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'Rock of Ages' trailer: Tom Cruise sings! Plus: Director Adam Shankman on the film's 'biggest lie'

The newest trailer for the jukebox musical Rock of Ages gives us a few more peeks at the movie’s plot. There’s a kid (Diego Boneta) who yearns to be a rock star; his girlfriend (Julianne Hough) with the big-voiced talent and, in one shot, even bigger hair; and an unscrupulous record business so-and-so (Paul Giamatti) who tells the kid to forget love, ’cause he’s providing fame, baby. But really, all you need to know is, yes, we do finally hear Tom Cruise sing as perpetually shirtless rock god Stacee Jaxx. And he sounds…pretty good!

Granted, Cruise is just singing one line from Bon Jovi’s “Wanted Dead or Alive,” with what sounds like some considerable reverb. But the dude has a leather-jacket-wearing macaque named “Hey Man” with some righteous-looking teeth, so I’m not about to complain. Check out the trailer, and director Adam Shankman’s thoughts on re-creating 1980s rock-and-roll, below:  READ FULL STORY

'Top Gun 2' goes to 'Town' writer -- report

Peter Craig, who wrote the 2010 Boston heist thriller The Town, is the most recent writer to tackle a Top Gun sequel, according to Variety. Paramount had no comment on the report, but the trade newspaper said that Craig will be starting from scratch. Two years ago, Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects) was tapped to bring Tom Cruise’s Maverick back to the screen, and last year, Ashley Miller and Zack Stentz (X-Men: First Class) reportedly took a shot.

Producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Tony Scott are involved in the in-development project, as is Cruise, whose Maverick would inevitably be the focus and star of any sequel.

Read more:
Tom Cruise in talks to bring back Maverick

Oscars 2012: EW goes inside the star-studded rehearsals for tonight's show! -- PHOTOS

Billy … who?

In a place full of celebrity sightings, sometimes even the host can find himself camouflaged.

Tonight the 84th annual Oscars bring a close to Hollywood’s award season, but before that, EW takes you behind the scenes as stars gather to rehearse the big telecast.

Here’s what happened when Angelina Jolie, Tom Cruise, Billy Crystal, Chris Rock, Ben Stiller, Emma Stone, Christian Bale, Tom Hanks, and the ladies of Bridesmaids (among others) came together to put on a show. Even past Oscar-winners like Gwyneth Paltrow, pictured here, can have a “d’oh” moment.

Among the stories from backstage over the past two days is the hilariously bizarre account of what happened when the voice of Darth Vader met Miracle Max — and said he mistook him for “a hoodlum.”


Image Credit: Chris Carlson/AP

It’s rehearsal time for the Academy Awards, and a woman striding offstage pretending to be a winner is holding an Oscar so fake it could be a child’s art project.

In the shadows beside a great velvet curtain, the stand-in for best actress comes face to face with none other than the real Tom Cruise, who has an envelope clasped in his hands and is waiting for his cue to walk out and practice presenting the next award.

AP Photo/Chris Carlson

The Mission: Impossible star tips a slight bow and raises his eyebrows with a wry, mega-watt smile. “Congratulations!” he declares, like he really, really, means it. Really. He chuckles, and – after a beat – so does the stunned stand-in.

If sincerity is the goal, it is surely one of Cruise’s worst-ever performance. But he’s just goofing around.

That’s the great thing about being backstage in the final few days before the Academy Awards — guards are down, and a guy like Cruise can just kid around. Though the crew is working hard, the stars are literally going through the motions.

Tonight when the real show begins (8:30 p.m. Eastern and 5:30 Pacific, on ABC), the pressure returns for everyone with a vengeance.

MORE ON REHEARSALS: Sandra Bullock, Robert Downey Jr. and the shadow dwellers

For more Oscar news tonight, follow @Breznican on Twitter.

Warner Bros. shuffles 2012/2013 schedule: 'Rock of Ages' and 'Jack the Giant Killer' pushed back, 'Arthur & Lancelot' dropped

EW has confirmed that Warner Bros. has postponed several high-profile projects on its 2012-13 schedule, starting with Rock of Ages, in which Tom Cruise makes his musical debut as licentious rock star Stacee Jaxx. The film, originally slated for June 1, will release two weeks later on June 15. The studio issued a more dramatic push-back for Jack the Giant Killer 3D, Bryan Singer’s fairy tale redux starring Nicholas Hoult and Ian McShane. Jack will now drop nine months after its original release date on March 22, 2013. Fans of Kit Harrington (Game of Thrones) and Joel Kinnaman (The Killing) will be disappointed to learn that their star turn in Arthur & Lancelot — the Medieval epic from Wedding Crashers helmer David Dobkin (also a producer on Jack) — has been removed from Warner Bros.’ schedule indefinitely.

Read more:
‘Rock of Ages’ new trailer: So cheesy it’s awesome?
‘Jack the Giant Killer’ trailer: Giants and beanstalks and Ian McShane, oh my!
‘Game of Thrones’ star Kit Harington tapped to play King Arthur

Box office report: 'Mission: Impossible' pops champagne with $31.3 mil over New Year's weekend

Tom Cruise rang in the New Year smiling, as Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol led the box office with an estimated $31.3 million over the three-day (Friday to Sunday) weekend. That represents a 6 percent jump from Christmas weekend.

However, nearly every wide release saw their grosses rise compared to last weekend. The weekend after Christmas has historically been a strong box-office period, as many families are still on break but are no longer occupied with holiday preparations.

Ghost Protocol, the fourth entry in the action franchise, has now cumulatively tallied $134.1 million, surpassing the final gross of Mission: Impossible III ($134 million). The PG-13 movie, which was helmed by Pixar animation director Brad Bird, will now attempt to catch up with the first Mission: Impossible, which collected $181 million in 1996. That figure should be within reach for Ghost Protocol. READ FULL STORY

Box office update: 'Mission: Impossible' tops Friday with $10.7 mil as the year crosses $10 billion

Even though 2011 will go down as the least attended year at the movies since 1995, this year’s box office did pull off a neat trick by crossing $10 billion earlier this week. Granted, if we adjusted for inflation, many other years would also reach $10 billion in total ticket sales, but 2011 is only the third year (joining 2009 and 2010) to hit the milestone in real dollars.

Leading the charge on Friday was Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol, which jumped 10 percent from last Friday to take in $10.7 million. The fourth entry in the “Tom Cruise can do anything” action series should finish the weekend with around $30 million, bringing its cumulative tally to nearly $133 million. On Monday, the film should pass Mission: Impossible III‘s $134 million domestic total, and will then set its sights on the first Mission: Impossible, which collected $181 million in 1996. READ FULL STORY

Box office preview: 'Mission: Impossible' won't lose its grip over New Year's weekend

With no new wide releases this New Year’s weekend, the box office is going to look very much like it did over the Christmas weekend. In fact, a number of movies may perform a little bit better this weekend due to the fact that Christmas Eve, a typically slow day at the box office, landed on a Saturday last week. Furthermore, since 893 movies were released the last couple of weeks, audiences should be eager to catch up with the many films they haven’t seen yet.

Here are my predictions for the three-day weekend (Friday to Sunday): READ FULL STORY

'MI:4' director on filming in IMAX and how Christopher Nolan is 'throwing down the showmanship' with 'The Dark Knight Rises'

Brad Bird wanted to be a filmmaker since the moment he learned to draw. “I didn’t realize this until later,” says the 54-year old director of Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, “but the very first drawings I did when I was a kid at age 3 were sequential. They weren’t great drawings – they were just stick figures – but they were meant to be viewed in a certain order. So from the very beginning, I was trying to make films.”

The pictures have only gotten got more sophisticated — and larger — since then. Bird made a name for himself in animation with The Iron Giant, then won Oscars with two Pixar blockbusters, The Incredibles and Ratatouille, both of which he wrote and directed. His winning streak has continued with his first live-action effort: Ghost Protocol, the fourth installment in Tom Cruise’s signature spy-fi franchise — and the second to be shepherded by producer J.J. Abrams — has received rave reviews (EW’s Owen Gleiberman even has it on his 10 best of ’11 list) and is poised to be one of the biggest movies of the holiday season. (The film, which opened in theaters nationwide on Wednesday, grossed over $17 million during a 6-day run on 425 IMAX screens.) Bird took a few minutes to speak with EW about the animation-to-live-action-to-IMAX transition. READ FULL STORY

Box office update: 'Mission: Impossible' 4 climbs to No. 1 on Wednesday


After a highly lucrative advance run almost exclusively in IMAX theaters, Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol formally debuted wide on Wednesday, and leapt to the top of the box office with $8.6 million (including $2 mil from Tuesday night showings). Add in the $17.1 million from its 425-theater sneak preview, and Tom Cruise’s fourth Mission film has already grossed a very healthy $25.7 million. With an “A-” CinemaScore, and some of the strongest reviews in the franchise’s history, the film is in a great position heading into the Christmas season.

That is very welcome news for Hollywood, which has already suffered two of its worst weekends in years this month, and seen Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows open $22 million lower than the first Robert Downey Jr. Sherlock film in 2009. READ FULL STORY

Box office report: 'Sherlock Holmes' tops ho-hum weekend with $40 mil

Hollywood’s autumn blues continued as the box office trailed 2010 for the fourth week in a row. Thanks to the surprisingly soft debuts of Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows and Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, this weekend’s top dozen movies earned about 13 percent less than last year’s. Luckily, next week brings us The Adventures of Tintin, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, We Bought a Zoo, and the wide expansion of Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol. If those movies can’t lift the business out of the gutter, then Hollywood better start revising its New Year’s resolutions.

Warner Bros.’ Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law, won the weekend with an estimated $40 million. That’s a steep drop from the 2009 original, which debuted to $62.3 million. It’s worth pointing out that the first movie opened on Christmas Day weekend, which helped to inflate its numbers. A Game of Shadows, on the other hand, opted for the weekend before Christmas — a much tougher frame due to the fact that many moviegoers are currently occupied with holiday preparations. READ FULL STORY

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