Hollywood’s Superheroes, Family Movies Boosted by China in 2016 

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The revenue from the world’s second-largest movie market accounted for 13 percent of the $13.5 billion generated by the top 20 movies from U.S. studios.

Lisa Richwine reports: China’s moviegoers embraced big-screen superheroes, cartoon animals and a video game-turned-action flick in 2016, adding $1.8 billion in ticket sales to Hollywood’s 20 highest-grossing films of the year.

The revenue from the world’s second-largest movie market accounted for 13 percent of the $13.5 billion generated by the top 20 movies from U.S. studios, according to a Reuters analysis of data from tracking firm Box Office Mojo. That was triple the 4 percent level five years ago.

The numbers illustrate China’s growing importance to U.S. studios such as Walt Disney Co’s (DIS.N) Disney Studios, Time Warner Inc‘s (TWX.N) Warner Bros. and Comcast Corp’s (CMCSA.O) Universal Pictures.

While China’s booming box office growth stalled this year in single digits, the country remains vital for Hollywood studios, box office analysts said. In 2016, China overtook the United States as the country with the largest number of movie screens.

Most of the top Hollywood movies would have reached the top of the film charts without China. But the additional revenue is significant, especially for blockbuster films that can cost $200 million or more to make.

“You can grab an extra hundred million (dollars) of revenue from the Chinese market,” said Jonathan Papish, film industry analyst for China Film Insider. “You can’t do that anywhere else in the world.”

Walt Disney Co’s (DIS.N) animated “Zootopia,” known in China as “Crazy Animal City,” was Hollywood’s biggest hit there, with $236 million in ticket sales, and ranked as the third-highest-grossing movie worldwide. China’s film authorities extended the movie’s theatrical run by two weeks beyond the typical 30 days for foreign films. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] ‘Are we Promoting a Movie?’ Robert Downey Jr. Walks Out of ‘Avengers’ Interview After Being Asked about Politics, Drug Abuse

Kipp Jones writes: A routine interview conducted by Krishnan Guru-Murthy of Britain’s Channel 4 News turned anything but, after questions regarding the latest action thriller gravitated toward aspects of Downey Jr.’s personal life, including jail time for past drug convictions, the actor’s relationship with his father, and whether or not he is a “liberal.”

“I couldn’t even really tell you what a liberal is… Are we promoting a movie?”

Video of the encounter was posted on Twitter by Guru-Murthy, who describes the end of the interview as “a steely moment from Ironman.”

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“I’m sorry, I, I really don’t — what are we doing? …It’s just getting a little Diane Sawyer in here.”

Things became uncomfortable after the reporter connected the actor’s real-life persona with that of his Iron Man character, Tony Stark. Guru-Murthy then quizzed Downey about a quote from an old New York Times interview. Read the rest of this entry »


China Is Getting its Very Own Comic Con

San Diego Prepares For 2014 Comic-Con - Comic-Con International 2014

‘Geekdom is a universal language’

Event producer ReedPOP is bringing Comic Con to China this spring.

“China is a massive frontier for ReedPOP, a huge market and boundless community of fans that we are eager and enthusiastic to build events for. Geekdom is a universal language and we’re sure that the Chinese people will celebrate fan culture in their own unique and amazing ways.”

— Lance Fensterman, Global Senior Vice President of ReedPOP

The Shanghai Comic Convention will take place on May 16 to 17 at the Shanghai Convention & Exhibition Center, ReedPOP announced Wednesday. The inaugural Chinese Comic Con follows on the company’s growth strategy of bringing its pop culture events to international markets, including India, Singapore and Germany.

[See Avengers: Age Of Ultron Concept Art]

“China is a massive frontier for ReedPOP, a huge market and boundless community of fans that we are eager and enthusiastic to build events for,” said Lance Fensterman, Global Senior Vice President of ReedPOP, in a statement. “Geekdom is a universal language and we’re sure that the Chinese people will celebrate fan culture in their own unique and amazing ways.” Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Tony Stark’s New Element: Iron Man 2010: ‘It Tastes like Coconut…and Metal’

Tony Stark aka Robert Downey Jr. is testing the new element he rediscovered

 


[PHOTO] IRONMAN Burger Break

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Iron Man is Forever. Robert Downey Jr. Isn’t

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For The VergeRoss Miller writes:

After weeks of back and forth, will he or won’t he, Marvel finally announced Robert Downey Jr.‘s next appearance as Tony Stark / Iron Man, playing counterpoint to Chris Evans’ Steve Roger in the NSA-fueled Captain America 3.

But the most interesting part of the announcement is this behind-the-scenes blurb from Variety:

Originally, Marvel wanted to hire Downey for a small role, which would have required just three weeks of work. But Downey wanted Stark to have a more substantial role in the film’s plot, which would give him more screen time and naturally a bigger payday. This angered Marvel Entertainment chief Ike Perlmutter, who ordered the screenwriters to write Iron Man out of the script entirely, according to 51ZfnmGAFdL._SL250_sources with knowledge of the situation.

[Order the Big Box Iron Man 3 Movie Collection: Iron Man / Iron Man 2 / Iron Man 3 [Blu-ray]

Robert Downey Jr. is Tony Stark. Tony Stark, likewise, is Robert Downey Jr. (with a dash of Elon Musk). There’s no point arguing otherwise; so much of Stark the character feels like an extension of Downey’s own. Marvel Studios has merged the two personalities into one inextricably linked entity, which is why Marvel is more likely to write the character out completely rather than recasting. Read the rest of this entry »


‘Captain America 3’: THR’s 5 Things to Know About the Planned Civil War Story Arc

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Whose Side Are You On?

For the Hollywood Reporter, Abid Rahman writes: The incredible news that Robert Downey Jr. is in talks to bring Iron Man to Captain America 3 has set the Internet on fire and with good reason as the most likely story arc that Marvel will use in this casting scenario is Mark Millar‘s fabled Civil War limited series from 2006-7.51mbHDux7JL._SL250_

[Check out “Captain America: The First Avenger” (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy) at Amazon.com]

Nothing has been confirmed at this stage, with no definitive word on Iron Man gracing Cap 3 or that Civil War will be the source material. However, with all the rumors, leaks and drip drip of information coming out of people close to the project, there’s a high likelihood that Marvel will base the basic premise of Cap 3 on Civil War.

[Variety has its own edition of “Marvel’s Civil War: 5 Things You Should Know”. Who started this # of things you should know thing, anyway? Anyway, check it out here]

Marvel Entertainment started off its 75th anniversary celebrations at this year’s New York Comic Con with the announcement of what the company is calling its biggest event yet: Secret Wars.

Marvel Entertainment started off its 75th anniversary celebrations at this year’s New York Comic Con with the announcement of what the company is calling its biggest event yet: Secret Wars.

[Read more Marvel Announces ‘Secret Wars’ Cross-Platform Event for Spring 2015]

So what’s the fuss about Civil War? Well, THR have put together 5 key things that occur in the comic series Civil War that will have heavy ramifications for both Cap 3 as well the wider Marvel Cinematic Universe, future Ant-Man and Dr. Strange movies and even planned Avengers sequels several years 61nLpE0yQSL._SL250_from now.

[Order “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” [Blu-ray] from Amazon]

Warning, major Civil War spoilers ahead.

1. Civil War needs more than just Iron Man and Cap – Millar’s Civil War featured a huge universe of Marvel characters who were forced to take sides following the introduction of the Superhero Registration Act, an American government initiative to regulate and control vigilantes who also must reveal their identities. In the comics, Spider-Man, Luke Cage, Human Torch, Invisible Woman, Daredevil, Cable, Nick Fury and Captain America rebel against this government attempt to control superheroes. In favor of the legislation you have, Iron Man, Ant-Man, Black Widow, She-Hulk, 51ZfnmGAFdL._SL250_Venom, Mr Fantastic and many others.

[Order the Big Box Iron Man 3 Movie Collection: Iron Man / Iron Man 2 / Iron Man 3 [Blu-ray]

The inherent problem with adapting Civil War is that Marvel would need to populate the film with enough superheroes for a ‘war’ to look like a war. Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four are out as the rights to those characters rest with other studios, so Marvel will have to get creative to flesh out the secondary superheroes. Read the rest of this entry »


Robert Downey Jr: No Plans for ‘Iron Man 4’

Say it isn’t so!    Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Official Trailer ‘The Judge’ Robert Downey Jr., Robert Duvall, Vera Farmiga

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From the YouTube description:

In theaters October 10th. From Warner Bros. Pictures and Village Roadshow Pictures comes “The Judge,” starring Oscar® nominee Robert Downey Jr. (“Tropic Thunder,” the “Sherlock Holmes” films, the “Iron Man” franchise), Oscar® winner Robert Duvall (“Tender Mercies,” “Crazy Heart”) and Oscar® nominee Vera Farmiga (“Up in the Air,” “The Conjuring”). The film is directed by David Dobkin (“Wedding Crashers”).

In “The Judge,” Downey stars as big city lawyer Hank Palmer, who returns to his childhood home where his estranged father, the town’s judge (Duvall), is suspected of murder. He sets out to discover the truth and along the way reconnects with the family he walked away from years before.

Starring alongside Downey, Duvall and Farmiga are Vincent D’Onofrio (TV’s “Law & Order: Criminal Intent“), Jeremy Strong (“Zero Dark Thirty,” “Lincoln”), Dax Shephard (TV’s “Parenthood”), and Oscar® winner Billy Bob Thornton (“Sling Blade,” “Friday Night Lights”). The film also stars Oscar® winner Melissa Leo (“The Fighter,” “Prisoners”), Leighton Meester (TV’s “Gossip Girl”), Ken Howard (“J. Edgar,” “Michael Clayton”), Emma Tremblay (“Elysium”), Balthazar Getty (TV’s “Brothers & Sisters”), David Krumholtz (“This Is the End”), Sarah Lancaster (TV’s “Chuck”), Grace Zabriskie (TV’s “Big Love”) and Denis O’Hare (TV’s “True Blood”).

Best reason to watch, right here: Vera Farmiga.

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Read the rest of this entry »


The Banality of the Celebrity Profile and How it Got to Be That Way

Anne-Helen-PFor The Believer, Ann Helen Peterson writes: At its best, the celebrity profile fosters a feeling of warm intimacy. We read the profile, and we feel we have been granted access not just to the contents of the celebrity’s overnight bag but to the contents of his or her heart. Yet this same profile simultaneously manages to reveal no new information. We love it because it confirms our best beliefs. No other form so seamlessly constructs the necessary components of celebrity, exploiting the desire to see our idol as both “just like us” and nothing like us, as both the girl next door and a goddess above. It is, in other words, spectacularly banal.51XFv1MDGOL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

[Pre-order Ann Helen Peterson‘s upcoming book: Scandals of Classic Hollywood: Sex, Deviance, and Drama from the Golden Age of American Cinema from Amazon.com]

Yet the celebrity profile serves a crucial industrial function: it sells the media products in which the celebrity appears; it sells the magazine that publishes the profile; but, most important, it sells the celebrity’s image and the values that image is made to represent. A profile of Robert Downey Jr. labors to reinforce the central tenets of his image (the phoenix-like return, the affability, the specter of his party-boy youth); a profile of Jennifer Lawrence convinces us that the joking, off-the-cuff, cool-girl charisma we see in her post–Oscar win interviews is not a performance but her authentic self. Each profile is almost eerily on message: Ryan Gosling is introspective; George Clooney is charismatic.

“Historian Charles Ponce De Leon dates the emergence of personality journalism to the development of the ‘public sphere’ in the late eighteenth century…”

The trick, of course, is to make it look like the profile is not selling anything. It’s just a chat between friends, or a nonchalant trip to the desert to get tipsy, engage in some “real talk” that article_petersensets forth the celebrity’s most winning attributes, and meander to a discussion of his or her upcoming project. This elision is crucial to the celebrity process writ large: we want to believe that these celebrities give of themselves willingly, not because of economic imperative.

“…A man needn’t be a member of the aristocracy or even from a well-to-do family; he just needed to be public.”

These tensions within the celebrity profile—selling oneself versus erasing evidence of the sale, generating intimacy while disclosing nothing—have structured the profile for decades. And the profile of the late twentieth and early twenty-first century enacts a return to the publicity style of classic Hollywood, when the studios found raw “star material” in the form of pliable young talent, packaged it, labeled it with prefabricated type, and sold the star in a meticulously mediated bundle to the American public. Read the rest of this entry »