Hopes And Dreams
It seems like every weekend brings another dire headline from Hollywood, as one big-budget, overblown summer tentpole after another either drastically disappoints or tanks outright. So far a half-dozen major releases have fallen flat. This trend is even more disappointing because all the flops have been non-sequels — missed opportunities, therefore, to impress us with something we haven’t seen before. But it turns out the studios cheated us on originality. As The New York Times pointed out, ”Pacific Rim… seemed to share DNA with Transformers. The Lone Ranger was Pirates of the Caribbean in Old West drag. R.I.P.D. was Men in Black lite.” And so I’m especially excited by this week’s cover subject, Elysium, a smart, thrilling, timely, and wildly original sci-fi adventure opening Aug. 9, starring Matt Damon and Jodie Foster. It’s directed by Neill Blomkamp, who wowed us four years ago with his visionary debut feature, District 9. ”I want to sit in a movie theater and watch something that’s a ride,” Blomkamp tells EW’s Sean Smith. ”I want that adrenaline part of filmmaking, but I also want it to be about something more than just things blowing up.” We’ve heard this from directors before; they almost always set out with the best intentions, until budget constraints, budget excess, marketing problems, studio notes, temperamental actors, or bad planning derail their hopes and dreams. In the case of Elysium, the stars aligned, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
Speaking of hopes and dreams: The crowds at San Diego Comic-Con were pulsating with both last week as studios and networks unveiled sneak peeks at some of their most promising movies and TV shows to the 130,000 fans in attendance. EW brought all the excitement to you from our studio at the Hard Rock Hotel. Michael Muller shot portraits of dozens of stars and casts. EW writers and editors conducted video interviews for our site with everyone from Gravity‘s Sandra Bullock to Doctor Who‘s Matt Smith. And our SiriusXM channel broadcast from our studio live throughout the convention. Special thanks to Hyundai for sponsoring our video series. And to Bill Gannon, managing editor of EW.com; Lisa Simpson Briel, West Coast special events director; Richard Maltz, West Coast deputy photo director; and their teams for making the EW studio run so smoothly. As always, they created an amazing space — perhaps the only place on earth where you can hang with Spider-Man, Jon Snow, and Nick Fury all at the same time.