Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Worth a mention - 07/22/14

Are CG Characters Now the Main Attraction in Blockbusters?

(theglobeandmail.com)             Mark wonders whether we're now at the point where CG characters matter more than human ones to Hollywood...

This article contains spoilers for Godzilla and Transformers: Age Of Extinction. Also, there are some mild spoilers for Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes, but nothing you haven’t seen in the trailers.

In the last decade or so, computer generated characters have taken a quantum leap forward in blockbuster cinema. You can probably mark the transition around the time that Yoda went from being a Jim Henson creation to a digitally rendered sprite in Star Wars: Episode II, but bigger technological leaps have followed, particularly in performance capture.

Andy Serkis has been a big ambassador for this, earning a reputation as a Boris Karloff figure for the digital age in the process and a loyal core of fans who still insist that he deserved an Oscar for his turn as Gollum in The Lord Of The Rings. New fans are now saying much the same about Caesar the ape.

While it’s unfair to neglect the work of the animators and software designers who facilitate Serkis’ digital transformations, he’s undoubtedly the public face of the movement, as well as a respected authority on performance capture in the industry. For instance, he’s nabbed a role in Avengers: Age Of Ultron after initially being recruited to consult on the film’s performance capture work.

But this summer, he’s been involved to a certain extent in two of the biggest CG character pieces- Godzilla and Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes. Aside from Serkis’ involvement and generally being sort of excellent, these films have one big thing in common. They’re both films in which the computer generated characters are arguably better characterised than the live action human characters.

When we ask whether or not this means that computer generated characters have surpassed their human counterparts, we’re not suggesting that live-action actors will become obsolete. It would be needlessly complicated, even if performance capture had yet given us a photo-real human in the same way as it has given us photo-real aliens or animals.

Films that have attempted this in the last decade, such as TRON: Legacy, with its digitally de-aged Jeff Bridges, and the uncanny valley epitomised in Robert Zemeckis’ Beowulf and A Christmas Carol, attest to the difficulty of realising human characters in animation. But that’s why we have human actors.

What’s interesting is the way in which filmmakers are chomping at the bit to tell stories through non-human characters that would not previously have been possible to realise in a live-action film, sometimes at the expense of the actors with whom they share the screen.

Few people came out of watching Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla claiming that the big lug overshadowed the human characters - in fact, it was quite the opposite. Many viewers have said that either the title character or Bryan Cranston’s Joe Brody should have stuck around longer. There’s a better argument for one than the other (the movie’s not called Cranston) but in either of those cases, it feels like it’s because there was something lacking in the characters that got more screen-time.

Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s Ford traipses from disaster area to disaster area on a mission to get back to his family, constantly telling his wife (poor Elizabeth Olsen) to wait for him back home rather than move to safety and meet him elsewhere. Elsewhere, Ken Watanabe gets some awesome lines about the ancient, primal purpose of Godzilla, even though we have no way of knowing how his character knows any of this.
But the film still garners a ton of goodwill as an off-kilter, somewhat misanthropic blockbuster of the kind that we seldom see. The futility of the humans’ actions throughout the film is in service of a larger point of mankind’s arrogance in trying to control nature. Edwards’ triumphant conclusion to the movie, from the human point of view, is the utterly ineffectual detonation of a nuclear bomb near a populated area, after the threat has already been neutralised by Godzilla.

It’s an interesting and frankly ballsy way to lead off a new franchise, but it’s not one that would work as well if Edwards wasn’t able to so deftly characterise the 30-storey-tall beastie of the title. He may not be on screen much, but whenever he does rock up in the movie, his motivation is apparent, (though admittedly with an expository assist from Watanabe.)

On a similar level to the thematic anti-human aspect of Godzilla, the gulf between humans and apes is a crucial part of Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes. However, it’s another film where the human characters suffer by comparison, not least because the script sets most of them up as binary opposites to the apes.

The movie is pretty much excellent, but the humans are far more vaguely coloured in than their better rendered primate counterparts, both visually and emotionally. Jason Clarke’s Malcolm may only have just shown up in the franchise, but the only reason we have to root for him is that he finds common ground with Caesar, who we already know and like.

Gary Oldman’s Dreyfus gets a little more to chew on, but he’s sidelined by Toby Kebbell’s towering performance as the treacherous ape Koba. Both of these characters are introduced for the first time in the same film, but aside from one stirring scene in the middle, Dreyfus’ arc mostly takes place off-screen, to the point where his actions in the final act of the film almost seem jarring. By contrast, Koba makes his mark as one of the most effective franchise antagonists in recent memory.

In all fairness, if there’s one blockbuster franchise that has consistently zigged away from the zag of putting computer generated characters before the live ones, it’s Transformers. Whether it’s Shia LaBeouf or Mark Wahlberg stealing the limelight, few could argue that the Autobots and Decepticons are the main characters in those movies.

Even Age Of Extinction, a soft reboot which introduces two new factions of Transformers and establishes a creation mythology for the CG characters, still juggles as many conflicting human characters as the original trilogy, (i.e. umpteen-squillion of them) and saves the CG characters for the fight-y bits.

After the film cliffhangered with Optimus Prime blasting off into space to confront his creators (the film’s bookends are uncomfortably reminiscent of Prometheus) it’s tough to imagine how Transformers 5 will manage to be set on Earth and based around a whole bunch of perma-tanned ingénues and alumni of the Coen brothers’ movies. But four films in, it behoves us not to underestimate Michael Bay’s adherence to formula.

Outside of this summer’s new films, it will be interesting to see how performance capture continues to dominate in blockbuster cinema. There’s another Apes movie on the horizon in 2016, just ahead of the first of three Avatar sequels. Given where the previous instalments of those series left us, all of those movies seem likely to roll back the human element even further than before.

In the nearer future, Jon Favreau’s live-action remount of Disney’s The Jungle Book hits cinemas next autumn. The most recent announcement was that Neel Sethi’s Mowgli will be the sole human character in the whole movie. Other than him, we’ll only see computer-generated animals, voiced by the likes of Idris Elba, Ben Kingsley, Lupita N’yongo and Scarlett Johansson.

Not to be outdone, Andy Serkis has his own performance capture-centric version of The Jungle Book in the works at his studio, The Imaginarium, as well as a previously announced film adaptation of George Orwell’s Animal Farm.

Performance capture has opened up whole new avenues of character and representation in cinema and it all points to exciting new showcases for the technology in blockbuster cinema. We couldn’t blame anyone for being anxious about human characters falling by the wayside, even in movies with a big live-action presence, but mostly these characters have only given filmmakers more tools with which to tell new stories, in franchises that could otherwise have used a little more awe and wonder.





Iron Man's Robert Downey jnr Highest-Earning Actor: Forbes

(smh.com.au)           Iron Man star Robert Downey Jr. tops Forbes highest paid actors list.

Robert Downey jnr, the star of Disney's Marvel superhero film franchises Iron Man and The Avengers, is Hollywood's highest paid actor for the second consecutive year, with estimated earnings of $US75 million ($80 million), according to Forbes.com.

The 49-year-old star made most of his money from June 2013 to June 2014 from Iron Man 3, which made $US1.2 billion at the box office and assured him the top spot again in the annual ranking.

"As Iron Man, he's the driving force behind four of Marvel's biggest hits, including The Avengers," Forbes.com said.





Guillermo Del Toro Talks ‘Crimson Peak’ Special Effects Approach


(sciencefiction.com)            On the look of the film, for the special effects side of things they went an interesting route and used traditional camera tricks and actors as ghosts as he didn’t want to use CGI. Also. he wanted the final product to look like a Mario Bava Technicolor movie so we’re going to be getting an older feel to what we see on screen. To help achieve this look, the house and everything in it was built specifically for the film.

Speaking of the look, del Toro wanted a gigantic chandelier to be used in the film. The studio told him it was going to cost too much but agreed when he offered to pay for half of it himself. I wonder if he got to keep the prop? Still, the majority of the effects for the film were practical over CGI. It is rather impressive to note that with practical effects they only had 68 days to film the movie while ‘Pacific Rim’ had 100 and ‘Hellboy’ had 135.

Full article:       http://sciencefiction.com/2014/07/21/wanting-know-del-toros-crimson-peak-latest-interview-shares-ton-new-details/




Suitors Being Rounded Up To Buy China’s Galloping Horse

(variety.com)           Beijing Galloping Horse, a high-flying private sector Chinese film company, is entertaining a number of takeover bids.

Suitors are believed to include China Media Capital, a state-backed Chinese private equity fund, and Shanghai Media Group, among others.

Galloping Horse became known internationally for its 2012 takeover of troubled VFX house Digital Domain in a joint bid with India’s Reliance MediaWorks. Galloping Horse is currently in post-production on John Woo’s $50 million two-part epic “The Crossing” (pictured).

Word of a takeover of Galloping Horse emerged initially on social media and was carried by local and financial media, but they reported that the company had been sold to SMG.

“Those reports are simply wrong,” a source close to the negotiations told Variety. “There are a number of companies currently doing due diligence. We are maybe two weeks away from knowing which one to go with.”

Officially the company is saying nothing. And a spokesman for CMC said it was company policy not to comment on market rumors.

Galloping Horse, which emerged originally from the advertising industry, was one of the fast-moving, second tier Chinese film producers and distributors. And until late last year it had planned for either an IPO or a backdoor listing of its stock through a takeover of an existing company. It is a significant producer of TV series and had been backer of films including Zhang Yibai’s “Eternal Moment” and Ning Hao’s controversial hit “No Man’s Land.”

But crisis struck the company when founder, chairman and CEO Li Ming died suddenly on Jan. 2, reportedly in police custody.

Later in January, Li Jingyan, Li’s widow was appointed chairman and CEO. But there have been repeated hints of infighting between Li Jingyan and Li Ming’s two sisters, who are significant shareholders in the company. The sale to a third party is a likely solution to the internal management problems. Chinese media reports say that Li Jingyan will continue as chair of the company, but leadership seems unlikely to be settled until the buyer is decided.

Even while Li Ming was alive the company reportedly received takeover approaches from both Huayi Brothers Media and Zhejiang Huace. The principal attraction of Galloping Horse is likely to be the company’s TV series library and its production operations.

Galloping horse sold off its stake in Digital Domain in 2013. That 70% holding is now controlled by Hong Kong-listed Digital Domain Holdings Ltd.





For Cars, CGI Is For Real

(mediapost.com)              One cannot imagine an automobile ad without beauty shots, action shots, or driving shots of cars cruising down the Pacific Coast Highway, or the desert, or urban streets at night with satisfied men and women behind the wheel. And if the cars are moving through surreal landscapes, or doing impossible feats, or moving through a shifting, transmogrifying terra un-firma, all the better, even if you know it’s all by virtue of CGI.

In movies CGI has pretty much replaced good writing and an actual storyline, but in advertising CGI often is the story. You only have 30 seconds to grab a consumer's attention, or what attention span people actually have these days.

But CGI is becoming reality in other, ways, too. Realistic depictions of the vehicles in realistic settings are often not the photographs you think they are. This happening for a few reasons. First, the quality of the CGI is at a point where you can't really notice the difference anymore between real and surreal. Or unreal. Second, CGI no longer requires computer geeks in some back office, probably converted from the server room, or a coat closet. It can be done by the creatives themselves because you can do high-end CGI now with a Photoshop-type interface. Third, it takes way less time than a traditional ad shoot, and costs less.

As Mercedes-Benz internal lead internal art director Armando Diaz told me, a physical ad production means a big set truck with equipment, cars, and drivers, “And you have risk of needing the right weather, and it gets even more expensive.” On CGI, you can have every conceivable setting in a database from different angles. So, as mentioned, it’s relatively inexpensive.

Diaz and Roberto Hegeler, CEO of CGI stock photography house Maground, which does both virtual and real settings and something called CGI HDR (high dynamic range) domes — one of the terms that zoomed over my head like so many CGI star fighters — sold me on CGI, though I think can still tell when a car is real and when it’s margarine. An apologia, though: I am sure in a day or two some of you will have populated the comment section below with reposts around “ain't nothin' like the real thing, baby.”

But, as Diaz pointed out, sometimes that “real thing” just isn't handy, especially if the campaign you need it for is for a vehicle that isn’t even here yet, officially. "Sometimes they just aren't available. And using beauty images composed of CGI makes for a better process. And we are able to create specific locations. Having access to thousands of images we create the locations and create mood for that."

Diaz says the benefit of the easy interface is that you now have creatives working on it who understand it. “Not some computer guy deeply into a program that needs two days to make changes." He says that having access to thousands of images on a relatively fluid user-friendly platform makes anything possible, and allows meshing of real and virtual, which is meat and potatoes work for companies like Maground, of which Mercedes-Benz is a client.

"A friend of mine does shooting for BMW, and afterward both (CGI images and photos) go to same pipeline," says Diaz. Which means you can alter the real car, change its environment and futz with reflections, shadows, even how much mud is on the wheel faring (critical for off-road pitches) and, of course the background.

Maground’s Hegeler said that like most stock photo companies, his has a huge archive of real photographic setting images garnered from a global network of photographers. "What we like to do is enhance detail, things like color, shadows. We get as close as possible to real.” Maground is working with a lot of automakers and brands from  other categories. And the demand is what drove them to set up a shop in the U.S. Now can we get a shot of that E-Class sedan orbiting Klaatu while battling the insect-like Blortz, please?




How Will the CGI Generation Find Magic in the Movies?

(theglobeandmail.com)           Until recently, I had a sure-fire way of sparking classroom discussion on the history of special effects. In my teaching capacity, I'd ask college students to remember their seminal magic moments: the movie tricks that really blew them away.

I've had a bunch. There was the giant squid in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, which blew my six year-old mind. There was Jerry Lewis's Jekyll-and-Hyde transformation in The Nutty Professor, which scared me sleepless. The towering inferno of Maleficent in Sleeping Beauty. The flying monkeys on black-and-white TV broadcasts of The Wizard of Oz. Then, momentously, the first glimpse of armed gorillas on horseback in the original Planet of the Apes, which prompted the same reaction from me as it did from Don Draper's son in Mad Men: “Gee-zuz.”

These were the moments that branded my brain and sealed my destiny as a lifelong movie nerd. And for the longest time, students seemed to have their own: Some would cite the silent vastness of space in 2001, others the hovering immensity of the mothership in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. And more of them than I could ever count name-checked Star Wars, a movie that did for their generation what King Kong had done for my dad's during the Depression.

But recently, the question yielded zip. A cough or two, some shuffling in seats.

“Really?” I said. “Nothing?”

A hand rose and a student replied: “It's kind of hard to say when you've been raised on that stuff. I guess it doesn't have the same impact.”

But of course, how could it? I was staring at my very first class of wall-to-wall post CGI students, who'd grown up fully immersed in digital imagery. James Cameron's T2 was already on late-night TV when they were born, about the time of Jurassic Park's release, so they were too young to see The Matrix when it first opened. For them, the term “special effect” was quaint holdover of another era. Mine.

So a pop-cultural Rubicon is crossed. Special effects, key components of what historically made movies magical, have lost most of their magic because they have become so realistic and commonplace. A scan of the current movie menu suggests there'd be hardly any movies at all without CGI. You can choose from skyline-flattening monsters (Godzilla), multiple superheroes (X-Men: Days of Future Past), rampaging alien robots (Transformers: Age of Extinction), rampaging alien bug-thingies (Edge of Tomorrow) and yes, even armed gorillas on horseback (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes). And you might wonder: Is it still worth the money and parking hassle, and is there any chance you'll experience the giddy sensations you love about the movies?

There might be good news. When movies have reached the point where nothing imaginable is beyond computerized visualization, other forms of creativity may be poised for a renaissance. Indeed, that might already have happened. Consider the most frequent complaint about the recent Godzilla – that the monsters were more fully developed than the human characters. Others compared the sheer narrative complexity of X-Men, a comic-book movie, to the intricacy of a Philip K. Dick story. And note the praise for the current Planet of the Apes movie: It's actually about something, a slice of state-of-the-art pulp that resonates in the contemporary moment.

The 12-year-old in me might have wept at the prospect of mainstream movies trafficking so heavily in superheroes, sea monsters and angry monkeys, but that boy has had his fill. And I doubt he's alone, even among less grizzled viewers.

In fact, it's possible that this surfeit of sensory overstimulation has contributed to the recent surge in TV excellence. Movies once provided all the drama, intelligence and adult entertainment that TV lacked; now that situation has almost completely flipped. Not only do Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire, True Detective and Game of Thrones provide characters and storytelling depth that Hollywood movies seem to have lost, but they've become the best place to watch that most old-school of theatrical movie attractions: acting.

Case in point: On Breaking Bad, Bryan Cranston delivered one of the most accomplished performances in the history of TV; in Godzilla, he had less screen time than it took to run the closing credits. And can anyone remember another year when the Academy Award for Best Actor was handed to someone (Matthew McConaughey) who was turning in an Oscar-calibre performance on TV (True Detective) the very same night? The best back-to-basics commercial moviemaking – story plus camera plus editing – hasn't disappeared, it's just fled the megaplex.

So while a part of me mourns for the passing of the old, low-tech movie magic, and pines nostalgically for the primal sensation of seeing those giant squids, mounted apes and flaming witches for the first time, there's another part that says bring on the boredom. It could restore the magic, without the tricks.






ORIGIN DIGITAL STUDIOS OPENS IN BURBANK AS NEW COLLECTIVE OF VETERAN VISUAL EFFECTS ARTISTS, PRODUCERS AND SUPERVISORS

(creativehandbook.com)                Origin Digital Studios has been launched in Burbank as a new collective of veteran visual effects artists, producers and supervisors. The company has been designed to service the needs of high-profile television programs, commercials, feature films, and special venue presentations. Miami-based Lincoln Road Advisors, headed by Eric J. Bertrand, is the primary investment company behind Origin. The announcement was made today by company president Mark Miller.

In addition to its Burbank headquarters, Origin Digital Studios also has studios in New York, NY, and Albuquerque, NM. The company expects to open additional studios in Atlanta, Georgia, during the coming year.

Said Miller, "Having enjoyed long-standing partnerships with studios, VFX Supervisors, and post production producers for many years, I, along with our newly assembled collective of veteran artists, producers and supervisors, have developed a unique culture. We have long been trained to help our clients efficiently manage visual storytelling, from concept to completion. Our experienced and award winning staff is available for a diverse range of new productions. Our Burbank studio is located in one of Fotokem's production centers, which instantly allows us the ability to connect to their high speed networks which cross the country. With their nextLAB and Global Data technology, our clients can get plates to us simply and quickly, no matter where they are based. Our studio in New York is fiber connected to Fotokem's network, to ease the transport of information to our Burbank location. The same will hold true for each of our future studio locations. These unique services allow us to do what most other mid-level VFX companies simply cannot."

Adds Bertrand, "What makes Origin Digital Studios unique in a sea of mid-sized VFX companies in 2014? One reason is the fact that they have a strategic relationship with Fotokem - one of the last remaining, and highly respected independent, full-service post production companies in Los Angeles. Through this relationship, Origin has the advantage of not only providing top tier VFX work, but they can also offer all of the support services their clients need - from on-set dailies to final color. When a deal can be packaged that includes all needed services, the project can run much smoother, thus saving time and money for their clients."

"Origin is an independent company, and their clients can pick only the services they need or want. The company is able to collectively collaborate on a workflow strategy that will result in significant savings to a diverse range of clients," Bertrand said.

Jason Zimmerman, VFX Supervisor on the hit FOX TV series "Sleepy Hollow," says, "VFX Supervisors want a company that has the top artistic talent supported by a bulletproof, fast and efficient pipeline. They want a VFX company that works with them and the production to create the best possible product. Collaboration is key and Origin Digital Studios is now the place. Working with Origin allows me the freedom to interact directly with my team and to collaborate directly with numerous digital artists I've worked with for many years. This type of talent is hard to find all in one place, but I'm fortunate enough to now be working through Origin on 'Sleepy Hollow' with many top artists."

ABOUT MARK MILLER:
Prior to forming Origin, Mark Miller was GM for three years with Pixomondo. There, he was involved with visual effects production on a number of hit TV series, including: "DaVinci's Demons," "Terra Nova," "The Mindy Project," "Sleepy Hollow," "Devious Maids," "Community," "Game of Thrones," "Hawaii Five-O," and "Grimm." During his tenure with Pixomondo, he also produced VFX for such feature films as "Spring Breakers" and "A Good Day to Die Hard."

Earlier, for nearly a decade, Miller was Co-Founder and President of Hollywood-based Eden FX, overseeing VFX production for numerous high-profile TV shows and feature films. These included: "Star Trek: The Next Generation," "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine," "Star Trek: Voyager" and "Star Trek: Enterprise," as well as such other projects as "LOST," "Hellboy," "Across The Universe," "Nim's Island," "Superman," and "The Road."

Miller has an extensive career in the post production industry. He was
Executive Vice President and Managing Director of Digital Magic (1997- 2000,) President of Unitel Video/Hollywood (1993 - 97,) VP of Engineering and Operations for Unitel Video/Hollywood (1985 - 93,) Technical Supervisor
for Compact Video (1979 - 1982,) and Technical Director for CBS Television (1971 -1979.)

Miller is a founding member of the Visual Effects Society, and a member of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He is also a past member of SMPTE, and was Emmy Award nominated for his work on the CBS series "On The Air" for Technical Direction and Camera Work. He was also Emmy Award nominated for Best Visual Effects for his work on the two "Star Trek: Enterprise" episodes: "Broken Bow" and "Countdown."





Fantastic Four Script Is Still “Evolving”

(wegotthiscovered.com)           While Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers: Age of Ultron and Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice have all been making headlines almost daily with rumors and scoops of all sorts, another superhero tentpole has been stealthily flying under the radar – Josh Trank’s The Fantastic Four. We had only gotten a few scraps of information about the Fox flick over the past few months, such as that it’s going to be “more grounded” and a coming-of-age story. Then, earlier this week, star Kate Mara stirred the pot in a big way by telling Esquire Mexico that the movie isn’t based on any of the comics.

As you can imagine, her comments got fans in a bit of a tizzy and will surely come up when The Fantastic Four goes to San Diego for Comic-Con this year. But before the film hits that massive event, we’ve got a little information about what working on the project has been like, courtesy of star Michael B. Jordan. Speaking with MTV, the actor commented on the lengths Fox has gone to in order to keep The Fantastic Four under wraps for the time being:

“Yeah, we have been pretty much in our own world, that’s really the only way we could get a project like this done. It is so massive, so many moving parts, so many moving pieces, things are changing every day.

“The script is evolving, [you make] on set decisions on the fly, things are always constantly changing. Me personally, I block out that extra noise and I focus on the job I have to do. It is an important film for all of us… We’re taking it seriously, taking a lot of risks. I think it’s going to pay off.”

Of course, Jordan saying that the script is “evolving” set off some alarm bells with the interviewer, who asked him to clarify. Jordan set the record straight, saying:

“As much as everybody thinks that these projects are cemented in years before, they’re not. There’s so many things that you just can’t account for. You know, you can try and plan as much as you want, but you get there on game day and you get thrown a curve ball, I guess, hey, the game plan goes out the window. You’ve got to adapt.”

When you add in Mara’s comments that the film isn’t based on any pre-existing storylines, it does make sense that Trank is still toying around with the script, making sure that what worked on the page still holds up on the screen. But especially for a movie as big as The Fantastic Four, it’s got to be nerve-wracking for fans to hear that the team handling this adaptation doesn’t have it all figured out even as production continues.





Women in Animation to Launch Mentorship Program

(bostonherald.com)            Women in Animation is drawing up more plans to bring females into the industry. The professional organization focused on more inclusion for women within the entertainment industry announced Monday the creation of a mentoring program.

The six-month program will connect experienced animation talent with newcomers in the art, science and business of animation. For its inaugural year, WIA's program will be open to current members throughout the Los Angeles area.

"We are excited to launch the mentoring program and look forward to helping each participant develop the professional skills and knowledge she needs to succeed in the animation industry," WIA co-president Kristy Scanlan said in a statement.

The program launches in October and will last until March . Based on the outcomes of the pilot program, the org looks to expand it to its seven other chapters worldwide.






Tarzan Movie-makers Head to Town for Blockbuster VFX Film Shoot

(lactonandfrintongazette.co.uk
)            HOLLYWOOD movie-makers descended on Brightlingsea to shoot a new Tarzan blockbuster – but the stars were nowhere to be seen.

Warner Brothers film crews were at the Shipyard Estate to shoot water scenes in Brightlingsea Creek.

Tarzan, which is not due for release until 2016, stars Hollywood A-lister Samuel L Jackson and Wolf of Wall Street actress Margot Robbie.

Onlookers said there was no sign of the film’s high-profile stars during last week’s brief visit.

Morgan Marine’s yard was used as a base by producers.

Company director Steve Morgan said: “They went out on boats to do the filming, so we never saw any actors.”

The Brightlingsea water scenes will be transformed, using special effects, to create an African jungle setting for the Tarzan story.

The 3D blockbuster is being directed by David Yates, who made four of the Harry Potter films.

The title role is expected to be played by Alexander Skarsgård, of TV vampire show True Blood fame.





Blockbuster movie 'Brilliance' Delayed for Pittsburgh Shooting

(triblive.com)               Backers of a big-budget movie determined to press on and film in Pittsburgh this summer, despite the last-minute loss of actor Will Smith, have decided to postpone plans after failing to find a suitable replacement for the lead role.

“We plan to shoot again next year,” said Paul Phlug, a spokesman for Legendary Pictures, which had opened offices, hired some crew and made other arrangements for the science-fiction thriller “Brilliance” before pulling its application with the state film office June 26. The film office in May awarded the project $19.5 million in tax credits over several years.

Steelers minority owner Thomas Tull is chairman and CEO of Legendary Pictures. He was instrumental in having part of “The Dark Knight Rises” filmed in Pittsburgh in 2011. Tull is committed to bringing “Brilliance” and its more than $100-million budget to the Steel City, Phlug said.

“Pittsburgh is his second home,” Phlug said. “It's definitely a place Legendary likes to produce.”

Pittsburgh currently is home to two movie productions – “Southpaw” with Jake Gyllenhaal and “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl,” based on a novel by Point Breeze native Jesse Andrews. Lionsgate is opening offices for “The Last Witch Hunter,” starring actor Vin Diesel, and should start filming this summer. The big-budget production is slated to receive more than $14 million in film tax credits.

“Fathers and Daughters,” a movie featuring Russell Crowe, finished shooting in Pittsburgh in May.

Pennsylvania awards up to 30 percent in tax credits to productions that spend at least 60 percent of their budget on qualified expenses in the state. The program is capped at $60 million a year.





With 'Planet Of The Apes,' Do We Still Need Actors?

(forbes.com)            Who needs big stars when you've got CGI apes?

This weekend, the second of the Planet of the Apes reboot movies hits theaters and by all accounts, the human actors are a sideshow.

Instead, the action focuses on the apes, a digital band of simians led by the most prominent motion-capture actor around, Andy Serkis who plays Caesar. Serkis filmed the role in a studio in a unitard with sensors all over his face and body to capture his movement and expression. That data was fed into a computer to help make the incredibly life-like ape audiences will watch in theaters. According to Rolling Stone‘s Peter Travers, the apes look even better than they did in the 2011 original reboot. However, “It’s a bummer when the damn dirty humans show up, trying to regain the upper hand. The apes are horrified. I was, too. No slur on the actors.”

Serkis is the top man in his field but the movie is populated by lesser known (cheaper to hire) actors, including Toby Kebbell and Nick Thurston, playing the other apes . When actors you’ve never heard of are outshining Gary Oldman and they’re playing computer-generated characters one has to wonder, are we at the beginning of the end of actors?

Actors are expensive and can be difficult to work with. There are some actors who make insane demands to appear in a movie, some actors don’t show up on set and worse, some actors get injured. Just look at what’s happened with the newest Star Wars film. Because one of the stars, Harrison Ford, injured his ankle, the crew had to take a two-week break in filming. A hiatus like that can cost millions of dollars.

Wouldn’t it be easier if J.J. Abrams was working with a computer generated Han Solo? He could tailor the performance to be exactly the way he wanted it and wouldn’t have to worry about pesky things like injuries. (Serkis is in Star Wars too.)

It’s not a far leap from the kind of work Serkis is doing in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes to an actor that just lives in the digital world.

Back in 2010 I did a story about the work being done at USC to create a completely digital actor. At the time, the ground-breaking technology was being used on the film Benjamin Button where Brad Pitt’s character spanned the decades with the help of CGI faces added to different actors’ bodies. But the technology was (and is) there to digitize an actor and then use all of his or her movements to create new performances. Imagine a digitized Andy Serkis. There’s no end to the roles his avatar could play. (For a nightmare scenario of this check out this trailer for The Congress.)

Of course actors will never go away. There will always be movies that require live actors or that are cheaper to produce with real actors. But Dawn of the Plant of the Apes is expected to top to box office this weekend with $65 million, according to Exhibitor Relations. Rise of the Planet of the Apes earned $482 million at the global box office. That’s the kind of money that can help push studios to move more into digital performances. And eventually, that will mean a movie that looks like live action but with no actual humans in it.





Kids React To Michael Bay ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ Trailer & Orig Cartoon

(thewrap.com)         A new “Kids React” video from YouTube content creators The Fine Bros. shows then viewing “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle” movie from producer Michael Bay.

VIDEO - Take a look:       https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jExYHd1yyWc




-H        For Godzilla (2014) a 400-foot model of the Golden Gate Bridge, built at a ratio of 1:0.045, was built for the San Francisco sequence.  -IMDB Trivia

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Worth a mention - 07/17/14

Can a 'Magic: The Gathering' Movie Be a Blockbuster for Fox?

(fool.com)            "Magic: The Gathering," the collectable card game produced by Hasbro's (NASDAQ: HAS  ) Wizards of the Coast, is one of the oldest and best-known collectable card games on the market. In addition to numerous card sets, the game has spawned books, comics, and an entire range of accessories both for players and fans of the overall "Magic" story. Now, thanks to Twenty-First Century Fox (NASDAQ: FOX  ) , it's set to have a feature film as well.

Originally announced in January, the project seems to be moving forward at a decent pace. Simon Kinsberg (writer and producer of Fox's X-Men: Days of Future Past) was originally attached to write the script for the film, and more recently Bryan Cogman (writer and producer for HBO's "Game of Thrones") has been brought in to perform a rewrite based on Kinsberg's screenplay. While the film seems to have secured qualified writers to develop the script, can a card game really be made in to a cinematic blockbuster?

It's not Wizards' first adventure

Back in 2000, New Line Cinema released Dungeons and Dragons, based on Wizards of the Coast's famous role-playing game. Depending on who you ask, the film hovers somewhere around "so bad it's good" and "so bad it's bad" territory. Holding a mere 10% critical score (and 19% audience score) at Rotten Tomatoes and earning a worldwide box office take of only $33.8 million (on a $45 million budget), the film can't be considered a success by any metric.




'Dawn of the Apes' Looks For $39.2M Second Weekend

(ropeofsilicon.com)            This newest Apes is trending about three days ahead of its predecessor already, domestically, though the true verdict of this film will come from international dollars. But that's not what we're predicting today! My thought is $39.2 million, I see more downside than upside in that prediction if y'all would like to beat me into submission one more time.





The Special Effects Secrets Behind Scarlett Johansson's 'Lucy'

(etonline.com)            We're taking you behind the scenes of Lucy to show you the secrets behind the film's stunning special effects.

Lucy casts Scarlett Johansson as an everyday party girl in Taipei who is drugged and operated on to become an unwitting drug mule. But the drug that she's carrying begins to leak, and she quickly discovers that this ain't no ordinary drug. Now capable of accessing 100% of her brain, she develops supernatural abilities and uses them to find out who is responsible for her situation.

VIDEO - Take a look:         http://www.etonline.com/movies/148505_the_special_effects_secrets_behind_scarlett_johansson_lucy/





John Textor the Focus of Major Fraud Investigation in Digital Domain Scandal

(tvmix.com)              The Broward Palm Beach New Times refers to it as “film-flam man John Textor’s all-star scam.”  The paper keeps watch on the CEO of Pulse Entertainment because the supposed expansion of his previous company, Digital Domain, into Florida cost the state millions in public funds even as he lead it’s fall into bankruptcy.

The latest is that Governor Rick Scott has appointed Bill Scherer as the state’s special counsel as the fiasco is investigated. The mission is to “identify any and all legal action available against the company and any other individuals involved in wrongdoing related to this bad deal.”  The paper also calls Scherer, “A strong litigator, a GOP political operative” and says he’s likely to bring up former governor Charlie Crist’s name as often as possible in the process.

The $20 million grant Florida gave Textor was put through by Crist to create an animation and special effects house—it was to be a kind Hollywood East that would create jobs and make the state a major player in the entertainment business. Textor had sold the state on the deal with some flashy Hollywood storytelling of his own—in truth his closest experience with the movie industry was having met Michael Bay in college.

A report by Inspector General Melinda Miguel shows that Textor originally pushed for $100 million in state subsidies—when the company’s financials didn’t add up, Crist enacted special provisos to push the project through, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

All told local governments in the state are out another $100 million on top of the state’s $20 million. Port St. Lucie gave a $40 million bond issue, West Palm Beach pitched in 2.4 acres of prime downtown land and $15 million loan. Meanwhile Textor himself was earning $16 million. FXguide.com published the most detailed account of the alleged financial fraud here.

The importance to Scott of making a stand in an election year—and fending off any challenge from Crist—is sure to inspire a push for a win, and justice for the people of Florida, despite the efforts of Textor to cover his tracks in what by all accounts is a transaction marked by irregularity, backroom dealing, and lack of proper paper trail.

In his defense Textor has stated that this is all politics.

You might also like: Massive lawsuit filed against Pulse, John Textor and others

Textor is the subject of many other suits as well including a high profile one by Hologram USA over Pulse’s misuse of a patent for which Hologram USA’s owner Alki David, owns the exclusive license. (TV Mix is owned by FilmOn Networks which is also owned by David.)

The Broward Palm Beach New Times columnist known as Fire Ant is wonderfully obsessive about this situation—one that really deserves national scrutiny for how the so-called Hollywood exec sucked government officials into his pipe dream. In his most recent column he hilariously sends up West Palm Beach City Commissioner Kimberly Mitchell who played a part in bringing the damages down on her community by pushing through the deal and is know stumping for a Kickstarter campaign for one of the leftover Digital Domain film projects. Donors are promised a T-shirt, Fire Ant says,  which is  “more than Florida’s taxpayers ever got out of Digital Domain.”

Source:          http://www.tvmix.com/pulse-ceo-john-textor-the-focus-of-major-fraud-investigation/123





The Guys Behind 'The Mummy' To Reboot Universal's Classic Movie Monsters

(blogs.indiewire.com)             In the era of reboots and remakes, if an attempt to bring back a franchise fails, it's cool because you can just try again a few years later. Of even if it was successful, you can still reboot it, even if the next incarnation is a total disappointment (see "The Amazing Spider-Man"). And so it goes with Universal, who four years ago dropped the troubled "Wolfman" into theatres and watched it sink like a stone. So they're giving it another kick at the can and have hired two dudes who know how to make blockbusters of varying quality, but consistent box office.

Alex Kurtzman ("Star Trek," the aforementioned Spidey series) and Chris Morgan ("Fast Five") have been tapped to over Universal's monster movie titles, in something that sounds suspiciously like they're going to create a comic-book world style Marvel-verse. Deadline reports that the pair have "begun the meetings to put together an interconnected slate" of movies, kicking off with "The Mummy" reboot in 2016. The studio and these producers will "expand and unify a network of classic characters and stories" because everyone else is doing it too, so why not them? In short,  a cohesive, connected way rather than as a series of stand-alone projects by disparate filmmaking teams.

Looking to take this one in "a cohesive, connected way rather than as a series of stand-alone projects by disparate filmmaking teams," it's more follow-the-pack thinking from Hollywood, and while that makes sense because it's been successful, it's only a matter of time before audiences tire of being fed the same format and seek something new from the big screen experiences. And if anything, characters like Frankenstein, Dracula, The Wolf Man, Creature Of The Black Lagoon, The Invisible Man, Bride Of Frankenstein, and The Mummy (all set to be rebooted) would benefit more from being taken individually, and played to their character strengths, rather than being homogenized for mass consumption. But then again, I'm not a big studio executive who has to make sure my next tentpole earns $500 million, so what do I know?





Noah Behind The Scenes - How Darren Aronofsky Created The Ark, Creatures, and Great Flood

(slashfilm.com)             Darren Aronofsky‘s Noah hits home video on July 29th 2014 (preorder it here) and Paramount has released a bunch of video clips from the making of documentary on the blu-ray release. I really liked the film, and its always great to see real clips of Darren Aronofsky directing a film. These clips go to show just how much cast and crew it takes to bring this tale to the big screen. One of the clips shows the elaborate rig which creates the rain at the beginning of the flood sequence. Watch the Noah behind the scenes video clips after the jump.

VIDEO - Take a look:          http://www.slashfilm.com/noah-behind-the-scenes-videos/





UK VFX & Games Sector To Benefit From £37m Creative Skills Fund

(broadcastnow.co.uk)           Businesses from the creative sector are to plough £17m into skills training, boosting the UK’s total investment pot to £37m.

The 500 firms, led by Channel 4 and Creative Skillset, have pledged to match the £16m fund revealed by business secretary Vince Cable earlier this month to develop and drive education and skills.

The Department for Business Innovation & Skills and the Department for Education (DfE) have committed a further £4m to the strategy, dubbed Create UK.

Later today creative industry leaders will outline how businesses and the government plan to collaborate to ‘maintain the UK’s position as world leader for the creative industries’ after benefiting from the investment.

The fund will deliver several ground-breaking initiatives across film, television, radio, animation, games, VFX, publishing, creative digital media, advertising, marketing, fashion and textiles.

C4 chief executive David Abraham said it was the “largest collaboration” ever achieved.

“Through this co-investment we can ensure learning and training is of the highest quality and that we can open the doors of the creative industries to diverse new talent, voices and ideas; allowing us to own our own growth and collectively invest in skills,” he said.

Skills and enterprise minister Matthew Hancock MP added: “Five years ago there were virtually no apprentices in the creative industries - there are now over 4,200. In order to ensure this positive change continues we are empowering employers to play an active role in workforce development.

“Everyone in our country - no matter who they are - should have the chance to reach the highest ranks in the creative industries as well as every other part of our national life. This government funding will be key to helping people break into and progress within the creative industries – spreading opportunity and enhancing social mobility.”





DreamWorks Animation Demos New Apollo Platform


(blogs.indiewire.com)           DreamWorks Animation unveiled its new Apollo software platform with How to Train Your Dragon 2, and I got an in-depth presentation last month at the Redwood City campus. Taking advantage of Intel’s multi-core technology and its own hybrid cloud computing resources, DreamWorks has come up with a next-gen platform for visual computing from data center to chip set. Harnessing more power out of the CPU, it is intuitive, interactive, fully scalable, and makes computing a powerful animation and enterprise tool.

Apollo consists of Premo for animation (artists can pose on tablets and get instant playback of high-res models) and Torch for lighting (it's really a services architecture that not only delivers more complex imagery but also gets data quickly through the pipe).

As character animation head Jason Schleifer (Mr. Peabody & Sherman) demonstrated, Premo is a lot more artist-friendly than the previous Emo software, which was laborious and full of data entry steps. Premo allows you to edit frame by frame at full resolution and computing power. You can interact directly with the CG characters and manipulate skin and muscle in real-time. Even I got to play with poses in just a few quick steps.

Meanwhile, Torch is used to design the look of a project and all of the data is handled by lighting supervisor Stephen Bailey. For instance, an animated feature has half a billion digital files containing information for such attributes as geometry, color, and texture. So it's a massive data set that is under continuous revision. The Torch Project browser manages shots and other sub projects with the remaining assets.

"This is very critical from a business point of view in terms of implementing the idea of any artist, any project, at any time," explains CTO Lincoln Wallen. "So Stephen is sitting here essentially computing on the entire enterprise and has access to the full distributed data center, the internal hybrid clouds that are partly owned and partly leased. He manages the complexity of how an image is put together.

"We knew that we had to put these two things together [cloud computing and multi-core] in a seamless way and architect a platform that allowed us to move data load and compute load across the two. So that's where the partnership with Intel was critical in getting the best out of the software because now we're able to measure, schedule, and allocate resources at that level. The impact of that on the artist is that we were able to go into the design processes and take off all the constraints."

The results are clearly evident on How To Train Your Dragon 2, which is DreamWorks' most ambitious and aesthetically beautiful feature in its 20-year history. "The boldness of camera, the subtle emotion, the ability to explore were [evident on the animation side], while on the enterprise side they were able to sit back and move resources around, apply compute at exactly the place where it matters most."

For Dragon 2 director Dean DeBlois, Apollo was a godsend. "It's remarkable now because given enough time and given enough of a budget to really make use of that time there isn't an image that we can't create any more. Shots like Drago's army of thousands of soldiers on a beach is not something we would've attempted before because the system would bog down with more than one character."

"And obviously the combination of [artistry and enterprise] will lead to better movies, done more efficiently with more flexibility and more agility, and, ultimately, lower cost," Wallen concludes.

VIDEO - Take a look:         http://blogs.indiewire.com/animationscoop/immersed-in-movies-dreamworks-demos-new-apollo-platform-20140716





See Which Tricked-Out Giant Creature Will Be Brought to Life At San Diego Comic-Con 2014

VIDEO - Take a look:           https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UhJcld1NxgU&app=desktop





David Cronenberg And VFX Team Reveal How They Made the Exploding Head In 'Scanners'


(blogs.indiewire.com)             There are movies with heads exploding and then there's David Cronenberg's "Scanners." The 1980 sci-fi film is still one of the director's finest hours, and one of the best the genre has ever seen. But most of all, while some movies from the era haven't aged very well, "Scanners" has one sequence that is still jaw dropping to this today.

Yep, we're talking about the the moment when Louis Del Grande's head gets magnificently blown up. But as you might expect, it wasn't an easy effect to pull off believably. And in this brief featurette, courtesy of The Criterion Collection who released the film on DVD and Blu-ray last week, Cronenberg and members of the VFX team share how they finally got the shot. And the story is pretty terrific, and we're not going to spoil it here to except to say that sometimes necessity is the mother of invention.

VIDEO - Take a look:     http://blogs.indiewire.com/theplaylist/watch-david-cronenberg-and-vfx-team-reveal-how-they-made-the-exploding-head-in-scanners-20140715





Visual-effects Artists Will Graft Johansson's Face To Stunt Doubles

(eonline.com)            When Avengers: Age of Ultron hits theaters, Scarlett Johansson's baby bump won't be visible. The actress got pregnant just before filming began, which slightly complicated the production process.

"She's not going to spend the whole movie carrying groceries," director Joss Whedon, 50, says in Entertainment Weekly's double issue. "We didn't trim any scenes. We're like, 'We'll make it work.'"

The film boasts an all-star cast that includes Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Samuel L. Jackson, Elizabeth Olsen, Jeremy Renner, Mark Ruffalo, James Spader and Aaron Taylor-Johnson. To accommodate 29-year-old Johansson's pregnancy, Whedon hired three stunt doubles for action scenes.

That's when the movie magic begins. The stand-ins wear dotted maps on their faces, which will serve as guides for visual-effects artists who will graft Johansson's face onto their bodies in post-production.

"It's always funny," says Evans, who recently worked Johansson on Captain America: The Winter Soldier. "You walk by, 'Hey, Scarlett—oh, weird. You're not Scarlett at all. Sorry.' A lot of fake Scarletts around."

Given that Avengers: Age of Ultron is Evans and Johansson's sixth film together, that's saying a lot!

The July 25/Aug. 1 issue of Entertainment Weekly is on newsstands Friday.

Source:            http://www.eonline.com/news/560686/scarlett-johansson-required-three-stunt-doubles-to-hide-her-pregnancy-curves-in-avengers-age-of-ultron





‘Maleficent’ Passes $600 Million at Worldwide Box Office

(variety.com)             “Maleficent” will cross $600 million at the global box office Wednesday, becoming the fourth film of the year to hit that mark.

The Walt Disney Studios release is now in its fifth week of release, and has made $205 million domestically and $400 million internationally, making it the biggest live-action hit of Angelina Jolie’s career.

Other films that have crossed the $600 million barrier in 2014 include “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” “The Amazing Spider-Man 2″ and “X-Men: Days of Future Past.” “Maleficent” is the 20th Disney film to pass $600 million globally.

The re-imagining of “Sleeping Beauty” is out in most major foreign markets, including China where it has grossed roughly $40 million. It opens this weekend in Japan, which marks its final international engagement.





Stunning "Futurama" 3D CG Test Shot

(darkhorizons.com)         Beloved cartoon "Futurama" may be gone, but artist Alexey Zakharov has created a lovely tribute to it that gives you an idea of what a more realistic, 3D CG animated version would look like.

Zakharov has posted videos and concept art on his Behance account showcasing not only his 3D model of the Planet Express ship but a 'test' shot of the show's primary 31st century Earth setting.

Take a look:         http://www.darkhorizons.com/news/32969/votd-stunning-futurama-3d-cg-test-shot




VFX Workers Make UK Shortage Occupations List

(visabureau.com)          The UK Shortage Occupations List details the professions that are in high demand in the UK.     Listed:  Animator in Visual Effects and 2D / 3D Computer Animation for Film, Television or Video Games - Link:   http://www.visabureau.com/uk/shortage-occupations-list.aspx

UK Tier 2 Visa Assessment : UK Visa Bureau:    https://assessments.visabureau.com/uk/assessment/tier2/skilled/default.aspx





-H      What do you think is the best animated film of 2014 so far?    Vote today:  http://www.nola.com/movies/index.ssf/2014/07/midyear_movie_awards_what_do_y_1.html

Monday, July 14, 2014

Worth a mention - 07/14/14

'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes' Proves Visual Effects Have Reached a Pinnacle

(hypable.com)                Dawn of the Planet of the Apes has wowed moviegoers this weekend with its impeccable visual effects and we think it finally proves that CGI has reached its highest point.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes came out just three years ago and its sequel has reminded us just how incredibly real CGI can look as it takes in $100M at the box office this weekend.

CGI (or VFX) is commonplace now in summer blockbusters, it’s a tool that is used in almost all films, but the visual effects seen in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes are beyond remarkable.

The realism seen in the Apes sequel allows one to forget about the hundreds of CGI characters on screen at any given point and gives us a chance to enjoy being entirely immersed in the film’s story.

Some may feel we’d already reached this point of CGI perfection, but not entirely. Just these last few weeks, as Transformers: Age of Extinction has taken in over $600 million worldwide, we’ve seen that CGI can still feel like a lot of computer generated characters fighting one another on screen. Despite how good the characters look, they still often feel like CGI characters opposite human actors.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ visuals prove that there are no longer any boundaries between what’s real and what isn’t – the apes in the sequel look and feel just as real as the actors playing the human roles. So real that we no longer think of it as a great “visual effects” film, but a great movie.

And it’s not as if this was an easy film to make moviegoers forget they’re watching grown men wearing tight suits with white balls stuck all over their bodies pretending to be chimps. Dawn was an incredibly difficult film to make this believable, with the majority of the film taking place in the home of the apes.

At least 45 minutes of the film takes place reading subtitles while apes speak to one another in sign language, and their movements are a thing of beauty. Watching Caesar’s newborn chimp climbing up Keri Russell’s shoulder is beautiful and filled with true emotion only achieved by brilliant visuals.

Most know now that motion capture pioneer Andy Serkis (pictured left) is the one who has breathed life into some of the most well-known visual effects characters over the last decade. The actor started in 2001 when he was cast as Gollum in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, the first motion capture character to truly come to life.

Although known as motion capture, it’s now being touted as “motion performance,” due to the fact that the visuals are being directly taken from actors wearing suits designed to be filmed by unique cameras which transform their actual performances into what we see on screen.

Serkis knocked fans on their rears with his breathtaking performance as Smeagol in The Lord of the Rings trilogy and behind all of the brilliant CGI was one company, founded by director Peter Jackson, Weta Digital.

Weta Digital is the company behind Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ visual effects, which resides in Wellington, New Zealand. It was founded by director Peter Jackson, Richard Taylor, and Jamie Selkirk in 1993.

The Planet of the Apes franchise owes a lot of its eye popping realism to Peter Jackson’s remake of King Kong in 2005. Kong’s fur required the development of entirely new simulation and modeling software. Fur was often seen as a difficult element to replicate, similar to the detail seen in digital human hair.

A new set of VFX tools combined procedural and interactive techniques that added wind to pass through the 460 billion individual strands of fur on Kong’s body. Entirely new software was written to account for the scattering of light from within each hair that would give volumetric quality to the fur. This software was vital for a film which features hundreds of individual apes on screen at times.

Something we see a lot of in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is the large chunks of fur which were removed and replaced with scars, blood, mud and paint. This was seen first in the King Kong remake, where each frame of fur required two gigabytes of data.

We can only imagine just how much data is required for the CGI we see in Dawn, which is leaps and bounds ahead of King Kong. Each ape has to be painstakingly created one frame at a time, with 24 frames being needed for each second of screentime.

The Oscar Award-winning visual effects company has truly reached the pinnacle of computer generated characters with their latest film. They’ve achieved something that visual effects companies have strived for over the last twenty years.

With the combination of motion performance and visual effects artists of the highest caliber, we’ve finally reached the point where it’s nearly impossible to determine what’s real and what isn’t on the silver screen – which gives moviegoers the ability to slip into a story without any second thoughts concerning the film’s CGI.

It turns out that the most remarkable visual effects are the kind that simply disappear before our eyes.





‘The Haunted Mansion’: Guillermo del Toro Provides an Update on His Spooky Disney Movie

(screencrush.com)      It’s been about four years since Guillermo del Toro and Disney announced that they were developing a film based on ‘The Haunted Mansion,’ the classic Disney theme park attraction, but today the director has offered an update on the long-gestating project — and the good news is that it’s definitely still happening.

Guillermo del Toro participated in a Reddit AMA this evening, where he was asked about the status of ‘The Haunted Mansion,’ a passion project of his that was first announced back at Comic-Con in 2010. And although he’s one of the busiest directors around, worry not — ‘The Haunted Mansion’ is still very much on the table. Here’s what he had to say:

Two weeks ago, I went back to Disneyland with the executives with whom I am developing the screenplay. It’s a hard screenplay to crack. We’ve done it a few times. We are on our third or fourth draft, with 2 different writing teams, and I think the main thing is to try to combine everything that is great about the ride into the movie, and to make it a really intense but with a sense of fun — just like the ride.

Del Toro adds that while he’s definitely still producing the film, he’s unsure if he’ll be available to direct, and adds that he “would be happy to just produce it if the timing is not right.”

The film is said to center around the attraction’s Hatbox Ghost, which — judging by this answer from Del Toro — will likely be played by ‘Hellboy’ star Doug Jones:

We have developed 50-60 pieces of art.
We’ve developed maquettes of the Hat Box Ghost, over the body and face of Doug Jones, but we have not succeeded yet in cracking the screenplay. I have to believe that Disney will make this movie as soon as we crack the screenplay, but until then we cannot tackle it… We always feel like we are very close, but not yet.

Del Toro’s new television series, ‘The Strain,’ premieres this Sunday on FX, and his new horror film, ‘Crimson Peak,’ is slated to hit theaters in 2015. He’s also currently working on a ‘Pacific Rim’ sequel, and is involved in the animated series and comic books, as well. And (!) he still hasn’t given up hope on making his other passion project, ‘At the Mountains of Madness,’ making him one awfully busy guy. But at least we know ‘The Haunted Mansion’ is still in play.






Apes Dominate With $73 Million

(comingsoon.net)      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.

Things were looking slightly better at the box office this weekend with a return to the blockbuster sequels that tend to be reliable moneymakers. That was certainly the case with Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (20th Century Fox), directed by Matt Reeves (Cloverfield) and starring Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, Keri Russell and more, which topped the domestic box office with an estimated $73 million this weekend in 3,967 theaters. Averaging 18.4 thousand per theater, that opening was 33% higher than the previous installment of the sci-fi franchise, 2011's Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and the sequel is looking to become the next movie to gross $200 million this summer with a strong A- CinemaScore.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes also opened on 4,903 screens in 26 overseas markets where it brought in additional $31 million, topping the box office in 14 of those territories. The top two markets were Korea with $11.4 million in 910 theaters--a 105% bigger opening than "Rise"--while Australia's 467 theaters brought in $6.6 million





The Amazing Spider-Man 3, An Uncertainty About Franchise Future

( IGN)         Several months before The Amazing Spider-Man 2 even opened in theaters, Sony enlisted writers Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Jeff Pinkner to write the screenplay for The Amazing Spider-Man 3. Between now and then writers Kurtzman and Orci had an amicable split with Orci going to focus on the "Star Trek" series while Kurtzman was putting his efforts into the proposed Venom spin-off film.

Now, speaking with IGN, Orci revealed that not only is he no longer officially involved in scripting The Amazing Spider-Man 3 but he's also unaware of Sony's plans for the future of the franchise.

"I don't know what their plans are for that franchise," Orci said. "I don't ever want to say never, but we have to figure out what their scheduling is in terms of when they want each movie. I've read probably as much as anyone else. There's a love for the Sinister Six, the idea of Venom �there's an idea of Spider-Man's going to be one of these characters that's part of our business. He's such a popular character. Spider-Man's not going to go away any time soon. When it all happens and how and all that has yet to be determined."

Currently, The Amazing Spider-Man 3 is set for release on June 10, 2016 with Venom and The Sinister Six spin-offs also in the pipeline. The most recent entry in the franchise, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, is set for release on DVD and Blu-ray on August 19.





Will This Ratings Downgrade Hurt DreamWorks Animation (DWA) Stock Today?

 (TheStreet) -- DreamWorks Animation SKG   (DRW) was downgraded to "neutral" from "buy" at B. Riley and Co. on Monday morning.

The firm said it lowered its rating on the animated film company after DreamWorks' latest movie, "How To Train Your Dragon 2," was not as big of a box office success as expected.

B. Riley also said the company is lacking near-term catalysts, and lowered its price target on the stock to $24 from $32.

Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates DREAMWORKS ANIMATION INC as a Hold with a ratings score of C. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate DREAMWORKS ANIMATION INC (DWA) a HOLD. The primary factors that have impacted our rating are mixed some indicating strength, some showing weaknesses, with little evidence to justify the expectation of either a positive or negative performance for this stock relative to most other stocks. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and notable return on equity. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself, unimpressive growth in net income and weak operating cash flow."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 14.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 9.3%. This growth in revenue does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, displayed by a decline in earnings per share.

DWA's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.22 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels.

The share price of DREAMWORKS ANIMATION INC has not done very well: it is down 8.53% and has underperformed the S&P 500, in part reflecting the company's sharply declining earnings per share when compared to the year-earlier quarter. Looking ahead, other than the push or pull of the broad market, we do not see anything in the company's numbers that may help reverse the decline experienced over the past 12 months. Despite the past decline, the stock is still selling for more than most others in its industry.

Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to -$12.49 million or 129.95% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing to the industry average, the firm's growth rate is much lower.





SIGGRAPH 2014 Production Sessions Feature Summer Blockbusters, Oscar Winner

(BUSINESS WIRE)--SIGGRAPH 2014 will offer presentations on more than 15 of the biggest current and upcoming studio productions, including “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” “Gravity,” “How to Train Your Dragon 2” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.” Production Sessions are hosted as part of the Computer Animation Festival and will be held at the Vancouver Convention Centre, 11-14 August.

“Unmask the Secrets Behind ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’”

“The 2014 Production Session lineup is packed with powerful content and truly showcases an amazing conglomerate of the best creative minds in the business,” noted Roy C. Anthony, SIGGRAPH 2014 Production Sessions Chair from Christie Digital. “It’s not often that industry professionals and students alike can come together and learn from CG and VFX experts of this caliber."

SIGGRAPH Production Sessions bring together the world’s most elite and talented computer graphics experts and creative geniuses and allow them to explain their processes and techniques to a rapt audience of peers. Following each presentation, conference attendees are given the opportunity to ask questions as part of a live Q&A. As a bonus for 2014, DreamWorks Animation will treat session attendees to a free screening of its film “How to Train Your Dragon 2” on Wednesday night.

Production Sessions are available only to Full Conference and Select Conference pass holders. Tickets can be purchased at s2014.SIGGRAPH.org and start at $205 USD. For the full lineup of all 19 sessions, visit s2014.SIGGRAPH.org/attendees/production-sessions.

Highlights from SIGGRAPH 2014 Production Sessions:

X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST (Twentieth Century Fox)

“Twentieth Century Fox Presents the Visual Effects of ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’”

Panelists: Benoit Dubuc, Animation Supervisor, MPC; Lou Pecora, VFX Supervisor, Digital Domain; Derek Spears, VFX Supervisor, Rhythm & Hues; Adam Paschke, DFX Supervisor, Rising Sun Pictures

This year, the ultimate X-Men ensemble were brought together to fight a war for the survival of the species across two time periods. With the visual effects work lead by Production VFX Supervisor Richard Stammers, X-Men Days of Future Past showcased some of the most spectacular effects of the summer. Experts from MPC (Moving Picture Company), Digital Domain, Rhythm & Hues and Rising Sun Pictures will illustrate the approaches used to create a wide range of VFX work, from the creation of the past and future Sentinels, to the epic RFK stadium and White House destruction and the complexities of creating mutant powers for Magneto, Colossus, Iceman, Quicksilver, Sunspot, Blink, Wolverine and Mystique.

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 (Sony Pictures Imageworks)

“Unmask the Secrets Behind ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’”

Panelists: Jerome Chen, VFX Supervisor; David Schaub, Animation Supervisor; David Smith, DFX Supervisor

Sony Pictures Imageworks created much of the visual effects for “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” the sequel to the 2012 blockbuster directed by Marc Webb. The VFX team was challenged with the introduction of new villains, extensive digital environments and CG animation. Join Sony Pictures Imageworks visual effects leads for an inside look at this "amazing" film.

GRAVITY (Warner Bros. Pictures)

“Making ‘Gravity’ at Framestore”

Panelists: Tim Webber, Overall VFX Supervisor; Chris Lawrence, Framestore CG Supervisor; Martin Preston, Framestore Head of R&D

This talk describes Framestore’s work on “Gravity,” including the involvement in the pre-production, filming and post production of the movie.

FEAST (Walt Disney Animation Studios)

“‘Feast’ – A Look at Walk Disney Animation Studios’ Newest Short”

Panelists: Patrick Osborne, Head of Animation, “Paperman”; Josh Staub, VFX Supervisor

Join Walt Disney Animation Studios filmmakers, including director Patrick Osborne (Head of Animation, Oscar-winning short "Paperman"), for a screening and presentation of the short "Feast."

THE LEGO MOVIE (Warner Bros. Pictures in association with Village Roadshow Pictures)

“Building Blocks for ‘The LEGO Movie’”

Panelists: Damien Grey, CG Supervisor; Rob Coleman, Head of Animation; Aidan Sarsfield, CG Supervisor; Daniel Heckenberg, R&D Lead

“The LEGO Movie” is a CG animated feature film set in a world made entirely of Lego bricks. It was critical to the filmmakers that this world maintain a highly realistic connection to the look and feel of real Lego.

What resulted was a unique, photo-realistic, stop motion aesthetic and animation style, with everything on screen including the characters, sets, oceans and explosions being built and realized with accurate CG Lego bricks.

Essential to the story was the dynamic construction (and destruction!) of any of these elements into component bricks. And with a desire to echo the creative possibilities of Lego itself, Animal Logic's team of "masterbuilders" built a comprehensive Lego toolset that ensured artists could access and manipulate individual bricks, or the bricks within any asset, to create unique and spontaneous additions to the content of a shot. The results were often unscripted and highly entertaining.

Making a CG feature is complex at the best of times, but making a CG feature constructed entirely from bricks was a new and exciting challenge. It resulted in something quite different from conventional animation processes.

THE BOXTROLLS (Focus Features)

“Puppets, Printing and Compositing: A Unique Collaboration in LAIKA’s Animated Features

Panelists: Brain McLean, Rapid Prototyping; Georgina Hayns, Creative Supervisor, Puppet Fabrication; Steve Emerson, Co-VFX Supervisor

From inspiration to Oscar noms, Oregon-based LAIKA has garnered global acclaim for its unprecedented fusion of stop-motion and computer graphics within each feature film. The studio's environment embraces the hybrid of artistic puppet performance and stunning visual effects enhancements. Georgina Hayns (Creative Supervisor, Puppet Fabrication), Brian McLean (Director of Rapid Prototype) and Steve Emerson (Co-VFX Supervisor) will discuss their interdepartmental relationships on the upcoming feature “The Boxtrolls” (in theaters September 26). They will also address the challenges, solutions -- and learnings -- that led to the success of LAIKA's first two Oscar-nominated films: “Coraline” (2009) and “ParaNorman” (2012).





Godzilla 2014 Sequel To Set Up Man Made Mecha Monster For The Trilogy Finale!

(kdramastars.com)           The Godzilla 2014 sequel and part 3 has been confirmed, effectively making the Godzilla films into a trilogy. Who will Godzilla fight next?

First things first, when the Godzilla 2014 movie was being made, Legendary pictures only trademarked Godzilla as the Kaiju to appear in the movie and that the other Kaiju's to appear in the movie are original creations for the movie however when the production of the movie went along there have been reports in the in the sequel for Godzilla 2014, Legendary Pictures trademarked one Kaiju from the Godzilla mythos and that Kaiju is mothra!

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This Mothra tease has been given credence due to fact that almost every time the production crew was asked as to who would they like to see fight their version of Godzilla, they would always say Mothra.

In the Godzilla 2014 end credits scene that was shown on selected asian countries it was reported by JapNation AniManga that we get to see Mothra commanding an army of MUTO's and Mothra would then show its full glory by flying up and generating a hurricane.

Mothra has been portrayed as using a number of special abilities. It has been shown to have the ability to spray silk, metamorphose, fly, generate hurricane-force wind, scatter poison, drop wings and use various magical energy attacks. According to character profiles it has been given in supporting media, Mothra measures 30-180 meters long and weigh 9,000 -15,000 tons in its larval form, and possess a weight of 15,000 -25,000 tons and a wingspan of 75 -250 meters in its imago form.

The Movie News Hound reported that Gareth Edwards allegedly told reporters that he sees the Godzilla franchise ending with the humans trying to create their own version of Godzilla and it will end badly for the humans. Could this mean that Mechagodzilla will appear on Godzilla 3 after Motha lays down the trashing on the Godzilla 2014 sequel?

Which Kaiju do you want to see in the Godzilla 2014 sequel? Mothra, Mechagodzilla or Ghidorah? Sound off in the comments below!





Arnold Schwarzenegger To Wrap Filming For 'Genesis' In 3 Weeks

(enstarz.com)              An inside source, who is a friend of Schwarzenegger's, let this bit of information out, stating that the actor would be done in 3 weeks.

Schwarzenegger will be reprising his role as the iconic cyborg in the new movie which is being directed by Alan Taylor.

Mad Max: Fury Road To Inspire Genesis Art Conceptualization?

But in this movie, Schwarzenegger revealed that the Terminator won't defy mortality for the very first time.

"The way that the character is written, it's a machine underneath," he said. "It's this metal skeleton. But above that is human flesh. And the Terminator's flesh ages, just like any other human being's flesh. Maybe not as fast. But it definitely ages."

The movie also stars Jai Courtney will be playing Kyle Reese, Jason Clarke will be portraying the part of John Connor, and Emilia Clarke will play Sarah Connor. Sandrine Holt (House of Cards) will be playing Detective Cheung, who will "arrest Kyle and Sarah when they arrive in 2017."

It was also recently confirmed that Miles Dyson would be returning in Terminator: Genesis. It was also revealed that Courtney B. Vance (Law & Order: Criminal Intent, The Hunt for Red October) will be playing Dyson in this chapter of the sci-fi franchise. Dyson was orginally portrayed by Joe Morton in Terminator 2: Judgment Day..

Terminator 5 is scheduled to release in July 2015.





Transformers" Tops 2014

(darkhorizons.com)              "Transformers: Age of Extinction" has become the biggest film of the year so far with a whopping $752 million in global revenue, pushing it past "X-Men: Days of Future Past" which sits at $731 million. It has also crossed the $200 million domestic marker.






Andy Serkis Feels ‘Extraordinary’ About The New ‘Star Wars’

(mtv.com)      A long time ago, in this very galaxy, Andy Serkis and his brother freaked out upon the arrival of “Star Wars” in their lives. Teenage Serkis was just as wowed by the George Lucas film series as anyone, and now, he’s a part of the franchise himself.

Serkis plays an undisclosed role (or roles, possibly, considering the man’s motion-capture talents) in the upcoming “Star Wars: Episode VII,” directed by J.J. Abrams and starring a wide range of actors from franchise newcomers John Boyega and Oscar Isaac to old standbys like Harrison Ford. Speaking with MTV News, Serkis said that getting together with the cast to read the “Episode VII” script for the first time “was quite an extraordinary feeling.”

But there’s one person who is even more excited about Serkis’ work on the film than Serkis himself.

“My brother, who is five years younger than me, this means more to him than anything I’ve ever done in my entire life,” Serkis said, laughing. “I’m more joyous for him than anything else, in a way.”

Perhaps Serkis’ brother is the man to interrogate when it comes to finding out details about the “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” and “Lord of the Rings” legend’s work on the film. Because for his part, Serkis’ lips are sealed. He would only confirm that Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher are all in top form as they return to their iconic roles as Han Solo, Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia, respectively.

“Absolutely,” Serkis told MTV when asked if the original trilogy’s three stars are up to the task of returning for the “Star Wars” sequels, “and that’s all I’m saying before I get enticed into saying more.”

Serkis will have much more to say as “Episode VII” nears its December 18, 2015 release date. For now, see Serkis work his magic in “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” in theaters now.





Is the Summer Blockbuster Dead?

(thedailybeast.com)              It’s been the worst summer at the box office in years, and no man in tights or robot-fighting action hero has been able to save it. Do audiences still care about things that go boom?

For all of the expected explosions on screen this summer—bigger and louder than ever—the biggest kaboom has been the implosion at the box office.

We’re just past the halfway point, but it’s looking like this is going to be the worst summer at the box office Hollywood has weathered in a long time. Receipts are down 20 percent from last year, and the July 4 weekend was commercially catastrophic. Blockbuster after blockbuster—The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Godzilla, Transformers: The Age of Extinction—has seen tepid reviews and a lack of sustained audience enthusiasm translate to a severe drop in their box office grosses after opening with strong debut weekends.

The conventional wisdom was that the promise of air conditioning, jumbo-sized popcorn, and about $200 million of special effects would be enough to trick audiences into flocking to the cineplex en masse. But with critics thrashing this summer’s slate of CGI’d monsters, robots, and superheroes, and audiences turning a cold shoulder to them, too—all the while bolstering a crop of well-reviewed critical darlings to better-than-expected box office hauls—is it time to pronounce the summer blockbuster dead?

At the very least, the fickle and discerning moviegoer is getting a vibrant diagnosis: healthier than ever.

To be clear, we’re not overhyping the dire state of this summer. The miserable tallies over the recent July 4 weekend were more eye-popping than anything Transformers put on screen. Receipts for the holiday frame were down 45 percent from last year, making it the worst July 4 weekend since 1999. (When you take inflation into account, it’s the worst since 1987.)

Two films—Deliver Us from Evil and Earth to Echo—opened in more than 3,000 theaters and somehow still grossed less than $10 million each. No film ever accomplished—though to call that an “accomplishment” is cruel—such a feat; these two films did it in a holiday weekend. Even Transformer: Age of Extinction, which won the July 4 weekend and was closing in on $200 million heading into this past weekend, is trailing the last Transformers film by 24 percent.

Now let's take a quick survey of the blockbusters that have underwhelmed this summer at the box office.

There was The Amazing Spider-Man 2, whose $90 million opening frame in May is decidedly less impressive when it’s compared to the $174 million Iron Man 3 opened 2013’s summer season with and taken as part of a $200 million total domestic gross (so far)—more than $60 million shy of the first Amazing Spider-Man in 2012. Godzilla and X-Men: Days of Future Past both did well at the box office, but neither were runaway success stories. Tellingly, both still trail the haul stacked up by The LEGO Movie back in February. The Tom Cruise vehicle Edge of Tomorrow still hasn’t crossed the $100 million mark in the U.S., and the less said about A Million Ways to Die in the West, Jersey Boys, and Blended the better.

But why is it now, specifically, that we’re declaring Time of Death on the summer blockbuster?

Compare this summer’s crop to last year’s big-budget hits: Iron Man 3, Despicable Me 2, Man of Steel, Fast & Furious 6, and Star Trek Into Darkness, all of which grossed more than X-Men—this summer’s top grosser so far—has managed. And then there’s 2012, which had the one-two kapow of The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises, among other hits, to buoy it.

Basically, the biggest comedy blockbuster of the summer ridiculed the very notion of the summer blockbuster itself.

But it’s more than just dollars that we’re concerned with. It should be maintained that, with exception, people go to the movies to see good movies. There’s always the initial fascination over a big-budget effects orgy like Transformers, but there’s a snowball effect and a longevity at the box office when people hear about a good movie, boosting them to earn more than expected. That’s a universal benchmark for a Hollywood success story. Blockbusters and low-budget indies alike are both capable of performing better than expected, and, by and large, that happens when a movie is good.

So what are the movies this summer that are performing better than expected? Not Age of Extinction, Amazing Spider-Man 2, or Godzilla, all of which received mild-to-bad reviews to match their mild box-office performances.

It’s The Fault in Our Stars, which proved that emotions are as valuable special effects as explosions. It’s Snowpiercer, which proved that action thrillers don’t need fighting robots and men in capes to wow audiences. It’s Neighbors, which was made on a production budget that was less than 15 percent that of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, and 22 Jump Street, which mined a majority of its comedy from the fact that funneling too much money into outlandish special effects in a sequel is a bad idea. Basically, the biggest comedy blockbuster of the summer ridiculed the very notion of the summer blockbuster itself.

This past weekend, the two releases everyone was talking about were Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and Boyhood. Apes, in every way, is a summer blockbuster, and it did supremely well at the box office, raking in $73 million—a stellar debut, even if it’s not enough to save the box office from its summer tumble. It also, as it happens, is a great movie, with a 79 Metacritic score that tops every other blockbuster released this summer.

And Boyhood, which has an almost unprecedented 99 Metacritic score, had the best per-location average of any release this summer and the second-best average of the year, behind only The Grand Budapest Hotel. Richard Linklater’s brilliant cinematic experiment, filmed bit by bit over the course of 12 years, is a small indie film. But it’s fantastic and got audiences excited to see it, explaining its excellent per-theater average.

The success of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and Boyhood prove it: When a movie is good, people will go see it, whether it’s a blockbuster or an indie.

Maybe it’s not entirely accurate, then, to eulogize the summer blockbuster and go on about how the poor box office this summer hints at its death. Instead, let’s make this a birth announcement and welcome, finally, to the world the discerning audience. It’s an audience that loves blockbusters as much as it loves delicately made indies. It just has one demand: that they be well-made.

And it's about time Hollywood met that demand.





'Star Trek 3' Isn't Greenlit Yet


(latino-review.com)              I know, I know, the internet lost it's mind when Roberto Orci was named as the writer and director of Star Trek 3 for Paramount despite having not directed before and recently splitting the incredibly lucrative Orci/Alex Kutzman partnership. Now we have to say "not so fast."

I don't think it's "haters, there's hope!" just simply "not so fast."

While talking to Collider, Orci let slip that Star Trek 3 isn't actually greenlit with him as the director until the studio gives script approval:

“Well, I don’t want to count my chickens before they hatch.  The studio has yet to even read the script.  I’m in the middle of writing it, with the talented team of [JohnD.] Payne and [Patrick] McKay.  They are true Star Trek fans, as well.  So, I can’t even think anything about the future until I give them a script and they greenlight it.  Until that happens, everything else is just a rumor.”

Who knows how we're supposed to feel about this one. I'm really just not hoping for another arch metaphor over an action movie. That was old Star Trek's bread and butter, but I think Into Darkness' 9/11 substory might have ruined that for a few years.





Mission Impossible 5 Release Date will be on Christmas of 2015

(kpopstarz.com)          Mission Impossible 5 movie has finally found Tom Cruise's new love! "The White Queen" actress Rebecca Ferguson, who's known for portraying Queen Elizabeth in the mini series has been cast to star in the fifth installment of Ethan Hunt's spy movie.

According to Deadline, Ferguson could play "Tom Cruise's right hand woman." However, more details about her character have yet to be confirmed.

In addition, Deadline reports that "Blue Jasmine" star Alec Baldwin is already in talks to take on the role of the head of CIA for the spy movie.

"Avengers Age of Ultron" star Jeremy Renner confirms that he'll be back to reprise his role as member of Ethan Hunt's elite team, William Brandt.

During an interview with Yahoo, Renner admits that he'll be back for M:I5 saying:

"It's kind of unlikely. In fact, I'm kind of strapped time-wise doing Avengers 2, and Mission: Impossible 5 is rearing its head, and then they want to do another Bourne movie. It's unlikely I can find the time right now. And that's all right. It's just really high-class problems - pretty awesome to have. Even if I really wanted to do it, which I don't, I couldn't." (talking about potentially appearing in True Detective).

Following the success of Tom Cruise's recently concluded mind blowing sci-fi film "Edge of Tomorrow," he is set to work on the fifth installment of the "Mission Impossible" franchise.

Mission Impossible 5 movie release date will be on Christmas of 2015, and for the whole team to reach the goal, the entire cast and crew are getting ready to start shooting in UK.

Knowing that the fifth installment of the franchise will be up against some major competitors like the highly anticipated return of sci-fi cult Star Wars: Episode 7, the creators together with the actors are pressured to level up their production and performance.

This year will make J.J. Abrams really busy as he is currently directing Star Wars Episode 7 and producing Mission Impossible 5 working hand in hand with Skydance Productions chief David Ellison and Mark Bakshi, Cruise who will be starring in the film is also part of the production.

Christopher McQuarrie on the other hand will be directing the film, which is written by Drew Pearce who penned the hit movie "Iron Man 3."

Meanwhile, J.J. Abrams is not the only member of the Mission Impossible team who will be having a busy year, it was previously reported that lead star Tom Cruise will also be reprising his role for a sequel of Jack Reacher, based on the Lee Child's novel "Never Go Back."

He will also be starring in the high-octane film "Go Like Hell" and a planned Top Gun sequel.

What do you think about Mission Impossible 5 movie Kpopstarz readers, would it be able to surpass the box office success of its prequel?





A Brief History of Motion-Capture in the Movies

(ign.com)           By Ali GrayMotion-capture – or 'performance-capture', to give the method the actor-friendly name it's more recently come to be known by – has now become the norm for the contemporary blockbuster. We barely bat an eyelid at a fully-rendered CG character these days, so ubiquitous are they as to remove all mystery of how they were created. As evidenced by the flawless, lifelike animation we see on screen today, motion-capture has evolved at a frightening rate over the last few decades, which is fitting, as it reaches previously inconceivable highs in Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes this month, with entire simian armies animated using the technique. But how did motion-capture get off the ground, and which films – and filmmakers – do we have to thank for its existence?

Full article - http://www.ign.com/articles/2014/07/11/a-brief-history-of-motion-capture-in-the-movies





Ghostbusters 3: Dan Aykroyd Suggests Money Problems Stalling the Movie

(au.ibtimes.com)                Dan Aykroyd, the star actor who may be one of the lead cast in the movie "Ghostbusters" 3, has suggested that the movie is getting stalled pending a decision by Sony. The biggest concern seems to be the level of investment for the movie.

Sony may be reluctant to "drop a $150 million" for the "Ghostbusters" 3 movie, Dan Aykroyd said in an interview on The Morning Show. He was attending an event to promote the initiative - Stand Up to Cancer.

When asked about the "Ghostbusters" 3 movie he said that he hopes all the issues get sorted at the corporate level "all the way up and down the company." The majority of the interview was focused on the initiative to tackle cancer.

"Ghostbusters" 3 has been a highly anticipated movie by the fans of the franchise. Some of the fans were disappointed to learn that Bill Murray will not be coming back for the movie. He was one of the lead actors in the previous two movies from the franchise.

The theme of the movies from the franchise revolves around a group of friends using scientific methods to detect and capture ghosts in New York City. The first movie saw them battle an inter dimensional demon and the villain in the second movie was a dead sorcerer trying to find a way to get back to the mortal world.

Both the movies were made in the 1980s and received a huge fan following. Recently many fan made films have been trying to cater to the demand for the next movie. The first movie was produced in the year 1984 and 2014 marks the 30th anniversary of the franchise. Fans have been hoping that some of the original cast come back to refresh the franchise.

Harold Ramis, one of the actors who also played a lead role in the previous movies, died on Feb 24, 2014. He played the role of Dr. Egon Spengler, the scientist who helped create the technology to find and capture ghosts in the movie.

There has still been no official word about the cast of "Ghostbusters" 3 or about when the movie will start filming. Meanwhile fans are eagerly waiting for any news about the franchise. It would be a tall order for the producers to recreate the magic of the first film which captured the imagination of the people and became highly successful.





-H            A single VFX shot from Dawn of the Planet of the Apes took a whopping 1030 iterations from the vfx wizards at WETA before the director signed off.      -http://www.slashfilm.com/dawn-of-the-planet-of-the-apes-tank-shot/