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'All Hail the King': FIRST VIDEO of Ben Kingsley's Marvel One-Shot -- EXCLUSIVE

You nevurrrr sawwww thissss commmmming…

Unless, that is, you saw our recent First Look at Ben Kingsley’s encore as The Mandarin. In any case, EW has even more on Marvel Studio’s new One-Shot short film All Hail the King – a clip from the opening of the 14-minute film.
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Marvel One-Shot: First Look at Ben Kingsley's Mandarin encore in 'All Hail the King' short film -- EXCLUSIVE

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Beware, Iron Man 3 spoilers lie ahead …

Trevor Slattery is ready for an encore. But it’s not always good to be the king.

Marvel’s latest One-Shot short film is aimed at a loose end: Ben Kingsley’s dim-witted Mandarin impersonator from Iron Man 3, who has been locked away in a maximum security prison and is reveling in his newfound infamy. (It’s as close to fame as he’s ever gotten.)

The 14-minute film All Hail the King was written and directed by Iron Man 3 scribe Drew Pearce, and will be included on the Thor: The Dark World Blu-ray, out Feb. 25. Entertainment Weekly has seen the movie and has the exclusive debut of four pictures from the short – plus details from Pearce about how it all came together.

The short is an epilogue to Iron Man 3 … but you could also see it as a possible prologue to Iron Man 4.
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China's box office soared 27 percent in 2013

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The Chinese box office continued its remarkable evolution in 2013 — and it thrived thanks to Chinese-made pictures, not just Hollywood films. According to Chinese market researcher Ent Group, the country’s box office revenues reached $3.6 billion last year, up 27 percent from 2012’s $2.7 billion mark. China, which passed Japan in 2012 to become the second-largest movie market in the world, is now poised to surpass the U.S. by 2020 as the most lucrative film market on Earth.

Domestically produced pictures made up the majority of China’s revenues, accounting for approximately 59 percent of grosses. Action comedy Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons was the top-performing film of the year, grossing $207 million total. Only three Hollywood films finished in the Top 10: Iron Man 3 ($121 million), Pacific Rim ($115 million), and Gravity ($73 milion). Notably, all three spectacles made a special point of incorporating Chinese elements into their plots — whether by shooting additional action scenes in China, letting a Chinese fighter-robot punch a slimy kaiju, or by having Sandra Bullock reach a Chinese space station.
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Best of 2013 (Behind the Scenes): 'Iron Man 3' VFX artists on the Mark 42 suit design

Tony Stark is invincible — at least when it comes to the numbers for Iron Man 3, that is. A whopping $174 million at the box office opening weekend. A staggering $409 million domestically. More than $1.2 billion grossed worldwide.

But the genius/billionaire/playboy/philanthropist character who’s appeared in five Marvel films so far was fallible in his third standalone feature, spending much of his post-Avengers time in his basement, designing prototype after prototype of his Iron Man suits to keep his mind off his near-death experience.

The most eye-popping one he built: The Mark 42 (below), which he can summon remotely in individual pieces to his body via sensors he injected under his skin.

Of course, “Tony Stark” didn’t build the suit at all; instead, 1500 visual effects artists worked on the film, and according to Chris Townsend, the film’s visual effects supervisor, at least half of them worked on the Mark 42.

“We ended up having eight [visual effects] companies throughout the world working on that particular suit,” he tells EW. “Hopefully in the end, for the audience, if we’ve done our jobs right, they’ll think from shot to shot, it looks like it’s all created by Tony Stark.”

EW talked to the minds who spearheaded the suit’s concept — the real Tony Starks, if you will — to get a breakdown of the process, from the initial idea to adding Robert Downey Jr.

Click here for more of EW.com’s Best of 2013 coverage. 
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Box office preview: 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire' targeting the best debut of 2013

Katniss has her bow and arrow aimed squarely at the top of the box office, and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire will easily open at No. 1. But will Catching Fire break The Dark Knight Rises‘ $160.9 million record as the best 2-D opening of all time? And will it surpass Iron Man 3‘s $174 million opening take as the best of 2013? Well, let’s parse this out.

The original Hunger Games opened to a jaw-dropping $152.5 million in March 2012, a figure that Catching Fire should surpass with ease. Even if it somehow doesn’t, the sequel, which cost Lionsgate about $130 million, would be in fine shape. Overseas revenues are expected to be much more robust than they were for the first film, which took in $691.2 million worldwide.

Domestically, The Hunger Games grossed $408 million total, and in the past year and a half, passion for the dystopian series — and its Oscar-winning star Jennifer Lawrence — has only swelled. Catching Fire is thus tracking substantially better than its predecessor, and it should earn at least $160 million this weekend. It should be noted that the original Hunger Games is by far the most popular book in the trilogy, and some viewers may have been drawn to the first film based on their affection for that book alone. However, the vast majority of viewers left the film with a positive reaction, and strong reviews for Catching Fire mean that much of the biggest target demo (women, who made up 61 percent of The Hunger Games‘ audience) will be coming back for more. READ FULL STORY

Summer box office report: Business up 11% to record $4.8 billion despite massive bombs

The popular box office narrative this summer was that Hollywood couldn’t get itself out of bomb season. Expensive flops like The Lone Ranger, R.I.P.D., After Earth, and White House Down attracted huge amounts schadenfreude — in an insightful New York Times piece published this week, Catherine Rampell wondered whether “the summer-blockbuster strategy itself may have tanked” — but the cloudy box office reports have been misleading. Summer 2013 was actually an incredibly strong season at the movies. In fact, it smashed records.

From the first weekend in May until Labor Day, domestic box office receipts reached $4.76 billion according to BoxOfficeMojo. That’s up 11 percent over 2012’s summer total, and up 8 percent over 2011. For those of you yelling, “But what about inflation?!” the season still proved strong. An estimated 583 million tickets were sold — the largest total since 2007. READ FULL STORY

Analysis: Which summer movie had the highest social HIT score?

Despite a few real busts, this summer largely saw a rather buzzy box office — to the tune of over $4 billion so far. But it might surprise you to see which of the top 20 summer films were the most positively received by audiences.

EW has partnered with General Sentiment to develop an aggregate score to report — not just on what is trending in social media — but on what users are actually saying on social networks across the two weeks following a film’s release.

The most positive buzz on social networks, according to our data, was the discussion around Dreamworks’ animated film Turbo, followed closely by the Channing Tatum/Jamie Foxx action movie White House Down, and buddy cop Sandra Bullock/Melissa McCarthy romp The Heat. Not surprisingly, Johnny Depp’s critically panned Lone Ranger fell near the bottom of the list, but several films that had huge pre-release buzz, including Star Trek Into Darkness and Iron Man 3, saw their social buzz wind up somewhere in the middle after release.

Using a 100-point scale for each film — a score of 50 being neutral, a score of 51 and higher skewing positive, while scores of 49 and lower skew more negative, General Sentiment and EW can catch the sentiment of the social chatter – both positive and negative. Check out the HIT score below.
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The key trend in Hollywood this summer? Blockbusters -- surprise! -- are now really good movies

When it comes to Hollywood’s summer blockbusters, most of the press, including critics, is a little bit schizophrenic. From early May until the middle of August, the red carpet gets rolled out, each week, for one or two or three mega-budgeted releases that are aiming to be summer smashes, and though much of the media fanfare is noise and hype and advertising, there’s a lot of sincere enthusiasm mixed in there, too. Why wouldn’t there be? Summer movies, when they’re good, are a special form of entertainment — there’s nothing else like them, really — and reviewers aren’t shy when it comes to giving them a hearty thumbs up. Sure, certain films get more or less universally trashed, whether it’s the Transformers movies of the Hangover sequels or The Lone Ranger. But those tend to be the exceptions. If you read reviews of summer movies from week to week, you’d hardly come away thinking that the critics are snobs. READ FULL STORY

The 15 most impressive box office performances of 2013 -- so far

We’re officially halfway through 2013, and if you’re an obsessive box office junkie like me, that means it’s time to reflect back on the past six months at the movies and give credit to some of the best box office performances so far this year.

By “best,” I don’t simply mean “highest grossing” — you can find that list here – I mean most impressive. Since each movie has its own budget, its own marketing costs, and its own distribution challenges, each movie also has its own standard for success. I like to judge films on their own rubrics — so I have!

This year, there were a lot of close calls. Films like Oz The Great and Powerful and This is the End were this close to making the list (A Good Day to Die Hard and Jack the Giant Slayer, meanwhile, were not), but not everything could make the cut. Thus, here is my totally-up-for-debate list of the 15 Most Impressive Box Office Performances of 2013 so far. (Shown in order of highest-to-lowest grossing)
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Analysis: 'Man of Steel' garnered better pre-release buzz than 'Iron Man 3'

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Iron Man fans may be more numerous, but Superman fans are more hopeful. According to General Sentiment, a leading social analytics firm that analyzes more than 60 million sources of digital content every day, Superman fans are generating major positive buzz around director Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel. EW has partnered with General Sentiment to develop an aggregate score to report — not just on what is trending in social media — but on what users are actually saying on social networks.

During the two weeks prior to Man of Steel‘s debut week, fans tweeted about the film 121,864 times. While that pales in comparison to the number of tweets Iron Man 3  garnered (340,347) around its release, the tone of Man of Steel‘s buzz was substantially more positive, and about two-out-of-three user mentions (about 66.5 percent) casting the film in a positive light. Meanwhile, Iron Man 3 earned more mixed pre-release buzz with a 56.4 HIT score, which is somewhat surprising given Iron Man’s fan-favorite character status with Marvel fans.

Using a 100-point scale for each film — a score of 50 being neutral, a score of 51 and higher skewing positive, while scores of 49 and lower skew more negative, General Sentiment and EW can catch the sentiment of the social chatter – both positive and negative. Check out the HIT score below.
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