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Dueling Everest movies: Jake Gyllenhaal film begins shooting; Sony's 'The Summit' still in base camp

When it comes to ascending a summit, first to the top usually wins. News this week confirmed that Working Title’s Everest, to be released by Universal, is a go. The film, from director Baltasar Kormákur (2 Guns) began production Monday in Italy, with Jake Gyllenhaal, Josh Brolin, Jason Clarke and John Hawkes playing four of the climbers who attempted the disastrous 1996 ascent of Mount Everest in the Himalayas, only to be thwarted with terrible conditions that led to the loss of many lives.

Now that this film is in production, will it kill a competing Everest film at Sony?

Sony declined to comment on its project, which takes place in the 1920s and chronicles British climber George Mallory’s attempts to scale the world’s tallest mountain. One source close to the production says the studio is still committed to the movie, but the film, which Doug Liman (Mr. and Mrs. Smith) is set to direct after finishing the upcoming Tom Cruise-starrer Edge of Tomorrow, will no longer begin production in the next couple of months as originally planned.

Rather, the start date on the film — which now carries the title The Summit and still has Tom Hardy (Inception) attached to play Mallory and Luke Evans (Fast & Furious 6) to play his Australian rival George Finch — has been pushed to either early summer  or perhaps even to 2015.

According to another source, the studio’s hesitation on the project centers on concern over how to sell the the film domestically. Overseas, the film’s prospects appear much healthier considering the storyline and international cast but in the U.S. audiences are often reluctant to give period films a chance.

Complicating matters, a schedule change may force star Hardy to drop out. As reported earlier, Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock) is still interested in the lead role should Hardy need to leave.

Sony is also being more cost conscious after a rough 2013 and launching a $60 million movie with a competing film in the pipeline may not look too appealing. Last summer the studio was on the wrong end of dueling White House disaster movies. Their White House Down with Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx opened at the end of June, earning $73 million. It had followed Film District’s Olympus Has Fallen, which opened in March and grossed $98 million.

Still, sources close to the project says the film, which was scripted by Sheldon Turner (Up in the Air), is still important to the studio.

The trick now is to keep that enthusiasm from falling off the mountain.

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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Veterans, active military can see 'White House Down' for free July 4

What could be more patriotic than seeing the White House blown to bits on July 4?

To thank active military and veterans for their service, Sony is offering free admission to the Channing Tatum-Jamie Foxx action film White House Down on Independence Day, the studio announced Tuesday.

Several movie theater chains – Regal Entertainment Group, AMC Theatres, Cinemark Theatres, and Carmike Cinemas — are participating in the promotion. To get in, patrons must present a valid military ID. The offer is only valid on July 4.

The Roland Emmerich-directed film, which opened wide last weekend, follows Capitol Policeman John Cale (Tatum) who dreams of being a Secret Service agent but has been denied the opportunity. He finds himself indispensable to the President (Foxx) when he’s in the right place (on a White House tour with his daughter) at the wrong time (a paramilitary group takes over 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.), and he must save the President, his daughter, and the country.

Box office report: 'Monsters University' stays on top with $46.2 million; 'The Heat' hot, 'White House Down' not

It’s been a great June at the domestic box office — and thanks to a jam-packed slate of robust earners, the month finished strong this weekend. In fact, the top five films all earned over $20 million.

Monsters University stayed on top of the chart with $46.2 million, marking a slim 44 percent drop over the Friday-to-Sunday period, which was lower than the second weekend declines of Brave (49 percent), Cars 2 (60 percent), and Toy Story 3 (46 percent). The well-received family film has earned $171.3 million total after ten days — and it will definitely surpass the original Monsters Inc.‘s $251 million cume. The film will face a formidable challenge next week, though, when Despicable Me 2, which has been cleaning up overseas (it’s already earned over $50 million from just seven countries), hits theaters on July 3.

In second place, Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy’s buddy-cop comedy The Heat scored an excellent $40 million — a career-best debut for both stars. The film, directed by Bridesmaids helmer Paul Feig, cost Fox only $43 million to make — and it will surpass that figure by Tuesday. The Heat‘s great debut trumps the opening weekend of McCarthy’s other 2013 hit, Identity Thief, which began its run with $36.3 million on the way to a $134.5 million finish.

As might be expected, adult women drove business for The Heat, which carries an R-rating. According to Fox, audiences were 65 percent female and 67 percent above the age of 25. Crowds issued the film an “A-” CinemaScore grade. READ FULL STORY

Box office update: 'Monsters University' and 'The Heat' crush 'White House Down' on Friday

Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock proved they were an appealing comedic duo on Friday — but they couldn’t outpace the animated pairing of Mike and Sully at the box office.

Monsters University topped the chart with $14.3 million yesterday, putting the Pixar sequel on track for an excellent $49 million second weekend. That would give the family film a $175 million total after ten days — a healthy total as it prepares to take on Despicable Me 2 next weekend.

In second place, The Heat scored an excellent $13.6 million, which easily trumps McCarthy’s last two starring efforts: Bridesmaids, which opened with $7.8 million on a Friday, and Identity Thief, which began with $11.1 million on a Friday. The Heat may take in about $39 million this weekend, which would not only be a fantastic start considering its $43 million budget, but also a career-best opening for both Bullock and McCarthy. READ FULL STORY

Box office preview: 'The Heat' brings the heat against 'White House Down'

Two brand-new action comedies, The Heat and White House Down, will try to unseat Monsters University from the top spot at the box office this week, but that could be a formidable challenge. Though both summery films are on track for healthy debuts, Monsters has no new family competition, and it could take in another monstrous weekend sum.

Here’s how the box office might shake out:

1. Monsters University – $47 million
The well-reviewed Pixar film will likely top the box office for a second frame unless The Heat breaks out in a major way. Last year, Brave fell by 49 percent in its sophomore frame, but with better word-of-mouth, Monsters U may fall by a softer 42 percent to $47 million, which would give the comedy $172 million total.
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'White House Down' extended trailer: 'Can you not hit me in the head with a rocket?' -- VIDEO

Remember when we all thought White House Down was just about monuments blowing up? As the new, four-minute trailer makes clear, Roland Emmerich’s new film is also about Channing Tatum, as wannabe Secret Service agent John Cale, saving his daughter; and it is also about Channing Tatum working with the president (Jamie Foxx, in glasses and sneakers) to save America. It is also funny, kind of. I think Maggie Gyllenhaal plays C.J. Cregg.

Watch the trailer below:
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'White House Down' stars bust a move -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

Playing father and daughter in White House Down has clearly led to an off-screen bond between Channing Tatum and Joey King. The adorable duo even had time to come up with a seriously elaborate secret handshake.

Sony gave EW a front-row seat to the choreographed routine, which includes fake punches, a baseball pitch and even sound effects. Everybody knows that Tatum has moves, but King gives him a run for his money in the swagger department. Check out the cute on-set moment here:
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New 'White House Down' trailer shows the film's -- and star Channing Tatum's -- funny side

Roland Emmerich can always be counted upon to deliver disaster spectacle, and it’s looking like that’s going to hold true in his next movie, White House Down. The latest trailer for the upcoming movie has no shortage of Stuff Blowing Up, including iconic buildings like the U.S. Capitol.

White House Down stars Channing Tatum as a man applying for a job as a Secret Service Agent. After he’s denied that job, he takes his daughter to the White House for a tour on the same day it comes under attack, and he gets the chance to prove himself when he ends up protecting the President (Jamie Foxx).

This newest trailer depicts White House Down as more of a rollicking action movie than the tense thriller seen in the first trailer. Check out Tatum flexing both his comedy and action muscles (and his real muscles!) below: READ FULL STORY

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