Box-office update: Angelina Jolie, X-Men set new records, while God’s Not Dead passes Son of God in N America

The big news this week is that Maleficent, Disney’s revisionist take on the Sleeping Beauty story, ruled the North American box office with $69.4 million.

That’s smaller than the openings for other recent Disney live-action fairy tales like Alice in Wonderland ($116.1 million) and Oz the Great and Powerful ($79.1 million), but bigger than the opening for Snow White and the Huntsman ($56.2 million), which was produced by Universal.

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Chaos reigns in new Left Behind teaser trailer

Here we go! The new Left Behind reboot has a teaser, which you can watch to the right. I’ll say this much: it looks more like a “real” movie than the original film that came out 14 years ago. You can watch the teaser for that film — which makes it look every bit like the straight-to-video production that it was — and see a new poster for the reboot below the jump.

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Terminator update: new set photos, and a casting update

See that photo to the right?

It’s a picture — one of several published by the Daily Mail today — of Jai Courtenay playing Kyle Reese and Emilia Clarke playing Sarah Connor in the new Terminator movie. It is, in other words, a picture of John Connor’s parents.

And the first thing I find myself thinking is that either Courtenay is too big to be Kyle, or Clarke is too small to be Sarah. These characters weren’t this different in height in the original film, were they?

Well, if Google is to be believed, the Kyle actors are almost identical in height — Michael Biehn is 1.83m and Courtenay is 1.85m — while the Sarah actors are a bit more different, with Linda Hamilton’s 1.68m beating Clarke’s 1.57m. So a gap of 15cm in the original film has nearly doubled to become a gap of 28cm in the new film. (That’s a leap from about 6 inches to 11 inches, for those on the American system.)

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The Ascension of Christ in film: literalism, symbolism, etc.

Today is the Feast of the Ascension, when Christians remember how Jesus was taken up into heaven 40 days after his Resurrection. It’s one of the stranger bits in the Gospels — both difficult to understand, given our modern cosmology, and difficult to pull off visually — and most of what we know about it actually comes from the Book of Acts. So it’s not too surprising that most films about Jesus have tended to skip this episode.

Nevertheless, a few films have depicted the Ascension, often by mixing it with elements from other stories in the gospels, and even those that don’t depict it have often made a point of ending on a note that suggests Jesus has transcended this life in some way that parallels the Ascension. Here are a few examples.

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Walter Salles to co-produce Noah’s Ark cartoon in Brazil

Now that the apocalyptic version of Noah’s story has come and gone, filmmakers can get back to plotting more conventional animated versions of the story, versions that emphasize humour, cute animals and other kid-friendly things.

Variety reports that Walter Salles, the Brazilian director of acclaimed films like Central Station (1998) and The Motorcycle Diaries (2004), is going to co-produce a new animated version of the Noah story to be written and directed by Sergio Machado. The film will be based on the work of Brazilian poet Vinicius de Moraes.

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Noah comes to DVD, Blu-Ray and digital streaming in July

Get ready to watch the fountains of the deep burst forth from the comfort of your living room. Paramount’s home-video department announced today that Darren Aronofsky’s Noah will be available for streaming via Digital HD on July 15, and it will be released on DVD and Blu-Ray on July 29. The Blu-Ray combo pack will include over an hour of special features, including ‘Iceland: Extreme Beauty’, ‘The Ark Exterior: A Battle for 300 Cubits’ and ‘The Ark Interior: Animals Two By Two’. It doesn’t sound like the film will have an audio commentary, so who knows, I may need to record my own; there’s certainly lots to talk about. Oh, and no, it does not appear that the 3D version will be released in North America — though you can always import it from overseas.


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