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‘Mr. Turner’ Paints A Solid Box-Office Bow; ‘Inherent Vice,’ ‘Imitation Game’ Take Top PTAs

1 hour ago

Sony Classics’ Mr. Turner had a near masterpiece of a theatrical debut in limited release, creating director Mike Leigh‘s highest per-theater average for any of his titles opening on multiple screens. But holdovers Inherent Vice from Warner Bros and TWC’s The Imitation Game took the highest and second-highest averages this weekend, while Whiplash, Citizenfour and Force Majeure all passed notable milestones in their on-screen runs.

Mr. Turner, starring Timothy Spall, grossed $108,638 for a $21,728 average in five theaters.

“This is the perfect alternative to the big Hollywood blockbuster,” said Spc co-president Michael Barker. “This movie is really going to cross over. The reason we wanted to become involved with this film years ago is that Turner is the first modern painter. He bridged the gap between the classical and the modern, and his fans range in all ages. Young people are also very interested in seeing this film.”

The »

- Brian Brooks

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Obama: Sony Victim Of “Cyber Vandalism,” Not Act Of War – Video

4 hours ago

President Obama says Sony Pictures Entertainment was the victim of  “cyber vandalism” — not an act of war.

The topic was the first item in Obama’s sit-down with Candy Crowley – his last interview of the year and her last telecast as host of CNN’s State of the Union. CNN is running the whole interview this morning.

Here is a transcript of that portion of the interview:

Candy Crowley, Host: First of all, happy holidays. Thank you for joining us.

Barack Obama, President Of The United States: Happy holidays, Candy.

Crowley: Thank you. I want to just start out talking about Sony and North Korea…

Obama: Right.

Crowley: … because the chairman of Sony which had your news conference…

Obama: Right.

Crowley:  …and said he didn’t think you understood what actually happened, that Sony was committed to putting the movie out, but the movie theaters came to them and said, »

- Lisa de Moraes

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Sony Consults With ‘Scandal’-ous Crisis-Management Expert

19 December 2014 7:22 PM, PST

In a near-case of life imitating art, Amy Pascal and other top Sony executives have had a few meetings with Judy Smith, the crisis-management wiz who inspired the Olivia Pope character on hit ABC drama Scandal, to discuss strategies for dealing with the massive hack attack that led to the controversial pulling of Sony’s movie The Interview and made top Sony executives tabloid fodder when their private emails were made public. The Sony Motion Picture Group is continuing to work with New York-based PR firm Rubenstein, more specifically crisis-management specialist Matthew Hiltzik, who has advised Spe leadership during the hacking scandal. »

- Erik Pedersen

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Sony Chief “Disappointed” By Obama Rebuke, Hollywood’s Cowed Silence

19 December 2014 5:23 PM, PST

Updated: Sony CEO Michael Lynton further contradicted President Obama’s criticism that Sony had “made a mistake” in handling the release of The Interview in his full sit-down with CNN on Friday. Obama said today that the studio did not come to him for help when cyberterrorists crippled the studio in a November hacking attack ordered by North Korea, but Lynton said the President was the mistaken one. “We definitely spoke to a senior advisor in the White House to talk about the situation,” he confirmed. “The White House was certainly aware of the situation.”

What’s more: Sony also consulted with the Us State Department before the November hacking attack to assess any potential political heat the Seth Rogen/James Franco comedy might provoke. Lynton said Sony went to experts, think tanks, and the State Department “to get an understanding of whether or not there was a problem” with »

- Jen Yamato and Erik Pedersen

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Fox International Ups Kieran Breen To Marketing President Post

19 December 2014 5:00 PM, PST

Following a record-breaking summer for 20th Century Fox, Kieran Breen has been promoted to President of International Marketing, the company’s Worldwide Marketing and Distribution heads Paul Hanneman and Tomas Jegeus announced today. Breen has served as Fox International’s Evp, International Marketing since 2006 and has been with the studio since 2000. He started his run with Fox as its UK Marketing Director in the UK and Ireland. In his newly upped post he’ll report to Hanneman and Jegeus heading strategy, research, media, digital, publicity, creative and promotions for Fox titles outside the U.S.

“Kieran has long been an invaluable member of our senior team at Fox International, but over the past year, during our restructuring of the global marketing group, we’ve come to rely even more on his insights and leadership,” said Hanneman and Jegeus. “We’re pleased to recognize Kieran’s formidable achievements with this well-deserved promotion. »

- Jen Yamato

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BitTorrent To Sony: Let Us Distribute ‘The Interview’

19 December 2014 4:02 PM, PST

As part of Sony Picture Entertainment’s media blitz today to defend its decision of pulling The Interview after President Barack Obama called the move “a mistake,” Spe CEO told NPR that Sony “very much wanted to keep the picture in release” but “we don’t have any takers, neither on the video demand side nor on the e-commerce side.”

That is not exactly the case — at least one outlet has volunteered its services to release the Seth Rogen comedy, which triggered one of the biggest hacking scandals in history. BitTorrent Chief Content Officer Matt Mason told Deadline today that his file-sharing service wants to circulate The Interview. “We have reached out (to Sony) on a number of fronts,” he said. “It seems like no one else wants to touch this, but for us this about the two things we care about most: an open Internet and a sustainable future for creativity. »

- Jen Yamato

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‘The Interview’ Release Would Have Damaged Kim Jong Un Internally, Says Rand Expert Who Saw Movie At Sony’s Request

19 December 2014 3:49 PM, PST

Rand Corporation senior defense analyst Bruce Bennett, who says he was asked by Sony chief Michael Lynton to look at The Interview, said today the depiction of Kim Jong Un in the movie would have harmed the North Korean leader once the “elite” in his country got hold of the DVD and began sharing it. That’s why North Korea hacked Sony, he speculated.

A proportional response, to North Korea’s cyber attack on Sony, Bennett said, referencing President Obama’s comments this morning at his end-of-year news conference, would be to make certain the movie got released on DVD, so copies could find their way into North Korea.

“I think it should be released,” Bennett told CNN this afternoon. “Once [Kim Jong Un’s] elites see it, it’s going to have some effect, and it’s not going to be good for him. I think that’s what, in the end, they »

- Lisa de Moraes

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‘Unbroken’ Review: Pete Hammond On Angelina Jolie’s Directorial “Triumph”

19 December 2014 3:00 PM, PST

It probably will be hard to break Unbroken’s record for development time in getting to the screen. Universal had optioned World War II hero Louis Zamperini’s own story  in 1957 as a vehicle for Tony Curtis, who was going to star but chose to do Spartacus instead. The project languished for decades until Laura Hillenbrand’s eight-years-in-the-making best-selling book made Zamperini a hot film property again. Angelina Jolie took quick interest in the story, got to know Zamperini and made the movie as her second directorial effort.

Jolie shows an epic command of the screen, whether shooting on water with sharks, crashing B-24s, dealing with the harsh brutality of Japanese prison camps or re-creating the 1936 Olympic Games. All of this was a part of Zamperini’s remarkable story, and Jolie not only has captured the scope of it all — with the key help of 11-time Oscar-nominated cinematographer Roger Deakins — but most important, »

- Pete Hammond

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Sony Responds To President Obama’s Criticism: “We Had No Choice,” Still Hope To Release ‘The Interview’

19 December 2014 2:00 PM, PST

Update, 2:00Pm: Following a very public rebuke from President Obama for caving to terrorist demands, Sony Pictures said today it is committed to getting The Interview seen by audiences. Two days ago, a studio spokesperson basically said the movie was dead, telling Deadline, “Sony Pictures has no further release plans for the film.” Here’s the studio’s official statement, on the heels of CEO Michael Lynton’s defensive appearance on CNN (read his remarks below):

Sony Pictures Entertainment is and always has been strongly committed to the First Amendment. For more than three weeks, despite brutal intrusions into our company and our employees’ personal lives, we maintained our focus on one goal: getting the film The Interview released. Free expression should never be suppressed by threats and extortion.

The decision not to move forward with the December 25 theatrical release of The Interview was made as a result »

- Jen Yamato

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DGA Stands By ‘The Interview’ Directors, Calls On Feds To Protect Hollywood

19 December 2014 11:41 AM, PST

The Directors Guild of America has officially thrown its support behind The Interview directors Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg and called on the Us government to protect Hollywood and its creatives from future hacking crimes like the one that devastated Sony Pictures. DGA President Paris Barclay issued the following statement today on behalf of the organization:

“As the events of the past weeks have made painfully clear, we are now living in an age in which the Internet can enable a few remote cyber criminals to hold an entire industry hostage. This unprecedented situation demonstrates that even basic rights such as freedom of expression can quickly fall prey to those who would misuse and abuse the Internet to steal from, intimidate and terrorize our industry and our nation, and stands as an excruciating illustration of the heightened need for the federal government to increase its efforts to protect our society against cyber crimes, »

- Jen Yamato

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Watch President Obama Discuss Sony Hack In Year-End Press Conference (Live Stream)

19 December 2014 10:56 AM, PST

President Obama has more than a few topics to discuss during his year-end news conference that’s scheduled to run an hour. But of course Hollywood is eager to hear what the commander in chief has to say about the devastating cyberattack on Sony Pictures and the studio deciding not to distribute its controversial comedy The Interview in theaters or any other platform. He also is expected to be asked about the terrorist threats against movie theaters that were set to show the Seth Rogen-James Franco pic.


- The Deadline Team

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Foreign Language Oscar Shortlist: ‘Force Majeure’, ‘Ida’ In; ‘White God’, ‘Mommy’ Miss Cut

19 December 2014 9:35 AM, PST

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has released the shortlist of nine films that will advance to the next stage in the Foreign Language Film Oscar race. As was widely expected Pawel Pawlikowski’s 60s-set Polish drama Ida, fresh off of five European Film Awards, is in. Also turning up unsurprisingly are Argentina’s box office smash Wild Tales by Damián Szifrón; Andrey Zvyagintsev’s Russian corruption drama Leviathan; Sweden’s existential avalanche drama/comedy Force Majeure from Ruben Östlund; and Alberto Arvelo’s Venezuelan Simon Bolivar biopic The Liberator (see full list below). In a nice turn of events for Mauritania and respected helmer Abderrahmane Sissako, the African country scored its first shortlist mention with Timbuktu, its first-ever submission. Sissako told me earlier this week that were Timbuktu to make the shortlist it would be important “for everyone behind it.” That includes not only the country, but all of Africa. »

- Nancy Tartaglione

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Tours Of Sony’s Culver City Lot Suspended Amid Hack Attack

18 December 2014 6:13 PM, PST

With Sony Pictures under a cyber attack that escalated to physical threats, the studio quietly has cancelled the guided tours of its backlot in Culver City. “We’re not doing the tours right now,” an official in the tours office said today. “We’re dealing with a major software issue.” The tours are slated to resume on January 5, a rep for the studio said. The two-hour walking tour gives visitors a behind-the-scenes look at a working studio, including visits to stages where The Wizard Of Oz and Spider-Man were filmed and where Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune are taped.

Despite Sony’s unprecedented move to cancel the release of The Interview because of terrorist threats to blow up theaters, security is still surprisingly lax at Sony Pictures Plaza, the beautiful glass pyramid building that had been the starting point for the tours, a visit to the building showed. The tour »

- David Robb

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Pen Center To Sony: Distribute ‘The Interview’ “As Far And Wide As Possible” – Update

18 December 2014 4:40 PM, PST

Updated, 4:49 Pm: Pen American Center today expressed “profound regret” about Sony’s choice not to release The Interview on any platform. The group of 3,500 American writers who support free expression worldwide also called out New Regency for axing the planned North Korea-set film Pyongyang, which was to be directed by Gore Verbinski and star Steve Carell. “Pen has long documented the chilling effect that threats or acts of violence can have on free speech and creative expression,” the group said in a statement today. “The chilling effect of Sony’s decision has already been felt throughout the entertainment industry with New Regency’s cancellation of plans for the film Pyongyang. Complete suppression of the film would set a dangerous and deeply troubling precedent for other artists considering work on potentially controversial or offensive subjects.  Pen urges Sony Pictures to release The Interview through every channel that does not pose a safety risk, »

- David Robb

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‘Night At The Museum 3′ Review: Pete Hammond On The Lively ‘Tomb’

18 December 2014 3:12 PM, PST

The third Night At The Museum installment hits theaters this weekend with one of Robin Williams‘ last performances, plus amusing turns by several series regulars, as I say in my video review above. The cast is led by Ben Stiller as the nightwatchman dealing with lively exhibits at the museum, played by Owen Wilson, Ricky Gervais, Steve Coogan, Rebel Wilson and Ben Kingsley with a terrific performance by Downton Abbey alumnus Dan Stevens as a gung-ho knight.

Veteran comedy helmer Shawn Levy directed from a script written by David Guion and Michael Handelman, from a story by the pair and Mark Friedman. Producers are Levy and Chris Columbus. Fox is handling distribution.

Are you going to see the film? Watch my review and let us know.



- Pete Hammond

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Aaron Sorkin Still In Bed With John Edwards Exposé ‘The Politician’

18 December 2014 3:11 PM, PST

Exclusive: Aaron Sorkin is reconfirming his dedication to chronicling the rise and scandalous fall of a presidential candidate. The Newsroom and West Wing creator, one of Hollywood’s most outspoken voices in the recent Sony hacking attack, has extended his option on Nyt bestseller The Politician, Andrew Young’s explosive 2010 tell-all about the adultery scandal that ended former North Carolina Senator John Edwards’ 2008 Democratic Presidential campaign.

Young exposed shocking details of the married Edwards’ secret affair with campaign staffer Rielle Hunter that yielded an illegitimate child. The Politician revealed how Young, a volunteer in Edwards’ 1998 Senate run who became his trusted right hand man, was asked to help cover up Edwards’ adultery, fake paternity test results, and claim the child as his own for the Presidential hopeful.

The lid was blown when a tabloid newspaper uncovered the affair, which blindsided Edwards’ cancer-stricken wife Elizabeth and led to the implosion of Edwards’ presidential run. »

- Jen Yamato

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Al Sharpton Meets With Amy Pascal: Will Work To Address Hollywood’s “Cultural Blindness”

18 December 2014 1:44 PM, PST

Embattled Sony chairman Amy Pascal had a “very pointed and blunt exchange” with Reverend Al Sharpton today in New York to discuss her racially insensitive jokes about President Obama that were exposed this month by Sony hackers.

According to Sharpton, Pascal committed to working together on a way to address the “cultural blindness” displayed in her emails with producer Scott Rudin. In the private exchange that was leaked online last week, the two joked that the President’s favorite films are black-themed movies like Django Unchained and 12 Years A Slave.

“Very pointed and blunt exchange w/ Amy Pascal in our 90 min meeting. Hollywood needs to change. Her leaked e mails show a cultural blindness,” Sharpton Tweeted.

“At today’s mtg w/ Sony we agreed to work towards establishing a basis to address the issues, Ms. Pascal committed to this,” he continued.

Very pointed and blunt exchange w/ Amy Pascal in our 90 min meeting. »

- Jen Yamato

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Q&A: Adopt Films’ Tim Grady On Getting Americans To See Foreign-Lingo Movies

18 December 2014 1:11 PM, PST

Tim Grady and October Films co-founder Jeff Lipsky co-created New York-based Adopt Films in 2011. Since banding together, the pair has been savvy in their foreign language pick-ups, pouncing on four fims in Berlin in 2012, for example, with each going on to win prizes there — and three ending up as their respective countries’ submission for the Foreign Language Oscar. Last year, they were in the potentially hot-potato situation of having both the entry from Palestine, Hany Abu Assad’s Omar, and the Israeli elected Bethlehem by Yuval Adler. They scored a nomination with Omar and this year have Palme d’Or winner Winter Sleep in contention. I spoke with Grady about the state of foreign language cinema, how the company has grown and what it’s like to handle challenging movies.

Deadline: What has changed on the foreign language landscape since you guys got together to form Adopt in 2011?

Grady: Adopt »

- Nancy Tartaglione

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Anthony Mackie, Helmer Justin Simien ‘Make A Wish’ At Paramount

18 December 2014 12:11 PM, PST

Exclusive: Paramount Pictures has acquired a spec package with Captain America star Anthony Mackie, Dear White People helmer Justin Simien and the 2013 Black List comedy script Make A Wish at its center. The studio has acquired the script by first-timer Zach Frankel as a star vehicle for Mackie, directed by Simien, whose Sundance prize-winning film got Independent Spirit and Gotham Award nominations for Best Director. Robert Teitel and Jason Spire will produce it and Mackie will be executive producer along with Jason Newman and Jason Weinberg.

Mackie will play Butchie Jones, a football star who wants to grant the final wish of a dying 14-year-old who adores the gridironer. It’s not an easy wish, though; the kid wants the football star to help him score before he died. And I don’t mean carry the pigskin into the end zone. Mackie certainly has worked his way to the top »

- Mike Fleming Jr

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‘American Sniper’ Trailer: Bradley Cooper At His Best?

18 December 2014 11:03 AM, PST

In what’s being hailed as a career standout turn, Bradley Cooper stars in the true story of Navy Seal Chris Kyle – family man, one-time rodeo cowboy, and the undisputed most lethal sniper in U.S. history.

Clint Eastwood directs Cooper, Sienna Miller, Jake McDorman, Luke Grimes, Navid Negahban and Keir O’Donnell in the Christmas Day drama adapted by Jason Hall from Kyle’s memoir. Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow premiered the film at AFI Fest on Veterans Day and wrapped a flurry of critics’ kudos into their new second trailer.

This peek better suggests the precarious balance Kyle struggled to keep in his roles as husband, father, and soldier as he served four nightmarish tours of duty in Iraq. Could it nab Cooper his third consecutive Oscar nomination after Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle?

Eastwood, Robert Lorenz, Andrew Lazar, Bradley Cooper and Peter Morgan are producers, with Tim Moore, »

- Jen Yamato

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