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'Eastern Promises' scribe Steven Knight to write 'World War Z' sequel

Screenwriter Steven Knight has been tapped to pen the script for the sequel to World War Z, sources confirm to EW.

The Oscar-nominated scribe (for 2002’s Dirty Pretty Things) will be working closely with director J.A. Bayona (The Impossible) in developing the screenplay, which finds Brad Pitt returning to reprise his role as United Nations worker and dad of the year Gerry Lane. Plot details for the zombie thriller are being kept under wraps, but it is expected to remain in the world of author Max Brooks’ original vision. Variety first reported the news.

Knight is also a director. His well-received thriller Locke, starring Tom Hardy, is currently in theaters.

'Doc of the Dead': Bruce Campbell on that time he officiated at a zombie wedding -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

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Have you ever officiated at a zombie wedding? Of course you haven’t. But do you know who has? Bruce Campbell! The Evil Dead star and all-round horror icon recalls his lead role at some deliberately nightmarish nuptials in a new film, Doc of the Dead. Directed by Alexandre O. Philippe (The People vs. George Lucas), the documentary tracks the rise of the zombie phenomenon and, in addition to Campbell, features contributions from Shaun of the Dead actor-writer Simon Pegg, Walking Dead makeup overlord Greg Nicotero, and George A. Romero, among others. READ FULL STORY

'World War Z' sequel lands an 'Impossible' director

Juan Antonio Bayona, the Spanish filmmaker who directed The Impossible, the disaster movie about the 2004 Asian tsunami starring Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor, will direct Brad Pitt in the sequel to World War Z. A source close to the zombie project confirmed the news, first reported by the Hollywood Reporter.

Based on Max Brooks’ novel and planned as a franchise, World War Z overcame production complications to become a summer blockbuster, grossing $540 million worldwide, and a solid critical hit. Director Marc Forster (Quantum of Solace) and Pitt didn’t always see eye-to-eye, and the original ending was trashed, requiring dramatic and expensive reshoots. At the end of the first film, Pitt’s United Nations employee is reunited with his family in Canada after he heroically found a solution to protect humans from zombies. “This isn’t the end,” he says. “Not even close. Our war has just begun.”

Bayona, 38, has a background in horror (The Orphanage), and The Impossible, which grossed more than $180 million worldwide, had an apocalyptic look and feel.

'World War Z' DVD: Go behind the scenes of the zombie thriller's climax -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

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Brad Pitt’s zombie epic World War Z arrives on DVD/Blu-Ray/etcetera next Tuesday, and we’re excited to share a clip from the movie’s special features. The clip focuses on a sequence toward the end of the movie (minor spoiler alert!) where Pitt confronts one of the film’s most terrifying undead walkers and makes a pivotal decision. Watch the video below:
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'World War Z' sequel in talks, according to Brad Pitt

World War Z may be closer to getting that zequel.

“We’re certainly talking about it, yes,” Pitt told Variety at the Toronto Film Festival. “We have so many ideas on the table from the time we spent just developing this thing and figuring out how zombie worlds work.”

The blockbuster adaptation of Max Brooks’s 2006 novel was famously addled with reshoots, rewrites, and a massively bloated budget. But despite bad buzz and an enormous $170+ million price tag, World War Z ultimately grossed $474 million internationally — making more Z movies a distinct possibility. (Before trouble struck, execs planned to make World War Z the first of three related films.)

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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

Is the 3-D fad over?

All the way back in 2009, eager studio executives eyed Avatar‘s $2.8 billion worldwide gross and gushed “I see you” to the film’s groundbreaking 3-D technology. A few months later, Alice in Wonderland became a $1 billion hit, and before Johnny Depp had even wiped the makeup off his face, the industry had decided 3-D would be its savior.

Fox, Paramount, Disney, and Universal collectively shelled out $700 million to help equip theaters with new projectors, and the number of 3-D releases jumped from 20 in 2009 to 45 in 2011. Perhaps most importantly, audiences proved willing to pay an extra $3.50 per ticket, so Hollywood made a point of “enhancing” every film into a “premium” 3-D experience. Oh, what a difference four years makes: 3-D box office receipts are taking a serious tumble these days, and audiences are increasingly opting for cheaper 2-D tickets. So how did the format fall so far so fast? READ FULL STORY

Unrated 'World War Z' receives Blu-ray date

World War Z, Brad Pitt’s hit zombie apocalypse epic, will debut on Blu-ray and other home-viewing formats on Sept. 17. The action-thriller was envisioned as a trilogy, and after grossing $474 million around the world, Pitt can expect another date with the dead. The Blu-ray Combo will include an unrated cut of the film and several featurettes. “I’m really excited for fans to see the new unrated version of World War Z on Blu-ray,” said Pitt, in a statement. “We were thrilled with the audience response to the film in theaters and wanted to give viewers even more of the action and intensity that they loved when they watch the film at home.”

Z was subjected to some on-the-fly rewriting and the original ending was completely abandoned. It will be interesting to see if portions of those scenes are restored in the unrated cut, or if Pitt & Co. discuss those decisions in the extras.

For fans who can’t wait until Sept. 17, World War Z will become available as a digital-download a week earlier, Sept. 10. Click below for a description of the Blu-ray extras.

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3-D hits an all-time low with 'Despicable Me 2'

Blockbuster sequel Despicable Me 2 earned $143 million over the extended Fourth of July weekend — and although its debut marked a high point at the summer box office, it also marked a low point for 3-D ticket sales.

According to Universal, only 27 percent of Despicable Me 2‘s opening-weekend gross came from 3-D tickets, the lowest 3-D share in modern box office history. Notably, the record low comes just two weeks after Monsters University notched a 31 percent 3-D share on its opening weekend, which at the time was the worst 3-D performance ever. Poor 3-D ticket sales aren’t just plaguing recent animated films, either. Brad Pitt’s live-action zombie thriller World War Z only earned 34 percent of its debut total from 3-D tickets, and The Great Gatsby fared even worse. Despite the fact that Baz Luhrmann’s use of 3-D was a primary selling point for Gatsby, 3-D ticket sales only accounted for 33 percent of its opening weekend.

These percentages mark a decisive downturn in 3-D’s popularity with American moviegoers, who have generally embraced the enhanced format over the last five years.

In 2009 and 2010, during the heyday of 3-D, films like Avatar (71 percent share), Alice in Wonderland (70 percent), and Tron Legacy (82 percent) added tens of millions of dollars to their opening-weekend grosses with 3-D ticket sales. Hollywood quickly doubled down on the format — sending the number of 3-D wide releases skyrocketing from 15 in 2009 to 36 in 2012. By 2012, though, it already appeared that 3-D was losing some of its luster, as the industry observed lower shares for films like Transformers: Dark of the Moon (60 percent), Thor (60 percent), and The Avengers (52 percent). These days, even highly anticipated box office titans like Iron Man 3 (45 percent), Star Trek Into Darkness (45 percent), and World War Z have trouble cracking the 50 percent threshold.

Family films have been hit particularly hard lately. Of course, it should be noted that they’ve never been quite as popular as live-action films in 3-D — presumably because it costs so much to purchase 3-D tickets for an entire family — but animated titles like Shrek Forever After (60 percent), Toy Story 3 (60 percent), and The Lorax (52 percent) did prove that moms and dads were willing to shell out big bucks on the format. Not so much over the past year, though. Recent films like Brave (34 percent), The Croods (38 percent) and, obviously, Despicable Me 2 haven’t connected with 3-D ticket-buyers despite the fact that they succeeded at the box office.

Many think the 3-D gimmick has lost — or is losing — its novelty due to over-saturation and shoddy execution, and Avatar director James Cameron agrees. “I do not think Hollywood is using the 3-D properly,” Cameron remarked at the TagDF conference in Mexico City last week. “Man of Steel, Iron Man 3 and all those movies should not necessarily be in 3-D,” he continued. “If you spend $150 million on visual effects, the film is already going to be spectacular, perfect.”

What do you think? Is the 3-D fad officially ending?

Box office report: 'Despicable Me 2' leaves 'Lone Ranger' in the dust

Over the extended 4th of July weekend, a lot of Americans lit up the grill and spent time with family. A lot unfolded lawn chairs and watched a fireworks show. And a whole lot bought tickets to see Despicable Me 2.

The $76 million animated film from Universal and Illumination Entertainment crushed the competition in its first five days in theaters, earning a jaw-dropping $142 million — $82.5 million of which came in during the traditional Friday-to-Sunday frame. In fact, Despicable Me 2, which features the voice work of Steve Carrell and Kristen Wiig, led the box office to the best July 4th weekend of all time. Over the Friday-to-Sunday period, the Top 12 movies grossed $220.7 million, which marks the 10th-strongest weekend in box office history.
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