Steven Spielberg

May 21, 2015 | 1:20 p.m.

Throwback Thursday: Original ‘Poltergeist’ conjured controversy over ratings creative control

It’s an image ingrained in the memory of horror film fans: A little girl in front of a static-filled television set, holding out her hands to touch the whispering screen. As director Gil Kenan’s remake of “Poltergeist” opens in theaters Friday, this week’s edition of Throwback Thursday revisits the seminal original, about a suburban family whose young daughter Carol Anne communicates with spirits who can throw objects, move furniture and manipulate weather. “Poltergeist,” co-produced and co-written by Steven Spielberg, stepped into the light on June 4, 1982. The film, which contained no graphic sex, no slasher gore and no deaths, was frightening enough to spark a ratings controversy. The MPAA initially gave it an R rating because “cumulative effect” was “too intense,” co-producer Frank Marshall told The Times before the film’s release. Spielberg was so upset about the R rating, […]
March 25, 2015 | 4:10 p.m.

Steven Spielberg will direct pop culture thriller ‘Ready Player One’

For a lot of people, Steven Spielberg, the director of “E.T.” and the Indiana Jones trilogy, is an integral part of the pop culture of the 1980s. The Hollywood mogul’s mark is everywhere on the decade. So it’s either a no-brainer or a head-scratcher that the Bearded One is directing the film version of “Ready Player One.” Based on the novel by Ernest Cline, “Ready Player One” is set in a dystopian future where the majority of humanity spends its time jacked into a massive online simulation known as the Oasis that is heavily influenced by the ’80s pop culture obsessions of its creator: Dungeons & Dragons, “Star Wars” and old Atari games, among them. Spielberg will produce and direct the film for Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow. Donald De Line, Dan Farah and Kristie Macosko Krieger are also producers on the film, which […]
Nov. 25, 2014 | 11:02 a.m.

‘Jurassic World’ trailer: Watch Chris Pratt track dinosaurs in new clip

The dinosaurs are ready to roam the big screen once more. The new trailer for “Jurassic World” arrived Tuesday, offering the first detailed glimpse of the anticipated fourth film in the franchise inspired by the work of author Michael Crichton. Set for release June 12, the movie stars newly minted action hero Chris Pratt, who is called upon to help protect visitors to the world’s grandest theme park from a new, genetically modified dinosaur. “Jurassic World” is directed by Colin Trevorrow, who earned acclaim with his earlier indie entry “Safety Not Guaranteed”; Trevorrow cowrote the script for the upcoming film with his earlier collaborator Derek Connolly, who also is credited as a screenwriter on another planned summer 2015 release, “Monster Trucks.” “Jurassic Park” director Steven Spielberg serves as an executive producer on the new movie, which also stars Bryce Dallas […]
June 13, 2014 | 3:50 p.m.

Joe Dante recalls studio fretted about Gremlin creepiness factor [video]

Before “Gremlins” hit theaters in 1984, studio executives fretted that the creepy critters might be too frightening for moviegoers. “They thought the Gremlins were very unpleasant,” director Joe Dante recalled during a recent appearance at the Hero Complex Film Festival. “So, they sent some notes, one of which was: ‘Too many gremlins.’ ” Luckily Steven Spielberg, the executive producer, had the perfect rejoinder. “Well, we could cut all the Gremlins out and call it ‘People.’ How would you like that?” It was the type of sardonic comeback that perhaps only Spielberg could have gotten away with at the time. After all, as Dante pointed out, he was essentially the reason the film was made. Dante said that Warner Bros., “basically backed it because Steven Spielberg wanted to make it, and they wanted to make him happy.” Dante spoke with Hero […]
May 21, 2013 | 5:39 p.m.

Xbox One: Microsoft focuses on managing content, not gaming

PERSPECTIVE At this morning’s Xbox One reveal in Redmond, Wash., the new “Call of Duty” game received an extended preview and a new game titled “Quantum Break” was given a giant promotional push. But the biggest star of Microsoft’s news conference to showcase  its Xbox 360 successor was a film director, one who spoke only via a pre-filmed video. Steven Spielberg, it was divulged this morning, will executive produce an original “Halo” television series based on the popular video game franchise that’s long been tied to the Xbox ecosystem. “For me, the ‘Halo’ universe is an amazing opportunity to be at the intersection where technology and storytelling meet,” Spielberg said, adding that he’s been interested in games since the era of “Pong” and that they have now evolved, technologically speaking, to a point where interactive storytelling is at its most […]
Jan. 09, 2013 | 5:15 p.m.

No ‘Robopocalypse’ for Spielberg as director nixes movie plans

It must have seemed like a dream come true for Daniel H. Wilson when filmmaker Steven Spielberg scooped up the rights to his not-yet-complete sci-fi novel “Robopocalypse,” a cautionary tale in which an artificial intelligence releases a virus that leads the planet’s network of machines to violently turn on the human race. Today, it looks like the dream has been put on hold. As first reported by The Hollywood Reporter, Spielberg has nixed plans to shoot the literary adaptation. The news comes on the eve of the nominations for the 85th Academy Awards — Spielberg’s drama “Lincoln” is widely tipped as a likely competitor in a number of categories, including best picture. Spielberg’s deep résumé of beloved genre fare, of course, includes “War of the Worlds,” “Minority Report” and “A.I. Artificial Intelligence,” not to mention such landmark films as “E.T. […]
Oct. 08, 2012 | 6:53 p.m.

‘E.T.’: Kathleen Kennedy on Spielberg, Lucas and making of a classic

Kathleen Kennedy has a résumé nearly unmatched in Hollywood — over the years, she’s produced such respected films as “The Color Purple,” “Empire of the Sun,” “Jurassic Park,” “The Sixth Sense,” “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” and the upcoming historical epic, “Lincoln.” In June, George Lucas named Kennedy, 59, as co-chair for his vast Lucasfilm empire. One prominent feature of her lengthy filmography is Kennedy’s long-running collaboration with Steven Spielberg — she first worked with him as a production assistant on his costly flop, “1941,” then as associate producer on 1981’s “Raiders of the Lost Ark”; along with her husband, producer Frank Marshall, and Spielberg, she created the successful production company Amblin and served as its president until 1992, when she and Marshall formed the Kennedy/Marshall Co. Her first producer credit came in 1982 with Spielberg’s beloved boy-and-his-alien fantasy […]
Oct. 02, 2012 | 2:00 p.m.

Ben Burtt on the sound of ‘Raiders,’ ‘ET’ and Spielberg’s inspiration

The last few weeks have been a real and vivid trip down memory lane for Oscar-winning sound designer and sound effects editor Ben Burtt. The man who created the hum of the light saber, Darth Vader’s ominous, synthetic breathing and even the languages spoken by various “Star Wars” creatures is celebrating a new look at some other of his landmark cinematic achievements. He restored the sound for Steven Spielberg’s classic adventure “Raiders of the Lost Ark” for last month’s Blu-Ray release of “Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures,” and his handiwork also is on display in the upcoming 30th anniversary Blu-ray  release of “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial.” (Burtt created the voice for Elliott’s otherworldly best friend for Spielberg’s beloved family film from a recording of his wife sleeping while she had a cold.) Burtt earned Oscars for special achievement for sound effects […]
Sept. 11, 2012 | 3:37 p.m.

‘E.T.’ coming to theaters, Blu-ray for 30th anniversary

Thirty years after Steven Spielberg’s lovable spaceman first flew across the silver screen, “E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial” is returning to theaters for one night Oct. 3 and debuting on Blu-ray on Oct. 9. “E.T.” chronicled the friendship between a lost alien and a young boy, Elliott (Henry Thomas), who tries to help the otherworldly stranger escape government agents and find his way home. The film starred Robert MacNaughton as Elliott’s older brother Michael and Drew Barrymore as their younger sister, Gertie. The film was nominated for nine Oscars, winning four, including for John Williams’ iconic score. “E.T.” became a touchstone for children of the 1970s and ’80s, an inspiration for some of today’s most creative filmmakers (including J.J. Abrams and Joe Cornish), and a life-altering experience for a young Spielberg. “When I went home from production of ‘E.T.,’ I didn’t want […]
July 06, 2012 | 12:19 p.m.

‘Indiana Jones’ leaps to Blu-ray, snakes slither to Comic-Con booth

Indiana Jones is making his Blu-ray debut, more than 31 years after the adventuring archaeologist first bull-whipped his way across the big screen in Steven Spielberg’s “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” To mark the release, Lucasfilm is re-creating a scene from “Raiders” at its Comic-Con booth (booth 2913); fans of the Harrison Ford-starring franchise will be able to have their picture taken with a slither of snakes, à la Indy in the Well of Souls. Comic-Con attendees who pre-order the Blu-ray box set — which includes “Raiders,” “The Temple of Doom,” “The Last Crusade” and 2008’s Shia LaBeouf-starring “Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” — at the booth with receive a $25 gift card for Sideshow Collectibles. The collection will retail for $99.99 and hits stores Sept. 18. Check out an exclusive first look at the trailer in the video above. […]
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