‘Fear the Walking Dead’s’ Daniel Zovatto heats up ‘Don’t Breathe’

Up-and-coming young actor Daniel Zovatto (“It Follows,” TV’s “Fear the Walking Dead”) stars in Columbia Pictures’ new horror-thriller “Don’t Breathe” as Money, one of a trio of teens who break into the house of a blind man they suspect has plenty of money hidden away. But their plan goes dangerously wrong when their intended victim turns out to be more frightening than they ever anticipated.

Produced by Sam Raimi (the “Spider-Man” trilogy), “Don’t Breathe” also stars Jane Levy (“Evil Dead”), Dylan Minnette (“Goosebumps”) and Stephen Lang (“Avatar”). Fede Alvarez (“Evil Dead”) directs from a script co-written with Rodo Sayagues (“Evil Dead”).

Zovatto’s character, Money, is the impulsive, street-savvy boyfriend of Rocky, played by Jane Levy. Money is the connection between the streets and Alex (Dylan Minnette) and Rocky. Says Zovatto, “Basically, he is the alpha, the muscle of the group. But he’s not one-dimensional. There’s a lot more to him than just a gangster or a street kid. He has a lot of layers.”

It is Money’s street contact who tips him off to a retired army vet rumored to have a six-figure cash settlement stashed somewhere in his home. Money convinces his friends that this is the score to catapult them out of their crumbling city into a sunnier life in California.

“There’s not much money around in his neighborhood,” Zovatto says. “This seems like a pretty sure thing. But he also enjoys the adrenaline rush of these jobs.”

Alvarez cast the actor on the basis of his performance in the breakout indie horror film “It Follows.” “He is an actor that can take a role from the page and make it his own,” says the director. “The take he brought into the room when we were casting the role was completely different from what everybody else was doing.”

Like a typical hustler, Money lives in the moment. “He’s just pure energy and anarchy,” Alvarez observes. “He knows what he wants and he gets it. Money has a better idea of who he is than Alex, who is still a bit confused about what he wants to do.”

Zovatto says the “Don’t Breathe” shoot was the most fun he has ever had at work. “Because Fede both wrote and directed, he knows all the ins and the outs of the story and the characters, which is really cool. At the same time he let us discover our own characters with his guidance. He’s a really passionate guy and I love passionate people.”

Opening across the Philippines on August 31, 2016, “Don’t Breathe” is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.

Short film ‘Mower Minions’ plays in front of ‘The Secret Life of Pets’

Illumination Entertainment’s inaugural theatrical short, “Mower Minions”—a never-before-seen short film starring the Minions—will debut in front of “The Secret Life of Pets” when it arrives in Philippine theaters on August 24.

Correlating to the format in which “The Secret Life of Pets” is showing in specific theaters, “Mower Minions” will be available in both 3D and 2D.

The short film stars the iconic Minions, who first appeared in the blockbuster “Despicable Me” franchise and who most recently starred in 2015’s massive hit “Minions,” which grossed more than $1.15 billion at the global box office and became the second-biggest animated title of all time. Continuing the unpredictable journeys of Gru’s curious and subversively sweet band of yellow brothers, “Mower Minions” represents the first time ever that Illumination has released a short film theatrically.

Directed by Bruno Chauffard & Glenn McCoy, “Mower Minions” is produced by Chris Meledandri and Janet Healy and written by Glenn McCoy and Dave Rosenbaum. The executive producer is Chris Renaud, and the cast is Pierre Coffin as the voice of the Minions, while Jody Gelb plays Barb and Ella and Dave Rosenbaum portrays Dave. Additional voices are provided by Eric Osmond and Chris Renaud, while the associate producers are Robert Taylor and Brett Hoffman. The music is by Michael Gatt, and it is edited by Gilad Carmel and Eric Osmond.

“It’s been a year since Minions appeared on movie screens, and will be another year until they show up in “Despicable Me 3” next summer. Fans are always asking us for more content with the Minions, so the timing felt right for them to star in an all-new short film right before audiences experience Illumination’s newest original film, `The Secret Life of Pets,’” said Chris Meledandri, founder and CEO of Illumination. “The theatrical release of this short serves as an opportunity for some of the most talented storytellers, visual development artists, colorists and story artists in the Illumination family to flex their creative muscles and create a new piece of content for the big screen.”

Ever wonder what your pets do when you’re not around? Illumination Entertainment and Universal Pictures present “The Secret Life of Pets,” a comedy about the lives our pets lead after we leave for work or school each day.

For one bustling Manhattan apartment building, the real day starts after the folks on two legs leave for work and school. That’s when the pets of every stripe, fur and feather begin their own nine-to-five routine: hanging out with each other, trading humiliating stories about their owners, auditioning adorable looks to get better snacks and watching Animal Planet like it is reality TV.

The building’s top dog, Max (Louis C.K.), a quick-witted Terrier rescue who’s convinced he sits at the center of owner Katie’s (Ellie Kemper) universe, finds his pampered life turned upside down when she brings home Duke (Eric Stonestreet), a sloppy, massive mess of a mongrel with zero interpersonal skills. When this reluctant canine duo finds themselves out on the mean streets of New York, they have to set aside their differences and unite against a fluffy, yet cunning, bunny named Snowball (Kevin Hart), who’s building an army of pets who’ve been abandoned by their owners and are out to turn the tables on humanity…all this and making it home before Katie returns at dinnertime.

Opening across the Philippines on August 24, 2016, “The Secret Life of Pets” is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.

Chris Pratt-Jennifer Lawrence’s ‘Passengers’ gets first-look photo

From the director of the Oscar Best Picture nominee “The Imitation Game” and the screenwriter of “Prometheus” comes Columbia Pictures’ futuristic thriller “Passengers” starring Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt.

Take your first look at the lone official image that’s just been released by the studio.

In the film, on a routine journey through space to a new home, two passengers, sleeping in suspended animation, are awakened 90 years too early when their ship malfunctions. As Jim (Chris Pratt) and Aurora (Jennifer Lawrence) face living the rest of their lives on board, with every luxury they could ever ask for, they begin to fall for each other, unable to deny their intense attraction… until they discover the ship is in grave danger. With the lives of 5000 sleeping passengers at stake, only Jim and Aurora can save them all.

“Passengers” is directed by Oscar-nominee Morten Tyldum, written by Jon Spaihts, produced by Neal H. Moritz, Stephen Hamel, Michael Maher and Ori Marmur.

The film also stars Michael Sheen (“Underworld” franchise) and Laurence Fishburne (“The Matrix” franchise).

Opening across the Philippines in January 2017, “Passengers” is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International. #passengers

Kevin Hart breathes life to villain bunny in ‘The Secret Life of Pets’

Comic sensation Kevin Hart lends his voice to the bunny Snowball, in Illumination Entertainment and Universal Pictures’ new comedy adventure “The Secret Life of Pets,” opening in Philippine cinemas August 24.

An adorable and deranged Bunny who’s building an army of “Flushed Pets” who have been abandoned by their owners, Snowball is insanely cute… and also, insane.

In the film, Max (Louis C.K.), a quick-witted Terrier rescue who’s convinced he sits at the center of owner Katie’s universe, finds his pampered life turned upside down when she brings home Duke (Eric Stonestreet), a sloppy, massive mess of a mongrel with zero interpersonal skills. When this reluctant canine duo finds themselves out on the mean streets of New York, they have to set aside their differences and unite against a fluffy, yet cunning, bunny named Snowball, whose army of pets are out to turn the tables on humanity…all this and making it home before Katie returns at dinnertime.

Producer Chris Meledandri states that Illumination appreciates performers who can bring a bit of wickedness and slightly off-center vocal mannerisms to their roles: “Steve Carell did a fantastic job of that in `Despicable Me,’ and Kevin Hart does this with Snowball.”

Meledandri raves that Snowball is absolutely one of the wildest, most imaginative animated characters on any film he has ever seen. He agrees with his colleagues that so much of that energy comes from the man who vocalizes the wayward bunny. “This is Kevin Hart’s first voice for an animated movie,” Meledandri says. “He loves Snowball, and it comes through in the performance. He has a blast as the character, and that is so apparent because the performance is filled with joy. Snowball’s a rascal, so it’s hard to play a character who is somewhat wicked but is still so appealing every time he’s on screen, but Kevin embodies it. His voice for this fluffy, adorable bunny—who in a nanosecond can turn crazy—is phenomenal.”

“Both Kevin Hart and Snowball are forces of nature,” adds co-screenwriter Brian Lynch. “When you give Kevin a two-line joke, he is able to turn it into an eight-line joke that is so much funnier than the one you wrote.”

Hart’s recent movie projects include the action-comedy blockbuster Universal’s “Central Intelligence” opposite Dwayne Johnson, Screen Gems’ “The Wedding Ringer,” which also starred Josh Gad; and Warner Bros.’ “Get Hard” opposite Will Ferrell.

Opening across the Philippines on August 24, 2016, “The Secret Life of Pets” is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.

GUIDE: Asia on Screen Film Festival 2016

Now on its third year, Asia on Screen Film Festival will run from September 15 to 18, 2016 at the Greenbelt 3 cinemas in Makati City.

This is made possible by Asia Society Philippines and Security Bank, together with Ayala Malls Cinemas and the Film Development Council of the Philippines.

Admission

Tickets are now available on-site at the Greenbelt 3 Cinemas or via sureseats.com. Ticket price is 100 PHP per screening.

Festival Selections

The festival will showcase a vibrant line-up which includes Tanna (Australia), A Tale of Three Cities (China), Airlift (India), In the Absence of the Sun (Indonesia), Miss Hokusai (Japan), Frontline (Korea), The Journey (Malaysia), Above the Clouds (Philippines), Taklub (Philippines), 7 Letters (Singapore), Teacher’s Diary (Thailand), Heart Attack (Thailand), and On the Peaceful Peak (Vietnam).

Asia on Screen Film Festival will kick off with a Directors’ Dialogue with Philippine director, Pepe Diokno (Above the Clouds) and Thai director, Nithiwat Tharatorn (Teacher’s Diary). The dialogue will focus on the opportunities and challenges in Southeast Asian film markets, specifically in the Philippines and Thailand, and will delve into the directors’ personal journeys. This free forum will be on September 15, 10AM-12NN at the Asian Institute of Management.

This year, the film fest opens with Above the Clouds. Capturing the breath-taking highlands of the Ifugao region, the film is an emotional journey towards transformation and deliverance.

Other entries explore socio-political topics through significant human experiences. Taklub, a Brillante Mendoza film, documents a family’s struggles from the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda that ripped through the city of Tacloban. Australia’s multi-award winning film, Tanna, is based on a true story on tribal issues, performed by the people of Yakel in Vanuatu. Korean film, Front Line, narrates the relationship between the North and the South through prisoners of war.


7 Letters

September 16 (Friday) – 5:00 PM

Genre: Drama
Rating: PG
Cast: Faizal Abdullah, Aric Hidir Amin, Fatin Amira, Lydia Look, Nadia m Din
Running Time: 116 min.

7 Letters represents seven heartfelt ‘love letters’ to Singapore, capturing each of the directors’ personal and poignant connection with the place they call home. The seven stories tell of our heartland and its people through tales of lost love, identity, inter-generational familial bonds and tensions, unlikely neighbors, and even references to traditional folklore.


Above the Clouds

September 15 – 5:00 PM
September 18 – 2:30 PM

Genre: Drama
Rating: MTRCB rating not yet available
Cast: Ruru Madrid, Pepe Smith
Running Time: 90 min.

A 15-year-old boy goes on a hiking trip with his estranged grandfather, and overcomes the grief of losing his parents on a mountain above the clouds.


Airlift

September 18 – 10:00 PM

Genre: Action
Rating: MTRCB rating not yet available
Cast: Nimrat Kaur, Akshay Kumar, Purab Kohli
Running Time: 130 min.

Ranjit Katiyal, a ruthless Indian businessman, leads a happy and successful life in Kuwait with his family. He has just struck a deal with the Emir of Kuwait. Soon, Iraq invades Kuwait and Ranjit finds himself playing the role of a Rescuer flitting between Kuwait, Iraq and Jordan managing help from wherever it comes, risking his and his family’s life.


Heart Attack

September 17 – 10:00 PM

Genre: Romance/Drama
Rating: MTRCB rating not yet available
Cast: Sunny Suwanmethanon, Davika Hoorne, Violette Wautier
Running Time: 130 min.

Yoon is the busiest 30-year-old freelance graphic designer in Thailand. After staying up working for 5 days straight, strange rashes appears all over his body. He meets Doctor Imm at a public hospital and falls in love with her. Will Doctor Imm be able to diagnose Yoon’s syndrome before his heart condition gets worse?


Miss Hokusai

September 17 – 7:30 PM

Genre: Animation/Biography/Drama
Rating: PG
Cast: Kumiko Asô, Gaku Hamada, Kengo Kôra
Running Time: 93 min.

It’s 1814 and the city of Edo is one of the most populated homes of peasants, samurai, townsmen, merchants, nobles, artists, courtesans, and maybe even supernatural beings. Two residents are the highly accomplished artist Tetsuzo and his talented 23-year-old daughter O-Ei. Tetsuo gains worldwide acclaim as Katsushika Hokusai, but few would know “Miss Hokusai,” the daughter who assisted him uncredited.


On the Peaceful Peak

September 18 – 5:00 PM

Genre: Drama
Rating: MTRCB rating not yet available
Cast: Nguyen Thanh Binh, Minh Thao
Running Time: 105 min.

Film tells story of a traditional ceramic village in Ninh Thuan province. The artist, the lads and girls of Cham minority who have been experienced many ups and downs, realize that they can not live forever in poverty. Yet, along with the changes to develop, they must respect and conserve the cultural quintessence of Cham minority.


Taklub

September 15 – 10:00 AM

Genre: Drama
Rating: MTRCB rating not yet available
Cast: Nora Aunor, Julio Diaz, Aaron Rivera
Running Time: 140 min.

After the Super typhoon Haiyan, which changed the city of Tacloban in the Philippines into its horrendous state, the lives of Bebeth, Larry and Erwin intertwine. The survivors are left to search for the dead, while keeping their sanity intact, and protecting what little faith there may be left.


Tale of Three Cities

September 16 – 12:00 PM
September 18 – 7:30 PM

Genre: Drama
Rating: MTRCB rating not yet available
Cast: Tang Wei, Sean Lau, Boran Jing, Qin Hailu, Huang Ju
Running Time: 130 min.

Yuerong is a young widow who is forced to peddle opium in order to support her two little daughters. Daolong is a handsome officer at a river checkpoint. When Daolong becomes the target of both the Nationalists and the Communists, the couple is forced to escape across a country devastated by famine and war.


Tanna

September 15 – 12:00 PM
September 17 – 2:30 PM

Genre: Drama/Romance
Rating: MTRCB rating not yet available
Cast: Marie Wawa, Mungau Dain
Running Time: 100 min.

In a traditional tribal society in the South Pacific, a young girl, Wawa, falls in love with her chief’s grandson, Dain. When an inter tribal war escalates, Wawa is unknowingly betrothed as part of a peace deal. The young lovers run away, refusing her arranged fate. They must choose between their hearts and the future of the tribe.


Teacher’s Diary

September 15 – 2:30 PM
September 18 – 12:00 PM

Genre: Romance/Comedy
Rating: MTRCB rating not yet available
Cast: Chaowwiwatkul,Supalerk Ningsanond
Running Time: 120 min.

Song, a former professional wrestler, finds a new job as a teacher at a primary school located on a floating community surrounded by mountains. He discovers a former teacher’s diary and falls in love with the unacquainted writer. Will these two teachers finally meet?


The Front Line

September 16 – 7:30 PM

Genre: Drama/History
Rating: MTRCB rating not yet available
Cast: Shin Ha-kyun, Lee Je-hoon, Go Soo, Kim Ok-bin
Running Time: 133 min.

Early in the Korean War in 1950 as the North is rolling through South Korea, South Korean privates Eun-pyo and Soo-hyeok are captured during a battle and brought to North Korean captain Jung-yoon. Afterwards he lets the prisoners go free, so that they can help reconstruct the nation after the war.

The Journey

September 17 – 5:00 PM

Genre: Comedy/Drama/Family
Rating: PG
Cast: Sai Peng Lee, Ben Pfeiffer, Joanne Yew
Running Time: 110 min.

Bee comes home to Malaysia after graduating abroad and brings back her foreign fiancé Benji. Her father, Uncle Chuan, vigorously opposed the marriage due to Ben’s frivolous behavior but he failed to change his daughter’s mind. In the end, Uncle Chuan agrees to the marriage with the condition that the wedding adheres to Chinese tradition.

South Korean zombie apocalypse film ‘Train to Busan’ gets release date in PH

You want it, you got it! The hit Korean Zombie movie “Train To Busan” is officially coming Philippine cinemas on September 1, 2016! 80 cinemas confirmed as of August 19, 2016.

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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.

Filming began April 26, 2015 and was finished August 19, 2015. Starring Gong Yoo, popularly known from the hit Korean TV Series “The Coffee Prince.” The film premiered in the Midnight Screenings section at the Cannes Film Festival 2016 on May 13. On August 7, the film set a record as the first Korean film of 2016 to break the audience record with over 10 million moviegoers.

This is director Yeon Sang-ho’s first live-action film which is a sequel to his animated film titled“Seoul Station.” The events in Seoul Station takes place one day prior to the events in Train to Busan.

Because of its Hollywood-like appeal, “Busanhaeng” or “Train To Busan” has already been released outside South Korea after its opening on July 20, reaching the United States of America, Canada, Singapore, Thailand, New Zealand, Australia, Vietnam, France, Hongkong, Germany, Indonesia, Taiwan, Argentina and Chile. Train to Busan is the first Korean film to gross $1 million in Singapore. Its worldwide gross as of August 1, 2016 is US $80,201,768.

1 Train to Busan

“Train to Busan” opens September 1, 2016 in Philippine cinemas from Red Peter Film and Next Entertainment World, locally distributed by Rafaella Films.

Casting talented cats as Mr. Fuzzypants in ‘Nine Lives’

From Barry Sonnenfeld, director of classic hits “Men in Black,” “The Addams Family,” “When Harry Met Sally” and “Big” comes his latest family movie event “Nine Lives” starring award-winning actors Kevin Spacey, Christopher Walken and Jennifer Garner along with Robbie Ammell and Malina Weissman.

“Nine Lives” follows the exciting life of Tom Brand (Kevin Spacey), an undeniably successful, impossibly wealthy, but unapologetic jerk. Striving to build the tallest skyscraper in the Northern Hemisphere, the daredevil billionaire will sacrifice anything — even the love of his family — to complete an architectural marvel nearly as gargantuan as his ego. Tom’s workaholic lifestyle has alienated his long-suffering family, including his devoted wife Lara (Jennifer Garner), neglected adult son David (Robbie Amell) and starved-for-attention young daughter Rebecca (Malina Weissman). When Rebecca’s 11th birthday arrives, the girl begs her father for the same present she asks for every year: a cat. Tom hates cats, but reluctantly finds himself in a magical pet shop owned by the quirky Felix Perkins (Christopher Walken). The peculiar proprietor knows exactly what Brand needs — and its name is Mr. Fuzzypants.

After suffering a fateful accident on the way to Rebecca’s birthday party, a horrified Tom discovers that while his human form is lying comatose in a hospital bed, he is watching events unfold from inside the body of the cat. Trapped inside Mr. Fuzzypants and trying desperately to make his loved ones aware of his situation, he soon realizes that if he is ever to earn back his human existence, he must reconnect with his family and become the husband and father they deserve.

Visual effects supervisor Craig Hayes, who was given the daunting task of blending the film’s real-life felines with its computer-generated ones says that there’s nothing funnier than real cats. Mr. Fuzzypants is actually played by six different cats, each trained to perform a different set of tasks. The cast of animal actors was overseen by a pair of professional trainers who have a long history with Sonnenfeld. “Barry’s worked with Janine Aines and Christie Miele for a number of shows, including the three Men in Black films,” explains Hayes.

The trainers found their lead actor in Gene, a veteran show cat who has traveled the world. “Gene is the dramatic star who did all the sitting and staying and looking around,” explains Miele, “while Connery is the main action cat who attacked, retrieved, climbed a tower and was chased. Another cat, Yuri, danced with Tom’s daughter Rebecca, as well as helping out as an all-around stand-in.”

Constant food rewards worked like a charm when it came to getting the cats to perform action scenes like the one in which Mr. Fuzzypants runs away with Lara’s car keys. “Keeping the cats focused required desensitizing them to their surroundings, such as sudden movements and sounds,” explains the trainer.

Sonnenfeld says he is immensely pleased with the way the film turned out, despite once again contradicting one of Hollywood’s oldest tropes. “They say never work with animals or kids, and somehow, I’ve managed to make a living doing both. I think audiences will really like seeing it.”

“Nine Lives” opens August 17, 2016 in cinemas from Pioneer Films.

Jonah Hill, Miles Teller take on the U.S. army in ‘War Dogs’

It might have been one of the biggest hustles ever… and it could only happen in America.

Warner Bros. Pictures’ new comedic drama “War Dogs” grew out of the story of two stoner kids, barely into their 20s, who became multi-millionaires as the most improbable of international arms dealers. But just as they reached what should have been the pinnacle of success, it all came crashing down in spectacular fashion.

One of the unifying themes of filmmaker Todd Phillips’ movies is people making bad decisions. Whether it’s a few post-college guys starting their own frat house or four friends planning an ill-fated bachelor party in Vegas, there are always repercussions that are outrageous and completely unexpected. Bad decisions are again at the center of “War Dogs,” but there is an edge to the humor, born of the fact that the film is based on a true story of a couple of guys who managed to turn a little-known government initiative on its ear…to the tune of $300 million dollars.

Phillips offers, “I always think movies have a little more gravity to them when you can take real events and build on them. It’s a movie about the rise and fall of two young guys, chasing their image of the ‘American dream,’ who got a little too greedy. And, you know, a little bit of greed gets in the way of good decision making.”

It all started during the George W. Bush administration when huge no-bid contracts to supply the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were being awarded to conglomerates like Halliburton, Raytheon and Lockheed Martin. As criticism of the perceived cronyism and war-profiteering grew, the government decided to level the playing field with FedBizOpps (short for Federal Business Operations), which opened the bidding on military contracts to…well…virtually anyone. Unfortunately, there were just enough loopholes to make it possible to take advantage of the system.

The tale was chronicled in a 2011 Rolling Stone article called “Arms and the Dudes,” by Guy Lawson. “The Bush administration was trying to favor small businesses,” Lawson expands, “and no business was smaller than these dudes, sitting in a studio apartment in Miami Beach with nothing but a bong on the table, a laptop and a cell phone.”

Producer Mark Gordon recounts, “I was on a plane when I first read the story in Rolling Stone, and I couldn’t believe it was true. Everything about it cried out to be made into a movie. I’ve always found that audiences love films about characters who beat the system, even if they ultimately get their comeuppance, one way or another. Add in the fact that these two seemed the most unlikely people to pull off this kind of hustle, and you have something really special.”

Gordon adds that Phillips was the perfect director to bring the tale to the big screen. He states, “There is no one better than Todd to tell a story about outrageous characters getting into all kinds of trouble. He’s the master.”

“War Dogs” also marks the first film on which Phillips and Bradley Cooper (who also stars in the film) teamed as producers under the banner of their new production entity, Joint Effort. Cooper relates, “I was very interested to see how Todd was going to take the article and realize it cinematically. I loved the idea of a film about what these guys did, knowing it would be spawned from Todd’s brain.”

The tale’s driving force was always money. Phillips confirms, “It’s very clear in the movie: they are not necessarily pro-war. It’s not about who’s fighting or why they’re fighting, it’s about how much product can they move. So war is really just an opportunity for them. And that’s a true thing. War is an economy. There is an underbelly to it where a lot of people make a lot of money and these two guys are just trying to get in on that.”

Opening across the Philippines on August 24, 2016, “War Dogs” is distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

WATCH: Epic battle erupts in ‘The Great Wall’ first trailer

Universal Pictures and Legendary have unveiled the first trailer for the epic adventure “The Great Wall” starring Matt Damon. (The trailer may be viewed below.)

Starring global superstar Matt Damon and directed by one of the most breathtaking visual stylists of our time, Zhang Yimou (“Hero,” “House of Flying Daggers”), “The Great Wall” tells the story of an elite force making a valiant stand for humanity on the world’s most iconic structure.

The first English-language production for Yimou is also the largest film ever shot entirely in China. “The Great Wall” also stars Jing Tian, Pedro Pascal, Willem Dafoe and Andy Lau.

Opening on January 2017 across the Philippines, “The Great Wall” is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.

Kevin Spacey becomes cat in magical family comedy ‘Nine Lives’

From the director the worldwide blockbuster action comedy film “Men In Black,” filmmaker Barry Sonnenfeld brings together a cast of actors in his latest family movie “Nine Lives” led by Kevin Spacey with Jennifer Garner, Robbie Amell, Malina Weissman, Christopher Walken and Cheryl Hines.

In “Nine Lives,” an immensely successful businessman who has built an empire at the expense of any sort of true human connection, Tom Brand (Spacey) is surrounded by good people who love him in spite of his skyscraper-sized flaws. But it isn’t until he finds himself with four paws and a tail that Tom realizes how lucky he’s been.

A unique mix of heartwarming family fare, supernatural mystery and slapstick comedy, “Nine Lives” also delivers the thrill of seeing one of the most talented actors of our time inhabiting the body of an adorable cat named Mr. Fuzzypants. Hearkening back to films as diverse as It’s a Wonderful Life, Big and Freaky Friday, it’s a concept that should appeal to audiences from 5 to 85 — and one that Kevin Spacey was excited to join.

“For me, this is a great opportunity because I love doing comedy,” explains the two-time Oscar® winner. “People often think of me in a darker, more evil kind of part. But it’s a great joy for me to be able to come to work every day and do something that’s really funny, really fast and very clever.”

Sonnenfeld, whose long list of hits also includes “The Addams Family,” “Get Shorty” and “Wild Wild West,” says the film falls squarely in his wheelhouse. “It’s what I do as a filmmaker: It’s fantasy and it’s funny but it’s also real,” explains the director. “It’s a very funny movie in a fantastic situation that somehow is totally grounded in reality.”

According to co-writer Ben Shiffren, the goal of the script was to tell a story with humor and heart about a man who has alienated his family by spending all his time at the office and is forced, through a magical intervention, to reassess his priorities. “We wanted the tone be a bit more mature than just a typical ‘cat hijinks’ movie, so parents are able to appreciate it as well as kids,” he adds.

At the same time, the writers wanted to mine the rich comedic potential of a self-centered and controlling person trapped in a pet’s body, says co-writer Daniel Antoniazzi. “Part of Tom Brand’s karmic punishment for ignoring his family is that he gets to hear what they think of him, and hear how they miss him, how they love him. But also how he’s done wrong, the times he’s missed out on life events.”

Producer Jonathan Vanger describes “Nine Lives” as a light-hearted comedy with “a lot of fun things in it, including animals, children and some great actors.” He credits Sonnenfeld with bringing it all together into a fresh, funny, family-friendly fable. “I’ve seen all of Barry’s movies, but I hadn’t met the man before working on this film. He is extremely efficient and knows exactly what he wants. It’s a delight to work with a director who is that well organized, and is able to make the movie he wants, almost editing it in the camera as he goes along. It’s pretty impressive.”

Family movie “Nine Lives” opens August 18, 2016 in cinemas nationwide from Pioneer Films.