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How Daniel Radcliffe Killed Harry Potter and Found ‘What If’

45 minutes ago

Growing up, Daniel Radcliffe always thought Harry Potter would die at the end of J.K. Rowling’s books. “Because of the prophecy with Lord Voldemort,” Radcliffe says on a recent afternoon in New York, between cigarette puffs. “I thought, ‘How is she going to get out of that one?’ ” He finally worked up the courage to ask the bestselling author when she came to see him in the London production of “Equus” in 2007. “I was happy to be proven wrong,” Radcliffe says. “For an actor, what more can you wish for? You get a death scene — and then you get more screen time.”

Even though Voldemort couldn’t finish off Potter, someone else has. The culprit is none other than Radcliffe himself, who was cast to play the boy wizard at the age of 11 in 2001’s “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.” Over the next 10 years, the eight “Potter »

- Ramin Setoodeh

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Below-the-Line Bookings

45 minutes ago

The Gersh Agency has booked producer Jean Higgins (“Lost”) on Amazon Studios pilot “Man in the High Castle,” helmed by David Semel; production designer Michael Hanan (“The Bridge”) on Spike TV miniseries “King Tut”; and editor Joe Leonard (“Glee”) on Fox series “Empire.”

Innovative Artists bookings include visual effects producer Nikki Penny (“Clash of the Titans”) on Andy Serkis’ “Jungle Book”; production designer Scott Chambliss (“Star Trek Into Darkness”) on Roberto Orci’s “Star Trek 3”; and stunt coordinator/2nd unit director Jack Gill (“Fast & Furious 7”) on Tim Story’s “Ride Along 2.”

iTalent has placed editors Mark Livolsi (“Saving Mr. Banks”) on John Favreau’s “The Jungle Book” and Jeff Betancourt (“Get a Job”) on Woo-ping Yuen’s “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon II: The Green Destiny.”)

Mirisch Agency bookings: visual effects producers Mike Chambers (“Transcendence”) on James Bobin’s “Through The Looking Glass” and Karen Murphy (“The Twilight Saga: »

- Peter Caranicas

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Watch: Latest Trailer for Christopher Nolan’s ‘Interstellar’

1 hour ago

After bowing at Comic-Con last week, Paramount and Warner Bros. have released the latest trailer for Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar.”

Pic stars Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway and Jessica Chastain and follows a group of explorers who make use of a newly-discovered wormhole to surpass the limitations on human space travel and conquer the vast distances involved in an interstellar voyage.

In the latest trailer, the footage mixes emotional moments between McConaughey and his family with large, epic shots of the galaxies and planets they explore.

Pic bows Nov. 7, 2014. Watch the trailer below:


- Justin Kroll

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Nat Wolff Gets Silly With Cougars, Middle School at ‘Behaving Badly’ Premiere

1 hour ago

Selena Gomez, Nat Wolff and Elisabeth Shue were all in attendance for the premiere of “Behaving Badly” Tuesday night at the Arclight in Los Angeles.

Wolff and fellow co-star Nate Hartley took their movie title name literally, when they decided to cover themselves and surrounding fans with silly string on the red carpet.

Throughout the film, Wolff can be seen in his underwear, his face planted in Shue’s chest, getting crabs and kissing Gomez.

Regardless of the awkward scenes, Wolff said, “It was nice that they hired such good, fun people to hang out with in real life. The hard thing was just trying to stay and react to all these cartoon characters around me. That was basically the challenge of it.”

His “Behaving Badly” character is a far cry from his role as Isaac in “The Fault in Our Stars.”

When it comes to choosing what films to work on next, »

- Nikara Johns

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Elisabeth Moss, Luke Wilson Join Olivia Wilde’s Drama ‘Meadowland’

1 hour ago

Luke Wilson, Elisabeth Moss and Natasha Lyonne have joined Olivia Wilde’s psychological drama “Meadowland” with shooting starting in August in New York City.

Wilde had attached herself to the project as a producer and star in February with Reed Morano directing from Chris Rossi’s script. Morano’s credits include “The Skeleton Twins,” “Kill Your Darlings” and “Frozen River.”

Bron Studios has come on board as a production company along with Creative Wealth Media Finance. Matt Tauber and Wilde are producing, alongside Bron’s Aaron L. Gilbert and Margot Hand; Jennifer Levine and Jason Cloth are executive producers.

Wilde and Wilson will play a couple dealing with their son’s disappearance. Wilson will portray a New York City policeman while Wilde will go down an unexpected path towards acceptance as she places herself in increasingly dangerous situations.

Wme and Gersh are representing domestic rights on “Meadowland.”


- Dave McNary

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Lionsgate Steps ‘Down a Dark Hall’ with ‘Twilight’ Author

1 hour ago

Lionsgate has acquired rights to supernatural drama “Down a Dark Hall” with “Twilight” author Stephenie Meyer and “Twilight” film franchise producers Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen.

Rodrigo Cortes will direct “Hall,” based on the 1974 novel by Lois Duncan. Michael Goldbach wrote the original adaptation with Chris Sparling now writing.

Meyer and Meghan Hibbett will produce via their Fickle Fish Films along with Godfrey and Bowen through their Temple Hill Entertainment banner. Meyer optioned the book last year.

The story follows the newest student at a boarding school who confronts the darkly seductive powers of the headmistress and comes face to face with the supernatural abilities that could make her great or destroy her.

Fickle Fish produced “The Host,” which was adapted from Meyer’s novel, and  “Austenland.” Meyer was also a producer on the final two “Twilight” films.

Besides the “Twilight” franchise, Temple Hill also produced “The Fault in our Stars, »

- Dave McNary

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‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ Biggest August Pre-Seller in History (Exclusive)

2 hours ago

Guardians of the Galaxy” is set to become the biggest August pre-seller in Fandango’s history, the online ticket company reports.

The Marvel space adventure is outpacing sales of the previous record-holder, “The Bourne Ultimatum,” and is also outselling other films made by the comicbook production company, “Thor” and “Captain America.”

It is shaping up to be the hottest selling non-sequel of the year, besting “The Lego Movie,” a sign of the strength of the Marvel brand. It currently accounts for 93% of tickets sold. Analysts expect the film will debut to north of $65 million this weekend.

Fandango surveyed more than 1,000 “Guardians” ticket-buyers on its site and found that 95% are attracted to the film’s humor; 85% are excited to see Chris Pratt in a starring role; and 80% are interested in seeing additional “Guardians” movies (a good thing as Disney just announced a sequel hits theaters in 2017).

Marvel is clearly the big selling point for the film, »

- Brent Lang

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Watch: First Trailer for Ben Stiller’s ‘Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb’

2 hours ago

Fox has released the first trailer for “Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb,” five months before the family film’s Dec. 19 opening.

The trailer features plenty of slapstick and special effects as Ben Stiller’s security guard journeys to London to work at the British Museum.

“You are speaking with the Pharoah,” says Ben Kingsley. “Kiss my staff.”

Rebel Wilson, Robin Williams, Owen Wilson, Steve Coogan and Ricky Gervais also star. Shawn Levy directs and produces the third iteration of the comedy franchise.


- Dave McNary

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Box Office: ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ to Blast Off With $65 Million

2 hours ago

Guardians of the Galaxy” arrives in our solar system this weekend, powered by the strength of one of the most powerful brands in movies — Marvel.

These interstellar adventurers are not well known to non-comicbook readers, but studio analysts are still projecting big things when the picture touches down in multiplexes. That’s because Marvel’s cinematic universe has grossed $6.3 billion since it kicked off with 2008’s “Iron Man,” making it the second most successful film franchise, trailing “Harry Potter.” The film is being marketed heavily on that record of success, with promotional materials heralding the picture as springing from the brains that brought audiences “The Avengers,” “Thor” and “Captain America.”

“There are very few brands other than Pixar that have the ability to transcend the typical marketing requirements,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Rentrak. “Marvel has the same cache and this film will really put that to the test. »

- Brent Lang

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Netflix’s Ted Sarandos Scores Industry Tribute at 2014 Gotham Awards

3 hours ago

Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos will receive the industry tribute at the Gotham Independent Film Awards, the annual fete presented by the New York-based Independent Filmmaker Project.

The Gotham Awards’ tribute represents the latest industry acknowledgement of the importance of digital distribution to the future of the business. Under Sarandos’ leadership, Netflix has ventured not only into original TV programming with Emmy-nominated series including “Orange is the New Black” and “House of Cards,” but also has begun to acquire feature documentaries including the Oscar-nommed “The Square.”

Sarandos’ honor will be one of four annual tributes at this year’s Gotham ceremony, which is one of the earliest events in the film-world awards derby. The slate of annual Gotham trophies also includes juried awards (including feature, documentary, actor, actress, and breakthrough actor and director) and an audience award. In prior years, films including “Inside Llewyn Davis,” “The Hurt Locker,” “Beasts of the Southern Wild »

- Gordon Cox

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India’s Inox Pays $30 Million for Satyam Cineplexes Chain

4 hours ago

Hong Kong – Inox Leisure, India’s second largest cinemas chain, is to acquire the privately-owned Satyam Cineplexes chain.

Inox told the Bombay Stock Exchange that it has agreed to pay $30.2 million (INR1.82 billion) for the chain which operates 9 multiplexes with a total of 38 screens in 6 cities.

The move allows Inox to expand into the North of India as Satyam has sites in New Delhi, Rohtak, Amritsar, Jaipur and Indore. In the South Satyam is present in Mysore. Inox has 80 multiplexes with a total of 313 screens in some 44 cities.

The acquisition is the third by Inox in the past seven years and follows its purchase of Calcutta Cine in 2007 and Fame India in 2010.

Further mergers and acquisition activity in the sector seems likely. There has been intense speculation recently that Satyam, smaller operator Carnival, or financier Navis Capital Partners are each in negotiations to buy or merge with the Reliance Big Cinemas chain, »

- Patrick Frater

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Salman Khan Starrer ‘Kick’ Becomes 2014’s Top Bollywood Hit

4 hours ago

London — Producer-director Sajid Nadiadwala’s “Kick,” starring Bollywood superstar Salman Khan, has emerged as Bollywood’s highest grossing film of 2014.

The July 25 release enjoyed an estimated $13.9 million opening weekend in India, placing the film 6th in the list of all time openers, which is still led by Vijay Krishna Acharya’s Aamir Khan starrer “Dhoom 3” that dominated the Christmas 2013 frame with $17.8 million.

Buoyed by the Eid holiday on Monday and Tuesday, “Kick” added a mighty $7.2 million to its India box office.

Internationally, the film collected some $5.5 million between Friday and Tuesday, including more than $1 million each from the U.S. and U.K and $1.6 million in the U.A.E. The film’s worldwide 5 day total of $26.6 million takes it past Bollywood’s top 2014 grosser, A.R. Murugadoss’ “Holiday: A Solder is Never off Duty”, starring Akshay Kumar, that took in $22 million.

Kick”, about a young man perennially in search of an adrenaline rush, »

- Naman Ramachandran

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Jessica Lange Honored With Santa Barbara Film Festival’s Kirk Douglas Award

5 hours ago

Jessica Lange will be the ninth recipient of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival’s Kirk Douglas award for excellence in film this year.

Lange, who won an Emmy in her first season on “American Horror Story,” will be presented with the award at a gala at Santa Barbara’s Bacara Resort and Spa on Nov. 16. She follows past recipients such as Quentin Tarantino, Harrison Ford, Robert De Niro and John Travolta.

Jessica Lange possesses the three key elements in making it in this crazy business: talent, beauty, and intelligence,” said Kirk Douglas in a statement, “all of which have served her well and continue to do so. It is my honor to give her my award.”

Lange won the Academy Awards for best actress and supporting actress for her roles in “Blue Sky” and “Tootsie” respectively. She was also nominated for best actress in four additional roles: “Frances,” “Country, »

- Sebastian Torrelio

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Larry Clark’s ‘The Smell of Us’ to World Premiere in Venice

7 hours ago

London — Larry Clark’s Paris skateboarders pic “The Smell of Us” will have its world premiere in Venice Days, an independent sidebar running during the Venice Film Festival.

The pic, which stars Michael Pitt, Alex Martin and Niseem Theillaud, is “the portrait of a group of self-destructive skateboarders in Paris,” Clark said.

It was written with Mathieu Landais during Clark’s “new life” in Paris. Wild Bunch is handling international sales.

The film, the first Clark’s made outside the U.S., comes nearly 20 years after the release of his controversial “Kids.”

The film revolves around a group of kids who meet up everyday at the Dome, behind Paris’ Museum of Modern Art and in front of the Eiffel Tower. Here they can skate, play around and even have sex. Two of them are inseparable, bonding over their dysfunctional families. But a sense of ennui, the allure of easy money »

- Leo Barraclough

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Warner Bros. Conjures Up Harry Potter Global Franchise Development Team

9 hours ago

London — Warner Bros. Entertainment has conjured up the Harry Potter Global Franchise Development team, based in both London and Burbank, to “develop and execute a high-level strategic vision for the Harry Potter brand and its ancillary businesses,” Warner Bros. said Wednesday.

The move follows last year’s announcement that the studio had formed an expanded creative partnership with J.K. Rowling. It is a response to the continuing expansion of the Harry Potter franchise.

This includes, among other projects: a new film series in “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”; the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London — The Making of Harry Potter; the recent opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan; the expansion of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Florida; a suite of Harry Potter digital services, and products including J.K. Rowling’s own initiative, “Pottermore”; and a future Harry Potter stage play, »

- Leo Barraclough

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Mark Lazarus Joins Arclight Films in Australia

12 hours ago

Hong Kong — Industry veteran Mark Lazarus has joined sales and finance company Arclight Films as head of creative and acquisitions in Australia.

He joins from federal funding body Screen Australia, where he was head of drama investment and had been involved with movies including “Red Hill,” The Babadook,” and “Predestination.”

“His reputation precedes him in bringing priceless, in-depth, hands-on experience in the successful development of projects. Mark knows precisely how to ensure a film has the proper foundation from which to grow and having worked together on a variety of projects over the years, we foresee a very fruitful future together,” said Arclight’s MD Gary Hamilton.

Lazarus replaces Michael Wrenn who has left Arclight to set up again as an independent producer. He is currently at work on Ben Elton’s “The Wiggles – Pandamonium” and Stephan Elliot’s “Madams,” both of which Arclight is representing.

Lazarus has previously held »

- Patrick Frater

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‘Maleficent’ Holds Strongly at Japan Box Office

16 hours ago

Tokyo – In its fourth week on release “Maleficent” became the first foreign live-action pic to pass the JPY4 billion ($39.5 million) milestone at the Japanese box office.

Following the July 26-27 weekend, the film’s cume amounted to JPY4.03 billion, good enough for second place after Toho’s release of “Godzilla.” 

Opening on 649 screens on July 5, “Maleficent” far exceeded initial box office expectations and will almost certainly become the first foreign live-action movie to surpass $50 million since “Les Miserables” in 2012. It is expected to finish near the $60 million mark. 

Meanwhile, “Godzilla” earned $6.7 million on 460,000 admissions for the three days following its July 25 release on 427 screens. The picture is looking to beat the $54 million Japanese B.O. of the widely derided 1998 Roland Emmerich take on the iconic Japanese monster franchise.  


- Mark Schilling

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‘Dragonriders of Pern’ Set Up as Movie Franchise at Warner Bros.

18 hours ago

Warner Bros. is launching development of a movie franchise based on the sci-fi series “Dragonriders of Pern.”

The studio has optioned the 22-volume book series from the estate of American-Irish author Anne McCaffrey, who died in 2011.

It has yet to set up the project with a producer.

The books are set in a pre-industrial society with  intelligent firebreathing dragons and their riders teaming to fight a rogue planet that attacks the world of Pern. The books take place over a period of over 2,500 years.

Drew Crevello and Julia Spiro are overseeing for the studio, which has launched the “Harry Potter,” “Lord of the Rings” and “Hobbit” franchises.

News was first reported by Variety sister site Deadline Hollywood.


- Dave McNary

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James L. Brooks Signs With WME

20 hours ago

Iconic writer and director James L. Brooks has signed with Wme.

Brooks has a long list of credits he is known for, which include “Broadcast News,” “Terms of Endearment” and “As Good As It Gets.” Besides his many film credits, Brooks is also listed as a co-creator on several hit TV shows including “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “Rhoda,” “Taxi” and “The Simpsons.”

Brooks continues to be repped by Sam Fischer at Ziffren Brittenham.

Wme has stayed busy on the TV front, having also recently signed writer and producer Ian Goldberg, who was most recently staffed on “Once Upon a Time” and is currently developing “Mars” at CW. They also recently signed Patrick Harbinson who is a co-executive producer on “Homeland.”


- Justin Kroll

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‘Hercules’ Rules the Week in TV Advertising Spend

20 hours ago

In this week’s edition of the Variety/iSpot.tv Movie Commercial Tracker, MGM’s “Hercules” leads in spending with an estimated outlay of $8.4 million for spots that have aired 1,903 times across 37 networks through July 27. (That’s a relatively modest boost from the $7.3 million spent the previous week.) Bet scored the most commercial placements for “Hercules,” followed by MTV.

Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Into the Storm” are effectively tied, each with $8 million in estimated TV commercial spend, with “Guardians” spots appearing most frequently on Disney Xd and MTV, while “Storm” placements skewed toward Comedy Central and SyFy. “Lucy,” dipping to $6.7 million in estimated spend (from $8.2 million the previous week), echoed the “Storm” approach, with placements skewing toward SyFy and Comedy Central, in that order.

Finally, “A Most Wanted Man,” the espionage thriller starring the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, enters our top 5 with, curiously, Hgtv and Bravo as the two »

- Variety Staff

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