‘The Purge: Election Year,’ now the biggest-grossing movie in the franchise

Performing beyond expectations at the Philippine box-office, Universal Pictures’ “The Purge: Election Year” opened to a jaw-dropping P25.8-million weekend, easily outgrossing the final total receipts of its two predecessors – combined!

The previous films in the violent suspense-thriller franchise – 2013’s “The Purge” and 2014’s “The Purge: Anarchy” – posted a combined cumulative gross of P16-million after their entire run. “Election Year” has already surpassed that figure by 64% on its first five days of release alone, and the film isn’t showing signs of slowing down.

This achievement becomes even more impressive when one factors in the film’s prohibitive R-16 rating, which resulted in fewer cinemas that agreed to exhibit it.

Produced with a budget of only $10-million, the third “Purge” movie’s global gross now stands at a whopping $60.3-million.

Expanding the universe introduced in the hit franchise that electrified the culture and earned $200 million at the worldwide box office, “The Purge: Election Year” reveals the next terrifying chapter that occurs over 12 hours of annual lawlessness sanctioned by the New Founders of America to keep this country great.

It’s been two years since Leo Barnes (Frank Grillo) stopped himself from a regrettable act of revenge on Purge Night. Now serving as head of security for Senator Charlie Roan (Elizabeth Mitchell), his mission is to protect her in a run for president and survive the annual ritual that targets the poor and innocent. But when a betrayal forces them onto the streets of D.C. on the one night when no help is available, they must stay alive until dawn…or both be sacrificed for their sins against the state.

Once again returning to collaborate with franchise creator James DeMonaco on “The Purge: Election Year” are the series’ producers: Blumhouse Productions’ Jason Blum (“Insidious” and “Ouija” series, “The Visit”), Platinum Dunes partners Michael Bay, Brad Fuller and Andrew Form (“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” series, “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”), and writer/director DeMonaco’s longtime production partner, Sébastien K. Lemercier (“Assault on Precinct 13”).

Now playing across the Philippines, “The Purge: Election Year” is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.

Thriller film ‘Nerve’ exposes sinister side of social media

Emma Roberts and Dave Franco star in “Nerve,” a timely edge-of-your-seat thriller and a razor-sharp examination of the seductive power of social media.

Directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman, best known for their work on “Catfish” and the “Paranormal Activity” series, who have created an action-packed urban adventure that also offers keen insights into online behavior.

Based on the popular young-adult novel by Jeanne Ryan, the game of “Nerve” introduces a pool of young thrill-seeking players who accept increasingly risky dares from anonymous watchers to win valuable rewards. As small-time pranks ramp up into dangerous, sometimes acts, fans watch the action captured live on smartphones.

In “Nerve,” when Staten Island high-school senior Vee Delmonico (played by Emma Roberts) is challenged by her best friend to take part in the game, it launches a series of life-changing events. Each game of Nerve lasts only 24 hours; then a winner is declared and it moves on to the next challengers. “The movie asks the audience the same question Vee asks herself,” says Schulman. “Are you a watcher or a player? Not just in the game of Nerve, but in life itself. Vee has played it safe her whole life, but Nerve pushes her to take chances, which can be very dangerous. If you play, you may get hurt, or you may win and become a celebrity and make a lot of money. You can take the safe road, or you can take the risk. It’s all up to you.”

Vee’s adventure starts out as a high-octane Cinderella story, says producer Allison Shearmur. “She meets an unbelievably handsome and sexy stranger. She goes to the Bergdorf Goodman department store and walks out in a dress that costs thousands of dollars. She rides into New York City on a tricked-out motorcycle, and becomes a part of the city in a way that she probably only imagined from her apartment on Staten Island. It only gets dark when she has to start asking the questions that all of us are asking, like, ‘Who is this guy, really?’”

Perhaps the most alarming aspect of the game, Shearmur suggests, is that there is no one villain; the threat comes from the anonymous online onlookers. “The game goes from lighthearted wish-fulfillment to menacing and dangerous. Like a mob screaming for dueling gladiators, the bloodlust of the crowd becomes very disturbing.”

The more sinister side of the internet seemed like a topic that was ripe for exploration to actress Emma Roberts, who plays Vee. “People are putting their whole lives on the internet today,” she notes. “This movie captures that phenomenon and takes it one step further.” Roberts says she thinks twice now when she uses Instagram, Twitter—or even email. “Nothing’s ever truly private. I think this movie taps into that feeling. Whatever you post can potentially be seen by anyone, whether you want it to be or not.”

After the success of Catfish, Joost says he and Schulman were often asked if they believed the internet was inherently dangerous. “We said no, the internet is actually very neutral. It is what you make of it. It can be an inspiring place that introduces you to people you would never meet otherwise. It can push you to become a better person. Or it can bring out something darker in you. At the end of the day, it’s about owning up to your actions.”

“Nerve” is coming soon this July 27, 2016 in cinemas from Pioneer Films.

Filming underway for highly anticipated horror film ‘Annabelle 2’

She’s back! Principal photography has begun on New Line Cinema’s “Annabelle 2,” with David F. Sandberg (upcoming “Lights Out”) helming the follow up to 2014’s hugely successful “Annabelle,” which scared up nearly $257 million at the worldwide box office during its run in theaters. The new film is once again being produced by Peter Safran and James Wan, who also partnered so effectively on “The Conjuring” movies.

In “Annabelle 2,” several years after the tragic death of their little girl, a dollmaker and his wife welcome a nun and several girls from a shuttered orphanage into their home, soon becoming the target of the dollmaker’s possessed creation, Annabelle.

The film stars Stephanie Sigman (“Spectre”), Talitha Bateman (“The 5th Wave”), Lulu Wilson (upcoming “Ouija 2,” “Deliver Us from Evil”), Philippa Anne Coulthard (“After the Dark”), Grace Fulton (“Badland”), Lou Lou Safran (“The Choice”), Samara Lee (“Fox Catcher,” “The Last Witch Hunter”), Tayler Buck in her feature film debut, with Anthony LaPaglia (TV’s “Without a Trace”) and Miranda Otto (Showtime’s “Homeland,” “The Lord of the Rings” Trilogy).

Sandberg directs from a screenplay by Gary Dauberman, who also wrote “Annabelle.” Filming is taking place in Los Angeles.

Collaborating with Sandberg behind-the-scenes from his “Lights Out” team are production designer Jennifer Spence and editor Michel Aller, joined by director of photography Maxime Alexandre (“The Other Side of the Door”) and costume designer Leah Butler (“Paranormal Activity 3 & 4”).

Currently scheduled for release beginning May 19, 2017, “Annabelle 2,” is a New Line Cinema presentation, an Atomic Monster/Safran Company production. The film will be distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.