Sadly an enormous holiday weekend at the box office comes to a close with a particularly dark day for the movie industry, as actor Paul Walker lost his life in a car accident at the age of 40.
There’s no appropriate or respectful way to transition into the unrelated sections in this week’s Movie News Cheat Sheet, so we begin by offering the details of Walker’s untimely death, celebrating his achievements and offering condolences before cutting to the latest industry news.
1. RIP Paul Walker: It’s with a very heavy heart that we begin this week’s Movie News Cheat Sheet with the news that “Fast and Furious” star, Paul Walker, has passed away. As reported by the LA Times, Walker had just attended a charity event to support the victims of Typhoon Haiyan on behalf of his organization, Reach Out Worldwide. Later in the day, at about 3:30pm, Walker and another person were killed when their Porsche hit a tree and then a light pole. According to the New York Times, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deemed that “speed was a factor in the crash.” Universal Pictures, the studio behind the “Fast and Furious” franchise, released this statement; “Paul was truly one of the most beloved and respected members of our studio family for 14 years, and this loss is devastating to us, to everyone involved with the ‘Fast and Furious’ films, and to countless fans.” As someone who grew up admiring Walker for his earlier work in “Varsity Blues” and “The Skulls,” and still dubs “Fast and Furious 6” one of the best times I’ve have in the theater all year, I certainly count myself as one of those devoted fans. The team at ShockYa sends our deepest condolences to Walker’s friends, family, colleagues and fan base.
2. Spirit Award Nominations: Awards season commences with the unveiling of the nominees for the Film Independent Spirit Awards. In the Best Feature category, “12 Years a Slave” will go up against “All Is Lost,” “Frances Ha,” “Inside Llewyn Davis,” and “Nebraska.” “All Is Lost,” “12 Years a Slave” and “Nebraska” also snagged nominations in the Best Director category along with Shane Carruth for “Upstream Color” and Jeff Nichols for “Mud.” Brie Larson of “Short Term 12” will have to fend off Cate Blanchett of “Blue Jasmine,” Julie Delpy of “Before Midnight,” Shailene Woodley of “The Spectacular Now” and surprise entry, Gaby Hoffmann of “Crystal Fairy,” for the Best Female Lead honor while Chiwetel Ejiofor will be up against Bruce Dern for “Nebraska,” Oscar Isaac for “Inside Llewyn Davis,” Michael B. Jordan for “Fruitvale Station,” Matthew McConaughey for “Dallas Buyers Club” and Robert Redford for “All Is Lost” for Best Male Lead. Click here to check out the full list of nominees and then find out who comes out on top during the ceremony on March 1, 2014.
3. “Amazing Spider-Man 2” Poster with Electro, Rhino & More: We aren’t due for our first official look at “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” until the teaser trailer arrives on December 5th, but while at the Red Rock casino in Las Vegas, Jeser Piedra found a banner for the film and shared the piece on Twitter. Not only does the design rock the tagline, “His Greatest Battle Begins,” but it also shows off Jamie Foxx’s Electro, Paul Giamatti’s Rhino and what looks to be the Green Goblin on a hoverboard begging the question, is that Dane DeHaan’s Harry Osborn or Chris Cooper’s Norman Osborn in the suit? Cooper recently told MTV, “‘[Amazing] Spider-Man 2’ was an introduction to Norman, and — you’ll see — an extremely odd introduction, which apparently will lead to something more.” Perhaps that “extremely odd introduction” will involve some sort of transformation, but many still insist that the scene from the footage screened at San Diego Comic Con during which we see a character’s legs as a crumbling green substance drops down around him is Dane DeHaan. Hopefully the opportunity to dissect the trailer on December 5th will clarify, but if that is the case, we’ll have our answer.
4. “Wolf of Wall Street” No Longer 3+ Hours or NC-17: After bringing a three-hour+ cut of “Wolf of Wall Street” to the MPAA, Martin Scorsese got slapped with an NC-17 rating. Not a bankable combination for a wannabe moneymaker starring Leonardo DiCaprio that drops on Christmas Day and cost more than $100 million to make. However, now, according to THR, after shaving the film down to just less than three hours, which included the elimination of some nudity and sex scenes, “Wolf” secured the necessary R-rating. The film adaptation of Jordan Belfort’s memoir chronicles the rise and fall of his brokerage firm and includes loads of sexual exploits and drug binges along the way. Scorsese’s longest film ever, clocking in at two hours and 59 minutes with credits, will have its wide release on December 25th, just in time to give it a chance to be an awards season contender.
5. Scarlett Johansson Can’t Get a Golden Globe Nomination for “Her:” Even though Scarlett Johansson is never seen in Spike Jonez’s “Her,” her work in the film is making a significant impact because many are dubbing her voice-only performance award worthy. Trouble is, according to The Wrap, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association has a rule that voice work is ineligible for acting awards at the Golden Globes. Even though Johansson’s performance as an advanced and intuitive operating system who dubs herself Samantha won’t be up for an honor there, she still could score a nomination at the Screen Actors Guild Awards and the Oscars.
6. Christoph Waltz & Rebecca Hall May Join “Pirates of the Caribbean 5:” With “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” heading towards a 2016 release, it’s time to start casting up. Johnny Depp will return to play Captain Jack Sparrow and it looks as though he may be joined by “Pirates” alums Keith Richards and Geoffrey Rush, and newcomers Christoph Waltz and Rebecca Hall, too. As reported by The Daily Mail, Richards is locked to bring back Captain Teague who popped up in “At World’s End” and “On Stranger Tides” while Waltz may play the fifth installment’s villain, Captain Brand. Considering there’s no confirmation from Disney and The Daily Mail continuously calls Waltz, Christopher Waltz, it seems as though we shouldn’t take any of this as fact just yet. Bleeding Cool recently noted, “The Waltz part is nothing like a done deal,” but also pointed out, “The plot details they offer are far more solid.” The Daily Mail wrote that “Dead Men Tell No Tales” will involve Jack and co. looking for The Trident while Sparrow’s adversary, the ghost Captain Brand, tries to get it for himself so he can get back at Jack for turning his brother Eric into a pirate, a development that lead to his own death. Captain Barbosa’ daughter pops in the narrative as well and Bleeding Cool says that Rebecca Hall is a top choice for the role. Should she get the offer and then strike a deal, she’d play Jack’s love interest, Carina Smyth, “A beautiful woman in her late 30s who is called a witch by some but is really an adept astronomer.” Again, tread lightly with this one, but considering two outlets have confirmed some of the same material, there is a chance a portion of this report could be proven accurate soon.
7. New “Jurassic World” Details: There’s still an abundance of rumors circulating regarding what “Jurassic World” might be about, but now we’ve got a new confirmed narrative element to throw into the mix. When asked whether or not the franchise’s fourth installment is a reboot on Twitter, director Colin Trevorrow replied, “Reboot is a strong word. This is a new sci-fi terror adventure set 22 years after the horrific events of Jurassic Park.” Considering we also know that part of “Jurassic World” will take place on Isla Nublar, the location from “Jurassic Park” (not “The Lost World” or “Jurassic Park III”), that could bring us back to the details from an older version of the script that leaked about five months ago. That story was set in present day and returned to Isla Nublar where John Hammond’s dream theme park was actually up and running. We know Trevorrow and screenwriter Derek Connolly have made significant changes to that draft, but considering present day would mean 22 years after the events of the first film, it’s certainly possible that the functional Jurassic Park scenario could remain intact.
8. Release Date Updates: With 2013 coming to a close, a number of studios are making big changes to ensure they’re ready to roll into 2014, 2015 and beyond. Universal set a number of new dates, giving Michael Man’s untitled thriller starring Chris Hemsworth the January 16, 2015 slot and the new “Mummy” movie an April 22, 2016 debut. The studio also uprooted “Warcraft” from its December 18, 2015 date and put it back down on March 11, 2016 while “Seventh Son” got hit with a delay too, moving from January 17, 2014 to February 6, 2015. Paramount officially announced that the next installment of the “Friday the 13th” franchise will arrive on March 13, 2015 where it will go up against Ron Howard’s “Heart of the Sea.” Lionsgate did quite a bit of shuffling this week, too, pushing up “Tyler Perry’s Single Moms Club” and bumping back the release of “Addicted.” “Addicted” vacated the March 14, 2014 spot and took September 5, 2014 instead while “Single Moms Club” ditched its May 9, 2014 debut to take that vacated March 14, 2014 position. (via Box Office Mojo)
9. Trailers: “Enemies Closer,” “The Boxtrolls,” “Gimme Shelter:” It’s a little tough to believe one guy can go from preparing to execute a man to changing his mind and agreeing to work together for a common cause, but the first trailer for “Enemies Closer” rocks so much outrageous B-movie action, one-liners and fight sequences that even a big logic flaw can’t suck the fun and adrenalin out of this one. We also got a standout new trailer for “The Boxtrolls” and just like the Boxtrolls themselves, this promo is like nothing you’ve ever seen before. Rather than run with a standard narrative-driven format, this piece offers a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the stop-motion animated film and not only is the process extraordinary, but the finished footage becomes even more inspiring thanks to the added insight. Last up is the first trailer for the Vanessa Hudgens-starrer, “Gimme Shelter.” Hudgens hasn’t really done anything wrong per se, but she certainly hasn’t proved herself as a leading lady yet. However, based on her work in this trailer, “Gimme Shelter” could be the one to change that.
10. Box Office: A colossal opening is great, but typically, more money means a bigger weekend one to two decline. However, even though “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” opened with a monumental $158 million haul, it still managed to retain nearly half of its opening earnings for a highly impressive $74.5 million second weekend out. Even though “Catching Fire” continued to dominate, “Frozen” still managed to set some records of its own. That film’s $66.7 million start made it the second-highest weekend ever for a movie that didn’t open in first place and the highest three and five-day Thanksgiving opening. Thanks to the holiday crowd, both “Thor: The Dark World” and “Best Man Holiday” managed to maintain a significant amount of their profits. “Thor” dipped just 21.8% and took another $11.1 million to the bank while “Best Man Holiday” lost 32% for an $8.5 million third weekend out. Newcomer “Homefront” barely edged out “Delivery Man” for the #5 spot, but a $6.9 million opening on a $2,712 per theater average is still a disappointing start. But what’s even more disappointing is “Oldboy.” Even after so much talk and hype, the film didn’t even crack the million-dollar mark. It did only open in 583 theaters, so you can’t compare its opening grand total to the other wide releases, but you can compare its per theater average and the fact that the film only managed to post $1,458 per theater is weak no matter how limited or wide the opening. (via Box Office Mojo)