2015 Set To Be Biggest Year In Hollywood’s History

In a modern world where film piracy runs riot, it’s pleasing to see that cinema can still survive as a major source of entertainment – but this is where it gets really interesting… Not only has the box office survived a technological revolution, it’s on track to bring it’s most profitable year in history.

To-date, 2002 has held the title of most profitable year in domestic (US) box office history – I mean it’s no surprise considering it was year that saw franchises including Lord of the Rings: The Two TowersHarry Potter and the Chamber of SecretsSpider-Man 2 and Star Wars: Episode II – The Clone Wars – but 2015 is hot on its heals and is destined to overtake when Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens at the end of the year.

It really has been a phenomenal year with some of the biggest releases in recent memory, including, and not limited to, Furious 7Avengers: Age of UltronJurassic World and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 to name just a few, not to mention this months release of Spectre (007) which will be looking to beat it’s predecessor.

Take a look at some of this year’s biggest releases and why it will be a record-breaking year for cinema:

  • Jurassic World – $1.665 billion
  • Furious 7 – $1.511 billion
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron – $1.402 billion
  • Minions – $1.153 billion
  • Inside Out – $832 million
  • Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation – $680 million
  • Fifty Shades of Grey – $569 million

Certainly a year of pleasant surprises and one that will continue into Christmas with Star Warsbeing tipped to become the highest grossing film of all time, having already broken box office pre-booking records in the US and UK.

This year will definitely be remembered, but with Marvel and DC Comics redefining box office revenues, cinema will continue to feature prominently for years to come. Check back in December for a break down of 2016 most anticipated releases.

‘Batman v Superman’ Becomes Most Expensive Film Ever

It truly is epic in size – I mean how could it not be when two of the biggest superheroes in world go head to head on the big screen for the very first time in Zack Snyders ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice‘.

Now it appears next year’s mammoth blockbuster is on track to become the most expensive film in history, overtaking the previous record holder, Pirates of the Carribean – On Stranger Tides which cost upwards of $410 million in 2011.

Early estimates suggest that DC Comics crowning jewel has seen its production budget double since filming began, rising from an initial $200 million to a staggering $405 million, and could further increase when marketing is taken into account. As with most blockbusters this size, a large portion of the budget is allocated to paying the salaries of actors, producers, writers and directors, something recently reported on with the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War – Parts 1 & 2, which has set aside an astonishing $400 million of it’s staggering $1 billion budget just for salaries.

Henry Cavill will go head to head with Ben Affleck’s Batman in next year’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

It’s easy to see then how a production on the scale of ‘Dawn of Justice‘ can see its budget skyrocket when you take into account a cast list including Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams and Diane Lane, as well as the sheer scale of the post-production CGI that would take place.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice hits cinemas worldwide on March 25, 2016.

Star Wars Breaks Pre-ticket Sales Records

It was inevitable that Star Wars: The Force Awakens would break records due to the incredible response it’s had so far – not to mention the excitement surrounding the original trios return to the epic saga after almost 30 years.

However, to break box office records even before being released its something very special indeed – and will surely continue over coming weeks.

We’ve already seen cinema websites crash around the US and UK due to overwhelming demand for tickets, so it makes sense that Star Wars 7 would break the record for the most pre-ticket sales for both IMAX and regular 2D/3D screens. To put its success into perspective, Star Wars has sold an incredible eight times more tickets it’s it first day than the previous record holder, The Hunger Games – it’s also means the J.J. Abrams directed film has already earned over $6.5 million at the domestic (US) box office without even being released.

It’s certainly a good sign for the newly-acquired Disney franchise, as forecasters predict that the film could well become the highest grossing film of all time, overtaking the current holder Avatar, which earned a box office shattering $2.7 billion back in 2009.

Only time will tell if Star Wars: The Force Awakens becomes the highest grossing film of all time, but it will not be an easy road as competition from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Captain America: Civil War will be fierce as they all fight for box office supremacy.

New ‘Star Wars’ Trailer Lands, But Where is Mark Hamill?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll know that the final trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens debuted last night on US television and across the vast abyss that is the internet – and it’s got everyone talking as expected.

One of the questions on everyone’s lips is “where the hell is Mark Hamill?“, as once again the Jedi warrior Luke Skywalker is proving illusive, having failed to appear in any of the teaser and full length trailers. It’s a little curious considering we know of his involvement in the film due to his credit on IMDb, not to mention the obvious fact that he stood between fellow alumni Harrison Ford and Carrie Fischer at the Comic Con launch event this year.

So just where is he?

Fans have been quick to assume their own conclusions, with some believing he may be the mysterious Sith that we keep seeing in the trailers, you know the one with the awesome new light-saber that looks a lot like a sword. Others believe he may be in hiding due to a bounty of his head for helping to blow up the Death Star. Then there’s the random ones that believe Skywalker is in fact dead and will return to the franchise as a ghost (not quite sold of this theory).

Whatever the reasons for J.J. Abrams keeping Hamill out of the trailers and behind-the-scenes footage, it must mean that his involvement is crucial to the story and thus must be kept top secret to avoid any unexpected spoilers.

Guess we’ll just have to wait until December to find out. Tickets for Star Wars: The Force Awakens are on sale now. But hurry, they’re selling fast.

Mark Ruffalo’s ‘Hulk’ Set To Join ‘Thor: Ragnarok

We all know how special the love/hate relationship between Thor and Hulk is – it’s one that’s captured the hearts of ‘Avengers’ fans the world over and left us asking the question, ‘when will Hulk get his own solo film?’.

Well the Gods seem to have heard because sources close to Marvel HQ have let-slip that Mark Ruffalo is set to team up with his ‘best bud’ Chris Hemsworth in the third solo film in the Thor series, aptly entitled Thor: Ragnarok.
It’s probably a good job that Thor will have a bit of help from is ‘temper prone’ fellow Avenger considering the colossal storyline that will take place.

Most of the fine details are still unknown but seeing as Marvel as staying true to the comic universe, Thor: Ragnarok will involve a Norse apocalypse – considering the end of the universe can be quite a pivotal subject matter for any film, it’s clear that Thor and Hulk will play a key role in Marvel’s ‘Phase 3’ story arch and could set up the potential and long awaited ‘Planet HULK’ storyline.

So here’s what we known so far… Mark Ruffalo’s HULK is in and playing a key role, Tom Hiddlestone is also back as Loki (obviously), and the film itself will play a crucial part in setting up the next phase of Marvels cunning and ingenious plan to take all our money (not exactly a bad thing I might add). We do however have have to wait another two years until we see this third installment, but fear not, Captain America and his epic Civil War against Iron Man (and pretty much the entire Avengers cast) will keep us well and truly entertained in the mean time.

Robert Downey Jr Becomes Highest Paid Actor, Ever?

He’s one of the biggest names in Hollywood – we all know that considering Robert Downey Jr’s superstar status thanks to his Tony Stark/Iron Man character. But now it seems the Oscar-nominated actor is about to take a-list pay-checks to a whole new level when filming of Avengers: Infinity War – Part 1 and 2 start filming next year.

If sources are to be believed, and most likely they are considering RDJ’s last payday for Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), the Marvel godfather is set to bank an astonishing $200 million for the super-blockbusters that are set for release in 2017 and 2019.

The mouth-watering sum will make Downey Jr. the highest paid actor in history for a single film (or a two-part film in this case), shattering the pay days of previous stars including Tom Cruise, Jack Nichelson and Leonardo DiCaprio.

Avengers: Infinity War will certainly be setting records even before it’s part 1 release, with the two films reportedly costing a combined total of $1 billion to produce, $400 million of that going towards salaries for it’s stellar cast including the likes of Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Hemsworth and Jeremy Renner to name just a few.

RDJ has been an advocate for equal pay in the past, often holding Marvel executives to ransom, threatening to pull out of the films if his fellow cast members didn’t receive adequate pay increases in return for their epic box office success.

Marvel has to-date earned an Earth-shattering $5 billion worldwide and is set to double that when a whole host of new films hit cinemas starting next year with Captain America: Civil War, which in itself looks more like an ‘Avengers’ film than a solo outing.

Check out the list of highest earning actors and actresses in history here »

‘Bad Boys 3’ To Release Soon – Is Will Smith in or out?

Buddy cop action-comedies have always been popular at the box office, and none more so than Michael Bay’s highly successful Bad Boys films – though for the last 12 years we’ve been left without a complete trilogy for one reason or another.

Hope did surface briefly a couple of months back during Sony Pictures annual upcoming release announcement, when not one but two ‘Bad Boys‘ sequels were announced for release – though the studio did remain coy on confirming Will Smith and Martin Lawrence’s involvement in the projects.

More developments have recently come to light during a Beats 1 interview with megastar Will Smith,  who seemed to majorly hint to interviewer Zane Lowe that Bad Boys 3 could in fact hit cinemas within the next 12-18 months, bringing it inline with its original intended release date.

Of course Smith and Lawrence have yet to confirm their involvement in the sequels, though surely they must be returning otherwise there would surely be no logical reason in carrying the franchise on – both stars have frequently hinted at their interest in reprising the characters of Detectives Mike Lowrey (Smith) and Marcus Burnett (Lawrence).

There could however be a new direction in store for the franchise after Michael Bay handed over the directors seat to Smokin’ Aces and A-Team helmsman Joe Carnahan.

Let’s just hope this isn’t the end of the road for Will Smith and Martin Lawrence’s characters, especially considering they’re “…bad boys for life”.

Jeremy Irons Joins ‘Assassin’s Creed’ Cast

British screen legend Jeremy Irons has recently joined the cast of the high profile film adaption of the hit video game Assassin’s Creed. The Michael Fassbender led blockbuster recently confirmed that the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice star had joined it’s ranks alongside fellow cast newcomer Brendan Gleeson.

Irons will assume the role of Marion Cotillard’s father, while Gleeson plays father to Michael Fassbender’s character Callum Lynch.

Assassin’s Creed is based on the popular video game by the same name and follows the story of Callum Lynch (Fassbender), an unsuspecting hero who’s able to unlock the memories of his ancestors, an ancient brotherhood of assassins, who’s DNA holds the answers to a more pressing modern day threat.

Michael Fassbender will team up again with Macbeth (2015) director Justin Kurzel and fellow star Marion Cotillard for Assassin’s Creed, which hits cinemas worldwide from December 30, 2016.

Colin Firth Returning For Highly Anticipated Kingsman Sequel?

Kingsman: The Secret Service was no doubt one the biggest box-office hits of the last year, breathing new life into the spy-genre and making an unexpected action-star out of Academy Award-winning actor Colin Firth overnight.

Much to everyone’s dismay however…

***WARNING SPOILERS AHEAD***

…Colin Firth’s bad-ass character met an untimely demise towards the end of the film, leaving audiences wondering exactly how they could ever make a successful sequel without the superstar.

Alas, it appears hope is on the horizon for fans of the British spy franchise – Kingsman creator Mark Miller, the man behind the original comic, recently hinted that the resurrection of Firth’s character was their primary concern when penning the sequels script. Speaking to IGN, Miller spoke of the work going on behind the scenes with director Matthew Vaughn:

“That’s the conversation everyone’s having right now, because part of what made that movie work is Colin. Colin’s fantastic, it was a two-hander, that film. You also want to have the integrity of the story, so if you are bringing him back, it has to make sense. That’s where it is at the moment. Beats of the story have been done. Screenplay co-writers Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman are working on it at the moment. Some things have to be worked out, some decisions have still to be made and everything, so it’s all fairly amorphous, but all going well.”

Though the exact details of how Firth’s character will return are yet to be cemented, there are numerous options for the writers to play around with, and they promise that whatever is decided, it will make sense.

Robert Rodriguez To Lock New Movie Away for ‘100 Years’

Most top filmmakers in Hollywood are not shy about pushing the boundaries of acceptability nowadays, especially in a film climate that leans heavily towards the big-budget blockbusters – but ‘Sin City‘ visionary Robert Rodriguez seems to going to extreme lengths with his latest film.

100 Years‘, a new short film starring John Malkovich, is set to make film history in some form or another when it is locked away for one hundred years to coincide with the intended release of Louis XIII Cognac, a luxury and prestigious brand that’s known for maturing its product for a century at a time.

Hollywood it’s certainly no stranger to product endorsements, with current James Bond release ‘SPECTRE‘ currently advertising over 50 different brands during its two and half hour running time – but this odd partnership has got to the most ambitious to date.

Rodriguez, known for action-thrillers such as From Dusk Till Dawn and Once Upon a Time in Mexico, will lock away the film in a time capsule volt for one hundred years, where it will then be released in conjunction with the next batch of Louis XIII Cognac, who’s current bottle has just hit shelves after being locked away since 1915.

It’s certainly bad news for any Robert Rodriguez or John Malkovich fans out there who will most likely never see the mysterious film – though your grandchildren certainly will one day, as the intended release is November 18, 2115.

For now all we can see of the project are three teaser trailers starring John Malkovic, and depicting three different versions of what the world may look like in ‘100 Years‘.

Who knows, maybe it will claim the Christmas top spot that year.

View the teases trailers below:

Star Wars’ Puts ‘Jurassic World’ In It’s Sights

It’s still not even been released yet, but Star Wars: The Force Awakens continues to rack up the box office takings, having now surpassed the $50 million mark in pre-ticket sales for the December 17 release.

J.J. Abrams new installment is being tipped as one of the movie events of the century and has proven rightly so as fans continue to flock in their masses to snap up whatever tickets may be left for the first couple of weeks of release.

The newly acquired Disney franchise has already smashed the pre-ticket sales record, previously held by 2011’s The Hunger Games, and is now looking to overtake Jurassic World‘s monster opening weekend haul of $210 million – something that looks increasingly likely as the week’s go by.

It’s worth pointing out that most of the pre-ticket sales revenue to-date consists of IMAX screening’s, with UK based cinemas such as the BFI at Waterloo seeing sell-outs for the first couple of week’s into the new year. However it’s almost guaranteed that normal 3D and 2D screening’s will start to sell-out as Star Wars fever-pitch continues to escalate.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens will continue on almost 30+ years after the events in ‘Return of the Jedi‘ and sees original stars Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill, who’s character Luke Skywalker remains M.I.A. until the films release, return to their famous roles.

Again? Prometheus 2 Gets Another Title Change

Talk about a crisis of indentity – choosing the title of your next film is an important step in the movie making process, but it seems Ridley Scott is having somewhat of an issue when settling on a title for the upcoming sequel to Prometheus, and now we’re seeing yet another change.

People did tend to agree that the last choice of title for Prometheus 2 was ‘out there’ somewhat – I mean ‘Alien: Paradice Lost‘ is downright bizarre and makes absolutely no sense to most, perhaps that’s why Scott recently announced a change to the title, which now reads ‘Alien: Covenant‘. With the sequel set to begin shooting in February next year, the new title gives a hint to the direction the film will be taking, as ‘Covenant’ in simpler terms literally refers to ‘an agreement’, like one between humanity (us) and God, or in this case Gods.

Details for the plot are still sketchy, but there’s set to be a great deal of hidden meaning in the sequel that will answer a lot of lingering questions left by Prometheus three years ago – at least that’s what the new title would lead us to believe. One thing that’s already been confirmed is that Noomi Rapace and Michael Fassbender will be reprising their roles with Ridley Scott taking to then helm again.

Then again I could be completely wrong and the title could change a dozen times between now and when production begins next year – here’s hoping it doesn’t though as we’ll end up with a serious identity crisis when the film finally hits cinemas on May 30, 2017.

For more information on hidden meanings for Alien: Covenant, head over to cinemablend.com.