2015
ABC’s alien drama The Whispers is canceled after one season. The series is based on the 1951 Ray Bradbury short story Zero Hour from The Illustrated Man. It is produced by Amblin Television, with Steven Spielberg serving as one of the executive producers.

Its main cast includes Lily Rabe, Barry Sloane, Milo Ventimiglia, Kristen Connolly, and Derek Webster. The Whispers is initially described as a race against the clock to defeat an unseen alien enemy out to destroy the world using children. However, ABC pulls back on the alien reveal from the pilot and turns the series into more of a mystery thriller.

The series opens to respectable returns – 1.5 million among adults 18-49 in its Monday at 10 p.m. slot. With three days of delayed viewing, the ranking jumps 53 percent to a 2.3 – becoming the highest-rated three-day gainer among summer debuts on any network since CBSUnder the Dome in 2013.

The show runs into trouble when the stars are brought back for a limited run only, and the show is shifted from Los Angeles, where the pilot was filmed, to take advantage of tax incentives in Vancouver, Canada.

Amblin Television has seen its roster of original tv shows slide of late after CBS canceled Under the Dome (2013-15) and Extant (2014-15), TNT wrapped Falling Skies (2011-15) and Fox trimmed Minority Report (2015-) from 13 to 10 episodes. The fate of TNT’s Public Morals (2015) remains unclear, while The Americans (2013-present) still remains a staple on FX.

Meanwhile, CBS gives a straight-to-series order for the Amblin Television production American Gothic – a one-hour murder mystery revolving around the patriarch of a prominent Boston family – planning a summer 2016 premiere.

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2015
Oct 21, better known as “Back to the Future Day”: the day Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) time-traveled from 1985 to 2015 in Back to the Future Part II (1989).

As rumors for another sequel to Spielberg’s film classic Jaws (1975) are making headlines, Universal Pictures releases a film trailer for Jaws 19. Tagline:  “This time it’s really really personal”.

Jaws 19 (“directed by Max Spielberg”) is playing in HOLOMAX theaters when Marty McFly arrives in Hill Valley of the future. Read this hilarious Jaws 19 review.


Universal
’s campaign to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Robert Zemeckis’ classic time-travel adventure Back to the Future (1985) is a smash hit: The Jaws 19 trailer draws a crowd of more than 1,5 million viewers in just 2 weeks after its release on YouTube.

Variety’s Jacob Bryant jokes: “From a cyber Jaws attack in Jaws 7 to the unforgettable battle with Russian shark Ivan Sharkovski in Jaws 15, it’s clear the future Marty traveled to had some of the best pics cinema had to offer.”

To celebrate, here are 15 trivia items you may or may not know about the original Back to the Future – presented by IMDb.com editors. Travel forward

With Arabic subtitles, theater eyes underserved audience

2015
Steven Spielberg
’s Righteous Persons Foundation donates $ 50,000 for the project Cinema for Everyone.

The Foundation was established with profits from Schindler’s List (1993). In more recent years, Spielberg has added funds from his films Munich (2005) and Lincoln (2012) to the Foundation.

The Cinematheque in Jerusalem uses the grant to subtitle films in Arabic aiming to offer Arabic speakers better access to films and to bring Jews and Arabs together around film at least four or five times each month.

With Arabic subtitles, theater eyes underserved audience

2015
Edward Snowden
, former U.S. government contractor who fled to Russia in 2013 after leaking documents about NSA surveillance programs, says he’s willing to go to jail in order to return to the United States: “I’ve volunteered to go to prison with the government many times. What I won’t do is I won’t serve as a deterrent to people trying to do the right thing in difficult situations.”

According to Snowden, he is still waiting for Department of Justice officials to respond to his offer. Snowden faces multiple felony charges for theft of government property and espionage in the United States that may result in three decades imprisonment.

Steven Spielberg’s spy thriller Bridge of Spies recounts events from the 1960s Cold War era – but offers chilling similarities to the present…

2015
Due to foreign military involvement, the Syrian Civil War has turned into a proxy war. The death toll rises above 300,000. International organizations accuse the Syrian government, ISIL and other opposition forces of severe human rights violations, with many massacres occurring. Tens of thousands of protesters and activists have been imprisoned by the Syrian government.

In response, more than 5 million Syrians have left the country settling in nearby regions, while a few hundred thousand Syrian refugees flee to more distant countries in Europe.

2015
Spielberg predicts the death of superhero movies – or not.

While promoting Bridge of Spies, he is asked about his famous prediction of an “implosion” of the movie industry, with studios pouring so much of their resources into giant blockbusters, especially superhero films. He replies:

“I still feel that way. We were around when the Western died and there will be a time when the superhero movie goes the way of the Western. It doesn’t mean there won’t be another occasion where the Western comes back and the superhero movie someday returns.”

His statements evoke strong reactions in Hollywood and by fans of the superhero genre. Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige responds by saying:

“The Western lasted 40-50 years, and they still pop up occasionally. (…) It’s been, what, eight years since Iron Man 1 if we count that, which I do, as the beginning of our MCU? Maybe [the superhero genre] will only last another 42 years.”

Feige defends the unique qualities of the Marvel Cinematic Universe films:

“Those are all very different movies. They all happen to be based on Marvel characters and Marvel comics, but from a genre and a cinematic perspective, they’re all very unique. Civil War may as well be a different genre from Age of Ultron.”

Spielberg feels he has to explain his thoughts and tells collider.com:

“To clarify, I didn’t predict the implosion of the film industry at all, I simply predicted that a number of blockbusters in one summer—those big sort of tentpole superhero movies—there was going to come a time where two or three or four of them in a row didn’t work. That’s really all I said. I didn’t say the film industry was ever going to end because of it. I was simply saying that I felt that that particular genre doesn’t have the legs or longevity of the Western, which was around since the beginning of film and only started to wither and shrivel in the sixties.”

He adds his view on a changing film industry and the increased availability of diverse genres:

“I was also trying to make the point that there was room for every kind of movie today because there seems to be an audience for everything. Even five years ago there wasn’t an audience for everything. But now, these little movies are just squeezing in and finding a berth next to these huge Queen Mary type movies and they’re able to find an audience, enough of an audience to encourage the distributor and the film companies to finance more of them. These are not just films like Bridge of Spies, it’s independent movies as well.“

In 2016, Spielberg reveals his favorite superhero film:

“I really like Richard Donner’s Superman, Nolan’s Dark Knight and the first Iron Man movie, but the superhero movie that most impressed me is one that does not take itself too seriously: Guardians of the Galaxy. When it ended, I left the cinema with the feeling that I had just experienced something new, free of cynicism and without concern for being gritty when necessary.”

2015
Spielberg’s youngest child, Destry Allyn Spielberg (18), publishes “drama”, her first experimental short film on Vimeo. She comments: “It’s dark so be prepared.”

The film shows Destry waking up and moving into the bathroom, looking distressed. This is followed by close-ups of Destry crying, sobbing and raging. In the final image, we see Destry back in bed, ready to start yet another day.

It’s no surprise that working with the camera comes naturally to her. She shares her obsession with her father as she notes (on her own photography website showcasing her incredible talent): “Ever since i picked up my first camara, it was impossible for me to put it down.”