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June 21, 2009 | Chris Lee
Plucked from relative obscurity by Mary Parent, then-production chief of Universal Pictures, Blomkamp, who was working in visual effects and directing commercials and shorts, landed a plum gig for what would have been his directorial debut: the big-budget adaptation of the shoot-'em-up video game Halo to be produced by Jackson. But when that project imploded in 2006, Jackson decided to "godfather" Blomkamp through the process of directing a film anyway.
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ENTERTAINMENT
August 12, 2013 | By Steven Zeitchik
This past weekend, Neill Blomkamp's sci-fi pic "Elysium" opened to $30.5 million . Though it won the weekend, it was an unremarkable number -- and that's what made it so remarkable. "Elysium" might have been expected to jump up a lot closer to $40 million. After all, its predecessor, 2009's "District 9," which was also an idea-laden piece of futurism from Blomkamp, took in $37.5 million on its opening weekend. Sure, critical assessments were stronger for the previous film.
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ENTERTAINMENT
August 2, 2009 | Chris Lee
In the docu-style, sci-fi thriller "District 9," which arrives in theaters Aug. 14, hundreds of thousands of aliens become stranded in South Africa after their massive spaceship comes to a standstill above downtown Johannesburg. Unable to fix the craft, this massive population of tentacle-waving, exoskeleton-sheathed aliens eventually outstays its welcome; they become reviled by humans for burdening the country's welfare system even though all they really want to do is go home.
ENTERTAINMENT
August 20, 2009 | Chris Lee
Over the course of its opening weekend in theaters, the sci-fi thriller "District 9" earned $37 million at the box office, surpassing all commercial expectations and, moreover, hauling in $7 million more than the scrappy quasi-documentary cost to produce. As of Tuesday night, the film had pulled in $10 million more, earning a total $47.1 million domestically en route to its new, unofficial designation: the surprise hit of summer. For anyone who follows Hollywood's behind the scenes machinations closely, though, "District 9" isn't just a surprisingly thoughtful sci-fi stand-out in a season characterized by big, dumb studio tent-pole movies; it's a revelation.
ENTERTAINMENT
August 12, 2013 | By Steven Zeitchik
This past weekend, Neill Blomkamp's sci-fi pic "Elysium" opened to $30.5 million . Though it won the weekend, it was an unremarkable number -- and that's what made it so remarkable. "Elysium" might have been expected to jump up a lot closer to $40 million. After all, its predecessor, 2009's "District 9," which was also an idea-laden piece of futurism from Blomkamp, took in $37.5 million on its opening weekend. Sure, critical assessments were stronger for the previous film.
ENTERTAINMENT
August 20, 2009 | Chris Lee
Over the course of its opening weekend in theaters, the sci-fi thriller "District 9" earned $37 million at the box office, surpassing all commercial expectations and, moreover, hauling in $7 million more than the scrappy quasi-documentary cost to produce. As of Tuesday night, the film had pulled in $10 million more, earning a total $47.1 million domestically en route to its new, unofficial designation: the surprise hit of summer. For anyone who follows Hollywood's behind the scenes machinations closely, though, "District 9" isn't just a surprisingly thoughtful sci-fi stand-out in a season characterized by big, dumb studio tent-pole movies; it's a revelation.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 18, 2010 | By Scott Timberg
Half a century ago, a middle-aged newspaperman with a few obscure books to his name sat down to pursue a pet obsession based on a story that had never sold. The ensuing 1965 novel -- in which his agent had no confidence -- sagged at first. But within a few years, it was a pop-culture sensation, and this year, on its 45th anniversary, "Dune" is one of science fiction's best-known books and probably the field's bestselling novel. The mystery of why some works continue to speak to us is heightened with a book like "Dune": Frank Herbert's desert-planet epic not only remains popular and well-known, but this tale has anticipated many of our contemporary concerns.
ENTERTAINMENT
August 20, 2009 | Betsy Sharkey
Alien life forms agitating, human life forms agitating back, secret scientific experiments, ethical dilemmas everywhere you turn -- that is the sweeping intellectual force field of "District 9," a great place to muck around whether you're a sci-fi fan or not. Though you'd never guess given its swagging confidence and inventive style, but this clever thriller is director Neill Blomkamp's first feature. That it is set in South Africa, with much of the action taking place in the poverty and grime of a shantytown just outside Johannesburg, only adds to the rich texture of the film.
ENTERTAINMENT
August 13, 2013 | By Rebecca Keegan
Four days after "Elysium" hit theaters, the science fiction movie's backers announced Tuesday that they have greenlighted director Neill Blomkamp's next film, "Chappie. " Sony Pictures Entertainment and MRC will once again co-produce and co-finance the Blomkamp project, this one from a script the 33-year-old director wrote with his wife, "District 9" screenwriter Terri Tatchell. According to a press release issued by Sony and MRC, "Chappie" "tells the story of a robot imbued with artificial intelligence who is stolen by two local gangsters who want to use him for their own nefarious purposes.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 8, 2010
Adapted screenplay "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire" Geoffrey Fletcher Among the biggest surprises of the night, Geoffrey Fletcher won for adapted screenplay for "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire." The award makes him the first African American to win a screenwriting Oscar. The heavy favorite had been Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner's script for "Up in the Air." Taking the stage, the seemingly awe-struck Fletcher began, "I don't know what to say. This is for everybody who works on a dream every day."
ENTERTAINMENT
August 2, 2009 | Chris Lee
In the docu-style, sci-fi thriller "District 9," which arrives in theaters Aug. 14, hundreds of thousands of aliens become stranded in South Africa after their massive spaceship comes to a standstill above downtown Johannesburg. Unable to fix the craft, this massive population of tentacle-waving, exoskeleton-sheathed aliens eventually outstays its welcome; they become reviled by humans for burdening the country's welfare system even though all they really want to do is go home.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 21, 2009 | Chris Lee
Plucked from relative obscurity by Mary Parent, then-production chief of Universal Pictures, Blomkamp, who was working in visual effects and directing commercials and shorts, landed a plum gig for what would have been his directorial debut: the big-budget adaptation of the shoot-'em-up video game Halo to be produced by Jackson. But when that project imploded in 2006, Jackson decided to "godfather" Blomkamp through the process of directing a film anyway.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 6, 2010 | By Susan King
Today was a good day for "District 9," "An Education," "Precious" and "Up in the Air," each of which pulled in a best picture nomination for the USC Libraries 22nd Annual Scripter Award just hours after receiving similar honors from the Producers Guild of America. The fifth Scripter nod went to the Jeff Bridges drama "Crazy Heart." The award honors both the author and screenwriter of the year's best book-to-film adaptation (or in the case of "District 9," a short film screenplay adaptation)
ENTERTAINMENT
August 20, 2009 | Patrick Kevin Day
The visual effects team at Canada's Image Engine had a challenge in making the "prawns" of director Neill Blomkamp's "District 9" look alien yet sympathetic. No easy trick for creatures modeled closely after the not-so-cute Goliath beetle. Actor Jason Cope, who played most of the alien roles, provided the movements on set to be digitally tracked and replaced by an animated alien body. But the creatures' faces needed to emote more effectively than that process allows. "The . . . eyes were too insect-like," visual effects executive producer Shawn Walsh said.
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