WARNER'S “GRAVITY” HAS FAST CLIMB TO $100-M WORLDWIDE
Only five days after its record-breaking launch, Warner Bros. Pictures’ “Gravity” has flown past $100 million at the worldwide box office. The film has earned an estimated $68.5 million domestically and $35.8 internationally for a global total to date of $104.3 million. The announcement was made today by Dan Fellman, President of Domestic Distribution, and Veronika Kwan Vandenberg, President of International Distribution, Warner Bros. Pictures.
Following weeks of enthusiastic critical acclaim and huge anticipation from moviegoers, the Alfonso Cuarón-directed dramatic thriller exceeded all expectations on its opening weekend. Taking in $55.8 million domestically, “Gravity” broke a number of box office records, including those for the biggest October opening for any film, the largest IMAX opening in October ($11.8 million), and the highest opening weekend ever for stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. (In the Philippines, “Gravity” has grossed an outstanding P41.4-million as of October 9, and still climbing.)
In making the announcement, Fellman stated, “We are all thrilled by this start—from the tremendous critical acclaim to the fantastic response from audiences. Alfonso Cuarón and his brilliant collaborators crafted a groundbreaking film that succeeds on every level, both creatively and commercially. Word of mouth has been amazing and we expect it only to grow, keeping ‘Gravity’ strong at the box office in the weeks and months ahead.”
Kwan Vandenberg noted, “‘Gravity’ is a riveting and relatable human drama that has struck a chord with moviegoers in countries around the globe. We are excited by these numbers and know this is just the beginning, with much-anticipated openings coming up in major markets such as the UK, France, Japan, Korea, Brazil and Mexico.”
Sue Kroll, Warner Bros. Pictures President, Worldwide Marketing and International Distribution, said, “The buzz on ‘Gravity’ began building when we unveiled the film at the Venice and Toronto Film Festivals. Critical raves and screening audience reactions reinforced what we already knew—that the combination of thrilling drama, breathtaking visuals, and powerful performances made this a film that had to be experienced on the big screen.” President, Creative Development and Worldwide Production Greg Silverman added, “Sue and I join everyone at Warner Bros. in congratulating Alfonso Cuarón, producer David Heyman, screenwriter Jonás Cuarón, Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, and all the other talented artists who worked to make ‘Gravity’ an unequivocal cinematic achievement.”
In “Gravity,” Dr. Ryan Stone (Bullock) is a brilliant medical engineer on her first shuttle mission, with veteran astronaut Matt Kowalski (Clooney) in command. But on a seemingly routine mission, disaster strikes. The shuttle is destroyed, leaving Stone and Kowalski completely alone—tethered to nothing but each other and spiraling out into the blackness. The deafening silence tells them they have lost any link to Earth…and any chance for rescue. As fear turns to panic, every gulp of air eats away at what little oxygen is left.
But the only way home may be to go further out into the terrifying expanse of space.
(Now playing across the Philippines in IMAX 3D, Digital 3D, 2D and regular theatres, “Gravity” is distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment company.)
STEPHEN KING'S ICONIC NOVEL “CARRIE” UNLEASHES POWER IN BIG SCREEN
Carrie was Stephen King’s first bestseller and the book that launched his career. This horror story about a young misunderstood student, living under the spell of her over-protective mother, that discovers she has telekinesis powers and puts them to use when bullied at school made a huge impact when first published in 1974. Four decades later, writer/director Kimberly Peirce has adapted King’s story to contemporary times, with Chloe Moretz in the leading role of “Carrie.”
This story was first adapted on the screen by Brian De Palma in 1976, and now Peirce has decided to retell it with the blessing of both the author and De Palma.
The issues Stephen King was dealing with in the novel feel timeless, as producer Kevin Misher explains: “I think if you look at the original book that was written in the 70’s you can see that it’s a very classic tale about kids feeling disenfranchised, with the science fiction horror metaphor of one girl’s experience.
She represents what many kids go through at high school during puberty. So, this seemed to be a movie that could speak to a contemporary audience and to the nostalgics that grew up loving the book and the original film -appealing to a very large group of people. And it may also have a lot to say, because the way movies discourse on contemporary issues today seems to me to be through genre. For instance, many people talked about how `The Dark Knight Rises' was about civil unrest.”
In Peirce’s words: “I wanted to bring the audience as deeply as possible inside Carrie’s journey - inside her intense longing and effort to be a normal teenager amidst the mockery of her peers; inside her discovery and use of these amazing powers; inside her strange and deep bond with her religious and protective mother, Margaret; and inside the fatal conflicts that arise as Carrie ventures into the world to become a woman.”
“What really hit me were the characters,” follows up Peirce. “Margaret and Carrie’s profound mother/daughter relationship is the heart and soul of the movie as Margaret tries to prevent her daughter from growing up and using her powers. From there you widen out to include all the other characters that help to push Carrie to her ultimate end. I wanted to make an emotional, modern and very fun version of this story.”
Carrie’s powers also can be seen a gift and a curse -a duality always present in Moretz’s performance, as the young actress explains: “The telekinesis aspect of the movie could have been this weird element that nobody understood, or this beautiful element that added a new dimension to the film – which is what Kim did! She took this element and made it so beautiful that when you watch Carrie use it, you can't help but to want those powers! She is not only becoming a woman and realizing who she is, but also becoming stronger every day and learning how to utilize this newfound power.
There are some really awesome shots of her discovering what she's capable of and how much strength she really has.”
Kimberly Peirce is delighted with Chloe’s performance as Carrie: “She is amazing! Obviously any director is going to say that about their main actor, but what is unique about her is that she is a wonderful performer that has beautifully been able to play a really precocious adult aged-up girl. She is on the verge of blossoming, and this is the story of a girl who blossoms. So, we also had youth on our side.”
Opening across the Philippines in October 16, “Carrie” is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.
NEIL PATRICK HARRIS IS VOICE OF STEVE THE MONKEY IN “CLOUDY 2”
“I thought that the original `Cloudy' was one of the funniest movies of that year,” begins Neil Patrick Harris, who returns as the voice of Steve the Monkey in Sony Pictures Animation's adventure comedy “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2,” the sequel to the 2009 original.
Cody Cameron and Kris Pearn, who worked as story artists on the original hit, direct the new film. “I am a big fan of the brains of everyone involved on the creative side of these movies,” adds Harris, who first broke out with the 1989 TV series “Doogie Howser, M.D” before starring in films as diverse as “Starship Troopers,” “The Smurfs” and the “Harold & Kumar” movies.
“I love Phil Lloyd and Chris Miller, who are the original `Cloudy' writers and directors, and I love the current writers and directors, Cody and Kris, who share the same sense of humor, which I hope really shines through in `Cloudy 2.'”
The sequel picks up where the 2009 original left off. The film’s hero, Flint Lockwood (voiced by Bill Hader), is recognized as a genius at last and he’s invited to join The Live Corp Company, where the best and brightest inventors in the world create technologies for the good of mankind.
Flint had always hoped that one day he would be recognized as a great inventor, but his giddy dream soon turns into a feverish nightmare when he discovers that the food machine he created in the first film (and which caused a disastrous food storm in the town of Swallow Falls), is still working and has created a veritable feast of mutant food creatures.
With the fate of humanity in his hands, Flint and his friends must embark on a dangerous mission to battle the food-animal hybrids, or ‘foodimals’, which include tacodiles, shrimpanzees, hippotatomuses, cheespiders and a whole banquet of other foody beasts.
“Boy, the stuff they have in this movie made me laugh and laugh and laugh,” says Harris. “In fact, from the first e-mail I ever got, asking if I wanted to play a monkey named Steve who only shouts single words that come out of a voice recorder box around his neck, I was laughing.”
And Harris was laughing again on “Cloudy 2” as Steve comes to the fore once more, starring alongside his master and best friend, Flint, who created the Speak and Spell ‘monkey thought translator’, through which Steve communicates (though his conversation is limited to single, rather random words).
“Steve is exactly the same this time around as in the first `Cloudy,'” smiles co-director Cody Cameron. “Flint projects more onto Steve than what Steve actually is. Steve is pretty much the same throughout!”
The fact that Steve remains the same will only solidify his position as a firm fans’ favorite. “It is funny what they come up with,” says Harris. “Steve is a really funny character and there will be a hilarious scene and then suddenly there will be a close-up of Steve and he will just say one word, ‘Lick’, and then suddenly we are random and funny again.”
According to producer Kirk Bodyfelt, extracting a movie voice-performance for a main character usually takes three or four sessions, each one running at five or six hours. “But with Neil, we got the whole movie in one session, one hour,” laughs Bodyfelt. “Later, we came up with five more Steve lines, we had Neil in for a second session – he comes in for ten minutes and he’s done.
“Steve is a great foil for the animators,” the producer continues. “You have a scene with a lot of dialogue and Steve is in the background doing something ridiculous or eating something he wasn’t supposed to eat. He’s great.”
Harris certainly takes great pleasure in voicing the character. “I hope that people think the sequel is truly brilliant, like the first one,” he says. “I loved doing it.”
For many people around the world, Harris is perhaps best known for his eight-year stint in the hit TV show “How I Met Your Mother,” in which he plays womaniser Barney Stinson. “It’s the longest job I’ve ever had, 200-plus episodes of the show, but I think that it has managed to retain its integrity and be a little bit mysterious,” he says.
The actor concedes that doing comedy on TV and on film are two very different disciplines, but he enjoys them both. “There’s a big difference,” he says. “TV comedy for me is much broader and much more committed comedy.”
On films like “Smurfs,” he says, he can afford to be a bit more nuanced. “In movies you have a close up on you that’s going to be projected in 3D on a gigantic screen, so you can get a laugh by doing something much smaller.”
Now playing across the Philippines, “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2” is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.