If there was any thought that Star Wars: The Force Awakens would slow down by now, then you need to drink some more blue milk. Yesterday, the film hit $900 million at the domestic box office, after just 50 days of release, increasing it’s #1 position by a very large margin. And today it is expected to cross the $2 billion mark worldwide, closing in on #2 Titanic, which sits at $2.19B, and overall king Avatar at $2.78B.
At any moment, Star Wars: The Force Awakens will become the number 1 all time grossing movie in the U.S., taking in around $750 million after the 2nd-higest ever New Years Weekend box office draw of $219.3M. The current record holder is Avatar.
Globally the film is still in fourth at $1.536B, with Jurassic World ($1.669B), Titanic ($2.187B) and Avatar ($2.788B) still ahead of it. Third is likely and possibly second, but it is a long way from Avatar still. A big question mark will be China, where it opens this Saturday. Star Wars: The Force Awakens has reached it’s totals much faster than it’s predecessors though…will it have the steam to reach the top?
Update 6/23: Horner’s representatives confirmed his death.
Oscar- and Grammy-winning composer James Horner, who scored more than 75 films including Titanic (for which he received two Oscars), Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (his film debut), Braveheart, Aliens, Apollo 13 and The Amazing Spider-Man and Avatar, is believed to be the pilot who died in a single-engine plane crash in Central Florida on Monday. No one else was on board.
Officials have not confirmed the name of the pilot yet, but the 61-year-old composer is a licensed pilot and has not been heard from since the crash. Condolences from those who knew him have been coming in, however. Director Ron Howard, who worked with Horner on Apollo 13, Cocoon and several other movies, tweeted early this morning:
Brilliant Composer James Horner, friend & collaborator on 7 movies has tragically died in a plane crash. My heart aches for his loved ones.
— Ron Howard (@RealRonHoward) June 23, 2015
Lawsuits seem to never end in Hollywood, but these might be on life support…
In the never-ending battle between the estate of Joe Shuster and Warner Bros. over rights to the character of Superman, it may have finally reached a conclusion (barring an escalation to the Supreme Court) after the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals denied petitions by the estate for a rehearing and a rehearing en banc (by the whole court instead of a panel of judges), which essentially marks the end of the road for appeals, and a top court challenge seems unlikely.
While Avatar hasn’t been around nearly as long as Superman, it seems to make up for the long line of people suing James Cameron claiming it lifted their ideas, although one by one they get tossed aside (here is the most recent one we reported on.) Now another one gets tossed aside. Bryant Moore’s $2.5 billion lawsuit against Cameron, 20th Century Fox and Lightstorm Entertainment was dismissed in summary judgement yesterday. The court said that while “certain limited commonalities” existed between Avatar and Moore’s screenplays he says were submitted to Cameron’s Lightstorm in 1993 and 1994, Cameron provided “a comprehensive declaration that specifically addresses Moore’s allegations and points to past projects and other sources of inspiration from which he drew in writing Avatar.”
While details of what is exactly going to be in it, Walt Disney World finally broke ground at its Animal Kingdom park to add the new land based on James Cameron’s Avatar – more than two years after it was announced.
And not only was Mickey Mouse present, but a Na’vi as well – as well as (pictured, l to r) George Kalogridis, president of Walt Disney World Resort; Meg Crofton, president of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Operations, United States and France; Tom Staggs, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts; Jon Landau, producer of Avatar; Bruce Vaughn, chief creative executive for Walt Disney Imagineering; and Joe Rhode, creative executive for Walt Disney Imagineering.
Check out the video as well for what they said about Avatar.
It appears that we won’t get two sequels to Avatar – we’ll get three.
According to Deadline, the plan is now for three sequels to be developed and produced simultaneously, an extremely ambitious plan and one that could have a price tag topping $1 billion – but given the original grossed over $2.8 billion to become the top grossing film of all time, it seems a pretty safe bet for 20th Century Fox.
To get things moving, James Cameron has actually set four writers to work: Josh Friedman (War of the Worlds, The Black Dahlia) will write one, Shane Salerno (Armageddon) will write another, and the last will be done by the team of Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver (Rise of the Planet of the Apes), all in collaboration with Cameron.
Production is expected to begin next year, with yearly releases starting in December 2016.
When Avatar destroyed box offices all over the world, James Cameron suddenly found himself the target of many lawsuits claiming that the movie ripped off their own stories. Now there is at least one less.
A U.S. District court tossed out a lawsuit filed by Elijah Schkeiban, who claimed that Avatar ripped off his novel (and a screenplay that never got produced) called Bats And Butterflies. But the judge said that the two were not substantially similar, and even after allowing Schkeiban to amend his complaint several times to provide more facts, but he never did, and now it appears that his suit is effectively dead.
The EMP Museum in Seattle has announced the list of the 2012 inductees into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame.
Those being honored this year are filmmaker James Cameron; artist Virgil Finlay; author Joe Haldeman; and author James Tiptree, Jr. The new Science Fiction Hall of Fame display will be unveiled at EMP’s Icons of Science Fiction exhibition opening celebration on Friday, June 8, 2012. To purchase tickets, visit empmuseum.org.
The Science Fiction Hall of Fame honors the lives, work, and ongoing legacies of science fiction’s greatest creators. Founded in 1996, the Hall of Fame was relocated from the Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction at the University of Kansas to its permanent home at EMP in 2004. Hall of Fame nominations are submitted by EMP members. The final inductees are chosen by a panel of award-winning science fiction authors, artists, editors, publishers, and film professionals.
2012 SCIENCE FICTION HALL OF FAME BIOS
James Cameron, American filmmaker (1954 – ). Cameron continually redefines the cutting edge of science fiction filmmaking. In particular, The Terminator (1984), which captured the collision of our fears of nuclear terror and computer technology; Aliens (1986), a sequel that magnified and amplified the classic original; The Abyss (1989), which looked downward to the oceans as a realm of the alien; and Avatar (2009) which employed a variety of innovative filmmaking techniques to further enhance the movie-viewing experience.
Virgil Finlay, American artist (1914 – 1971). Finlay produced thousands of illustrations, flourishing in the pulp magazine era from the ’30s through the ’50s. He is especially known for his exacting and detailed scratchboard and pen-and-ink work. The stark and shadowy effects he created were well-suited to the horror and fantasy magazines, where his works frequently appeared. He also contributed more than 800 illustrations to the Sunday newspaper supplement The American Weekly, and created 19 covers for Weird Tales.
Joe Haldeman, American author (1943 – ). Haldeman burst onto the science fiction scene in 1974 with The Forever War, a novel that blended imaginative hard science fiction with a heartfelt examination of the impact of war and homecoming on the combatants. The novel won the Hugo and Nebula Awards. In the following four decades, he has built a library of quality work, notably the Worlds series, The Hemingway Hoax (1990), and Forever Peace (1997). He teaches writing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). In 2010 he received the Grand Master award from the Science Fiction Writers of America.
James Tiptree, Jr., American author (1915 – 1987). Tiptree was the pen name of Alice Sheldon, who kept her identity a secret for the majority of her career. She is best known for stories that explore sex, gender identity, male/female relations, and death. “The Last Flight of Doctor Ain” and “The Women Men Don’t See” are two notable works among many. In 1991 the James Tiptree, Jr. Award for science fiction or fantasy that expands or explores our understanding of gender was created in her honor.
If you remember, Disney made a big announcement in September that it was going to build an Avatar-themed land at the Animal Kingdom park in Walt Disney World in Florida. But since then there has been little said, and no visible work has been done.
If you follow Disney fan boards, there has been a large uptick in speculation that Disney put the plan on hold or even outright canceled it, and given how long it might be before we see the next movie, the costs, etc. it seemed that could have been the case.
Well, at today’s shareholder meeting for the corporation, Disney President/CEO Bob Iger and Walt Disney Parks and Resorts chairman Tom Staggs talked about some upcoming things, and Avatar was specifically mentioned. They are still working on the plans, and the “land” themed for Pandora will likely not open until 2015, which could put it around the time of the sequels.
During a Q&A period, Iger was asked about how John Carter would affect the financials of the corporation, but Iger said it was too early to tell.
Make a lot of money on a movie, and everyone claims they came up with it. Make a bomb, and it’s all yours.
James Cameron is getting sued again over the profits from Avatar, and the most recent claimant according to TMZ is Bryant Moore, a science fiction writer, who alleges that Cameron stole ideas from two of his unproduced scripts, “Aquatica” and “Descendants: The Pollination”. According to TMZ, some of the similarities between his scripts and Avatar are “bioluminescent flora/plant life, unbreathable atmospheres, matriarch support of hero vs. heroine, spiritual connections to environment and reincarnation, appearance of mist in scene, sunlight to moonlight, crackling from gargantuan foliage, blue skin/green skin and battle scene on limbs/branches.”
Umm…wow. Mist in a scene? Really? Green skin was his idea? Hide the Orion slave girls…