After the untimely death of actor Paul Walker in a car crash on Nov. 30, Universal Studios announced earlier this week that it will honor the star of its extremely successful “Fast & Furious” films with a donation to his charitable cause.
A portion of proceeds from the upcoming Blu-ray and DVD release of “Fast & Furious 6” will be donated to Reach Out WorldWide, an organization Walker founded to aid communities struggling in the wake of natural disasters (he started it after 2010’s devastating Haiti earthquake).
Walker had been attending a fundraiser for Reach Out Worldwide earlier on the day of the crash that killed him.
“With the passing of Paul, the world has lost a man who spent a great deal of his life in service to others. We share in the deep grief of his family, friends and the countless fans who love him,” Universal Pictures chairman Donna Langley said.
Walker’s family this week requested that in lieu of flowers or other gifts, donations be made to support Reach Out WorldWide. For more information on the organization, go to www.roww.org/.
“Fast & Furious 6” was another successful entry in Universal’s franchise, earning $238.7 million domestically, according to boxofficemojo.com. The film also stars Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez and Dwayne Johnson. It will be available in stores and online Tuesday.
More movie awards – Some notable awards took place this week.
First, the Gotham Independent Film Awards in New York City named the Joel and Ethan Coen-directed “Inside Llewyn Davis” its best film, a surprising upset since it was widely predicted that Steve McQueen’s brutal but heartrending “12 Years a Slave” would take the prize hands-down.
But then the New York Film Critics Circle also named its award recipients this week. David O. Russell’s “American Hustle” was crowned best film, surprisingly also topping fellow nominee “12 Years a Slave.” McQueen did win for best director, though.
Lead acting honors went to Robert Redford (“All Is Lost”) and Cate Blanchett (“Blue Jasmine”). Supporting honors went to Jennifer Lawrence (“American Hustle”) and Jared Leto (“Dallas Buyers Club”). The awards further propel the actors in the Oscar race.
Meanwhile, the National Board of Review went a completely different route, naming the quirky comedy “Her” best film and honored its director, Spike Jonze. Lead acting awards went to Bruce Dern (“Nebraska”) and Emma Thompson (“Saving Mr Banks”), while supporting nods went to Will Forte (“Nebraska”) and Octavia Spencer (“Fruitvale Station”).
Next up: The Golden Globe Awards will announce its nominations on Thursday. (Yes, we’re just getting started.)
“Fire” wins – I finally got a chance to see “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” and I thought it was really good (* * * ).
It’s certainly darker than the first film, which felt afraid of its grisly premise. “Catching Fire” fully embraces the atrociousness of what is happening and what’s at stake.
The danger also felt more urgent here, especially as our heroes Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta Mallark (Josh Hutcherson) had to battle elements and other forces almost one right after another.
“Catching Fire” is also beautifully acted – the film wouldn’t have the gravity it does were it not for its performances.
The last book in the young-adult series that the movies are based on, “Mockingjay,” will get milked for all it’s worth – er, get the two-part treatment . “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1” will be released Nov. 21, and “Part 2” will be released Nov. 20, 2015.