• Roland EmmerichRoland Emmerich, director of 'White House Down' and 'Independence Day' (Photo: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

    By Roland Emmerich

    When I had finished "Independence Day," I had the luck to be invited to the White House by President Clinton with Bill Pullman and the writer/producer Dean Devlin, before the movie came out. I didn't know what to expect and there was this little cocktail party followed by dinner with a couple of tables, not more than 25 people, staffers, friends of the Clintons, and their daughter. And then we went down into the screening room and watched the movie and, yes, it has a scene where the White House blows up.

    It was the most surreal moment in my life. Only in America!

    [Watch Weekend Picks: Get the Lowdown on 'White House Down' and 'The Heat']

    When we made "Independence Day," we used a model. That's changed now. Everything in "White House down" is CGI. Flames and smoke in particular can be created in the computer more convincingly. In the model years, the most fake thing was smoke and fire because they revealed the

    Read More »from First Person: Why I Blew Up the White House Again – By Roland Emmerich
  • Wanna Go Up, Up and Away to Lunch with Two Supermen?

    Richard Donner and Geoff Johns (Photo: David Livingston/Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)

    How would you like to have a lunch meeting with two of the biggest names in the Superman business?

    DC Entertainment's We Can Be Heroes is offering the chance for one generous super-fan and a guest will be flown (by plane, not by Superman, unfortunately) to share a meal with two men who have helped bring Superman to life on the both big and small screen: Richard Donner and Geoff Johns.

    Watch a personal message from Richard Donner:

    Richard Donner was the director of arguably the most popular cinematic adventure of the Last Son of Krypton, "Superman" (1978). "Verisimilitude" was a term that Donner often used during the massive production, treating what to many was just a silly comic book character with respect and gravitas. We believed a man could fly because Donner and his truly super young star, Christopher Reeve, believed it themselves.

    Donner was replaced by Richard Lester during production of "Superman II" (1981), though his original vision was resurrected with a team of savvy editors

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  • Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy in 20th Century Fox's 'The Heat'.

    With "The Heat" opening nationwide on Friday, we once again have the opportunity to revel in the warm glow of our love for Sandra Bullock.

    Go ahead, bask it in. Feels good, right?

    Sure, Sandy's career has had its ups and downs ("Speed 2: Cruise Control"? "All About Steve"? Jesse James?), but we always find ourselves coming back for more. And with Bullock teaming up with the always-hilarious Melissa McCarthy, "The Heat" should earn plenty of love from her fans.

    Why wouldn't it? Bullock's been packing theaters for the better part of 20 years now. But there's a reason she remains so loved, in fact, there are eight of them that spring to mind.

    She's Not Afraid To Dress it Down
    Bullock isn't afraid to dress it down. She seems to particularly enjoy playing the Ugly Duckling who turns into The Swan In A Slinky Dress (the publicity campaign for "Miss Congeniality" was practically built around this), and her persona suggests a woman who is cool with a burger and a beer at the corner bar come Friday night.

    Sandra Bullock in 'The Blind Side'. Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures.

    She Likes To Play Highbrow And Lowbrow
    After winning an Oscar for "The Blind Side," Bullock doesn't have to

    Read More »from America’s Sweetheart: 8 Reasons We Love Sandra Bullock
  • Jamie FoxxJamie Foxx plays a gunslinging president in 'White House Down' (Photo: Columbia Pictures)

    Jamie Foxx plays U.S. President James Sawyer, a man forced to defend 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue from an all-out attack by domestic terrorists.

    Yes, starting this Friday we get to see the President pull out his piece — and his rocket launcher — in "White House Down." While it's a shocking prospect (can you imagine Obama doing that!?), real presidents in U.S. history have scrapped and battled their way to victory — some in arguably more dire circumstances.

    Watch 'White House Down' Clip — Off My Jordans:

    In ranked order, here are 10 presidents who proved they could kick some major butt when the going got tough:

    Truman during World War I, 1918Truman during World War I, 1918 (Photo: Corbis)

    10. James A. Garfield: Know When to Hold 'Em, Know When to Fold 'Em.
    One of the hardest but most important parts of being a military man is stepping down when those are your orders. During the early days of the Civil War, James A. Garfield, later the 20th president, was a Lieutenant Colonel in the 42nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry. At a time when Union forces were still finding their feet, Garfield led his men to impressive victories in Kentucky. Garfield soon was promoted to Brigadier General and later Major General, but in 1862 he resigned from the military and ran for a congressional seat. Why? President Lincoln persuaded him that he needed an ally in the House of Representatives more than he needed him on the

    Read More »from 'White House Down' (But Not Out): 10 Real Presidents Who Kicked the Most Butt
  • Johnny Depp on Becoming a Comanche: 'It Was Beautiful'

    Johnny Depp in 'The Lone Ranger'Johnny Depp in 'The Lone Ranger' (Photo: Walt Disney Pictures)

    Ever since Johnny Depp landed the role of Tonto in "The Lone Ranger," he has been vocal about his determination to represent the character with cultural sensitivity. Depp's Tonto is more than a mere sidekick — as was depicted in the original "Lone Ranger" radio and television shows. Tonto has now been promoted to full partner, thanks to Depp.

    As the release of the Disney action adventure film draws near, Depp's feelings on Tonto and what he represents have only been emboldened. "The lies that have been perpetuated about the Native Americans for hundreds and hundreds of years now — it's time to stop," he told Yahoo! Movies during a recent interview. "It's silly, now."

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  • The 'World War Z' Ending You Didn't See

    Brad Pitt getting ready to kick some serious zombie butt in Paramount Pictures' 'World War Z'.

    Did you hear that big sigh of relief from Brad Pitt and Paramount Pictures Sunday morning?

    Despite all the well-publicized trouble – including five screenwriters, two endings, and millions over budget – Pitt and Paramount's "World War Z" cashed in at the box office this weekend, raking in $66 million domestically and $111 million worldwide – Pitt's largest opening ever.

    And to add to Pitt's mirth, on the heels of the film's success, Paramount's vice chairman, Rob Moore, announced plans to develop a sequel. But odds are good it won't be the sequel that Pitt and company originally had in mind.

    [Related: ‘World War Z’ Movie vs. Book: 4 Huge Differences]

    After Pitt and his Plan B production company won a bidding war with Leonardo DiCaprio's production company, they optioned Max Brooks's novel, "World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War." Plan B began developing the film as part of a trilogy, hoping to kick-start a franchise that Pitt would both star in and produce. They hired screenwriter

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  • 'World War Z' Movie vs. Book: 4 Huge Differences

    World War Z'World War Z': the movie and the book have little in common (Photo: Paramount/Crown)The fact that "World War Z" didn't turn out to be the incoherent, unwatchable disaster its much-publicized production problems seemed to herald has been the main subject of discussion regarding the epic Brad Pitt zombie action thriller. But let's not forget the somewhat smaller undead elephant in the room: This is an adaptation of "World War Z," the 2006 book by Max Brooks, essentially in name only.

    "That's pretty much all it has," Brooks said in 2012, indicating that the title is the only thing Pitt's film has in common with his book.

    Read More »from 'World War Z' Movie vs. Book: 4 Huge Differences
  • Jim Carrey in 'Kick-Ass 2' (Universal Pictures)

    If Universal Pictures was hoping that casting Jim Carrey in the sequel to the cult favorite "Kick-Ass" would bring added publicity to the picture, that's just what they're getting, but not in the way they expected.

    "Kick-Ass 2" is due to open in North American theaters on August 16, but Universal has been dealt a major setback in the film's promotional campaign: Carrey, the movie's biggest star, has announced he's withdrawing his support from the picture.

    Read More »from Jim Carrey Disowns New Flick, 'Cannot Support' Gun Violence
  • 'Monsters U' Scares Up $82M to Hold Off Brad Pitt's 'World War Z' at the Box Office

    Sulley (John Goodman) & Mike (Billy Crystal) in Disney-Pixar's 'Monsters University'

    Families flocked to "Monsters University" pushing Disney and Pixar's 3D animated movie to $82 million in its debut to capture the U.S. box office crown this weekend, but Brad Pitt's zombie movie nearly stole the show.

    The "Monsters U" opening is the 14th consecutive No. 1 debut for Pixar, and is the storied animation unit's second-largest debut weekend ever, behind only the $110 million rung up by "Toy Story 3" in 2010.

    Paramount's "World War Z" took in a surprising $66 million in its first three days – about $15 million over analysts' projections – to finish a strong second and cap a remarkable turnaround.

    Also read: NBCUniversal in Lead for Legendary Deal With Thomas Tull (Exclusive)

    The $190 million-budgeted action thriller was plagued with cost-overruns and expensive re-shoots, including an 11th-hour decision to cook up a new ending. Just two months ago, it was tracking to open at $35 million, but the studio mounted a massive marketing campaign behind it, and days before its debut,

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  • 'Monsters U' FYI: Here's Why Pixar Monsters Have Mullets

    Sulley (John Goodman) & Mike (Billy Crystal) in Disney-Pixar's 'Monsters University'

    There's a common theme amongst Pixar employees: Whenever they're talking about a Pixar film, they seem to be in a really good mood.

    Director Dan Scanlon and producer Kori Rae certainly aren't exceptions to this theme. Or at least they weren't when we spoke with them recently about their new film, “Monsters University,” a prequel to the hugely popular "Monsters, Inc." (2001), which scares up memories of the best classic college comedies, only with a whole lot more monsters and whole lot less depravity.

    In the Q&A below, Scanlon and Rae educate us on the four-year process of getting the film made, why you'll see some monstery mullets and popped collars, and what are their favorite classic college comedy tropes. And, of course, in typical Pixar style, they do so with a smile.

    So, talk me through the whole thing; how did you get on board and where are we now?

    Kori Rae: It all started probably a little over four years ago and the brain trust and Dan and a bunch of people got together to see if

    Read More »from 'Monsters U' FYI: Here's Why Pixar Monsters Have Mullets


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