Tag: the descendants

Shailene Woodley Career Milestones

Shailene Woodley Career Milestones

Born: Shailene Woodley
Birth Date: November 15th, 1991
Birth Place: Simi Valley, California, USA

Shailene Woodley is currently impressing fans and critics alike with her winning performance on the record breaking hit series “The Secret Life of the American Teenager on ABC Family. LA Times critic Robert Lloyd said of her performance, “Woodley stands out and is appealing as a kid in over her head.”

Entertainment Weekly’s Ken Tucker said, “Woodley is utterly beguiling: an anti- Gossip Girl. Like a great silent film actress, she has a face that conveys shades of anguish and joy.” The magazine later named her as a “Breakthrough of 2008,” in their annual year-end issue alongside talent like Robert Pattinson and Kat Dennings. She also received two Teen Choice Nominations in 2009 and 2010, including one for Choice TV Drama Actress and she has been nominated again in 2011.

Woodley began her career at the age of 5 when an agent recognized her potential and signed her on the spot. She has been working ever since. She started in commercials and then got her first TV role in the 1999 movie of the week “Replacing Dad,” which starred two time Oscar nominee Mary McDonnell. More recently she played the title character in the popular Warner Bros. movie ¨Felicity: An American Girl Adventure, which was produced by Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas and Julia Roberts.

Her first lead role performance earned this review; ¨Felicity offers Woodley’s feisty performance; she’s warm and cheeky, and immensely fun to watch.” Woodley’s other television work includes recurring roles on ¨Crossing Jordan (as a young Jill Hennessy), ¨The O.C., and ¨Jack & Bobby (where she played the daughter of John Slattery). She additionally has made guest appearances on series like ¨Cold Case, ¨My Name is Earl, ¨DCSI: NY” (playing an angel-faced killer), and ¨Close to Home”. She also had a lead role opposite Ann Margaret and Matthew Settle in the television movie ¨A Place Called Home,” and co-starred with William Mapother and Treat Williams in MOOLA.

When she is not on set, Woodley spends as much time outdoors as possible, thinking of ways she can help keep the environment beautiful and healthy for future generations. She also puts time in working with various charities that benefit children including St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital and the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric Aids Foundation.

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Box Office: ‘Twilight Breaking Dawn – Part 1’ draws a strong $139M

Box Office: ‘Twilight Breaking Dawn – Part 1’ draws a strong $139M

The box office is lifeless no more: “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1” opened to $139.5 million domestically this weekend, according to studio data.

The fourth of Summit’s vampire-and-werewolf movies had the franchise’s second best three-day opening ever, behind 2009’s “New Moon” ($142.8 million in November 2009).

For a box office that’s down about 3.5 percent from last year,”The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn” is only the second movie this year, including the summer’s final “Harry Potter” film, to open to more than $100 million. (There were four $100 million openers last year.)

And it had the third-best opening Friday ever, grossing $71.4 million — behind only this year’s “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2” and “New Moon.”

“Breaking Dawn’s” international numbers were as strong as its domestic ones. The movie grossed $144 million in 54 territories, giving it a worldwide box office total of $283.5 million in just three days. The movie cost about $110 million to make, after tax rebates.

While “Breaking Dawn” almost exactly matched its pre-release predictions, the animated penguins of Warner Bros. “Happy Feet Two” grossed only $22 million, according to studio estimates — enough to rank the movie No. 2 this weekend, but still a disappointing performance. The movie was projected to open to about $30 million.

Box Office: ‘Twilight Breaking Dawn – Part 1’ draws a strong $139M

Relativity Media’s “Immortals,” meanwhile, grossed $12.2 million in its second weekend of release — a 62 percent drop. It is No. 3 at the box office.

The best per-screen numbers of the weekend belonged to Fox Searchlight’s “The Descendants.” The movie, which stars George Clooney, opened in 29 locations, but was still No. 10 at the box office with $1.3 million. That’s a spectacular per-screen average of $44,800.

“Breaking Dawn,” by comparison, opened at 4,061 locations and averaged $34,245. Summit’s president of domestic distribution, Richie Fay, told TheWrap Sunday that the fourth installment of any franchise can be a little worrisome. “There’s a definite interest in wanting to continue to see the series,” he said. “The fact that our audience is aging up a little bit, the impulse to get out and see it on the first weekend isn’t necessarily there the way it has been. To me, that means that the holdover should be much better.”

“Breaking Dawn’s audience was 80 percent female and 60 percent older than 21. According to moviegoer survey firm CinemaScore, the movie graded out at a so-so “B-plus” among all age and gender groups.

On the strength of “Breaking Dawn,” the box office was up 14 percent this weekend compared to the same weekend last year.

“In a period where it’s been … a down cycle of growth, we’ve got the public interested in a movie again — and in going to movies as we approach Thanksgiving and obviously Christmas,” Fay said.

He said the movie’s strongest performance was in Salt Lake City, followed by New York City.

The weekend’s other major release — also a sequel — had a tougher time at the box office. “Happy Feet Two,” the follow-up to the 2006 Oscar-winning hit, underperformed.

“We obviously came in a little bit under our expectations on ‘Happy Feet,’ but the marketplace is very competitive out there, especially with ‘Twilight’ getting close to 80 percent of the female audience,” Dan Fellman, Warner Bros. president of distribution, told TheWrap Sunday.

The PG-rated animated movie about dancing penguins received a B-plus CinemaScore. And it has some tough competition coming up, with “Hugo,” “The Muppets” and “Arthur Christmas” all opening up for Thanksgiving week.

“The market expands enormously over the holiday,” Fellman said. “By next Monday, we’ll know whether we’re in good shape.”

The first “Happy Feet” opened to $41.5 million and ultimately grossed $198 million domestically and $384.3 million worldwide. Its budget was estimated at $100 million. The second cost an estimated $140 million to make.

“After ‘Twilight’ gets in a couple of hundred million dollars worth of business in the first week, you’ll see some of the female audience move over to ‘Happy Feet,'” Fellman predicted.

Internationally, Steven Spielberg’s motion-capture extravaganza “The Adventures of Tintin” continued to perform well, grossing $21.7 million on 13,040 screens in 53 markets.

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Reality In Paradise: The Design of The Descendants

Reality In Paradise: The Design of The Descendants

“My grandfather, he really loved this place. So did your mother. So does your mother.” — Matt King

A strong sense of place has always been a hallmark of Alexander Payne‘s work but with THE DESCENDANTS it would become even more central. From the beginning, he and his crew of frequent collaborators were acutely aware that they were going where few filmmakers have gone before by following an intimate family drama into the lush fabric of Hawaii. All of the conflicting juxtapositions of contemporary Hawaiian culture – modern and ancient, urban and wild, growth and preservation – became wrapped into the film‘s design, from the photography to the sets.

The newest of the U.S. states, Hawaiian history goes back 1500 years, when Polynesian explorers first sailed canoes by the light of the stars to the fertile string of volcanic islands. Later, settlers arrived from across Polynesia – Tahiti, Samoa and Tonga – forging a distinctive matriarchal culture with its own language, customs, art forms and legends. In 1810, King Kamehameha, Chief of the Big Island, united all the islands into one Hawaiian Kingdom.

Soon after, Christian missionaries began to arrive, followed by colonialists from mainland United States. In 1893, a group of American businessmen overthrew the Hawaiian monarchy, paving the way for annexation. Meanwhile, the culture continued to evolve and adapt, merging elements of American values with native Hawaiian ways. When Hawaii became a U.S. state in 1959, it was dubbed the Aloha state, reflecting the impossible-to-translate Hawaiian word that conveys an open-hearted spirit rooted in a love of the land.

Reality In Paradise: The Design of The Descendants

To capture the islands as they are today – as rife with developers and suburbia as they are with laid-back surfers and Polynesian traditions — with a fresh eye, Payne reunited with director of photography Phedon Papamichael, who previously worked with him on SIDEWAYS. As soon as he read the script, Papamichael knew it was going to be something different. It was a very dialogue-driven story, which usually means the film will be less visual, he begins. But in the case, the opposite was true. Because of the way the Hawaiian setting is juxtaposed with the King family’s struggles, the visuals take on a major role. It was going to be very important to capture the beauty and nature of the surrounding environment so you can understand the conflict Matt feels over selling his family‘s land.

Papamichael divided the film between two Hawaiis: the more hectic, citified Hawaii of Honolulu and the stunning, natural Mecca of Hanalei Bay on the island of Kauai, draped with verdant, tropical rainforests and surrounded by sapphire seas. ¯We really wanted to give a feeling for the community in Honolulu but also the beauty of the coast so you understand what could be lost and the connection to history that is there. That‘s why we decided to shoot wide-screen, which Alexander has only done once before, on ELECTION, he explains. We decided that it would be a lot of fun to have that epic frame with these small, human figures confronted with the majesty of the landscape.

At the same time, both men wanted the film to stay true to Payne‘s distinctively unadorned style, which is almost an anti-style. I like to bring an almost documentary style to fiction filmmaking, says Payne. It gives the story a sense of reportage.

Reality In Paradise: The Design of The Descendants

Papamichael concurs. “With Alexander, one of the biggest assignments is always to make sure the photography doesn‘t get in the way of the story. He really loves realism, to the point that if we go to a location and there are tree trimmers working nearby”, he says “great” and he embraces that as part of what‘s going on in the scene, he explains. Or, for example, when we shot in the bar where George Clooney meets Beau Bridges, it was very important to Alexander to have the real locals who frequent the place be in there to get that feel of reality. The same goes for lighting. It‘s always very natural, to the point that the audience should never realize that they‘re watching a crafted film.

He continues, “We really want the audience to be taken in by the characters without distraction. The emotions are so intense and the writing so strong, we don‘t need to add visual drama.”

Hawaii, however, often brought its own drama. The light there is challenging because it is constantly changing, notes Papamichael. It can go from overcast to sunny in the time frame of one shot. Fortunately, both Alexander and George, being a filmmaker himself, are very good at reacting in the moment so you can switch scenes around. It gave us a lot of flexibility.

Some of the filming for THE DESCENDANTS also took place off terra firma – in swimming pools and the ocean. Legendary underwater photographer Don King came in to help with the scene where Shailene Woodley releases a primal scream while at the depths of the family swimming pool.

Recalls Woodley, “He waited for me underwater with this crazy-looking camera. I would submerge myself and swim towards him and he would swim backwards super quickly, timing it perfectly with me. It was a fantastic scene to shoot.”

One of Papamichael‘s favorite experiences on THE DESCENDANTS was filming the climax of Matt‘s road trip as the Kings arrive at their ancestral land on Kauai and young Scottie makes Matt rethink the idea of selling it to strangers. We designed the shot so the family drives up the mountain but you‘re not really aware of what‘s coming. It almost feels like a normal tracking shot but then, as they come to the edge of the land, we boom up and reveal this spectacular view, and suddenly, the characters are overwhelmed by the beauty. That was one of my favorites, sums up Papamichael.

Payne also reunited with production designer Jane Ann Stewart, who has worked on all of his films since the very beginning of his career. Stewart says that Payne‘s aesthetic instincts jibe with hers. His sense of humor is very much like mine – absurd, a little macabre and where nothing in the human condition is above comedy, she says.

She knew her work was cut out for her when Payne approached her for this film. We both had to learn a lot about Hawaiian culture, and really immerse ourselves in it, so we could get to the history, the sense of place and the texture behind the story, she explains.

In creating Matt King‘s house, Stewart consulted both with the novel and its author, Kaui Hart Hemmings. “Kaui‘s advice was invaluable,” says Stewart. “For example, she introduced me to the punee [the casual Hawaiian daybeds often used as sprawling sofas] and helped us to reflect the family‘s history in the details.”

When Stewart found a local house that had the right feel, it was missing one key element – the sprawling banyan tree that graced the front yard in the book. So Stewart had one transplanted. It kind of reflects the idea of family because of the way each branch reaches in and plants itself, she observes.

As with the cinematography, Stewart‘s challenge was to keep things in Payne‘s favored realm of stark reality, but with a tropical twist. Alexander always wants the veneer to be authentic, even a little bit banal. But this film was a chance for me to stretch things a bit with the colors and exotic essence of the place. I just had to have a very good reason for putting anything, a piece of furniture or painting, in a room. It had to support the characters and stay true to the place.

That authenticity to Hawaii deeply moved Hemmings when she visited the set – and she could see her story coming to life, reflecting the funny and fraught ways that families, on or off the islands, really interact and bond. “It was amazing for me to be back in Hanalei Bay, where my own descendants first landed,” she says, “and it meant a lot to see the cast and crew getting to know this special, special place. It was a chance for me to reconnect with my own family and it brought the community together. Writing a book is such a solitary thing, but with a movie, the beauty is in sharing the experience.”

Read the Full Production Notes for The Descendants

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‘Contagion’ tops the box office

'Contagion' tops the box office

The thriller starring Matt Damon knocks “The Help” out of first place for the first time in three weeks.

“Contagion” infected enough moviegoers to catch the top spot at the box office. The Warner Bros. pandemic thriller directed by Steven Soderbergh and starring an A-list cast that includes Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow coughed up $23.1 million in its first weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday.

The film’s contagious opening marked the beginning of the fall movie season by exceeding the studio’s estimates. “I think Steven Soderbergh made a compelling movie that tapped into that fear that many of us have about illnesses, viruses and pandemics,” said Jeff Goldstein, Warner Bros. general sales manager. “It’s like a train or car accident. You can’t look away. You prefer not to think about it, but when it’s presented to you, you want to learn more.”

Despite the breakout success of “Contagion,” it was the lowest grossing weekend of the year so far for the film industry, according to Paul Dergarabedian, box-office analyst for Hollywood.com. Dergarabedian said that’s typical for the weekend after Labor Day and expected business to pick up in the coming weeks as the Academy Awards race begins.

“There are some great titles that are on the way,” said Dergarabedian. “I see several promising films — Oscar contenders like “50/5/” ‘The Descendants’ and ‘Ides of March,’ and even potential big moneymakers like “Real Steel”

“The Help” the acclaimed DreamWorks Pictures drama distributed by Disney about black Southern maids speaking out during the civil-rights movement, slipped to No. 2 with $8.7 million after three straight weeks at the top, bringing its domestic total to $137 million.

“Warrior,” the Lionsgate mixed-martial arts drama starring Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton, punched up a $5.6 million debut in the No. 3 position. David Spitz, head of distribution for Lionsgate, said he expects <“Warrior” to mirror the simmering success of “The Help.”

“The film has gotten unbelievable reviews,” said Spitz. “The audience reaction we’re getting on the movie is consistent. People like the film. It’s a slow burn. We think we’re going to be in theaters for a long time.”

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