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See how ‘Rogue One’ VFX artists recreated Peter Cushing, Carrie Fisher

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While some of the main talking points of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story have been about Alan Tudyk’s hilariously sassy droid K-2SO and the chemistry between Felicity Jones’ Jyn Erso and Diego Luna’s Cassian Andor, the biggest highlight seems to be how the film’s visual effects team were able to recreate Peter Cushing and Carrie Fisher using both live actors and digital animation.

Cushing’s Grand Moff Tarkin plays a significant role in Rogue One as he oversees the creation of the Death Star and enjoys bossing Ben Mendelsohn’s Orson Krennic around. Here’s the thing, though: Cushing died in 1994. However, thanks to the constantly evolving technology available to Industrial Light & Magic, they were able to resurrect Cushing from the dead using a mix of CGI and live actors paired with performance capture technology. The result? It’s actually quite impressive despite the noticeable fact that this isn’t necessarily a real actor give a genuine performance.

The process of recreating a 19-year-old Fisher as Princess Leia in Rogue One was fairly similar to what the visual effects team did for Cushing—the only thing to note is that Fisher was still very much alive and well during the production of the film and was able to see it for herself and give it a “thumbs up,” as executive producer John Knoll said.

If you’re one of the few that haven’t experienced the epicness that is Rogue One, it is the first of the standalone Star Wars movies and follows a group of unlikely heroes who join forces together on a mission to steal top-secret plans to the Death Star, the Empire’s ultimate weapon of destruction. The film has grossed over $800 million worldwide.

Rogue One, which has grossed a whopping $800 million worldwide since its debut on December 16, was written by Chris Weitz and Tony Gilroy and also stars Diego Luna, Donnie Yen, Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk, Riz Ahmed, Jiang Wen, and Forest Whitaker.

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‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ to dominate worldwide box office with massive $425 million-plus opening

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The Last Jedi Kylo

As moviegoers continue to flock to cineplexes to be among the first to witness the next chapter in the Skywalker-saga, weekend estimates for Star Wars: The Last Jedi are growing to record-breaking numbers.

On Thursday evening, the film, written and directed by Rian Johnson, scored $45 million from early previews, earning the second-best preview number ever behind its predecessor, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which earned $57 million when it debuted around this time in 2015.

This weekend, The Last Jedi opens in 4,232 theaters across North America and is expected to earn more than $200 million at the domestic box office by the end of the day on Sunday. As for the worldwide box office, the new Star Wars film should finish somewhere in the $425 million range, making it the fifth-biggest global debut ever.

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, The Last Jedi boasts an impressive 93% on the Tomatometer and an average critic rating of 8.2 out of 10. According to comScore’s PostTrack audience survey, 68% of audience members rated the film as “excellent,” while 21% said it was “very good.”

The Last Jedi picks up just after the events of The Force Awakens and follows Rey, Finn, and Poe as they join the galactic legends in an epic adventure that unlocks age-old mysteries of the Force and shocking revelations of the past.

The film features an all-star cast that includes Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie, Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern, and Benicio Del Toro.

You can read Silver Screen Beat’s review of Star Wars: The Last Jedi here.

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Paramount Players taps ‘Good Time’ directors Josh and Benny Safdie for ’48 Hours’ remake

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Hot on the heels of the success of their Robert Pattinson-led crime-thriller Good Time earlier this year, directors Josh and Benny Safdie have been tapped to write and direct a remake of the buddy-cop film 48 Hours for Paramount Players.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Josh Safdie and Ronald Bronstein, who co-wrote Good Time together, will be on scripting duties, along with comedian Jerrod Carmichael, while Chernin Entertainment will produce with Oscar Boyson and Sebastian Bear-McClard under their Elara Pictures banner.

The original 48 Hours was directed by Walter Hill and starred Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy as a grizzled detective and fast-talking hustler who form an unlikely partnership to track down two vicious cop-killers before they strike again.

The Safdie brothers, who were recently nominated for Best Directors at the Film Independent Spirit Awards, are also in development on A24’s thriller Uncut Gems, an original story set in the New York City Diamond District starring Jonah Hill as the film’s main character.

A release date for either film has not been announced.

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Meet the protector of Wakanda in this action-packed new TV spot for ‘Black Panther’

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Black Panther

With just two more months to go until Ryan Coogler’s long-awaited Black Panther finally hits the big screen, Marvel Studios has unleashed a new TV spot featuring plenty of action-packed new footage from the upcoming superhero film starring Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, and Andy Serkis.

Set just after the events of last year’s Captain America: Civil WarBlack Panther follows T’Challa as he returns home to Wakanda to succeed to the throne and taking his rightful place as king after the death of his father. But when a powerful old enemy reappears, T’Challa’s mettle as king—and Black Panther—is tested when he is drawn into a formidable conflict that puts the fate of Wakanda and the entire world at risk.

Black Panther, which Coogler co-wrote alongside Joe Robert Cole, also stars Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Angela Bassett, and Forest Whitaker. The film will open in theaters on February 16, 2018. You can check out the newly released TV spot in the embedded tweet below.

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