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CinemaCon 2014: Christopher Nolan Teases Few 'Interstellar' Details, Emphasizing a Technical Spectacle for Audiences on March 26, 2014

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By Daniel Loria

Christopher Nolan took some time off from supervising the editing of Interstellar to join a lunchtime conversation moderated by The Hollywood Reporter's Chief Film Critic Todd McCarthy in front of CinemaCon attendees at Caesars Palace.

Nolan remained tight-lipped on details about Interstellar two days after Paramount's presentation at CinemaCon failed to reveal any new information on the project. The most telling detail he gave away about the plot is already available on the film's IMDB page, "It's about interstellar travel."

The few details the filmmaker did spare suggest that audiences are in store for a visual feast this fall. Nolan's last films have been released over the summer, but Interstellar will be premiering in November in order to accomodate the film's special effects.

"We shot quite a lot of film on IMAX, more than we have ever done in the past," shared the director. "What we're trying to do is give audiences an incredible experience, an immersive experience."

"On this film, the technical aspects of how the film is presented are more important than on any other film I've ever done."

The conversation with Christopher Nolan touched upon several other topics. Here are the highlights from the conversation:

On music:

Nolan shared his distate for using temp scores when editing his films, prefering a more organic process with composer and long time collaborator Hans Zimmer. The composer begins his involvement with Nolan's films at the script-stage, receiving a copy of the screenplay to base his score rather than working off an early cut of the film.

On Interstellar star Matthew McConaughey:

Nolan first became interested in working with McConaughey after seeing his potential in Mud, "[The film] showed me a side of Matthew's capabilities that I didn't know were there."

The director has been able to work with some of the most compelling male stars of this generation, including Christian Bale and Leonardo Di Caprio. Nolan considers himself very lucky to have been able to work with such strong actors. "The odds that someone I've worked with will win [an Oscar] are pretty good, about three-out-of-five," he joked.

On technology:

Nolan didn't shy away from remaining a staunch supporter of 35mm, even when speaking to a room full of exhibitors and technology providers. "Film is the best way to capture an image," insisted the filmmaker.

"There are realities people aren't willing to accept in the drive to make things cheaper," he later added.

Despite his commitment with 35mm, Nolan emphasized that innovation remains central to the cinema-going experience. If Nolan is hesitant to go digital, it is only because he's asking for better quality from the images -a mission at the heart of every technology company in today's market.

The director has also avoided working in 3D, albeit for slightly different reasons. Nolan doesn't view 3D as the best format for a shared audience experience. He did, however, mention The Great Gatsby as a film that he believes succeeded on 3D. "My resistance of 3D is mostly based on what's right for the films that I'm trying to make," explained Nolan.

On influences:

Nolan cites watching the original release of Star Wars as a kid as a big influence on his focus on visual spectacle. He also brought up the influence of Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey after seeing it on the big screen during the film's theatrical re-release.

 On working with his brother, screenwriter Jonathan Nolan:

The siblings take different approaches to collaborating on every project. Christopher adaptated Jonathan's short story for Memento himself into a screenplay. Jonathan adapted the source novel for The Prestige over a span of three to four years. The Batman trilogy brought a more collaborative process, where the brothers would bounce drafts back and forth between each other. Interstellar is a film that Jonathan had been working on for some time before Christopher joined the project.

On sequels:

Nolan doesn't have any other film ideas floating around in his head as he is working on a project. The director instead prefers to focus completely on the task at hand, a work ethic that was present during the production of Batman Begins. Nolan tackles each of his current films as the last film he'll ever do, "It's a bit like eating a fantastic dinner and someone asking you what you want for breakfast in the morning."

NORTH AMERICA: 'Divergent' Surpasses $60M Mark on Tuesday on March 26, 2014

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By Daniel Garris

Lionsgate's Divergent took in $4.198 million on Tuesday to lead the daily box office with ease for a fifth consecutive day. The highly anticipated young adult adaptation starring Shailene Woodley was up 17 percent from Monday. Divergent surpassed the $60 million mark yesterday and has grossed a very solid $62.38 million through five days of release. Divergent is currently running 22 percent behind the $80.17 million five-day start of 2008's Twilight and 101 percent ahead of the $30.99 million five-day take of last year's Ender's Game.

Muppets Most Wanted held steady in second with $1.42 million. The latest Muppets film from Disney was up 23 percent over Monday's performance. Muppets Most Wanted has grossed an underwhelming $19.58 million in five days and is set to clear the $20 million mark today. The film is currently running a discouraging 53 percent behind the $41.52 million five-day start of 2011's The Muppets (which did have the advantage of opening the Wednesday before Thanksgiving).

Mr. Peabody & Sherman grossed $1.24 million to remain in third place. The 3D computer animated film form Fox and DreamWorks Animation increased a strong 29 percent over Monday and was down just 22 percent from last Tuesday. That hold strongly suggests that Mr. Peabody & Sherman will re-stabilize over the upcoming weekend. The 19-day total for Mr. Peabody & Sherman stands at a respectable $83.34 million.

God's Not Dead took in $1.00 million to continue to claim fourth. The faith-based drama from Freestyle and Pure Flix was up 17 percent over Monday and generated a healthy per-location average of $1,285 for the day. God's Not Dead has grossed a stronger than anticipated $11.10 million in five days. That places the film 8 percent ahead of the $10.26 million five-day start of 2011's Courageous. God's Not Dead is currently scheduled to play in 1,164 locations this coming weekend.

Warner's 300: Rise of an Empire and Disney's Need for Speed claimed fifth and sixth place respectively with $0.971 million and $0.899 million. 300: Rise of an Empire increased 17 percent over Monday, while Need for Speed was up 34 percent. Respective total grosses to date for the action films stand at a very solid $95.39 million in 19 days for 300: Rise of an Empire and at a lackluster $32.13 million for Need for Speed in twelve days.

Fox Searchlight's The Grand Budapest Hotel continued its impressive run in limited release with a seventh place take of $0.724 million. The Wes Anderson directed film was up 15 percent over Mondy and claimed a strong per-location average of $2,383 for the day. The Grand Budapest Hotel has grossed $14.35 million in 19 days of release and is set to expand into additional locations this Friday.

CinemaCon 2014: Chris Dodd and John Fithian Present Theatrical Market Data for 2013 on March 25, 2014

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MPAA CEO and Chairman Chris Dodd and NATO President and CEO John Fithian gathered with members of the press at CinemaCon this afternoon to release the 2013 theatrical market statistics.

KEY POINTS:

- Box office grows 1.2% domestically, 4.6% internationally.

- NATO's John Fithian calls for year-round calendar diversity, freeing up space in packed summer and Christmas seasons.

- Substantial growth in admissions figures from minority audiences in the United States and Canada. A 2013 release slate with principal roles featuring African-American actors helps boost box office .

- Strongest growth in frequent movie-goers comes from viewers ages 2-11.

- China is the first overseas market to surpass $3 billion in annual box office.

- Possible changes coming for U.S. ticket pricing


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