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The Playlist

Watch: 50-Minute Roundtable With Directors/Producers Of 'Frozen,' 'Monsters University' & More

  • By Joshua Encinias
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  • February 28, 2014 6:22 PM
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  • 3 Comments
Animation Roundtable
In 2004 the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature was in it’s fourth year. Three very different films were nominated (“The Triplets of Belleville,” “Brother Bear,” and “Finding Nemo”), with ‘Nemo’ taking home the award. Since then demand for high-performing animated films has skyrocketed. In 2013, three animated features made it into the top 10 grossing movies of the year (“Despicable Me 2,” “Frozen,” and “Monsters University”), bringing in over $600 million combined. Needless to say, Hollywood plans on riding this wave for the foreseeable future, and The Hollywood Reporter recently held a roundtable discussion with some of this year’s Best Animated Feature nominees.

Universal Announces Release Dates For 'Despicable Me 3,' A New 'Grinch' & An Untitled Garth Jennings Animated Project

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • January 15, 2014 5:56 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Despicable Me 2
In a press release issued today about Universal's slate of upcoming animated movies produced by Illumination Entertainment, we got word on when the already announced "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas" and the properly assumed "Despicable Me 3" would hit theaters nationwide. But they also announced an untitled project for 2016, one that is infinitely more interesting than either of these projects—an animated feature written and directed by Garth Jennings, who was responsible (alongside frequent creative partner Nick Goldsmith) for some of the more unforgettable videos in recent memory—bands such as Radiohead, Blur, Pulp, Badly Drawn Boy, Beck, Hot Chip, Supergrass, R.E.M.—as well as big-screen vehicles "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" and "Son of Rambow." Color us intrigued.

Money Talks: 8 Out Of 10 Of The Top Grossing Movies Of 2013 Are Sequels Or Reboots

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • December 31, 2013 3:52 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Iron Man 3
With the clock ticking on 2013, you might be finalizing your list of resolutions before heading out to celebrate the New Year. But in Hollywood, you can bet that studio executives are looking at the year that was, and hoping to do more of the same in the years ahead. Much more.

Box Office 2013 Year In Review: The Good, The Bad And The 'Oldboy'

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • December 20, 2013 1:01 PM
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  • 12 Comments
Best of Box Office, 2013
The standards for what constituted a megahit used to be reaching the fabled $100 million milestone. The goalposts have been moved: only taking into account domestic numbers, a whopping thirty films this year crossed that mark, and a couple more stragglers might join them soon.

'Frozen,' 'Planes' & 'The Smurfs 2' Among 19 Finalists For 2014 Animated Feature Oscar Nomination

After our own Drew Taylor declared "Frozen" to be a new Disney classic, perhaps you won't be too surprised to learn that it has been submitted and accepted as a finalist for Best Animated Feature Film. But don't get fooled. The only criteria for the 19 movies that made the cut seems to be that they meet the eligibility requirements so flops like "The Croods" and "Free Birds" along with critical punching bags like "Planes" and "The Smurfs 2" get the same consideration as Hayao Mizayaki's "The Wind Rises." Read More »

In Honor Of 'Riddick:' 10 Of The Most Unnecessary Sequels Ever

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • September 5, 2013 2:11 PM
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  • 15 Comments
10 Of The Most Unnecessary Sequels Ever
If popcorn cinema in 2013 has been defined by one thing, it's been "Sharknado." But if cinema in 2013 has been defined by two things, it's "Sharknado" and... a glut of unnecessary and unwanted sequels. Think about it: "A Good Day to Die Hard," "G.I. Joe: Retaliation," "RED 2," "Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters" "Despicable Me 2," "Kick-Ass 2," "Planes," "The Smurfs 2," "Grown Ups 2." These aren't just movies that are creatively unnecessary, they are movies that it's hard to imagine anyone wanting (though in the Sandler movie's case people bizarrely did actually show up, to humanity's shame). Even "Monsters University," arguably the year's best sequel/prequel/spin-off, wasn't one that seemed that creatively in demand—it was better than expected, but hardly essential. This week sees yet another sequel few were clamoring to hit theaters: "Riddick," the third movie in the series started by 2000's "Pitch Black" and continued with 2004's "The Chronicles of Riddick.". And it got us thinking about other egregious examples through the years.

Good Summer/Bad Summer: Who Were The Victors & The Victims Of The Blockbuster Box Office This Year?

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • August 12, 2013 1:27 PM
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  • 11 Comments
Summer 2013 Blockbusters: Hits & Misses
While we're only a few weeks into August, summer blockbuster season is pretty much winding down for the year. Last weekend brought "Elysium," the last major tentpole for the moment (albeit an underperforming one), and the rest of August is mostly made up of lo-fi programmers and would-be-franchises that, if their studios had any confidence in them, would be coming out at a different time. So it seems like a good time as any to take a look at the summer box office over the last few months, and discuss who had a good May-August in 2013, and who really didn't.

Box Office: 'Pacific Rim' Can't Outgun 'Despicable Me 2' & Adam Sandler’s 'Grown Ups 2'

  • By Diana Drumm
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  • July 14, 2013 2:53 PM
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  • 5 Comments
Despicable Me 2
For the past few weeks, there has been a lot of hubbub around the Internet about whether Guillermo del Toro's "Pacific Rim" could withstand Adam Sandler's "Grown Ups 2." Early tracking reports showed del Toro's monster movie trailing behind Sandler's comic reunion rehash. In response, critics have been up in arms, worried about the general public's questionable taste and wondering what this would mean for future of film. If "Grown Ups 2" won and "Pacific Rim" lost, the argument was that this would result in the film industry becoming even more entrenched in sure-fire franchises rather than risking money on larger-scope original concepts.

Box Office: Families Love 'Despicable Me 2'; 'The Lone Ranger' Bites The Dust, Kemosabe

  • By Diana Drumm
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  • July 7, 2013 1:09 PM
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  • 5 Comments
The Lone Ranger,  Johnny Depp
This was a 4th of July weekend for the record books, and we're not talking about fireworks. With an estimated $220 million worth of tickets sold (a 12% increase from last year's 4th of July), moviegoers set a new three-day weekend record for the holiday. As for the films themselves, this weekend marked a predicted upset. If we had said a few years ago that a non-Pixar animated sequel would trample a Johnny Depp-starring Disney reboot, you would have called us crazy and gone to the comment section to remind us how critics also snickered at a little theme-park-attraction-turned-movie called "Pirates of the Caribbean." Well, it looks like that day has come and the not-so-mighty "The Lone Ranger" has fallen to an über-successful "Despicable Me 2."

Review: 'Despicable Me 2' Starring Steve Carell & Kristen Wiig

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • July 2, 2013 1:00 PM
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  • 4 Comments
The original "Despicable Me," released back in 2010 by Illumination Entertainment (a mini-Pixar that would go on to release "Hop" and "The Lorax") was, at its best, an easily forgettable trifle with a handful of hummable songs by Pharrell Williams. It concerned a super-villain named Gru (Steve Carell), who adopts a trio of adorable orphans in an attempt to get back at his arch nemesis, a villain named Vector (Jason Segel). Of course, the orphans melt his evil black heart and he decides to give up the villainous lifestyle to be a stay-at-home-dad. It was pat but it was over pretty quickly and the characters had a nice Charles Addams-by-way-of-Hanna-Barbara look to them. But in no way was the story something that cried out for a follow-up. This is a sequel that's even less necessary than "Monsters University;" often times it feels like the movie can't even justify it's own existence while you're watching it. Rudderless and inane, "Despicable Me 2" goes through the motions until it finally sputters and runs out of gas.

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