Universal Studios

Fast and Furious

If you like both whiplash and the Fast & Furious franchise, it sure sounds like Universal Studios Hollywood has got something very special in store for you. The New York Times reports that the studio theme parks are going great guns on a little something called “competing with Disney and then probably crying about it,” with plans that include some massive overhauls at both their Orlando location and their Hollywood outpost. The Orlando location has already had great success with their Harry Potter branded sub-theme park, and although it’s long been rumored that they’re bringing the Wizarding World to SoCal, it’s now been revealed that’s not the only new attraction on the way. Can you say “vroom”? More specifically, can you say “supercharged tram tour”?

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Legendary

A new film partnership has just been born. Legendary Entertainment has entered a five-year deal with Universal Pictures, which will include the financing, distribution, and marketing of Legendary’s films, as well as expansion into other projects. As reported by Variety, the deal officially begins at the start of 2014. Legendary is still waiting on their current agreement with Warner Bros to expire, which will happen at the end of the year.

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With a giant pile of movies to his name, Steven Spielberg has the considerable honor of being the only filmmaker who makes entertainment that’s massively popular, critically acclaimed and decade-enduring. It’s an illusive triumvirate. His fundamental success is owed to a lot of things, but principle among them is his childhood sense of wonder and magic – a sense he’s never let go of. His childhood was also spent with a camera in hand. From Jaws to Close Encounters of the Third Kind to Indiana Jones to The Color Purple and Empire of the Sun and Jurassic Park and Amistad and Schindler’s List and Munich and, and, and…he’s been a prolific, skilled presence in the filmmaking world for going on 5 decades, and he’s done so by spanning genres, tones, and subjects. So here’s a bit of free film school (for fans and filmmakers alike) from a little kid who hid under his bed after watching Bambi.

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Look, Battleship will probably end up proving that it has at least a few original ideas in its head. Someone out there has to have shoved in one or two scenes that don’t look exactly like other movies, but the trailers certainly aren’t out to prove that. Nevertheless, it’s time to stop ragging on this flick for being a moronic idea and time to start ragging on it as a clear patchwork of other movies. Somehow, Universal has bypassed the need to do Hollywood math by simply copying and pasting directly from other films that have been successful. Why make something like Iron Man or like Transformers when you can go ahead and just make them again under a different name. Watch this new trailer and try to say with a straight face that the alien design isn’t Iron Man with a paint job. Watch the giant building collapse and try not to think up 5 other movies within the past 2 years where it’s happened (and try extra hard not to imagine the exact same scene in Dark of the Moon). No one says much of anything. Probably a good thing. But, whew, the action sure does look eye-popping.

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Studio logos are an iconography all their own, but nothing puts a grin on my face like a spiffy send-up of a traditional company emblem tailored made to gel with the film I’m about to watch. Don’t get me wrong — nothing’s going to top classics like Alfred Newman’s Fox fanfare, Jerry Goldsmith’s Universal tune or the countless other openings ingrained in our cinematic memories. But when someone takes the recognizable logo and makes it their own…well, that’s when I get giddy. For decades, movie studios have been allowing filmmakers to tinker slightly with the prestigious logos that preface every film they release. Nothing too crazy — maybe a color shift or a throwback to a retired bumper — but nothing that would tarnish their reputations. These days, most movies are free to run wild. Many stick to the time-honored traditions of their studios, but the ones that don’t feel that much more special. Regardless of a film’s quality, a great logo is like the cherry on top for most movie buffs. Here are fourteen modern variants that bring a little extra magic to the pictures they kick off:

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The Armageddon vs Deep Impact of old German folktales is currently raging, and the production teams behind both are busying themselves trying to find the pure unadulterated embodiments of evil. Universal is looking to Charlize Theron to play their nasty witch queen for Snow White and the Huntsman, while Relativity is looking to Julia Roberts for The Brothers Grimm: Snow White. (And just for fun, the movie Maleficent is also in development to provide yet a third actress the opportunity for the role to play a totally different witch from a different story.) Both are perfectly fine actresses, and Roberts scared the hell out of everyone with her performance in Eat Pray Love. Plus, it will be a sight to see these two veterans give us their own spins on an iconic character within a few months of one another. Who do you think is going to be scarier? [Cinematical]

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Unviversal Studios Home Entertainment just dropped a press release in our mailbox that we’d like to share with you.

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OldAssReleases

A bunch of old flicks are being released this Halloween with more greats slated for the end of the year.

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universal-logo

Here’s one for all you studio-gossip hounds: Universal Pictures announced rather suddenly and somewhat unexpectedly today that Chairman Mac Shmuger and Co-Chairman David Linde are to be replaced with new Chair Adam Fogelson and Co-Chair Donna Langley. But why?

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tom-hanks-header

It’s not very far to go for a David Bowie reference, I know, but I felt that it needed to be said. Especially since no other websites saw fit to exploit the obvious joke at the hands of the announcement today that Tom Hanks is in talks to play Major Matt Mason.

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The Nutty Professor

You may not have picked up on it yet, but the current economic climate in the United States and around the world has caused some changes within the strategies for many of the major Hollywood studios.

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Moby Dick to be adapted by Wanted director

‘Tis true, the man who brought us the bullet-bending visual brilliance that was Wanted will now begin work at Universal Pictures on a reimagining (Hollywood’s favorite new term) of Herman Mellville’s whale tale Moby Dick.

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Wall-E and The Incredible Hulk on DVD

It wasn’t enough that almost $3.9 Billion in ticket sales were generated this summer, Disney and Universal are looking to prepare us for the next big DVD releases as well.

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Director JJ Abrams

Director J.J. Abrams is currently taking forever finishing up his reboot of Star Trek, it also appears that he is working out some details on his next project.

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Guillermo Del Toro on the Set of Hellboy 2

Comic book movie adaptations have been abundant lately, with Hellboy being unique in its lack of computer generated images, and its substitution of prosthetics, puppetry, makeup, and costuming. The use of physical tools instead of animated ones assists in making the world of Hellboy seem real.

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Universal Fire Ruled Accident... but whose accident?

The fire at Universal studios that destroyed video archives, damaged numerous sets and blemished the King Kong sector of the theme park tram ride was ruled an accident.

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Are you ready to see Mr. Moneybags on screen?

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Creative differences put Universal’s monster movie remake at risk.

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We begin our official 2008 movie preview with Universal Studios — and the return of some larger-than-life superheroes.

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Though British, Hot Fuzz is part cheeky send-up of and part loving homage to the American action film.

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