The much talked-about visual effects in Alfonso Cuaron’s space thriller dazzled even the pros, as Gravity floated away with six wins at the VES Awards tonight. The pic won in all but one of its categories, including the big prize of Outstanding Visual Effects in a Visual Effects-Driven Feature Motion Picture. Cuaron capped off his film’s big night with the Visual Effects Society’s Visionary Award. Cuaron accepting his honor said briefly, “Finally, visual effects are merging into the whole process of the cinematic experience,” the filmmaker said in his acceptance speech. “It’s about the integration of lights, sets and even actors.” Gravity continued its awards-season momentum, following up on big wins at the Art Directors Guild Awards, the American Society of Cinematographers Awards and DGA Awards.
Meanwhile, Frozen further cemented its Oscar front-runner status with wins in all four of its categories. Pacific Rim, which entered the 12th annual VES Awards with six nominations, second only to Gravity, went home empty-handed. And, just like last year, HBO’s Game Of Thrones was the big winner on the TV side with three VES Awards, also missing out in just one of its nommed categories. The evening also featured a tribute to VFX pioneer Ray Harryhausen, who died in May, and a Lifetime Achievement Award to Oscar and Emmy winner John Dykstra, whose credits range from the original Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica to Spider-Man and Django Unchained. As the 186-minute show ending, host Patton Oswalt quipped, “”Omigod! Who’s president now!?”
Here is the complete list of winners, followed by our live blog, with Anthony D’Alessandro on the scene: Read More »
Los Angeles (January 14, 2014) – Today, the Visual Effects Society (VES), the industry’s professional honorary society, announced the nominees for the 12th Annual VES Awards, the prestigious yearly celebration that recognizes outstanding visual effects artistry and innovation in film, animation, television, commercials and video games and the VFX supervisors, VFX producers and hands-on-the-keys artists who bring this work to life. Nominees were selected by VES members via concurrent events in Los Angeles and within the eight Global VES Sections – New York, Bay Area, New Zealand, Sydney, United Kingdom, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. The VES Awards will be held on February 12th at the Beverly Hilton.
“The artistry, ingenuity and passion of visual effects practitioners around the world have come together to tell the most amazing stories imaginable,” said Jeffrey A. Okun, VES Chair. “This year, more than ever, we have seen the fantastic become normal, the unimaginable become reality and the artistry of VFX drive box office. The VES Awards is the only place where this amazing work is showcased and honored. We are extremely proud of our nominees!”
The 12th Annual VES Awards Ceremony will be held Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at the The Beverly Hilton Hotel.
The nominees for the 12th Annual VES Awards are as follows:
Expect Gravity to be as powerful and inevitable a force in the visual-effects category at this year’s Oscars as, well, gravity. Offering more than just snazzy visuals — about 95% of what’s on screen is digital — Gravity’s visual-effects supervisor Tim Webber fulfilled many artists’ dreams by working from the start with director Alfonso Cuaron and cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki to completely embed the effects into the storytelling and filmmaking process.
The space drama also has some serious cachet as a more artistic use of effects — a quality Academy voters have rewarded recently with trophies for Life of Pi, Hugo and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. With Gravity offering a seemingly irresistible complete package, it looks as if the other nine Academy short-list contenders will just have to aspire to impress the effects branch enough at the Jan. 9 bake-off to score one of five Oscar nominations on Jan. 16.
The Guillermo del Toro-directed robots vs. monsters movie may be doing monster box office in China, but an officer in the People’s Liberation Army is no fan. “Hollywood has always been the best American propaganda machine,” wrote Zhang Jieli late last week in a PLA Daily op-ed about Legendary Pictures-Warner Bros‘ Pacific Rim. The PLA Daily is an official China military publication. “The decisive battle against the monsters was deliberately set in South China Sea adjacent to Hong Kong,” Zhang wrote in the editorial, published Friday. “The intention was to demonstrate the U.S. commitment to maintaining stability in the Asia-Pacific area and saving the mankind,” he claims. The wide-ranging piece, which also cites Fox’s Ice Age and the James Bond movies, says that Pacific Rim and other blockbusters are pushing “American values and global strategies”. While sidestepping the fact that all non-domestic movies in China need government approval to be shown there, it urges the Chinese military to steel themselves against the Western influence. “Soldiers should sharpen their eyes and enforce a ‘firewall’ to avoid ideological erosion when watching American movies,” Zhang warned. “More importantly, they should strengthen their combat capability to safeguard national security and interests.” Game site Kotaku first reported the op-ed. Other state media organs such as Xinhau… Read More »
Universal has confirmed that Len Wiseman has dropped off Universal’s reboot of The Mummy franchise, which will get a new round of movies after the last reboot trilogy grossed north of $1.25 billion worldwide before running out of steam. Do we need another Mummy? I wouldn’t think so, but apparently we do need to reopen that sarcophagus, especially since studios are whiffing badly in attempts to create new intellectual properties. They instead seem bent on running tried and tested past successes into the ground.
Leaving The Mummy might be the best thing for Wiseman, a props man who got off to an impressive start as a director by launching the ambitious Underworld. He helped hatch that series, which added some real flourishes to the vampires and werewolves genre. Since then, Wiseman has gone through a succession of sequels (Live Free Or Die Hard) and remakes (Total Recall), becoming a symbol of a time where Hollywood studios place too little emphasis on originality and instead prize utterly familiar product studios hope might put up big global numbers. Wiseman needs an original movie, and fast.
Why does Hollywood go back to the well so often on tired retreads? Because, as this summer has proven, it’s damn near impossible to create new intellectual properties that are not based on bestselling book series with vast reading audiences like Twilight Saga or The Hunger Games. Some of this summer’s non-sequel misfires, like After Earth, The Lone Ranger and R.I.P.D., surely deserve to be one-offs. But even worthy, imaginative films like Pacific Rim have it rough. They get measured and dismissed quickly, not helped by the fact that press coverage has become reliant on imprecise tracking service estimates that give journalists a touchstone to dismiss movies even before anyone has seen them. Early low tracking on Pacific Rim fueled advance stories that the movie would be a flop, which it wasn’t. When The Wolverine‘s opening weekend didn’t match high advance tracking estimates, journalists bashed the movie (which is quite good), and not the faulty tracking services that overestimated the opening weekend numbers in the first place. Pacific Rim also wasn’t helped by a marketing campaign straight out of Transformers, and it wasn’t until too late that Warner Bros switched to spots that showed the movie had heart and wasn’t just a collision of robots and over-sized alien monsters from beneath the sea.
If there are two originals this summer worth sequel-izing, I would nominate Pacific Rim and World War Z. Despite being real crowd-pleasers, these will not be easy decisions because their high production budgets require each to do upwards of $400 million worldwide before serious sequel talk even begins. WWZ passed this threshold and is at $475 million, while Pac Rim is at $226 million but playing strong in Asian territories including China. All of this raises the currency of worn franchises like The Mummy. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE… UPDATED: I’ve just learned that momentum is building for a Pacific Rim sequel based on the international box office for the Legendary Pictures/Warner Bros summer tentpole. The latest development is the 3D sci-fi actioner’s Wednesday opening in China to a record-breaking $9M from an estimated 5,700 digital 3D screens, 117 digital 3D IMAX screens, and 22 China Giant Screen sites. That’s a new high for any Warner Bros release and 23% bigger than for any Harry Potter film including 3D Harry Potter 7B. Pacific Rim grossed a huge 70% of the Top Five market share there. This is after the pic broke through to become the #1 film internationally on July 19-21 as it rolled out into less than half the global territories. Pacific Rim releases in Spain, Brazil and Japan on August 9th. The result is that screenwriter Travis Beacham (who had the original idea which also resulted in Legendary’s homegrown graphic novel) and co-scribe/director Guillermo del Toro’s film will likely have a sequel. No one is yet saying this movie is going to turn a profit due to the high cost of its Industrial Light & Magic CGI which sent the budget to $180M-$220M. Unfortunately, U.S. theatrical sales are not expected to exceed $100M all in so overseas coin was crucial. But international was always a big … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros has bragging rights today for distributing the Legendary Pictures 3D scifi actioner around the world after co-financing it. I’ve learned the studio discovered this morning that last weekend’s results came in $500K higher than forecast on Sunday. The result is that screenwriter Travis Beacham (who had the idea for the film) and co-scribe/director Guillermo Del Toro’s Pacific Rim grossed $35.3M with 4.7M admissions from 9,610 screens in 50 territories. That was just enough to knock off Universal’s 3D toon Despicable Me 2 and become the #1 film internationally over the weekend now that all the numbers are in. No one is saying this movie is going to turn a profit due to its high cost Industrial Light & Magic CGI. But international is a big part of Pacific Rim‘s strategy in a crowded summer marketplace. This brings the expensive $180M-$220M budget pic’s international cume to $110.9M and its worldwide total to $178.5M. Unfortunately, U.S. theatrical sales are not expected to exceed $100M all in so overseas coin is crucial. As I’ve said before, while a major studio might be disappointed with Pacific Rim‘s domestic gross, Legendary’s mega-financier Thomas Tull may have the luxury of mining this marginal outcome into a franchise. Foreign territories for Pacific Rim opening last weekend included France, Germany, Hong Kong, and Holland. The movie already has debuted in major markets Russia, Korea, Mexico, UK, Australia, and Italy. Upcoming releases include July 31st for China, Spain, Japan, and August … Read More »
SATURDAY PM/SUNDAY AM, 9TH & 10TH UPDATE: The Top 3 order changed again this weekend. Holdover Despicable Me 2 is still #1 with around $44.7M beating newcomers Growns-Ups 2($42.5M for #2) and Pacific Rim($38.3M for #3). Universal’s and Illumination Entertainment’s 3D toon is #1 worldwide passing $400M global gross and $200M from North America. Warner Bros’ and Legendary Pictures’ mecha anime-inspired scifi battle was the only original newcomer fighting 2 sequels. Because of good reviews and CinemaScores, the hope is to “broaden out” the 3D film’s audience for the next four weeks of IMAX screenings. The $180-$220m costing pic’s worldwide cume is now $91.3M after opening in 50% of international territories this weekend. More later.
SATURDAY 10 AM, 8TH UPDATE: What a surprise Friday’s domestic box office turned out to be as Summer 2013 continues to sizzle. Total moviegoing this weekend is close to $200M which is a humongous +29% from last year. At first the three top films looked neck and neck throughout Friday. After predictions of possible disaster, Warner Bros/Legendary Pictures’ 3D Pacific Rim (3,275 theaters and 331 IMAX screens) seemed strong throughout the day but then “ran out of IMAX tix and pre-sales at last” according to an exec. It ended Friday #2 with $14.6M and an expected $37M weekend. With audiences giving it an ‘A-’ CinemaScore, the scifi winner-takes-all actioner may have an upside with word of mouth. Or else the hype just failed to hold. International is a big part of Pacific Rim‘s strategy day and date in 38 territories in a crowded marketplace with 9,700 screens including the Top 12 markets. But Sony Pictures/Happy Madison’s Growns-Ups 2 (3,491 theaters) wound up #1 Friday with a middle-of-the-road ‘B’ CinemaScore (same as the original) despite terrible reviews. Goes to show that this summer’s audiences are still starved for comedy. And that no one can count out Adam Sandler and his $80M ensemble or Jeff Blake’s strong marketing department. It made $16.3M for $42M, beating the first’s $14.4M/$40.5M. Internationally, Sony is releasing it day and date in just Spain and some small territories this weekend Germany next week, and then a wide rollout. But even though Universal’s and Illumination Entertainment’s global #1 holdover Despicable Me 2 placed #3 Friday, it must wait for the Saturday kiddie bump to see if it can land on top of the worldwide box office again. The 3D toon did $13.3M domestic Friday (-56%) and should end up $43M. Pic reached $404.6M at the worldwide box office today and crosses $200M later today after just one week in release. Film only cost a very reasonable $76M and has 18 more foreign territories to open over the next few months. Read More »
Guillermo del Toro must really like working with Robert Maillet. First he directed him in the soon-to-open Pacific Rim, and now the actor has snagged the role of the world-conquering vampire The Master in FX’s drama pilot The Strain. The Canadian former wrestler and actor joins John Hurt, Corey Stoll, Mia Maestro and Sean Astin in the drama from del Toro and Carlton Cuse. Based on the best-selling vampire dystopia novels by del Toro and Chuck Hogan, The Strain is being eyed for a 13-episode pickup by FX. Maillet’s The Master comes to NYC aboard a plane from Europe and begins a strategic and systematic takeover of the world despite the efforts of Stoll’s CDC Dr. Ephraim Goodweather and others. The actor plays Lt. Kaidanovsky in Pac Rim and has appeared in Sherlock Holmes, where he delivered quite the dockside beatdown on Robert Downey Jr. Repped by Characters Talent Agency, Maillet also was in 300 and Immortals, in which where he played a Minotaur.
Veronica Mars’ Francis Capra also has joined The Strain. Capra will play Crispin, a mid-30s scammer who is always on the lookout for the easy and high-paying way out. The role would be a recurring one if the pilot goes to series. Capra is repped by Talent House LA and … Read More »
World War Z had the Mega-Ticket, now Guillermo del Toro‘s CGI actioner is getting a SuperTicket up in the Great White North. Cineplex Entertainment will offer the $19.99 premium ducat — the first of its kind in Canada — which bundles together admission to Pacific Rim and a pre-order of the UltraViolet digital version of the film ($24.99 for the HD download). The d-version will be available ahead of the DVD and Blu-ray release. Buyers also will receive access to exclusive content including featurettes on the making of the film, which stars Charlie Hunnam and Idris Elba as mankind’s fighting chance against the Kaijus, enormous monsters who emerge from the sea. The SuperTickets go on sale tomorrow. Warner Bros opens the Legendary Pictures flick July 12 in North America.
Here’s the third and final trailer for Guillermo del Toro‘s Pacific Rim. This one sees Idris Elba‘s Stacker Pentecost enlist Charlie Hunnam’s washed-up pilot Raleigh Becket for a last-ditch attempt to save humanity. Becket will team with rookie Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi) to steer the giant Jaeger robots as they go after the relentless Kaiju monsters. Charlie Day, Clifton Collins Jr., Ron Perlman, Robert Kazinsky and Max Martini also star. Warner Bros. opens the pic on July 12.
EXCLUSIVE: Idris Elba, the talented star of Luther and The Wire who has been in play for the past couple months, has just signed with WME for all areas. This comes at a great time for Elba, who is finally poised to get his due as a movie star, I think. He reprises his role as the existentially tortured British detective John Luther in the final season of Luther, which premieres September in the U.S. He’s also starring in the Guillermo del Toro-directed Pacific Rim for Legendary and Warner Bros, which opens July 12. Then, he reprises his role as Heimdall in Thor 2: The Dark World, which Marvel and Disney release in November. He finishes the year playing Nelson Mandela in Mandela: The Long Walk To Freedom, which is released in the heat of Oscar season by The Weinstein Company. Elba continues to be managed by Nicole Romano and Michael Sugar at Anonymous Content, Headshell Management and he is repped by Roger Charteris at Ken McReddie in the UK. Fred Toczek is his attorney.
Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros are getting close to unveiling their giant-robot filmPacific Rim, which opens July 12. The film, which is under $200 million I’m told, has a marketing strategy championed by geek-savvy Thomas Tull, and they’ve gone in a daring direction to promote the film for a big opening weekend. Early marketing played up the core geek crowd that patronizes Comic-Con, Wonder-Con, CinemaCon and the web, and while some publications say that audience awareness isn’t what it should be, Legendary and Warner Bros have gone into overdrive with a big general marketing blitz they will hope will offset the fact that while the film has good actors — Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Charlie Day — the film is one of the only tentpoles launching that doesn’t have a big star out in front of it.
“We’re been talking about the idea for it and working on a pitch,” said Guillermo del Toro today about aPacific Rim sequel. “And there will be a Mexican Jaeger,” he joked about the giant robots that fight the giant Kaiju monsters in the movie, out July 12. This isn’t the first time del Toro has floated a sequel to the upcoming monster adventure movie, but the director was more confident about where it would fit in the Legendary Pictures property’s trajectory. “Having had two to three years pass from the first Pacific Rim to the second movie, we can also prepare a good video game, continue the graphic novel and continue the mythology,” the director added. Del Toro wrote the script for the first Pacific Rim with Travis Beacham, who is writing the prequel graphic novel
As enthusiastic as del Toro was about another Pacific Rim movie at a media roundtable Tuesday, Legendary CEO Thomas Tull cautioned about getting too premature about sequel talk before the movie comes out. “We’d like to do it but it’s up to the audience — ultimately we’ll have to see how it does,” Tull said.
“To fight monsters, we created monsters” – so goes the tagline for Guillermo del Toro’s summer tentpole for Warner Bros. A new 4-minute Pacific Rim featurette gives viewers a look inside the massive robots deployed to battle the kaijus that have emerged from the sea in the near future. “Every movie has to have a portion of analog practical effects to really convey the sense of physical reality of the film,” del Toro says, then he details how they did it. Stars Idris Elba and Charlie Hunnam describe the challenges as they endured del Toro’s “torture machine.” Suffice it to say, this ain’t Godzilla vs. Mothra. The Legendary Pictures actioner opens July 12:
Next week is all about television upfront presentations in NYC. But National CineMedia and NCM Media Networks are holding a ‘cinema upfront’ event on May 15 featuring filmmaker Guillermo del Toro with never-before-seen footage from his Legendary Pictures/Warner Bros summer tentpole Pacific Rim. This ‘Bigger Picture’ presentation and lunch will be held at the AMC Loews Lincoln Square movie theater in NYC.