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Box Office: Brutal Summer Ends With a Whimper, Season Down a Historic 15 Percent

31 August 2014 6:47 AM, PDT | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy easily remains in the lead at the Labor Day box office despite competition from new entries The November Man, the adult-skewing spy film starring Pierce Brosnan, and micro-budgeted thriller As Above, So Below. Although official numbers for summer 2014 won't be released until Tuesday, North American revenue for the season will barely crack $4 billion, marking an eight-year low and, when accounting for inflation, a 17-year low. And revenue is down 15 percent from last year's record haul of $4.75 billion, the biggest year-over-year decline that anyone

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- Pamela McClintock

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Why France Has Become a More Formidable Player at Film Festivals

30 August 2014 10:00 PM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

The French movie industry has been fiercely debating key issues: Exorbitant movie budgets, release windows, the difficulties of domestic distribution. But as a formidable festival force, France reigns near supreme in the sheer quantity of quality production.

Its presence has grown in the second half of 2014. At major festivals, only the U.S. bests France — quite obviously — at Toronto and Sundance.

The 71st Venice edition has made up for a lack of glam with early, well-received films from France and the U.S. such as Fox Searchlight’s “Birdman” and Ramin Bahrani’s “99 Homes” from Hyde Park Intl., Xavier Beauvois’ “La Rancon de la gloire” and Benoit Jacquot’s “Three Hearts.”

With still-to-play productions in Venice sections — Abel Ferrara’s “Pasolini,” produced by Paris’ Capricci Prods., Amos Gitai’s “Tsili,” Laurent Cantet’s “Return to Ithaca” — France has also made the most moves in the build-up to the Venice Film Market. »


- John Hopewell

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Sweden enters Force Majeure to Oscar race

just now | ScreenDaily | See recent ScreenDaily news »

Ruben Östlund’s Force Majeure has been chosen to compete for an Academy Award nomination as Best Foreign-Language Feature.

The fourth feature from director-writer Östlund, Force Majeure (Turist) world premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in the Un Certain Regard section receiving the jury prize.

The film centres on a family on holiday at a ski resort and the dynamics between them in the wake of an avalanche.

Best Foreign-Language Film Academy Award submissions 2015

It screen at the Toronto International Film Festival this month and will compete at the 50th Chicago Film Festival, which has a focus on Scandinavia this year.

Force Majeure has already sold to 40 countries by international sales agent Coproduction Office, with Magnolia Pictures handling Us distribution.

Producers are Erik Hemmendorff and Marie Kjellson for Plattform Produktion in collaboration with numerous European producers and film institute, and with production funding from the Swedish Film Institute’s previous film commissioner Lars G. Lindström. It premiered »


- michael.rosser@screendaily.com (Michael Rosser)

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Kudos pacts with Honour producer

19 minutes ago | ScreenDaily | See recent ScreenDaily news »

Kudos is planning to produce more drama series told from a British Asian perspective after expanding a partnership with Parti Productions.

The Broadchurch producer is building on a deal struck to develop Sathnam Sanghera’s novel Marriage Material for the BBC with feature film producer Nisha Parti’s company in September.   

The Shine Group indie and Parti now plan to nurture Asian talent on and off screen and develop projects for UK and international broadcasters.  

In addition to Marriage Material, which follows a Sikh family living in Wolverhampton in the 1960s, the companies are developing a TV adaptation of Sanghera’s The Boy With The Topknot, set in the Midlands town during the 1980s.

Kudos chief executive Jane Featherstone said that Parti had a wealth of knowledge of film trends and a keen eye for fresh talent. “She has the ability to identify and conceptualise content that speaks to a diverse audience,” she added.

Parti »


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New Star Wars Rebels Short Is “Not What You Think”

33 minutes ago | Collider.com | See recent Collider.com news »

For your Labor Day viewing enjoyment, Disney Xd has released a new Star Wars Rebels short.  The animated series will take place about 14 years after the events of Revenge of the Sith and centers on the fledgling rebellion as the Empire hunts down the last of the Jedi Knights to secure rule of the galaxy.  This new short gives us an introduction to Ezra Bridger (Taylor Gray), who shares the same irreverent attitude of Sabine and Zeb.  I'm curious to see how the show will develop and differentiate these characters, and how their playful jabs at the Empire will stack up when faced with powerful foes like Agent Kallus and the Inquisitor. Hit the jump to check out the new Star Wars Rebels short, "Not What You Think".  Star Wars Rebels premieres on Disney Xd this October, and also features the voices of Freddie Prinze Jr., David Oyelowo, Jason Isaacs, »

- Matt Goldberg

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Wild Bunch Benelux renamed September Film Distribution

43 minutes ago | ScreenDaily | See recent ScreenDaily news »

Name change follows move into co-production among other developments

Wild Bunch Benelux has been renamed September Film Distribution, effective today (Sept 1).

The film distribution company, founded nearly six years ago by Paris-based Wild Bunch and Pim Hermeling, has since become a leading arthouse distributor with titles such as The Hunt, Melancholia, The Broken Circle Breakdown and Nymphomaniac.

The distributor ended its collaboration with the French company in 2010 but retained the name.

However, several development at the firm have led to the decision to rebrand.

September Film Distribution will continue to focus on the acquisition of director-driven films and release arthouse productions theatrically and on DVD, VOD and other platforms.

But it recently set up a film distribution office in Belgium; purchased the Cartoons movie theatre in Antwerp; and developed large arthouse cinema complex Da Kade in Utrecht, the Netherlands.

It has also set up a production company and has a growing slate of films including Nicole van Kilsdonk’s Ventoux »


- michael.rosser@screendaily.com (Michael Rosser)

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Digital Domain Remains on the Sick List

50 minutes ago | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Hong Kong — Visual effects group Digital Domain does not look much healthier than it did a year ago, when it was given a back door share listing in Hong Kong.

The VFX businesses were largely responsible for pushing the listed company, previously called Sun Innovation, and now renamed Digital Domain Holdings, into the red.

Ddh announced a loss of Hk$58.2 million (Us$7.51 million) for the six months to June 30, on revenues of Hk$429 million (Us$55.4 million).

A stock market filing revealed that while the group’s scrap metal and property businesses edged ahead, the Digital Domain VFX businesses incurred losses of Hk$41.2 million (Us$5.32 million) on revenues of Hk$253 million (Us$32.6 million).

Finance costs relating to the acquisition of Digital Domain in July 2013 pulled the group down by a further Hk$20 million (Us$2.58 million).

The VFX unit figures included amortization of intangible assets worth Hk$30.5 million (Us$3.94 million) and a »


- Patrick Frater

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Lars von Trier's Next Project A Massive TV Series That's "Without Precedent"

1 hour ago | The Playlist | See recent The Playlist news »

It could be argued that all of Lars von Trier's efforts are "without precedent," singular visions from the mind of a filmmaker that is truly like no other. Because really, who else would've put together a five-and-a-half hour epic about a woman addicted to sex that starts with her being found beaten in an alley? And even as von Trier closes the book on "Nymphomaniac," with director's cuts of both volumes screening for the first time together at the Venice Film Festival, he's got another big project on the way. The director — who vowed never to speak to the press following his Nazi comment controversy at the Cannes Film Festival — appeared via video link at Venice over the weekend during the press conference for "Nymphomaniac Vol II — Director's Cut" (check out three Nsfw new clips here) and revealed his next project. Sort of. He didn't say anything (though at »

- Kevin Jagernauth

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Telluride Review: 'Escobar: Paradise Lost' Starring Benicio Del Toro And Josh Hutcherson

1 hour ago | The Playlist | See recent The Playlist news »

You know that deeply anxious expression that Josh Hutcherson wears throughout "The Hunger Games" movies? Well, if you’re a fan of his trademark chagrined countenance, you get a whole lot more of it in "Escobar: Paradise Lost," where his character has a pretty good reason for near-constant concern. In this potboiler, Hutcherson’s a white boy (obviously) who’s pledged to marry into the family of famed Columbian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar. What, he worry? At some point you may wonder why we’ve devoted an entire first paragraph to Josh Hutcherson when the title character is played by Benicio freaking Del Toro, the sort of dream casting that would seem to be a lede that shouldn’t be buried. Unfortunately, Escobar is a supporting character in his own movie — a situation that brings to mind "The Last King of Scotland," which enlisted Forest Whitaker to play Idi Amin »

- Chris Willman

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Venice Review: ‘Far From Men’ Starring Viggo Mortensen And Reda Kateb

2 hours ago | The Playlist | See recent The Playlist news »

Taking the rhythms of the Western to different countries, sometimes planets, time periods or political situations is hardly new, but done well it never gets old. And the French-language “Far From Men” aka “Loin des Hommes,” from writer/director David Oelhoffen, which transposes classic Western archetypes to the Algerian Civil War is a terrific reminder of that. It does not reinvent the wheel, nor is it a po-mo deconstruction of the Western myth or a pastiche. It is simply a great, traditional Western, in which the language and cultural details may be different, but the sparse elegance and moral conundrums are familiar, and as resonant as ever. With a premise based on Albert Camus’ short story “The Guest,” a fitting yet never clichéd soundtrack by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis, and a pair of flawless lead performances from Viggo Mortensen and Reda Kateb, “Far From Men” is a quietly grand, »

- Jessica Kiang

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Yellow Bird execs launch new production company

2 hours ago | ScreenDaily | See recent ScreenDaily news »

Good Company Films will combine the producers behind The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and Lar von Trier’s Dancer in the Dark; three projects already in development.

Anni Fernandez, who stepped down CEO of Sweden’s Yellow Bird last week, has quickly resurfaced as the CEO and producer at new Danish production outfit Good Company Films.

Based in Copenhagen, Fernandez has launched the new company with Vibeke Windeløv, Stinna Lassen and Ole Søndberg.

Windeløv has produced more than 35 titles for directors including Lars von Trier and Susanne Bier and joins the company as executive producer.

Lassen, who recently finished producing the first season of new crime series The Team, joins Good Company as a producer.

Søndberg, founder of Yellow Bird and executive producer of the Wallander and Millennium franchises, joins as executive producer.

In a joint statement, the partners said: “Scandinavian film has during the past years enjoyed a tremendous amount of success, and it is our »


- michael.rosser@screendaily.com (Michael Rosser)

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James Brown Biopic ‘Get on Up’ To Open Zurich Festival

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

Paris– Zurich Film Festival will open with James Brown biopic “Get on Up,” helmer Tate Taylor’s follow up to Oscar-winning “The Help.”

Taylor, Chadwick Boseman, who plays Brown, and Octavia Spencer, who stars as the singer’s aunt, will be in Zurich to attend the premiere.

The film chronicles Brown’s rise from extreme poverty to his status as a superstar of the music industry and Godfather of Soul.

Taylor is familiar with Zurich, having presented there “The Help” in 2011, ahead of its Oscar win.

The cast of “Get on Up” is completed by Dan Aykroyd, Viola Davis and Lennie James. It was produced by Brian Grazer and Rolling Stones’ lead singer Mick Jagger.

Pic will be distributed in French-speaking Switzerland on Sept. 26, and in German-speaking Switzerland on Oct. 9. Universal released it on Aug. 1 in the U.S., where it has so far grossed over $29.5 million.

As previously announced, »


- Elsa Keslassy

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Bectu takes Living Wage campaign to exhibitors

3 hours ago | ScreenDaily | See recent ScreenDaily news »

Exclusive: Bectu turns to Curzon, other venues, as Ritzy deal nears.

Media and entertainment union Bectu is nearing a deal with Picturehouse/Cineworld after a protracted pay dispute between the exhibitor and staff at the Ritzy Cinema in Brixton, London.

Last week, Bectu members at the Ritzy rejected Picturehouse’s latest pay proposal by a vote of 24 to 23. However, both sides have expressed optimism that a resolution is near and officials are due to meet on Wednesday (Sept 3) to continue talks.

“Whilst we are disappointed with this outcome [of the latest ballot], we are pleased that we are close to finding a resolution,” Picturehouse commented last week.

Ritzy staff have conducted 13 strike actions since the dispute began earlier this year.

Bectu is now turning its campaign for exhibitors to pay the London Living Wage on Curzon Cinemas and other independent venues.

A Bectu official described discussions with Curzon as “constructive”.

The spokesman added: “At the moment the Ritzy and Curzon cinemas »

- andreas.wiseman@screendaily.com (Andreas Wiseman)

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Lars von Trier to make TV series

3 hours ago | ScreenDaily | See recent ScreenDaily news »

Lars von Trier is readying an English-language TV series called The House That Jack Built.

The series will be the first to be directed by the controversial auteur behind Antichrist and Dancer In The Dark since his acclaimed Danish TV production, The Kingdom, 20 years ago.

The news was revealed by Zentropa-producer Louise Vesth during the press conference for Von Trier’s Nymphomaniac Volume 2 - Director’s Cut at the Venice Film Festival.

Von Trier’s regular producer Peter Aalbæk Jensen described it as “a TV series without precedent”.

He added that The House That Jack Built would be “a TV series as you have never seen it before and never will again. You better hold your breath.”

Von Trier will start working on the script this autumn with shooting currently set for 2016.

The series will be produced by Louise Vesth for the Zentropa Group with executive producer Peter Aalbæk Jensen.

The project »


- andreas.wiseman@screendaily.com (Andreas Wiseman)

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Lars von Trier to make English-language TV series

3 hours ago | ScreenDaily | See recent ScreenDaily news »

Lars von Trier is readying an English-language TV series called The House That Jack Built.

The series will be the first to be directed by the controversial auteur behind Antichrist and Dancer In The Dark since his acclaimed Danish TV production, The Kingdom, 20 years ago.

The news was revealed by Zentropa-producer Louise Vesth during the press conference for Von Trier’s Nymphomaniac Volume 2 - Director’s Cut at the Venice Film Festival.

Von Trier’s regular producer Peter Aalbæk Jensen described it as “a TV series without precedent”.

He added that The House That Jack Built would be “a TV series as you have never seen it before and never will again. You better hold your breath.”

Von Trier will start working on the script this autumn with shooting currently set for 2016.

The series will be produced by Louise Vesth for the Zentropa Group with executive producer Peter Aalbæk Jensen.

The project »


- andreas.wiseman@screendaily.com (Andreas Wiseman)

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Jimi: All Is by My Side: watch a clip from the Hendrix biopic video

3 hours ago | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Watch an exclusive clip from the new film about legendary guitarist Jimi Hendrix, Jimi: All is by My Side. Hendrix is played by OutKast's Andre Benjamin in a biopic directed by 12 Years a Slave writer John Ridley, which follows Hendrix's career in London as a guitarist on the verge of fame. Featuring Hayley Attwell as Hendrix's girlfriend Kathy Etchingham. Jimi: All Is by My Side is released on 24 October in the UK

Jimi: All Is By My Side: Toronto 2013 first look review Continue reading »

- Guardian Staff

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Efa reveals People's Choice 2014 shortlist

3 hours ago | ScreenDaily | See recent ScreenDaily news »

Nymphomaniac and Philomena among selected films.

The European Film Academy has opened voting for its People’s Choice Award 2014, allowing film fans across Europe to elect their favourite film of the past 12 months.

The winner will be announced at the 27th European Film Awards in Riga, Latvia on Dec 13.

Votes are cast here.

Last year’s winner was Ruben Alves’ The Gilded Cage.

This year’s nominees are:

Beauty And The Beast dir. Christophe GansIda dir. Pawel PawlikowskiNymphomaniac dir. Lars Von TrierPhilomena dir. Stephen FrearsThe 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window And Disappeared dir. Felix HerngrenTwo Days, One Night dirs. Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne »


- michael.rosser@screendaily.com (Michael Rosser)

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Calinos veterans launch new Turkish distributor

3 hours ago | ScreenDaily | See recent ScreenDaily news »

Two former executives from Calinos Films have set up a new distribution company, Fabula Films, acquiring all Turkish rights.

The outfit will launch at the Toronto Film Festival this week.

Fabula will be headed by CEO Billur Arikan and VP Alkan Avcioglu, who set up the theatrical division at Calinos five years ago.

At the fast-growing Calinos, they worked on films including The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Raid, Intouchables, Beasts of the Southern Wild, The Secret in their Eyes, Before Midnight, and Non-Stop.

“Even though it will be our first market under a new company, we will gear up the acquisitions where we left off,” said Gizem Yetim, who will serve as director of acquisitions. “We will continue to look for director-driven projects and arthouse films with crossover potential.”

“We are a very passionate team and we all have similar tastes” Avcioglu said. “We do not care whether the film is arthouse or commercial. If there »


- wendy.mitchell@screendaily.com (Wendy Mitchell)

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Venice: Lars Von Trier Speaks, Sort Of; Helmer Prepping English-Language TV Series, Eyes “Huge Cast”

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

Update: TrustNordisk has released further details of Lars von Trier’s TV series project which was first mooted during a press conference in Venice this morning. A “huge” international cast will star in The House That Jack Built with von Trier to start working on the script this fall for a 2016 shoot. Plot details are being kept close to the vest, but exec producer Peter Aalbæk Jensen said the series will be “without precedent” and cautioned, “You better hold your breath.” Louise Vesth is producing for Zentropa. It’s being developed in co-operation with Dr executive producer Piv Bernth. Dr is the Danish public broadcaster behind such series as Borgen and The Killing.

Previously: Danish bad boy filmmaker Lars von Trier appeared in Venice today in honor of the out of competition screenings of the Director’s Cut of his Nymphomaniac Volume I and II. Unlike his appearance sporting a »


- Nancy Tartaglione

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Vue converting to Sony Digital Cinema 3D

4 hours ago | ScreenDaily | See recent ScreenDaily news »

Upgrade to take place across the UK, Ireland, Germany and Denmark.

Cinema operator Vue Entertainment International is converting up to 400 of its Sony 4K projection systems at screens in the UK, Ireland, Germany and Denmark to Sony Digital Cinema 3D.

The phased conversion process is scheduled to start this month and will extend over a three-to four-year period, covering a total of 394 screens across the group’s Vue and CinemaxX branded European estate.

Unlike ‘triple-flash’ systems that rapidly present different images to each eye in turn, the Sony Digital Cinema 3D dual lens aims to provide flicker-free 3D images without distracting flashing effects. »

- michael.rosser@screendaily.com (Michael Rosser)

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