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Did Transformers: Age of Extinction Actually Earn $100 Million Last Weekend?

transformers: age of extinctionThere are times when speaking quickly is a good thing, such to stop the execution of an innocent man, or if you’re the Micro Machines guy. But I may have put my foot in my mouth the other day when reporting that Michael Bay’s Transformers: Age of Extinction fell short of a $100 million weekend, as Paramount’s official numbers pushed the final total to $100,038,000. (Give or take several pennies.) That’s quite noticeably higher than the $97.5 million estimates that were reached on Sunday, and so there are some out there who think Paramount padded its earnings to officially stand alone as the only film this year with a $100 million opening.

As one studio head put it, “They’re lying,” before questioning the number jump. Do audiences actually care if this (or any other movie) reaches a $100 million weekend for the first time in 2014? Personally, all I wanted out of Transformers: Age of Extinction was something worth the money I paid for it, and that definitely didn’t happen. So I’m the guy actually hoping that Paramount is full of shit and that they get caught inflating totals. There’s got to be a robot out there that’s meant to do that, right? Com…puterbot?

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Planet Of The Apes Short Films Explore The Years Between The Rise And The Dawn

Based on the state of the world in the Dawn of the Planet of the Apes trailers, it’s clear that some time has passed between the end of Rise of the Planet of the Apes and the opening of this summer’s sequel. You might not have realized just how much time, however — a full 10 years. During that decade, the Simian Flu has ravaged the human population, whittling our numbers down drastically and setting the stage for a world where the uplifted apes can become the dominant species of the planet. That 10-year gap is the subject of three new prequel short films that lead up to Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, set during the first year of the Simian Flu outbreak, the fifth year, and the tenth, respectively.

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Robots Use Actual Human Muscles To Move

biobotI guess DARPA’s not the only agency working on human robots, or robot humans. Usually I think of cyborgs as humans with a machine part or two, rather than the other way around, but that may soon be changing. Researchers at the University of Illinois recently demonstrated the first robot that moves via stimulation of actual living muscle — the aptly named “biobot.”

biobot

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Manhattan Trailer Promises Explosive Drama From Series About The Manhattan Project

WGN America’s Manhattan is set in Los Alamos, New Mexico in the midst of the race to build the world’s first atomic bomb. The story focuses on two different families — Charlie and Abby Isaacs (Ashley Zukerman and Rachel Broshnahan) and Frank and Liza Winter (John Benjamin Hickey and Olivia Williams) — through whose eyes we experience 1940s Los Alamos and the “mysterious mission” at the heart of the town. Brian Dollenmayer, EVP of marketing and promotions at WGN America and Tribune Studios, makes inevitable Mad Men comparisons and says Manhattan is “a drama that tries to capture the emotional truth of these people who lived and worked there. It’s really the story beyond the bomb.”

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Book Review: Koko Takes A Holiday By Kieran Shea

Koko Takes A Holiday500 years in the future, Koko Marstellar is a former corporate mercenary-for-hire now living the good life running boywhores and slinging booze on the Sixty Islands, a manmade archipelago where rich travellers indulge their wildest, most base desires. It’s a cushy gig, but one that comes crashing down around her ears in spectacular fashion as her old pal slash new boss, Portia Delecompte, decides it is high time to pay Koko back for…well, she can’t quite remember, but for it must have been pretty major. Thus kicks off of the high-octane, ass-kicking plot of Kieran Shea’s new novel Koko Takes a Holiday, which runs from the pleasure islands of the Sixty all the way into low-Earth orbit and back again.

This is one instance where you can throw conventional wisdom to the wind and quite literally judge a book by its cover. Take a single look at the exterior packaging and you’ll have a fair idea of whether or not you will enjoy this book, as it functions much like a movie poster. You get a good look at a rendering of the titular protagonist, a shock of bright blue hair, skintight black bodysuit, overall Tank Girl stance, and, most importantly, a big ass gun in her hands. If you think this image looks totally rad, you’ll likely enjoy Koko, and all the adventures contained within, a great deal.

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Gravity’s Filming Cost More Than India’s Mars Mission

gravityHere’s a newsflash: Going to space is expensive. And it should be — second-hand or knock-off rockets seem like a pretty bad idea, no? Still, the cost of space exploration and various missions, from satellite launch contracts to manned missions to Mars, generate constant debate, especially as NASA struggles to amass a budget that will make it possible to push the space frontier. So it blows my mind — and not in a good way — to read that filming Gravity cost more than launching India’s probe to Mars.

First off, let me just say that I loved Gravity. I haven’t been that riveted in a theater for a long time — for 90+ minutes I didn’t think about my job, what I was going to do for the rest of the night, the weather. Gravity is nothing short of completely engrossing, and stunningly beautiful to boot. I also think it’s an important film — despite its factual inconsistencies, it does make audiences aware of some of the bigger truths about space, such as its dangers and its rewards, and the perspective one gets from looking at the Earth from beyond it. The price tag for the film is something around $100 million, which isn’t even all that surprising in the age of Hollywood blockbusters. But when you think about what that $100 million could have been spent on, especially when it comes to research, development, and space exploration, it’s pretty sobering.