Veronica Mars – The Movie Will Be Made!

Amazing news for VMars fans last week! It was announced by Kickstarter that Veronica Mars surpassed 5.7 million in donations from nearly 100k individuals. Those donating ranged from hardcore fans of the show to large fans of the donation site Kickstarter. Veronica Mars made history by becoming the first film with a built-in fan base to achieve such a large amount of donations in 30 days. The original pitch from series creator Rob Thomas was $2 million.

The film had to undergo this unconventional way of funding because Warner Brothers was not willing to shell out the amount of money to create the film. Warner Brothers owns the trademark for Veronica Mars and all intellectual property. The studio claimed that the interest was simply not there, despite years upon years of the question coming up, “Will a Veronica Mars film ever be made?”

Kristen Bell, the original series star has shown her support for the show since its end with many tweets and mentions in her interviews throughout the years. Unlike many contemporaries who want to distance themselves from what they are most known for, Kristen Bell was adamant that she would return in an instant if the greenlight for the Veronica Mars film ever came about.

At the beginning of this year, Rob Thomas and Kristen Bell began hinting at a surprise to fans. Though they weren’t forthcoming with details initially, fans could tell that the two had a trick up their sleeve. On March 13, 2013, the Kickstarter dedicated to Veronica Mars opened for business. Rob Thomas explained how through lengthy discussions over the years and his persistence even when all hope was lost, Warner Brothers decided to give them a chance at raising funding on their own. Rob almost gave up on the idea that a Veronica Mars movie would ever be created, but was inspired when a friend introduced him to Kickstarter. This company had helped to fund many projects over the last few years, with musical projects at the forefront that included a much anticipated Amanda Palmer album & the first tour from the talented Alexz Johnson.

Independent films that didn’t have the help of a major studio had been at the forefront of Kickstarter’s crowd funding in the film category. Once this Kickstarter project came to fruition, film enthusiasts were worried that the project may become a precedent for more crowd funded films that major studios did not want to produce on their dime, specifically those with already built-in fanbases. While this is certainly a possibility that could be detrimental to the film industry, the Veronica Mars project could very well be the only film to garner such fan interest.

No one knows what the future holds for crowd funding and films with a built-in audience. What we do know is that the Veronica Mars will indeed be filmed. The project was greenlit the hour after it surpassed its initial goal of $2 million. Though it slowed down dramatically over the next few weeks, $5.7 million is more than enough to shoot the film and pay for its stars salary. Warner Brothers has agreed to take on the marketing budget and distribution of the film. Any individual donating over $15 to the project was rewarded with a digital copy of the film and a bevy of other rewards depending on the amount of the donation. For a show that averaged just 2.3 million viewers in its heyday, yet received rave reviews, this project has truly shown the power of crowd funding and the power of a cult classic.

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Discover the Unpredictable in ‘Prometheus’

Charlize Theron is about to battle herself at the Box Office. While this is not uncommon in the film world, normally a studio waits at least three weeks prior to another studio’s release with the same actor. ‘Prometheus’ is opening just one week after ‘Snow White and the Huntsman’ and luckily shares very little in common with the latter film. ‘Snow White and the Huntsmen’ is a dark adaptation of the classic fairytale. ‘Prometheus,’ on the other hand, is set in the late 21st Century with an on-board crew researching, in Space, for answers to what happened to Earth’s civilization.

‘Prometheus’ marks the return of Ridley Scott to the Sci-Fi genre, a genre he is famous for thanks to ‘Aliens.’ After traveling through various civilizations, the crew finds what they’re looking for, which could also lead to their death. Shot entirely through 3D cameras, the trailers for the film show a high tech and visually stunning production values, and critics have commented on this pro. Some of the cons mention that the film features plot holes and reductive narratives. The film currently has a 75% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the best of the major motion pictures released recently, after ‘The Avengers.’

Starring Michael Fassbender, the aforementioned Charlize Theron, Guy Pearce and Swedish actress Noomi Rapace, the film’s viral campaign online featured some of these actors promoting the ‘Prometheus’ through fictional speeches and product promotions. Amazon also had a hand in promoting the film through similar products sold online, this being the first time in which an outside studio had direct access with Amazon to consumers. 20th Century Fox, the studio behind distributing the film predicts an opening of $30 – $35 million, which would be a severe disappointment, considering the film was created in 3D and is estimated to have cost over $120 million to create. Box Office analysts believe that it could open with up to $50 million, but will likely fall under the third film in the Madagascar series, also opening this weekend. Can Charlize have a different #1 movie, for two weeks straight? Regardless of expectations, the film’s generally good ratings suggest that it is one to check out. ‘Prometheus’ is out in theaters now.

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‘Snow White and the Huntsman’ to Destroy the Box Office

Welcome back! It’s been nearly a month since my last post, sorry for the break. In that time I graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno and settled into working full time. Without further ado, let’s get into one of the newest films coming out this weekend!

Remember when the Box Office disappointment ‘Mirror Mirror’ was released a few short months ago? I warned you that another film, taking on the classic fairytale Snow White, was on the horizon. That film is now here and it looks GOOD. ‘Snow White and the Huntsman’ comes to us from the producer of Alice in Wonderland, Joe Roth, via Universal Pictures. Universal Pictures has had their share of disappointments and successes this year but a lot is riding on this film. A second film is already in the works, while the first, coming out this Friday was shot on a $170 million dollar budget.

‘Snow White and the Huntsman’ features the acting talent of Kristen Stewart, Charlize Theron and Chris Hemsworth, a trio of Hollywood players that have seen much recent success. Stewart is one of the headliners of the Twilight franchise, while Hemsworth starts in the current Box Office smash ‘The Avengers’ and Charlize Theron is coming from the critically acclaimed ‘Young Adult.’ Other than showcasing their three stars, advertisements for the film display a considerably darker theme and story than ‘Mirror Mirror’ from earlier this year. ‘Huntsman’ is the story of Queen Ravenna’s (Theron) attempt to maintain power over the latest kingdom she has conquered. After speaking to her Magic Mirror, Queen Ravenna learns that her stepdaughter, Snow White (Stewart) is set to overthrow her to become the Queen of the kingdom. The Queen attempts to have her stepdaughter murdered by a Huntsman (Hemsworth) only to unwittingly assist Snow White in her claim to power.

The film is rated PG-13 and one can see why through the trailers. The theme is dark, there is a lot of violence and Charlize Theron gives a surprisingly convincing performance as Queen Ravenna. So far, the film has mixed reviews, with a 46% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Complaints come from the direction of the film, as well as the casting of Kristen Stewart among other things. Midnight showings suggest that the film could open with nearly $50 million this weekend, which wouldn’t be a bad start. It will have grossed 75% of Mirror Mirror’s all-time gross in just one weekend. Regardless of the critics’ opinion, the film will debut at #1 this weekend. ‘Snow White and the Huntsman’ is out in theaters now.

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Complications Arise in ‘The Five-Year Engagement’

Looking for a hilarious romantic comedy for the week? ‘The Five-Year Engagement’ may or may not be what you’re looking for. Heavily advertised as a film from the makers of ‘Bridemaids’, ‘The Five-Year Engagement’ has naturally drawn comparisons to last year’s big hit. After all, both films star popular comedic talented, Judd Apatow produced both films and they center around an upcoming wedding.

In ‘The Five-Year Engagement,’ Jason Segel and Emily Blunt star as Tom and Violet, a couple living in San Francisco preparing to take the plunge into marriage. Tom is an assistant chef looking for a promotion while Violet continues her education as a psychology major. After Tom’s best friend Alex (Chris Pratt) and Violet’s sister Suzie (Alison Brie) announce that Suzie is pregnant out of wedlock, the two supporting characters decide they want to get married as soon as possible. This throws a wrench in Tom and Violet’s upcoming nuptials as they don’t want to compete. Chaos ensues between the couple and betrayal, arguments and a separation follow. Without spoiling the ending, I will say one can guess what will occur.

‘The Five-Year Engagement’ is geared towards an older audience, as it has obtained an ‘R’ rating. Much of the audience who caught ‘Bridesmaids,’ which includes both men and women from their early 20’s – late 30’s are expected to turn out for this rom-com. The film has garnered mostly positive reviews, with a 63% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Many of the critics enjoyed it, but as expected, compared it unfavorably to ‘Bridesmaids.‘ Generally, critics mentioned that there were less funny moments and that the film ran a tad bit long.

Perhaps most of the audience caught these reviews and the reception before heading to the film. It’s weekend gross was a disappointing $11 million. Box Office Analysts were expecting anywhere between $18 million – $25 million. On a $30 million dollar production budget, the film still stands a chance at passing that, but won’t make back the marketing budget for the film. Universal Pictures shouldn’t be worried, as ‘Battleship,’ ‘Snow White and the Huntsman,’ among may others are on their way. ‘The Five-Year Engagement’ is out in theaters now.

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One of Poe’s Greatest Adapted for the Big Screen – ‘The Raven’

Where is Hollywood getting all its ideas lately? Most of the films in theaters right now aren’t original, but rather adaptations of former TV shows, long novels and sequels to already existing characters. This time, Hollywood decided to take a stab at adapting the famous poem by Edgar Allan Poe called ‘The Raven.’ This film follows the poet as he sees him poem come to life when a string of similar murders occur. The murders prompt the authorities to enlist Poe for assistance in capturing the murderer. Poe’s urgency to find the murderer and delve into his mind escalates when his love interest is captured.

‘The Raven’ is rated R and was seemingly created for all viewers over the age of 18. The language isn’t hard to follow and John Cusack stars as Edgar Allan Poe. With a fast moving trailer and an intriguing plot the film looks to be good. However, if critics are to be trusted, ‘The Raven’ may be somewhat of a dud.

‘The Raven’ has a 21% on Rotten Tomatoes this week, which is only bested by ‘The Lucky One’ as the worst rated major motion picture of the last few weeks. What are critics saying exactly? The film had a mix of reviews saying that the plot is interesting, but it’s not executed as well as it should be. Some say it’s too gory, some say it’s not gory enough.

The production budget for ‘The Raven’ is $26 million, with a marketing budget that may, perhaps, just pass $40 million. With an estimated opening of $8 – $10 million over the weekend, that total budget may not be acquired. Whatever the case, this may be a film where you want to avoid the critics rating. After all, this is an Edgar Allan Poe adaptation. ‘The Raven’ is out in theaters now.

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‘Chimpanzee’ Another Hit for Disneynature

Animals aren’t strangers to film. From talking pigs, to evil cats and dogs, there have been many humorous films dedicated to animals and playing up their characteristics. This weekend’s film of animals is the documentary ‘Chimpanzee,’ which is sure to be different from last year’s ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes.’ The main difference is, of course, that one is a documentary while the other is purely fictional, but there is more to ‘Chimpanzee’ than meets the eye.

‘Chimpanzee’ is the story of Oscar, a young chimpanzee separated from his family and eventually adopted by another family of chimpanzees in the jungle. The story was shot over a few years and is narrated by actor Tim Allen. The film delves into the life of chimpanzees and their adapting to new surroundings. This film is meant to bring awareness to Chimpanzees and animals in general, but it is not for everyone. For nature enthusiasts, who have seen other Disneynature films such as ‘Earth,’ ‘Ocean,’ and ‘African Cats,’ this will likely be right up your alley. The film has been featured prominently on Disney Channel with inescapable promotion from avid viewers and channel changers. China Anne McClain, an actress who doubles as a singer for the channel even sings a song to help spread the message to children.

‘Chimpanzee’ has a decent score on Rotten Tomatoes with a slightly above average 77%. At an approximate one hour and 18 minutes of running time, the film likely won’t bore audience members to death. The film has already become Disneynature’s large opening for a film from their distribution company, with over $10 million in revenue over the weekend. It will surely make back its budget and serve for future Disneynature films to begin production soon. For fans of nature films and the children targeted through the Disney Channel, this is great news as it brings more of a nature perspective to a sometimes over commercialized world. ‘Chimpanzee’ is out in theaters now.

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Women Teach Men How to ‘Think Like a Man’

This weekend’s Box Office features two movies adapted from bestselling books. While ‘The Lucky One’, based on a Nicholas Sparks novel, has certainly gotten more attention for its star, Zac Efron and the Nicholas Sparks connection, ‘Think Like a Man’ looks to defeat it over the weekend based on Friday estimates. ‘Think Like a Man’ is an ensemble comedy based on Steve Harvey’s book ‘Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man.’ The film revolves around a group of women who happen to read Harvey’s book and are inspired to use the advice from the book on their boyfriends.

‘Think Like a Man’ is an ensemble comedy, meaning it follows many characters as opposed to one of two main ones. The stars of this film have certainly had their share of success and are likely to be a big draw to the film. Among these actors are Meagan Good, Regina Hall, Kevin Hart and Gabrielle Union. While many have likely heard of these actors individually, their union in the film, as a cast of primarily black people is still likely to attract a less diverse audience. This audience is enough, however, if early Friday Box Office estimates are any indication. ‘Think Like a Man’ is set to bring in over $20 million this weekend and peak at #1, breaking the four week streak of ‘The Hunger Games’ and besting ‘The Lucky One.’

I haven’t seen much in terms of promotion for the film; however, I did catch Gabrielle Union on ‘Chelsea Lately’ last night. From the clip Ms. Union introduced, and her description, it seems funny enough. The film’s Rotten Tomatoes score is currently at 52%, representing a diverse amount of reviews from those who loved or hated the film. Most of these reviews express that the film starts out high, but once the men find out how the women are experimenting with them, it begins to falter. Regardless of its ups and downs, on a production budget of $12 million and marketing budget of much less, the film will make its money back by next weekend. ‘Think Like a Man’ is out in theaters now.

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