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Friday Box Office: 'Adaline' Bumps 'Furious' for a Day; 'Kurt Cobain' Big in 3 Theaters

18 hours ago

Lionsgate's multi-decade age-stands-still drama "The Age of Adaline" beat out three-weekend champ "Furious 7" (Universal) Friday. The romance took in just under $5 million ($4.8 million) with "Furious 7" in second, edging it for the day due to opening day interest plus a decent Thursday night gross. "Furious" should still take its fourth and last weekend at number one, the first to do so in its initial weeks since the first "Hunger Games" three years ago. But the overall picture is more mixed. The Top Ten came in a bit under $24 million, marking the second lowest Friday of 2015 so far (and likely the lowest under September), and down sharply from $31 million the same day last year. The main reason is a lack of topline new studio product, with distributors avoiding competition a week before the juggernaut "The Avengers - Age of Ultron" opens domestically (after already scoring major initial returns its first week plus. »


- Tom Brueggemann

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CinemaCon: Universal Posts Strong 2015 Slate

24 April 2015 2:27 PM, PDT

It was good to see two chairwomen announcing their slates at CinemaCon: Fox's Stacey Snider and Universal's Donna Langley. She was grinning with confidence as she celebrated the global box office of "Furious 7"--the fastest to get to $1 billion and the highest-grossing film in Universal's history-- and "Fifty Shades of Grey," which she pushed hard to bring to the studio. She confirmed that the next two titles, "Fifty Shades Darker" and "Fifty Shades Freed" will open on successive Valentine's Day weekends in 2017 and 2018. Vin Diesel choked up over the loss of Paul Walker and announced that yes, the eighth "Fast & Furious" installment will open on Friday, April 14, 2017. "You guys helped us to make this magic," he said earnestly. "I swear to you and my brother upstairs that we'll make this the best movie you have ever seen. We make your audiences feel like they're part of our family." Langley also. »


- Anne Thompson

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Remembering Film Critic Richard Corliss (1944-2015)

24 April 2015 11:35 AM, PDT

I wouldn't be who I am today without the recognition, insight and mentoring of Richard Corliss. I first met him when I was a wee Nyu Cinema Studies grad toiling in the publicity bullpen at United Artists at 729 Seventh Avenue. He was looking for photos for Brian De Palma's "Carrie" for Film Comment Magazine. We hit it off. He was smart and witty and loved movies and knew more about them than anyone I have ever met. But he was also curious, and always asked questions. He and then Village Voice columnist Stuart Byron and I would dish on the movie business, the box office and the Oscar race in a neverending quest to understand How Hollywood Works. Now I will have to carry on without him. Richard plucked me from publicity, took me in at Film Comment as Associate Editor, tried to teach me how to write. He'd edit my copy, »


- Anne Thompson

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Watch an Exclusive Clip from Forbidden Romance 'Félix and Meira,' Now Playing in La

24 April 2015 10:39 AM, PDT

"Félix and Meira" gets under your skin. A behind-closed-doors romance in the vein of "Madame Bovary" and "Anna Karenina," Canadian director Maxime Giroux's film is set in the Hasidic Jewish world of Montreal's Mile End district, where a young orthodox mother (Israeli actress Hadas Yaron) falls for an atheist loner (Martin Dubreuil) grieving the death of his father. A self-described atheist, Giroux was inspired to make the film after living in this neighborhood and seeing how difficult Jewish life was for women. "It's way more difficult for women to leave the community without their children," he told me. "We ask so much of our women in every society. For men, it's so easy. We have children, get divorced, go away and take care of those children but not too much. For these women, being a good mother is their role. Yes, they can have their own personality but if you don't make children, »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Comcast Drops Time Warner Deal, What Now?

24 April 2015 10:20 AM, PDT

The proposed $45 billion merger between Time Warner and Comcast was one of last year's biggest deals. Following FCC pushback and inquiries made by the Justice Department, Comcast has now pulled the plug on the pact in anticipation of the inevitable legal process that could have been a death sentence for the merger anyway. According to NPR, the Justice Department and FCC "were concerned about having such a huge player in broadband." Both cable providers create a lot of their own content, including Comcast-absorbed NBC Universal, and increased demand for a la carte services like HBO Now shows that consumers don't want to pay for pricey, overstuffed cable packages just to get their high speed internet. Read More: Why You Should Worry About the Comcast-Time Warner Deal "We structured this deal so that if the government didn’t agree, we could walk away," said Comcast CEO Brian Roberts Friday. The deal's collapse, »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Why Courtney Love Asked Brett Morgen to Film 'Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck': “I wanted someone to tell the truth"

24 April 2015 9:28 AM, PDT

“Montage of Heck,” director and abstract expressionist Brett Morgen’s extraordinary doc on Kurt Cobain, played Tribeca this month followed by a chat among journalist Neil Strauss, Morgen and Courtney Love. The film opens in theaters April 24. She said she’d felt different things while watching the movie this time around.  Among them:  “Shame,” she said, sitting alongside Morgen (“I like him; I trust him”). It was her fourth trip though the movie, which debuted at Sundance, followed by Berlin and other festivals. “Usually I get sad, but I also felt guilt about what I could have done differently. The first time it was beautiful… I got to spend time with this beautiful man I was married to 21 years ago,” at which point Love and the most of the rest of us had to adjust our mascara. Morgen who, courtesy of Love, had access to and use of all the »


- John Anderson

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Cannes: Denis Villeneuve Says Drug War Film 'Sicario' Is "Very Dark" and "Quite Violent"

24 April 2015 9:21 AM, PDT

Denis Villeneuve offered just a taste of what to expect for his latest in The Guardian on Friday. "Sicario," slang for hitman, stars Emily Blunt as an FBI agent and Josh Brolin as the CIA official who lead the charge against a horrific drug lord on the streets of Juarez, just outside El Paso, Texas. Tasked with doing the deed is Benicio del Toro's titular assassin. Villeneuve said: “a very dark film, a dark poem, quite violent... It’s about the alienation of the cycles of violence, how at one point we are in those spirals of violence and ask ourselves, ‘Is there a solution?' My movie raises the question; it doesn’t give any answer.” It will be hard to avoid comparisons to Steven Soderbergh's powerful "Traffic," del Toro's 2001 best supporting actor winner that also dwelled in the far-reaching runoff of the Mexican-American drug trade. Villeneuve »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Alex Gibney Wins a Peabody for His James Brown Documentary

24 April 2015 8:54 AM, PDT

It's astonishing how any filmmaker can keep up the pace that Alex Gibney does while maintaining such consistent quality standards. Gibney has had three films premiere on HBO in less than a year: four-hour biodoc "Sinatra: All or Nothing At All" and Scientology expose "Going Clear" --which has generated new scrutiny of the tax-exempt empire founded by L. Ron Hubbard--and last Fall's "Mr Dynamite: The Rise and Fall of James Brown," which may be the best of the lot. Read: Why Mick Jagger & Alex Gibney's 'Rise of James Brown' is a Musical' The film, which tells the James Brown story from his rural Southern childhood and his musical ascension to his civil rights impact, has just won the hard-working director a 74th Peabody Entertainment Award. Read More: Behind the Scenes with Alex Gibney at His Jigsaw Productions Orlando von Einsiedel's Oscar-nominated "Virunga" also made this week's Peabody list. »


- Anne Thompson and Ryan Lattanzio

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CinemaCon: Fox Launches Possible Oscar Contenders

23 April 2015 1:35 PM, PDT

This year the strong slate from Fox chairman Jim Gianopulos and his new motion picture chief Stacey Snider offers several fall possibilities for the award season. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's revenge action adventure "The Revenant" (December 25, limited) puts bearded frontiersmen Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy into a harsh North American winter landscape. The footage shot by Emmanuel Lubezki in natural light looked stunning--and the action was harrowing, including intense pursuit on horseback by Native Americans. New Regency's Brad Weston and Arnon Milchan are producing; they and Fox Searchlight produced two Best Picture Oscar-winners in a row, "12 Years a Slave"  and "Birdman."  David O. Russell's "Joy," about Joy Mangano (Jennifer Lawrence) who builds a billion-dollar family empire (Miracle Mop, Huggable Hangers), looks emotional, dramatic and intense, as the »


- Anne Thompson

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Watch: 'Black Mass' Trailer Starring Johnny Depp as Whitey Bulger

23 April 2015 12:07 PM, PDT

Warner Bros. showed some footage this week at CinemaCon; it looks like Depp is going overboard with the makeup as usual, aging as he goes and wearing strange contact lenses as Irish mobster James “Whitey” Bulger. For me, that pulls you out of a movie that seems reminiscent of the Martin Scorsese  classic "Goodfellas."  The sprawling cast is strong: Joel Edgerton, Benedict Cumberbatch, Jesse Plemons, Kevin BaconRory Cochrane, David Harbour, Dakota Johnson, , Julianne Nicholson,  James Russo, Adam Scott, Corey Stoll, Juno Temple, W. Earl Brown, Bill CampBrad Carter and Jeremy Strong. The screenplay by Mark Mallouk and Jez Butterworth, based on the book by Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neill, centers on the Whitey Bulger empire in South Boston, from the 1970s to the 90s. FBI Agent John Connolly (Joel Edgerton) persuades Whitey Bulger to collaborate with the FBI and turn against their common enemy, the Italian mob. »


- Anne Thompson

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With 'Nightly Show' Ratings Down 40% from 'The Colbert Report,' Remember in Late Night, Patience Is a Virtue

23 April 2015 11:28 AM, PDT

If Comedy Central hoped Larry Wilmore might stave off a post-Colbert exodus, Nielsen ratings for "The Nightly Show," as reported by Mediaite yesterday, are sure to disappoint. In the three months since his debut, Wilmore has averaged 417,000 viewers in the key 18-49 demo, a 39% slide from "The Colbert Report" in the same time period last year. But "Nightly Show" fans need not panic just yet: when it comes to late night, patience is a virtue. Wilmore's struggle to recapture Colbert's magic illustrates the format's reliance on familiarity, consistency, and audience trust. Compared to his predecessor's nine years behind "The Colbert Report" anchor desk, Wilmore's tenure is in its infancy, and as I wrote last month, it's clear that "The Nightly Show" host has not yet clearly defined his role in the uneven political and cultural debates he oversees each episode. Playing referee to comedians, actors, columnists, and reporters, Wilmore has. »


- Matt Brennan

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Russell Crowe's Debut 'Water Diviner' Packs Potent Anti-War Message

23 April 2015 10:40 AM, PDT

Russell Crowe’s first film as director isn’t a war film as such, but deals with the consequences of war, particularly for those families whose loved ones never return. It’s made with the brio one would expect from this energetic actor, as well as enormous sensitivity and cultural empathy, offering equal weight to those who opposed the Anzac forces. This even-handedness is immediately apparent as the film opens on the battlefield in Gallipoli, with the Ottomans. As Major Hasan (the charismatic Yilmaz Erdogan) somberly leads his troops over the top, across no man’s land and down into the opposing trenches, it’s only to find them deserted; after eight months of fighting, their enemy has retreated. Rather than euphoria, there is anti-climax, the Turks almost shrugging at the pointlessness of it all. Moving forward to 1919, we find farmer Joshua Connor (Crowe) working his land in Victoria, expertly »


- Demetrios Matheou

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Review Roundup: Blake Lively, Harrison Ford Impress in 'The Age of Adaline,' but the Premise is Pure 'Hokum'

23 April 2015 10:09 AM, PDT

As Serena van der Woodsen, the prep-school princess of "Gossip Girl," Blake Lively mastered a certain phlegmatic poise. Even when the bitchy backbiting of the CW's teen soap spiraled out of control, the actress kept her willowy cool, an air of mystery that serves her well in director Lee Toland Krieger's otherwise ludicrous romance, "The Age of Adaline." Lively stars as Adaline Bowman, a woman whose body is frozen at the age of 29 even as her soul, and the world around her, witness eight decades' worth of changes. Though long reticent to develop close relationships, lest her secret be revealed, Adaline finds herself drawn to Ellis Jones ("Game of Thrones" hunk Michiel Huisman), a wealthy philanthropist with old-fashioned tastes, and the film, full of sumptuous fashions that would make "Gossip Girl" green with envy, plumbs the dynamic of Adaline's strange situation. Lively, who outside of "Gossip Girl" has maintained a relatively. »


- Matt Brennan

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Cannes Adds 9 Titles to Complete Official Selection

23 April 2015 10:00 AM, PDT

The Festival de Cannes (May 13-25) has completed its Official Selection of 53 titles by adding the following films, beefing up their Latin American lineup; one Mexican auteur is in the Competition.  Two Cannes competition vets wind up in Un Certain Regard, Apichatpong Weerasethakul ("Cemetery of Splendour") and Naomi Kawase ("An," “Sweet Red Bean Paste”) which will open the programme. That leaves two women in the Main Competition and four in Un Certain Regard. Gasper Noé's erotic "Love" is playing at midnight.  In Competition "Cronic" by Mexican Michel Franco, starring Tim Roth (English language)"The Valley of Love" by Guillaume Nicloux, starring Gerard Depardieu and Isabelle Huppert Un Certain Regard  "Alias Maria"  by José Luis Rugeles Gracia"Taklub by Brillante Mendoza"Lamb" by Yared Zeleke – 1st film, first entry of Ethiopia in »


- Anne Thompson

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As MPAA Celebrates Earth Day with 'Eco-Conscious Practices,' How Green Has Hollywood Gone?

23 April 2015 8:33 AM, PDT

"Greenzo" (David Schwimmer), a narcissistic, power-mad actor's interpretation of an environmental mascot, turns up in the second season of "30 Rock" and quickly ruins the carefully calibrated messaging of NBC's latest "green" initiative. Hired by Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) at the behest of Ge Chairman Don Geiss (Rip Torn), Greenzo, "America's first non-judgmental, business-friendly environmental advocate," proves popular with audiences and executives alike—until, that his, he bites the hand that feeds him live on "The Today Show" with Meredith Viera. As broadcast satires go, the episode pulls few punches, sending up both self-aggrandizing liberals and corporate honchos looking to make a buck from "this environmentalism trend." But more than seven years later, would the joke still land?   As the MPAA announced yesterday in honor of Earth Day, in 2014 member studios diverted more than 19,000 tons of solid waste from »


- Matt Brennan

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Riviera Maya Film Festival Brings Best of the Fests to Mexico

23 April 2015 6:14 AM, PDT

In three Mexican cities along the Yucatan Peninsula in the state of Quintana Roo, the Riviera Maya Film Festival launches its annual program of free screenings for the public. Most theaters in the region screen commercial films, but Rmff believes that people deserve to see other kinds of movies, and so the festival brings films from many of the heavy hitters: Cannes, Toronto, Berlin and Venice among them. Riviera Maya has managed to attract some starry talent, too. And why not? It's in a temperate environment, away from the flash bulbs of Hollywood. Last year the red carpet rolled out for Peter Sarsgaard and Maggie Gyllenhaal, and in the past the festival has recruited Ethan Hawke, Clive Owen, Susan Sarandon, Patricia Arquette, Stephen Dorff, Vanessa Hudgens and Christian Slater. The festival also has its own Lab, which bolsters emerging independent film projects and invites "work-in-progress" screenings, giving filmmakers a chance »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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CinemaCon: Hollywood Bets Big, from Warner Bros. to Disney

22 April 2015 5:40 PM, PDT

One of the fun things about CinemaCon is being able to see the footage on the big screen. While everyone pays lip service to the extraordinary way that "American Sniper" scored at the global box office ($532 million worldwide), playing to every possible demo, and Clint Eastwood's highest-grossing film to date, the truth is that Hollywood will only step up to making that kind of movie when all the right elements line up.  Bless Eastwood, who was tributed here, for going against the grain. He gets away with it. "I read comic books when I was a kid, I don't read them now," said Eastwood, who prefers his films rated PG 13 or R. But mostly every studio is doubling down --as are the theater owners -- on making moviegoing an event experience. That means Big. Huge spectacles, more luxurious theaters, more IMAX screens, better 3D, faster frame rates, better sound »


- Anne Thompson

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How Do You Solve a Problem Like Erika? Universal Hires Husband to Write 'Fifty Shades Darker'

22 April 2015 3:44 PM, PDT

The studio got a $567 million global grosser out of that deal, but finally they have to deal with a writer with a lot of power. For the second installment "Fifty Shades Darker," they lost director Sam Taylor-Johnson, who fought with the opinionated James during production. Many wondered if studio chief Donna Langley, who pursued the project and landed it, would give James the assignment to write the next screenplay. Now Variety reports that James's husband Niall Leonard (British TV's “Wild at Heart” and “Wire in the Blood") will adapt the screenplay for “Fifty Shades Darker.”  Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan will return as the kinky lovers of the piece, as James, Dana Brunetti and Michael De Luca produce. De Luca recently left his job as Sony production chief to return to full-time producing, moving his production shingle to Universal. Next up: finding a director who can handle intimate sex scenes and work cooperatively with James. »


- Anne Thompson

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DGA Student Film Awards for Women and Minority Directors Open for Entries

22 April 2015 12:46 PM, PDT

The Directors Guild of America is now accepting applications for the 21st annual DGA Student Film Awards for Women and Minority Directors. The awards honor diverse filmmaking voices from film schools and universities across the country. Winners receive a $2,500 prize and will have their films screened in a special ceremony at the DGA Theater. Jury award winners get $1,000 and clips from their films will screen at the ceremony. Past winners include many African American, Asian American, Latino and Women directors including Ryan Coogler for his Sundance and Cannes winner "Fruitvale Station," Patricia Riggen of the upcoming "The 33," "Justin Bieber: Never Say Never" director John M. Chu and TV director Nicole Kassell ("The Following," "The Killing," "The Americans"). This year’s application period runs from April 22 – October 9, 2015, and the winners in each category will be announced in November. Eligible films »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Christopher Nolan Joins Martin Scorsese's Film Foundation

22 April 2015 11:28 AM, PDT

Director Christopher Nolan has come aboard Martin Scorsese's film preservation nonprofit Film Foundation, which has resurrected classics since 1990 including Powell and Pressburger's "Tales of Hoffmann" earlier this year. He joins a top-drawer coterie of members that already includes Woody Allen, Paul Thomas Anderson, Wes Anderson, Francis Ford Coppola, Clint Eastwood, Curtis Hanson, Peter Jackson, Ang Lee, George Lucas, Alexander Payne, Robert Redford and Steven Spielberg. Nolan, like Scorsese, has long been outspoken and passionate about celluloid, and prefers to shoot his movies on film. At a recent Getty Museum summit, as reported by Variety, Christopher Nolan made a rallying cry to save the medium: "There’s a reason filmmakers get very excited about shooting film and seeing film prints, and we have to communicate that to audiences around the world." Read More: How Martin Scorsese and Thelma Schoonmaker Restored the Luster of Michael Powell and »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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