Box Office: Matt Damon’s ‘Jason Bourne’ Targets $55 Million, ‘Bad Moms’ Eyes Strong Launch

“Jason Bourne” is heading for a $55 million opening weekend at the domestic box office while “Bad Moms” is generating as much as $35 million, early estimates showed Friday. Universal’s actioner is performing slightly above forecasts with an opening day taking in about $20 million at 4,026 sites, while STX’s “Bad Moms” will earn as much… Read more »

‘Hell On Wheels’ Series Finale Draws 2.5 Million Viewers In Live+3

Hell on Wheels wrapped up its five-season run on AMC Saturday with a series finale episode that drew 2.5 million total viewers, including 784k adults 25-54 in Live+3 ratings.
The final Season 5 averaged 2.6 million viewers per episode, including 837k adults 25-54.
The last seven episodes of HOW showed the end of the line for Cullen Bohannon (Anson Mount) and his work building America’s first transcontinental railroad. The final push to finish brought a reckoning for…


CNN’s 360-Degree Videos for Norfolk Southern Will Make You Fall in Love With Trains

Norfolk Southern gave Democratic and Republican convention attendees tours of its trains and a chance to meet some of its employees without anybody having to walk outside.

Through a partnership with CNN’s in-house brand studio, Courageous, Norfolk Southern sponsored three short 360-degree films highlighting various aspects of the railroad industry in a way that helps decision-makers better understand the complexity of the freight rail industry.

The movies, which people could view with Samsung Gear VR headsets at restaurants next to the convention centers in Cleveland and Philadelphia, let viewers ride atop, alongside or underneath the massive machines in a way that brought them closer than ever before.

Bruno Maestri, Norfolk Southern’s vp of government relations and corporate communications, said the goal was to help educate convention delegates, policymakers and other attendees while they were gathered in one place.

“I think what you want to take out if it is that it’s a complex industry and that it takes a lot of people,” Maestri said. “We have 30,000 people, and it takes really quality people to make this thing happen.”

In one movie, at a facility called Moorman Yard, Courageous used drones to shoot 360-degree video from above the vast train yard to show how the trains are transported.

According to Otto Bell, vp and group creative director at Courageous, the work had a deliberately “understated tone” and was inspired by the humility and pride of the company’s employees, rather than being highly scripted promotional material. 

Bell sent two producer-directors to the rail yards to find characters who captured the spirit of the company. Equipped solely with voice recorders, the two conducted interviews with foremen, site managers and others who were on the tracks and scouted scenes for future shoots. After that, Courageous went back with a larger crew and a 360-degree camera rig.

What especially came across, even beyond the visuals, was the earnest nature of the workers, many of whom have worked for Norfolk Southern for decades. Nothing was scripted, Bell said, adding that a lot of the dialogue came from the initial visit.

“If you try and script like that, the whole thing falls apart,” Bell said. “They’re not actors, so don’t treat them like that—you’ll fail.”

Now that the conventions are over, Courageous has started a campaign on Facebook targeting local, state and national policymakers across the country, directing them to the videos and a microsite with additional content about the brand and its role in the U.S. economy. 

“You want to prove to them that they are sort of an indelible part of these communities,” Bell said.

You can see one of the movies below. To get the full 360-degree experience, open the video on a smartphone using the YouTube app or view it in Google Chrome. (And if you have Samsung Gear VR or Google Cardboard, those help, too.)

‘Mercy Street’ Season 2 Stresses Drama Of Battle Scenes, Corset Lacing, And Fingernails

The second season of PBS’s Civil War-era hospital drama Mercy Street will have “more scope and expanse” than did the first, EP David Zabel said, saying Season 1 “felt a little too contained.” To that point, the second season will include battle scenes “to give a sense of what is going on in the front lines to understand the context,” added EP Lisa Wolfinger.
Josh Radnor’s Dr. Jedediah Foster has a new addiction, the actor revealed. “I felt traumatized for quite a while”…


Former Singer Says Mushroomhead Are Bad People, Hopes They Die Slowly

MushroomheadIf you know anything about the Cleveland band Mushroomhead, it’s probably this: They’re the metal band whose members wear scary masks but who are not Slipknot. As a matter of fact, the two bands have been beefing with one another, on and off, since 1999. So it has to hurt that a former Mushroomhead singer … More »

Geoff Stults Jumps Into ‘Granite Mountain’; Martha Kelly Joins ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’

Geoff Stults has joined the cast of Joseph Kosinski’s Granite Mountain, the true tale of the elite Granite Mountain Hotshots firefighter crew’s battle to douse the 2013 Yarnell Hill wildfire in Arizona, one of the deadliest in history. Nineteen of the crew’s 20 firefighters died when the wind changed and fire engulfed them from all sides. Jennifer Connelly, Josh Brolin, Miles Teller, Jeff Bridges, Taylor Kitsch, Ben Hardy and James Badge Dale star in the pic penned by Ken…


Shut Up, Dude: This Week’s Best And Worst Comments

Shut UpThis week’s Shut Up, Dude comes to you from Chicago, where I am enjoying the 25th anniversary Lollapalooza when it is not raining. (I reminisced about the festival’s earlier years here.) Chance The Rapper joined Flosstradamus last night, but I was watching Lana Del Rey. Also Malia Obama is here! … More »