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‘American Sniper’ Shoots Past $200M, ‘Mortdecai’ Nosedives At $4.1M – Sunday Final

4 hours ago

Final Update, Sunday Am: Warner Bros. is reporting that American Sniper will raise its domestic cume to $200.1M through Sunday after a massive $64.4M weekened at 3,705 theaters, the third-highest weekend ever in January, behind Sniper’s opening last weekend, and Avatar’s third Fss of $68.5M.

That figure, should it hold into tomorrow, marks a mere 28-percent slip – the best second-week hold for a wide release ever for a film that debuted with more than $85M. Previous to this, the best big debuts to hold an audience were 2004’s Shrek 2 (down 33 percent in its second frame) and 2002’s Spider-Man (down 38 percent). American Sniper is marching toward $300M, a mark only six Warner Bros. films have passed.

“Many exhibitors are hearing from their theater managers that the infrequent moviegoers who go only two to three times a year, are coming out to see this movie,” said Warner Bros. distribution chief Dan Fellman. »


- Anthony D'Alessandro

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‘Birdman’ Soars As PGA Sets A New Course For Wide Open Best Picture Oscar Race

9 hours ago

During the cocktail reception before Saturday night’s Producers Guild Awards began I ran into Oscar-nominated Screenwriter (and Director) Dan Gilroy and wife Rene Russo, there supporting one of the ten PGA Darryl F. Zanuck Best Picture nominees, Nightcrawler. Russo, admittedly not a staple at this type of awards-season banquet, asked me if they were going to serve food at this event. “Yes,” I replied, “it’s a dinner.” “So what do you think will win, Boyhood or Birdman?” she wondered. That was an interesting and somewhat surprising way to distill what has been thought to be a wide open race to Oscar until Boyhood basically cleaned up on the critics circuit, capping its run with Golden Globe and  Critics Choice Movie Award wins, while Birdman scored for Michael Keaton but actually lost to Fox Searchlight stablemate The Grand Budapest Hotel in both respective comedy categories. But now with the »


- Pete Hammond

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PGA Awards: Winners List (Live)

16 hours ago

The 26th annual PGA Awards is underway at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Los Angeles. We’ll be posting the winners live, so refresh for the latest.

The Award for Outstanding Producer of Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures:

The Lego Movie (Warner Bros. Pictures)

Producer: Dan Lin

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- The Deadline Team

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Hybrid Horror ‘The Nightmare’ Brings Boogeymen To Sundance – Hot Clip

23 January 2015 5:48 PM, PST

Exclusive: Director Rodney Ascher returns to Sundance with another macabre offering after filling viewers’ heads with Kubrickian conspiracy theories in his 2012 documentary Room 237. This time he’s aiming to keep Park City up all night with The Nightmare, a horror-docu hybrid that re-creates in chilling detail the terrifying dreamscapes of sleep paralysis sufferers.

You’d think it’d be bad enough laying awake at night, paralyzed and helpless, in the space between spaces. Ascher’s subjects share another horrific thing in common: They report the same eerie visits by dark and malevolent shadow people. (Ascher’s not only the director but a member of the club who’s experienced the horror firsthand.)

Preferred Content and Content International are repping the title, which debuts appropriately enough on Monday at midnight. Pic is produced by Ross Dinerstein and Glen Zipper. Get a glimpse in Deadline’s exclusive clip above.

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- Jen Yamato

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Denise Richards & Francia Raisa Sign With Abrams Artists Agency

23 January 2015 3:51 PM, PST

Denise Richards and Francia Raisa have new reps as Abrams Artists Agency has inked them both. Richards most recently starred on the ABC Family series Twisted, and her recent TV credits also include Lifetime telepic Fatal Acquittal, Anger Management, 30 Rock, Blue Mountain State and Kickin’ It. She also has appeared in such features as Scary Movie 3, The World Is Not Enough and Wild Things. She continues to be managed by Link.

Raisa was a regular on ABC Family’s The Secret Life Of The American Teenager throughout its five-season run and appeared in the telefilms A Snow Globe Christmas and Christmas Bounty. Other TV gigs include The Mindy Project, CSI and In Plain Sight. She next appears in the Lifetime series Un-Real and the features Dirty Lies and Beyond Paradise. She continues to be managed by Untitled.

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- The Deadline Team

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Julia Roberts To Produce, Star In Batkid Movie

23 January 2015 2:59 PM, PST

Breaking: Not even Oscar-winner Julia Roberts can resist Batkid fever. The actress and producer just closed a deal to adapt Batkid Begins, the Slamdance premiere documentary about the 5-year-old leukemia patient who got his wish to be a superhero granted when thousands of volunteers, and even President Obama, helped turn San Francisco into Gotham City for a day.

On November 15, 2013, youngster Miles Scott became the hero Gotham needed and deserved as 25,000 supporters across the city, and even more on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, tracked his heroics through a series of staged missions. The event culminated with Scott receiving the key to the city from Mayor Ed Lee and sparked media attention and more than 400K tweets in 117 countries, reaching over 1.84 billion social media users.

Roberts is attached to star in the feature remake as well as produce with her Red Om Films partners Lisa Gillan and Marisa Yeres Gill. Batkid »


- Jen Yamato

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Filming On Railroad Tracks: Dispelling The Myths

23 January 2015 2:30 PM, PST

Filming on railroad tracks can be dangerous; it’s taken two lives in the past year alone. And despite all the news reports about the death of Sarah Jones on the Midnight Rider set and the recent death of Greg Plitt while filming a commercial in Burbank, many myths remain about shooting on railroad tracks.

According to Art Miller, an instructor for the Iatse Rail Safety Awareness training program and one of the industry’s leading experts on railroad safety, there are six common myths about filming on railroad tracks.

There are abandoned tracks throughout the country that are available to filmmakers without permission and for free. “Every track has an owner,” he says, “and working on any track without permission is criminal trespass.”

Sending two production assistants with walkie-talkies out to warn of approaching trains is an effective safety measure. “Only qualified railroad employees assigned to train-control duties can legally control rail traffic, »


- David Robb

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Shawn Hatosy Signs With Mgmt Entertainment

23 January 2015 1:47 PM, PST

Exclusive: Shawn Hatosy, who’s set to do a guest arc on Amazon’s February debut series Bosch, has signed with Mgmt Entertainment (née The Schiff Company) for management. The Faculty and Outside Providence thesp earned a Critics’ Choice nomination for his turn on the NBC/TNT police drama Southland and most recently co-starred as a deliciously complex dirty cop on CBS’ short-lived legal drama Reckless. Onstage he earned raves last summer for his turn in Neil Labute’s Reasons To Be Pretty at the Geffen Playhouse. Hatosy’s credits over two decades of screen acting include Nick CassavetesJohn Q and Alpha Dog, Wayne Wang’s Anywhere But Here, In & Out, The Cooler, Public Enemies and Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans. He continues to be repped by Paradigm.

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- Jen Yamato

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‘White God’ Clip: Hungarian Dog Uprising Tale Heads To Sundance

23 January 2015 10:32 AM, PST

Exclusive: Hungary’s Cannes award-winning Oscar entry White God is bounding toward Sundance, where the brutal drama about a 13-year-old girl and her loyal pup-turned-leader of the canine revolution will make its U.S. debut.

The Un Certain Regard winner has earned raves for Kornél Mundruczó’s direction and its metaphorical undertones of political and cultural unrest and opens stateside via Magnolia Pictures on March 27. Homeward Bound this ain’t. Zsofia Psotta makes her acting debut leading a cast that includes Sandor Zsoter, Szabolcs Thuroczy, Lili Monori, Laszlo Galffi, Lili Horvath, and an army of pooches.

Above, check out a peek at the dog uprising tearing through the streets in Deadline’s exclusive clip for White God, which premieres in Park City Sunday night with Mundruczó and his four-legged star Bodie in attendance.

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- Jen Yamato

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‘Kung Fu Panda 3′ To Get China Co-Production Status

23 January 2015 9:58 AM, PST

China’s State General Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (Sapprft) has confirmed on its website that DreamWorks Animation’s Kung Fu Panda 3 will receive official co-production status. The news means the film will be treated as a domestic film and bypass the quota system usually imposed upon foreign films. The filmmakers also receive a larger share of box office receipts- 43%- than if they were deemed a foreign film.

DreamWorks Animation, its Chinese unit Oriental DreamWorks and their Chinese partners China Media Capital, Shanghai Media Group and Shanghai Alliance, filed and received co-production status for Kung Fu Panda 3 on January 15.

The news does not come as a surprise, given that much of the animation work is being done in China and the film franchise is inspired by Chinese mythology. It does offer Jeffrey Katzenberg some good news after a tough day yesterday where he announced cutting 500 jobs »


- Ali Jaafar

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Ramdam Film Festival In Belgium Cancelled Due To Terrorist Threat; Will There Be Knock-On Effect For Berlin?

23 January 2015 9:00 AM, PST

The Ramdam Film Festival in Belgium has been cancelled due to security concerns over terrorist threats. The festival, originally set to run January 20-27, was set up in 2011 as a showcase for politically engaged films. Organizers were informed by authorities that the threat of a terror attack was “at a very high level” and quickly moved to evacuate the Imagix theatre yesterday.

The move highlights the heightened security situation in Europe and will be sure to raise some questions about extra measures being put in place ahead of the Berlin Film Festival launch in less than two weeks. That fest begins February 5.

“We have had no threats whatsoever,” a spokesperson for the Berlin Film Festival confirmed to Deadline. “We have 300,000 people attending the festival every year so we always have a high security presence. It is something we take very seriously and we are very well-equipped. We work closely with »


- Ali Jaafar

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‘Rush’, ‘The Audience’ Author Peter Morgan On Truth In Storytelling: Conversations With Jeremy Gerard

23 January 2015 8:57 AM, PST

Exclusive: Who owns history? In the run-up to the Oscars, the critiques playing out in the press over the “accuracy” of events portrayed in Selma, American Sniper and The Imitation Game have never had a more powerful purchase on the public conversation.

Few contemporary writers have tangled with the issue as consistently —  and entertainingly — as two-time Oscar nominee Peter Morgan. He might recreate the days-long encounter between a British interlocutor and a paranoid U.S. President, as he did first onstage and then in film with Frost/Nixon. Slice through the emotional tensions in a legendary Formula One racing rivalry, as he did in Rush. Or imagine the private conversations between the Queen of England and a succession of Prime Ministers, as he does in The Audience, the hit West End play starring Helen Mirren that is in rehearsal for its upcoming Broadway bow.

Morgan is also in the thick »


- Jeremy Gerard

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‘American Sniper’ Generates Debate, Draws Crowds In Iraq And Arab World

23 January 2015 8:41 AM, PST

Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper is proving both a big draw and talking point in Iraq and across the Arab world, where the film opened wide yesterday. In Iraq, where much of Chris Kyle’s story takes place, the film has reflected the bitter political divisions in the country. In capital city, Baghdad, the management of Iraqi Cinemas, which operates a four screen theatre there, pulled the film ahead of its scheduled bow Jan. 22 for fear of inciting protests and violence.  In the semi-autonomous north of the country in the Kurdish cities of Irbil, Suleimaniya and Dohuk, however, American Sniper has opened strongly, second only to Liam Neeson-starrer Taken 3.  To give  a sense of the complexity of politics in the country, Iraqi Cinemas actually operates the three screen theatre in Dohuk and had no problem releasing the film there, despite its own self-imposed Baghdad ban.

“The Kurds don »


- Ali Jaafar

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Harvey Weinstein, Press Agent Rick Miramontez “Part Ways” In Latest ‘Finding Neverland’ Bump

22 January 2015 9:56 PM, PST

Update 9:54 P.M.: Miramontez responds, and Weinstein responds, too, below.

Exclusive:

From: Office, Hw

Sent: Wednesday, January 21, 2015 4:40 Pm

To: Rick Miramontez

Subject: From Harvey Weinstein

Dear Rick,

Thank you so much for the beautiful flowers. I totally understand, there is a lot of pressure out there. You are a terrific guy, but the world of Broadway is tough. I personally will miss you — you are courageous and smart and definitely impressed me.

All my best,

Harvey

With that e-mail, Harvey Weinstein and Finding Neverland executive producer Victoria Parker ended their relationship with veteran Broadway press agent Rick Miramontez. Until Tuesday, Miramontez and Weinstein were joined at the hip in navigating the new musical through more than two years of heavy rewrites, two tryouts, cast changes and a run-up to the show’s March 15 first preview at the Nederlander-owned Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. The show, based on Miramax’s 2004 Johnny Depp »


- Jeremy Gerard

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Was There Belichick Ball Deflation? Will Ferrell Brains A Cheerleader With ‘Errant’ Half-Court Shot – Video

22 January 2015 7:15 PM, PST

File this under “Harm, but no foul.” Here’s a look at a shocking scene in which a man is invited to try sinking a miracle half-court shot during a break in an NBA game. You’ll note that his aim is just a wee bit off, resulting in a cheerleader getting a Wilson sandwich and the boorish guy being forcibly removed from the court. Relax, the loser was Will Ferrell, shooting a scene for the actor’s upcoming pic Daddy’s Home, a reteam with Mark Wahlberg in which Ferrell plays a mild-mannered radio executive who strives to become the best stepdad to his wife’s two children. But complications arise when their freewheeling and freeloading real father (Wahlberg) arrives, forcing him to compete for the affection of the kids. Fear not — the cheerleader’s really a stuntwoman.

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- The Deadline Team

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Why Pricey, Offbeat Pics Didn’t Pay Off For DreamWorks Animation

22 January 2015 5:53 PM, PST

Any good news for DreamWorks Animation at the 2014 global box office came at an exorbitant cost. While the toon studio’s slate was up 36% over last year at the global B.O. with $1.18B across three movies — Mr. Peabody & Sherman, How to Train Your Dragon 2 and Penguins Of Madagascar, productions costs for DreamWorks Animation surged 56% over 2013 with an estimated $422M, the second highest in the studio’s history since 2010, when it shelled out $460M for a three pic-slate that included Shrek Forever After, How To Train Your Dragon and Mega Mind (total global B.O. $1.57B) under its distribution deal with Paramount. And not only were budgets up, but the three of the five titles that Dwa delivered to its distrib partner 20th Century Fox during the past two years haven’t been the mass-appealing, humorous titles that the animation studio has built its brand upon — How to Train Your Dragon 2 »


- Anthony D'Alessandro

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‘She’s Lost Control’ Director Anja Marquardt Signs With UTA

22 January 2015 5:50 PM, PST

Exclusive: UTA has signed German-born filmmaker Anja Marquardt hot off of the success of her directorial debut She’s Lost Control, which hits screens via Monument Releasing on March 20. Inspired by an article about Japanese “caretaker” robots, Marquardt wrote, produced, and directed the story of an emotionally guarded sex surrogate that debuted at the Berlin Film Festival and was nominated for the Best First Feature Award. Marquardt won the Berlinale Forum’s C.I.C.A.E. Art Cinema Award for the film, which was executive produced by The Messenger‘s Oren Moverman and stars Brooke Bloom (Alpha House, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close). The film premiered stateside at SXSW and nabbed Spirit Award nominations for Best First Feature and Best First Screenplay. Marquardt continues to be repped by Sebastian Dibona at Rta in Germany.

Here’s the trailer for She’s Lost Control:

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- Jen Yamato

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Tugg Partners With New Balloon On Marketing & Distribution Film Fund – Sundance

22 January 2015 5:00 PM, PST

Theatrical exhibition company Tugg Inc., the movie marketer that allows fans and creators to choose the films that play in theaters, has partnered with Elizabeth Koch’s New Balloon cross-platform media venture on an initiative to help market and distribute culturally significant films, big and small.

Their new multi-million dollar Event Cinema Fund will provide capital, expertise, and other resources for select films that promote positive discussion and community-building. Eligible projects should also demonstrate a relationship with an audience through crowdfunding campaigns, the support of regional or national organizations, or corporate partners. The Event Cinema Fund is also looking for films that utilize innovative storytelling, hybrid distribution models, and community-driven screenings to get the word out.

Mobilizing and connecting moviegoers is how Tugg works, after all. The web platform allows fans and creators to book films into theatrical engagements when a minimum number of interested ticketbuyers is met. In a »


- Jen Yamato

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Teresa Palmer, Mark Webber Star In Self-Distributed ‘The Ever After’ – Trailer

22 January 2015 3:48 PM, PST

Exclusive: Married actors Mark Webber and Teresa Palmer make a bold foray into indie filmmaking in the digital era with The Ever After, a mostly self-financed drama the couple co-wrote, star in, and will release online worldwide on Valentine’s Day via direct-to-consumer platform Vhx.

Webber, seen recently in Jessabelle and Happy Christmas, and Palmer, known for her roles in I Am Number Four and Warm Bodies, star as Thomas and Ava, a photographer and an actress with a young child and a lovely La home who must confront their innermost vulnerabilities to save their marriage when trauma strikes. (Watch Deadline’s exclusive trailer above.)

In his third feature behind the camera after 2008’s Explicit Ills and 2012’s The End Of Love, Webber directs the partially crowdfunded drama which premiered last year at the La Film Festival. Filming took place in La and Palmer’s native Australia while Palmer was »


- Jen Yamato

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Pdi/DreamWorks Closing; Half Of Staff Laid Off

22 January 2015 3:19 PM, PST

As part of its restructuring announced today, DreamWorks Animation will be shutting down Pdi/DreamWorks, its computer animation production company in Redwood City, CA. Half of Pdi’s 450 workers will lose their jobs; the others will be offered positions at the Dwa campus in Glendale.

DreamWorks Animation acquired a 40% stake in Pacific Data Images in 1995 and completed the buyout following the success of 1998’s Antz, renaming the company Pdi/DreamWorks. It would go on to produce Shrek, Shrek 2, Madagascar, Shrek The Third, Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, Mr. Peabody & Sherman, How to Train Your Dragon 2, and Penguins Of Madagascar. Shrek won the first Oscar for Best Animated Feature in 2002, and How to Train Your Dragon 2 has been nominated this year.

 

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- David Robb

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