3.30.2009

Why Blu-ray's Better Than DVD


Why Blu-ray's Better Than DVD

New format trumps its predecessor, plain and simple.

March 25, 2009 - Having soundly defeated HD DVD, Blu-ray now reigns supreme atop the home video format hierarchy. But in spite of that convincing victory, BD technology has yet to be fully embraced by consumers. Like that nagging fly that you just can't seem to swat, standard-def DVD is still buzzing around.

Last week, we made a pretty convincing case as to why DVD could be viewed as "better" than Blu-ray. To the delight of those of you who ripped us a new one after reading that article (we love a good controversy), this counter-argument will attempt to prove the opposing view: Why Blu-ray is better than DVD.

There's no denying that Blu-ray is technically superior. The picture looks amazing and features like BD-Live, when properly showcased, are unrivaled.

The hardware may be expensive, but if you're a serious gamer you probably already own a PS3. Problem solved.

The gloves have come off. It's on like Donkey Kong! (Insert your own clich? here.) And the Blu-ray vs. DVD battle continues. Check out our reasons why we think Blu-ray is better than DVD, and let us know what you think in the comments below.



Freakin' Awesome Picture

There's no arguing that Blu-ray is the superior format when it comes to audio and video. It just is. With a resolution that's six times that of DVD, a quick check of any blockbuster Blu-ray will amaze you with 1080p sharpness. The colors, the detail, and the clarity of motion are all vastly improved over their DVD counterparts.

You don't have to be a math genius to figure out that 1080 is more than 420, but as videophiles know, what that really means is that you're getting more than two and a half times as much visual information in those tiny little lines on your screen, and that makes for five times the amount of detail. That allows for more detail, definition and dimension than you normally get on DVD.

These days, a lot of films are made with high-definition cameras, so Blu-ray is able to provide an image much closer to the source. That makes for a picture that's truer to life and far more attractive than anything in standard-def. And that's not just the case with new releases either. Even older titles like The Godfather, animated features like Sleeping Beauty and black and white classics like Casablanca benefit from this technology. It's like discovering your favorite films all over again... for the first time. Or something.

- Paramount
The Godfather on Blu-ray: An offer you can't refuse.

Mind-Blowing Audio

Any legit home theater enthusiast knows that sound is truly 50 percent of the entertainment viewing experience. It's a good thing, then, that Blu-ray's awesome visuals are matched by the stunning depth and complexity of the surround-sound, with certain discs offering 7.1 surround and all discs providing an infinitely more crisp and clear audio presentation.

Even if your home theater is not equipped to handle full 7.1 channel surround sound, the digital Dolby TrueHD and lossless DTS-HD Master Audio tracks that come on most Blu-ray discs are more than sufficient to blow the roof off your living room.

Listening to an amazing audio presentation like the one offered on the recent Akira Blu-ray will change the way you hear movies. There's nothing like the rich, full, booming sound you get from a truly immersive mix that you can feel down to your bones. Even in a more quiet, subtle film, you'll hear background details you might have otherwise missed. Nothing draws you into a film more than feeling like you are right there in the middle of the action.

DVD simply can't match the aural awesomeness of Blu-ray. End of story.

Mo' Better Blus

Blu-ray discs allow more creative potential for the film's extras, animated menus, pop-up tracks and picture-in-picture features and commentaries. And, of course, there are all the interactive possibilities of BD-Live -- more on that in a sec.

The Blu-ray experience allows viewers to explore menu options without leaving the movie, and to bookmark favorite scenes -- two simple features that have a big impact once you actually begin to make use of them.

We'll be the first to admit that BD-Live has left us wanting. The blame for this, however, lies at the feet of the studios who have not fully grasped how to leverage this amazing technology.

BD-Live, for any n00bs who might be reading this, is a set of special online features available on compatible titles to viewers with an Internet-ready player. You can download extra content, checkout online bonus features, and participate in interactive chats. Where DVD might have allowed you to listen to a director's prerecorded commentary, BD-Live can take you right into his living room for a real-time conversation about the film -- Universal offered just that with Guillermo del Toro on the Hellboy II: The Golden Army Blu-ray.

There's even gaming potential with BD-Live -- another possibility that remains largely untapped. Take, for instance, the fully interactive, multiplayer trivia game included on the Men In Black Blu-ray. It feels more like a full-featured videogame than just another extra on a movie disc. The online portion of the game features lobbies, the option to host tournaments for various numbers of players (up to 8), and the ability to customize questions.


What they said.

Once studios really get hip to BD-Live technology, there will be a lot more cool stuff. We can't wait.

Beyond the benefits of killer interactive content, certain BD-Live players can also be upgraded using the BD-Live Connection. Your DVD player just became a boat anchor.

It Makes Your HD Set-Up Legit

You know that massive flat-screen HD TV you just got? Or how about that spiffy surround-sound system? Maybe you just got them to replace a busted set or components, or maybe just to watch the game. Regardless, everything is going to be vastly improved by the Blu-ray experience. And it'll make you feel substantially better about the money you've sunk into living room technology.

If you're still hesitant about shelling out for a Blu-ray player, consider that Sony's PlayStation 3 will play Blu-rays. The Blu-ray features aren't just an afterthought either, they're a core part of the machine. In fact, the PS3 actually plays BR discs better than many current standalone players. Yes, it's expensive, but rumors of a significant price drop persist. But even if you're just a casual gamer, we think it's worth the money.


The price may drop on Sony's Blu-ray playing PlayStation 3

Blu-ray Players Will Play Old Stuff

Given the fact that the DVD has been deemed the most successful consumer product ever, you probably own a ton of them. Not to worry. Blu-ray players will play standard-def DVDs as well as audio CDs, just like your old DVD player.

There was a time -- those of you reading this over the age of 20 will remember -- when the emergence of a new home video format meant that your entire collection was rendered obsolete. Blu-ray players play the exact same 12cm and 8cm discs that you could play in your old school player. So, unlike the jumps from VHS, to Laserdisc, to DVD, the Blu-ray switch should be completely painless.

In fact, most Blu-ray players won't just play your DVDs, they'll make them better. This is accomplished through upscaling technology, pig's blood, and black magic. (Just seeing if you were paying attention.) Upscaling boosts your old assy DVDs to nearly 1080p/1080i quality. That means everything you watch will be astonishing -- except scenes from the Star Wars prequels featuring Jar Jar Binks, which will always look like crap no matter what.


Not an upscaled Episode I DVD screenshot, but even if it were: Still crap.

Technical Knockout

Without getting overly technical, the term "Blu-ray" comes from the blue-violet laser used to interpret the data on the disc (as opposed to the red used for standard DVDs). Because of that laser's shorter wavelength, a Blu-ray disc is able to compress more information into the same amount of space, allowing for up to 50 GB of information on a dual-layered disc (and Pioneer has recently been able to push that to as much as 500 GB on 20 layers).

OK, maybe we got overly technical. Anyway... What all of this means for the consumer is that you're basically getting more content, more interactivity and more special features in a smaller package. Not only does it save room on your library shelves, it saves on shipping costs, which can mean a lower price, particularly on those unwieldy box sets. Imagine getting the entire series of The Sopranos on, say, 10 discs instead of the current 33 that come in the DVD box.


Too many discs!

Blu-rays are also more durable than DVDs. Because Blu-ray's transparent cover layer is only 0.1 mm thick vs. 0.6mm for DVD, there were initial concerns about BR discs being more vulnerable to light scratching than DVDs. That's why Blu-ray disc manufacturers developed a hard coating that protects the discs, making them even more resistant to scratches than DVDs.

Blu-ray also sports an error correction system which is more robust and efficient than the one used for DVDs. Suck it, DVD.


Given the costs involved in upgrading hardware and the higher pricetag of Blu-ray discs, it may take a while before we see the mass adoption of Blu-ray. Still, the fact that it's a superior format is crystal clear.

Are you a Blu-ray early adopter? Or have you resisted taking the leap? Tell us where you stand in the comments.






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Why DVD's Better Than Blu-ray


Why DVD's Better Than Blu-ray

We weigh the pros and cons and render our verdict.

March 18, 2009 - Blu-ray may have won the format war, but with HD DVD now soundly dispatched, an old foe refuses to retreat. Standard-def DVD still has plenty of fight left in it. In fact, there are plenty of ways in which the SD format is -- dare we say -- a better choice than Blu-ray.

Heresy, you say? Listen... We aren't trying to assert that DVD has better picture quality than Blu-ray -- that would be absurd. And of course there are cool features, like BD-Live, that seemingly give Blu-ray the edge. But when you really take an examined look at the big picture, Blu-ray isn't for everybody.

There are hardware complexities, product availability issues, and most importantly -- especially in hard economic times like these -- Blu-ray is significantly more expensive. Taking all that into account, it's easy to imagine a scenario where the majority of casual home video consumers will remain devoted to DVD for quite some time.

But is DVD really better than Blu-ray? Here are some reasons why we think so. Take a look and let us know what you think in the comments.



It's Cheaper Than Blu-ray


Both DVD players and DVDs themselves remain affordable. Blu-ray releases tend to retail for an average of $10 more than their DVD counterparts (depending on the studio and title). Many DVDs are priced so cheaply that they could be considered impulse buys. Think about it... You probably wouldn't own that copy of Renny Harlin's Cutthroat Island had you not seen it in the checkout line display for $8.99. Would you have snatched up a Blu-ray version for double that price? Not nearly as likely.

The biggest obstacle for many consumers isn't the cost of the discs, it's the players themselves. A Blu-ray player will typically set you back an average of $250 to $300 (though the high-end players can go into the thousands). That kind of price tag is difficult to justify when you can find a perfectly decent DVD player for under $50. In fact, the most basic DVD player can be had for nearly the same price as a high-end Blu-ray movie.

And then there are the indirect costs. Most consumers will have to weigh the cost of the features they want against the cost of various players. It can be a headache before you even begin to start to consider other peripherals that will truly make upgrading to Blu-ray worth while. If you don't have a widescreen HD television -- a huge investment -- there's not much point in making the jump. And what about audio? Many home theaters are already at least 5.1 compatible, but to truly max out the new format you'll need a 7.1 system.

The bottom line is that creating an appropriately awesome Blu-ray experience is going to set you back some major skrilla. And if you can't afford to be all in, what's the point?

- Sony
The PS3 will play Blu-rays but it will run you $400 or more.

Mo' Technology, Mo' Problems

Any time you introduce a new piece of hardware into your setup, there are going to be complications. Blu-ray players are evolving, but everybody knows that tested and tried technology is more reliable than emerging technology. Wouldn't you rather have a product that's been around a while?

Then there's playability. We've all heard the complaints about Blu-ray load times. This sort of thing varies from player to player and title to title. The bottom line is that some people value performance and reliability more than innovation.

As long as you've got a basic DVD setup, the chances are pretty good that just about any disc you're likely to bring home will play in your player without a hassle. The advent of BD-Live has led to a disturbing trend when it comes to extras, with some studios relying heavily on online content to deliver the same kinds of special features you used to get right on the disc. And if your Blu-ray player isn't Internet compatible, you're not going to be able to access any of those features, not to mention the frequent firmware upgrades required to play the latest releases.

And what if you want to take your video entertainment with you? Not bloody likely with Blu-ray.

The term home-entertainment is quickly becoming obsolete, as the living room is no longer the only place where you can consume entertainment. There may be portable Blu-ray players on the market now, but standard-def players are still much cheaper and far more common, both in stores and in our homes. So for now -- and for the foreseeable future -- if you want to pop a movie in your laptop's DVD-rom drive, bring it with you on a long plane flight or just need something to keep the kids busy in the back of the minivan, DVD is the way to go.


You Already Own A Ton of DVDs

You probably already own your favorite movies and TV shows on DVD. And if you've been in the home video game a while, you might even own them on Laserdisc and (gasp!) VHS. Exactly how many copies of Blade Runner can one man legally own? And now you're suppose to shell out even more to get it on Blu-ray? Fuggedaboutit.

The DVD has been around since 1997 -- near ancient in tech years. In the 12 years since the format was launched, home video buyers have snatched up movies on DVD at an astonishing rate. The DVD has even been called the most successful consumer product of all time.

Even the most casual movie fan has amassed a sizable DVD library. And the collections of avid film buffs can stretch into the hundreds of titles -- or even thousands. With that many movies in a collection, it's not likely that most people are going to rush out and try to upgrade every title -- not that they could even if they wanted to, because the product just isn't available. And sure, Blu-ray players will play DVDs, but with the upgrade comes the feeling that you're rendering your entire collection obsolete.

To paraphrase Roy Batty himself, are all those discs to be lost in time like tears in rain? No way.


You probably already own all the good stuff on DVD.

Up-Conversation Really Works

There's no denying that, visually and technically speaking, Blu-ray is undoubtedly a higher-quality home entertainment experience. That said, most people – the average, non-uber-geek viewer – have already invested a lot of money in a respectable DVD library and dread the idea of forking over the cash to re-up their collection as they once might have done in the latter days of VHS. This is especially true for those who can afford the minor investment of an up-converting DVD player, which to most of the general masses can offer an HD-quality visual experience close-enough for comfort's sake.

DVD upscaling works by creating a new line of pixels -- this is accomplished by a process that copies parts of the surrounding pixels. It's essentially a technologically-enhanced guess at how a true high-def picture should appear.


The Toshiba XD-E500 is a sweet player that offers top-notch SD DVD up-conversion at a much cheaper price than Blu-ray players.


Toshiba's XD-E500 player, for instance, brings close to HD quality to DVDs by using this advanced edge-enhancement technology. You can pick one up for less than $99. That's a helluva lot cheaper than most Blu-ray players. And it really does work.


You Can't Get That on Blu-ray

Content is king. And while studios are working to make more video product available on Blu-ray, the fact remains that there are innumerably more titles on DVD. There's also no indication that manufacturers will cease production on DVDs in the foreseeable future.

If you're particularly into something non-mainstream, like Hong Kong cinema, what's the point of upgrading when most of the movies you love aren't available in the new format.

Collectors of special edition movies and boxed sets of TV shows are also currently getting the shaft when it comes to Blu-ray. While Blu-rays are starting to get the fancy slipcovers and whatnot, DVD still gets the really creative stuff. If you're a nerd about packaging, DVD is still for you.

And in the online rental, the chances of you getting a DVD quickly from Netflix are significantly higher. With a Blu-ray disc, you might even run into a "long wait" or the dreaded "very long wait."


- Lucasfilm/20th Century Fox
You can get it on DVD. You can't get it on Blu-ray.

Blu-ray is A Stop-Gap

It's a fact. It may not happen tomorrow, or next year, or even five years from now, but sooner or later digital downloads are going to replace physical media for the most part. Sure, you'll have the classicists who still collect their old LPs (or, ahem, standard-def DVDs), but Blu-ray is going to fall by the wayside when high-definition downloads become fully available and affordable.

With services like the IPTV-based Verizon's FIOS and AT&T's Uverse expanding more and more quickly, the shift to digital over physical media may happen sooner than later.

In the meantime, it's your prerogative (apologies to Bobby Brown) if you want to invest in another eventual boat anchor, and fill the coffers of the major studios yet again by indulging in their latest technical stunt -- Blu-ray -- and all the double- and triple-dips that are sure to come with it.

Don't worry, we won't say, "We told you so," when the time comes.

- AT&T
How long before digital entertainment services like AT&T's Uverse replace physical media?


Think back to the late 1990s -- if you can remember back that far -- when DVD replaced VHS. It didn't take long then to realize how dramatically superior the new technology was. It's clear now, in the case of DVD vs. Blu-ray, that we're dealing with a much more incremental evolution in video entertainment. The mass adoption of Blu-ray is going to take place much more slowly, if it happens at all.

Are you among the multitudes that are resisting the urge to move up to Blu-ray? Or are you a Blu-ray early adopter? Tell us where you stand in the comments. And be sure to check our Blu-ray counterpoint.




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Film Production Studio Coming To Cleveland


Film Production Studio Coming To Cleveland

POSTED: 11:05 am EDT March 17, 2009
UPDATED: 11:15 am EDT March 17, 2009
A New York City-based independent film and television production company announced plans to bring a film studio to downtown Cleveland.Nehst Studios and the city of Cleveland agreed on a one-year, rent-free lease with an option to renew at the Cleveland Convention Center.The signed lease is the result of two years of talks between Nehst and the city.The goal is to create a first-rate movie production studio that can serve Cleveland and the rest of the region. It will produce films spanning numerous genres, including documentaries, Web series, television and feature films.Pending approval of a tax credit bill before the Ohio Legislature, Nehst will begin producing films at the Convention Center.The initial investment of up to $80 million in film production will fund 8 to 15 films during the next two years, with each film crew employing at least 100 to 200 people, according to Nehst.The economic benefit across multiple industries is expected to yield a multiplier effect of $120 to $165 million.





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9 Reasons People Cheat



Why do I find it so easy not to cheat?

Maybe I'm not very attractive,
so my options are limited. Maybe I'm too jaded to go for the cheating opportunities. Maybe I still have some mental wounds lingering from when my dad temporarily moved out because he had met another woman. Maybe I'm too afraid that I've reached my sin quotient and one more big sin will keep me out of heaven.

Cheating is not a caught in the moment thing if you are really into your significant other, you miss them when you are not with them, you don't look for a way to hurt or deceive them.

I am just now patching up a friendship with someone I was seeing while they had a boyfriend (that may make me a cheater). At different points she told me that she had broken up with her boyfriend, that they were back together, and that he was boring and I was fun. It was total confusion.

I told her she wasn't being fair to herself, me, or him.

Finally, she said, "you just don't understand, there are things you don't know." Thing is she's been cheating on him for a couple of years with different guys, and he keeps taking her back.

So, are cheaters born cheaters, or do certain situations cause people to cheat? Probably a little bit of both. Here are some situations that make people cheat:

1. Bored
I'd say this is the most common reason that people cheat.It's tough to keep that edge throughout a relationship. Things start off grand and then level off and then you both realize that it's still real life. When you meet someone else, that inaugural excitement of a new relationship kicks back in.

2. Dependence
At first glance, cheating seems like independent behavior. It could be interpreted as doing what you want, when you want. But I would argue that cheating is a dependent behavior. A cheater is dependent because they are not strong enough to break up with their significant other in order to get with the new person.

3. Confusion
Sometimes life or a particular situation can get to you. When the perfect storm of confusion is going on in your head, you make mistakes.

4. Because They Let You
If any girl ever cheated on me, I'd break up with her immediately. Forgiving a cheater is putting up with it, and starts a vicious cycle. That person who cheated may lose respect for you and might continue to cheat-because they know they can get away with it, because you'll continue to take them back.

5. Nurturing
If someone is mistreating you, then your first instinct is to get away from him or her. But sometimes it's not that simple-maybe you are raising kids together. If you feel trapped in a bad relationship, it's only natural that you will run to the open arms of a person who treats you well.

6. Revenge
This is quite simple- an eye for an eye. Cheat on them if they cheat on you. If they continuously hurt you or abuse you in some way, you do it to get them back.

7. Confirmation of Attractiveness
Sometimes when you're in a long relationship, or if your significant other is taking you for granted, you begin to wonder if you're still attractive. Perhaps, because you were out on the dating circuit, you felt more attractive when you were single. If you have an affair, you've proven that a new person can be attracted to you.

8. The Thrill
Some people just enjoy the thrill of cheating: running around secretly, risking getting caught, andcreating thrilling moments with a forbidden romance.

9. They Don't Consider It Cheating, Even Though You Might
Relationships have that grey area, usually right before you become exclusive. He thinks date #4 is when you're "together," and you think date #2 is when you're "together." If you haven't talked about exclusivity, someone may think they are well within their rights to see other people, even though the other person in the relationship may not.

I don't understand why people don't break up as soon as they have an urge to cheat. Is it natural to have temptation, or is temptation a sign that the relationship is losing its fire? What reasons would you add to this list, and do you disagree with any? If you've ever cheated, why did you do it? Could you forgive a cheater? If you are single, but seeing a person who is in a committed relationship, does that make you a cheater?


Posted by Rich




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Cronenberg Eyeing Eastern Promises Sequel



Cronenberg Eyeing Eastern Promises Sequel

Source: MTV
March 30, 2009


In an interview at MTV (which contains a big spoiler if you haven't seen the movie), director David Cronenberg says they are planning on making a sequel to 2007 thriller, Eastern Promises. Here's an excerpt:

"We are moving forward with it," Cronenberg told MTV News in an exclusive chat. "We all are excited about the idea of doing a sequel."

The "we" includes Mortensen, who was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar for his role as Nikolai; the film's screenwriter, Steven Knight; original producer Paul Webster; and original studio, Focus Features.

"We are going to have a meeting very soon between me, Steve Knight and Paul Webster to discuss what the script would be," Cronenberg said. "I have some very strong ideas about what I would like to see, but I would like to hear what they have to say as well. And then after that, if all goes well, Steve goes away and writes a great script. If we all like it, we make it."


Eastern Promises earned $56.1 million at the worldwide box office.




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Dragonball Evolution Moved Back Two Days


Dragonball Evolution Moved Back Two Days

Source: ComingSoon.net
March 27, 2009


In a last-minute move, 20th Century Fox has moved back Dragonball Evolution two days so that it will open on Friday, April 10th now instead of the previously scheduled Wednesday opening. It will debut the same day that Hannah Montana The Movie and Observe and Report are released wide in theaters.

Written and directed by James Wong, the big screen adaptation stars Justin Chatwin, James Marsters, Jamie Chung, Emmy Rossum, Eriko Tamura, Joon Park, Chow Yun-Fat, Texas Battle, Randall Duk Kim and Ernie Hudson.





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Paramount Extends Deal with J.J. Abrams' Bad Robot



Paramount Extends Deal with J.J. Abrams' Bad Robot

Source: Paramount Pictures
March 26, 2009


Paramount Pictures, a unit of Viacom Inc, today announced an extension of its agreement with J.J. Abrams' Bad Robot Productions to run through 2013. This continues the first-look relationship originally started with Abrams and long-time colleague, producer Bryan Burk, in July 2006.

"Today's announcement is meaningful to me in many ways," said Brad Grey, Chairman and CEO, Paramount Pictures Corporation. "Bad Robot was one of the first deals we made to help rebuild the studio. J.J. has since become part of the fabric of Paramount and we look forward to continuing our fruitful creative collaboration for many years to come."

"Bad Robot has had an incredibly fun and productive collaboration with Paramount," added Abrams. "We are all so grateful for their amazing support and creative team, and feel like we're just getting started. We are thrilled that we get to stay right where we are.

Bad Robot and Paramount first collaborated to release Cloverfield (2008), which stands as the film with the highest grossing January opening weekend ever (at $40M). The film ultimately went on to gross $170M worldwide. The duo's next upcoming release is the highly anticipated Star Trek (release date - May 8, 2009), which is directed and produced by Abrams; executive produced by Bad Robot EVP Bryan Burk and Jeffrey Chernov, and produced by Damon Lindelof; written and executive produced by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman; and starring Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, John Cho and Zoƫ Saldana. Bad Robot and Paramount also are slated to begin production of Morning Glory in June of this year, starring Harrison Ford and Rachel McAdams (to be released in 2010). Abrams also directed Mission: Impossible III for the Studio.




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Sean Penn Set for The Three Stooges!



Sean Penn Set for The Three Stooges!

Source: Variety
March 25, 2009


MGM and the Farrelly brothers are closing in on their cast for The Three Stooges, reports Variety.

The studio has set Sean Penn to play Larry, and negotiations are underway with Jim Carrey to play Curly, with the actor already making plans to gain 40 pounds to approximate the physical dimensions of Jerome "Curly" Howard.

The studio is zeroing in on Benicio Del Toro to play Moe.

The film is a comedy built around the antics of the three characters that Moe Howard, Larry Fine and Howard played in the Columbia Pictures shorts.

Production will begin in early fall for a release sometime in 2010. The Farrellys, who wrote the script, are producing with their Conundrum partner Bradley Thomas, and Charlie Wessler.




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Scott Silver Rewriting Battle: Los Angeles

Scott Silver Rewriting Battle: Los Angeles

March 25, 2009


Scott Silver has been hired to rewrite Battle: Los Angeles for Columbia Pictures, says The Hollywood Reporter.

The studio in April picked up Chris Bertolini's original screenplay, about an alien invasion pulverizing its way across L.A.

Aaron Eckhart is attached to star as a Marine platoon commander in the action film, with Jonathan Liebesman (The Killing Room) attached to direct.






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Seth Rogen on The Green Hornet


Seth Rogen on The Green Hornet

Source: Heather Newgen
March 24, 2009


Seth Rogen is having a great year, to say the least. Not only does he have two huge movies hitting theatres this month--DreamWorks Animation's Monsters vs. Aliens and Warner Bros.' Observe and Report--he's also getting ready to shoot The Green Hornet. We talked to the in-demand actor on Tuesday at the press day for Observe and Report about the superhero film.

Q: When does "The Green Hornet" start shooting?
Seth Rogen: Right now the end of June. That is our tentative start date.

Q: What is Stephen Chow's involvement at this point?
Rogen: He's kind of our mascot. (laughs) He may be Kato. I'm not 100% sure if that's the case, but it's a very likely possibility. I'm not sure. Honestly, we're kind of in the very early phases right now. We're just putting those elements in place so I'm being honest. I honestly don't know yet.

Q: Are you going to stick to the original "Green Hornet" concept?
Rogen: He's actually the Lone Ranger's grandnephew. The Lone Ranger is owned by Jerry Bruckheimer so that probably limits the amount of involvement we can actually have in that movie. We were inspired by the original. We kind of took what we thought was good and left what we didn't. Honestly, we didn't feel any real obligation living up to the original because the radio plays totally different than the TV show which is different than the comic book. There is no real set way.

Columbia Pictures has set a June 25, 2010 release date for the Michel Gondry-directed film.





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New Moon Finds Its Wolf Pack

New Moon Finds Its Wolf Pack

March 24, 2009


Actors Chaske Spencer, Bronson Pelletier, Alex Meraz, Kiowa Gordon and Tyson Houseman have signed on to star as the members of the wolf pack in Summit Entertainment's The Twilight Saga: New Moon.

In the story, the wolf pack defends humans against vampires although they have a tribal history intricately entwined with Edward Cullen and his family. The wolf pack members will join Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and fellow wolf pack member Taylor Lautner in the film directed by Chris Weitz which will be released domestically November 20th.

In "New Moon," Bella Swan (Stewart) is devastated by the abrupt departure of her vampire love, Edward Cullen (Pattinson) but her spirit is rekindled by her growing friendship with the irresistible Jacob Black (Lautner). Suddenly she finds herself drawn into the world of the werewolves, ancestral enemies of the vampires, and finds her loyalties tested.

Each member of the wolf pack is of Native decent. Spencer is Lakota (Sioux), Pelletier is Cree-Metis, Meraz is Purepecha (Tarasco), Gordon is Hualapai, and Houseman, who was discovered at an open casting call, is Cree.

Casting of the wolf pack was overseen by award-winning casting director Rene Haynes (Dances with Wolves).






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Twilight Sells Over 3 Million DVD Units

Twilight Sells Over 3 Million DVD Units

Source: Summit Entertainment
March 23, 2009


Summit Entertainment announced today that the home entertainment release of the studio's action-packed, modern day vampire love story Twilight sold over 3 million DVD units in its first day of release. The DVD launch commenced this past Saturday morning at midnight with nationwide events during which time Summit and its retail partners provided Twilight fans with the chance to celebrate the DVD release of the film. "'Twilight' at Midnight" allowed participating retailers the opportunity to stay open late as fans lined up in impressive numbers to purchase the DVD of the epic romance at midnight parties.

Thousands of Twilight fans across the nation participated in the "'Twilight' at Midnight" event and some were surprised by filmmaker and cast appearances. 2,500 fans attended in Salt Lake City to see Rachelle Lefevre who plays Victoria; 2,000 showed up in Los Angeles to see Ashley Greene who plays Alice Cullen; over 1,000 fans came out to see director Catherine Hardwicke in Dallas; 700 fans lined up in New York for Edi Gathegi who plays Laurent; and 500 fans in Chicago saw Nikki Reed who plays Rosalie Hale.

With over 3 million DVD units sold, Twilight enters the top five best first day DVD releases over the past two years along with Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, The Dark Knight, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and Transformers.

Summit Entertainment's Co-Chairmen Rob Friedman and Patrick Wachsberger stated, "The Saturday release in conjunction with the groundbreaking retail events across the country have proven to be overwhelmingly successful which in turn benefited 'Twilight' fans as well as our retail partners. Home Entertainment President Steve Nickerson, the home entertainment group and the entire family at Summit are to be commended for the conceptualization and execution of this unique approach."

"We are incredibly appreciative that 'Twilight' fans came out to once again support this film at our midnight events across the nation," said Steve Nickerson, Summit's President of Home Entertainment. "With such a successful first day sales, it is apparent that our fans remain passionate about the 'Twilight Saga' and want to own a piece of the Edward and Bella story they have come to love. We look forward to the continued success for both the home entertainment and retail sales of this property as a whole."

Twilight, which was released in theaters on November 21, 2008, grossed $69.6 million domestically in its first weekend and to date had grossed nearly $380 million worldwide. The film tells the story of 17-year-old Bella Swan (Stewart) who moves to the small town of Forks, Washington to live with her father, and becomes drawn to Edward Cullen (Pattinson), a pale, mysterious classmate who seems determined to push her away. But neither can deny the attraction that pulls them together...even when Edward confides that he and his family are vampires. Their unorthodox romance puts her in physical danger when Edward's nemesis comes to town and sets his sights on Bella.






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Amanda's Back for Saw VI!


Amanda's Back for Saw VI!

March 20, 2009


Twisted Pictures producer Mark Burg dropped some big "Saw"-related news today: "Shawnee Smith [as Amanda] is in 'Saw VI.' There are several new characters. Also, this movie is a lot more violent than the previous five. Lastly, we have traps that pit victims against each other like the opening of 'Saw V.' Could be the best script yet!"

Kevin Greutert is at the helm of this entry which is said to begin lensing in Toronto on March 30th. Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton penned the script. Plot details have not been revealed at the time of this writing.

Saw VI is scheduled to hit theaters on October 23.





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Segal the Frontrunner to Direct Little Fockers


Segal the Frontrunner to Direct Little Fockers

Source: Variety
March 20, 2009


Variety reports that Pete Segal (The Longest Yard, 50 First Dates) has emerged as the frontrunner to direct Little Fockers, the third installment in the Universal Pictures/Tribeca Productions franchise.

Segal was expecting to return as the director of Get Smart 2 this year but became available when Steve Carell instead made a deal to team with Tina Fey in the Shawn Levy-directed comedy Date Night for Fox.

John Hamburg wrote the third installment. It is the first in the series (Meet the Parents, Meet the Fockers) not to be directed by Jay Roach.

Universal will get the film into production later this year.





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Transformers 3 Enters Summer 2011?


Transformers 3 Enters Summer 2011?

Source: Variety
March 17, 2009


Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks Pictures have set a July 1, 2011 release date for Transformers 3, but the studios have cautioned to Variety that the dating of the third installment isn't an official announcement that the project is going forward; rather that the studios wanted to plan a stake in the date.

Transformers opened July 2, 2007; Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen debuts on June 24, 2009.

So far, Transformers 3 has no direct competition in its July 1, 2011 date.

Paramount also has moved up the release of Marvel Studios' Thor from June 17, 2011 to May 20, 2011. This move sets the release for Thor just two weeks after Spider-Man 4 opens on May 6, 2011.

UPDATE: Michael Bay has posted a message on his forums which indicates that he meant for Paramount to schedule the third film for 2012, not 2011!

I said I was taking off a year from Transformers. Paramount made a mistake in dating Transformers 3 - they asked me on the phone - I said yes to July 4 - but for 2012 - whoops! Not 2011!!! That would mean I would have to start prep in September. No way. My brain needs a break from fighting robots. -- Michael

We'll have to wait and see how this turns out...





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J.J. Abrams Producing Heist Film

J.J. Abrams Producing Heist Film

Source: Variety
March 17, 2009


Paramount has bought film rights to an upcoming Wired magazine article about a band of Italian diamond thieves. Variety says J.J. Abrams is producing through his Bad Robot production company.

Joshua Davis, who has turned a number of his Wired articles into feature projects, wrote the story for the April issue of the magazine.

The article chronicles the crime thought to have been carried out by Leonardo Notarbartolo, who was arrested in February 2003 for heading a ring of Italian thieves. They were accused of breaking into a seemingly impenetrable vault beneath the Antwerp Diamond Center and making off with at least $100 million in loot that's never been found.

Based on circumstantial evidence, Notarbartolo was sentenced to 10 years; he was released from a Belgium prison this week.






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Fox Atomic Turns on Blacklight


Fox Atomic Turns on Blacklight

Source: Variety
March 17, 2009


Variety reports that Fox Atomic has signed a deal with independent video game developer Zombie Studios and production company Union Entertainment to develop Zombie's original action property "Blacklight" as a feature film, comic book series and video game.

The property is described as a covert military action story set 25 years in the future.

The film and game will be written by Jason Dean Hall, whose credits include the upcoming Ashton Kutcher starrer Spread.

"We are excited by the huge potential 'Blacklight' has to succeed across multiple platforms," said Fox Atomic president Debbie Liebling. "It offers us a remarkable franchise opportunity for film."





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Zac Efron Talks Jonny Quest Movie


Zac Efron Talks Jonny Quest Movie

Source: Moviehole
March 16, 2009


"High School Musical" franchise star Zac Efron talked to Moviehole about possibly starring in a live-action adaptation of "Jonny Quest" at Warner Bros. Pictures. Race to Witch Mountain director Andy Fick and star Dwayne Johnson are circling the project as well.

Efron would play the title role, while Johnson would play Race Bannon. The popular 1960s animated Hanna-Barbera TV series revolved around a young boy who travels the world with his scientist father, adopted brother from India, Bandit the bulldog, and a government agent (Bannon) assigned to protect them as they go on their adventures investigating scientific mysteries.

Efron says the project is in its early stages. "It's a long, long process. It's so hard when people start leaking tidbits. They're very, very early on [with it] – not that it won't happen happen, it's just early."

A few weeks ago, Johnson commented on the script. "I don't know if you've read the latest [draft] but it's awesome and it's badass... I hadn't read an action script like that in a LONG time. And that action was unbelievable. That will happen."

The show, which is owned by Warner Bros. Animation, aired during primetime on ABC in 1964, lasting only one season. It was updated in the late '80s and '90s as "The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest" on the Cartoon Network. The property has also been spun off as a comic book from DC.





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Sam Raimi Talks Spider-Man 4


Sam Raimi Talks Spider-Man 4

Source: Spider-Man Luvr28
March 16, 2009


Both MTV and IGN talked to director Sam Raimi on Sunday about Spider-Man 4, which just received a release date of May 6, 2011 last week.

Raimi says that he and the production team are "in the earliest stages of working with the writer, trying to work out a story." He added that they are just working on the fourth installment and not also a fifth film. Previous reports had claimed that Sony Pictures would be making the fourth and fifth movies at the same time, but that doesn't appear to be the case.

The helmer said that they are closing in on Spider-Man's adversary or adversaries for the fourth pic. "All the characters or villains or villains, whatever we decide to do will be from Stan Lee's creations or those that came after him," he said.

And will Kirsten Dunst return as Mary Jane Watson? If it was up to Raimi, definitely: "I’m hoping she'll be in it and I'm planning on having a story with her in it... It wouldn't be the Spider-Man series without her."





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Witch Mountain Races to #1 over Watchmen

Witch Mountain Races to #1 over Watchmen

Source: Box Office Mojo, Edward Douglas
March 16, 2009


The ComingSoon.net Box Office Report has been updated with studio estimates for the weekend. Click here for the full box office estimates of the top 12 films and then check back on Monday for the final figures based on actual box office.

After a weekend where all eyes were on the box office, Disney's Race to Witch Mountain, starring Dwayne Johnson, quickly took over the top spot with an estimated opening weekend of $25 million in more than 3,100 theaters. Averaging over $7,800 per site, it opened slightly bigger than Johnson's last Disney movie The Game Plan, which was also directed by "Witch Mountain" helmer Andy Fickman. That movie went on to make $90 million, although "Witch Mountain" has some heavy family competition in DreamWorks Animation's Monsters vs. Aliens, opening in just two short weeks.

Zack Snyder's adaptation of the graphic novel Watchmen (Warner Bros.) took a nasty plunge from its strong opening weekend, dropping 67% to second place with $18 million in its second weekend. It has grossed $86 million in North America in its first ten days, though it will be a push for it to get to $130 million before it's gone from theaters.

Another remake opened in third place as Wes Craven's revenge thriller The Last House on the Left (Rogue Pictures) found a new audience of horror fans, scaring up an estimated $14.7 million in 2,401 theaters, averaging over $6k per site.

20th Century Fox's hit thriller Taken, starring Liam Neeson, continues to be one of the studio's strongest movies of the year, adding another $6.7 million this weekend to bring its total to $127 million. It is commemorating its seventh week in the Top 5 since opening in early February.

Tyler Perry's Madea Goes to Jail (Lionsgate) dropped three spots to fifth with $5.1 million and a four-week total of $83.2 million, the highest amount grossed by one of Perry's movies to date.

Danny Boyle's Oscar winner Slumdog Millionaire continues to be profitable for Fox Searchlight with a running total of $133 million with the addition of $5 million this weekend in sixth place.

Columbia Pictures' Paul Blart: Mall Cop, starring Kevin James, brought in another $3 million as it dropped to eighth place. It has grossed over $137 million since opening in January.

Henry Selick's stop-motion animated Coraline (Focus Features) received a nice bump from returning to Digital 3D theaters, dropping just 18% from last weekend, and remaining in the top 10 with $2.6 million and a total gross of $69 million.

Opening in tenth place, Fox Searchlight's Miss March, starring IFC's "The Whitest Kids U'Know," barely made a mark with just $2.3 million in 1,742 theaters, averaging just $1,349 per location.

The Top 10 grossed roughly $85 million which was down 16% from the same weekend last year when Fox's Horton Hears a Who! topped the box office with $45 million. Roughly half of the movies in the Top 10 have been in there for four weeks or more, which says a lot about the movies released in the last month.

Click here for the full box office results of the top 12 films.






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