Pop culture from Southern California and beyond.

Cruise's 'Tomorrow' may flop: Is the era of the movie star over?

BRITAIN-ENTERTAINMENT-CINEMA-EDGE OF TOMORROW

Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images

Caption:US actor Tom Cruise arrives for the World Premiere of the film 'Edge of Tomorrow' at the BFI IMAX cinema in London on May 28, 2014.

Warner Bros Entertainment at Comic-Con International 2013 - Day 3

Handout/Getty Images

In this handout photo provided by WBTV, "Edge of Tomorrow" star Tom Cruise with his futuristic battle gear at the Warner Bros. booth during Comic-Con 2013 on July 20, 2013 in San Diego.

BRITAIN-ENTERTAINMENT-CINEMA-EDGE OF TOMORROW

ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images

Tom Cruise arrives for the World Premiere of the film 'Edge of Tomorrow' at the BFI IMAX cinema in London on May 28, 2014.

Warner Bros. And Legendary Pictures Preview - Comic-Con International 2013

Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Tom Cruise speaks onstage at the Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures preview of "Edge of Tomorrow" during Comic-Con International 2013 at San Diego Convention Center on July 20, 2013.

FRANCE-ENTERTAINMENT-CINEMA-EDGE OF TOMORROW

THOMAS SAMSON/AFP/Getty Images

Caption:US actor Tom Cruise poses at the premiere of the film 'Edge of Tomorrow', in Paris on May 28, 2014.

"Edge Of Tomorrow" New York Premiere

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Actor Tom Cruise attends the "Edge Of Tomorrow" red carpet repeat fan premiere tour at AMC Loews Lincoln Square on May 28, 2014 in New York City.


The hook of Tom Cruise’s new movie, “Edge of Tomorrow,” is that the actor’s character is caught in an endless time loop, succumbing to the same fate again and again.

RELATED: The Last Real Movie Star?: Tom Cruise from 'Risky Business' to Oprah's couch and beyond

It’s also an unfortunate and apt metaphor for how the actor has fared at the box office, and “Edge of Tomorrow” is unlikely to reverse the 51-year-old’s plummeting popularity with moviegoers, especially those in the United States.

Edge of Tomorrow trailer

If “Edge of Tomorrow” fizzles, it is likely to advance the debate inside Hollywood over whether any actor can deliver a hit just through star power alone.

Hollywood’s audience tracking surveys, which poll potential ticket buyers before a movie opens, suggest that “Edge of Tomorrow” could gross as little as $25 million in its first three days of release this coming weekend.

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Batman poster presents 75 highlights in 75 years of Bat-History

DC Comics

A Batman graphic chronicling Batman's 75 years of history.

DC Comics

A new take on the cover to Detective Comics #27.

DC Comics

A Batman cape.


As part of their celebration of the 75th anniversary of Batman, DC Comics has released a new poster showing highlights (and, depending on your perspective, lowlights) of the character's history.

(Click here to see the full-sized version of the graphic.)

Those notable moments include hero and villain debuts, Batman TV shows and films, and the iconic storylines that burrowed their way into fans' minds. Sure, the items get a little more clumped together in the modern era, both due to a change in storytelling style and pushing the new as any good PR machine does, but it offers a nice look at what has made Batman a modern legend.

Some fun facts related to this run through history:

  • Commissioner James Gordon, the main character in Fox's new "Gotham" mini-series, goes all the way back to the beginning — he debuted along with Batman in Detective Comics #27, predating Bat-sidekick Robin
  • Mr. Freeze, made infamous by Arnold Schwarzenegger in the critically slammed movie "Batman & Robin," originally debuted in 1959 as "Mr. Zero"; the infamous film is also featured in the timeline, right alongside an Arnold picture
  • The '60s Batman movie had a tight turnaround with the show, debuting the same year as the television series
  • The original Batgirl was short-lived — she debuted in 1961, only to be replaced in 1967
  • In one of the most infamous, darkest moments in Batman history, fans voted to kill off Robin the same year the Tim Burton "Batman" film debuted; of course, a new Robin was introduced the next year
  • Some of the storylines noted in the timeline yet to make a major impact in films, leaving some possibilities for future franchise installments: "Hush," "The Court of Owls" and "The Long Halloween"
  • Sorry, Lego fans — the Lego Batman video games and a direct to DVD film get mentioned, but no love for the classic voice work from Will Arnett as Batman in "The Lego Movie"

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Who is Slender Man? The Internet meme is cited in a brutal crime

Eric Knudsen

One of two original Slender Man Photoshop-manipulated images.

Eric Knudsen

One of two original Slender Man Photoshop-manipulated images.


When two 12-year-old girls allegedly stabbed a friend nearly to death last week in suburban Waukesha, Wisc., the crime seemed baffling — until the girls reportedly told authorities why: They said they were trying to please the Slender Man.

Who is the Slender Man?

Authorities — and the media, which have been tracking this story since it broke — soon found out, peeling back the layers of an Internet meme/urban legend and casting public attention on a story and character previously known only to a cultish following of horror fans.

The crime

On Saturday, May 31, the two girls allegedly attacked their 12-year-old female friend, stabbing her 19 times. One of the girls told a detective they wanted to become Slender Man's proxies, the Associated Press reports, and run away from home to live with Slender Man in his mansion in the Nicolet National Forest. 

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'Star Wars: Episode VII': JJ Abrams' Millennium Falcon tweet and the Mystery Box

2013 Winter TCA Tour - Day 3

Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

File: Executive Producer J.J. Abrams speaks onstage at the "Revolution" panel session during the NBCUniversal portion of the 2013 Winter TCA Tour- Day 3 at the Langham Hotel on Jan. 6, 2013 in Pasadena.

J.J. Abrams, the director of next year’s “Star Wars” sequel/reboot/update, is so famously secretive about his film work you'd almost think he’d be happy to never show his movies to audiences, lest they finally talk about what actually happens in them. The habit — developed on projects from his "Alias" TV shows to "Cloverfield" right up to his most recent film, "Star Trek Into Darkness" — even has a nickname: The Mystery Box (watch Abrams' TED talk on the concept below).

All of which makes Abrams' entreaty Wednesday about leaked photos from the set of his upcoming Jedi movie — assuming there will still be Jedis in “Star Wars: Episode VII” — all the more fascinating.

Over the last few days, several websites, but most prominently the Hollywood gossip blog TMZ — best known these days for leaking the Donald Sterling tape that cost the Clippers owner his NBA team — have been posting purloined images from the Tunisian set of the new "Star Wars" film.

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Edgar Wright quits 'Ant-Man'; here's what it would have looked like

Marvel

Ant-Man seen in an image tweeted by Marvel.

Edgar Wright, fan-favorite director of movies like "Shaun of the Dead" and "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World," has dropped out of directing Marvel superhero movie "Ant-Man."

This comes after Wright started developing the project in 2006, with the official announcement by Marvel of Wright directing coming in 2012.

Wright and Marvel released a joint statement:

"Marvel and Edgar Wright jointly announced today that the studio and director have parted ways on Marvel's 'Ant-Man' due to differences in their vision of the film. The decision to move on is amicable and does not impact the release date on July 17, 2015. A new director will be announced shortly."

Paul Rudd's already been announced as the star, playing the miniaturized hero. It seemed like a match made in Heaven, with Wright having a geek comic sensibility that would pair well with Rudd, but now it's not to be.

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