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Mel Gibson to Receive Hollywood Film Awards Directing Honor

1 hour ago

Mel Gibson will receive the Hollywood director award at the Hollywood Film Awards on Nov. 6 at the Beverly Hilton.

Dick Clark Productions made the announcement on Monday. Gibson directed Lionsgate’s World War II action-drama “Hacksaw Ridge,” starring Andrew Garfield, Vince Vaughn, and Teresa Palmer, which hits theaters on Nov. 4.

Past recipients of the Hollywood Director Award include Tom Hooper, David O. Russell, Oliver Stone, Ron Howard, Martin Scorsese, and John Schlesinger.

Gibson made his acting debut on “Mad Max” in 1979 and went on to star in “Gallipoli,” “The Bounty,” “Tequila Sunrise,” and the “Lethal Weapon” series. He founded Icon Productions in 1989 and made his directorial debut in 1993 with “The Man Without a Face.”

In 1995 Gibson produced, directed, and starred in “Braveheart,” which won Academy Awards for best picture and best director. He produced, co-wrote, and directed “The Passion of the Christ,” which grossed more than $600 million worldwide in 2004.

Hacksaw Ridge »

- Dave McNary

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AFM: Mister Smith to Launch Joey King Starrer ‘Wish Upon’

2 hours ago

Mister Smith Entertainment will launch international sales at the American Film Market on Broad Green Pictures production “Wish Upon,” starring Joey King (“The Conjuring,” pictured). She will be joined by newly-cast actress Shannon Purser, best known for her performance as Barb in the first season of Netflix hit series “Stranger Things.”

Currently in pre-production and directed by “Annabelle’” John Leonetti from a script by Barbara Marshall (“The Listener”), the horrors thriller turns on a 16-year-old misfit who happens on a magic box which promises her a shot at the life she always dreamed of – if she is willing for every wish to make a deadly payment.

Chosen for the 2015 Black List, “Wish Upon” was written by Barbara Marshall. Busted Shark Production’s Sherryl Clark (“Viral,” “Cloverfield”), who headed up development at J.J. AbramsBad Robot, produces. Leonetti served as cinematographer on “The Conjuring” and “Insidious” before hitting gold dust directing »

- John Hopewell

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Film School Rejects Buys One.Perfect.Shot. (Exclusive)

3 hours ago

Film School Rejects has purchased One.Perfect.Shot., Variety has learned.

The two popular film fan sites will merge, with the migration expected to begin on Thursday. The sale price is not known, but it was an all-cash deal. As part of the pact, One.Perfect.Shot. founder Geoff Todd will join Film School Rejects as an editor-at-large. He will also run the combined site’s Twitter feed. One.Perfect.Shot. began its life on Twitter in 2013 as a curated stream of iconic images from films by Stanley Kubrick, Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, and other film icons. It launched a website the following year. Todd will continue to select the images featured on One.Perfect.Shot.

“It started as a place to catalogue shots I wanted to come back to and analyze,” said Todd, who says he looks for “something that’s well composed. Something that encapsulates a story in a single frame. »

- Brent Lang

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Justin Chadwick to Direct ‘Lady and the Panda’ Movie About Ruth Harkness (Exclusive)

3 hours ago

Justin Chadwick will direct the historical adventure “The Lady and the Panda” about Ruth Harkness, the first person to bring a live panda from China to the United States.

Filming is expected to begin next month in China in the Sichuan region in the foothills of the Himalayas. The Exchange is launching sales at the American Film Market next month.

“The Lady and the Panda” is a U.K./Chinese co-production, produced by Laura Bickford (“Traffic,” “Beasts of No Nation”) and Michelle Qi, CEO of Europe China Picture Group. The executive producers are Joe Simpson of Miscellaneous Entertainment, Andrew Mann, and Fiona Druckenmiller (“Beasts of No Nation”).

Harkness was a New York socialite whose wealthy explorer husband died unexpectedly in 1936. She took over his expedition to China, joined forces with Chinese guide Quentin Young, and traveled into the uncharted Himalayas, where, against all odds, they rescued an orphaned baby panda. »

- Dave McNary

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Time Warner, AT&T Shares Fall in Early Morning Trading

4 hours ago

Time Warner stocks are beginning to come back down to earth in early trading Monday following news of a blockbuster sales agreement to At&T.

On Friday, the companies confirmed that they have a pact in place for the telecom giant to buy the media company for $85.4 billion. That would give At&T ownership of Warner Bros., CNN, HBO, and Turner, in what is seen as a major bet on the future of video and television content.

Time Warner stock was down 2.43% on Monday, trading at $87.29, while At&T stock fell 1.59% to $36.90. Time Warner shares got a lift last week, with the stock closing 8% higher on regular trading on Friday, At&T shares fell 3%.

At&T and Time Warner are positioning the deal as a vertical integration — in essence, the telecom company is diversifying into the content business instead of doubling down in its field of expertise. Those kinds of »

- Brent Lang

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Matteo Garrone to Direct ‘Pinocchio’ Starring Toni Servillo

4 hours ago

Matteo Garrone’s Archimede Productions, Jeremy Thomas’ Recorded Picture Company and Jean Labadie’s Le Pacte are teaming on a new adaptation of Carlo Collodi’s “Pinocchio.” Garrone will direct the film, which will star Toni Servillo as Pinocchio’s father, Geppetto.

HanWay Films is representing worldwide rights of the film, which will be unveiled to buyers at the American Film Market. Rai Cinema has acquired Italian rights while Le Pacte will release the film in France.

Garrone will direct from his own screenplay, an adaptation of Collodi’s story. The film starts shooting in the spring in locations across Lazio and Tuscany, Italy.

HanWay’s managing director Gabrielle Stewart said: “In Garrone we have a visionary filmmaker re-imagining one of the most famous stories in the world rarely revisited since the Disney classic. This is a true cinematic treat with a very special cast.”

Garrone “will create a unique »

- Leo Barraclough

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‘Trolls’ Directors Hope Film Will Be an Antidote to ‘the Very Strange Election’

4 hours ago

The streets of Westwood were lined with rainbows as stars walked the colorful carpet for the premiere of DreamWorks’ “Trolls” on Sunday afternoon.

Justin Timberlake and Anna Kendrick posed for cameras and eager fans outside the Regency Theater, as many of the stars used the premiere to emphasize the importance of the film’s message of happiness and togetherness, especially in the current political climate.

Trolls” came about after DreamWorks Animation acquired the intellectual property rights for the Troll doll in 2013. The studio then approached directors Mike Mitchell and Walt Dohrn about making a movie.

“We came along and said we’d love to make a whole world for these creatures,” Mitchell explained to Variety. Mitchell and Dohrn came up with the idea that the trolls would be permanently happy and hugging each other.

“I think the internet is very judgmental, not to mention the very strange election coming up and social unrest. »

- Will Thorne

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Relief for Lead Actress Rivals as Viola Davis Goes Supporting for ‘Fences’

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It hasn’t just been Oscar-watchers on the sidelines paying close attention to the campaign details of Viola Davis’ “Fences” performance this season. Rival campaigns have had their eyes glued to the scenario as well.

The lead actress contest is incredibly competitive with performances from Emma Stone (“La La Land”), Natalie Portman (“Jackie”) and Annette Bening (“20th Century Women”) considered top-tier players, and everyone from established perennial Oscar favorites (Meryl Streep in “Florence Foster Jenkins,” Amy Adams in “Arrival”) to impressive newcomers (Ruth Negga in “Loving”) clamoring for a seat before the music stops.

Any of the campaigns behind those contenders would be eager to see Davis, who won the lead actress Tony for the play’s revival six years ago, vacate the category. They got their wish over the weekend.

After finally seeing the film herself last week, Davis felt her performance as Rose Maxson was a supporting one, »

- Kristopher Tapley

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Nico, Cult Singer With Velvet Underground, Set for Biopic (Exclusive)

7 hours ago

Rome — Nico, the late German chanteuse who was among Andy Warhol’s muses and sang with the Velvet Underground, is getting the biopic treatment. The 1960s cult pop culture figure will be played by Denmark’s Trine Dyrholm, winner of this year’s Berlin Silver Bear for best actress.

Italian director Susanna Nicchiarelli, known on the festival circuit for her standout debut “Cosmonauta,” will start shooting Nov. 7 in Italy on the film, which is about Nico’s later years, titled “Nico, 1988.”

Besides Dyrholm, who took the Berlin statuette for her role as a wronged wife in Thomas Vinterberg’s “The Commune,” the film’s pan-European cast includes Romanian actress Anamaria Marinca (“4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 days”); Britain’s Karina Fernandez (“Happy Go Lucky”); Belgium’s Fabrizio Rongione, a regular in the Dardennes brothers’ films; France’s Sandor Funteck (“Blue Is the Warmest Color”); and promising young British stage actor Calvin Demba in his screen debut. »

- Nick Vivarelli

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Karan Johar’s ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’ to get Release After Political Compromise

9 hours ago

Mumbai — The release of Karan Johar’s “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil” will go ahead this week (Oct. 28,) during the Diwali holiday, following a high-level political compromise. The film is co-produced by Johar’s Dharma Productions with Fox Star Studios India.

Starring Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Anushka Sharma and Ranbir Kapoor, the film’s release was opposed by political party the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (Mns) because of the presence of Pakistani star Fawad Khan in the cast. Tensions between India and Pakistan and India have been high in recent weeks after a terrorist attack in Kashmir left several Indian soldiers dead. India retaliated with military strikes.

The Indian Motion Picture Producers’ Association last month called on its members to stop working with Pakistani talent and technicians. In retaliation, Pakistani cinema chains stopped screening Indian content, followed by the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority imposing a blanket ban on Indian film, TV and music. »

- Naman Ramachandran

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Antalya: Turkish Film Industry Weathering Turbulent Political Climate

12 hours ago

Antalya, Turkey — It was an ominous sign for many Turkish bizzers when the government announced earlier this month its plans to leave the EU’s Creative Europe program, a 1.46-billion-euro ($1.59 billion) cultural fund supporting the arts.

Since Turkey joined the program as a non-eu member country in 2015, an estimated 2.4 million euros ($2.6 million) had been allocated by Creative Europe to support Turkish films and cultural projects.

But the decision to withdraw from the fund was the latest indication of how Turkey’s film industry could be caught up in the country’s ongoing political turmoil.

“Paranoia is everywhere,” says one local bizzer at the Antalya Int’l. Film Festival, which wrapped Oct. 23.

In making their decision, Turkish officials were reportedly upset about the performance of a Creative Europe-funded concert in Germany earlier this year, commemorating the Armenian genocide. The killings of more than a million Armenians and other ethnic minorities by »

- Christopher Vourlias

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Korea Box Office: ‘Luck-key’ Stays on Top, ‘Inferno’ Debuts in Second

13 hours ago

Local comedy “Luck-Key” remained on top of the Korean box office for second weekend. The Showbox release earned $10.9 million from 1.46 million admissions between Friday and Sunday, accounting for 66% of the total weekend box office. It has made a total of $31.5 million after two weekends on release.

Opening on Wednesday (Oct. 19), Upi’s “Inferno” landed in second. The mystery thriller earned $3.52 million over five days. The movie’s opening score is bigger than director Ron Howard’s recent releases such as 2015’s “In the Heart of the Sea” and 2013’s “Rush,” but is smaller than that of 2009’s “Angels & Demons” and 2006’s “The Da Vinci Code.”

Fox’s “Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children” and Upi’s “Don’t Breathe” slipped to third and fourth places respectively. “Miss Peregrine” took $791,000 between Friday and Sunday, for a total of $18.9 million after fourth weekends on release. “Breathe” earned $355,000 for a total of $7.35 million after three weekends. »

- Sonia Kil

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What ‘American Honey’ Catches (Beautifully) About the Kids: They’re Not All Right

15 hours ago

American Honey” is a movie that takes the temperature of youth culture in a way that no movie has in years. It tells a good story, about a girl named Star (Sasha Lane), 18 years old, with Rasta Barbie braids and a skeptical smirk, who joins a wolfpack of kids in their late teens and early twenties who live on the road, traveling from one cookie-cutter motel to the next, making money by hustling magazine subscriptions door-to-door. They don’t sell their bodies, but in a way they do: Most of them are striking-looking in a trashed-runaway vagabond skate-punk way, and they use their pierced-and-tattooed street charisma to evoke pity and awe. They flirt and charm their way into selling a product that no one really wants.

Andrea Arnold, the British filmmaker who became a critics’ darling with movies like “Fish Tank” and “Wuthering Heights,” has directed “American Honey” in a »

- Owen Gleiberman

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Meryl Streep Gives Tokyo Festival Bright and Breezy Start

15 hours ago

Meryl Streep got the Tokyo International Film Festival off to an early start on Monday with warm words for Japan, her eccentric character and film director Stephen Frears.

Streep stars in Frears’  “Florence Foster Jenkins,” which opens the Tokyo Festival on Tuesday.

A meet-the-press session also touched on feminism and American politics, but didn’t delve into anything too deeply. “I’m currently unemployed and available to come,” she quipped.

“I’m very flattered to hear that,” Streep said after being told that Hillary Clinton had once suggested that Streep would be her choice to portray her in a movie.  “But I’ll have to wait for that role. All her great achievements are ahead of her.”

“This (U.S. presidential ) election cannot come soon enough. We’ve been very burdened by it,” Streep added.

“Television has been good for women and proved that there is an audience,” she said »

- Patrick Frater

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Warner Bros. Chief Tells Employees to ‘Stay Focused’ During Time Warner Sale to AT&T

17 hours ago

Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara told employees of the film and television studio that Time Warner’s upcoming sale to At&T will better position the company for growth and said he was “excited” about the deal.

“This transaction significantly accelerates the next stage in our evolution and promises to make all the great content we create and distribute even more powerful and valuable,” Tsujihara wrote in a company wide memo obtained by Variety.

Earlier this week, At&T secured a $85.4 billion agreement to acquire Time Warner in a stock and cash deal that values the media conglomerate behind Warner Bros., CNN, and HBO at $107.50 per share. In the memo, Tsujihara stressed that the telecom giant is committed to keeping key staff in place.

“At&T recognizes that the value of our brands and businesses depends upon the expertise of our team, and they are very committed to retaining the »

- Brent Lang

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Iran and Turkey Dominate Asia Pacific Screen Awards Nominations

17 hours ago

Two films each from Iran and from Turkey are nominated for best picture at the 10th edition of the Asia Pacific Screen Awards.

“Daughter” and “Muhammad: Messenger of God” from Iran will compete with Turkey’s “Cold of Kalandar” and Ember,” along with Russia’s “The Student.”

A total of 39 films receive nominations across all the awards categories. “Cold,” “Daughter” and “Ember” lead the field with three nominations each. Also with three is Anurag Kashyap’s “Psycho Raman.

There is no representation from Asia’s most prolific production countries India, China, Japan or Korea in the best picture category.

Prizes will be decided by a jury headed by David Puttnam and handed out at a ceremony in Brisbane, Australia on Nov. 24.


- Patrick Frater

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