Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens Video Game Announced

Disney has officially announced the release of Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens with a teaser (below) that mimics the movie's teaser but inserted Lego humor into it. The game will be released on PC, X-Box One, XBox 360, PS Vita, PS4, PS3, WiiU, and 3DS on June 28 2016. The game is available to pre-order now.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Behind the Scenes at Creating Maz Kanata in The Force Awakens

Below is a short video that provides a behind the scenes peek at the visual effects of Star Wars: The Force Awakens with an emphasis on the creation of Maz Kanata using Lupita Nyong'o's motion capture performance. Thanks to Feris O. for the link.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Star Wars Episode VIII Bumped to Christmas 2017

The original plan for the new Star Wars trilogy was to release the movies every other summer but that idea was forced to be adjusted when it was clear that Star Wars: The Force Awakens wouldn't be able to meet the deadline of essentially completing a CGI heavy film in just 18 months. Now it appears what was a decision forced by circumstance has become the norm for upcoming Star Wars films as Star Wars Episode VIII was bumped 7 months to December 15, 2017 instead of May 26, 2017. Star Wars Rogue One is the next film set for release on December 16, 2016. The decision was driven by the near $2 billion box office take The Force Awakens has enjoyed and likely would not have reaped in the highly competitive summer movie season.

Personally I have long been confused on why the studios don't stake out the December corridor more often. Its no accident that the three top movies of all time were released during the holidays. The competition is much lighter (unless Oscar bait type films) as there are traditionally few tent pole level movies released then. If think about this last month, if you were in the mood for an action film, or a science fiction film, or just a fun film (that wasn't Oscar bait), your option was Star Wars or nothing. And this has been typical for years now. Assuming Disney plans on staking out mid-December for the next five years for each of their Star Wars films it will be interesting to see if the other studios respond by possibly moving what would have been summer films into the holiday time frame to try to soak up some of the Star Wars bucks.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Force Awakens Passes $1 Billion Box Office

The box office news remains solid for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. While the film is no longer number one in the US it still is making the kind of numbers in its 5th week of release that most movies consider a great opening with a total of $32M for the US holiday bring its US total to $858.5M. Internationally the film made $47.3M bringing its total past $1 billion for a worldwide total of $1.86 billion. On the all time list this places past Jurassic World's $1.669B total to the number three slot just behind Titanic's $2.18B and Avatar's $2.78B totals.

As for passing Avatar, that simply isn't going to happen and now it looks like it will not pass Titanic's total either. This is due to the movie not being the success Disney had hoped for in China. While the film's first weekend was an excellent $53 million, bad reviews in the country caused a whopping 72% nosedive for a $14.8M take this past weekend. Disney needed the film to make close to $500M in the country to pass Titanic, now it looks like it will barely make $125M there. If such a nosedive occurred in the States the film would be considered a complete failure, studio stock would suffer and probably a few careers would end. Fortunately China isn't that important to Hollywood's fortunes (yet) but it did put the kibosh on any new box office records. My best guess is the nostalgia factor that was a selling point in the United States and elsewhere actually went against the film in China. The Force Awakens in a substantial number of ways is essentially a remake of A New Hope. Here that generated high praise, in China that nostalgia vein simply doesn't exist. Chances are Disney will continue to spend substantial amount of money in the country to improve Star Wars familiarity in the country so the Episode VIII doesn't suffer the same fate.

As of now, it looks like the film might just go over $2 billion but its going to be close (~$900M US, ~$1.1B international) by the time it exists most theaters by mid-February. Definitely something to brag about over at Lucasfilm and something to build on for the next five or so years of Star Wars films that are in the pipeline.

Friday, January 15, 2016

New Trailer Reveals Cloverfield Sequel (of sorts)

Before this blog focused its attention on Star Wars, it started with the movie Cloverfield. In screening of Michael Bay's 13 Hours revealed that JJ Abrams secretly produced a sort of sequel to the movie called "10 Cloverfield Lane". The movie was filmed around two years ago by director Dan Trachtenberg with stars John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and John Gallagher Jr. Judging by the trailer, the movie occurs concurrent to and just after the Cloverfield. In a statement to Collider, JJ Abrams said "The idea came up a long time ago during production. We wanted to make it a blood relative of Cloverfield. The idea was developed over time. We wanted to hold back the title for as long as possible." Winstead offered a brief description of the film where her character wakes up in a bunker with a stranger (Goodman) saying "He tells me that basically the world is over outside because there’s been a nuclear fall-out. It does have similarity to Faults, in some ways, because you don’t know who’s telling the truth or who to believe. There’s a lot of, who’s manipulating who, and all of that. Tonally, it’s very different, but it has some of those same themes." Update: Added poster for movie.