When it was announced that 'The Hobbit' would be turned from two films into three, it seemed possible that Warner Brothers and Peter Jackson could kill themselves trying to deliver an additional three hour movie only seven months after the release of the second. So it's not a big surprise that 'The Hobbit: There and Back Again' has been pushed from July 18 to December 13, 2014.
December is often a surprising month at the box office as many films that never top the box office end up making a lot of money. The Tom Cruise vehicle 'Jack Reacher' opened right before Christmas and had a $15 million opening weekend. Sounds weak right? And yet the picture has grossed nearly $80 million domestically, and over $200 million worldwide. Which is why Paramount is talking about a sequel.
By the end of the 1950's, the studio system had been rocked by television, and MGM was on the ropes fiscally. They put a lot of stock in 1959's 'Ben-Hur,' which paid off big time. 'Ben-Hur' became one of their biggest hits (adjusted for inflation it's number thirteen on the all time list), and won eleven Oscars. Now that MGM is successful after 'Skyfall,' they're going to return to 'Ben-Hur' and remake it.
For whatever reason, 'Star Wars' fans petitioned the White House wanting the United States to make a Death Star. That the country our the government has no interest in making one is no surprise. But the Chief of the Science and Space Branch at the White House Office of Management and Budget Paul Shawcross responded to the petition in the nerdiest way possible.
Stuntman turned director David R. Ellis has passed away at the age of 60. He was prepping his next movie when he died suddenly of unknown causes. Though Ellis would never be considered an auteur, his no-nonsense approach and eye for good schlock made him one of the best B-movie directors in the business.
Charles Durning, one of the great character actors of the modern era, has passed away at the age of 89 from natural causes. If the name doesn't ring a bell, his work should as he's been a reliable supporting player in cinema and television for decades.
Though Peter Jackson's 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey' hit screens mere hours ago, it's already on track to have the highest opening weekend of any picture to open in December. That's right, it's on track to open bigger than 'Avatar.'
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