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6 Things Non-Record-Breaker 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' Reveals about the Current Box Office

14 hours ago

Whatever its quality--writer-director Joss Whedon's "Avengers: Age of Ultron" is no affront to cinematic aesthetics--the film's marketing and distribution design is meticulous enough to guarantee a massive opening. So it's no surprise that Disney delivered a $187 million weekend. Among mixed reviews including both the New York and Los Angeles Times, critics understood that their views carried little relevance. This is simply a blockbuster juggernaut. So let's parse the numbers.  Top Ten Chart  1. Avengers: Age of Ultron (Buena Vista) New - Cinemascore: A; Criticwire: B-; Metacritic: 66; Est. Budget: $250 million $187,656,000 in 4,276 theaters; PSA (per screen average): $43,886; Cumulative: $187,656,000 2. The Age of Adaline (Lionsgate) Week 2 - Last weekend #3 $6,250,000 (-53%) in 2,991 theaters (unchanged); PSA: $2,090; Cumulative: $23,424,000 3. Furious 7 (Universal) Week 5 - Last weekend #1 $6,114,000 (-66%) in 3,305 theaters (-503); PSA: $1,850; »


- Tom Brueggemann

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Box Office: 'Far from the Madding Crowd' Starring Carey Mulligan Leads Specialty Openers

17 hours ago

As summer studio releases take center stage and compete with specialized fare by stealing away seats in shared theaters, the art-house world is hopeful that the recent specialized surge will continue. Both Fox Searchlight bodice-ripper "Far from the Madding Crowd" and Magnolia doc "Iris" are likely to boast long legs, while Alchemy's Kristen Wiig vehicle "Welcome to Me," which boasted the best PSA by playing in only two theaters, heads to VOD this Friday along with its theatrical expansion. Opening "Far from the Madding Crowd" (Fox Searchlight) - Criticwire: B+; Metacritic: 70; Festivals include: Istanbul 2014 $172,000 in 10 theaters; PSA (per screen average): $17,200 Thomas Vinterberg's high-end adaptation of Thomas Hardy's classic English romance opened in five markets, skewing the PSA a bit lower than a typical two-city launch. (Fox Searchlight often is more aggressive in its initial release, so this isn't »


- Tom Brueggemann

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Friday Box Office: 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' Takes No Prisoners, $84.6 Million vs. Rest of Top Ten's $10.2 Million

2 May 2015 11:06 AM, PDT

As planned, "Avengers: Age of Ultron" hit stratospheric, if not quite record-breaking, heights its opening day. Reported Thursday night and Friday gross come in (inflation unadjusted) as $84,460,000, the second-best ever. More impressive is that the installment topped the start for the first "Avengers" ($80.6 million) and didn't have the summer vacation matinee boost that helped "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part 2" open to $93 million. The unadjusted record for an opening domestic weekend is currently $207 million ("The Avengers"). Despite initially outdoing the first entry, "Ultron" could fall short of besting this. The crucial first reason: intense competition from sports events this weekend -- boxing, basketball playoffs and horse racing all compete for the attention of the majority male audience. The second is that popular franchise sequels tend to drop off more after their opening day (as the intensity of »


- Tom Brueggemann

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Top 10 Stories of the Week: 'Goodfellas,' Del Toro, Tonys and More

1 May 2015 11:24 AM, PDT

8 Highlights from Tribeca's "Goodfellas" Reunion Guillermo Del Toro Feted at San Francisco Film Fest: "I Saw My First Corpse at Age 4" Hollywood, Please Don't Remake Nicolas Roeg's "Don't Look Now" How They Did It: Bringing the Hardy Atmosphere to "Far From the Madding Crowd" Jk Rowling's "The Casual Vacancy" on HBO Faces the End of Empathy Riviera Maya Film Fest Dares to Bring Edgy Fare to Cinema-Starved Mexican Audiences San Francisco Film Fest Highlights, From Alex Gibney's Selfie to Korean BBQ with Guy Maddin Tony Awards: Hollywood Falls for Broadway, But Some Get Tony Cold Shoulder Top 10 Box Office Takeaways: "Furious 7" Hits $320 Million Whither Sony? No Place to Go But Up »


- TOH!

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Screen Talk: In Praise of Carey Mulligan in 'Far From the Madding Crowd,' Debating Downey Jr.

1 May 2015 11:08 AM, PDT

Carey Mulligan proves that she can carry a movie as the incandescent and powerful Bathsheba in "The Hunt" director Thomas Vinterberg's gorgeous realization of the Thomas Hardy classic "Far from the Madding Crowd," now in theaters. We also discuss Robert Downey Jr.'s recent take down of indie film. Read More: How They Did It: Bringing the Hardy Atmosphere to "Far From the Madding Crowd" »


- Anne Thompson

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Cannes: Lucy Walker to Direct 'Buena Vista Social Club' Sequel

1 May 2015 9:59 AM, PDT

Broad Green Pictures is launching production on "Buena Vista Social Club - Adios," a sequel sixteen years after Wim Wenders' original Oscar-nominated film that put Cuban music culture on the global stage, following Ry Cooder as he brought prominent Cuban musicians out of retirement. Two-time Academy Award nominee Lucy Walker will direct, with Christine Cowin and Zak Kilberg producing.  With the band on their final and hugely ambitious world tour, the five original band members take us on a journey revealing their personal and professional highs and lows since 1999, while remembering the infamous band members they've lost. The tour will culminate in a series of homecoming concerts in Havana. Principal photography is slated to begin in July 2015 with theatrical release targeted in 2016. Broad Green’s Victor Moyers and Asher Goldstein will oversee production for the studio.  Walker's documentary credits including Oscar nominees "The Tsunami and the »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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'A Most Violent Year,' 'Life Itself,' TV's 'Hannibal' Win Golden Eagle Awards

1 May 2015 9:41 AM, PDT

A jury of media industry professionals selected this year's Cine Golden Eagle Awards, including five finalists in each category. The awards serve to emphasize original storytelling and production in media across genres and distribution platforms. Cine will honor those recognized at networking parties in New York, Washington, DC and Los Angeles in October. This summer, Cine announces recipients and finalists of the 58th Golden Eagle Awards for Independent and Student Media. Here are highlights of the Golden Eagle Awards. Get the rest of the winners here. Narrative Content: Series/Mini-Series (Episodes of 30:01 Minutes or Longer)  Hannibal Finalists:  Girlfriends’ Guide To Divorce, Orphan Black Bbca Narrative Content: Series/Mini-Series Episodes of 30:00 Minutes or Less 60-second Presidents Finalist:   Mom Narrative Content: Feature — Live Action  A Most Violent Year Finalists:  Big Eyes, The Imitation Game, St. »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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How They Did It: Bringing the Hardy Atmosphere to 'Far from the Madding Crowd' (Video)

1 May 2015 9:34 AM, PDT

When it came to capturing the warm, soft, English countryside of Dorset  -- Thomas Hardy country -- for Thomas Vinterberg's latest version of "Far from the Madding Crowd," cinematographer Charlotte Bruus Christensen insisted on 35mm film shot with the Panaflex Millenium. There was simply no other way to get the purity of Hardy. "It was a dream and a wish for Thomas and me, knowing that it would be a battle, but we wrote a letter to the producers explaining why 35mm would be important for this film," the Danish Christensen explained. "It was obviously the texture and with Thomas Hardy it's all about texture. And maybe an audience can't see the different but they can feel the difference. We didn't do a lot grading for the film because we didn't want to force a digital look by adding grain and then layers and layers and layers of things. »


- Bill Desowitz

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International Documentary Association Names Simon Kilmurry Executive Director

1 May 2015 9:18 AM, PDT

Kilmurry joins Ida after a 16-year tenure at Pov, PBS' long-running documentary showcase, where he served as Executive Producer. He also served as executive director of Pov's parent nonprofit American Documentary. "He is truly from the tribe of documentary filmmakers that we serve," said Marjan Safinia, President of Ida’s Board of Directors.  "The Ida has never been better positioned to play a leadership role in the field, advocating for and providing support to filmmakers, and convening an international dialogue for filmmakers telling the most relevant stories of our time,” said Kilmurry, who won numerous accolades in his role at Pov including a Primetime Emmy Award, 12 News and Documentary Emmy Awards, a Special Emmy Award for Excellence in Documentary Filmmaking, as well as more than 50 News and Documentary Emmy nominations. He is also the recipient of five Peabody Awards, three Du Pont Columbia Awards, two Overseas Press Club Awards, a Grierson Award, »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Revisiting John Carpenter's 'Prince of Darkness'

1 May 2015 8:51 AM, PDT

Carpenter’s screenplay is even credited to “Martin Quatermass”. Priest Donald Pleasence discovers an ancient canister full of liquid Evil which “broadcasts” warnings from the future. Or something. Given total creative freedom due to the low budget, this is probably Carpenter’s most off the wall picture, the middle entry in his “Apocalypse Trilogy” which includes his "The Thing" and "In the Mouth of Madness." »


- Trailers From Hell

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Guillermo del Toro Feted at San Francisco Film Fest: "I saw my first corpse at age 4"

30 April 2015 1:36 PM, PDT

One of the pleasures of daily immersion in a film festival is appreciating the wildly different audiences you can be part of during a day. A couple of hours after watching "Wanda," made by Barbara Loden in 1970, introduced by local novelist Rachel Kushner, as one of a serious group of cinephiles that didn't exactly fill the 1,400-seat Castro Theatre, I returned that evening to be part of a capacity crowd of fun-loving fanboys and fangirls of Guillermo del Toro whose excitement and enthusiasm was so palpable as to be contagious. That's when a festival is festive indeed. The witty and fast-moving clip reel reminded me that I haven't seen everything. And, of course, the way I'd like to see what I've missed, and re-see what I've seen, is just like this: beautifully projected on a huge screen. (Note: one plus of the digital revolution is that clip reels are now things of beauty indeed, »


- Meredith Brody

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Cannes: Indie Producer Cassian Elwes Launches Golden Gate Media

30 April 2015 1:09 PM, PDT

Elwes has long been in the business of assembling projects, finding financing, and selling rights for various indie movies on sale at Cannes, Toronto and Sundance. When Elwes was co-head of William Morris Independent, he arranged financing for over 250 films. He's got a producer or executive producer credit on 73 films on IMDb. He is now partnering with merchant bank Pelican Point Capital Partners' media arm in the formation of Golden Gate Media. Via Golden Gate, Elwes will continue to produce and finance two to four films a year with budgets in the $2 to 15 million range. Elwes will originate, package, and generate films, and hopes to contribute to the award season as well, something that is always hard to achieve. Recent movies he boosted into existence include "Dallas Buyers Club," Lee Daniels' "The Butler" and "All is Lost." Pelican co-ceo and co-founder Ike Suri and Elwes will be Golden Gate co-CEOs; they already co-produced. »


- Anne Thompson

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Exclusive: 3 Documentaries Win San Francisco Film Society Grants

30 April 2015 12:42 PM, PDT

This year's Sffs Documentary Film Fund awards total $75,000 to support feature-length docs in postproduction. Esteemed past winners include Zachary Heinzerling's 2014 Oscar-nominated "Cutie and the Boxer," Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson’s 2013 Sundance winner "American Promise" and Jason Zeldes' "Romeo Is Bleeding," which just premiered at the Sf International Film Festival. The Fund has distributed over $450,000 to national filmmakers since 2011. The panelists who reviewed the 11 finalists’ submissions are Jennifer Battat, founder of the Jenerosity Foundation; Noah Cowan, executive director of the San Francisco Film Society; Lisa Kleiner-Chanoff, cofounder of Catapult Film Fund; filmmaker Dan Krauss; and Michele Turnure-Salleo, director of the Film Society’s Filmmaker360 program. Watch: Homegrown Bay Area Doc "Romeo Is Bleeding" Hits Sf Film Fest (Exclusive Clip) 2015 Documentary Film Fund Winners: "The Island »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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It Looks Like David Lynch's 'Mulholland Drive' Is Indeed Coming to Criterion

30 April 2015 12:03 PM, PDT

For Lynch apostles, "Mulholland Drive" has long-needed a proper Blu-ray release in the Us. So after years of rumors, Criterion, which released Lynch's debut "Eraserhead" and also houses his early short film collection, has offered reason to believe that this is actually happening: the latest newsletter cartoon (below) looks unmistakably like that blue key that opens a Pandora's Box of horrors at the end of the movie. Fingers crossed that, unlike the new season of "Twin Peaks," this is a done deal. My copy of the bare-bones, standard definition DVD—lacking in chapter stops or extras per Lynch's arcane request—is on its last legs. Watch: 45-Minute Conversation with David Lynch on Film, Art and Influences »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Cary Fukunaga Teams with 'Brokeback Mountain' Writers for A24's First Original Film

30 April 2015 11:23 AM, PDT

As if he didn't have enough on his plate, "True Detective" executive producer/director Cary Fukunaga will develop and direct a yet-to-be-titled father-son drama for A24, marking the edgy distributor's first project to be developed from scratch. A24 will produce alongside Fukunaga's Parliament of Owls, Red Crown Productions and VisionChaos Productions.  Based on the true story of Joe and his son Jadin Bell, a 15-year-old Oregon teen who killed himself in 2013 after suffering vicious bullying for being gay, the drama will be penned by the Oscar-winning "Brokeback Mountain" team of Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana. After Jadin committed suicide, his father set out across America to promote awareness and to rally against prejudice and bullying. Read More: Why Netflix Shelled Out for Cary Fukunaga's "Beasts of No Nation" The 37-year-old filmmaker is keeping busy these days, with a long-stalled adaptation of Caleb Carr's "The Alienist" »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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'Spectre' Vlog Teases Rome Car Chase Between James Bond and Mr. Hinx

30 April 2015 10:22 AM, PDT

One thing we've learned from the movies is you can tell a lot about your hero or villain from their choice of cars and how they drive. Thus, you can bet there's a lot more riding on the nighttime Rome car chase between James Bond's silver Aston Martin DB10 and Mr. Hinx's orange Jaguar C-X75 than the need for speed. But for now we can only speculate that there's something more under the hood in terms of Bondian wit and wiles because all we get is a brief introduction to the two new super sports cars in the latest "Spectre" vlog featuring Sam Mendes, Dave Bautista (Hinx), Special Effects Supervisor Chris Corbould, Stunt Coordinator Gary Powell and Action Vehicles Technical Coordinator Neil Layton. "I love the idea of this fantastic car being in a one-on-one battle with another incredible car from Jaguar, which is similarly extraordinary actually," said Mendes. "So »


- Bill Desowitz

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Exclusive: Seattle Film Fest Programs 6 American Indies in Catalyst Lineup

30 April 2015 9:56 AM, PDT

The six world premieres in Seattle's Catalyst Program, all included in the festival's New American Cinema competition, will play over the course of one weekend, May 28-31. The program also boasts two days of panels covering production, distribution, workflow and current trends in Indigenous Cinema. This year's Catalyst "State of the Indie Industry" will be delivered by Ifp's Deputy Director and Head of Programming, Amy Dotson. “Four years in and I feel like this is our strongest overall program yet," said Siff programmer Brad Wilke. "Six world premieres, four first-time feature film directors, and a weekend full of panels and workshops aimed at sharing the latest best practices, all while forging new connections among attendees, participants, and audience members, alike.” Read More: Seattle Film Fest Books Scorsese, Greenaway, "Overnight," "Inside Out" and More Here are the six films in the Catalyst lineup, with synopses courtesy of the »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Watch: Tom Hardy Plays Twin Mobsters in Stylish 'Legend' Trailer

30 April 2015 9:19 AM, PDT

Writer/director Brian Helgeland follows up "42" with British organized crime thriller "Legend," inspired by John Pearson’s book "Profession of Violence." Hardy plays the two notorious Kray brothers opposite Aussie actress Emily Browning and English actor Christopher Eccleston (wonderful as a fanatical preacher on HBO's "The Leftovers"). Helgeland won the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar in 1998 for his wickedly clever James Ellroy noir "La Confidential," directed by Curtis Hanson. He was nominated in 2005 for penning Clint Eastwood's crime melodrama "Mystic River." "Legend" opens in the UK on September 11, suggesting an awards bid, but no Us release date has been set. Working Title will handle the film's imminent Us release. »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Amy Berg's Sex Abuse Doc 'An Open Secret' Finally Lands Distribution, Goes to Cannes

30 April 2015 8:59 AM, PDT

When "An Open Secret" premiered at Doc NYC, audiences and critics worried that no distributor would touch it. But the film has finally been picked up, by Rocky Mountain Pictures, for a 20-city Us theatrical release beginning June 5. The film will also play exclusively at the Cannes Market in an invite-only screening on May 19. The documentary, however, is not exactly in the wheelhouse of Rocky Mountain Pictures, which has so far specialized mainly in fundamentalist Christian and right-wing political films, from "Atlas Shrugged: Part One" (2011) to its highest grosser "2016: Obama's America" (2012), for the middle American demo. How will the Utah-based distributor channel the film's message to the right audience? This pickup suggests that "An Open Secret," shut out of most high-profile festival play, didn't elicit interest from the level of distributors who've handled Berg's past films (including Lionsgate and Sony Pictures Classics). It will be »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Cannes Completes Lineup with Luc Jacquet's Nature Doc 'Ice and the Sky'

30 April 2015 8:38 AM, PDT

Cannes has unveiled its full 2015 lineup, with director Luc Jacquet's ("March of the Penguins") nature documentary "Ice and the Sky" set to close the festival. Jacquet's fourth feature film explores the scientific discoveries of Claude Lorius, who began studying Antarctic glaciers in 1957 before becoming one of the first scientists to support the theory of global warming in 1965. Today, he's 82. A French biologist turned filmmaker, Jacquet won an Oscar for 2005's "March of the Penguins" and in 2010 launched the environmental nonprofit Wild-Touch. "Ice and the Sky" was produced by Eskwad and will be distributed by Pathé. Wild Bunch is handling international sales at Cannes. Read More: Cannes Classics Programs Welles, Hitchcock and More Read More: Cannes Adds 9 Titles to Complete Official Selection Read More: 2 or 3 Things to Know About the Cannes Lineup »

- Ryan Lattanzio

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