as Universal has agreed to drop the VOD experiment. More details after the jump.

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Universal had to know that exhibitors would show some strong resistance to the studio’s plan to release Brett Ratner‘s film Tower Heist On Demand only three weeks after it bows in theaters. That’s even with the VOD plan going into effect in only two markets (Atlanta and Portland, OR) and for the family-unfriendly price of $59.99.

The response of one theater chain has been intense, and more than a little bit knee-jerk. Cinemark, the third-largest theatrical chain in the US, says it will not program Tower Heist in any of its 300 theaters if Universal goes forward with the early premium VOD plan. Read More »

The first trailer released for Brett Ratner‘s new film Tower Heist was very obviously a trailer for a Ratner film, complete with pumping music, flying shots of the tower in which the action takes place, and a jokey introduction to the story and cast. (Which features Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, Matthew Broderick, Téa Leoni, Gabourey Sidibe, Casey Affleck, Stephen Henderson, Judd Hirsch, Michael Peña, and Alan Alda.)

This second trailer is much more focused on the crazy stuff the cast gets up to as they try to rob a Wall St. power broker who has defrauded the staff of his high-rise building. Check out the wacky action — which is also very recognizably Ratner — after the break. Read More »

It’s oddly fitting that a movie about robbery is now poised to rob theatrical exhibitors of their box office dollars. In the most bold experiment of Premium On Demand yet, Universal will experimentally release Brett Ratner‘s Tower Heist, starring Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy, on demand to two targeted markets a mere three weeks after its release on November 4 at a reported cost of $59.99. It’ll be the first time home viewers can watch a movie at home while it’s still on thousands of screens across the country.

Earlier this year, theater owners and filmmakers alike were up in arms when several studios agreed to play their films on demand two months after their theatrical debut at a cost of $30. Even at double that price, those parties are sure to be furious about the shorter window. And though this is just a test, it’s another inevitable step in the wrong direction. We’ll explain more after the break. Read More »

Watch the trailer for Tower Heist, below, and see how long it takes to guess who made it. (Assuming you don’t already know.)

The film follows a group of people who work in a wealthy New York City high rise building. When the building’s penthouse resident (Alan Alda, playing a Bernie Madoff-like scumbag) defrauds everyone in the building, the motley crew (led by Ben Stiller and including Casey Affleck, Matthew Broderick, Téa Leoni, Michael Peña, and Gabourey Sidibe) recruits a criminal (Eddie Murphy) to help them steal their money back. Read More »

Briefly: We just saw a behind the scenes photo from Brett Ratner’s Tower Heist in Page 2 this morning, but here’s a real still, scanned from Entertainment Weekly. You probably don’t need the rundown on the lineup here, but from l-r that’s Ben Stiller, Matthew Broderick, Michael Pena, Casey Affleck and, yep, Eddie Murphy. They’re the crew that works in a high-rise building where the penthouse is occupied by an unscrupulous businessman under house arrest. (He’s played by Alan Alda.) The Wall St. crook has taken the crew’s pension, and they aim to steal it back.

Not pictured are Téa Leoni, Gabourey Sidibe, and Judd Hirsch. It’s a hell of a cast, and my generally dismissive views of Brett Ratner notwithstanding, I’m hoping for something good here. Would be so good to see Eddie Murphy in a film that was worth a damn. Dreamgirls was a recent positive blip in an otherwise dismal late career. [via The Playlist]

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