'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey' trailer: Oscar material?
My very, very early Oscar 2013 predictions – well, we're still in December 2011 – include The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey nominated in the following categories: Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, and Best Costume Design. Perhaps Best Visual Effects and Best Sound Editing and Mixing as well.
I'm not so sure about Best Anything Else just by looking at the An Unexpected Journey trailer below. Ultimately, that'll depend on:
a) Whether director Peter Jackson gets solid reviews for the first part of his two-part film version of J.R.R. Tolkien's 1937 novel The Hobbit. (August 2012 update: Ahem, three-part film version.)
b) Whether The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey delivers business on a par with Jackson's three Lord of the Rings movies. In case you've forgotten their titles, I'm talking about The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002), and the Best Picture Oscar-winning The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003).
'An Unexpected Journey' vs. the two Snow White movies
Admittedly, movie trailers aren't necessarily solid evidence of how good or bad a movie is, but after looking at the trailers available online, both upcoming Snow White movies – like An Unexpected Journey, medieval-inspired fantasy adventures featuring a group of dwarves – look more compelling than the first Hobbit.
Starring Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth, and Best Actress Oscar winner Charlize Theron (Monster, 2003) as the Evil Queen, Rupert Sanders' Snow White and the Huntsman looks appropriately dark and menacing.
Starring Lily Collins, Armie Hammer, and Best Actress Oscar winner Julia Roberts (Erin Brockovich, 2000) as the Evil Queen, Tarsem Singh's Mirror Mirror, for its part, looks brightly colorful and humorous.
The tone of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey falls somewhere in-between: not dark enough; not exactly humorous.
'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey' cast
Starring in The Hobbit 1 are Ian McKellen, once again as Gandalf, and Martin Freeman in the title role as the youthful Bilbo Baggins. Also in the cast are:
Best Supporting Actor Oscar nominee Ian Holm (Chariots of Fire, 1981), reprising his Lord of the Rings role as the older Bilbo Baggins.
The Hobbit 1 opens in the U.S. and Canada on Dec. 14 '12.
The Hobbit 2 a.k.a. The Hobbit: There and Back Again comes out in late 2013. (August 2012 update: The second installment in the Hobbit trilogy has been retitled The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.)
'The Great Gatsby': Leonardo DiCaprio & Carey Mulligan as Jay Gatsby & Daisy Buchanan
The first official The Great Gatsby pictures became available online a few days ago. Seen above are stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan as, respectively, F. Scott Fitzgerald's Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan, two of the most iconic characters of 20th century American literature.
Set shortly after the end of World War I, The Great Gatsby is told through the eyes of Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire), a returning war veteran who becomes part of the upscale Long Island universe of Jay Gatsby, a mysterious figure obsessed with the memory of his long-past affair with the now married Daisy Buchanan.
This latest big-screen version of Fitzgerald's most famous novel was directed by Baz Luhrmann (Strictly Ballroom, Moulin Rouge). In addition to DiCaprio, Mulligan, and Maguire, the mostly Australian supporting cast features Joel Edgerton, Jason Clarke, Isla Fisher, Elizabeth Debicki, Jack Thompson, and Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachchan.
'The Great Gatsby' at the movies
There have been three previous The Great Gatsby adaptations for the big screen:
- Directed by future Academy Award nominee Herbert Brenon (Sorrell and Son, 1927–28), the 1926 silent version starred future Academy Award winner Warner Baxter (In Old Arizona, 1928–29) as Jay Gatsby and popular leading lady Lois Wilson as Daisy Buchanan. This version is now lost; only the trailer remains.
- The hard-to-find 1949 version starred Alan Ladd and Betty Field. Elliott Nugent, whose career consisted mostly of B movies and programmers, directed. The extensive supporting cast included MacDonald Carey, Ruth Hussey, Barry Sullivan, Howard Da Silva, and future two-time Best Supporting Actress Oscar winner Shelley Winters (The Diary of Anne Frank, 1959; A Patch of Blue, 1965). The film was not a critical success.
- Jack Clayton's eagerly awaited 1974 version turned out to be a critical flop and a commercial disappointment (considering expectations), despite a cast that included Robert Redford as Jay Gatsby, Mia Farrow as Daisy Buchanan, plus Karen Black, Scott Wilson, Bruce Dern, Sam Waterston, Lois Chiles, and, once again, Howard Da Silva.
Baz Luhrmann's reportedly $190 million-budgeted The Great Gatsby opens – in 3D – on Christmas Day 2012. (August 2012 update: The Great Gatsby is now scheduled to open in May 2013.)
Disney decides to release 'The Avengers' in 3D
In other movies news … The problem with the North American box office is that it needs saviors in North America – as opposed to saviors in Russia, China, the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, France, Brazil, Japan, South Korea, or Mexico (for box office purposes, not “North America”).
Could the Disney/Marvel release The Avengers be it?
Well, whether or not The Avengers will rescue the North American box office when it opens on May 4 '12, it'll have at least one revenue advantage: ticket-price surcharges.
The Walt Disney Studios has decided to release The Avengers in 3D, which means that the all-star superhero flick will hit theaters about one month after another 2D-to-3D conversion, James Cameron's multiple 1997 Oscar winner Titanic, starring a pre-The Great Gatsby Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet.
There's more: Sony Pictures' The Amazing Spider-Man, directed by Marc Webb, and starring Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone, will be another 2012 (July 3) superhero 3D release.
Christian Bale's batman suit, however, will remain very much 2D-ish in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises.
'The Avengers' cast
Directed by Joss Whedon (of the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer), and co-written by Whedon and Zak Penn, The Avengers features the following:
- Chris Evans as Captain America.
- Chris Hemsworth as Thor.
- Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man.
- Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/the Incredible Hulk.
- Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye.
- Scarlett Johansson as the Black Widow.
- Tom Hiddleston as Loki.
- Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts.
- Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury.
- Stellan Skarsgård as Professor Erik Selvig.
'Byzantium' image of vampire Saoirse Ronan & Caleb Landry Jones
Images from the set of Neil Jordan's Byzantium have been released online. In the picture above you get to see Best Supporting Actress Academy Award nominee Saoirse Ronan (Atonement, 2007) either about to bite or to help – or perhaps to lick? – Caleb Landry Jones, who seems to have badly hurt his blood-pulsing wrist.
In the film, Ronan plays the vampire daughter of Gemma Arterton, who also happens to enjoy some viscous red juice every now and then.
Just don't expect a variation on the crowd-friendly Twilight movies, toplining Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner. After all, Neil Jordan's directorial credits are filled with adult-oriented fare such as Mona Lisa (1986), the Best Picture Oscar nominee The Crying Game (1992), and The End of the Affair (1999).
Having said that, in addition to bloodsuckers, Byzantium, Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, and the two Breaking Dawn movies share one element in common: reddish hair. Just take a good look at Saoirse Ronan and then picture Rachelle Lefevre and Bryce Dallas Howard as the vindictive vampire Victoria.
Besides Saoirse Ronan, Gemma Arterton, and Caleb Landry Jones, the Byzantium cast includes the following:
Jonny Lee Miller. Sam Riley. Daniel Mays. Uri Gavriel. Thure Lindhardt. Kate Ashfield.
The screenplay was written by Moira Buffini (Jane Eyre, Tamara Drewe), from her own play, A Vampire Story.
Byzantium is expected to hit U.S. theaters later in 2012.
'Wolverine' piracy case: Convicted man gets one year in federal prison
And finally … When Charles Ferguson accepted the Best Documentary Feature Academy Award for Inside Job earlier this year, he remarked that none of those responsible for the global economic crisis – the worst since the Great Depression – had gone to jail. If only those jerks had uploaded movies online.
New York resident Gilberto Sanchez, who uploaded to the Internet an unfinished copy of 20th Century Fox's X-Men spinoff X-Men Origins: Wolverine, has been sentenced to one year in federal prison.
As per The Hollywood Reporter, U.S. District Judge Margaret Morrow described his misdeed as “extremely serious,” while U.S. attorney Andre Birotte Jr. said in a statement that “the federal prison sentence handed down in this case sends a strong message of deterrence to would-be Internet pirates. The Justice Department will pursue and prosecute persons who seek to steal the intellectual property of this nation.”
Thanks to Sanchez, X-Men Origins: Wolverine could be found online weeks before its May 2009 release. But unfinished online print or not, Wolverine ultimately grossed $373 million worldwide in theaters.
Additionally, if figures found in The Numbers are accurate, the Hugh Jackman star vehicle sold 4.69 million copies in the United States, thus earning another $76.58 million.
That begs (at least) a couple of questions: how much more money was Fox expecting to earn from this film? Did the uploaded print of Wolverine actually reduce the film's revenue potential?
For comparison's sake (not adjusted for inflation):
- X-Men: The Last Stand grossed $459.35 million worldwide (2006).
- X-2: X-Men United collected $407.71 million (2003).
- The original X-Men took in $296.33 million (2000).
Curiously, the original source for the X-Men Origins: Wolverine leak remains a mystery.
'X-Men Origins: Wolverine' cast
Besides Hugh Jackman, X-Men Origins: Wolverine features the following:
Liev Schreiber. Ryan Reynolds. Lynn Collins. Taylor Kitsch. Danny Huston. Kevin Durand. Will.i.am. Julia Blake.
Wolverine was directed by Gavin Hood (of the 2005 Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award winner Tsotsi).
Martin Freeman The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey image: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer / New Line Cinema.
Carey Mulligan and Leonardo DiCaprio The Great Gatsby image: Warner Bros.
Caleb Landry Jones and Saoirse Ronan Byzantium image: IFC Films, via comingsoon.net.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey trailer: MGM / New Line Cinema.
“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey trailer + Leonardo DiCaprio Is F. Scott Fitzgerald Antihero” last updated in May 2018.