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Significant ‘Star Wars’ Presence Planned for Disney Theme Parks

Star Wars


The Walt Disney Co. plans for “a far greater Star Wars presence” in its theme parks, company chief Bob Iger said Tuesday.

The first look at new attractions based on the sci-fi franchise, beyond Star Tours that currently operates at several of its parks, will be revealed next year, Iger said during a conference call with analysts to discuss Disney’s record third quarter results.

The move comes as Disney is readying to release a new Star Wars film in theaters starting Dec. 18, 2015, that J.J. Abrams is currently directing.

Lucasfilm and Disney also will host Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim on April 16-19, while Star Wars is expected to have a major presence at the D23 Expo, Aug. 14-16, again from the Anaheim Convention Center.

During the call, Iger said when Disney now decides to build new attractions, “the likelihood of their success is greater” when they’re branded. “When we grow Star Wars presence, which we will do significantly, you will see better bets being made that will pay off for us than were made in the past,” adding that leveraging the collection of popular franchises and properties that the company owns for rides and experiences will deliver “better returns than we saw in the past.”

SEE ALSO: Disney Reveals Look of ‘Avatar’ Theme Park at Walt Disney World

When asked if it was looking to broker new licensing deals with other franchise owners for attractions the way it did with James Cameron’s Avatar for a land inside Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom, Iger dismissed the notion, citing properties owned by Marvel, Pixar and Lucasfilm. “We don’t have to license from third parties,” he said. “We own them all.”

Rooney Mara to Star in ‘A House in the Sky’

Mara will also produce the memoir of kidnapped explorer Amanda Lindhout

rooney mara


Rooney Mara is going on a harrowing adventure.

Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Pictures has optioned the memoir “A House in the Sky,” written by Amanda Linhout and Sara Corbett, for the “Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” actress to star in and co-produce.

Also read: Rooney Mara in Negotiations to Play Tiger Lily in Warner Bros.’ ‘Pan’

The book, released in 2013, “is the dramatic and redemptive memoir of Amanda Lindhout, whose deep passion for exploration of the world’s most remote and perilous places, took an unexpected turn when she was abducted in 2008 in Mogadishu, Somalia by a rebel terrorist group.”hThe book is described as “an astoundingly intimate and harrowing account of Lindhout’s fifteen months in captivity, [which] illuminates the psychology, motivations, and desperate extremism of her captors all the while as she is kept in chains, nearly starved, and subjected to unthinkable abuse.”

Mara recently featured in Spike Jonze‘s “Her” and David Lowery’s “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints,” and will star as Tiger Lily in Warner Bros. live action “Pan.”

Photo credit: Valerie Macon/Getty Images

Channing Tatum Sustained Multiple Injuries Making ‘Foxcatcher’

Channing Tatum is used to taking a beating on-screen — just look at “G.I. Joe” or “Fighting” — but he’s lucky he didn’t end up in the E.R. during the shoot for “Foxcatcher,” which premiered to stellar reviews at the Cannes Film Festival this week. At a lunch with reporters on Tuesday on the Croisette, Tatum recalled the numerous injuries he sustained while playing professional wrestler Mark Schultz.

“I’m pretty sure I broke my hand in the movie in the training,” says Tatum, who competed on-screen with real-life athletes. “You’re just throwing bodies around and you get caught in different angles.”

During an especially rough scene, he asked Mark Ruffalo, who plays his brother (Olympian wrestler David Schultz), “to just slap the shit out of me and get it over with,” Tatum recalls. Ruffalo obliged, but accidentally clipped Tatum’s ear. “He pops my eardrum,” Tatum says. “All of a sudden it’s just making a screeching noise. I can’t hear anything.” The grimace Tatum makes on camera isn’t part of his performance. “Eardrums heal, so I’m fine.”

Another bad scrape came during a pivotal moment when Mark loses his cool and slams his head into a mirror, breaking shards of glass everywhere. Tatum says he was so caught up in the moment, he banged the prop too hard. “I went through the wall on the other side,” he says. “I missed the stud by about four inches. I was lucky. But the cut on my head was real.”

Tatum met and spent some time with the man he plays, which was no walk in the park. When his wife Jenna Dewan Tatum visited the film’s set, pregnant with their first child, she was so taken back by the somber mood, she cut her trip short. “This is not fun at all,” she told him. “This is an emotional place.” The drama, directed by Bennett Miller, takes a dark turn in the final act, based on true events.

“Wrestling is an intimate thing,” Tatum adds. “It’s weird from an outsider’s perspective. ‘It’s very homosexual’ — I’ve gotten that a lot. I always say just come on and try it out, you’ll realize how non-homosexual it is. It’s too painful and violent.”

Photo: Sony Pictures Classics

Premiering Yahoo Movies


by Josh Wolk, Executive Editor of Yahoo Entertainment

Today, we’re premiering the new Yahoo Movies, a digital magazine that provides movie lovers of all kinds—from blockbuster fanatics to indie-film obsessives—a ticket to the ultimate movie experience.


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'Mighty Morphin Power Rangers' Reboot: Can It Dodge the 'MMPR' Curse?

Power Rangers"Go Go Power Rangers!"

More than two decades after its debut on television, “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” lives again, this time via a live-action cinematic reboot with franchise aspirations.

Details are scant about the revamped Power Rangers. Today’s announcement by Lionsgate and “MMPR” producer Haim Saban didn’t have a timetable for the movie remake, a director, writer, or cast. About all we know, per the press release, is “the new film franchise will re-envision the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, a group of high school kids who are infused with unique and cool super powers but must harness and use those powers as a team if they have any hope of saving the world.”

Presumably, the new film will also reboot lagging merchandise sales, too.

You might be surprised it took Lionsgate and producer Haim Saban this long to get with the program, considering Hollywood’s feeding frenzy over reinveting old properties. But the Power Rangers don’t have a proven track record on the big screen. Their first cinematic go-round, 1995’s “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie,” was hardly a blockbuster with $66 million worldwide; while the 1997 follow-up, “Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie,” was a brightly colored bomb, grossing just $9.6 million worldwide.

David Yost, arguably the most prolific Power Ranger as Billy Cranston (the Blue Ranger), told Yahoo Movies during a phone call on Wednesday that he’s excited Saban went with the “Hunger Games” studio. “They obviously have a proven track record. And I will be very excited to see what they do with the franchise.”

Producers no doubt hope fans remember the TV incarnations more fondly.

The franchise-launching original, “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers,” followed its sextet of young heroes, who had the ability to “morph” into costumed (and color-coordinated) warriors, as they battled a series of alien baddies. Utilizing stock footage from the Japanese television show “Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger” (1992-93), the series almost immediately became a worldwide sensation (and spawned an extremely lucrative merchandising line), and is today considered a prominent piece of ’90s pop culture.

The original series ran for 145 episodes over the course of three seasons on Fox Kids from Aug. 28, 1993 to Nov. 27, 1995. There was a 10-episode spinoff miniseries, “Mighty Morphin Alien Rangers” (1996), and several rebranded continuation series, including “Power Rangers Zeo” (the fourth season, which ran for 50 episodes in 1996); “Power Rangers Turbo” (the fifth season, which ran for 45 episodes in 1997); “Power Rangers in Space” (the sixth season, which ran for 43 episodes in 1998); and many, many more.

[‘Spider-Man 2’ vs. ‘Amazing Spider-Man 2’: What Raimi Got Right That Webb Got Wrong]

But aside from is myriad TV iterations and discount toys, “MMPR” has also become notorious for the "Power Rangers Curse," which has seen several of those associated with the shows suffer sad fates off screen. Among them:

—Skylar Deleon, the actor who played Roger in the original series episode, “Second Chance” (1994), was charged with the 2004 murders of Long beach residents Tom and Jackie Hawks. He was convicted and sentenced to death in April 2009.

—Eric Frank, the brother of series regular Jason David Frank (who played Tommy Oliver, the original Green Ranger, the original White Ranger and the White Ninja Ranger) and who had a guest star appearance as David Trueheart in “Power Rangers Zeo,” died of a heart illness at the age of 29 in April 2001.

—Richard Genelle, the actor who played Ernie, the owner of the Youth Center and occasional advisor to the Power Rangers, from the original series through “Power Rangers: Turbo,” left the show to concentrate on losing weight and quitting smoking. He died of a heart attack at the age of 47 in 2008.

—Bob Manahan, the actor who voiced Zordon, the Power Rangers’ mentor, died of a heart attack at the age of 44 in June 2000.

—Thuy Thang, the actress who played the Trini Kwan (the Yellow Ranger) in the first two seasons of the original series, died in a car crash at the age of 27 in Sept. 2001.

[‘Jurassic Park’ Five Film Facts: Are Those Raptors or Guys in Monster Suits?]

“I’ve never heard there’s a curse,” Yost told Yahoo. “But obviously anyone who’s stepping into the role of a Power Ranger — I just hope that they realize how exciting that is and the impact they will have on many people’s lives throughout the world and do their best to portray a good superhero.”

The original series also ended up conjuring some bad vibes when Thang, Austin St. John (the original Red Ranger) and Walter Emanuel Jones (the original Black Ranger) just up and left the show after the second season over a pay dispute. This broke the hearts of many fans… and was regarded by more than a few as an absurd situation, with Michael McCollor at Smosh pointing out that a job “literally consisting of pouring smoothies on Bulk and Skull and pretending to talk to a giant head in a tube” deserved to be paid in simply “donuts and Olive Garden gift certificates.”

Theater people know you don’t say “Macbeth” in a theater, ‘cause it’s all sorts of bad luck. As Shakespeare’s tragedy is often referred to as “The Scottish Play,” maybe the producers of the new “MMPR” feature should find a way to make the cast and crew never utter the actual title of the movie they’re making. “The Skittles Players,” anyone?

Marisa Okano contributed to this report.

INFOGRAPHIC: It’s a busy time when it comes to teen movie anniversaries. “Heathers” is now 25 years old, “Mean Girls” is 10, and “Sixteen Candles” is turning 30… 30! These seminal films fall on various plot points of our high school movie matrix, but they all speak to teen audiences in meaningful ways.

INFOGRAPHIC: It’s a busy time when it comes to teen movie anniversaries. “Heathers” is now 25 years old, “Mean Girls” is 10, and “Sixteen Candles” is turning 30… 30! These seminal films fall on various plot points of our high school movie matrix, but they all speak to teen audiences in meaningful ways.

Patrick Priebe has turned his passion for lasers and mechanized thingamabobs into a steady paycheck. “It’s enough to live,” says the 31-year-old from Wuppertal, Germany, who sells his movie-inspired stuff to gizmo-heads all over the world. But his latest handmade electromagnetic Spider-Man webshooter, posted to YouTube on Wednesday, is not for sale.

Patrick Priebe has turned his passion for lasers and mechanized thingamabobs into a steady paycheck. “It’s enough to live,” says the 31-year-old from Wuppertal, Germany, who sells his movie-inspired stuff to gizmo-heads all over the world. But his latest handmade electromagnetic Spider-Man webshooter, posted to YouTube on Wednesday, is not for sale.

IMHO: Why This New Horror Sequel Is Up ‘Wolf Creek’

Since when does an unfavorable Rotten Tomatoes score stop a sequel from happening? (Just ask the makers of the “Twilight” series.)

Apparently 2005’s low budget horror flick “Wolf Creek” (an Aussie “Blair Witch Project” of sorts, set in the outback) got enough attention to merit its (long awaited?) follow-up, “Wolf Creek 2.”

Yup, a group of lost backpackers sets the stage again for a deranged Aussie bushman elder to wreak havoc on their world. But this time the trailer teases our baddie way too hard, leaving me to predict the sequel won’t come close to its predecessor’s $28 million worldwide gross.

No Lonely Planet guide can help Rutger (Phillipe Klaus) and Katarina (Shannon Ashlyn) to get out of this tangle as they find themselves in a desperate effort to save their lives. But if the situation is so dire, why can’t I help from giggling at the thick-accented villain Mick (John Jarratt) whose over-the-top crazy eyes are featured oh-so-heavily in the new trailer?

Is my memory of the funny fish-out-of-water “Crocodile Dundee” too immediate to take a murderous Aussie seriously? Really, it’s something about the happy-go-lucky drawl from down under that’s just too darn friendly to freak me out.

If the first “Wolf Creek” was scary, could this one have a fighting chance?

I highly doubt it.