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Ben Woolf Dies; ‘American Horror Story’ Actor Was 34

Originally posted on Deadline:

Ben Woolf, the American Horror Story: Freak Show actor who was severely injured in a Hollywood traffic accident, died today. He was 34. Woolf’s agency confirmed his death to Deadline.

“We are saddened to learn the tragic news about Ben Woolf,” AHS‘ producers, FX and 20th Century Fox Television said in a joint statement tonight. “He was a tremendous professional and an incredibly kind person, beloved by the American Horror Story family. Our thoughts are with his family, friends and fans during this difficult time.”

The actor, who stood 4-foot-4, was struck in the head by the side mirror of a passing car Thursday at the intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Gramercy Place. He was taken to at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in critical condition. Police told Deadline the driver pulled over and remained at the scene and was not facing any charges.

Woolf played Meep in three episodes of…

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Box Office numbers: ‘Fifty Shades’ collapses but remains on top; ‘Hot Tub’ flops

That BDSM movie continued its reign on top but boy did it fall hard. Fifty Shades of Grey held on to the top spot for a consecutive weekend but fell 74% from last weekend. The film was huge last weekend but many thought that it would be front-loaded and those people were proven correct. However, Fifty Shades still held on to the top spot. In 2nd and 3rd were Kingsman: The Secret ServiceThe SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, each held well respectively. The newcomers of the weekend, McFarland, USA and The Duff each saw decent debuts while the more notable newcomer Hot Tub Time Machine 2 flopped hard this weekend.

After the huge debut that saw over $238 million worldwide, many believed that Fifty Shades of Grey would have a big decline but nobody saw this. Some of the summer blockbusters from 2014 (Amazing Spider-Man 2GodzillaX-Men: Days of Future Past) had declines in the 60% range which is the range many expected Mr. Grey’s film to decline towards. Instead, it fell a whopping 74% which is worse than any Twilight film, or Valentine’s Day. According to Box Office MojoFifty Shades of Grey had the 2nd biggest decline for a movie playing at over 3,100 locations. Only the Friday the 13th had a bigger decline which was 80%. Still, the film has earned $129.1 million domestically and $280.5 million internationally. This is huge for a movie with a $40 million budget. Expect Mr. Grey’s debut film to finish with $160-$165 million at the end of its run.

Last weekend’s 2nd place winner held up well as Kingsman fell 49%. It earned $18.3 million for a total gross of $68 million. With great word of mouth, expect Matthew Vaughn’s spy film to cross the $100 million range domestically. In 3rd was The SpongeBob Movie which earned $16.5 million, declining only 47%. The film has earned $126 million since and will likely finish its run around $150 million with no competition in the coming weeks.

The newcomers of the weekend saw a mixed bag as McFarland, USA and The Duff both had solid starts. The Kevin Costner sports film earned $11 million, which was a better debut than Costner’s last sports film Draft Day ($9.8 million). The Duff  didn’t reach the heights of Easy A, it did better than another fellow CBS high school film, Beastly. The Duff earned $10.8 million which was solid for a movie on a $8.5 million budget.

The bad news of the weekend came in the form of Hot Tub Time Machine 2. The comedy sequel debut to a weak $5.9 million and will likely disappear by next weekend. It received negative feedback from both critics and audiences. Compared to the original which was seen at the time as a disappointment, Hot Tub Time Machine earned $14 million on its way to $50.2 million finish. The film had a cult following which prompted MGM & Paramount to make a sequel.

However, the problem with the sequel was the unclear story-line and the lack of John Cusack, the lead from the original film. The marketing on the first film was clear: The Hangover with time travel essentially. The new film never seemed to be clear on why fans should come back for another when the marketing seemed to be all over the place.

Also worthy of a mention, the juggernaut that is American Sniper didn’t win any major awards and only took home 1 oscar. Regardless it still earned $10 million this weekend for a total of $320 million. Expect Sniper to pass Katniss and co. for the title of highest grossing movie from 2014.

Next week will see the return of the man formally known as Mr. Independence Day. Will Smith returns with future Suicide Squad co-star Margot Robbie in Focus. Also making its debut is the horror film, The Lazarus Effect featuring Olivia Wilde, Evan Peters, Mark Duplass, and Donald Glover. Expect Focus to take the top spot with a $20-$25 million debut with Fifty Shades and SpongeBob right behind it.

Weekend Gross for February 20 – February 22 (Numbers courtesy of Box Office Mojo)

  1. Fifty Shades of Grey  $22,259,030 (Week 2: Total $129,161,540)
  2. Kingsman: The Secret Service  $18,346,023 (Week 2: Total $67,926,972)
  3. The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water  $16,573,682 (Week 3: Total $126,245,516)
  4. McFarland, USA  $11,020,798 (Week 1: Total $11,020,798)
  5. The Duff  $10,809,149 (Week 1: Total $10,809,149)
  6. American Sniper  $10,052,447 (Week 9: Total $320,009,625)
  7. Hot Tub Time Machine 2  $5,963,324 (Week 1: Total $5,963,324)
  8. Jupiter Ascending  $3,805,317 (Week 3: Total $39,662,296)
  9. The Imitation Game  $2,527,637 (Week 13: Total $83,883,539)
  10. Paddington  $2,444,684 (Week 6: Total $67,816,450)

Rumor: Sony & MCU’s ‘Spider-Man’ to be Miles Morales?

With all the buzz set by the Oscar’s last night with Birdman taking home top honors and featuring another terrible show, despite highlights from Neil Patrick Harris’ opening, the Everything is Awesome performance and Lady Gaga’s performance. What may have been lost in all that buzz was a potential rumor about the new Spider-Man.

In case you have been living under a rock for the past month, Sony & Marvel Studios agreed to a deal that would allow Spider-Man to join the MCU and Marvel would help Sony reboot Spidey once again. Many believed that Peter Parker would once again be played by a new actor with names tossed around such as Taron Egerton (Kingsman), Logan Lerman (Fury), and Dylan O’Brien (Maze Runner) as potential candidates. Not so fast, as Jeff Sneider of The Wrap said on the Meet the Movie Press podcast that he is “95% sure” that he won’t be white, that he will likely be black and maybe latino too.

If this is indeed true, it would be a bit refreshing to see Miles Morales to get his big screen debut. Don’t get me wrong, I love Peter Parker and he’s one of the biggest reasons why Spidey is my favorite superhero. However, we have seen 2 big screen interpretations of Parker and maybe Miles would be a bit of fresh air. The only thing about this is that Marvel & Sony’s press release did say that Peter Parker would be Spider-Man but things can change rapidly. This would be huge for Marvel & Sony if they decide to go with Miles but the main problem would be how do you go about explaining Peter Parker since he is a big part of Miles’ comic book storyline. Yet this could just be speculation and prove to be wrong. We’ll only know when Marvel announces the actor portraying the web crawler. The next Marvel Cinematic Universe film will be Avengers: Age of Ultron and will be released on May 1, 2015. The next Spider-Man film will be released July 27, 2017 and Spidey makes his MCU debut in Captain America: Civil War which will be released May 6, 2016.

(Skip to 44 min mark for Spider-Man rumor)

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‘Aquaman': First Photo Released of Jason Momoa as DC Superhero

Originally posted on Variety:

Aquaman has officially landed.

Director Zack Snyder tweeted the first photo of Jason Momoa as DC Comics superhero Aquaman on Thursday night.

Momoa, ex-star of “Game of Thrones,” will appear in Snyder’s upcoming film “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” as well as the future Justice League films.

In the DC comic books, Aquaman is the king of the seven seas, hence the poster slogan.

“Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” hits theaters March 25, 2016.

Here’s the full photo:


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Box Office Numbers: ‘Fifty Shades’ dominates worldwide; ‘Kingsman’ exceeds expectations

The hype was justified as Fifty Shades of Grey delivered a monster debut over President’s Day weekend. The erotic romance exceeded expectations for a $85 million debut and should earn $94.3 million over the four-day weekend. Fifty Shades wasn’t the only new movie this weekend as Fox’s Kingsman: The Secret Service had a great debut in its own right. While it wasn’t quite the juggernaut that Fifty Shades was, Kingsman exceeded expectations with a $36.2 million debut and a four-day weekend of $42 million. Last weekend’s champ The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water fell to third but held pretty well with a 43% fall. Another noteworthy mention for the blockbuster American Sniper which passed the $300 million mark and will eventually surpass The Hunger Games: Mockingjay- Part I for the highest grossing film from 2014.

Most box office analyst expected the erotic romance Fifty Shades of Grey to open big but nobody knew how big it would be. Some had it as low as $40 million to as high as $100 million. It ended up earning $85 million over the 3-day weekend. That is a bigger opening than the first Twilight but it did not surpass the opening of other popular book to film adaptations The Hunger Games or the original Harry Potter. Yet the erotic romance did not have the appeal for men as those other books which had appeal to both male & female audiences, Fifty Shades relied mostly on the female demographic. Mr. Grey’s film earned $30.3 million on opening day and had a 21.7% increase on Valentine’s Day with $36.7 million. The film has shattered the record for highest grossing 4-day President weekend, which was previously held by the ensemble film Valentine’s Day.

Also good news for Universal was the international total where Mr. Grey and his BDSM ways earned $158 million overseas. That would be the 2nd largest international debut for Universal behind only Fast and Furious 6. The marketing plan worked wonders for Universal where they brilliantly planned the release for the erotic romance on Valentine’s Day. Next weekend will be interesting to see as the film is expected to have a big fall with the mostly negative feedback on the film. The bondage film only has a 26% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and earned a C+ rating from audiences. Still, with next weekend looking relatively weak, don’t be shocked to see the E.L. James adaptation take the top spot once again.

It wasn’t only a good weekend for Universal as Fox’s Kingsman: The Secret Service had an excellent debut. The spy film earned $36.2 million this weekend and a $42 million during the 4-day weekend. The film was the latest from Matthew Vaughn (X-Men: First ClassKick-Ass) who allegedly declined directing last summer’s X-Men: Days of Future Past for Kingsman. Similar to how Kick-Ass parodied the superhero genre, Kingsman was an adaptation on a comic book that parodied the spy genre. Fox had pegged the ultra-violent spy film for a $20 million opening, similar to Kick-Ass‘ debut. Instead with more star power (Colin Firth & Samuel L. Jackson were the main vocal point in the marketing), Kingsman played a perfect male-centric alternative to Fifty Shades. The film earned good feedback with a 72% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes and a B+ from audiences. With not much competition next week, we could see Kingsman hold well for a possible $110 million total.

Last weekend’s champ, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water fell to 3rd place with a 3-day weekend total of $31.6 million and 4-day total of $40 million. The SpongeBob sequel has surpassed the final total of the original SpongeBob SquarePants Movie of $85.4 million. The Nickelodeon sequel has earned a total of $103.1 million, which would put it a little behind Disney’s Big Hero 6 at the same point. Regardless, this is a huge win for Paramount which should see their SpongeBob sequel end its run around $150 million.

Another weekend, another good gross for the Iraqi war Blockbuster American Sniper which surpassed another milestone. The Oscar-nominee earned $16.5 million and $19.4 million during the holiday weekend for a total of $307.1 million. The Bradley Cooper vehicle will see a possible boost if the war flick earns any Oscar wins. Regardless if it earns a boost from Oscar buzz, the Clint Eastwood film should surpass Guardians of the Galaxy and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part I for highest grossing movie of 2014.

Next weekend will see some smaller films making their debut as the Hot Tub Time Machine guys are back for another dip in Hot Tub Time Machine 2, Kevin Costner trains a bunch of track athletes in McFarland, USA, and a bunch of teenagers discuss the merits of beauty in The Duff. Expect Fifty Shades and Kingsman to battle for the top spot with Hot Tub Time Machine 2 and McFarland, USA battling for 3rd.

4-Day Holiday Weekend Gross from February 13 – February 16 (Estimates courtesy of Box Office Mojo)

  1. Fifty Shades of Grey  $94,395,000 (Week 1: Total Gross $94,395,000)
  2. Kingsman: The Secret Service  $42,000,000 (Week 1: Total Gross $42,000,000)
  3. The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water  $40,000,000 (Week 2: Total Gross $103,133,000)
  4. American Sniper  $19,460,000 (Week 8: Total Gross $307,158,000)
  5. Jupiter Ascending  $10,680,000 (Week 2: Total Gross $33,801,000)
  6. Paddington  $5,375,000 (Week 5: Total Gross $63,568,000)
  7. Seventh Son  $4,756,000 (Week 2: Total Gross $14,027,000)
  8. The Imitation Game  $4,095,000 (Week 12: Total Gross $80,227,000)
  9. The Wedding Ringer  $3,700,000 (Week 5: Total Gross $60,043,000)
  10. Project Almanac  $3,260,000 (Week 3: Total Gross $20,090,000)

Sony & Marvel’s ‘Spider-Man’ details: New actor details, update on future Spidey spin-offs, MCU connection

Yesterday was a joyous day in the Geek community as the seemingly impossible finally came true. The prodigal son is joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Spider-Man will officially be joining the Avengers. Many saw this coming as Sony’s latest Amazing Spider-Man films disappointed at the box office and drew mixed reactions from many. Despite some positives from the movie (Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man, Garfield and co-star Emma Stone’s chemistry), the negatives simply outweighed the good and Sony was starting to the heat with the web slinger. Fans everywhere wanted Sony to simply sell the property back to Disney so that Marvel Studios could use them for their Universe. Instead, Disney and Sony agreed on a deal that will send Spidey to a MCU movie and then a new solo film for the web-head. The new solo film means that we will get another Spider-Man meaning that Andrew Garfield is out. It’s also been reported that Kevin Feige from Marvel Studios will work with Sony on the solo film, but new development have had many fans scratching their heads.

The deal with Marvel Studios and Sony is said that Spider-Man will be in a MCU movie before his solo film. The MCU movie that Spidey will likely show up in is Captain America: Civil War which features a story-line that involves Spider-Man as the hero stuck in the middle in a feud between Captain America and Iron Man. Marvel previously attempted borrowing the web swinger for their Civil War adaption but nothing came into fruition until now. Afterwards, the deal states that Marvel will essentially consult Sony with the solo film as they will once again try to restart this franchise. An interesting development about this deal is how both Marvel and Sony will profit off this deal. According to Variety, Marvel doesn’t receive a profit from the solo film while Sony doesn’t get a dime from the MCU film featuring Spidey. Instead, Marvel profits off the merchandise while Sony will breathe new life into their big franchise.

In terms of the actual Spider-Man, fans are now clamoring to know who will be the next actor to don the red and blue suit. It’s been speculated that Sony and Marvel want to go young with their new web swinger. The new film will likely pass over the origins of the character and will have him already swinging around fighting crime. Some actors that could possibly portray Spider-Man include Dylan O’Brien (The Maze Runner), Freddie Highmore (Bates Motel), Ansal Elgort (Fault in Our Stars, Divergent), Kodi Smith-McPhee (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes), Taron Egerton (Kingsman: The Secret Service) Logan Lerman (Fury, Perks of a Wallflower), and even Donald Glover (Community). As much as I’d love to see Glover become the new Spider-Man, I fully expect the new Spider-Man to be a relatively young, small-time actor.

Despite all the positives surrounding the story, there is one final detail that worries me. According to Variety, Sony is still planning on making their spin-off films of Sinister SixVenom, and an all-female Spider-Man movie. The only film that was cancelled by Sony was The Amazing Spider-Man 3 and all of these spin-offs allegedly will not have Kevin Feige on board. I simply wonder if Sony will just let Spider-Man be borrowed for a couple of movies so that they can just keep him all to themselves, attempting to create their own universe. I’m just speculating with that last bit but as a fan, I’m cautiously excited about the future of Spider-Man. The next Marvel Cinematic Universe film will be Avengers: Age of Ultron which will be released May 1, 2015.

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Spider-Man Returns to Marvel; New Movie Coming in 2017

Originally posted on Variety:

Sony Pictures Entertainment has announced a new partnership with Marvel Studios that brings Spider-Man movies into the Marvel cinematic universe.

The next Spider-Man film will hit theaters on July 28, 2017.

The studio is expected to cast a new Spider-Man after Andrew Garfield starred in the last two superhero films.

Marvel’s Kevin Feige will produce the rebooted Spidey with Amy Pascal, who recently stepped down as co-chairman of Sony in a new producer deal. She oversaw the $4 billion Spider-Man franchise for over 13 years at the studio.

According to Monday’s announcement, Sony will continue to finance, distribute, own and have final creative control of the Spider-Man pics.

They’ll work with Marvel on ways to weave Spider-Man into Marvel’s upcoming superhero films, which includes the popular “Avengers” franchise.

To make room for Spider-Man, Disney has rescheduled several of its Marvel tentpoles, including “Thor: Ragnorak,” which was originally planned to open on the…

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