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Box Office: ‘Maze Runner’ Sprints Past Liam Neeson With $32.5 Million

9 hours ago | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

The Maze Runner” showed that sometimes the weekend box office is a marathon, not a sprint.

Twentieth Century Fox’s adaptation of James Dashner’s post-apocalyptic novel took awhile to build up steam, but found its core audience by the weekend’s midpoint. It debuted to $32.5 million from 3,604 locations, in line with projections. That’s good news for the studio, which hopes to turn the story of a group of teenagers battling nasty creatures in a dangerous labyrinth into a franchise.

“All of the elements came together in accomplishing something that no one ever tried by launching a young adult film like this in September,” said Chris Aronson, Fox’s domestic distribution chief. “We like to stand out whenever we can and we selected this release date in order to be the first event film of the fall.”

The unique opening date allowed “The Maze Runner” to jet ahead of »

- Brent Lang

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Top 10 Box Office Takeaways: Ya 'Maze Runner' Scores, Numbers Rebound

40 minutes ago | Thompson on Hollywood | See recent Thompson on Hollywood news »

Next weekend brings a major star vehicle (Sony's Denzel Washington-starrer "The Equalizer") and the first animated movie for a while (Laika/Focus feature "The Boxtrolls"), so assuming there's a solid hold for "Maze Runner," the trend could continue. Even with this small uptick, year-to-date numbers are still 5.5% below 2013. The Top Ten  1. The Maze Runner (Twentieth Century Fox) New - Cinemascore: A-; Criticwire: C+; Metacritic: 56; est. cost: $34 million $32,500,000 in 3,604 theaters; PSA (per screen average): $9,018; Cumulative: $32,500,000 2. A Walk Among the Tombstones (Universal) New - Cinemascore: B-; Criticwire: B-; Metacritic: 57; est. cost: $28 million $13,126,000 in 3,712 theaters; PSA: $4,840; Cumulative: $13,126,000 3. This Is Where I Leave You (Warner Bros.) New - Cinemacore: B+; Criticwire: B-; Metacritic: 44; est. cost: $20 million $11,860,000 in 2,868 theaters; PSA: $4,135; Cumulative: $11,860,000 4. No Good Deed (Sony) Week 2 - »

- Tom Brueggemann

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First Trailer for John Woo’s The Crossing; Plus Photos from the Berin Press Conference

1 hour ago | Collider.com | See recent Collider.com news »

With John Woo's The Crossing opening later this year in China, Woo and his cast held a press conference in Berlin today where they revealed the first trailer for the film.  Starring Zhang Ziyi and Kaneshiro Takeshi, the two-part love story follows three couples fleeing China for Taiwan on a steamer during the 1949 revolution, and it's based on a true story.  Earlier this year Woo talked about why he wanted to make the film and said, “I’ve wanted to make this movie for a long time, because people always see me as an action director, but they don’t realize that I can make romantic love stories, too.  I wanted to make a film that showed a turbulent period in modern history, to show how love can survive and overcome all difficulties.” Hit the jump to watch The Crossing teaser trailer and for photos from today's Berlin press conference. »

- Steve 'Frosty' Weintraub

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‘Maze Runner’ Captures First Place at Foreign Box Office

2 hours ago | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

The Maze Runner” led the foreign box office pack this weekend, leaving all challengers in its dust.

The 20th Century Fox film took in $37.6 million from 7,384 screens, while opening in first place in 50 countries. The film got a head start last week in fewer than a half dozen markets, which brings its overall foreign total to $49 million.

Among the notable openings were South Korea with a $5.5 million haul, Russia with a $5.5 bounty, Australia with a $3.3 million take, Brazil with $2 million in receipts and Mexico with $2 million in tickets sold. The film still has 27 international markets left on its calendar, including such major box office players as the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Japan.

Outdone by “The Maze Runner,” last weekend’s foreign box office champ, “Lucy,” had to settle for a distant second with $13 million. That brings it global total to $378 million. The action thriller has 3 territories left before concluding its run — Italy, »

- Brent Lang

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Joseph Gordon-Levitt Eyes Edward Snowden Role in Oliver Stone Movie

2 hours ago | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Oliver Stone seems to have found the man to play Nsa whistleblower Edward Snowden in his next pic “The Snowden Files.”

Sources tell Variety that Stone has offered the part to Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and that the actor has agreed to do it. Though negotiations have not yet begun, both sides want the deal to happen.

Stone is writing and directing and will produce with Eric Kopeloff and Moritz Borman.

Snowden’s story is now familiar to most: the former U.S. intelligence analyst released more classified documents than anyone since Daniel Ellsberg’s leaking of the Pentagon Papers during the Vietnam War. He has been on the run ever since.

Stone acquired the rights to the book “Time of the Octopus” by Snowden’s lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, which is considered the closest thing to a documented account of the events since Snowden first released the documents.

If the deal is made, »

- Justin Kroll

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Joseph Gordon-Levitt Circling Edward Snowden Role In Oliver Stone Film

3 hours ago | Deadline New York | See recent Deadline New York news »

Exclusive: Oliver Stone has set his sights on Joseph Gordon-Levitt to play asylum-seeking CIA leaker Edward Snowden in the movie that Stone and his producing partner Moritz Borman intend to shoot beginning in December in Munich. It becomes the latest intriguing role for Gordon-Levitt, who wrapped playing Philippe Petit in the Robert Zemeckis-directed The Walk for Tom Rothman‘s TriStar and is now shooting Xmas with Seth Rogen at Sony. It hasn’t happened yet, but stay tuned.

As Deadline has reported, Stone and Borman have a deal with Snowden’s Russian lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, for film rights to his novel Time Of The Octopus. That is the basis for the story of an American whistle blower who heads to Russia and the back and forth between the leaker and his lawyer as he waits while that country considers his request for asylum. Stone and Borman also bought the »

- Mike Fleming Jr

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'Maze Runner' Franchise Off to Strong Start This Weekend

4 hours ago | Box Office Mojo | See recent BoxOfficeMojo.com news »

The Maze Runner sprinted to the front of the pack with one of the biggest September debuts ever; add in strong international sales, and a new young-adult franchise was born this weekend.Meanwhile, A Walk Among the Tombstones and This is Where I Leave You fell short of modest expectations.Playing at 3,604 theaters, The Maze Runner opened to an estimated $32.5 million this weekend. That's nowhere close to Divergent, though it is bigger than Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief ($31.2 million) and Ender's Game ($27 million).What separates The Maze Runner from those comparisons is its relatively modest budget*it cost just $34 million, or less than half of those movies*and its strong international prospects. Full international details can be found below in the Around-the-World Roundup.As is always the case with young-adult adaptations, The Maze Runner's success can be attributed in part to the strong fanbase that's developed around »

- Ray Subers <mail@boxofficemojo.com>

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How ‘Maze Runner’ Escaped the Young Adult Franchise Curse

4 hours ago | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

The Maze Runner” kicked off a fresh young adult film franchise this weekend when it raced to an $81.5 million debut globally.

Despite the monster grosses of “The Hunger Games” and “Twilight,” hit young adult films like “The Maze Runner” are the exception and not the rule.

Just ask the good folks behind “Ender’s Game,” “Beautiful Creatures,” “Eragon,” “The Giver” and “The Spiderwick Chronicles,” all of which seem unlikely to spawn future sequels. Others, such as “The Mortal Instruments,” probably won’t be generating new chapters, despite protestations to the contrary. Those stories may have devoted readers, but not enough people bought tickets when they made the transition from page to screen.

“Even with a baked-in must-see factor, you never know with this audience,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Rentrak. “They change their minds when wind blows.”

Like “The Maze Runner,” these pictures arrived with literary pedigree allowing their backers to proclaim, »

- Brent Lang

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Nick Cave Doc ‘20,000 Days On Earth’ Has Big Three Days in Crowded Specialty Film Box Office

4 hours ago | Deadline New York | See recent Deadline New York news »

More than a dozen new specialty films crowded the box office this weekend, including films from Terry Gilliam, Kevin Smith and singer Nick Cave. Perhaps not surprisingly, overwhelmed audiences hit a saturation point, leaving several new titles with, at best, only decent debut numbers. Despite the competition, Roadside/Lionsgate’s The Skeleton Twins held strong in its second weekend with a sizable expansion, and Snowpiercer continued to release strong VOD grosses alongside its waning theatrical returns. On a straight per-theater average, it was Cave’s 20,000 Days on Earth that easily came out on top. Drafthouse Films is distributing the Sundance 2014 documentary, which centers on writer and musician Cave as he reaches that 20,000th day in his life. The film had one of the  year’s biggest non-fiction debuts, with a $26,873 gross at New York’s Film Forum. Rocky Mountain Pictures bowed There’s No Place Like Utopia in July also at a single location, »

- Brian Brooks

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The Work of David Fincher: Introduction, Commercials, Music Videos, and The Beat Of The Live Drum

5 hours ago | Collider.com | See recent Collider.com news »

In an age where movies are designed to appeal to the broadest demographic possible and no one wants to feel too uncomfortable, David Fincher has gone against the grain time and time again, but his work is consistently engaging.  "I don't know how much movies should entertain. To me, I'm always interested in movies that scar," he told The Independent in 2010.  Known for his exacting, precise, and unique approach on-set, Fincher has consistently pushed boundaries with films that are divisive, thought-provoking, biting, and yet, for all their cynicism, strangely heartfelt. In anticipation of the release of David Fincher’s latest film, Gone Girl, I’ll be looking back at his career and filmography.  In this first installment, I’ll be examining his work in commercials, music videos, and his first movie, Rick Springfield’s concert picture The Beat of the Live Drum. [A brief note before I begin: After this article, each installment will explore Fincher’s films in chronological order before concluding with House of Cards and the possible future of his career.] David Fincher was born on August 28, 1962 in Denver, »

- Matt Goldberg

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Nyff: Ethan Hawke Introduces 'Seymour'

5 hours ago | Thompson on Hollywood | See recent Thompson on Hollywood news »

The occasion was a dinner party several years ago to which both the pianist and the actor had been invited, and, in fact, wound up seated next to each other. There, they had a conversation that led to a documentary. Beforehand, however, Bernstein had had to look Hawke up. “I don’t go to the movies much,” the pianist and teacher rather shyly admitted. The film, which has already made friends for itself -- and for Bernstein – at Toronto and Telluride, is an other-than-average musical biography. On one hand, it’s unique in taking as its subject a relatively obscure figure, who is now in his mid 80s and stopped performing publicly at age 50. It also manages to capture Bernstein’s special magic as a teacher, musical educator and musical thinker. And it’s about ideas, among them the proposition that fulfillment as a musician means fulfillment as a person. »

- John Anderson

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Fall Specialty Box Office Takes Off with Docs '20,000 Days,' 'Pump' and 'Art and Craft'

5 hours ago | Thompson on Hollywood | See recent Thompson on Hollywood news »

"The Skeleton Twins" was by far the standout among second weak expanders, with "My Old Lady" just Ok and "The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby" weak. Opening "Tusk" (A24) - Criticwire: B-; Metacritic: 53; Festivals include: Toronto 2014 $886,144 in 602 theaters; PSA (per screen average): $1,472 Going for a semi-wide release just after its Toronto premiere (similar to what Fox Searchlight did more successfully last week with "The Drop," although that Top Ten entry saw a big drop this weekend), Kevin Smith's comedy/horror/walrus film opened weak. To make matters worse, Saturday's gross dropped nearly 30% from Friday, suggesting a tepid initial audience response. What comes next: This will do well to hold on to these theaters, with further expansion unlikely, and a total of gross under $2.5 million the most this can expect, which would be ahead of Smith's previous film, the self-distributed "Red State," but otherwise at the »

- Tom Brueggemann

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Con Men Lied, Faked IDs To “Teach” Kids Working On Hollywood Film Sets

5 hours ago | Deadline New York | See recent Deadline New York news »

Exclusive: Using aliases and fake credentials, two con men have been posing as licensed studio teachers for years, Deadline has learned, giving them access to child actors employed on dozens of low-budget movies and student film projects. In a bizarre coincidence, both men  — Kent Linker and Fred Robbins — claimed to be Marty Carlin, an accredited and respected teacher who, at age 83, is retired from on-set work with kids.

California has strict labor laws governing the accreditation of studio teachers responsible not only for educating children working on film and TV productions but also with ensuring their safety and welfare on the set. That includes protecting them from characters like Linker and Robbins.

“It’s especially scary that these impostors are working so much on student films, because you have to wonder what their motivation is,” said Anne Henry, co-founder of BizParents, a nonprofit child actors advocacy group. “They couldn’t be getting paid much, »

- David Robb, Special To Deadline

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Watch: Red Band Trailer for James Franco, Seth Rogen’s ‘The Interview’

6 hours ago | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Sony has released the official Red Band for the upcoming James Franco and Seth Rogen comedy “The Interview,” and it includes a lot more sex jokes (Matthew McConaughey and a goat?), nudity and Rob Lowe than the original cut released in June.

Rogen and Franco star as the producer and anchor for a celebrity tabloid TV show. Eager to cover more hard news, the duo scores an interview with Kim Jong-un, but the CIA requests that they assassinate the North Korean despot.

The raunchy trailer comes after Sony moved the movie from its Oct. 10, 2014, release date to Christmas Day 2014 last month. North Korea apparently didn’t find the film’s plot funny — an unofficial spokesman for the country said the movie “shows the desperation of the U.S. government and American society.”

Rogen co-directed “The Interview” with Evan Goldberg from a script they wrote with David Sterling. Lizzy Caplan also stars in the comedy. »

- Alex Stedman

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Tiff 2014: How Chris Rock, New Distribution Blood Fueled Film Deals

6 hours ago | Deadline New York | See recent Deadline New York news »

As the final acquisition deals roll in on Toronto’s 2014 film festival movies, a couple of overriding themes emerged that bode well for the appetite for indie fare and have sellers smacking their lips for Afm, Sundance, Berlin and beyond. In a fest where Harvey Weinstein left his checkbook home and didn’t make a single splashy deal, I have never seen so many new players make statement buys at a festival than happened in Toronto.

The other intriguing development came on the fest’s biggest deal, when Paramount Pictures swooped into the auction of the Chris Rock-directed comedy Top Five, and blew buyers out of the water by paying $12.5 million for worldwide rights. It was the second straight fest where Paramount did this, after the studio made a precedent-setting pre-buy Cannes deal for the Denis Villeneuve-directed Amy Adams sci-fi film Story Of Your Life. Some established indie »

- Mike Fleming Jr

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Oscar Watch: First-Class Films From Aniston, Connelly, Costner, Gere Still Seek Distributors As Clock Running Out

6 hours ago | Deadline New York | See recent Deadline New York news »

The 2014 Oscar clock is running out for powerful, but still unsold, festival showpieces starring Jennifers Aniston and Connelly, as well as Kevin Costner and Richard Gere.

Several unspoken-for films came into this year’s Toronto International Film Festival determined not only to find a distributor, but to set a 2014 release date. In the case of Still Alice, the touching drama of a woman’s descent into early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, that plan worked spectacularly well. It had a stirring world-premiere screening on Sept. 8 in a less-visible afternoon slot at Tiff and quickly sparked Oscar buzz for star Julianne Moore, a four-time nominee who has never won.

Sony Pictures Classics presidents Michael Barker and Tom Bernard quickly recognized the kind of role that has Oscar written all over it, and two days later the picture sold to Spc (which, despite having its largest slate of Oscar hopefuls ever, still had an »

- Pete Hammond

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‘Maze Runner’ Races To $37.6M Internationally With No. 1s In 50 Countries; ‘Apes’ Crosses $100M In China

6 hours ago | Deadline New York | See recent Deadline New York news »

Overseas weekend estimates are in from most of the studios as Fox’s The Maze Runner outpaces other comers. With about $32.5M, the Ya adaptation is tops domestically, and is mirroring that success overseas with $37.56M from 7,384 screens in 50 markets.

Impressively, it is No. 1 in 50 countries (47 markets) this weekend, including opening No. 1 in 44 countries. Last week, the film beat a path through Mexico, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, and Central America for a debut frame of $8.5M. Its overseas cume is now $49M and the worldwide total is $81.5M.

The Wes Ball-helmed picture, which is based on a James Dashner novel, beat the openings of both Hunger Games and Divergent in Korea ($5.54M from 648 screens), Russia ($5.53M from 1,783), Hong Kong ($1.53M from 89), Thailand ($1.47M from 270), Philippines ($1.46M from 170), and UAE ($1M from 37), among others. Notably, in Korea it had 38% of the market, one that’s been crowded with huge local pictures in recent weeks. »

- Nancy Tartaglione

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Review: 'Gotham,' Fox's Whiz-Bang Antidote to Superhero Fatigue (Trailer)

6 hours ago | Thompson on Hollywood | See recent Thompson on Hollywood news »

"Gotham," Fox's crowd-pleasing new police procedural/comic book mash-up, is a Batman origin story for viewers who don't much care about Batman. (Full disclosure: I'm one of them.) In contrast to Christopher Nolan's desolate "Dark Knight" trilogy, creator Bruno Heller's treatment of the DC Comics universe marshals a colorful cast of characters and more than a little levity to imagine Bruce Wayne's hometown as a garish funhouse rather than an apocalyptic hellscape, all of it sketched in the whiz-bang style of midcentury graphic art. It's the perfect antidote to superhero fatigue. The only superpower Det. James Gordon (Ben McKenzie) seems to possess is a firm moral compass, rare indeed in Gotham's muddle of underworld figures and corrupt cops. As he investigates the cold-blooded murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne, staged as a random robbery, Gordon confronts the city's crooked reality -- including his roguish, world-weary partner, Det. »

- Matt Brennan

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Box office report: 'Maze Runner' reaps $32.5 million in a successful debut

7 hours ago | EW - Inside Movies | See recent EW.com - Inside Movies news »

On Friday morning, first-time feature director Wes Ball was sweating bullets. His debut film was opening and he was nervous despite the early positive numbers that were already flooding into the box office reporters. “I just don’t want anything to go wrong,” said the young filmmaker in an interview for Entertainment Weekly Radio.

Well, clearly nothing has gone awry with the director’s first entre into feature filmmaking.

For the male-populated young adult adaptation of James Dashner’s best-selling novel The Maze Runner racked up an estimated $32.5 million for a first-place finish, giving Twentieth Century Fox all the necessary »

- Nicole Sperling

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Avraham Heffner, Veteran Israeli Director, Dies at 79

7 hours ago | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Tel Aviv – Veteran director Avraham Heffner, one of the most enduring presences in the Israeli Film Industry, died on Friday at the age of 79.

The Haifa-born helmer, who was honored in 2004 by the Israeli Academy of Film and Television with an Ophir Award for Lifetime Achievement, got his feet wet in the Israeli film industry as a writer and actor. Trained in French literature at the Sorbonne, he made his directorial debut in 1967 by adapting a Simone de Beauvoir story into the short film “Le’at Yoter” (Slow Down), which earned him a Silver Lion for best short at the Venice Film Fest. The film, which critics in Israel point to as marking a new era in Israeli filmmaking, broke away from the shlocky burekas films and Zionist tropes that had filled earlier Israeli films and instead showed a new focus on emotion and fully-fledged characters.

He made his first full-length feature, »

- Debra Kamin

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