How fitting that Sandra Bullock turns 50-years-old with 50 acting credits under her belt. While the Academy Award-winner celebrates her birthday on Saturday, take a look back at her evolution from Speed to Gravity.
Three of the names behind the Oscar-nominated film The Fighter have reportedly signed on to produce a movie about Jeff Bauman
A gutsy survivor of the Boston Marathon bombings is to receive the silver-screen treatment with a film in the works about his remarkable story.
Jeff Bauman lost both his legs to the twin explosions while he was waiting for his girlfriend to complete the race. He penned a book, Stronger, about what occurred that fateful day and his long road to recovery.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Lionsgate won the deal to develop the picture and brought in Mandeville Films to produce. The project will be an adaptation of Bauman’s book, which he wrote alongside best-selling co-author Bret Whitter.
Three big names who worked on the Oscar-nominated feature The Fighter — Todd Lieberman, David Hoberman and Scott Silver — are producing the film, and actor John Pollono will take on writing the adaptation in his first feature-length project.
Three people were killed and more than 260 were injured when two pressure-cooker bombs exploded just seconds apart from each other as scores of runners were crossing the finishing line in Boston on April 15, 2013.
A manhunt ensued for suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and he was apprehended four days later. His brother and fellow suspect Tamerlan was killed in a shootout with police.
Only one woman has been hired to direct two feature films in the past five years
It’s not shocking to learn that being a female director in Hollywood is hard, but this infographic shows just how tough life behind the camera can be. And as TIME’s Eliana Dockterman has previously reported, that might be Hollywood’s loss.
Stephen Sondheim recently told a group of educators Disney had some objections to the musical's more risque scenes and relationships
Stephen Sondheim made waves in the theater world when he revealed in a recent profile that the film adaptation of one of his crowning achievements, Into the Woods, has cut out some significant pieces of the plot.
When the New Yorker trailed the composer and playwright to an event at Sardi’s in New York City, he unveiled less-than-ideal details about Disney’s upcoming version of the darkly comic musical about what befalls fairy-tale characters after the “happily ever after” ending, which features an all-star cast including Johnny Depp, Meryl Streep and Anna Kendrick.
In the sit-down talk with a group of high school drama teachers, Sondheim told the educators — who expressed concerns about having students perform some of the more racy scenes, including the Big Bad Wolf singing “Hello, Little Girl” to Little Red Riding Hood (lyrics include, “Think of that scrumptious carnality”) — that Disney “had the same objections.”
Warning: Spoilers on an almost 30-year-old play, below.
The Disney film team has evidently chopped down a few knobby branches of Woods. In the version due out Dec. 25 on big screens, Rapunzel doesn’t get killed and the fleeting affair between Cinderella’s Prince Charming and the Baker’s Wife is also out. And we can all forget about the aforementioned “Hello, Little Girl,” which is also being nixed — particularly the Wolf’s predatory libido.
Though the Internet was outraged in the wake of this disclosure, in his conversation with the educators, according to Entertainment Weekly, Sondheim was a bit more accepting of Disney’s heavy-handedness with his material.
“Censorship is part of our puritanical ethics, and it’s something that [students are] going to have to deal with,” said Sondheim. “There has to be a point at which you don’t compromise anymore, but that may mean that you won’t get anyone to sell your painting or perform your musical.”
Fans of the Disney blockbuster are traveling in droves to visit the country that inspired the film's beautiful landscapes
Harald Hansen, spokesperson for Visit Norway, told the AP that U.S. tourism to the country that inspired the film’s settings have increased substantially. Hotel bookings in the first quarter of the year were up 37% from 2013, and tour operators have experienced a 40% sales increase.
“The film seems to be a big part of the popularity,” Wilderness Travel spokesperson Barbara Banks told AP. “People just hadn’t seen these remarkable landscapes before.”
The fjord regions, which tend to display the Northern Lights, are particularly popular.
Disney is advertising its Norwegian cruises online with the promos of “an exciting opportunity to experience the part of the world that inspired the Disney animated film Frozen.“
Naomi Watts will star as Evelyn, the leader of the Factionless, in the upcoming installments of the film franchise
Naomi Watts is now a member of the Divergent cast, joining Shailene Woodley and Theo James in the remaining films of the young adult franchise.
Watts, who will play the mother of James’ character “Four,” will appear in Insurgent and the final installment, Allegiant, which will be released in two parts. Watts will play the leader of the Factionless, “Evelyn,” in the upcoming movies.
The Hollywood Reporter says Insurgent, which also stars Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer and Kate Winslet, has already kicked-off production in Atlanta.
The Divergent films, adapted from Veronica Roth’s young adult series of the same title, just can’t stop bringing on well-known actors — not unlike The Hunger Games before it. The final installments of the Hunger Games franchise, which stars Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence, will include some footage of late actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, who was featured prominently in the second Hunger Games film.
So says Federated Investors' Lawrence Creatura. The studio's next challenge: parlaying its hits into franchises for years to come.
The Pro: Lawrence Creatura, co-manager of the Federated Clover Small Value fund
The Fund: Federated Clover Small Value invests in shares of undervalued small- and medium-sized U.S. companies. Under Creatura, the fund has beaten more than 70% over the past 15 years.
The Pick: Lions Gate
The Case: Lions Gate has gone from a bit player in Hollywood — a decade ago it was mostly known for small, independent films such as Dogville and Monster’s Ball — to the king of the young-adult heroine blockbuster.
The film and TV production company purchased Summit Entertainment, which included the Twilight franchise and library rights, in 2012. Throw in The Hunger Games and Divergent, its newest franchise, and you have potentially more than 10 films and dozens of branding opportunities going forward.
In television, Lions Gate also has big hits on its hands such as Netflix’s Orange is the New Black and AMC’s Mad Men. Such shows have helped the production company increase revenue by 66% since 2011.
There is a downside, though, to hitting the big time: Investors constantly want to see big results. And when the company announced late last week that revenues had fallen in the recently ended quarter and fiscal year, the stock lost more than 10% of its value in a day.
Nevermind the fact that in its most recent fiscal year, Lions Gate had only 13 wide release films compared to 19 in the prior year — and that the most recent quarter only included about 10 days worth of Divergent’s box-office.
Federated’s Creatura says investors misunderstand the nature of Lions Gate’s business. “They think it’s a hit-driven volatile business,” he says, “when it has a portfolio of evergreen property which will produce dependable cash flows for years and years and years to come.”
These are franchises such as Twilight, The Hunger Games, and Divergent, which just started filming its sequel.
The Hits Go On
Lions Gate’s dive into young adult franchise films gives the company a seemingly endless number of movies to produce. “The first Hunger Games starts with the 74th annual Hunger Games — what happened to the first 73?” asks Creatura.
And if Lions Gate decides to make 73 prequels, there’s reason to think they’ll be profitable. The most recent Hunger Games, for instance, took home more than $860 million in theaters, per BoxOfficeMojo.com, and cost $130 million. Divergent made more than $266 million and cost just $85 million.
Not only are Lions Gate films profitable, they generate a ton of so-called free cash flow, which is the amount of money left after paying all the bills and making all necessary investments in the business. (See the chart below.)
Lions Gate is a play on fast growth. But that doesn’t mean the stock is necessarily expensive, says Creatura. Lions Gate’s price/earnings ratio based on estimated profits, for instance, is 20.3. That’s not considered cheap, but compare that to the 33.3 P/E for Dreamworks Animation. Plus the company’s earnings are expected to grow 17% annually for the next five years.
“The stock is not expensive if you consider the likelihood and longevity of future cash flow,” says Creatura. “These properties are evergreen – they can be reused and reformed again and again.”
Box office risks
While Lions Gate may have valuable franchises in the canon, there is a limit to what one brand can get you. Is Lions Gate more than The Hunger Games?
Divergent did perform well, but took in about a third of the box office of the first The Hunger Games film. Ender’s Game, another book based on a young adult novel (although this one featuring a male lead), failed to develop an audience and only made $125 million worldwide –limiting it’s potential for a viable franchise.
“Ender’s Game wasn’t the blockbuster that some believe it could have been and that hurt the perception of the stock,” says Creatura.
Brooding cop Rick Deckard will again be played by screen icon Harrison Ford, if Alcon Entertainment honchos have their way, as a major offer is pending for the 71-year-old to reprise his role in the Ridley Scott sequel
Harrison Ford has been offered the chance to reprise his iconic role as Rick Deckard in the upcoming sequel to Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner.
“We believe that Hampton Fancher and Michael Green have crafted with Ridley Scott an extraordinary sequel to one of the greatest films of all time,” said Alcon Entertainment bigwigs Andrew Kosove and Broderick Johnson, according to Variety. “We would be honored, and we are hopeful, that Harrison will be part of our project.”
The storyline of the sequel is a closely guarded secret, but will certainly be set several decades after the Academy Award-nominated original, which took place in a dystopian 2019 Los Angeles.
Ford has already agreed to return as Han Solo in Disney’s Star Wars Episode VII, and Sci-Fi fans are desperately hoping the same will be true for Blade Runner, which is based on the Philip K. Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
The actress, who won an Oscar for her role in The Help, will have a starring role in the upcoming sci-fi flick
Actress Octavia Spencer is joining the cast of the Divergent franchise for the upcoming film Insurgent.
The Academy Award winner will play Johanna, the leader of a peace-loving faction within the novel-turned-film franchise’s dystopian future, Variety reports. The film is slated for release in March 2015, with the third installment “Allegiant” following in two parts, in the vein of other popular teen film franchises including Twilight and The Hunger Games.
Robert Schwentke, who also directed the Time Traveler’s Wife and 2010’s RED, will direct the film. The Divergent franchise is based on the best-selling novels by Veronica Roth, which center on a teenage heroine of the future battling a government that divides young adults into factions based on virtue.
The actor said aspects of the new movie, about a man whose body dies but whose consciousness lives on in a computer, could be fact and not science fiction a lot sooner than we think. “[Transcendence] is a foretelling of what’s to come,” he says.
The star of the new film Transcendence, about a man whose body dies but whose consciousness lives on in a computer, thinks we’re close to having that kind of technology become more than a movie plot.
“When you look at it’s kind of a sci-fi thing,” Johnny Depp said in an interview with MTV News. “But when you dig a little bit deeper the technology that we use in the film… is very close to becoming a reality and will be a reality in the next 30 years.
“[Transcendence] is a foretelling of what’s to come,” Depp added.
Well, let’s think. Watch-phones have become a reality. Robo-cops are on the horizon. Maybe Depp is right and humans as computers are next up. But if Terminator taught us anything, we should be worried.