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5 items from 2017

Sierra/Affinity Masters Its Pitches for Maximum Marketing

18 May 2017 8:30 AM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

During the 2000s, Nick Meyer, who as the head of Sierra/Affinity, is the recipient of Variety’s Achievement in International Film Awards at this year’s Cannes festival, experienced a career’s worth of film-market fluctuations, a heady period when he headed international for Lionsgate and then led Paramount Vantage.

When Meyer decided to form Sierra Pictures in 2009, he faced even stiffer headwinds, as the global financial crisis and dramatic changes in technology and audience viewing habits rewired the industry.

Transition gradually revealed openings for his new company, though, as major studios stepped back from the very films that Meyer knew how to mount: mid-budget prestige and genre fare. It wasn’t that those kinds of films had ever gone out of fashion; it was their financial model that no longer made sense for large multinational backers. Eventually, Sierra/Affinity (rebranded after a 2011 merger with OddLot-Bold Films sales outfit Affinity Intl. »

- Dade Hayes

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‘Wonder Woman’ Helmer Patty Jenkins Sought To Direct Dwayne Johnson In Disney’s ‘Jungle Cruise’

27 April 2017 10:00 AM, PDT | The Playlist | See recent The Playlist news »

Thirty-nine years after Richard Donner’s “Superman,” 28 after Tim Burton’s “Batman,” 17 after Bryan Singer’s “X-Men” and nearly 10 after “Iron Man,” it’s completely insane that we’re only just getting the first female director of a superhero movie. There are literally dozens of women who are equally as talented and qualified, if not much more so, than the likes of David Ayer, Alan Taylor, Marc Webb, Gavin Hood, Brett Ratner, Louis Leterrier or Jon Watts, to name but a few, and yet it’s only early next month that that particular glass window will finally shatter with the release of Patty Jenkins’ “Wonder Woman.”

Even then, it’s pretty infuriating that female directors, like Jenkins or “Captain Marvel” co-director Anna Boden, are so far seemingly restricted to female-led superhero properties (and even then, not all of them: Ayer will direct “Gotham City Sirens,” for instance), but if “Wonder Woman” proves a success, »

- Oliver Lyttelton

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'Logan' Poised for Best Finish Over the Weekend

2 March 2017 7:28 PM, PST | Box Office Mojo | See recent news »

Weekend Preview:The final, R-rated, impale-happy, Hugh Jackman-cussing Wolverine film, Logan hits 4,071 theaters this weekend and Fox's guidance is $60 million. The studio is pulling its punches (or adamantium claws) though as that means they think it's heading for $14.7K per screen average. In a weekend where its competition is the well-reviewed holdover Get Out, the Groundhog Day Ya film, Before I Fall, and Lionsgate/Summit's faith-based film, The Shack, Logan's prospects seem better than that.Since moving out of the X-Men Academy to make it on his own Wolverine has had solid commercial, if not always critical, success. The first outing, 2009's X-Men Origins: Wolverine may have made $85 million its opening weekend (in 4,099 theaters for a psa of $20.8K) but it had a 38% on Rotten Tomatoes, a 6.7 on IMDb, a B+ on CinemaScore and nearly knee-capped the Deadpool character for all time. It ended up with $173 million domestic, $193 million »

- Keith Simanton <>

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There'll Be No Pointless Mutant Cameos In Logan, Says Director

13 February 2017 6:58 AM, PST | | See recent LRM Online news »

When you have a canvas that's as large as the entire mutant universe associated with the X-Men, it can be pretty tough to decide which characters to use in your films. That's the conundrum that has faced previous directors like Bryan Singer, Brett Ratner. Matthew Vaughn, Gavin Hood, James Mangold, and Tim Miller, who have all made films in the X-Men Cinematic Universe (Xcu). Some have succeeded, while others have failed. 

In the early years, when Singer was the sole captain of the X-ship, restraint was the name of the game. The director was very adamant about only including characters that served the story, and not merely just throwing a ton of fan service at the screen. Then that philosophy seemingly went out the window when he left the franchise. The two films that followed his departure, X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine, both featured far more mutants yet yielded far less results. »

- Mario-Francisco Robles

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Andrew Karpen’s Bleecker Street Scores With Small, Adult-Focused Films

9 February 2017 10:00 AM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Andrew Karpen has a word for the kinds of films he wants to see and likes to release through Bleecker Street, the indie distribution company he founded in August 2014. He calls them “smart-house.”

He believes it’s possible to combine the escapism of studio tentpoles with the artistic rigor of indie fare, a strategy that was once commonplace but hasn’t been in vogue since the 1990s. He did just that with one of the biggest art-house releases of 2016, “Eye in the Sky,” a drone-strike thriller that made $18.7 million. Karpen told the film’s director, Gavin Hood, that he was sick of people drawing a line between blockbusters and art films.

“They’re films that ask you to think but also entertain you,” says Hood. “There should be a place for them.”

There’s evidence that Karpen’s bet is paying off. Bleecker Street just landed its second consecutive best actor Oscar nomination, »

- Brent Lang

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