CinemaCon: ‘X Men’, Other Women, Lots Of Girls And An Ape Steal The Show At 20th’s Big Vegas Show

Pete Hammond

With a chorus line of 40 Samba-dancing Vegas showgirls parading through the audience to the stage for a performance of a song from the upcoming CinemaCon2014_badgeRio 2 (4/11), 20th Century Fox got its CinemaCon presentation off in style. And the studio earned high marks for attempting to put a little showmanship that has been missing from some other presentations this week. Hey this is Vegas. Let’s liven it up, folks. And Fox did.

CinemaCon 2014 - 20th Century Fox Special Presentation Highlighting Its Future Release Schedule This is not to say the rest of their “show” was not all about showing off footage from their 2014 slate. It was, but clearly they put a lot of work into impressing these theatre owners who responded strongly to what Fox was offering. Distribution President Chris Aronson appeared with a feather headdress on (he looked pretty hot) but quickly took it off for a more corporate look as he welcomed the crowd and got things rolling including those previously reported remarks regarding NATO ‘s John Fithian and 12 Years A Slave. He pointed out that the studio’s total worldwide boxoffice was $3.39 billion, the fifth consecutive year they have exceeded the $3 billion mark. He then introduced 20th’s Chairman Jim Gianopulos who expertly hosted the event as he does each year, actually managing to sound like he’s not reading stuff off a prompter – an art both he and Disney’s M.C. Alan Horn have mastered. He launched right into it by announcing “we are starting summer in April this year” and bringing on Cameron Diaz and Leslie Mann to introduce clips of their comedy The Other Woman. Then it was time for the “tentpoles” as he intro’d a clip package featuring the opening scene and trailer from X Men: Days Of CinemaCon 2014 - 20th Century Fox Special Presentation Highlighting Its Future Release Schedule Future Past (5/23), extended footage from How To Train Your Dragon 2 (6/13) from their partnership with DreamWorks Animation and a harrowing scene from Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes (7/11) , the latter really whetting the exhibitors appetite. Let’s just say it involves a couple of drunk guys, a playful-seeming ape and an Uzi. Wow. Even Shailene Woodley, star of  20th’s June 6th romantic drama The Fault In Our Stars, said she was still shaking from the Apes footage when Gianopulos brought her on. Read More »

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CinemaCon: 20th Century Fox Fires Back At NATO Chief For ‘12 Years A Slave’ Remarks

By | Thursday March 27, 2014 @ 11:39am PDT
Pete Hammond

On Tuesday during his annual address to delegates at CinemaCon, National Association Of Theatre Owners president John Fithian caused a stir with a real head-scratcher that has keptCinemaCon2014_badge resonating among theater owners and some studio executives when he stated he waited to watch this year’s Oscar-winning Best Picture 12 Years A Slave at home, rather than at a cinema, becauseCinemaCon 2014 - The State Of The Industry: Past, Present And Future And Universal Studios Presentation it was too “unequivocally intense.”  For the head of an organization that is meant to promote movie-watching in theaters, singling out the Academy’s choice for Best Picture (with that Oscar distinction traditionally a real magnet to bring customers into theaters) was an eye-opener, and execs at 20th Century Fox to whom I have spoken were furious with the NATO chief for even suggesting, however personal, that the preferred way to see the widely acclaimed Fox Searchlight release was to wait and see it at home. This morning, near the beginning of their studio presentation at Caesars Palace’s Colisseum theatre, Fox shot back. ”All of (our) films are meant to be seen in the best possible venue, the cinema, your cinemas and that includes movies that win the Oscar for Best Picture like 12 Years A Slave,” said 20th Century Fox distribution president Chris Aronson in his opening remarks this morning that contained that not-so-veiled reference and response to Fithian’s comments.

Related: CinemaCon: ‘X Men’, Other Women, Lots Of Girls And An Ape Steal Show

12-Years-a-Slave-posterOf course it is no secret that many Academy members were, like Fithian, reluctant to watch the intense film, either in a theater or at home on their screener. That’s one of the reasons Fox Searchlight launched their second-phase “It’s Time” campaign in order to encourage them to view the film that would eventually take the top prize for the studio. But coming from the head of NATO, these remarks really stung, especially since he so publicly supports strict windows between the theatrical release of a movie and when it can be consumed at home. One Fox exec to whom I spoke was, in a word, livid when he heard Fithian’s remarks. Another major theatre chain head who played several runs of 12 Years A Slave and still has it in some theaters (even though it first opened in October) was equally outraged by the suggestion that the film is too intense for their screens. Another said, “It’s like if you were the head of Macy’s department store and urged people to shop in their store, but to buy your underwear online.” Read More »

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CinemaCon: ‘Spider-Man’, Singing Orphans And Sex Tapes Highlight Sony’s Show For Theatre Owners

By | Thursday March 27, 2014 @ 1:58am PDT
Pete Hammond

Wednesday afternoon it was Sony‘s turn at bat to strut its stuff at CinemaCon in a no-frills, slickly produced reel that ran the gamut of the kind CinemaCon2014_badgeof movies the studio is known for. There were no stars on … Read More »

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CinemaCon: Industry Icon Tom Sherak Remembered And Honored At Emotional Pioneer Awards Dinner

By | Thursday March 27, 2014 @ 1:00am PDT
Pete Hammond

The 73rd Pioneer Of The Year Dinner in honor of the late Tom Sherak just may have been the most emotional and moving event the philanthropic organization has ever thrown, certainly of those I have attended in the four years they have been held during CinemaCon. As 20thF Century Fox President of Distribution  and President of the Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation Chris Aronson said, it was also “historic” as it represented the first time the Pioneer Of The Year award was presented posthumously. That was not the plan when they selected Sherak, who passed away in January, for the honor several months ago. The dinner raised over $1M for the Pioneer Assistance Fund. Sherak’s widow Madeleine told me Wednesday evening that he was thrilled to be getting the award and was well aware of it before his passing. Still, she noted it was very bittersweet. ”When Tom died he didn’t leave anyone in charge. There isn’t a vice-president of All Things Tom. But what he did leave was a piece of him in everyone he touched. He didn’t have a number two, he had a number hundreds. We all have watched him through the years, we were mentored by him, he taught us to ‘do’,” Aronson said in opening remarks.
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CinemaCon: Disney’s Alan Horn Says ‘Million Dollar Arm’ Is Highest Testing Movie He’s Ever Had

By | Wednesday March 26, 2014 @ 5:16pm PDT
Pete Hammond

CinemaCon2014_badgeAlthough Disney devoted a good chunk of its CinemaCon presentation today to talk of Star Wars and The Avengers and clips of upcoming movies including first looks at the live-action re-telling of Cinderella and Pixar’s Inside Out, theater owners left the near three-hour session really singing the praises of one of the lesser-known films on the slate: the May 16 release Million Dollar Arm. It stars Mad Men’s Jon Hamm, who received the convention’s Excellence In Acting award from studio Chairman Alan Horn just before a full screening of the movie, which Horn told the crowd has scored higher than any movie he has ever tested Jon Hamm Alan Horn handshakeat Disney, or Warner Bros before that. “And that includes the first Harry Potter, which was so highly anticipated,” he said. Judging from the reaction in the Caesars Palace Colosseum theater and comments afterward, those test scores would seem to be justified. This is the kind of increasingly rare non-animated family film that should play across the board. “It’s comical, it’s emotional, it has great music” was what one exhibitor was heard saying as he walked out. That music, by the way, is from two-time Oscar winner A.R. Rahman, who scored Slumdog Millionaire.

Related: Hot Trailer: Jon Hamm In ‘Million Dollar Arm’

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CinemaCon: Christopher Nolan Warns Theatre Owners: How ‘Interstellar’ Is Presented Will Be More Important Than Any Film He’s Done Before

By | Wednesday March 26, 2014 @ 3:56pm PDT
Pete Hammond

The large graphic hovering above today’s CinemaCon luncheon filmmaker interview event said “Interstellar THE WORK OF CHRISTOPHER CinemaCon2014_badgeNOLAN“, but any theatre owner who was there anxious to get details of the blockbuster filmmaker’s latest learned very little. Nolan said he is still involved in his favorite part of the process – putting the first cut of Interstellar together – and wants to keep it all under wraps for now. He did praise star Matthew McConaughey’s work just as he did when I saw him at an event on the Paramount lot last week. Today he told the crowd he cast the brand new Oscar winner because he has a sort of “everyman”  the audience could see the story through, saying he got interested in him particularly after seeing Mud. He also said his brother Jonah had MatthewMcConaughey-2__140303064225-150x150actually written the initial script and that he became involved years later incorporating other ideas and elements that shaped the final screenplay. But in terms of real scoops we got none. “Really it’s about travel to other places we couldn’t reach through travel through space because the time expanse is far beyond anything we could conceive of,” was the most detailed description moderator Todd McCarthy could wrest out of him in a 50-minute interview, despite repeated tries. Read More »

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EMMYS: HBO’s ‘True Detective’ To Compete As Drama Series

By | Tuesday March 25, 2014 @ 4:00pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

true-detective-hboOne of the most intriguing questions of this year’s Emmy season has been answered, with HBO‘s buzzy True Detective opting to compete as a drama series. The project, created by Nic Pizzolatto and starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, was sold and done as an eight-episode limited series, which easily would’ve qualified it as a miniseries. FX’s anthology series American Horror Story, which airs 13-episode installments, started off in the drama series category at the 2012 Golden Globes before switching to longform for the 2012 Emmy Awards. It has competed Emmyslogo_newas a miniseries ever since and has been dominant in Emmy nominations, landing 17 last year. The drama field is far more competitive and tough as PBS’ Downton Abbey found out after switching from miniseries to drama series after Season 1. Still, winning a drama series Emmy has a big cachet to it. Plus, True Detective does employ drama series storytelling techniques. But an entry as a miniseries would’ve pretty much guaranteed the moody Louisiana series a dominant performance and a slew of trophies. Now it will go against the final installment of AMC’s Breaking Bad among other drama heavyweights. With the TV Academy restoring separate best TV movie and best miniseries categories and True Detective not entering as mini, the longform field has a lot of room this year. Ryan Murphy is behind top contenders on both sides — film The Normal Heart and mini AHS. With the slew of event series put in the pipeline by the networks not slated to premiere until after the end of this year’s eligibility period (Fox’s 24: Live Another Day, for example, debuts in May and won’t qualify for 2014 Emmys), AHS‘ top competitor will likely be FX’s Fargo. Read More »

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CinemaCon: Universal Excites Convention With First Looks At ‘Fifty Shades Of Grey’, ‘Minions’, ‘Fast & Furious 7′ And Angelina Jolie’s Potential Oscar Juggernaut ‘Unbroken’

Pete Hammond

Universal wowed exhibitors this morning with a presentation that went way beyond just showing off what they have this summer. Among the films CinemaCon2014_badgegetting their first look anywhere was Scarlett Johansson’s summer action flick Lucy, the long-gestating follow-up to Dumb And Dumber with Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels back in Dumb And Dumber To, plus hot-button first looks at footage from 2015 releases including with the late Paul Walker in the April 2015 Fast & Furious 7 and Valentine’s Day 2015 opener Fifty Shades Of GreyAccording to the studio’s Donna Langley, this was the first time anyone has viewed any of it outside of the Universal hierarchy. CinemaCon 2014 - The State Of The Industry: Past, Present And Future And Universal Studios PresentationIt was a good teaser but stopped shy of showing any of the really hot stuff. The 2015 spinoff of Despicable Me, Uni’s biggest domestic hit ever (the sequel that is), Minions also got a hearty response from the pumped-up crowd who is anxious for a few hits. It looks like over the course of the next two years this studio is determined to give some to them. But despite all of this news-making footage it was clearly Angelina Jolie who stole this show. As the only star Universal trotted out onstage, she was there this time as the director of their Christmas Day release Unbroken, and introduced seven minutes of footage from what definitely looks like a possible Oscar juggernaut. It has all the makings. Read More »

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CinemaCon: Paramount Kicks Things Off With ‘Transformers’, ‘Turtles’ And Brief Footage Of Christopher Nolan’s ‘Interstellar’

Pete Hammond

Six major studios, and what many have been referring to as a seventh major (Lionsgate/Summit who have the week’s number one film Divergent and CinemaCon2014_badgewhat appears to be Hollywood’s latest franchise player), will be presenting, in one form or another, their goods to … Read More »

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The Shorty Awards Swing Onto Vine – The Best Shortest Films of the Year

By | Sunday March 23, 2014 @ 1:29pm PDT

Shorty Awards front pageThey may be called the Shorty Awards, but the honors for various online video, business, entertainment, journalism and social-media stars are getting a bit longer this year, with added categories for the best 6-second videos on Twitter’s Vine app and for the people who make them.

To get you ready to fill out the mock ballot for your pool at that big Shorty Awards watch party we just know you’re all doing, Deadline has taken a gander at all the nominated Vines, which is what they call the video posts on Vine. We also have links to the finalists for the category of best Vine creators.

At 6 seconds each, it took longer to load some of the finalist Vines than to watch them (even twice). Some have attracted hundreds of thousands of views, while others are for more refined (or, perhaps, more sharply restricted) tastes.

“Six-second savants have toiled in obscurity throughout history with no outlet for their talents,” said Greg Galant, the Shorty Awards cofounder and executive producer. “Everything changed for them last year when Vine launched.”

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BAFTA Film Awards 2015 Set For Feb 8

By | Friday March 14, 2014 @ 8:13am PDT

BAFTA: Steve McQueenThe British Academy of Film and Television Arts has scheduled the 2015 EE British Academy Film Awards for Sunday, February 8 at London’s Royal Opera House to be broadcast live in the UK on the BBC. The awards … Read More »

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EMMYS: ‘Tonight Show’ With Hosts Jay Leno & Jimmy Fallon Both Submitted For Consideration

Nellie Andreeva

Tonight Show Emmys Jimmy Fallon Jay LenoWith NBC’s The Tonight Show making a transition from host Jay Leno to Jimmy Fallon midway through the season, both versions are eligible for Primetime Emmys. The same goes for Late Night and its incarnations hosted by Fallon and Seth Meyers. I’ve learned that both The Tonight Show With Jay Leno Emmyslogo_newand The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon are being submitted by NBC along with Late Night With Seth Meyers, Last Call With Carson Daly and the network’s venerable late-night sketch comedy series Saturday Night Live. NBC was in a similar situation during the 2009-2010 season when both The Tonight Show With Conan O’Brien, which aired through January, and Tonight Show With Jay Leno, which succeeded it, were submitted (O’Brien landed a nomination). Given the fact that Fallon just moved into Tonight Show and is looking to establish himself as host, it makes sense for him only to be submitted for that show. For Leno, this could be the last time he is up for a late-night Emmy. His Tonight Show has been nominated 10 times for Best Music, Comedy Or Variety Series, winning once. Fallon and Meyers’ previous shows, Late Night and SNL, also have been nominated in the top variety category. Read More »

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Jay Leno’s TV Hall Of Fame Acceptance Speech: Video

By | Wednesday March 12, 2014 @ 8:46am PDT

Jay Leno was inducted last night into the Television Academy’s Hall Of Fame along with Rupert Murdoch, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, David E Kelley, Ray Dolby and Brandon Stoddard. Here is Leno’s acceptance speech — if you’re missing his Tonight Show stand-ups, this will do nicely.

Related: … Read More »

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Jay Leno Reminds Bill Maher Of Israel As He’s Inducted Into TV Academy Hall Of Fame With Rupert Murdoch, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, David E Kelley, Ray Dolby & Brandon Stoddard: Video

LisaColumn__131015210634-275x198Jay Leno, being inducted into the TV Academy’s Hall of Fame on Tuesday night, said he’s glad he left NBC’s Tonight Show when he did The Television Academy's 23rd Hall Of Fame Induction Galabecause he was the oldest person on the show. Everyone else was 20 to 40 years younger than him and, while you may think you’re holding your own with them, “they’re really just laughing at you,” he explained. “You can’t be hip past a certain age. You have old guy gestures.” And when you make references to The Dick Van Dyke Show they think it’ s “a lesbian joke or something” —  and they don’t understand what you’re talking about when you say the time is “Half past 2.”

Leno told the Beverly Wilshire Hotel gathering his favorite book is Charles Dickens’ novella A Christmas Carol —  a searing indictment of 19th century industrial capitalism — and his favorite character in that classic work of literature, Mr. Fezziwig, who treated a young Ebenezer Scrooge like a son. Leno mentioned this by way of saying how proud he was that his Tonight Show was a place where people came to work hard during the day and, at 6, they went home to be with their family.

Related: Jay Leno’s TV Hall Of Fame Acceptance Speech: Video

Emmyslogo_newEven though he’s now “jobless and penniless” Leno still is a “fantastic stand-up,” said Bill Maher, who inducted Leno into the Hall, and the fact people are wondering what he will do next proves he’s still relevant, the HBO show host said. He described Leno’s more than two decades hosting Tonight as a drive down a highway in “some giant gleaming pristine luxury car with the competition far in the rearview mirror — except one time when NBC,” driving some beat-up clunker, “blindsided him and beat the sh*t out of his beautiful car.” Maher blamed TV critics for rewriting history to make Leno’s predecessor, Johnny Carson, out to be some guy who did a “rebellious, edgy, film noir version” of Tonight Show that by comparison made Jay look like a milquetoast. “That’s all bullsh*t — and I say that as a fan of Carson,” Maher said. Leno is the victim of “some bad publicity over the years” that he did not deserve — most famously how America got it into its head that “Jay Leno stole Conan O’Brien’s dream,” Maher complained, calling it,  “the most hysterical thought I’ve ever heard, in a business known for bullsh*t.”

“Jay reminds me a little of Israel,” Maher continued. “He isn’t perfect but he’s held to standard I don’t think anybody in the world is expected to live up to but him,” he said, calling Leno “the most Machiavellian and also the most morally upright person I know in show business. He will hide in a closet but never needs a confessional booth.” Read More »

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Global Showbiz Watch 29: The Mip-TV Preview Podcast

Global Showbiz Watch podcast 29In this week’s podcast, Deadline International Editor Nancy Tartaglione and host David Bloom preview this year’s Mip-TV market and the interactive Israeli format that may just dominate this year’s show; take a look at some of the very familiar nominees for the Olivier Awards, honoring the best of British stage; and ponder the promised closure of BBC Three amid the possible resurgence of The X Factor in the United Kingdom as Simon Cowell and Cheryl Cole return to shore up the sagging franchise. Read More »

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Key Dates Announced For 2015 SAG Awards

By | Tuesday March 11, 2014 @ 9:11am PDT

sagawards__130708181913LOS ANGELES (March 11, 2014) – SAG Awards® Committee Chair JoBeth Williams today announced the key dates for the 21st Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards®, including dates for nominating committee selection, award submissions, the nominations announcement and media credentialing. Celebrating the outstanding performances in film and primetime television of 2014, the Screen Actors Guild Awards will be presented in a live simulcast on TNT and TBS on Sunday, Jan. 25, at 8 p.m. (ET), 7 p.m. (CT), 6 p.m. (MT) and 5 p.m. (PT).

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Sam Mendes’ ‘Charlie & The Chocolate Factory’ Leads Olivier Award Noms

olivier awardsThe Sam Mendes-directed West End musical Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, which recently extended its run to May 20, 2015, tied today with the revival of Stephen Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along to lead the list of Olivier Award nominees with seven each. Charlie grabbed mentions in the Best Actor in a Musical category for Douglas Hodge as well as Best New Musical, among others. The show, from Warner Bros Theatrical Ventures, has twice broken records during its run for the highest weekly gross sales. The other Best New Musical nominees include Once, The Book Of Mormon and The Scottsboro Boys; each received six nominations. In the acting categories, Tom Hiddleston is cited for his lead turn in Coriolanus and Jude Law for his take on Henry V. Judi Dench in Peter And Alice, is up against Hayley Atwell, Anna Chancellor and Lesley Manville for Best Actress. The Olivier Awards ceremony will take place at London’s Royal Opera House on April 13. Click over for a full list of nominations: Read More »

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‘Midnight Rider’ Victim Sarah Jones Memorialized At Camera Operators Awards; ‘Gravity’ And ‘Mad Men’ Land Wins

By | Saturday March 8, 2014 @ 9:56pm PST

Sarah Jones OscarsThe Society of Camera Operators held an in memoriam tribute to assistant camerawoman Sarah Jones as part of its annual awards ceremony tonight at the Skirball Cultural Center.  The tribute was the second to be held for the 27-year-old this weekend following Friday’s Sunset Boulevard candlelight walk and vigil in her honor, which counted nearly 1,000 local union members. Attending both events were Jones’ parents Richard and Elizabeth from South Carolina. Jones was killed in an on-set train accident during the production of the Gregg Allman biopic Midnight Rider on February 20 in Jesup, GA. Jones’ death has spurred an industrywide outcry for improved safety standards.

Related: Anger, Impassioned Pleas For Safety At Tribute For Sarah Jones

As part of the ceremony, her parents were presented with a plaque accepting her as an honorary member of the SOC. SarahJonesFormer SOC president Dan Kneece, who cut together the moving tribute video of Jones as the Hall & Oates song “Sara Smile” played, said he was crying as he put together the presentation. Although he didn’t know Jones personally, he was friends with her on Facebook because of a mutual friend, Amanda Etheridge, who spoke at Friday night’s memorial about her friend and mentor. The tribute was part of the SOC’s annual awards ceremony tonight in which Gravity‘s Peter Taylor won the Camera Operator of the Year-Feature Film award and Mad Men‘s Don Devine the Camera Operator of the Year-TV award.  The event took place before an audience of 500, including Society of Camera Operators and International Cinematographer Guild members. (See the full list of winners an honorees below.) Read More »

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Need For Hit Fuels DreamWorks’ Lively And Raucous ‘Need For Speed’ Hollywood Premiere

By | Friday March 7, 2014 @ 2:54pm PST
Pete Hammond

Premiere Of DreamWorks Pictures' "Need For Speed" - Red CarpetThere may be lots of speculation about the future of DreamWorks in its current incarnation at Disney as my colleague Mike Fleming wrote earlier this week, but you would never know it from last night’s rip-roaring premiere of its latest film, Need For Speed, at the Chinese Theatre. I went in expecting a poor man’s Fast & Furious and instead got a riveting and fun entertainment with lots of heart and emotion in addition to all the stunt driving. The film, which opens Friday and stars Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul as a street racer out for revenge after being framed for a death of a young street-racing rookie, has all the requisite action you would expect from this kind of movie, but there’s so much more.  The fact that it marks the second feature directed by former stuntman Scott Waugh (the son of another stuntman, Fred Waugh, who passed away while his son was in preproduction) would lead one to believe it would be all pedal-to-the-metal and no soul, but that’s not the case. Waugh’s first feature behind the camera, Act Of Valor, proved he knew how to put humanity into a genre film. What he’s made here is a good old-fashioned movie that doesn’t rely on CGI, has a genuine story  to tell with three-dimensional characters (in 3D, no less), and great locations.

posterIt also presents yet another reason the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences needs to re-consider its decision not to create a 25th category for stunt work. Come on, these people deserve the recognition on a regular basis. I do understand the ticklish situation with the Actors branch, the Academy’s largest and most powerful, but this kind of work is definitely Oscar worthy. The Television Academy has a stunt peer group and recently even split comedy and drama stunt coordination into two separate Emmy categories. Veteran stuntman-director Hal Needham got an Honorary Oscar in 2012, and I suppose the Academy feels that’s enough recognition for now (Needham passed away several months after getting that Oscar). But it’s not.

Related: Hot Trailer: DreamWorks’ ‘Need For Speed’

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