Box Office: ‘Mockingjay’ Soars to Largest Opening Day of Year, Despite Franchise Low
“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1” soared to the largest opening day of the year with $55 million on Friday at the U.S. box office. The third installment in the Lionsgate franchise is on its way to north of $130 million this weekend, which would be the best debut of 2014.
Despite the strong showing, the pic is far behind the first two movies, grossing over 20% less than its predecessors. Early U.S. box office projections for “Mockingjay” were as high as $150 million.
“The Hunger Games” launched to $152 million in 2012 and last year’s “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” debuted to $158 million. Unlike the two previous films, the penultimate installment isn’t playing in Imax because “Interstellar” is still showing on those screens.
However, the film is taking off overseas, having earned more than $67.5 million in three days at the international box office.
If the $130 million estimate holds, “Mockingjay” will have the »
- Maane Khatchatourian
‘Blind Massage’ Is Surprise Winner of Golden Horse Awards
China’s “Blind Massage” was the surprise winner at the 51st Golden Horse Awards, the Taiwan-based competition open to all Chinese-language films.
The Lou Ye-directed film won in six of the seven categories for which it was nominated, including the best feature prize.
It beat another mainland Chinese title “Black Coal, Thin Ice,” which had been the favorite going in to the ceremony with 8 nominations, ahead of 7 for “Blind Massage,” and 6 for Taiwan’s “Kano.”
But “Black Coal” finished a miserable evening winning only for best art direction.
Broadcast of the ceremony was blocked in China because of the inclusion of “Kano,” a period film which casts a benign eye on the Japanese colonial period. Despite its multiple nominations the film came away with no prizes.
- Patrick Frater
‘Budapest Hotel’ Still Checked Into Awards Race
On Nov. 19, voting began for SAG nominations. On Dec. 1, art directors and producers kick off the guild voting, while the New York Film Critics Circle are first out of the gate by announcing their winners.
As we get down to the wire, Hollywood calendars are jam-packed with awards events. And at each gathering, voters trade notes about titles they’ve seen recently and the handful of films they need to see. The conversation is always dominated by the latest contenders — and yet this year, “The Grand Budapest Hotel” keeps coming up.
The Wes Anderson film premiered at Berlin almost a year ago and bowed domestically in March, which in an awards-season-timetable is the equivalent of 200 years ago. It has long been on VOD and video, so as a flock of terrific films open to fanfare and media attention, “Budapest” may seem like old news. Au contraire, mes amis.
Six months ago, »
- Tim Gray
‘Into The Woods’ Debuts Straight Into The Oscar Race – Something To Sing About For Disney
Dinsey unveiled another piece of the Oscar season puzzle Saturday night with an innovative bi-coastal screening of their big holiday release musical , Into The Woods screening simultaneously in New York City and at Disney studios in Burbank (where I saw it) that featured a satellited post- feature Q&A with director Rob Marshall, Screenwriter James Lapine and key cast members. Full disclosure: I have been in love with this Stephen Sondheim masterpiece since even before it debuted on Broadway on November 5, 1987. Southern California native that I am I trekked down to San Diego’s Old Globe Theatre in 1986 for its pre-Broadway tryout and instantly fell in love. It’s not only one of my favorite Sondheim musicals (in the top three to be sure with Company and West Side Story ), but high among the greatest theatrical experiences I have ever had. I have seen the show in various incarnations several times. »
- Pete Hammond
Games on Film: Street Fighter
Digital Spy presents Games on Film, a look back at the numerous (and quite often disastrous) movies based on video games. How closely do they stick to their source material, and how well do they hold up on their own merits?
Previous Games on Film: Super Mario Bros | Resident Evil
Street Fighter (1994)
Back in 1993, Street Fighter II was just about the coolest video game on the planet. Its genre-defining gameplay and colourful characters had made it the busiest coin-op in arcades across the globe, and creators Capcom saw in it the potential for a huge cross-media franchise, starting with a big screen adaptation.
Capcom wanted the film turned around fast in time for Christmas 1994 and hired action screenwriter Steven E de Souza (Commando, 48 Hrs, Die Hard) to write and direct the film in what would be his first and only directing job in Hollywood. A slapdash cast was assembled, propped »
Film Review: ‘Traces of Sandalwood’
Delighting in cross-cultural contrasts, “Traces of Sandalwood” follows two separated sisters — one awash in the colorful melodrama of Bollywood, the other locked in the sterility of a biology lab in Barcelona. But this opposition proves to be far from absolute in Maria Ripoli’s hybrid English/Spanish-speaking indie: The melodrama is based on painful reality, while the lab is situated amid fantastically contorted architectural landmarks. With few pretensions to high art, this genuine crowd-pleaser (which snagged an audience award at Montreal), well crafted by an all-female crew, seems a natural for Indian diaspora distribution, with definite crossover potential.
The film begins in high drama as 6-year-old Mina (Vaibhavi Hankare) saves her newborn sister, Sita, from being drowned as an unwanted female, thereupon taking full aquel Fer
esponsibility for her care. But when their mother dies a few years later, their father hands them over to a woman from the city. »
- Ronnie Scheib
Disney Enters Awards Race With ‘Into the Woods’
The panel session took place at the DGA Theater in New York and was satellite-fed to the Disney main theater in Burbank, a two-birds-with-one-stone approach as the film begins industry screenings for awards contention.
The director and his team of artisans will certainly be under Oscar consideration, as will Meryl Streep (top billed, but in a supporting role) and other performers. Variety will run its review in December; after that, there will be more opportunities to handicap the film’s awards chances in specific categories.
Disney often takes a cautious approach to the awards race, but the studio execs seem gung-ho about this one. The film also marks a subtle shift for the studio. Its “Maleficent” earlier »
- Tim Gray
Listen to Jennifer Lawrence Sing in the New ‘Hunger Games’
“She’d probably tell you it was her least favorite day,” director Francis Lawrence said in an interview. “She was horrified to sing, she cried a little bit in the morning before she had to sing.”
Judging by the recording, however, the Oscar-winner sounds like a natural.
- Variety Staff
The Star Wars: The Force Awakens Trailer May Arrive Thanksgiving Week
We’ve been hearing quite a few rumblings lately about the first Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer debuting sometime fairly soon, but it turns out the teaser might be arriving much earlier than anticipated. Like, next week earlier. Director J.J. Abrams and co. wrapped production on the upcoming Episode VII a few weeks ago and the film doesn’t open until theaters for over a year, but this is one of the most anticipated movies in recent memory, so it’s no surprise that Disney and Lucasfilm are keen on giving a brief first look to fans a bit early. If a new report is to be believed, the first footage from the Star Wars sequel will arrive Thanksgiving week in the form of a Force Awakens teaser trailer. More after the jump. Word of the Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer release date first surfaced over on reddit. »
- Adam Chitwood
Watch: Meryl Streep Jump Scares Emily Blunt and James Corden in New 'Into the Woods' Clip
People, Into the Woods has been screened, and I, unfortunately, was not in attendance. I don't know why they didn't invite me. Probably because I'm a nobody, but it could be something else... You never know. This is a film I am staying as far away as I possibly can from outside reactions. Movie musicals are a tricky thing for people to review because a lot of people do not understand the form, so I just want to avoid all chatter and go in with just my thoughts and experiences. Disney has given me a little something to tie me over to when I actually do get to see the film. They have released a new clip from the film, which you can watch below, featuring James Corden as The Baker and Emily Blunt as his Wife bickering only to be interrupted by Meryl Streep as The Witch. No singing »
- Mike Shutt
The Missing Recap: “Episode Two”
In its second episode, The Missing continued the taught and emotional storytelling of its first. "Episode Two" also showed that the series is not looking for quick answers, and yet, it still (thanks to its dual timeline) moves at a very fast pace. A hint at the end of the hour also suggested that there is more to Oliver's case than just a rogue kidnapper, but that is, of course, only one small part of the story. His the jump for why "we need to get a heartbeat out of a building that died over three centuries ago." Though The Missing still kept its focus on Tony and Emily, and their struggle in the wake of Oliver's disappearance, it also introduced several new characters that not only helped open up the case (for viewers), but also showed that The Missing is interested in telling many stories. Vincent Bourg, for instance, »
- Allison Keene
Jar Pictures to throw Arun’s Boomerang
“Boomerang is a drama based on one of my childhood experiences. Children will once again be integral to the story,” said Arun, who plans to start shooting during the 2015 monsoon.
Produced by Jar, Essel Vision and Mr Filmworks, Killa is about an 11-year-old who has to start life afresh in a new town with his mother. Essel Vision will release the film on 200 screens pan-India in February 2015.
A Film Bazaar Work-in-Progress Lab project in 2013, Killa won a Crystal Bear in Berlin and a Silver Gateway at the Mumbai Film Festival. »
- email@example.com (Udita Jhunjhunwala)
Pallas ignites for Rajesh Jala’s The Spark
Exclusive: Germany’s Pallas Film will co-produce Rajesh Jala’s The Spark (Chingari) with France’s Asap Films, which boarded the project at Film Bazaar last year.
The project has also secured a $30,000 grant from German fund Ezef. It previously won the Incredible India Award at Film Bazaar, where it took part in Screenwriters’ Lab and the Co-production Market, and was also awarded a Global Film Initiative grant of $10,000 at this year’s Cinemart.
“We are now working towards finding a good Indian producer for the project and expect to shoot in 2015,” Jala told Screen.
The Spark revolves around a photographer who is a riot victim and enters the ancient city of Varanasi to carry out a deadly mission. But he hesitates »
Essel has a vision for Sairaat
Nikhil Sane, head of Essel Vision’s Marathi films division, said: “Sairaat is a girl-centric, passionate love story. The script is being finalised and we should begin shooting next year.”
Manjule made his debut in 2013 with Fandry, which was produced by Nilesh Navalakha of Navalakha Arts and Vivek Kajaria of Holy Basil Productions. It won the jury grand prize in the international competition of last year’s Mumbai Film Festival.
Essel Vision produced Paresh Mokashi’s Elizabeth Ekadashi, which is the Indian Panorama opening film at this year’s Iffi, and Om Raut’s Lokmanya, about freedom fighter Lokmanya Tilak, scheduled for release in January. »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Udita Jhunjhunwala)
Nfdc, Dussart bond over Avani
Michael Henrichs of Die Gesellschaft Dgs is the lead producer on the Telugu-language project, which has also secured $37,000 (€30,000) from the EU’s Creative Europe Media Development Fund.
Set at a time when the monsoons have failed two years in a row, Avani tells the story of an eight-year-old girl who learns new respect for life on Earth while bringing her family together.
“Avani will build on the tone that the director developed in his first film, Vanaja. We expect to close the financing over the next nine months and begin shooting in mid-December 2015,” said Henrichs.
Dussart and Nfdc recently co-produced Gurvinder Singh’s The Fourth Direction, which is in production, with Kartikeya Narayan Singh’s The Film Café and Sunil Doshi’s Handmade Films. Dussart’s credits also include Rithy Panh’s The »
The 20 best British science fiction films – in pictures
To coincide with the BFI’s sci-fi season and its digital re-release of 2001: A Space Odyssey, we thought this would be a good time to look at some of the British greats of the genre. Since the 1970s co-productions and foreign investment mean it’s hard to say exactly what a British film is, so for this gallery we have decided to look at films set in Britain
Continue reading »
- Greg Whitmore
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