Oprah Wins!

Terrence Howard and Oprah Winfrey in Lee Daniels’ The Butler The Weinstein Company

Thanks to a full-court media press by Oprah Winfrey — and some headline-grabbing Hollywood shenanigans by Harvey Weinstein — Lee Daniels’ The Butler opened with an estimated $25 million this weekend.

It is an especially sweet victory for Winfrey, who is winning wide acclaim for her performance as the long-suffering (and hard-drinking) wife of the White House butler played by Forest Whitaker. Winfrey hasn’t appeared on a movie screen since her devastating experience producing and starring in 1998’s Beloved — the adaptation of Toni Morrison’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel was so ignored by audiences, Winfrey has said it drove her into a depression. Winfrey did not produce Lee Daniels’ The Butler, but it is nonetheless her first home-run success since she ended the daily daytime talk show that made her a global celebrity to oversee her basic cable network OWN, which has had a very public ratings struggle since it launched in 2011. (Indeed, to boost viewership, Winfrey has had to lean on high-profile interviews, like her news-making sit-down with Lance Armstrong in January, and her interview with Lindsay Lohan airing tonight.)

Lee Daniels’ The Butler’s box office debut also establishes the sweeping historical drama as the first major “awards movie” of the year. With its A grade from the audience polling firm CinemaScore, the film could be well on its way to a long and lucrative run in theaters, similar to other August releases that went on to earn major box office as well as Oscar nods — like The Help, Inglourious Basterds, The Sixth Sense, and The Fugitive. That must sit well with Harvey Weinstein, who waged a bizarre public battle with Warner Bros. over the title to the film that resulted in the new possessive title for director Lee Daniels (Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire, The Paperboy) and a barrage of free press for the movie.

Winfrey and Weinstein’s triumphant efforts to drive audiences to see a movie about an African-American butler at the White House also stand in stark contrast to the other three movies opening this weekend that on paper seemed like better box office prospects: a sequel to a cult favorite comic book adaptation; a biopic of one of the most accomplished, successful, and well-known businessmen of the last 50 years; and a corporate thriller starring Liam Hemsworth, Harrison Ford, and Liam Hemsworth’s abs. Instead, all three suffered humiliating debuts.

To wit:

Kick-Ass 2’s estimated $13.6 million opening weekend could not top the $19.8 million debut of its 2010 predecessor, which itself was seen ultimately as a box office disappointment. Decent home video sales convinced Universal to green-light the sequel, but the buzzy The World’s End opens next weekend and will likely draw away the fanboy audience that Kick-Ass 2 needs to sustain any hope of a healthy box office run.

• The Steve Jobs biopic Jobs opened with $6.7 million, which may give Sony Pictures some pause on Aaron Sorkin’s in-the-works screenplay of Walter Isaacson’s official Steve Jobs biography, Steve Jobs. At the very least, audiences have made clear they are not too interested in a Steve Jobs movie starring Ashton Kutcher.

Paranoia, a corporate espionage thriller, was DOA, coming in 13th place with just $3.5 million, officially the worst wide release debut of the year so far. Poor Liam Hemsworth. Poor, bored Liam Hemsworth.

Here are the estimated top 10 box office figures for Friday to Sunday, courtesy of Box Office Mojo:

1. Lee Daniels’ The Butler* — $25 million
2. We’re the Millers — $17.8 mhillion
3. Elysium — $13.6 million
4. Kick-Ass 2* — $13.57 million
5. Planes — $13.1 million
6. Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters — $8.4 million
7. Jobs — $6.7 million
8. 2 Guns — $5.6 million
9. The Smurfs 2 — $4.6 million
10. The Wolverine — $4.4 million

*Opening weekend

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/adambvary/lee-daniels-the-butler-oprah-wins-box-office

Via marvel.wikia.com

Todd McFarlane / Marvel Comics

Via forums.comicbookresources.com

Billy Tan / Marvel Comics

 

Venom (left); The Sinister Six, at least, one iteration of the group (right).

It seems Beyoncé wasn’t the only superhero to drop big news Thursday night.

In a stealth release via a marketing website for next summer’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Sony Pictures announced that the studio has hired five screenwriters to expand the Spider-Man movie universe with at least two spin-off movies focusing on other characters from the Spider-Man comic books — specifically, several Spider-Man villains.

Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci (Star Trek Into Darkness) will partner with screenwriter Ed Solomon (Now You See Me, Men in Black) to write the screenplay for Venom, based on the fan-favorite character who is transformed via an alien symbiote into a hulking, sharp-toothed brute. (Venom was first played on screen by Topher Grace in 2007’s Spider-Man 3, to virtually no one’s satisfaction.) Kurtzman will direct the film, his second feature after 2012’s little-seen family drama People Like Us.

Filmmaker Drew Goddard (The Cabin in the Woods, Cloverfield), meanwhile, has been tapped to write a screenplay for The Sinister Six, with “an eye to direct” the film, Hollywood-speak for “the deal isn’t close to final yet.” (Sony’s hesitation is likely because Goddard is already committed to write and direct the pilot episode and serve as the showrunner for Marvel Television’s 13-episode Daredevil series for Netflix, which is set to premiere in 2015.) In the Marvel comics, there have been several iterations of the Sinister Six, which was first founded by Doctor Octopus, and also consisted of Kraven the Hunter, Mysterio, Sandman, Vulture, and Electro. The last villain in that group, of course, will already be played by Jamie Foxx in next May’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2, but Sony’s announcement did not specify which villains within Spider-Man’s rogues gallery would make up this particular version of the Sinister Six.

Finally, Sony also announced that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 screenwriters Kurtzman, Orci, and Jeff Pinkner (Fox’s Fringe) would return to write the screenplay for The Amazing Spider-Man 3, which already has a release date set for June 10, 2016. Marc Webb, who has directed the first two Amazing Spider-Man movies, has not yet signed on to direct the third film, but, as the release wryly puts it, “the studio hopes Webb will return to direct [The Amazing Spider-Man 3].”

All together, the announcement makes plain Sony’s ambition to marshall its own Spider-Man mega-franchise, like the one first pioneered by Marvel Studios. According to the announcement, Webb, Kurtzman, Orci, Pinkner, Solomon, and Goddard, along with producers Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach, are forming “a franchise brain trust to expand the universe for the brand and to develop a continuous tone and thread throughout the films.” (Sony’s announcement also comes on the heels of Warner Bros.’ announcement last week that the as-yet-untitled Superman-Batman movie will also feature Wonder Woman, as played by Fast & Furious 6 actress Gal Gadot — another clear attempt at a comic-book driven mega-franchise, this time in the DC Comics universe.)

Unlike Marvel Studios’ films, however, Sony — whose film licensing agreement with Marvel Entertainment is limited to characters from the Spider-Man comics — is focusing on Spider-Man’s enemies as the subjects of its expanded cinematic universe. Those characters are likely more familiar to a general audience than the smaller collection of more genuinely heroic figures in the Spidey comics who aren’t Spider-Man. But creating a series of spin-off films about characters who are inherently up to no good could pose something of a marketing challenge for the studio.

Another major question mark: whether star Andrew Garfield will stick around for any Spidey spin-off movies. His contract only lasts through The Amazing Spider-Man 3, and the actor recently told Yahoo! UK that he doesn’t know anything about a fourth Amazing Spider-Man film, which Sony has already scheduled for May 4, 2018. “I’m under contract for another one,” he said. “As far as a fourth one? That’s not anything to do with me.”

No firm release dates for Venom or The Sinister Six were announced, but reps for Sony did not immediately respond to inquiries about whether either film would take over the May 2018 release date for The Amazing Spider-Man 4.

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/adambvary/spider-man-movie-universe-expanding-with-venom-sinister-six

We all know basic facts about presidents (or hopefully, at least). George Washington had false teeth and Abe Lincoln was tall, yes. But how much do we really know about our presidents? Here are some crazy interesting and little-known facts about the men who held the most powerful position on Earth.

1.) George Washington’s teeth were made from elephant and walrus tusks, not wood.

2.) William H. Harrison’s campaign opponent said all Harrison did was “sit in his log cabin, drinking hard cider.” Harrison adopted a log cabin and cider as his campaign symbols, and won.

3.) Martin Van Buren was the first president to be born a U.S. citizen.

4.) Andrew Jackson fought in over 100 duels.

5.) John Quincy Adams enjoyed skinny-dipping in the Potomac River to get his kicks.

6.) Monrovia, the capital of the Liberia, is named after James Monroe.

7.) James Madison was America’s smallest president at 5’4, and he weighed less than 100 pounds.

8.) When visiting Shakespeare’s home in Stratford-upon-Avon, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams conspired to (and succeeded in) chipping off a piece of the writer’s old chair as a souvenir.

9.) Despite being the second president, John Adams was the first to live in the White House.

10.) John Tyler had 15 children, the most out of any president.

11.) James K. Polk was the first president to serve a nation that stretched from one coast to the other.

12.) Zachary Taylor ate some bad cherries that likely cause him to die of cholera 5 years later.

13.) Millard Filmore’s wife was also once his teacher.

14.) Franklin Pierce was once arrested for running a lady over with his horse.

15.) James Buchanan would buy slaves in Washington D.C., only to have them freed in Pennsylvania.

16.) Out of the 300 wrestling matches he had in his youth, Abraham Lincoln only lost one.

17.) Andrew Johnson would tailor his own suits.

18.) Ulysses S. Grant would smoke 20 cigars a day. Surprise! He died of throat cancer.

19.) Rutherford B. Hayes was the first president to use a phone. His phone number was simply “1.”

20.) James A. Garfield could write with both hands at the same time in different languages.

21.) Chester A. Arthur owned 80 pairs of pants.

22.) Glover Cleveland was the first and only president to get married while in the White House. He was also the first and only president to serve two non-consecutive terms (elected again after Harrison).

23.) Benjamin Harrison was the first president to have electricity in the White House.

24.) William Mckinley wore a red carnation on his lapel at all times. The only time he took it off was to give it to a little girl. As soon as he did, he was shot and later died.

25.) Theodore Roosevelt was once shot during a speech. He calmly asked if he had been shot and then said, “I give you my word, I do not care a rap about being shot; not a rap,” and then continued the speech.

26.) William Howard Taft was the heaviest president, weighing 332 pounds.

27.) Woodrow Wilson once dreamed of being a stage performer.

28.) Warren G. Harding once gambled away a set of White House fine china.

29.) Calvin Coolidge was born on the 4th of July.

30.) Herbert Hoover’s son owned two alligators for pets.

31.) Franklin D. Roosevelt’s wife Eleanor was actually his fifth cousin and niece to Theodore Roosevelt.

32.) Harry Truman read every book in his hometown’s library.

33.) Dwight D. Eisenhower installed a putting green at the White House, and played more than 800 rounds of golf there.

34.) John F. Kennedy was a huge James Bond fan.

35.) Lyndon B. Johnson named his penis “Jumbo.”

36.) Richard M. Nixon recommended a play to the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl VI.

37.) Gerald Ford was a model in college and once appeared on the cover of Cosmopolitan.

38.) Jimmy Carter was the first president to be born in a hospital.

39.) Ronald Reagan’s favorite book was the Bible.

40.) George H.W Bush survived 4 plane crashes in WWII.

41.) Bill Clinton has the most symmetrical face out of any president.

42.) George W. Bush was the captain of the cheerleading team in college.

43.) Barack Obama’s nickname on his high school basketball team was “Barry O’Bomber.”

I think the real fact I’d like to know is how someone found out what LBJ called his penis. Come on LBJ! This is something we’d expect from Clinton, not from you.

Read more: http://viralnova.com/president-facts/

1. Actors looking to break free of typecasting:

The Voices

Reiner Bajo

The Skeleton Twins

Reed Morano

 

1. The Voices
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Gemma Arterton, Anna Kendrick, Jacki Weaver
Directed by: Marjane Satrapi
Whenever actors feel trapped within their public personas, an offbeat, gritty, or just plain weird indie film is often the best way to take on a role they would never get a chance to play in mainstream Hollywood fare. An example: Ryan Reynolds has continuously tried to be a himbo action star to seriously diminishing returns, but in this film — directed by artist Marjane Satrapi, who was also behind the fabulous 2007 animated film Persepolis — he plays an oddball who talks to his pets, and his pets talk back. That is very different than R.I.P.D.!

2. The Skeleton Twins
Starring: Bill Hader, Kristen Wiig, Luke Wilson, Ty Burrell, Boyd Holbrook, Joanna Gleason
Directed by: Craig Johnson
After living many years far away from each other, twin siblings Maggie (Wiig) and Milo (Hader) reunite after having near-death experiences on the same day. The film follows Maggie and Milo as they attempt to resolve their unhappy romantic lives — Wilson plays Maggie’s husband, and Burrell plays an English teacher who had a fling with Milo. If you couldn’t tell already, despite the Saturday Night Live pedigree of the stars, this is a straight-up drama — but Hader is, to me, exactly as talented as Wiig, and I don’t think there is a film at this year’s festival I more want to see.

3. Camp X-Ray
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Payman Maadi
Directed by: Peter Sattler
Kristen Stewart plays a soldier stationed at Guantanamo Bay, which is blissfully devoid of brooding vampires.

4. Frank
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Domhnall Gleeson, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Scoot McNairy
Directed by: Lenny Abrahamson
Michael Fassbender plays a musician who wears a giant doll head, which seems like a crime to Michael Fassbender’s own head, but I think that is the point!

5. The Guest
Starring: Dan Stevens, Maika Monroe, Brendan Meyer, Sheila Kelley, Leland Orser, Lance Reddick
Directed by: Adam Wingard
Dan Stevens sheds all traces of Downton Abbey’s Matthew Crawley to play a man who claims to be an Afghanistan war veteran. —Adam B. Vary

2. The newly single twentysomething women-children:

Happy Christmas

Barbara Kinney

Laggies

Ben Richardson

 

6. Laggies
Starring: Keira Knightley, Chloë Grace Moretz, Sam Rockwell, Ellie Kemper, Jeff Garlin, Mark Webber
Directed by: Lynn Shelton
The man-child is dead. Long live the woman-child! (If we repeat that the man-child is dead often enough, perhaps it will actually be true?) Knightley plays a 28-year-old sign-flipper who is stuck in her life, so much so that she befriends an actual teenager (Moretz) and moves in with her and her father. Laggies is director Shelton’s fourth Sundance film, following Humpday, Your Sister’s Sister, and last year’s Touchy Feely.

7. Happy Christmas
Starring: Anna Kendrick, Melanie Lynskey, Mark Webber, Lena Dunham, Joe Swanberg
Directed by: Joe Swanberg
In this competition movie, Kendrick’s Jenny breaks up with her boyfriend, moves in with her brother (Swanberg) and sister-in-law (Lynskey), and gets “drunk and high” a lot, according to the Sundance website. Sold! —Kate Aurthur

3. New docs on hot topics:

The Overnighters

Jesse Moss

Mitt

Netflix

Fed Up

Scott Sinkler

 

8. The Overnighters
Directed by: Jesse Moss
To read about various aspects of Williston, N.D., the oil boomtown that has been flooded by job-seekers, is to become at least somewhat obsessed with it. The Overnighters is its first filmed representation (though surely not its last). Moss’ documentary follows the life of Pastor Jay Reinke, who strives to provide a place for the many men — and they are all men — who come to Williston looking for jobs to sleep after they find a hostile town that has no place for them. And often no jobs for them, either. This is the one Sundance movie I’ve already seen, and I thought it was very good. There’s also a twist at the end of the story that I did not see coming.

9. Mitt
Directed by: Greg Whiteley
This documentary will premiere on Netflix on Jan. 24, so anyone interested will be able to see it soon enough. From the trailer, Whiteley seems to have gotten a lot of access to Romney and his family, including the moment he realized he didn’t have a number for Obama to call him to concede the election to him. For those who watched Romney campaign and found him to be a cypher, perhaps Mitt will be a corrective.

10. Ivory Tower
Directed by: Andrew Rossi
Rossi, who illuminated the inner workings of The New York Times in Page One, returns to Sundance with this examination of the prohibitively high cost of college — and whether there are alternatives.

11. The Case Against 8
Directed by: Ben Cotner, Ryan White
Shot over the years since Proposition 8 — the law that forbade lesbian and gay couples to marry in California — passed during the 2008 election, this documentary follows the attempt to overturn it, including the unlikely pairing of attorneys Ted Olson and David Boies, who were on opposite sides of Bush v. Gore in 2000. HBO will air the movie this year.

12. Fed Up
Directed by: Stephanie Soechtig
Fed Up seeks to expose the dirty tricks the food industry has engaged in to make us all obese and ill. Katie Couric and Laurie David are among the movie’s executive producers. —K.A.

4. The unexpected pitfalls of same-sex love:

Liltling

James Dewar

Love is Strange

Jeong Park

 

13. Love Is Strange
Starring: John Lithgow, Alfred Molina, Marisa Tomei, Darren Burrows, Charlie Tahan, Cheyenne Jackson
Directed by: Ira Sachs
This film starts with a super-timely premise: Ben (John Lithgow) and George (Alfred Molina) get married after 39 years together, causing George to lose his job at a New York Catholic school. But rather than fixate on the politics of marriage equality, Love Is Strange focuses instead on the logistical aftermath of Ben and George losing their apartment and being forced to live apart as they cobble their lives back together.

14. Lilting
Starring: Ben Whishaw, Pei-Pei Cheng, Andrew Leung, Peter Bowles, Naomi Christie, Morven Christie
Directed by: Hong Khaou
After a young Chinese-Cambodian man dies, his British boyfriend (Ben Whishaw, Skyfall) and disapproving mother (Pei-Pei Cheng, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) struggle to understand each other.

15. Appropriate Behavior
Starring: Desiree Akhavan, Rebecca Henderson, Halley Feiffer, Scott Adsit, Anh Duong, Arian Moayed
Directed by: Desiree Akhavan
A bisexual Iranian-American (played by director Desiree Akhavan) grapples with how to live openly in a society where that isn’t necessarily the best idea. —A.B.V.

5. Noir-y thrillers:

Young Ones

Sundance Institute

A Most Wanted Man

Sundance Institute

Cold in July

Ryan Samul

 

16. A Most Wanted Man
Starring: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Rachel McAdams, Willem Dafoe, Robin Wright, Grigoriy Dobrygin
Directed by: Anton Corbijn
A German spy (Hoffman) tracks a Chechen-Russian immigrant (Dobrygin) and his lawyer (McAdams) in hopes of exposing a terrorist plot, in a story based on a John Le Carre novel. The last time Corbijn made a cloak-and-dagger film, however, it was in the deliberately paced — and quite divisive — 2010 George Clooney drama The American; bringing this film to Sundance is probably a better way for the director to launch the film.

17. Cold in July
Starring: Michael C. Hall, Don Johnson, Sam Shepard, Vinessa Shaw, Nick Damici, Wyatt Russell
Directed by: Jim Mickle
A Texas father (Hall) kills a man who’s broken into his home, only to have the man’s ex-con father (Shepard) show up looking for revenge. It’s based on a cult pulp novel by Joe R. Lansdale, and unless you’ve read it, you really have no idea where this story is going.

18. Young Ones
Starring: Michael Shannon, Nicholas Hoult, Elle Fanning, Kodi Smit-McPhee
Directed by: Jake Paltrow
Jake Paltrow (yes, Gwyneth’s brother) takes a sharp turn away from the comfortably contemporary setting of his first film — 2007’s character study The Good Night (which also debuted at Sundance) — for what looks like a stark and brutal film set in a bleak future bereft of water and natural resources. Shannon plays a father attempting to defend his land from the designs of the boyfriend (Hoult) of his daughter (Fanning). —A.B.V.

6. Celebrity-focused documentaries:

To Be Takei

Jennifer Kroot

Nick Offerman: American Ham

Matt Garrett

Life Itself

Kevin Horan

 

19. To Be Takei
Directed by: Jennifer M. Kroot
After he publicly came out in 2005, Star Trek star George Takei became far more famous than he ever had been before. This documentary chronicles his life, from living on a Japanese-American internment camp during World War II to (attempting to) share the screen with William Shatner. What a fabulously unusual life!

20. Nick Offerman: American Ham
Directed by: Jordan Vogt-Roberts
After directing Parks and Recreation’s he-man Nick Offerman in his 2013 Sundance favorite The Kings of Summer, Vogt-Roberts helmed this concert doc of Offerman’s one-man show, shot at the Town Hall theater in New York.

21. Life Itself
Directed by: Steve James
Roger Ebert’s unshakable popularity as the nation’s film critic will likely never be equaled in our lifetimes. So it is fitting that this documentary about his own dramatic personal narrative would debut at the nation’s premiere festival for independent film.

22. The Trip to Italy
Starring: Steve Coogan, Rob Brydon
Directed by: Michael Winterbottom
In 2010, British comedians Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon went on a gastronomic tour of Northern England while debating the finer points of comedy, as well as Michael Caine impersonations. The film wasn’t quite a documentary, but it certainly wasn’t a traditional narrative film either. And it proved so popular, they did it again, this time in Italy — which was, at the very least, almost certainly a better culinary experience for Coogan and Brydon. It’s the rare sequel to debut at Sundance! —A.B.V.

7. Actors directing:

Wish I Was Here

Lawrence Sher

Rudderless

JR Cooke

 

23. Wish I Was Here
Starring: Zach Braff, Kate Hudson, Mandy Patinkin, Josh Gad, Ashley Greene, Joey King
Directed by: Zach Braff
The grand experiment of multimillion-dollar, crowdsourced indie filmmaking gets its first real test with the premiere of Braff’s second feature film as a director, about an out-of-work actor (played by Braff) who decides to homeschool his two kids (King of The Conjuring, and Pierce Gagnon of Looper). Braff is an actor, co-writer, director, and producer on this movie, and with so much (perhaps unfair) arm-folding over his decision to fund the film largely through Kickstarter, everything is falling on the Scrubs star’s shoulders.

24. God’s Pocket
Starring: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Richard Jenkins, Christina Hendricks, John Turturro
Directed by: John Slattery
Slattery, who has directed some of the best recent episodes of Mad Men, has assembled a crazy great cast for his feature directing debut, about a man (Hoffman, again!) scrambling to cover up the accidental death of his stepson. Any chance to see Hendricks act as someone other than Joan Holloway is a chance I will always take.

25. Rudderless
Starring: Billy Crudup, Anton Yelchin, Felicity Huffman, Selena Gomez, Laurence Fishburne, William H. Macy
Directed by: William H. Macy
William H. Macy has been around for so long, I sort of assumed he’d directed a feature film before, but he has not! His debut, the festival’s official closing-night film, follows a grieving father (Crudup) who starts performing in a band with a local musician (Yelchin) with songs written by his late son. Already, I’m overwhelmed by the emotion here.

26. Hits
Starring: Meredith Hagner, Matt Walsh, James Adomian, Jake Cherry, Derek Waters, Wyatt Cenac
Directed by: David Cross
Yup, another feature directorial debut from a well-established character actor. Arrested Development alum David Cross’ film is about a small-town father whose rant at the city hall goes viral, drawing “hordes of appallingly well-meaning hipsters from Brooklyn,” according to the official festival synopsis. Which sounds about right for a David Cross movie! —A.B.V.

8. Feature films adapted from short films:

Dear White People

Ashley Beireis Nguyen

Obvious Child

Chris Teague

 

27. Dear White People
Starring: Tyler James Williams, Tessa Thompson, Teyonah Parris, Brandon Bell
Directed by: Justin Simien
The kid from Everybody Hates Chris is all grown up and starring in this movie! Dear White People, a full-length feature made out of this short film, farcically follows the stories of college students in an all-black dorm at a competitive school.

28. Obvious Child
Starring: Jenny Slate, Jake Lacy, Gaby Hoffmann, David Cross, Gabe Liedman, Richard Kind
Directed by: Gillian Robespierre
Twitter-star Slate plays a 27-year-old stand-up comedian who gets pregnant after a rebound hookup. Robespierre first made Obvious Child as a short, then as a feature, and now, she offers this version.—K.A.

9. Depressing stories about the internet:

Web Junkie

Hilla Medalia and Miao Wang

The Internet’s Own Boy

Noah Berger

 

29. Love Child
Directed by: Valerie Veatch
As the internet age, well, ages, the stories about web culture have become more complicated. Veatch directed 2012’s Me @ the Zoo — about YouTube star Chris Crocker, and in Love Child, she explores gaming addiction in South Korea, focusing on the tragic case of parents who let their daughter die of malnutrition because they were so enmeshed in their virtual lives.

30. Web Junkie
Directed by: Shosh Shlam, Hilla Medalia
China has labeled internet addiction a medical condition and now treats people for it. Shlam and Medalia use this prism to examine China’s speed-of-light evolution into a modern culture.

31. The Internet’s Own Boy
Directed by: Brian Knappenberger
Knappenberger profiles the sad story of Aaron Swartz, the precocious internet activist who, only one year ago, committed suicide at age 26 while under the threat of decades of jail time. —K.A.

10. Period coming-of-age nostalgia:

Ping Pong Summer

Jess Pinkham

Infinitely Polar Bear

Claire Folger

 

32. Infinitely Polar Bear
Starring: Mark Ruffalo, Zoe Saldana, Imogene Wolodarsky, Ashley Aufderheide
Directed by: Maya Forbes
Ruffalo plays a bipolar father of two daughters in Cambridge in 1978, whose wife (Saldana) moves to New York so she can get an MBA and dig them out of their financial hole. He can’t handle working — can he be a parent? Forbes’ real-life daughter, Imogene Wolodarsky, plays one of the daughters. (And J.J. Abrams is an executive producer.)

33. Ping Pong Summer
Starring: Susan Sarandon, John Hannah, Lea Thompson, Amy Sedaris, Robert Longstreet, Marcello Conte
Directed by: Michael Tully
A teenage boy obsessed with rap goes to Ocean City, Md., in the summer of 1985. Sarandon’s Ping-Pong associations continue to increase exponentially! —K.A.

11. Existential mood pieces:

I, Origins

Jelena Vukotic

Jamie Marks Is Dead

Robin Harper

 

34. I, Origins
Starring: Michael Pitt, Brit Marling, Astrid Bergès-Frisbey, Steven Yeun, Archie Panjabi
Directed by: Mike Cahill
Cahill made 2011’s Another Earth, which he co-wrote with Marling (who also starred in it). I liked that movie! I, Origins sounds like another almost-science fiction offering: Pitt plays a Ph.D. student with a “specialty in eye evolution” who ends up making “a stunning discovery with profound existential implications.” Just go with it, I say

35. Jamie Marks Is Dead
Starring: Cameron Monaghan, Noah Silver, Morgan Saylor, Madisen Beaty with Judy Greer, Liv Tyler
Directed by: Carter Smith
When a bullied/ignored kid teenager named Jamie is found dead, popular student Adam can’t stop thinking about him — so much so that Jamie’s ghost begins to appear to him and the girl who found him (Saylor, aka Dana on Homeland). —K.A.

12. Transgender stories:

52 Tuesdays

Visit Films

My Prairie Home

Maya Bankovic

 

36. 52 Tuesdays
Starring: Tilda Cobham-Hervey, Del Herbert-Jane, Imogen Archer, Mario Späte, Beau Williams, Sam Althuizen
Directed by: Sophie Hyde
As the stories of transgender people come more to the fore of cultural and political life, so do the films about them. In 52 Tuesdays, an Australian movie featured in the World Cinema competition, a teenage girl named Billie (Cobham-Hervey) learns that her mother is going to transition from female to male, and that she will live with her father as it happens. The two agree to meet every Tuesday. In an inventive twist, Hyde shot this narrative film on 52 chronological Tuesdays.

37. My Prairie Home
Directed by: Chelsea McMullan
McMullan’s subject, the transgender singer-songwriter Rae Spoon, prefers the pronoun “they.” My Prairie Home follows the acoustic guitar-playing Spoon on a low-budget cross-Canada tour. —K.A.

13. Weird things happen in country houses:

Sleepwalker

Zachary Galler

The One I Love

Doug Emmett

 

38. Sleepwalker
Starring: Gitte Witt, Christopher Abbott, Brady Corbet, Stephanie Ellis
Directed by: Mona Fastvold
A woman and her boyfriend are hanging out at her father’s Massachusetts estate when the woman’s sister and the sister’s boyfriend show up. (They are not welcome, I take it.) The movie’s logline promises that surreal-ness ensues. (Note that Abbott, Charlie of Girls, is in this movie.)

39. The One I Love
Starring: Mark Duplass, Elisabeth Moss, Ted Danson
Directed by: Charlie McDowell
A couple with problems goes away on vacation to try to save their relationship, and it turns into, according to the description, “a dizzyingly bizarre experience” for unspecified reasons. The One I Love is director McDowell’s feature debut (he has a popular Twitter feed). And this movie is one of two for Moss at Sundance this year; the other is Alex Ross Perry’s Listen Up Philip, with Jason Schwartzman. —K.A.

14. True crime documentaries:

Captivated: The Trials of Pamela Smart

Sundance Institute

Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger

Daniel Wilson

Happy Valley

Asylum Entertainment

 

40. Captivated: The Trials of Pamela Smart
Directed by: Jeremiah Zagar
Most people, if pressed, would say that the trial of O.J. Simpson was the first fully televised criminal trial. But in fact, the 1991 trial of Pamela Smart, who is serving a life sentence, began the trend. Smart was a school employee who had a sexual relationship with a student and later pressured him and his friends into killing her husband. (If that sounds familiar, it’s because the story was later fictionalized in the Gus Van Sant movie To Die For.) Both Smart and the crime became media sensations as Americans found themselves riveted to the salacious daily revelations. Captivated is another HBO-produced doc.

41. Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger
Directed by: Joe Berlinger
Berlinger, the documentarian behind the three amazing Paradise Lost movies, which literally freed their subjects from prison, has turned his attention to Whitey Bulger and corruption in the FBI and the Justice Department.

42. Happy Valley
Directed by: Amir Bar-Lev
Brace yourselves: Happy Valley takes a look at Jerry Sandusky, Joe Paterno, Penn State University, and the town of State College in the aftermath of Sandusky’s arrest for child sex abuse. —K.A.

15. The trials and tribulations of musicians:

Whiplash

Daniel McFadden

God Help the Girl

Neil Davidson

Song One

John Guleserian

 

43. Whiplash
Starring: Miles Teller, J.K. Simmons
Directed by: Damien Chazelle
It is debatable which is harder: the life of a truly independent filmmaker, or the life of an aspiring musician. Perhaps it’s why so many of the former like to make films about the latter. The opening narrative film of the festival follows a 19-year-old drummer (Teller, who broke hearts at last year’s Sundance with The Spectacular Now). His obsessive quest to be a great artist brings him into the orbit of a brutally uncompromising teacher (Simmons). There’s a photo from the film on the festival website of blood-splattered drumsticks. So, this is going to be intense.

44. God Help the Girl
Starring: Emily Browning, Olly Alexander, Hannah Murray, Pierre Boulanger, Cora Bissett
Directed by: Stuart Murdoch
So what happens when the struggling independent filmmaker is a successful indie musician? You make an indie movie musical! Belle and Sebastian’s Stuart Murdoch has apparently been working on this film — about a trio of misfits who meet over a summer in Glasgow, and set to a series of songs Murdoch wrote while recording and touring with his band — for roughly a decade. It is genuinely exciting that Sundance will debut a bona fide musical!

45. Song One
Starring: Anne Hathaway, Johnny Flynn, Mary Steenburgen, Ben Rosenfield
Directed by: Kate Barker-Froyland
Hathaway — back in our lives after pretty much a year away — keeps to the world of music in her first film since Les Misérables, as a producer as well as an actor. She plays a woman who’s pulled into the Brooklyn music scene after her musician brother (Rosenfield) falls into a coma. She develops a relationship with her brother’s favorite singer-songwriter, played by singer-songwriter-actor Flynn. I expect some singing, perhaps some songwriting!

46. Low Down
Starring: John Hawkes, Elle Fanning, Glenn Close, Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, Flea
Directed by: Jeff Preiss
This film, in truth, could also fall into the “period coming-of-age” category, but it’s a biopic of the difficult life of jazz pianist Joe Albany (Hawkes), as seen through the eyes of his daughter Amy (who also co-wrote the screenplay), as he struggles with a heroin addiction in ’70s Los Angeles.

47. 20,000 Days on Earth
Directed by: Iain Forsyth, Jane Pollard
Part nonfiction doc, part experimental narrative, this film — which is playing in the world documentary competition — attempts to get inside the mind of musician-filmmaker Nick Cave by exploring his creative process and, it seems, staging his 20,000th day on Earth. (I did the math: That’s his 54th year, 10th month, and roughly 17th day. Math!) —A.B.V.

16. Zombies:

Cooties

Tony Rivetti, Jr.

Life After Beth

Greg Smith

 

48. Cooties
Starring: Elijah Wood, Rainn Wilson, Alison Pill, Jack McBrayer, Leigh Whannell, Nasim Pedrad
Directed by: Jonathan Milott, Cary Murnion
How has no one thought of this before? An elementary school is overrun with an outbreak of “cooties” — a bug that transforms the cute little tykes into zombies (or “deranged, cannibalistic mutants,” according to the Sundance synopsis. But, c’mon, they’re zombies). Wood plays a substitute teacher caught in the ensuing mayhem, and Wilson is the school gym teacher, because of course. The script was written by Leigh Whannell, i.e., the guy who wrote Insidious and the fi

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/adambvary/sundance-film-festival-2014-preview

Photo Illustration by Justine Zwiebel for BuzzFeed

We live in an age of maximum superheroics. Costume-clad comic book champions are dominating the multiplex now with a constancy and — more often than not — success rate never before seen in Hollywood. Case in point: Thor: The Dark World just opened in the U.S. with an estimated $86.1 million weekend, a 31% increase from the first Thor’s debut in 2011. Even more impressive: In two weeks, the film has already pulled in an estimated $240.9 million overseas, which is nearly 90% of the total international gross for the first Thor. With no major competition next weekend, Thor: The Dark World should easily join Man of Steel and Iron Man 3 as one of the top 10 grossing films of this year. Next year, Captain America, Spider-Man, the X-Men, and the Guardians of the Galaxy will vie for the box office crown, and in 2015, the Fantastic Four, the Avengers, Batman and Superman, and Ant-Man will do the same.

With so many superheroes competing for our eyeballs at the movie theater, it is worth taking stock of which heroes have most proven their box office mettle. Using figures from Box Office Mojo, BuzzFeed has crunched the numbers to come up with as objective a breakdown as possible for the most, and least, successful superheroes of the last 35 years.

Before we get to the list, however, a few words on our methodology — this gets pretty deep-dish nerdy, so feel free to skip ahead to the rankings if you prefer.

To be considered, a character had to be a classically defined superhero initially derived from a comic book or graphic novel — so Harry Potter and Katniss Everdeen, superheroic though they may be, don’t count. They also had to be the leading characters in their own film with their name in the title, meaning that Marvel Studios stars Black Widow, Hawkeye, and Loki can’t be considered. And that film also had to be released in the United States, which kept curiosities like 1990’s Captain America — which went straight to video in the U.S. — from factoring into Cap’s overall box office numbers.

As for the numbers themselves, we took into account five different metrics:

First, the total number of films the character starred in — studios generally won’t make a sequel unless there is some money to be made.

Next, both the average total domestic box office for those films, and the average opening domestic box office, both adjusted for inflation. (For movies that opened during a long holiday week and weekend, like 2004’s Spider-Man 2, we only included the first three days of release as the fairest point of comparison with other films.) Why separate opening weekend from the total gross? Studios can take home as much as 90% of the opening weekend gross for a major blockbuster film, ceding more of the box office to exhibitors as the weeks progress — so both figures matter in different ways.

Then we included a figure called the average domestic box office multiplier. The number reflects how many times over a movie increased its debut numbers — the higher that number, the better the word-of-mouth and repeat business for a film. (For example, a movie that opens with $20 million and goes on to gross $200 million would have a multiplier of 10.)

And finally, we included the average global total gross for each character. In the last 10 years, global figures have become Hollywood’s top barometer for overall success, so we felt it was necessary to use the global figures in our final analysis. But since there is no reliable way to track ticket price inflation across the entire planet, we reflected the fact that the numbers are not adjusted for inflation in our final calculation.

Which brings us to the final weighted rating. We weighted each metric (from 0-1) according to how that hero faired in comparison to all the other heroes (i.e., for number of movies, those with the most movies got a 1, the least got 0, and everyone else fell in between proportionally). We then added all those figures together, weighting the average global total gross less than all the other figures, and used the final number to rank all the characters.

One last note on The Avengers: Figuring out how to include the third-highest-grossing movie of all time in the overall numbers for Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, and Hulk proved to be no easy task. The movie was a true ensemble film, and it did so astronomically well in comparison to every other Marvel Studios film that to treat it as a starring vehicle for the characters was unfairly skewing their numbers — but not including The Avengers at all also wasn’t fair. So using screen-time figures derived by Vulture, we created weighted averages for all four characters. It’s not perfect, but it’s as close to an objective measure of the film’s box office impact for those characters as we could get.

19. The Punisher

©Lionsgate / Courtesy Everett Collection

©Lionsgate / Courtesy Everett Collection

 

Final weighted rating: 0.27

An out-and-out vigilante with no compunction about killing, it’s probably no surprise that this character comes in dead last. What is perhaps surprising is that the Punisher even warranted a second film, with Ray Stevenson replacing Thomas Jane as titular anti-hero Frank Castle. Grossing just $10.1 million worldwide, it is by far the worst box office for a superhero character on this list. Marvel must have felt bad for Stevenson, though — they cast him as Thor’s trusty Asgardian warrior Volstagg.

Films: Punisher: War Zone (2008), The Punisher (2004)
Average domestic total gross (adjusted): $26,427,250
Average domestic opening weekend gross (adjusted): $11,361,300
Average domestic multiplier: 2.326
Average global total gross (unadjusted): $32,400,071

18. Catwoman

©Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection

Final weighted rating: 0.30

Halle Berry famously accepted a Razzie award for worst actress for this movie — which has nothing to do with the Batman franchise, so Anne Hathaway and Michelle Pfeiffer’s incarnations of the character don’t factor in here.

Film: Catwoman (2004)
Total domestic gross (adjusted): $52,114,200
Opening domestic weekend gross (adjusted): $21,685,000
Average domestic multiplier: 2.403
Average global total gross (unadjusted): $82,102,379

17. Kick-Ass

Daniel Smith / Universal Pictures

Final weighted rating: 0.36

The first Kick-Ass packed in enough subversive thrills to push its global gross near $100 million — and convince Universal Pictures, which distributed the first film overseas, to green-light a sequel. Bad call: The second film tanked with critics, fans, and audiences, pulling in just over half the first film’s numbers.

Films: Kick-Ass 2 (2013), Kick-Ass (2010)
Average domestic total gross (adjusted): $38,735,993
Average domestic opening weekend gross (adjusted): $16,794,728
Average domestic multiplier: 2.306
Average global total gross (unadjusted): $77,872,504

16. Hellboy

©Universal / Courtesy Everett Collection

Final weighted rating: 0.65

This one stings the most. The sequel may have pulled in more than the first, but this is a low-scoring franchise across all the metrics, no matter how passionate its fans may feel about the adorable red reformed demon.

Films: Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008), Hellboy (2004)
Average domestic total gross (adjusted): $81,242,050
Average domestic opening weekend gross (adjusted): $34,381,250
Average domestic multiplier: 2.363
Average global total gross (unadjusted): $129,853,525

15. Daredevil and Elektra

©20th Century Fox / Courtesy Everett Collection

Final weighted rating: 0.66

This is maybe cheating, but since Elektra was an unabashed Daredevil spin-off — and the former’s utter box office failure was likely exacerbated by the latter’s piss-poor reputation with fans — it made sense to keep these two crazy kids together. At least these movies spawned one of Hollywood’s more stable couples.

Films: Elektra (2005), Daredevil (2003)
Average domestic total gross (adjusted): $83,774,900
Average domestic opening weekend gross (adjusted): $34,947,500
Average domestic multiplier: 2.397
Average global total gross (unadjusted): $117,930,642

14. Watchmen

©Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection

Final weighted rating: 0.69

The fact that anyone managed to adapt Alan Moore’s seminal deconstruction of comic book superheroes for the big screen is a feat unto itself. Unfortunately, this movie only seemed to resonate with the hardcore faithful — the Watchmen have the lowest multiplier of anyone on this list.

Film: Watchmen (2009)
Total domestic gross (adjusted): $120,536,700
Opening domestic weekend gross (adjusted): $59,581,200
Average domestic multiplier: 2.023
Average global total gross (unadjusted): $185,258,983

13. Green Lantern

©Warner Bros. Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

Final weighted rating: 0.71

With a reported $200 million budget, Warner Bros.’ failed attempt to make a DC Comics superhero movie not starring Batman or Superman is likely the biggest box office belly flop on this countdown. (That multiplier is especially pathetic.) But Hal Jordan’s first cinematic foray still made enough money to rate higher than characters who starred in better films, probably on the strength of Ryan Reynolds’ abs alone. And with Warner Bros. still determined to make a Justice League movie work, this is probably not the last we’ll see of this character, either.

Film: Green Lantern (2011)
Total domestic gross (adjusted): $116,601,172
Opening domestic weekend gross (adjusted): $53,174,303
Average domestic multiplier: 2.193
Average global total gross (unadjusted): $219,851,172

12. Ghost Rider

©Columbia Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

Final weighted rating: 0.77

The first major surprise on this list. The 2012 sequel was a junky bomb, but Nicolas Cage’s first outing as the Devil’s bounty hunter was a true (if modest) success, pulling in more in the U.S. and worldwide than Green Lantern.

Films: Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2012), Ghost Rider (2007)
Average domestic total gross (adjusted): $93,634,901
Average domestic opening weekend gross (adjusted): $37,611,467
Average domestic multiplier: 2.490
Average global total gross (unadjusted): $180,651,162

11. Blade

©New Line Cinema / Courtesy Everett Collection

Final weighted rating: 1.11

He’s one of the most senior superheroes on this list — Wesley Snipes’ first outing as the titular half-human-half-vampire came out during the Clinton administration, and the last film in the series is nearly a decade old. But the character has an outstanding multiplier, and the franchise is responsible for jumpstarting Blade II director Guillermo Del Toro’s career in Hollywood, and proving to the world that heretofore comedic actor Ryan Reynolds did, in fact, have action hero abs.

Films: Blade: Trinity (2004), Blade II (2002), Blade (1998)
Average domestic total gross (adjusted): $100,680,567
Average domestic opening weekend gross (adjusted): $31,731,667
Average domestic multiplier: 3.173
Average global total gross (unadjusted): $138,366,309

10. Fantastic Four

©20th Century Fox Film Corp. / Courtesy Everett Collection

Final weighted rating: 1.30

Neither a runaway success nor anything close to a failure. Let’s just hope that the upcoming reboot from Chronicle director Josh Trank finds pants for the Thing that don’t make us want to hide under the seat.

Films: Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007), Fantastic Four (2005)
Average domestic total gross (adjusted): $174,315,600
Average domestic opening weekend gross (adjusted): $69,164,350
Average domestic multiplier: 2.520
Average global total gross (unadjusted): $309,813,741

9. Hulk

©Universal / Courtesy Everett Collection

©Universal / Courtesy Everett Collection

©Marvel Studios / Courtesy Everett Collection

 

Final weighted rating: 1.55

Neither film that bears Hulk’s name did the character justice — nor were they anything close to box office bonanzas. Which is probably why Marvel Studios has been trigger shy on another Hulk film, even though Joss Whedon and Mark Ruffalo finally seemed to crack the big green guy’s code in The Avengers.

Films: The Avengers (2012), The Incredible Hulk (2008), Hulk (2003)
Average domestic total gross (adjusted and weighted): $207,655,097
Average domestic opening weekend gross (adjusted and weighted): $85,408,895
Average domestic multiplier: 2.431
Average global total gross (unadjusted and weighted): $375,039,148

8. Captain America

Marvel Studios

Final weighted rating: 1.94

With only two films to his name — well, based on our weighting system, really it’s one film and 28.4% of The Avengers — Captain America still has a lot of potential to grow into a true box office heavyweight. Next year’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier is looking like it could be the film to take him there.

Films: The Avengers (2012), Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
Average domestic total gross (adjusted and weighted): $275,349,648
Average domestic opening weekend gross (adjusted and weighted): $96,516,159
Average domestic multiplier: 2.853
Average global total gross (unadjusted and weighted): $624,215,714

7. Thor

Jay Maidment / Marvel Studios

Final weighted rating: 1.96

Thor just squeaks past Cap largely because he has one more movie to his name. And Thor better hope his brother Loki never gets his own film, or he’s likely box office toast.

Films: Thor: The Dark World (2013), The Avengers (2012), Thor (2011)
Average domestic total gross (adjusted and weighted): $253,085,613
Average domestic opening weekend gross (adjusted and weighted): $87,578,561
Average domestic multiplier: 2.850
Average global total gross (unadjusted and weighted): $623,510,119

6. The X-Men

©20th Century Fox / Courtesy Everett Collection

Final weighted rating: 2.03

Bryan Singer’s original 2000 film ushered in the modern age of superhero movies, but the most recent prequel outing with James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender came in considerably lower than the previous three X-Men movies. As it happens, Singer is returning to the franchise with next summer’s X-Men: Days of Future Past, featuring all the old X-Men and the new X-Men together in the same movie. But will that translate into double the box office grosses?

Films: X-Men: First Class (2011), X-Men: The Last Stand (2006), X2: X-Men United (2003), X-Men (2000)
Average domestic total gross (adjusted): $239,081,476
Average domestic opening weekend gross (adjusted): $94,239,176
Average domestic multiplier: 2.537
Average global total gross (unadjusted): $379,258,689

5. Wolverine

Mark Rogers / ©20th Century Fox Film Corp / Courtesy Everett Collection

Final weighted rating: 2.13

Already the outright male lead in the X-Men movies, Wolverine struck out on his own in two solo projects with tellingly different results: The much-maligned X-Men Origins: Wolverine did far better in the U.S. than last summer’s The Wolverine, but the latter performed much better overseas thanks in large part to its Japanese setting. In any event, Wolverine’s box office prowess overall pulls him ahead of his mutant brethren.

Films: The Wolverine (2013), X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009), X-Men: The Last Stand (2006), X2: X-Men United (2003), X-Men (2000)
Average domestic total gross (adjusted): $227,276,902
Average domestic opening weekend gross (adjusted): $93,350,790
Average domestic multiplier: 2.435
Average global total gross (unadjusted): $390,006,121

4. Superman

©Warner Brothers/Courtesy Everett Collection

©Warner Bros / Courtesy Everett Collection

Warner Bros.

 

Final weighted rating: 2.93

The original cinematic superhero, Superman harkens back to a bygone era of moviegoing radically different from today’s multiplex economy. In the 1970s and ’80s, films often played in theaters for years — the most popular films even enjoyed regular revival runs — which is why Superman’s multiplier is so much bigger than every other hero on this list. But the Man of Steel’s longevity also means his global average is likely much lower than it rightfully should be, one of the main reasons why that metric is weighted less than all the others.

Films: Man of Steel (2013), Superman Returns (2006), Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987), Superman III (1983), Superman II (1981), Superman (1978)
Average domestic total gross (adjusted): $249,573,820
Average domestic opening weekend gross (adjusted): $48,920,227
Average domestic multiplier: 5.102
Average global total gross (unadjusted): $451,381,576

3. Iron Man

Zade Rosenthal / Marvel Studios

Final weighted rating: 2.98

Yup: Tony Stark is (just slightly) bigger than Clark Kent at the box office. Thanks to an unbroken string of blockbuster hits — and back-to-back billion-dollar global grossers — Iron Man has been vaulted from a second-string comic book hero to a true A-list character on par with the most iconic comic book characters of the last century. But with Robert Downey Jr. sitting out solo Iron Man films for the foreseeable future, it is unclear whether the character can maintain his high box office perch.

Films: Iron Man 3 (2013), The Avengers (2012), Iron Man 2 (2010), Iron Man (2008)
Average domestic total gross (adjusted and weighted): $383,091,588
Average domestic opening weekend gross (adjusted and weighted): $144,386,477
Average domestic multiplier: 2.653
Average global total gross (unadjusted and weighted): $868,530,190

2. Spider-Man

©Columbia Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

Jamie Trueblood/©Columbia Pictures / courtesy Everett Collection

 

Final weighted rating: 3.26

With so many superhero movies arriving each year, it’s perhaps easy to forget how largely Spider-Man loomed at the box office at the start of the last decade. In 2013 dollars, 2002’s Spider-Man made a whopping $559.4 million in the U.S. — still one of the very best box office returns for a superhero ever. Last year’s reboot with Andrew Garfield has more modest box office receipts to its name, but the buzz is good for next summer’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2.

Films: The Amazing Spider-Man (2012), Spider-Man 3 (2007), Spider-Man 2 (2004), Spider-Man (2002)
Average domestic total gross (adjusted): $424,855,191
Average domestic opening weekend gross (adjusted): $134,079,043
Average domestic multiplier: 3.169
Average global total gross (unadjusted): $812,140,769

1. Batman

©Warner Bros./Courtesy Everett Collection

©Warner Bros / Courtesy Everett Collection

Ron Phillips/©Warner Bros./Courtesy Everett Collection

 

Final weighted rating: 3.40

Try not to look surprised. No comic book superhero has had more cinematic outings than Batman, and so it follows that no comic book superhero has had better luck at the box office than him either. It helps that the caped crusader is unusually open to interpretation, allowing for everything from Tim Burton’s florid and brooding Batman, to Joel Schumacher’s cartoon-y and nipple-y Batman, to Christopher Nolan’s gritty and naturalistic Batman. In 2015, we’ll get Zack Snyder’s version, with Ben Affleck putting on the cowl for what will reportedly be a more seasoned and grizzled take on the character. And chances are, we will show up in droves to see how it turns out.

Films: The Dark Knight Rises (2012), The Dark Knight (2008), Batman Begins (2005), Batman and Robin (1997), Batman Forever (1995), Batman Returns (1992), Batman (1989)
Average domestic total gross (adjusted): $379,330,900
Average domestic opening weekend gross (adjusted): $106,186,728
Average domestic multiplier: 3.572
Average global total gross (unadjusted): $530,874,823

Here are the estimated top 10 box office figures for Friday to Sunday, courtesy of Box Office Mojo:

1. Thor: The Dark World* — $86.1 million
2. Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa — $11.3 million
3. Free Birds — $11.2 million
4. Last Vegas — $11.1 million
5. Ender’s Game — $10.3 million
6. Gravity — $8.4 million
7. 12 Years a Slave — $6.6 million
8. Captain Phillips — $5.8 million
9. About Time — $5.2 million
10. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 — $2.8 million

*Opening weekend

Photo credits for top image, from left to right: Warner Bros.; Columbia Pictures; Warner Bros.; Marvel Studios; Warner Bros.; Warner Bros.; 20th Century Fox; Universal Pictures; Marvel Studios; Warner Bros.; Warner Bros.

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/adambvary/superhero-box-office-ranking

Hulk-green puppies? Incredible, but true! When Spanish dog breeder Aida Molina first saw the pups, she couldn’t believe it either. In fact, she just assumed the newborns were dirty and tried to scrub them clean. And why wouldn’t she? Dogs come in many different sizes, shapes, and colors, but green is definitely not usually one of them. While the source of their funky fur remains a mystery, it’s speculated that a presence of the biliverdin pigment in the mother’s placenta may be the culprit.

Why not marvel at the adorable little ones?

“‘Hulk Puppies smash… your hearts!”

(H/T Elite Daily)

Sadly, the “Hulk Puppies” don’t appear to be quite as strong as their superhero namesake. One is dead and the other is not doing well. Here’s hoping for a storybook ending for this comic book canine.

Share this post with your friends and let them know we’re one step closer to an all-puppy remake of The Avengers movie.

Read more: http://viralnova.com/hulk-puppies/

UPDATED (AUG. 30, 2013): Marvel Studios has had a habit of occasionally casting out-of-the-box actors for its movies. Kat Dennings in Thor and Robert Redford in 2014’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier aren’t the sort of actors one might expect to see in a comic book movie. Most famously, pre-Iron Man Robert Downey, Jr. was a quirky character actor with zero box office cred.

With Guardians of the Galaxy, however, co-writer-director James Gunn (Slither) has apparently been given carte blanche to cast his movie pretty much entirely with actors you would never expect to see in a modern comic book movie — or, at least, never in the way he’s cast them. With each new casting notice, this movie — which started production in July — just gets more and more koo-koo-brains exciting.

3. Bradley Cooper as Rocket Raccoon

Luke Macgregor / Reuters

The latest addition to the cast would make a huge amount of sense as a superhero — just not this one. Cooper will lend his voice to play the genetically engineered talking raccoon who hails from a planet of the insane. Yup. Really. It’s glorious.

4. Vin Diesel as Groot, maybe

Mario Anzuoni / Reuters

The Fast & Furious star has been dropping a lot of contradictory hints as to who in the Marvel universe he may be playing soon, and the latest is that he’s in talks to lend his unmistakable baritone to the tree creature Groot, one of the five main Guardians. Since all anyone usually can hear him say is “I am Groot,” it shouldn’t too taxing of a gig.

5. Chris Pratt as Star-Lord

He’s playing the lead role of Peter Quill, a.k.a Star-Lord, a.k.a. “a half-human, half-alien intergalactic sheriff whose special combat suit protects him in deep space as he draws his twin guns on evildoers,” according to Marvel’s official description. Hey, we know the guy can get ripped. Multiple times, in fact.

6. Zoe Saldana as Gamora

Andreas Rentz / Getty Images

Saldana is probably the least out-of-place actor on this list — she’s already starring in two other huge sci-fi franchises: Star Trek and Avatar. Apparently, she wants to own Comic-Con for the foreseeable future.

Interesting fact: Saldana says she’ll be playing the green alien master assassin by wearing makeup, rather than relying on computerized performance capture.

7. Dave Bautista as Drax the Destroyer

Kevin Winter / Getty Images

A former WWE wrestler, Bautista’s nascent film career (that fantastic photo is from a screening of 2012’s The Man with the Iron Fists) got a major boost when he landed the role of Drax. He’ll likely have to bulk up in order to fill the role.

8. Benicio Del Toro as The Collector

Ethan Miller / Getty Images

When Del Toro was initially cast, the geekosphere hoped it was as Thanos — i.e. the menacing purple alien who appears at the very end of The Avengers and has a fetish for death.

Instead, he’s playing The Collector, a.k.a. Taneleer Tivan, “one of the oldest living beings in the universe,” as Marvel.com puts it, a being determined to great a vast archive of every living being in the universe — basically, the biggest hoarder ever.

9. Glenn Close as the head of Nova Corps

Stephen Lovekin / Getty Images

I don’t know about you, but when I picture the head of an intergalactic police corps, I think of Patty Hewes.

10. Michael Rooker as Yondu

Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

It’s no real surprise that Rooker made it into Guardians given his long partnership with director James Gunn. But I thought he’d be playing Drax, the resurrected human-turned-green-warrior at the far left of the top image above. Instead, Rooker will play Yondu, who led the Guardians in their first comic book incarnation in 1969, but who in comic lore is actually from the future. (Got that?) And there are reports that in this incarnation, Yondu may also be some kind of villain? Well, it’s Rooker, so yeah, that makes sense.

11. Lee Pace as Ronan the Accuser

Pascal Le Segretain / Getty

He’s an elf king in The Hobbit, and he’s playing the main villain in Guardians, a high ranking member of the Kree, a highly advanced and quite militaristic alien race.

Most know Pace from gone-before-their-time TV shows Wonderfalls and Pushing Daisies. Or maybe Marmaduke.

12. Karen Gillan as Nebula

Alberto E. Rodriguez / WireImage / Getty Images

Gillan’s also not too out of place in the genre, given her recent stint on Doctor Who. She’s playing the (often) bald and ruthless pirate, so she cut off all her gorgeous red hair for the role. That is dedication!

13. John C. Reilly as Rhomann Dey

Jerod Harris / Getty

Wait, what? HitFix’s Drew McWeeny asserted that Dey will eventually serve as the liaison between S.H.I.E.L.D. on Earth and the Guardians in…the…galaxy. But in the comics, Rhomann Dey is a member of the Nova Corps. Maybe he’s both?

14. Djimon Hounsou as Korath the Pursuer

Kevin Winter / Getty Images

The Oscar nominee is another Kree who works with Korath, which I’m just going to go ahead and assume means he’ll be spending most of the movie looking like this, because when you have Vin Diesel playing a tree and Bradley Cooper playing a raccoon, why not?!

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/adambvary/guardians-of-the-galaxy-officially-has-the-strangest-comic-b

Rob Kim / Getty Images

Forget the boss; Tony Danza really wants to be The Flash.

The veteran TV star was in midtown Manhattan on Tuesday evening to take in a private screening of The Great Gatsby, but with summer movie season officially open, the conversation quickly switched from classic to comic books.

If he could play one superhero on the big screen, Danza told BuzzFeed, it would be The Flash. Why? Simple: “He’s fast.”

And yet, Danza says he doesn’t like to go see the many modern, blockbuster adaptations released every summer, preferring instead the story lines he treasured as a kid. In that way, he sympathizes with the hardcore fans who get upset when movies reshape and even discard decades of origin stories and plots.

“A lot of us that were fans during that time, you’d wait for the comic book to come out and you’d go to the candy store and the guy would say, ‘It’s not here yet!’” Danza remembered with a smile. “They’re important. I think in a lot of ways, reading comic books — I read a lot of DC comic books, I used to like the Justice League, all the stuff that’s really hitting now — it was an interesting bit of literature. It really was.”

Nodding at the one-sheet advertising of the F. Scott Fitzgerald adaptation he was about to see, Danza added, “I know it’s not The Great Gatsby, but it really was a bit of literature, and it was graphic, you could see it, you could picture it. I think it’s important.”

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/jordanzakarin/tony-danza-is-a-secret-comic-book-fanboy

Miranda Cosgrove at the American premiere of Despicable Me 2. Danny Moloshok / Reuters

For Miranda Cosgrove, inspiration came from a fifth-grade infatuation. In Despicable Me 2, out Wednesday, 20-year-old Cosgrove voices a tween named Margo who falls hard and fast for a slick, leather-jacketed boy named Antonio. Cosgrove says the performance was informed by a true fifth-grade crush on a kid named Curtis, who, crushingly, moved to Florida and left her in Los Angeles. She’s been trying to find him on Facebook.

“I was so excited he was going to be in middle school with me, and then he moved right before,” she said. Thankfully, she didn’t have to miss him every day at school because she never attended sixth grade — she switched to homeschooling, allowing her the time to be a series regular on Drake & Josh and, later, the star of iCarly.

“Definitely I’ve had that feeling before where you just think someone’s so cute, and you can’t really speak; you keep messing up everything that you’re saying because you just like somebody so much,” Cosgrove says of her and Margo’s shared stutter.

After Margo gets her heart broken in the movie, she puts on a large hat made of tortilla chips, with a guacamole-filled brim. Cosgrove herself has never drowned her sorrows in guacamole, “But I really want one of those hats.”

Cosgrove is at a pretty different life stage from lovelorn Margo — she just finished her first year at the University of Southern California, where she’s studying film and, in the time-honored former child star tradition, looking for more adult roles.

“With this movie, a lot of adults like it. It has a little bit of an edge to it, which makes it cool,” Cosgrove says.

Some of the edge of the first Despicable Me came from the nontraditional family structure it heartwarmingly portrayed. Supervillain Gru becomes a single dad with three adopted daughters, and the movie ends with Gru narrating a story about himself: “And now he knows he could never part from those three little kittens that changed his heart,” he says. There’s nothing to suggest that their family is incomplete, and yet in Despicable Me 2, Gru is looking for love and marriage. Incidentally, Cosgrove’s character in iCarly also had a nontraditional family — Carly lived in an apartment with her older brother, so she’s done some meditating on two-parent homes.

“I definitely liked that about the first movie, that it’s kind of all about how you don’t have to have certain pieces to have a family,” Cosgrove says. “A family can be a lot of different things.”

Still, Cosgrove says she was glad Saturday Night Live veteran Kristen Wiig played Gru’s love interest. “If they were going to have Gru get married, then she was the best person they could have chosen.”

The formulaic tendency of family-oriented movies is one of the things Cosgrove is trying to get away from.

“I definitely would like to be a part of TV shows and movies that have interesting storylines that are kind of different from some of the stuff I’ve done in the past, now that I’m older,” she said.

She’s moving in that direction already, having signed on to an as-yet unaired pilot ordered by NBC called Girlfriend in a Coma, a dark comedy in which she plays a moody teenager whose mother gave birth to her while comatose, and eventually wakes up when her daughter, Cosgrove’s character, is 17. The show, she says, is the first thing she’s done that’s geared toward an adult audience.

“It was a different character than anything I’ve done,” she said. “She’s much angrier. I really liked that about it.”

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/arianelange/miranda-cosgrove-despicable-me-2

Adam B. Vary for BuzzFeed / Fox Searchlight; The Weinstein Company; 20th Century Fox; Paramount Pictures; Sony Pictures Classics; Universal Pictures; Focus Features; Disney; IFC Films; AMPAS; iStock

By this point last year, 12 Years a Slave, Gravity, and Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine had all but engraved their respective Oscar statues. But thus far, not one movie or performance has come close to declaring itself “a lock” for an Academy Award — and that means it could prove to be an especially fun “awards season.”

In looking over the this year’s field (both previous releases, and films yet to come), I’ve kept to just the films with a great-to-halfway-decent shot for at least one major nomination — that is, Best Picture, Best Actor or Actress, Best Supporting Actor or Actress, and Best Original or Adapted Screenplay. Although, within that group, I’ve also noted films that have a strong chance in the craft and technical categories.

As is the case almost every year, of course, there is every chance a wild card not listed below could slip in with a surprise nomination (like, say, Chef for Best Original Screenplay). And although I’ve made my best attempt at calculating which actors, directors, and writers could be up for their respective categories for the films listed below, a few surprise nominees could reveal themselves as the season progresses. (A classic example: No one thought Ethan Hawke was going to be nominated for 2001’s Training Day.) Similarly, for some actors, figuring out whether they fall under the lead or supporting categories can be a complicated dance, sometimes because it’s genuinely unclear, sometimes because the competition in one of those categories is steeper than the other.

Which is all to say, take this list in the spirit of good fun, like this season should be. The Oscars — and preceding accolades like the Independent Spirit Awards, Golden Globes, guild awards, and critics awards — are meant at their best to single out the feature films worthy of being called The Best. This is just one attempt at culling together that list.

1. The Grand Budapest Hotel

Bob Yeoman / Fox Searchlight

Possible nominations: Best Picture, Best Actor (Ralph Fiennes), Best Director (Wes Anderson), Best Original Screenplay (Wes Anderson and Hugo Guinness), a bunch of craft categories (Art Direction, Costume, Makeup, etc.)

You might think Anderson’s intricate, artisanal movies would be catnip to Oscar voters, but, to date, only two of his live-action films have earned any Oscar nominations (The Royal Tenenbaums and Moonrise Kingdom), and only for their screenplays. (Anderson’s Fantastic Mr. Fox was nominated for Best Animated Feature Film and Best Original Score.)

The Grand Budapest Hotel — Anderson’s most successful film to date, and a true sensation overseas — may finally change all that. It was pretty much the only major “awards”-y movie in the first half of the year, and it is dense with some brilliant craft filmmaking, including its sets, costumes, score, and cinematography.

Or it may be yet another of Anderson’s films that is passed over by the Academy.

Regardless, if you haven’t see in yet, you should!

Release date: March 7

2. The Immigrant

Anne Joyce / The Weinstein Company

Possible nominations: Best Actress (Marion Cotillard)

This film, about a 1920s woman (Cotillard) who falls into prostitution after immigrating to America, won some critical acclaim, but it came and went without making much of a cultural blip. But, like so many years before it, the competition for the Best Actress category remains shallow in comparison to the vast number of contenders for Best Actor, and many asserted that Cotillard has scarcely been better than she is here.

Release date: May 23

3. The Fault in Our Stars

James Bridges / 20th Century Fox

Possible nominations: Best Actress (Shailene Woodley), Best Supporting Actor (Ansel Elgort), Best Adapted Screenplay (Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber)

A tear-streaked summer hit, TFIOS ultimately may skew too young for Academy voters, but anyone who’s seen it can scarcely forget Woodley and Elgort’s heartbreaking performances. Woodley has a solid shot at a nod, but 20th Century Fox should mount a campaign to support the film, if only to remind the rest of Hollywood that there is a place for simple, heartfelt dramas about everyday people living in the world today.

Release date: June 6

4. Begin Again

Andrew Schwartz / The Weinstein Company

Possible nominations: Best Actress (Keira Knightley), Best Original Screenplay (John Carney), Best Original Song

The people who have seen Begin Again have swooned over the American, music industry insider, rock/folk variation on writer-director Carney’s previous film Once, which charmed the Academy enough to win it a Best Original Song Oscar. Carney could also swing a nod for his screenplay, and, who knows, Knightley could be a very surprise Best Actress nominee!

Release date: June 27

5. Boyhood

IFC Films

Possible nominations: Best Picture, Best Actor (Ellar Coltrane), Best Supporting Actor (Ethan Hawke), Best Supporting Actress (Patricia Arquette), Best Director (Richard Linklater), Best Original Screenplay (Richard Linklater)

There has never been a film quite like Boyhood. Writer-director Linklater famously shot the movie over 12 years to track the physical and emotional development of Mason (Coltrane) from 6-year-old Texas boy into an 18-year-old young man, as well as the evolution of the lives of everyone around him. It may be too languorous and plot-averse for some Academy voters, but that doesn’t matter — to win major Oscar nominations, all a film needs is a passionate base of support, and this film definitely has it. Should that support swell, even Coltrane could find himself with a nomination for Best Actor, but the best bet for an acting nomination for this film will be Arquette’s moving work as Mason’s put-upon mother.

Release date: July 11

6. Get On Up

Universal Pictures

Possible nominations: Best Actor (Chadwick Boseman)

I’ve heard some dismiss this James Brown biopic, and I’ve heard some praise it as one of the best music biopics in years. But pretty much everyone agrees that Boseman — who was so good as Jackie Robinson in last year’s 42 — is electrifying as Brown. In a weaker year, he could’ve been deemed a lock for a nomination already, but this year, a wide field of actors in other, more widely acclaimed movies could steal his thunder. Still, at the least, Boseman should be part of the conversation.

Release date: Aug. 1

7. Love Is Strange

Sony Pictures Classics

Possible nominations: Best Actor/Supporting Actor (John Lithgow, Alfred Molina), Best Supporting Actress (Marisa Tomei), Best Original Screenplay (Ira Sachs and Mauricio Zacharias)

Love Is Strange is the kind of small-scale, delicately observed drama that debuts at Sundance, wins wide acclaim, opens in theaters before the fall “awards season” kicks into high gear, gets ignored by the Oscars, and earns some key Independent Spirit Awards nominations instead. Last year, Fruitvale Station faced this peculiar fate. This year, hopefully, Love Is Strange — about a long-term gay couple (played by Lithgow and Molina) whose lives fall apart after their long-overdue wedding — earns the attention and accolades it readily deserves.

Release date: Aug. 22

8. The Skeleton Twins

Roadside Attractions

Possible nominations: Best Actress/Supporting Actress (Kristen Wiig), Best Original Screenplay (Mark Heyman and Craig Johnson)

Another Sundance hit that will have an uphill battle in the Oscar race! Hader is a revelation as a struggling actor whose cry-for-help suicide attempt reunites him with his estranged twin sister (Wiig). But in this year’s aforementioned densely packed Best Actor field, Hader will have to look to the Indie Spirits (and possibly the Golden Globes) for recognition. Which is a shame! Wiig, however, is equally great, and because of the comparatively sparsely packed field for the actress categories, she has a wide outside shot at an Oscar nod — or, at least, she should!

Release date: Sept. 12

9. Tracks

The Weinstein Company

Possible nominations: Best Actress (Mia Wasikowska), Best Adapted Screenplay (Marion Nelson)

One of the oddest quirks of this fall’s movie season is that we’re getting two movies based on the true stories of a blonde woman who decides to walk alone in the wilderness for more than 1,000 miles with very little experience in such hikes. The first is based on the life of Robyn Davidson (Wasikowska), who walked roughly 1,700 miles in the Australian Outback in 1977 with just her dog, a pack of camels, and occasional visits by a National Geographic photographer (Adam Driver). Critical praise has been mild to strong for the film, with most praise for the cinematography and Wasikowska’s harrowing and vanity-free performance.

Release date: Sept. 19

10. Pride

Nicola Dove / CBS Films

Possible nominations: Best Picture, Best Actress/Supporting Actress (Imelda Staunton), Best Supporting Actor (Bill Nighy), Best Original Screenplay (Stephen Beresford)

Based on a fabulous and forgotten true story of LGBT activists in mid-’80s U.K. supporting striking coal miners (not traditionally the most LGBT-friendly crowd back then), Pride is the kind of stirring British drama that has often proven irresistible to Academy voters (see: Secrets & Lies, The Full Monty, The King’s Speech, Philomena). The current singular moment in LGBT history in the U.S. could help make the film feel that much more relevant, especially with so many heavyweights opening in the last three months of the year.

Release date: Sept. 26

11. Gone Girl

20th Century Fox

Possible nominations: Best Picture, Best Actor (Ben Affleck), Best Actress/Supporting Actress (Rosamund Pike), Best Director (David Fincher), Best Adapted Screenplay (Gillian Flynn)

Expectations are incredibly high for this adaptation of Flynn’s acid-tinged best-seller about a marriage gone very bad, which Flynn scripted herself. Fincher’s films have lately proven to be Oscar nomination powerhouses and word is this is perhaps the most darkly funny film Fincher has made since Fight Club. Affleck, meanwhile, hasn’t had a role that dovetailed so neatly with his complicated celebrity persona since the time he played Superman actor George Reeves in 2006’s Hollywoodland, and if he hits it out of the park, he could earn his very first acting nomination. The real question mark, though, is Pike’s performance as Amy Dunne, a tightrope walk that could be a breakout moment for her the same way Girl With the Dragon Tattoo was for (Oscar nominee) Rooney Mara.

Release date: Oct. 3

12. The Judge

Warner Bros. Pictures

Possible nominations: Best Supporting Actor (Robert Duvall)

The response to this family drama in legal thriller disguise was muted at the Toronto International Film Festival. But the Best Supporting Actor category is, for the moment, rather sparse, and Duvall could easily eke out a nomination on the strength of a couple scenes where his character — a small-town judge on trial for murder — confronts the messy realities of aging and mortality.

Release date: Oct. 10

13. St. Vincent

Atsushi Nishijima / The Weinstein Company

Possible nominations: Best Actor (Bill Murray), Best Supporting Actress (Melissa McCarthy)

The movie itself — about the eponymous alcoholic Vietnam vet (Murray), and the kid he begins babysitting after his single mom (McCarthy) moves in next door — is emotional and uplifting and also almost paint-by-numbers formulaic. The performances by Murray and McCarthy, however, are fantastic and refreshing. Murray has rarely been able to create as full and vivid a character, and McCarthy has almost never been able to play as subtle and relatable a character. And the Academy has certainly celebrated emotional movies that follow set formulas before.

Release date: Oct. 10

14. Whiplash

Daniel McFadden / Sony Picture Classics

Possible nominations: Best Actor (Miles Teller), Best Supporting Actor (J.K. Simmons), Best Adapted Screenplay (Damien Chazelle), Best Editing, Best Sound Mixing and Editing

An electrifying premiere at Sundance won Simmons instant Oscar buzz for his performance as Terence Fletcher, a brutally uncompromising music instructor at a prestigious New York conservatory. But Teller, as the aspiring drummer who falls under Fletcher’s thrall, gives just as riveting a performance — especially in the film’s breathtaking final 15 minutes.

Release date: Oct. 10

15. Birdman

Alison Rosa / Fox Searchlight

Possible nominations: Best Picture, Best Actor (Michael Keaton), Best Supporting Actor (Edward Norton), Best Supporting Actress (Emma Stone), Best Director (Alejandro González Iñárritu), Best Original Screenplay (Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Armando Bo), technical categories (Editing, Cinematography, Sound Editing, and Sound Mixing)

The Academy loves to celebrate an actor who’s been around for a long time and mounts a crowning comeback performance, and this year, they will have no better shot than with this cinematically daring vehicle for former Batman and major ’80s and ’90s movie star Michael Keaton. He plays an actor who has been around for a long time — and who is best known for playing the titular superhero — attempting to revive his career on Broadway, only to watch his life spin out of control. Director Iñárritu (21 Grams, Babel, Biutiful) has had great luck with the Oscars, but unlike his previous films that favored gritty, sprawling realism, Birdman not only dabbles in magical realism, it was apparently crafted to be experienced as one extended shot.

Release date: Oct. 17

16. Fury

Columbia Pictures

Possible nominations: Best Picture, Best Actor (Brad Pitt), Best Supporting Actor (Logan Lerman, Shia LaBeouf, Michael Peña, Jon Bernthal), Best Director (David Ayer), Best Original Screenplay (David Ayer)

If this ensemble World War II drama about a world weary tank crew pushing into Europe in the spring of 1945 works, it could be the first major WWII battlefield film since 2006’s Letters From Iwo Jima to earn a Best Picture nomination. Any one of the five main leads in the film, the first period feature from writer-director David Ayer (Sabotage, End of Watch, Street Kings), could score an acting nod, as well, even media ne’er-do-well LaBeouf.

Release date: Oct. 17

17. Nightcrawler

Chuck Zlotnick / Open Road Films

Possible nominations: Best Picture, Best Actor (Jake Gyllenhaal), Best Supporting Actress (Rene Russo), Best Director (Dan Gilroy), Best Original Screenplay (Dan Gilroy)

Nightcrawler was my favorite film at TIFF this year, but there was a feeling at the festival that this story of a sociopathic freelance videographer (Gyllenhaal) is too dark and cynical for Academy voters. Perhaps that will prove to be true, but this is the same voting body that gave five nominations to the even darker Black Swan — not to mention acting nods for “unlikeable” characters in Training Day, Hustle and Flow, There Will Be Blood, Precious, and Blue Jasmine. So there is every chance Gyllenhaal’s virtuosic performance could win a nomination, not to mention Gilroy’s killer script.

Release date: Oct. 31

18. Interstellar

Warner Bros.

Possible nominations: Best Picture, Best Actor (Matthew McConaughey), Best Supporting Actress (Jessica Chastain, Mackenzie Foy, Anne Hathaway), Best Director (Christopher Nolan), Best Original Screenplay (Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan), a bunch of technical categories (Editing, Visual Effects, Sound Effects, Sound Editing, etc.)

Remarkably, Christopher Nolan has never been nominated by the Academy for Best Director. That could finally change with his ambitious foray into cosmic science fiction. I’ve heard this film — about a single father (McConaughey) tasked with piloting an interstellar search for a hospitable planet that humanity can relocate to after reducing Earth to a barren wasteland — is Nolan’s most directly emotional film yet. If it delivers earned tears along with its epic visual scope, things could get really interesting in the Best Picture race.

Release date: Nov. 7

19. The Theory of Everything

Liam Daniel / Focus Features

Possible nominations: Best Picture, Best Actor (Eddie Redmayne), Best Actress (Felicity Jones), Best Director (James Marsh), Best Adapted Screenplay (Anthony McCarten), some craft categories (Art Direction, Costumes, Score)

One of the big success stories at TIFF this year — and another entry in an odd awards season doubleheader — is this lovely biopic of theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking (Redmayne), based on the memoir by his first wife Jane (Jones). Redmayne disappears into his performance as Hawking, giving himself totally to the physical restrictions imposed by Hawking’s debilitating neurological disorder without ever calling much attention to them. Jones has a less showy role as the woman whose life is consumed by caring for her husband, but she still impressed many in Toronto. Both are as close to sure nominees as the awards season has this year so far.

Release date: Nov. 7

20. Foxcatcher

Sony Pictures Classics

Possible nominations: Best Picture, Best Actor (Steve Carell, Channing Tatum), Best Supporting Actor (Mark Ruffalo), Best Director (Bennett Miller), Best Original Screenplay (E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman)

Both feature films Miller has directed — Capote and Moneyball — have been nominated for Best Picture. And that streak is likely to continue with this film, based on the true story — sensing a theme? — of the psychologically knotted relationship between Olympic wrestlers Mark (Tatum) and David Schultz (Ruffalo) and the ultra-wealthy and mentally unstable John du Pont (Carell) who invites them to be a part of his wrestling training facility. There has been some consternation about which categories to place Carell, Tatum, and Ruffalo’s performances, but the general consensus seems to be for now that the former two are leading roles, and the latter is supporting.

Release date: Nov. 14

21. Rosewater

Open Road Films

Possible nominations: Best Supporting Actor (Kim Bodnia), Best Adapted Screenplay (Jon Stewart)

Stewart’s directorial debut, based on Iranian-British journalist Maziar Bahari’s memoir of his imprisonment after the 2009 Iranian presidential elections, impressed at Telluride and TIFF, but it did not overwhelm. Two elements of the movie that may resonate well into awards season, however, are Stewart’s thoughtful and even at times elegiac screenplay, and Bodnia’s nuanced performance as the man who brutally tortured and interrogated Bahari.

Release date: Nov. 14

22. The Homesman

Dawn Jones / Roadside Attractions

Possible nominations: Best Actor (Tommy Lee Jones), Best Actress (Hilary Swank), Best Adapted Screenplay (Kieran Fitzgerald, Tommy Lee Jones, and Wesley A. Oliver)

Jones’ second theatrical feature as a director, about an independent woman (Swank) who corrals a drifter (Jones) into helping her transport three mentally unstable women across the Western frontier, won muted praise at Cannes. But it seems like whenever Swank plays a tough-as-nails character who bucks society’s expectations, she does well at the Oscars.

Release date: Nov. 14

23. The Imitation Game

The Weinstein Company

Possible nominations: Best Picture, Best Actor (Benedict Cumberbatch), Best Supporting Actress (Keira Knightley), Best Director (Morten Tyldum), Best Adapted Screenplay (Graham Moore)

The second period biopic about troubled British genius pushing the boundaries of his field — this time computer science pioneer, WWII codebreaker, and semi-closeted gay man Alan Turing — features Benedict Cumberbatch in the performance that will likely earn him his first Oscar nomination. Perhaps more than any other film this season, this one feels almost engineered to generate Oscar accolades, but that doesn’t make it any less of a fascinating and thoughtful examination of how society tolerates its most talented fringe members so long as they are deemed useful. Don’t be surprised, however, to hear grumblings that Turing’s homosexuality is given mere lip service.

Release date: Nov. 21

24. Top Five

Paramount Pictures

Possible nominations: Best Picture, Best Director (Chris Rock), Best Original Screenplay (Chris Rock)

OK, I may be nuts to include this movie — an outright commercial comedy — in this list, given that the Academy rarely, if ever, recognizes outright commercial comedies. But hear me out. Top Five won raves at TIFF, especially for writer-director-star Rock’s razor sharp take on Hollywood and fame, and as Argo and The Artist recently proved, Academy members do love a story that flatters their own lives and professions. In a year with such a wide field of contenders, Top Five could end up being the film that everyone can agree on.

OK, I’m nuts. But at the very least, Rock could definitely score a nod for his screenplay.

Release date: Dec. 5

25. Wild

Fox Searchlight

Possible nominations: Best Picture, Best Actress (Reese Witherspoon), Best Supporting Actress (Laura Dern), Best Director (John-Marc Vallée), Best Adapted Screenplay (Nick Hornby)

And now we’ve come to our second film about a real woman (this time author Cheryl Strayed, played by Witherspoon) who trekked across the wilderness alone (this time the Pacific Crest Trail in 1995). Wild shares a few more superficial similarities with Tracks, but it is otherwise quite a different film, imbued with a vivid and at times visceral immediacy by director Vallée (Dallas Buyers Club). Witherspoon is also a likely surefire nominee for her fierce and vulnerable performance, but I suspect the entire film could resonate with Academy voters.

Release date: Dec. 5

26. Exodus: Gods and Kings

Kerry Brown / 20th Century Fox

Possible nominations: Best Picture, Best Actor (Christian Bale), Best Supporting Actor (Joel Edgerton), Best Director (Ridley Scott), Best Original Screenplay (Steven Zaillian, Bill Collage, Adam Cooper), a bunch of craft and technical categories (Art Direction, Cinematography, Costumes, Visual Effects, etc.)

Hollywood pretty much stopped making sweeping biblical epics in the 1950s, but apparently nobody told Scott. The man who led Gladiator to Oscar gold in 2000 already tried to make a clash-of-cultures epic with his 12th-century Crusades flop Kingdom of Heaven in 2005, but this time, he’s tackling a far more familiar story: Moses and the exodus of the Jews from Egypt. The first trailer looked appropriately massive and visually arresting, and Bale (as Moses) has been on something of a roll of late. But this is a real wait-and-see movie. For one, it’s already come under some considerable criticism for casting all white actors in the major Egyptian roles, and black actors as “lower-class” Egyptians that surround them. (Case in point: the above photo.)

Release date: Dec. 12

27. Inherent Vice

Michael Muller / Warner Bros.

Possible nominations: Best Picture, Best Actor (Joaquin Phoenix), Best Supporting Actor (Josh Brolin), Best Supporting Actress (Katherine Waterston), Best Director (Paul Thomas Anderson), Best Adapted Screenplay (Paul Thomas Anderson)

The Academy fell hard for last year’s ’70s-set ensemble dramedy American Hustle, only to fall out of love with it when it came time to hand out statues, but there is already buzz building for Anderson’s ’70s-set dramedy, the first-ever feature adaptation of a Thomas Pynchon novel. Phoenix could earn the Oscar nod he was denied for Her for his mutton-chopped performance as an L.A. private investigator, but there is already talk of Waterston (Boardwalk Empire), who plays his ex-girlfriend. It looks like she could easily be “the ingenue” of this year’s awards season.

Release date: Dec. 12

28. Mr. Turner

Sony Pictures Classics

Possible nominations: Best Actor (Timothy Spall), Best Original Screenplay (Mike Leigh)

Spall won the Best Actor award at Cannes for his performance as acclaimed British painter J.M.W. Turner, but in a category that is this crowded Spall’s gruff, subtle work here could be overshadowed by showier performances. Then again, writer-director Leigh has a solid track record for earning his actors Oscar nods (Secrets & Lies, Vera Drake).

Release date: Dec. 19

<div class="buzz_supe

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/adambvary/35-movies-you-will-be-talking-about-this-awards-season