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Antoine Fuqua knew what it would take to get him to remake “The Magnificent Seven,” John Sturges’ 1960 classic about a band of gunslingers. The film, which was itself a remake of Akira Kurosawa’s 1954 movie “The Seven Samurai,” is an oft-told story about a band of mercenaries who save a town. Its genetic code can be found in everything from “Star Wars” to “The Three Amigos.” But Fuqua knew how to give the familiar yarn a fresh spin.
In an interview with NPR, Fuqua said he turned to studio executives and told them, “Personally, what would make this an event for me to really want to make this movie is to see Denzel Washington on a horse in all black as a cowboy.'”
Of course, getting Denzel to ride into town takes a big check and often a taste of the backend. But in an era of diminishing star power, »
- Brent Lang
Maverick director discusses funding battle and says “evil” Hillary Clinton deserves “the [biopic] full treatment”.
“It’s so difficult to make any movie unless you have a studio up front,” Stone said. “This was a desperate nail clinging fucking venture, there’s as much drama in [making Snowden] as there is in a film itself.”
Backers on the €40m feature include Open Road Films (which will release in the Us), Endgame, Borman/Kopeloff Productions, Vendian Entertainment, Tg Media, and KrautPack; Wild Bunch handles international sales.
Stone told the select gathering that according to him many big companies in Americas would self-censor themselves rather than join a project like Snowden, which debuted »
San Sebastian — Marking a year when Asian cinema pretty well cleaned up on top plaudits at San Sebastian, “I Am Not Madame Bovary,” from vet Chinese director Feng Xiaogang, (“The Banquet,” “Assembly,” “Aftershock”), won the top Golden Seashell Saturday night at the 64th San Sebastian Film Festival.
Saturday night’s topped a 64th San Sebastian edition marked by a mass presence of new directors and across-the-board growth – in star presence, prizes, industry programs and news. Beyond actors’ kudos, 19 out of 25 film awards announced Saturday went to first features.
A marked move to more artistic realms by Feng, China’s best-known film director abroad, “I Am Not Madame Bovary” had scored a Fipresci prize at Toronto, but was not a competition front-runner in San Sebastian »
- John Hopewell and Emilio Mayorga
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Shailene Woodley and Oliver Stone in San Sebastian Photo: Courtesy of San Sebastian Film Festival/Pablo Gómez Snowden director Oliver Stone accused Us President Barack Obama's state security of being way beyond that of the East German Stasi secret police at a press conference for his whistleblower biopic. Stone was speaking alongside Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who plays Edward Snowden, and Shailene Woodley, who co-stars as Snowden's long-term girlfriend Lindsay Mills, at San Sebastian Film Festival.
Noting that his film shows Obama on TV in his first term, advocating transparency and an end to illegal wiretaps, Stone added: "He went the opposite way.
"Mr Snowden and Lindsay were both hoping that he would change course because he seems like a man of great integrity. However, five years later, Mr Snowden did what he did because he knew that, on the contrary, Mr Obama had doubled down on the Bush administration policy. »
- Amber Wilkinson
Update: This post has been updated with the two covers for the film in Empire Magazine:
The lead-up to Doctor Strange has been a fascinating one. While the character may be even lesser known to mainstream audiences than Iron Man was before he made a big splash in 2008, the names of actors considered to play him have been staggering. I famously broke the story, many moons ago, that Johnny Depp had taken a meeting with Marvel about possibly taking on the role- back when he was still a made man. In the years to follow we heard all kinds of other rumored candidates, and now- thanks to a new feature in Empire Magazine, we've got some new insight into the casting process for Doctor Strange.
As part of a story meant to highlight how star Benedict Cumberbatch thought he'd lost his chance to play the Sorcerer Supreme because of a scheduling conflict, »
- Mario-Francisco Robles
Keep up with the glitzy film awards world with our weekly Film Awards Roundup column.
– The Environmental Media Association (Ema) will honor actress and activist Shailene Woodley with the Female Ema Futures Award at the 26thAnnual Ema Awards on Saturday, October 22 at Warner Bros. studios in Burbank, California.
“As an influencer and activist, [Woodley] has used her celebrity status to motivate and activate her fans and supporters to take action in their own lives,” said Debbie Levin, CEO of Ema. “A strong proponent of climate change and individual responsibility, we couldn’t be more proud to honor and share this young woman’s authentic commitment and ‘boots on the ground’ rallying for social and environmental justice issues.”
– The Film Society of Lincoln Center has announced that James N. Kienitz Wilkins will receive the 2016 Kazuko Trust Award. »
- Graham Winfrey
Variety is reporting that Nicolas Cage has signed on to star in the indie thriller Looking Glass, which is being helmed by music video and commercials director Dori Oskowitz from a script by Jerry Rapp (Mojave Phone Booth) and Matthew Wilder (Dog Eat Dog).
The film will follow a couple “who, after experiencing a tragic loss, purchases a desert motel only to discover a series of disturbing, unexplained events that take place within one of the frequently requested rooms.”
“After partnering with Dori early in his career, I am thrilled to bring this remarkable story of voyeurism and grief to the screen with my partners at Highland and Prettybird,” said producer Braxton Pope. “The opportunity to work with Nicolas Cage again, one of our very finest actors, is incredibly exciting.”
- Gary Collinson
Screen’s chief film critic Fionnuala Halligan notes the films that stood out from the pack at this year’s Venice, Telluride and Toronto film festivals.1. La-La Land
It opened the Venice Film Festival, charged into Telluride and continued to draw queues throughout its Toronto Film Festival run where it won the coveted Audience Award. Saturation coverage for Lionsgate’s uber-romantic Damien Chazelle-directed musical was assisted by Emma Stone’s Best Actress win at Venice. Now it heads to the Zurich and London film festivals before a limited release in the Us on December 2, opening wide on the 16th. Happy Christmas for all concerned: by the end of the fall festival guzzle, La La Land seems to be the one to beat for Best Picture.
- email@example.com (Fionnuala Halligan)
How big is too big? That’s the question the team behind the Toronto International Film Festival really ought to be asking themselves as the festival, now in its 41st year, draws to a close: The event — the largest of its kind in North America, and arguably the world — hosted more than 1,200 screenings of 296 features this year.
With that many movies in the mix (more than double the Sundance lineup, and fully six times the official selection at Cannes), no outlet — not even Variety — can see and review everything, potential buyers don’t know what to check out, and publicists find it virtually impossible to bring attention to small, deserving films that get steamrolled by the sheer volume on offer.
Naturally, in an event of Tiff’s scale, there are bound to be masterpieces:
- Peter Debruge
It was a horrible weekend at the box-office. According to Deadline, at $89M, the weekend of 9/16-18 was the worst this year. Prior to that, the weekend of 2/5-7 was the lowest with $95M.
Lionsgate.s .Blair Witch. on the other hand, failed miserably. Projected to make between $15-$20M this weekend, the threequel managed to eke out a mere $9.7M at the box-office landing at Number 2. And with a horrible CinemaScore of D+, we can say the film is dead on arrival. What happened? I thought the movie, which was over-buzzed beginning with its secret Comic-Con screening and ending at the Toronto International Film Festival, was good enough, certainly better than the sequel .The Book of Shadows.. But alas, audiences seemed to not care. »
MoonlightDear Danny,As I type this final entry in a state of literal suspension—aboard my flight home, between a rainy Canadian morning and a muggy Californian afternoon—I begin to wonder whether my festival choices were too safe. I read your takes on experimental works with pleasure, as well as a hint of envy toward your adventurousness. My sole excursion this year into Wavelengths territory was Sergei Loznitsa’s Austerlitz, which I admired more than you. Concentration-camp tourism understandably dismays the sober director of My Joy, yet there’s a mordant edge to his unbroken views of visitors, including teeming long-shots that resemble Jacques Tati frames. People amble through these zones of unspeakable suffering as if at a particularly prosaic mall, guides barely hang on to their groups’ attention (“Folks, could you not eat in here, please?”), knowledge is shaky and selfie-sticks are ubiquitous. Still, I thought Loznitsa’s »
Chicago – The experience of director Oliver Stone, to look underneath the slimy rocks of government secrecy and bureaucracy, produces an excellent history lesson in “Snowden,” an overview of Edward Snowden, a whistleblower against the government who is still in exile.
Stone is clear on his position on Snowden, who essentially told the world that their privacy rights were being violated through government access into their technology, he is a patriot. How he became that way is fascinating, with the complexities of spying on chilling display. Get your band-aids or masking tape out and tape that camera hole on your computer, or maybe you’re next on the CIA/Nsa “candid camera.” That is what the film warns, and again Oliver Stone is the agent provocateur who leads the way to teaching us something through his role, as he puts it, as a dramatist.
The story is told in flashback. »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Adam Fendelman)
Last weekend's box office winner, the hit biopic Sully, squared off against three newcomers in theaters, the horror sequel Blair Witch, the comedy sequel Bridget Jones's Baby and the biopic Snowden. We had predicted that Sully would drop roughly 50% in its second weekend, allowing Blair Witch to take the top spot. That didn't happen, though with Sully dropping much less than expected, triumphing over the three under-performing newcomers to win this weekend with $22 million.
According to Box Office Mojo, Sully dropped just 37.2% this weekend, and its 3,525 theater count was still the widest release of any movie this weekend. This weekend's tally brings its domestic total to $70.5 million, with an addition $23.4 million from overseas territories for a worldwide total of $93.9 million from a $60 million budget. All three newcomers took the second, third and fourth spots at the box office, with Blair Witch taking second with $9.6 million, with a $3,092 per-screen average from 3,121 theaters. »
“Snowden” opened to $8 million in theaters this weekend, a disappointing fourth-place start for the Joseph Gordon-Levitt drama about Nsa whistle blower Edward Snowden that was produced for $40 million. Tough subject matter, tough critics and numerous release date changes are just a few reasons why “Snowden” underperformed on 2,443 screens — though the fact that it landed an A from theatergoers surveyed by CinemaScore suggests that it may have some holding power in coming weeks due to positive word of mouth. Even director Oliver Stone told TheWrap that studios shied away from the film despite a great script and co-star Shailene »
- Beatrice Verhoeven
Some things aren’t worth the wait.
“Blair Witch” and “Bridget Jones’s Baby,” sequels to films that first hit theaters a generation ago, both stumbled in their debuts this weekend, earning a meagre $9.7 million and $8.2 million, respectively. They were easily overpowered by “Sully,” the Clint Eastwood drama about the so-called “Miracle on the Hudson” emergency plane landing that features Tom Hanks as Capt. Chesley Sullenberger. The Warner Bros. release topped the domestic box office for a second consecutive weekend, earning $22 million and pushing its stateside total to $70.5 million.
The weekend’s other wide-release launch, Oliver Stone’s “Snowden,” was also over-shadowed by the aeronautical heroics, picking up $8 million from 2,443 locations for a fourth-place finish. The look at Edward Snowden stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt and got a warm reception at the Toronto International Film Festival, »
- Brent Lang
What was shaping up to be a race between the superhuman and supernatural is looking less so now that “Blair Witch” has stumbled in its opening weekend box office. Earning reports from Friday night show “Sully” will steer clear of its competition and remain on top.
“Blair Witch” will conjure about $10 million this weekend, which is far below earlier projections from outside distributors which stood at about $23 million as recently as Tuesday. The Lionsgate horror film with a $5 million price tag made $4 million Friday night at 3,121 locations.
In its second weekend at the box office, “Sully” earned $6.6 million at 3,525 locations on Friday, and is aiming at $21 million this weekend. That’s following an opening weekend that won the box office with just over $35 million.
- Seth Kelley
“Snowden” director Oliver Stone took to Reddit Friday for an “ask me anything” session before the film premieres tonight. The movie from Open Road Films stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as former Nsa employee Edward Snowden, who exposed major government surveillance programs while working with journalists Glenn Greenwald (Zachary Quinto in the film) and Laura Poitras (Melissa Leo). It tells the story of Snowden’s initial leaks to the journalists in a Hong Kong hotel room and the fallout that resulted in his involuntary exile in Russia. In his answers, Stone waxed on everything from Wall Street — the movie and the industry — to. »
- Matt Pressberg
In 1994, Warner Bros. released Oliver Stone’s film “Natural Born Killers,” about two lovers (Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis) who embark on a murder spree and are subsequently glorified by the media. Though critically acclaimed, the film immediately garnered much controversy for its violent content, later inspiring copycat murders, and later inciting a denouncement by Presidential candidate Bob Dole.
Writer and critic Matt Zoller Seitz’s “The Oliver Stone Experience” takes readers through the arc of Stone’s varied, dynamic career with an in-depth, book-length discussion between the author and director. In the excerpt below, Stone discusses the reaction to “Natural Born Killers,” working with Tarantino’s script, his experience on the festival circuit, and more. Also included is a 1996 fundraising letter from Bob Dole who blames the film for corrupting society.
Read More: The Films of Oliver Stone, »
- Vikram Murthi
While the San Sebastian festival ranks — with Buenos Aires’ Ventana Sur — as one of the world’s two biggest Europe-Latin American meet-marts, 2016 looks to also be a standout fest for young talent.
This year, nearly half (47%) of San Sebastian’s 17 competition entries are first features or made by directors under 40, vs. 9.5% of Cannes’ and 15% of the Venice Festival’s. That figure rises when factoring in two other San Sebastian sections: New Directors and Horizontes Latinos, a Latin America showcase.
This bold bet on a new generation of filmmakers looks set to help define this year’s San Sebastian Intl. Festival.
“This year, there are six first features [in competition] which will certainly get people talking,” says San Sebastian director Jose Luis Rebordinos. “Many films are not only made by young people, but talk about youth and its problems with social integration.”
Some movies, such as Rodrigo Sorogoyen’s “May God Save Us” rage against the system. »
- John Hopewell
The horror sequel “Blair Witch” is heading for second place with about $17 million at 3,121 sites, including around $7 million for its opening day Friday and $765,000 in Thursday night previews. That’s in line with Lionsgate forecasts for the low-cost project.
Universal’s “Bridget Jones’s Baby” looks likely to finish third with about $13 million at 2,927 screens with an opening day of around $5 million. Open Road’s biopic “Snowden,” starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, is headed for fourth with around $7.3 million at 2,423 sites.
Warner Bros.’ “Sully,” co-financed and co-produced by Village Roadshow, has taken in $45.7 million in its first six days and carries plenty of strong word of mouth, having generated an A CinemaScore on its opening weekend. Should the $21 million estimate hold for the second weekend, it would represent a 40% decline. »
- Dave McNary
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