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Bill Murray's Rock the Kasbah Was Forbes's Least Profitable Film of 2015

The end of the year is almost near, which means it's time to start thinking about 2015 in review. Forbes has begun by doing so this Thanksgiving with its list of Hollywood's biggest financial flops. Using box-office data and production estimates, the outlet determined flop-worthiness based on what percentage of a budget a certain project returned — or tried to. (Movies in question had to have opened before November, in more than 2,000 theaters worldwide.)

One of the more interesting takeaways from this year's list (below), as Forbes points out, is that the data show big names don't necessarily translate to big sales the same way they used to. An overwhelming majority of the flops served as vehicles for A-list talent: The leading Forbes flop of this year is Bill Murray's Rock the Kasbah, for example, followed closely by Sean Penn's The Gunman and Chris Hemsworth's Blackhat; Emma Stone-, George Clooney-, and Johnny Depp-led flicks round out the others.

Here's the full top 15: »

Creed Perfects the Art of the Man-Cry, But Will Oscar Voters Feel It, Too?

Has your dad emailed you yet to tell you how much he cried while watching Creed? Is your social-media timeline flooded with man-tears now that the well-reviewed Rocky reboot has opened? Hollywood hasn’t delivered a bona fide male weepie like this one in a long time, and that’s surprising, given how well those films often do with general audiences and Oscar voters. The most recent male weepie of note may be Good Will Hunting, which climaxed with a cathartic cry and went on to earn nine Oscar nominations. Can Creed, which is superficially similar to Matt Damon’s 1997 drama, manage the same feat? Let’s do a rundown of the categories where this boxing blockbuster could compete.

Can the film crash Best Picture? »

Chewbacca Is a Can of Coke Zero Now

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, Chewbacca was a wookie. He was friends with Han Solo and a tough cookie. Now, in this galaxy, Chewbacca is a can of Coke Zero. He is friends with your waistline and is a can of Coke Zero. (More like Sipbacca). You can say he went from hero to zero — Coke Zero, that is. Times, they are a-changin'; wookies, they are a-becomin' cans of Coke Zero. Coke Zero!

New Ride Along 2 Trailer: Ice Cube Is Still Not Happy About Hanging Out With Kevin Hart

After some tense behind-the-scenes negotiations between the studio, Ice Cube, and Kevin Hart, the title of Ride Along 2 was shortened from its original version, Ride Along 2: It's Like the First Movie, Except This Time It's in Miami and Olivia Munn Is Also There. It comes out January 15. The newest trailer is above. The first and international trailer is below.

The Latest Macbeth Is Brooding and Bleaker Than Ever, But to What End?

If you’ve ever wanted to know how Shakespearean tragedy would play in a minor, more intimate key — no declaiming, no vaulting theatricality — then screw your caffeine to the sticking place and see Macbeth with Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard.

Filmed in shades of black, dark brown, charcoal, and ash, with the occasional orange flame for (minimal) illumination, the story opens with three witches who are less animated than people waiting for a bus and a brand-new scene in which the devastated Macbeths bury their dead child — presumably to explain why Lady M. is such a meanie at first but later gets the sads when her husband murders some kids in front of her eyes.

Fassbender is, in any case, the right Macbeth for the film that’s little more than a chamber-music dirge. »

Every Pixar Short Film, Ranked From Worst to Best

2015 marks the first time that Pixar has released two major films in a single calendar year: Inside Out this summer and The Good Dinosaur this past Thanksgiving weekend. Of course, animation geeks are ecstatic, not just because there are two new Pixar features to pore over — but also two new Pixar shorts. Long before Toy Story, the company established its reputation by producing award-winning computer-animated cartoons, showcasing the latest technology via entertaining little vignettes, mostly conceived by Disney-trained animator John Lasseter. As Lasseter led Pixar into blockbuster territory, he kept his shorts division open and active, so that the next generation of artists could have the same experience he did of experimenting in public. The result has been three decades’ worth of some of the funniest, most imaginative, and most technically accomplished mini-movies ever made.

Next year marks the 30th anniversary of Luxo Jr., the first animated short to bear the Pixar name (although 1984’s The Adventures of André and Wally B. predates it, created when the nascent version of Lasseter’s team comprised Lucasfilm’s Computer Graphics Division). After establishing themselves in the mid-1980s as the best in their field, the growing staff at the newly Steve Jobs–owned Pixar honed their craft by working on commercials and TV interstitials; even then, the studio’s primary focus in its early days was to ready short films that could compete at festivals and major awards. Even now that other animation shops have begun to catch up with Pixar, Lasseter’s still striving to push the medium forward, amuse audiences, and win Oscars.

Read on for the ranking. »

Remember When Guillermo del Toro and Neil Gaiman Almost Made the Doctor Strange Movie?

Next fall, the brilliant cast of Benedict Cumberbatch, Tilda Swinton, and Chiwetel Ejiofor will come together in the film version of Marvel's Doctor Strange. In our reality, that movie's being directed by Scott Derrickson (Sinister) with a screenplay by Jon Spaihts (Passengers), but in one mystical alternate universe, those roles were filled by Guillermo del Toro and Neil Gaiman, respectively, in a film version of Doctor Strange that came out around five years ago. (Alternate-universe Rotten Tomatoes gave it a ∞ on the TomatoMeter.) Gaiman first revealed the idea of teaming up with del Toro during an interview with Premiere in 2008, but in our version of reality, the project never went much beyond the discussion stage. Now we know where and why the timelines split: On Black Friday, Gaiman revealed on Twitter that in our world, Marvel simply wasn't interested in his and del Toro's vision for a Doctor Strange film. In the alternate universe, though, Marvel loved Gaiman and del Toro's pitch, and their movie went on to make $600 billion worldwide, winning Robert Pattinson a Golden Globe, an Oscar, and a BAFTA for his sensitive portrayal of Strange. The version of you that lives in Earth-982 loved it!

  • Posted 11/30/15 at 10:31 AM
  • Remakes

Who Needs a Word for Purple?! The Nigerien Remake of Purple Rain Looks Great

What does it take to reboot a classic '80s film? You can follow in the footsteps of Creed and Fury Road and give the original formula a modern remix — or you can simply port the story over to West Africa and go from there. That's the thinking behind Akounak Tedalat Taha Tazoughai, a Purple Rain remake that brings the story of Prince's semi-autobiographical 1984 film to Niger, with the country's rollicking guitar scene standing in for the original's Minneapolis R&B. (According to NPR, the title translates to "rain the color of blue with a little red in it" as the Tuareg language has no word for purple.) Directed by American ethnomusicologist and label executive Christopher Kirkley, the film stars Tuareg musician Mdou Moctar in the Prince role, and was funded partly through the help of Kickstarter donations; it's currently touring film festivals in America and Europe. Despite the Purple One's notoriously strict stance on copyright, Kirkley says that he's managed to avoid any legal action so far. "We haven't heard from Prince yet," he tells NPR. "I'm hoping that if and when we do, it's a positive experience."

What’s New on Netflix: December 2015

At the start of (and throughout) every month, Netflix adds new movies and TV shows to its streaming library. Here is a quick list of several you might be interested in. Feel free to note anything we've left out in the comments below — and for more comprehensive coverage of the best titles available on Netflix and elsewhere, check out Vulture’s What to Stream Now, which is updated throughout the month.


Retro Star Wars: The Force Awakens Posters Send Powerful, Nostalgic Message

As we approach the month of Force Awakens, the Star Wars hype machine is still tirelessly gunning at full speed. But at least it's doing so with a never-ending list of fun, cool (good job, Disney) ideas: Over the long weekend, IGN received three throwback posters, which have been made to resemble A New Hope's 1977 one sheets — that is, made to emotionally manipulate you and pump you way the heck up. That's because, as the Verge points out, these posters directly pair this forthcoming trilogy with the original (sorry, Episodes I, II, III), visually and symbolically:

Look at the posters here. »

Ron Howard Will Direct a Thrilling Adaptation for the Unreleased Book The Girl Before

Ron Howard's latest project pickup involves another book-to-screen adaptation, Deadline reports. This one will be based on J.P. Delaney's The Girl Before, a thriller novel (which the trades say might really be best-selling author Tony Strong's) that hasn't come out yet, but is coming soon. The Ballantine Bantam Dell Random House book will tell the story of "a traumatized woman [who] falls in love with an extraordinary minimalist house and with the man who designed it," according to Deadline. "But when she discovers that three years earlier another damaged woman died here, she starts to wonder if her own story is just a re-run of the girl before."

Even though it hasn't been released, something about Girl Before's scaled-back Crimson Peak approach or trendily simple-but-cryptic Girl title evidently caught Howard's eye (that or he's really trying to busy himself to avoid future Star Wars offers). The director is also reportedly attached to help produce, along with Brian Grazer, Michael De Luca, and Erica Huggins, for Universal Pictures. Girl Before is set for publication next fall.

The Big Short Will Make You Furious All Over Again About 2008

“Can we get a shot of the napkin?” Adam McKay asked his director of photography, pointing toward the table where an uncharacteristically angry-looking Steve Carell was seated, doodling fiercely. The cocktail napkin in question bore the name of Okada, the glitzy Japanese restaurant in the Wynn Las Vegas where New York hedge-fund manager Steve Eisman first encountered Wing Chau, a smug manager of collateralized debt obligations (investment vehicles composed mostly of home loans), in January 2007. It was Chau’s ignorance of the toxicity of these products that cemented Eisman’s belief that the housing market was doomed and ultimately persuaded Eisman to double down on his bet on its collapse, a bet that was later immortalized in financial journalist Michael Lewis’s best-selling book The Big Short.


  • Posted 11/29/15 at 8:59 PM
  • Q&a

Brad Pitt on Producing and Starring in The Big Short, the Financial Crash, and What Keeps Him Up at Night

Adam McKay’s new financial-apocalypse comedy The Big Short — the subject of this week’s Vulture cover story — was produced by Brad Pitt, who also took a small role in the film to help ensure the production got properly funded. Here, Pitt talks about his sideline as a genuine prestige-movie mogul (with his company Plan B), what it means to team up with author Michael Lewis again, and his personal outrage in 2008.


  • Posted 11/29/15 at 8:59 PM
  • Q&a

Ryan Gosling on The Big Short, Finding the Humor in the Financial Meltdown, and Why He’ll Probably Never Wear a Wig Again

Adam McKay’s The Big Shortthe subject of this week’s Vulture cover story — stars Ryan Gosling as a version of Greg Lippmann, a slick Deutsche Bank trader (he also gives some interstitial, direct-to-camera informative narration). We spoke with him about how to play a guy who bets against the American economy, how to order drinks like a “Tony Robbins on His Day Off,” and the importance of his hairpiece.


The Big Short Turns the Financial Meltdown Into a Heist Comedy

How do you make an exuberant comedy about the financial apocalypse of 2008 that also manages to elucidate — with documentary-like rigor — the labyrinthine fraud at the heart of the U.S. economy? It’s a challenge that the director Adam McKay leaps to in The Big Short (see our story here), which he adapted (with Charles Randolph) from Michael Lewis’s book on the collapse of the subprime-mortgage market. It’s a rollicking bad time!

McKay invents his own glorious goofball syntax: part business thriller, part stand-up comedy, with a liberal dash of NPR didacticism. »

  • Posted 11/29/15 at 8:59 PM
  • Q&a

The Big Short Author Michael Lewis on Watching His Book on the Big Screen and What Hasn’t Changed Since the Crash

This week’s Vulture cover story, on Adam McKay’s The Big Short, asks whether America is angry enough for a Hollywood version of Occupy Wall Street, and if McKay’s brand of dick jokes can actually teach us something about the financial crisis and what went wrong in 2008. The man who really knows what went wrong is Michael Lewis, the author of the book on which the movie is based and a few other masterworks of financial journalism. Here, he talks about the Hail Mary long shot of making of the movie, its chances to make audiences furious about bailouts, and why no one really got all that furious the first time around.


  • Posted 11/29/15 at 8:58 PM
  • Q&a

Steve Carell on The Big Short, Studying Hedge-Funders, and His Style Advice to Ryan Gosling

Adam McKay’s The Big Shortthe subject of this week’s Vulture cover story — stars Steve Carell as Steve Eisman, a hedge-funder who shorted the market spectacularly during the crisis. We spoke with him about following up his Oscar-nominated turn in Foxcatcher and “workout pizza.”


  • Posted 11/29/15 at 8:58 PM
  • Q&a

Christian Bale on The Big Short and Meeting the Real-Life American Psychos

Adam McKay’s The Big Short — the subject of this week’s Vulture cover story — stars Christian Bale as Michael Burry, a California doctor who, despite having only one functioning eye, saw the crisis before anyone else. Here he talks about his character research, shadowing real-life subjects, and his performance in the film, hailed by Big Short author Michael Lewis as “borderline creepy."


Daisy Ridley Says J.J. Abrams Called Her Acting ‘Wooden’ on the Force Awakens Set

It can't be easy to start off your career in the heart of a multibillion dollar franchise. In an new interview with Glamour UK (via NME), 23-year-old Ridley revealed director J.J. Abrams criticized her for her "wooden" acting when she first started filming The Force Awakens. "He probably doesn’t remember telling me that my performance was wooden," she said, "This was the first day! And I honestly wanted to die. I thought I was gonna cry, I couldn’t breathe. And there was so many crew there, because obviously all the creatures [had stand-ins], and there were loads of extra crew making sure everyone was safe ’cause it was so hot. It was awful." Things seem to have improved as shooting continued, however, and Ridley said that "My experience has been incredible," both with the rest of the cast and crew, and with Disney's PR team. "I’ve felt supported and respected the whole way through. I’ve not been told not to do anything. My Instagram has not been ... what it’s called when they keep tabs on it? Yeah, it’s not monitored.” This is wonderful news, as Ridley's Instagram is a Great British Bake Offfilled delight. Let's hope she sticks to the advice of her co-star/interview mom Carrie Fischer and remains as candid as ever.

Tom Hanks Says He’s Recording His Lines for Toy Story 4, Which Comes Out in 2018

"So, uh, how long is this gonna take?" Al McWiggin asks in Toy Story 2. "You can't rush art," replies Geri the Cleaner. That seems to be what the producers of the Toy Story films think, as it took them 11 years to make Toy Story 3, and it was totally worth it. Now, five years later, Tom Hanks has some big news that was also worth the wait. While speaking with Graham Norton (as well as Peter Capaldi — why hasn't anyone made a buddy comedy with Tom Hanks and Peter Capaldi yet?), Hanks said, very matter-of-factly, almost as an aside, that he's recording his lines for Toy Story 4, and the film will be out in 2018. More specifically, he has a recording session on December 2. Watch the video below, in which Hanks impersonates an excited child as well as the excited child's mother, and shares a story of the time he told off a Disney lawyer. To 2018 ... and beyond!