The Playlist

Universal Moves Forward With 'Safe House 2,' David Guggenheim Penning Script

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • September 5, 2012 10:54 PM
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  • 4 Comments
Universal hasn't been having the best year so far. Sure, they had an unexpected hit in the Seth MacFarlane comedy "Ted" and "Snow White and the Huntsmen" probably did just well enough to merit a sequel (writer David Koepp, who specializes in oversized blockbusters, is hard at work as we speak). But they have also been saddled with pricey duds like waterlogged board game adaptation "Battleship," violent drug world freak-out "Savages," and stillborn romantic comedy "The Five-Year Engagement." So it's no surprise they'll want to seize upon one of their few hits and produce a follow-up, which is what they're doing in the case of the Ryan Reynolds/Denzel Washington thriller "Safe House."

Weekend Box Office: 'The Lorax' Rules The Roost, While 'The Artist' Fails To Capitalize On Oscar Night

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • March 4, 2012 1:48 PM
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  • 5 Comments
Will Smith, Steven Spielberg, Nicolas Sparks, Tyler Perry – to these foolproof brands, add one more: the late Dr. Seuss. “The Grinch,” “The Cat in The Hat“ and “Horton Hears a Who” have all grossed over $100 million, and now, opening with stronger numbers than the three of them is “The Lorax.” The environmentally-minded ‘toon, which ironically has helped market SUVs, is the third effort from Illumination Entertainment, and it looks very likely to outgross the openings of both “Despicable Me” and “Hop.” Industry expectations pegged this as a huge opener, as it was a notably deflated market with no animated blockbusters since last winter’s mostly well-received “Puss-In-Boots.” In other words, duh.

Discuss: Does Universal Need Matt Damon & Paul Greengrass To Return For 'Bourne'?

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • February 20, 2012 10:24 AM
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  • 8 Comments
So far in 2012, Universal has been flexing their box office muscle hard thanks to the success of a couple of no frills action vehicles. Mark Wahlberg's midbudgeted ($25 million not including P&A) "Contraband" is already over $70 million worldwide (most of that from the domestic box office), with a number of foreign territories still to open. Meanwhile, audiences are loving the Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds pic "Safe House," with the movie pushing its way to number one in its second weekend, with the film already outpacing "Contraband" and on track to bag over $100 million at the domestic box office alone. And while the latter pic is pricier ($85 million plus P&A and whatever percentage off the top Denzel gets) the success of these two films illustrate that bare bones, raw knuckle action not only sells, but Universal knows how to sell it. So where does Jason Bourne fit in?

Weekend Box Office: 'The Vow' And 'Safe House' Tussling Again For First Place; 'Ghost Rider' Does Less Than Half Of Predecessor

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • February 19, 2012 12:37 PM
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  • 2 Comments
Love is in the air, but "Safe House" ain't hearin' it. In weekend two, the film surpassed last week's champ, "The Vow," if only barely. While the film hasn’t done quite the same weekday business as the Tatum-McAdams romancer so far, it’s outperformed its modest programmer aspirations and should easily leapfrog $100 million. Amusingly enough, this would give Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds both four $100 million domestic earners on their resume. Sometimes the line separating a star and a journeyman can be very thin, though to Denzel’s credit, he’s never really been the type to command massive $200 million budgets. Though, yeah, he probably would have been a good “Green Lantern.” Now that that’s been brought up in conversation, let us ignore it forever. Apologies.

Weekend Box Office: 'The Vow' And 'Safe House' Lead Four $20 Million+ Debuts

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • February 12, 2012 1:44 PM
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  • 10 Comments
It’s a crowded non-holiday weekend in February. Clearly, all these new releases should do somewhere in the vicinity of $10-$15 million, cannibalizing their own audiences, right? It’s early, but in a year of box office surprises, consider this weekend the most unlikely. With the final tallies to be announced on Monday, this will be the first non-holiday weekend to feature four $20 million+ debuts. And, surprisingly, none of them are costly flops.

In Theaters: Make 'The Vow' To Stay Inside The 'Safe House' & Avoid The 'Journey 2' 'The Phantom Menace'

  • By Katie Walsh
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  • February 10, 2012 4:58 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Happy Friday all, another week has gone by and another weekend is here with new releases for your eyeballs and eardrums (cause cinema is both audio and visual... get it..). There's a nice little salad bar of items to choose from, so just make sure you choose the right one and not a re-release of a bad movie in 3D. That's never the right choice.

The Essentials: The 5 Best Denzel Washington Performances

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • February 10, 2012 12:58 PM
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  • 17 Comments
Sometimes, winning an Oscar seems to change things for an actor. Look at Al Pacino, who's barely taken anything worth his time since he won for "Scent of a Woman" in 1992, or Kevin Spacey, who starred in a string of dull would-be-heartwarmers after picking up his gold for "American Beauty." And you could argue the same for Denzel Washington. He's irrefutably one of the most charismatic screen presences around, with even more gravitas than ever before as he closes on his 60s. But since he won Best Actor from the Academy for "Training Day," his film roles seem to have been a variation on a theme; thrillers that sometimes work, sometimes don't, but rarely leave you reeling the way his best work does, with his real energy seemingly reserved for directing work or stage performances like "Julius Caesar" and "Fences" (the latter of which won him a Tony).

Review: 'Safe House' Is An Intense, But All-Too Familiar Thriller That Doesn't Offer Much Of Anything New

  • By The Playlist
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  • February 8, 2012 2:30 PM
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  • 5 Comments
Featuring a conventional, by-the-numbers dynamic and story, but a crackling, intense momentum and execution, the Denzel Washington-led CIA thriller "Safe House" splits the difference between comfortably traditional and genuinely thrilling, leaving for an entertaining, but frequently overly familiar experience.

Ryan Reynolds & Denzel Washington Talk Sociopaths, Black Eyes, The 'Bourne' Influence & Stunt Driving In 'Safe House'

  • By Jen Vineyard
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  • February 7, 2012 12:57 PM
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  • 0 Comments
In "Safe House," a rookie agent named Matt Weston (played by Ryan Reynolds) is the "housekeeper," minding the store for an underutilized CIA safe house, when one day, a "house guest" finally arrives for interrogation. It's not just any house guest either -- it's former agent-gone-rogue Tobin Frost (Denzel Washington), considered to be a master manipulator, a traitor, and one of the most dangerous men in the world. And as soon as Frost arrives, so do the men pursuing him, killing almost everyone but Weston and Frost, who escape. They might be considered a team if it weren't for Frost's attempts to manipulate, escape, and kill his captor, who is in way over his head. The stars of "Safe House," along with director Daniel Espinosa ("Snabba Cash"), were in New York recently to discuss the film's psychological basis, action sequences, and on-location shoot in Cape Town, South Africa.

Clip & Batch Of New Pics From 'Safe House' Starring Ryan Reynolds & Denzel Washington

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • January 27, 2012 2:34 PM
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  • 5 Comments
While 2011 might have been a bit bumpy for Universal, 2012 is looking much better ("Five Year Engagement," "Snow White And The Huntsmen," "47 Ronin," "This Is 40" and "The Bourne Legacy" are just some of the movies they have on the calendar), and the year is already off to a strong start with Mark Wahlberg's "Contraband" opening very strong a couple of weeks ago. Well, the studio is hoping another mid-budgeted action movie will bring them repeat success next month when "Safe House," starring Ryan Reynolds and Denzel Washington, hits the big screen.
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