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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

World Premiere of Ang Lee's “BILLY LYNN'S LONG HALFTIME WALK” Set at the 54th New York Film Festival

Special event will unveil first-of-its-kind new digital cinematography technology

The Film Society of Lincoln Center announces Ang Lee’s highly anticipated “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk” as a Special World Premiere Presentation of the 54th New York Film Festival (September 30 – October 16) on Friday, October 14, at AMC Lincoln Square.

New York Film Festival Director and Selection Committee Chair Kent Jones said, "Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk astonished me, and it moved me deeply—in the grandest way, as a story of America in the years after the invasion of Iraq, and on the most intimate person-to-person wavelength. Ang Lee has always gone deep into the nuances of the emotions between his characters, and that’s exactly what drove him to push cinema technology to new levels. It’s all about the faces, the smallest emotional shifts. In every way, `Billy Lynn' is the work of a master."
Billy Lynn” is also a giant step forward in the art of cinema, made with a cinematographic process years ahead of its time. The film, from TriStar Pictures and Studio 8 in association with LStar Capital, Film4, Bona Film Group, and Fosun Media, is the first full-length narrative film shot in 4K, native 3D at the ultra high rate of 120 frames-per-second. The NYFF event will be the first time ever the format will be screened publicly. Creating the film in this immersive format required technical invention at each stage of the process—prep, shooting, and postproduction. The commercial run of the film will play in a variety of 2D and 3D formats, all of which display the new techniques with which the film was made.

Lee’s stunning adaptation of Ben Fountain’s novel is the story of an Iraq war hero (newcomer Joe Alwyn) who comes home with his fellow members of Bravo Company for a victory tour. This culminates in a halftime show at a Thanksgiving Day football game—a high-intensity media extravaganza summoning memories of the trauma of losing his beloved sergeant in a firefight. Lee’s brave, heartbreaking film goes right to the heart of a great division that haunts this country: between the ideal image of things as they should be and the ongoing reality of things as they are. With a brilliant supporting cast, including Kristen Stewart, Chris Tucker, Garrett Hedlund with Vin Diesel and Steve Martin.

I’m very grateful to the New York Film Festival for selecting our film and giving it such a unique platform,” said Lee. “The New York Film Festival has been such an important event for me both as a New Yorker and a filmmaker, and I am honored to be represented this year with Billy Lynn. With each film, I try to learn fresh ways to connect with the audience and with myself. Since Life of Pi, I have been working with my team towards a new cinematic approach that I hope will revitalize that connection. But technology is merely a tool; it should always be in service of artistic expression, to make it strong and fresh, because story and drama matter most. I thought Billy’s journey, which is both intimate and epic, and told almost entirely from his point of view, lent itself particularly well to the emotion and intensity that this new approach fosters. At least I hope so, as many people have worked long and hard to help me try to make the future a reality today. I am thankful to them all.”

Lee has a long history with the festival. Most recently, his Oscar-winning “Life of Pi” was Opening Night of NYFF50 in 2012. His 1997 film “The Ice Storm” opened NYFF35, and “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” was Closing Night of the 38th festival in 2000.

Directed by Ang Lee and produced by Marc Platt, Ang Lee, Rhodri Thomas, and Stephen Cornwell, “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk” is based on the widely acclaimed, best-selling novel by Ben Fountain, with a screenplay by Jean-Christophe Castelli.

Opening across the Philippines on December 07, “Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk” is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.

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Who is Edward ‘Snowden’? A hero or traitor?

 The modern battlefield is everywhere.” Run. Hide. Live. To tell the truth. “There’s something going inside the government that’s really wrong and I can’t ignore it…I just want to get this data to the world.” In Academy Award®-winning director Oliver Stone’s ‘Snowden,’ CIA employee Edward Snowden leaks thousands of classified documents to the press.

You wanted to be Special Forces? Find the terrorists in the internet haystack.” One nation under surveillance for liberty and justice for all. “The NSA is really tracking every cell phone in the world.” Snowden,’ the politically charged, thriller starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Shailene Woodley, reveals the personal story of Edward Snowden, who exposed illegal surveillance activities by the NSA and became one of the most wanted men in the world.
 Did you access an unauthorized program?” He is considered a hero by some and a traitor by others. No matter which you believe, ‘Snowden’ tells the story of why he did it, who he left behind, and how he pulled it off. “I feel like I was made to do this and if I don’t do it then I don’t know anybody else who can.”

"Most Americans don’t want freedom. They want security.” ‘Snowden’ is written and directed by Oliver Stone. The script is based on the books The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World’s Most Wanted Man by Luke Harding and Time of the Octopus by Anatoly Kucherena.

They’re gonna come for me. They’re gonna come for all of you too.”  ‘Snowden’ which is slated to hit theaters September 16, 2016, also stars Shailene Woodley as Snowden’s girlfriend, Zachary Quinto as journalist Glenn Greenwald, Nicolas Cage, Melissa Leo, Tom Wilkinson, Scott Eastwood, Timothy Olyphant, Rhys Ifans and Joely Richardson.

 SNOWDEN” is released and distributed by CAPTIVE CINEMA.
Showing SEPTEMBER 28.

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“SAUSAGE PARTY” Gets R-18 Rating, Bravely Opens in PH SEPT 28

A first-ever for an animated comedy, Columbia Pictures' eagerly anticipated “Sausage Party” has been rated R-18 by the Movie & Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB). The movie's raunchy humor and themes have been deemed suitable only to mature audiences, 18 years old and above.
Indeed, there's no stopping “Sausage Party” from opening in the Philippines on Sept. 28.
A recent smash, box-office hit in the US with cumulative gross of a whopping $80-million, “Sausage Party” is about one sausage leading a group of supermarket products on a quest to discover the truth about their existence and what really happens when they become chosen to leave the grocery store.

Directed by Conrad Vernon & Greg Tiernan, the film features the vocal talents of a who’s who of today’s comedy stars – Michael Cera, James Franco, Salma Hayek, Jonah Hill, Nick Kroll, David Krumholtz, Danny McBride, Edward Norton, Seth Rogen, Paul Rudd, and Kristen Wiig.

In creating the R-rated comedy, finding what director Conrad Vernon calls “the line of taste” was a constant discussion. “That line moved all over the place,” he says. “We would step over it, and then we wouldn’t be going far enough…”

But, says director Greg Tiernan, pushing the envelope came naturally, because for an animator, it’s just what you do. “In animation, you always want to push – whether it’s the story or the execution of the animation – because it’s always easier to pull back,” says Tiernan. “We had that ingrained in us from the first day we were in the animation business. Don’t censor yourself, because other people will do it for you.”

Still, as the directors, they did have to be responsible for making sure that on balance, the film delivered as an entertaining movie experience. “We had to be careful that the movie wasn’t just about shock value,” says Tiernan. “That was never the intent – it was supposed to have heart and soul and be a great story. We could go as far as we wanted, but we always had to ask, ‘OK, is it funny? What’s it adding to the story?’”

One of the places that the filmmakers decided to push was in the character design of Brenda. “Everyone howled when they first saw the design,” says Vernon. “Our character designer, Craig Kellman, popped that vertical mouth in there – he’s not one to hold back. I took that over with a bunch of other designs to Seth and Evan and they were flipping through – ‘cool, cool, cool’ – and then it was just laughter and ‘Oh my God.’ Finally, there was one point where we asked ourselves, should we really be doing this? Can people relate to her if she has a vertical mouth? And [producer] Megan Ellison said, ‘If you don’t do a vertical mouth, I’m not making this movie.’”

  Opening across the Philippines on Sept. 28, “Sausage Party” is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.

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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Critics Worldwide Rave About Korean Zombie Film ‘Train to Busan’

“A smart, distinctly Korean take on the Zombie film.” – Philbert Dy, resident critic tweeted after the advance press screening of Train to Busan at SM Megamall Cinema 6 last August 25, 2016.

While superhero films rule the box-office nowadays, and the Chinese audience are now growing almost as large as the USA, movie critics’ reviews can also make an impact to audience’s decision in watching a movie.

Asian Zombie films are kind of rare and the number of low-quality zombie films released every year may get your hopes down for Train to Busan, but thankfully it’s great! And here are the reactions of the critics worldwide on the hit Korean Zombie film:

“Really, the result is first-class throughout.” – Clark Collis, Entertainment Weekly (Full review:

“Sprinting right out of the gate, the director, Yeon Sang-ho, dives gleefully into a sandbox of spilled brains and smug entitlement.” – Jeanette Catsoulis, New York Times (Full review:

“In the manner of the most enjoyable horror pictures, every time you think things can’t get worse, they do.” – Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald (Full review:

“”Train to Busan” is really a feast for the scary, gymnastic bit players: contorting their bodies, baring teeth and running full bore. On this express, they’re a first-class menace indeed.” – Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times (Full review:

Even Filipino critics are giving Train to Busan positive reviews!

“Thrilling and clever whenever needed as it keeps you nailed on your seat, scream after scream—thanks to its convincing protesthetics, special effects, and a commendable musical scoring. Most of the time, it relies on its own conveniences to follow a rather formulaic story apparent to apocalypse and slasher movies but everything just works in the most effective ways. It could go on the verge of being unnecessarily dramatic for a zombie film in which the audience would innately care for the survivors. For all its excitement and fun, South Korea’s blockbuster hit of recent time is a must-watch for Filipinos.” 4.5 out of 5 stars – Jonell Estillore,

“Train to Busan successfully combines different aspects to make a decent zombie film. The hordes from World War Z are brought inside Snowpiercer’s train, and the result was freaking outstanding. The film never faltered in giving its audience something to cheer about and assembles a group of people you would instantly care. They also included a villain that will definitely heat your boiling point. “ 10 out of 10 stars- Matt Suzara,

 Train to Busan is currently 93% fresh with 29 reviews at, the leading online aggregator of movie and TV show reviews from professional critics. The film opens in Philippine cinemas September 1, 2016, Thursday from Rafaella Films International.
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“DON'T BREATHE” Tops U.S. Box Office With $26.1-M, Opens in PH Aug 31

August 29, 2016 – Columbia Pictures' gripping suspense thriller “Don't Breathe” – which Variety hails as “a muscular exercise in brutal, relentless peril” – spooked the U.S. box-office with a chilling $26.1-million, easily opening at No.1 for the Aug. 26-28 weekend.

It joins a long list of recent horror films such as “The Purge: Election Year,” “The Conjuring 2,” “Lights Out” and “The Shallows” that have all found success with audiences.

Don’t Breathe” cost less than $10 million to produce, but it more than doubled its production budget in a single weekend, after rolling out across 3,051 locations. The film follows a trio of friends breaks into the house of a blind recluse confident of an easy score only to find themselves in a terrifying life-or-death struggle.

This film is going to be a big moneymaker for us,” said Rory Bruer, Sony’s distribution chief. “We knew we had something special here. This is a film that’s all about keeping people jumping out of their seats and holding onto the person next to them.”

The No.1 launch of “Don't Breathe” in the U.S. bodes well for the thriller's box-office prospects in the Philippines as the film rolls out in local cinemas starting Wednesday, Aug. 31. 

The Filipino audience are great horror fans, and the film's favorable R-13 rating from the MTRCB will likely boost the attraction core genre moviegoers.

Don't Breathe” created a thunderstorm of excitement and wild buzz when it premiered at the recent South By South West (SXSW) film festival, with some critics describing it as “the best suspense thriller in the last decade.” Now, Philippine audiences will discover why the film has driven reviewers at the edge of their seats.

John DeFore of The Hollywood Reporter writes, “the lean and mean pic offers scares aplenty and at least a couple of game-changing twists.”

Meanwhile, Edward Douglas, of the New York Daily News underscores that the film “takes you into far darker territory than anticipated.”

Don’t Breathe” stars Jane Levy (“Evil Dead”), Dylan Minnette (“Goosebumps”), Daniel Zovatto (“It Follows”) and Stephen Lang (“Avatar”). Fede Alvarez (“Evil Dead”) directs from a script co-written with Rodo Sayagues (Evil Dead). Producers are Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert and Fede Alvarez.

In his sophomore feature, Alvarez goes for the jugular with an unapologetically brutal and twisted horror-thriller that pits a trio of thieves against an unexpectedly dangerous adversary. Shocking and enthralling, Alvarez’s masterful, visually stunning thriller maintains a frenzied pace to the last chilling minute.

  Don't Breathe” is distributed in the Philippines by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.
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More “MAGNIFICENT SEVEN” Character Vignettes: The Assassin, The Hunter

Meet the Assassin Billy Rocks (Byung-Hun Lee) and the Hunter Jack Horn (Vincent D'Onofrio) in the newly released character vignettes for Columbia Pictures' action-adventure “The Magnificent Seven.”

Watch the Billy Rocks and Jack Horne featurettes below: 
Korean actor Byung-Hun Lee plays Billy Rocks, an assassin who shows expertise with knives and close combat. There’s a history of Asian immigrants in the western frontier, though none had the resources to become badass outlaws like Billy Rocks due to their restricted labor to the railroads and laundry services. Meanwhile, Vincent D’Onofrio plays Jack Horne, a master trapper and tracker.

They are joined in the film by the Bounty Hunter (Denzel Washington), the Gambler (Chris Pratt), the Sharpshooter (Ethan Hawke), the Outlaw (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo) and the Warrior (Martin Sensmeier).

Director Antoine Fuqua brings his modern vision to a classic story in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures’ and Columbia Pictures’ “The Magnificent Seven.”

With the town of Rose Creek under the deadly control of industrialist Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard), the desperate townspeople employ protection from seven outlaws, bounty hunters, gamblers and hired guns – Sam Chisolm (Denzel Washington), Josh Farraday (Chris Pratt), Goodnight Robicheaux (Ethan Hawke), Jack Horne (Vincent D’Onofrio), Billy Rocks (Byung-Hun Lee), Vasquez (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo), and Red Harvest (Martin Sensmeier). As they prepare the town for the violent showdown that they know is coming, these seven mercenaries find themselves fighting for more than money.

Opening across the Philippines on September 21, “The Magnificent Seven” is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International. Use the hashtag #Mag7
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“SULLY” Filmed Entirely With IMAX Cameras For Stunning Clarity, Scale

A miracle landing deserves an epic-scale shooting. That's why director Clint Eastwood has chosen to film Warner Bros. Pictures' “Sully” – the airborne thriller based on true events -- almost entirely with new ALEXA IMAX® 65mm cameras.

As a result, audiences will see the so-called `miracle on the Hudson' depicted in stunning clarity.

And exclusively in IMAX® theatres, “Sully” will be presented in an expanded IMAX 1.9:1 aspect ratio and fill more of the IMAX screen – offering moviegoers 26% more of the image than standard cinemas for a truly immersive experience.

Sully” stars Oscar winner Tom Hanks as Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger.

On January 15, 2009, the world witnessed the “Miracle on the Hudson” when Captain “Sully” Sullenberger glided his disabled plane onto the frigid waters of the Hudson River, saving the lives of all 155 aboard. However, even as Sully was being heralded by the public and the media for his unprecedented feat of aviation skill, an investigation was unfolding that threatened to destroy his reputation and his career.

Sully” also stars Aaron Eckhart as Sully’s co-pilot, Jeff Skiles, and Oscar nominee Laura Linney as Sully’s wife, Lorraine Sullenberger.

Eastwood is directing the film from a screenplay by Todd Komarnicki, based on the book Highest Duty by Sullenberger and Jeffrey Zaslow.

The ALEXA IMAX 65mm camera that Eastwood used in filming “Sully” is a next-generation revolutionary 2D digital camera developed through a partnership between ARRI and IMAX for use by today's leading filmmakers working in the IMAX® format.

 The camera, when combined with IMAX’s digital re-mastering process, delivers the highest level of digital image capture and playback resulting in stunning lifelike images with pristine clarity, incredibly fine detail, vivid colors and a higher dynamic range for superior contrast.

Most films today are presented in an aspect ratio called CinemaScope (2.40:1). When a film is presented in CinemaScope, it is cropped and uses only part of the image the movie camera captures. This is the reason most ordinary screens are very wide but not particularly high.

With “Sully,” IMAX provided Eastwood with the ability to use an expanded aspect ratio for the film's IMAX presentation during production through filming with the extremely high-resolution IMAX® camera.

  Opening across the Philippines on Thursday, Sept. 08 in IMAX and regular cinemas,“Sully” is distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

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Human Characters of  “STORKS” Ready For Their Close-Up

After last week’s reveal of its animal character posters, Warner Bros. Pictures has now unveiled the individual one-sheets of the human cast of its new animated comedy adventure “Storks.”  Check out the posters below and watch the film when it opens in Philippine cinemas on Sept. 22

In the film, storks deliver babies…or at least they used to. Now they deliver packages for global internet retail giant  Junior (Andy Samberg), the company’s top delivery stork, is about to be promoted when the Baby Factory is accidentally activated on his watch, producing an adorable – and wholly unauthorized – baby girl.

Desperate to deliver this bundle of trouble before the boss gets wise, Junior and his friend Tulip, the only human on Stork Mountain, race to make their first-ever baby drop, in a wild and revealing journey that could make more than one family whole and restore the storks’ true mission in the world.

Getting their own posters are the following human characters:

Sarah and Henry Gardner (voice by Jennifer Aniston and Ty Burrell) are two busy parents who have trouble finding time for their son, Nate. As a result, he writes a letter to the storks asking them for a baby brother, although they haven't been in the kid business for 18 years.

Tulip (voice by Katie Crown) is the last baby made at Stork Mountain. She was orphaned 18 years ago when an accident destroyed her delivery address. "The only thing she knows is Stork Mountain and the world of storks, and she's desperate to find her parents," Stoller says.

Nate Gardner (voice by Anton Starkman) ropes his parents into preparing their house for a baby delivery. His folks play along not because they think it will happen, but because they're reminded how much fun it is to play with their child.

The Baby is the adorable pink-haired toddler who sets the plot in motion.

Storks” stars Andy Samberg (“Hotel Transylvania”), Kelsey Grammer (“Toy Story 2,” “The Simpsons”), Katie Crown (Cartoon Network’s “Clarence”), Keegan-Michael Key (“The Angry Birds Movie”), Jordan Peele (“Key & Peele”), Jennifer Aniston (“We’re the Millers”), Ty Burrell (“Modern Family”), and Danny Trejo (“The Book of Life”). 
The film is directed by Nicholas Stoller (“Neighbors,” BAFTA nominee for “Muppets Most Wanted”) and Doug Sweetland (supervising animator on “Cars,” Oscar-nominated director of the animated short “Presto”), from a screenplay written by Stoller.

Storks” is produced by Brad Lewis (“Ratatouille”) and Nicholas Stoller.  The executive producers are Glenn Ficarra, Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, John Requa and Jared Stern.

  Storks” is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

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Korean Superstar Gong Yoo to Fight For Survival Against Zombies in ‘Train to Busan’

Popularly known to his Filipino fans as Arthur Choi in the hit Korean TV series “The Coffee Prince” aired January 2008 in GMA Network, actor Gong Yoo is back in Philippine shores as Seok-Woo, a fund manager in Seoul in the zombie movie Train to Busan.

Gong Yoo started his acting career with small parts in television dramas and films. He landed his first lead role in the South Korean television series Biscuit Teacher and Star Candy aka Hello, My Teacher where his talent caught the attention of casting directors and audiences and he became one of the actors to watch out for. He then, landed the role of Choi Han-Kyul or Arthur Choi opposite Yoon Eun-hye in the hit 2007 series The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince which was re-titled to The Coffee Prince when it was aired January 2008 here in the Philippines thru GMA Network.

Now, eight (8) years after, the Korean superstar is back in Philippine shores in “Train to Busan.” 3 months after the release of its trailer, everyone’s been wanting for a Philippine release and now, thanks to Rafaella Films International, it’s coming true.

Seok-Woo (Gong Yoo) is a fund manager in Seoul. He is separated from his wife and lives with his daughter Soo-An (Kim Soo-Ahn). Seok-Woo doesn’t spend much time with his daughter or show affection to her. On the night before Soo-An’s birthday, Soo-An insists on seeing her mother for her birthday. Seok-Woo has no other choice, but to take her to Busan. Early the next morning, they board the KTX train for Busan at Seoul Station.

Before the KTX train leaves Seoul Station, a zombie like girl jumps onto the train. The girl is infected with a horrific virus that is spreading like wildfire. Seok-Woo, Soo-An and the other passengers on the KTX train must now fight for their lives.

 “Train to Busan” is coming to Philippine cinemas September 1, 2016 (Thursday) from Rafaella Films International. Rated R-16 by the MTRCB.
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SM Family Movie Day For September 10 and 11 Features “ULTRAMAN GINGA S THE MOVIE”

The SM Family Movie Day, a monthly exclusive offer for the mall’s patrons which encourages families to continue to be a tightly-knit unit by spending weekends together, brings their latest monthly weekend feature for September 10 and 11 – Japan’s sci-fi action movie “Ultraman Ginga S The Movie.

A collaboration of Tsuburaya and Shochiku Productions, Japan’s most respected and world-renowned special effects studios,  the movie is based on the Ultraman Ginga S television series.  “Ultraman Ginga S The Movie” stars the (tv) show’s heroes Ultraman Ginga and Ultraman Victory with Ultra Party Guardians team.  In the movie, the two Ultramen combine to form Ultraman Ginga Victory, who fights alongside the “New Generation” of Ultra Warriors – Ultraman Tiga, Ultraman Dyna, Ultraman Gaia, Ultraman Cosmos, Ultraman Nexus, Ultraman Max, Ultraman Meebius and Ultraman Zero against an inter-dimensional threat.  

The movie rockets in to action when an evil space warrior, Etelgar, forces a beautiful young alien princess, Alena, to trap every Ultraman hero in the Galaxy.  In order to stop Etelgar and save the princess and their fellow Ultramen, two handsome young men, Hikaru and Shou, must each transform into new Ultra-heroes, Ultraman Ginga and Ultraman Victory, and combine their super-powers

The movie stars Takuya Negishi who plays Hikaru Raidu, a young member of a special investigation team in who transforms into Ultraman Ginga.  His role is also known for his great curiosity and strong sense of justice.  Along with Negishi who also takes on the titular role is Kiyotaka Uji who plays Shou – a prince of the underground Victorian civilization who transforms into Ultraman Victory.  Together, they offer a helping hand to the weak and seeking for justice.

SM Cinema aims to encourage families to dedicate a time for bonding with each other by bringing back the Filipino’s classic habit of weekend-movie-watching with the family at the cinema.   The SM Cinema Movie Family Day invites all families to spend an unforgettable, fun-filled weekend with a complimentary movie for the kids. Just buy 2 tickets to the family movie of the month and 2 kids get to watch for free! The family movie day kit includes 1 free bowling game, a 1-hr skating pass, a 1-month subscription to Blink, and other perks from Pancake House, Nivea Men, and other brand affiliates Patrons will also have access to a kids’ corner, full of different games and activities that children will surely enjoy.

The main character of the Ultraman will also have a meet and greet on September 10 (Saturday) at the cinema lobby of Mall of Asia at 12:00 – 1:00pm and at SM Southmall at 5:00–6:00pm.  The meet and greet continues on September 11 (Sunday) at SM Megamall cinema lobby at 12:00-1:00pm and at SM North Edsa at 5:00-6:00pm.  

  Watch “Ultraman Ginga S The Movie” at SM Cinemas on September 10 and 11, released in the Phils. by CrystalSky Multimedia.  Golden Phoenix Hotel is the official residence of Ultraman Ginga S in the Philippines.  

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Child Actor Gets “PETE'S DRAGON” Lead Role by.... Being a Kid

For the crucial role of Pete, the young boy found in the woods who was separated from his parents six years ago, the filmmakers of Disney’s “Pete’s Dragon” were looking to cast a boy with natural acting abilities who could let his guard down and just be a kid.

Opening in Philippine cinemas on Sept. 07, “Pete’s Dragon” is the adventure of an orphaned boy named Pete and his best friend Elliott, who just so happens to be a dragon.

Casting director Debra Zane (“Skyfall,” “The Hunger Games”) conducted a worldwide casting search and saw thousands and thousands of kids, which eventually led her to 12-year-old Oakes Fegley from Pennsylvania.

The young actor already had a number of credits under his belt, including recurring roles on the TV series “Boardwalk Empire” and “Person of Interest” and in the feature film “This Is Where I Leave You,” but that’s not what appealed to David Lowery, director of “Pete’s Dragon.”

I'm a big believer that there's a time and place and a type of film when you want a child who can actually perform Shakespeare or cry on command,” he says. “But the types of films I like to make are really more about letting kids be kids, so I was looking for kids who didn't have any pretenses or who liked to show off or try to impress me, but who could just be themselves.”

Zane had been raving about Fegley, but Lowery was hesitant to get his hopes up. He watched his tapes and even though he was still undecided, agreed to meet with the young actor in person. Lowery went to New York and the moment Fegley walked into the room, he knew they had found their Pete. “He just had that something,” Lowery says. “I can’t describe it, but there was something so real about him.”

Pete has always assumed he understands how the world works. What memories he does have are linked to a torn and battered children’s book, Elliot Gets Lost, which he reads over and over again, but when he learns that the world is actually much bigger and much more complex than he ever imagined, he begins to question his place in the world, and it was a character that appealed to Fegley immediately.

Pete is really curious and he likes to ask a lot of questions, like me, and even though he doesn’t have the intelligence of a normal 10-year-old boy, he is smart in other ways,” explains Fegley. “He knows how to survive in the forest but has no idea how to live in the civilized world.”

He continues, “Pete only trusts Elliot, and in a way, Elliot knows where Pete really belongs. At first Pete thinks he belongs with Elliot, but when he sees how nice some humans can be, like Grace, he gets very confused. He doesn’t want to leave Elliot though, because he loves him like a brother and a father all in one.”

Co-screenwriter Toby Halbrooks says, “Grace is the embodiment of family and motherhood and Pete sees that she is tender and smart, so if anyone could convince Pete to leave the forest and choose to have a human family of his own, it is her.”

  Pete's Dragon” is distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures through Columbia Pictures. Like us on Facebook, WaltDisneyStudiosPH; follow us on Twitter, @disney_phil; follow us on Instagram, and use the hashtag #PetesDragonPH.
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