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The Playlist

Weekend Box Office: Kids Come Out For 'Hop,' 'Sucker' Thoroughly 'Punch'ed

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • April 3, 2011 5:00 AM
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  • 1 Comment
While Universal’s animated division remains behind Disney and Dreamworks, “Hop” became their second straight surprisingly big opening this weekend, collecting $39 million. Most called the heavily-promoted film in the high 20’s, low 30’s, but like “Despicable Me” before it, the film definitely connected with family audiences in its first frame. While “Despicable Me” eventually collected $544 million globally with a much bigger opening, “Hop” isn’t expected to bust the doors down. But due to the seasonal and family appeal, expect this thing to have legs, and while they initially weren’t counting on $100 domestic, that should be easily surmountable from here, with $150 million being a solid preliminary target. Fanciful returns for the studio, who have kept the budgets for the partly-animated “Hop” and the fully animated “Despicable Me” well under the industry-standard $100 million.

Steven Zaillian Bails On Jack Ryan Reboot, Project Stalled As Paramount Focuses On 'Star Trek 2'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • March 29, 2011 3:29 AM
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  • 3 Comments
It's been a helluva merry-go-round of writers on Paramount's gestating reboot of the Jack Ryan franchise. A little bit of history: it started as an origin story penned by Hossein Amini ("The Four Feathers," the upcoming "Drive"); then Paramount picked up the spec script "Dubai" by Adam Cozad tasking the writer to re-draft it for a Jack Ryan vehicle; Anthony Peckham ("Sherlock Holmes," "Invictus") then put his hands on the script, only for Cozad to come back and give it another tinker; finally, last month, expensive and very hot screenwriter Steve Zaillian was hired to give it another rewrite but it looks like they need to find someone else.

Andrew Garfield, Emile Hirsch & Chris Pine Eyed To Replace Jake Gyllenhaal In Doug Liman's 'Moon'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • March 23, 2011 2:06 AM
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  • 3 Comments
Rosario Dawson, Megan Fox, Rachel McAdams, Eva Mendes, Zoe Saldana & Olivia Wilde Sought For The Female Lead; Late Summer Start PlannedYes, it's those same familiar names all over again. This time they're coming up for a project we figured was stuck in development hell, but we're surprised and delighted to see some movement.

'Dune' Is Dead At Paramount

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • March 22, 2011 9:12 AM
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  • 4 Comments
Last we heard, the writing was on the wall for "Dune." It was last November that it was reported that Paramount was given a deadline of this spring (read: now) to get a film into production or risk losing the rights to the film and with nothing having happened since, it's no surprise to now hear the project is dead at the studio.

Max Winkler Talks Jason Reitman's 'Whispers In Bedlam,' 'The Adventurer's Handbook' Still Waiting

  • By Christopher Bell
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  • March 4, 2011 6:39 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Winkler and Matt Spicer Also Sell 'The First Man' To Paramount Starring Johnny KnoxvilleFledgling filmmaking duo, director/writer Max Winkler and producer/writer Matt Spicer might not be household names at the moment, but if the frequency with which their names keep appearing in the film trades continues, the up-and-coming duo are going to be a familiar force to be reckoned with. The two have their debut feature film, "Ceremony" (which Winkler wrote and directed, Spicer produced) coming to theaters on April 8th starring Uma Thurman and Michael Angarano, and two big name writing projects- "The Ornate Anatomy of Living Things" and "The Adventurer's Handbook" -- sold to studios, both with serious buzz surrounding them.

Review: 'Rango' Is A Sweetly Surreal Animated Western

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • March 2, 2011 4:59 AM
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  • 2 Comments
It's strange to think that Gore Verbinski, an accomplished visual stylist who began in commercials (he was responsible for those "Bud-weis-er" talking bullfrog ads), would want to follow up the daunting and problem-plagued back-to-back shoots of the two latter 'Pirates of the Caribbean' movies with an animated film. Not only are animated films notoriously time-consuming and hard to crack, but this would be his first fully animated film and the debut feature film from Industrial Light & Magic, George Lucas' wizardly visual effects house. And this was supposed to be his "small" movie.

Box Office '10: Win, Lose Or Draw

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • January 28, 2011 12:36 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Despite rising 3D surcharges, studios posted major box office and attendance drops in 2010, suggesting moviegoers were not entirely intrigued by the year’s product. Some distributors executed a winning game plan with success, while others floundered, making a series of unwise decisions that probably got a number of respectable people fired.

Sundance '11: Paramount Gets 'Like Crazy' With Anton Yelchin & Felicity Jones, 'Margin Call' Sold

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • January 23, 2011 4:07 AM
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  • 1 Comment
'Project Nim,' 'Tabloid,' 'The Raven,' 'There Be Dragons' & 'Tanner Hall' All Picked Up In Busy Week Of AcquisitionsThe attitude coming out of Sundance this year is overwhelmingly positive, with many critics already swooning over quirky films like Miranda July’s “The Future” and Elizabeth Olsen’s performance in Sean Durkin’s “Martha Marcy May Marlene.” But though there’s been a lot of praise during the first three days of the indie festival, the first film to truly wow viewers (and buyers, apparently) is Drake Doremus’ “Like Crazy,” a film about long-distance lovers trying to make it through. It’s apparently so wonderful that just a day after its premiere, Paramount Pictures has snatched it up for U.S. distribution, with production company Indian Paintbrush co-producing, according to those close to the deal. The film has been one we've been keeping a close eye on for a while, and was already listed as one of our most anticipated of the year and the positive buzz now coming out of Park City has only stoked our curiosity further.

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