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On The Lot: Box office slump, horror marketing, 'Midnight Rider' and more

Still from the film
Still from the film "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes."
20th Century Fox

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Hollywood has a pretty lackluster 4th of July weekend. Theirs was the equivalent of the drunk uncle shooting off fireworks  and setting the yard on fire.

But there could be a bright spot on the horizon, and it involves some damn dirty apes. It's time for On the Lot, our weekly discussion of the film biz with Rebecca Keegan of the Los Angeles Times.

First we'll talk about why this weekend's box office numbers were so dismal. 

Then, the horror genre is having a tough time. The new film, "Deliver Us From Evil," with Eric Bana and Olivia Munn didn't do too well in the box office. What happened?

How did horror movies, like "Saw," manage to successfully advertise themselves in the past?

Our audience might remember that back in February a camera assist and was killed by a train while working on the film, "Midnight Rider." Several producers were indicted as a result, late last week. We'll catch up on the case. This incident has brought together crew members to talk about the problems they frequently face. 

It's notoriously difficult work in reality television. Eventually, folks that work on those shows were able to unionize and improve working conditions. Could we see any sort of reform here as a result of this accident?

Speaking of unions, Actors that appear in shows on places like Netflix and Amazon haven't been getting the same benefits as actors on broadcast and cable TV shows. Why were they seen as different?

"Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" opens this Friday. There's a lot of talk about the film, but it's not about the "human" actors. You recently wrote about the experience of the actors that played the apes in the new film.

What sort of preparation did the actors have to go through to play the apes? Did they all go hang out at zoos and imitate what the animals were doing there?

The apes are computer generated, but the actors set the scene using motion capture equipment. How much of what the actors did in terms of movements and sounds actually ended up in the film?