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France’s Celine Sciamma Set For Next

21 minutes ago

Screenwriter-director Celine Sciamma (“Tomboy,” “Girlhood”), a leading figure of a vibrant distaff director generation in France, will present a workshop dedicated to multi-platforming and virtual reality at Next, the Cannes Film Market’s new digital revolution film forum.

Running May 13-22, Next’s second edition will host a series of morning round tables at Cannes’ Palais des Festivals Salle K aimed at giving an overview of today’s challenging film landscape.

As just announced, Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos will talk Friday week at a Next In Conversation Q & A about the impact of new distribution models on film finance and production.

Fruit of a partnership between the Cannes Film Market and Europe’s leading digital content market, Cross Video Days, a Cinema and Transmedia Pitching Session, will host five projects selected for their innovative, multi-platform and transmedia condition and use of digital tools to enrich the audience experience. »


- Emiliano De Pablos

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Edinburgh Film Festival to Open with Robert Carlyle’s ‘The Legend of Barney Thomson’

2 hours ago

London — The Edinburgh Film Festival will open June 17 with the world premiere of Robert Carlyle’s feature film directorial debut, “The Legend of Barney Thomson.”

Carlyle stars in the Glasgow-set thriller alongside Emma Thompson and Ray Winstone. Also appearing in the film are Tom Courtenay, Ashley Jensen and Martin Compston.

Mark Adams, the fest’s new artistic director and a former Variety journalist, said: “We are thrilled to be opening this year’s festival with Robert Carlyle’s wonderful black comedy. It is a marvellously macabre and playful film, impressively directed and with a terrific cast. It is the perfect film to kick off what promises to be an exciting festival.”

The screenplay is by Colin McLaren and Richard Cowan, and is adapted from Douglas Lindsay’s book “The Long Midnight of Barney Thomson.” It is a dark comedy that tells the story of Barney (Carlyle), an awkward barber who inadvertently stumbles into serial murder, »


- Leo Barraclough

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Film Review: ‘The Beaver Trilogy Part IV’

2 hours ago

Between 1979 and 1985, cult director Trent Harris made three different films about a character he dubbed “Groovin’ Gary,” aka “the Beaver Kid,” a small-town Utah dreamer with big Hollywood ambitions. That triptych — which comprises an eccentric TV profile and two short-film re-enactments starring Sean Penn and Crispin Glover — eventually found its way to the 2001 Sundance Film Festival as “The Beaver Trilogy,” and now holds a place as one of the oddest footnotes in American cinema, though it’s hard to imagine anyone who hasn’t already seen it having more than a passing interest in “The Beaver Trilogy Part IV.” While it finally answers so many questions fans have been asking for years, sometimes far more poignantly than devotees would have thought possible, Brad Besser’s obsessive feature-length follow-up documentary ultimately feels like a DVD featurette that spiraled ridiculously out of control.

Like Ben Steinbauer’s “Winnebago Man,” which tracked down »


- Peter Debruge

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Cannes: Media Luna Acquires ‘Talion,’ ‘There,’ ‘Duel’ (Exclusive)

4 hours ago

Madrid – In the run-up to the Cannes Film Market, where it will host 10 market screenings, Media Luna New Films has acquired world sales rights to Martin Tuta’s thriller “Talion,” drama “I Was There” and docudrama “The Duel of Wine.”

The new pick-ups boost Media Luna’s Latin American or Latino Cannes slate to a total of five movies. An ethics-questioning thriller “Talion” turns on a masked avenger dubbed “Mirubin” who abducts and tortures pedophiles, and it doesn’t matter if one is the city’s mayor. But this is a personal war that makes “Mirubin” a criminal, for some of the public at least.

A journalist, Amira, attempts to uncover the avenger’s true identity. That could be more because she’s needs a hot scoop to reboot her career than because of a sense of justice. Pic’s core theme is not pedophilia, nor its victims, but the »


- John Hopewell

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Lionsgate U.K. to Finance, Co-invest in at Least 25 British Independent Films in Four Years

5 hours ago

London — Lionsgate U.K. has unveiled plans to finance and co-invest in at least 25 British independent films over the next four years.

Lionsgate’s U.K. and European CEO Zygi Kamasa said Tuesday that the move would further strengthen the studio’s position as one of the leading co-financiers and distributors in the U.K.

Kamasa said: “The U.K. is one of the most creatively exciting places in the world to be making movies right now, and we want to help position independent British films at the forefront of cinema worldwide.”

In the past three years, Lionsgate U.K. has invested in and released more than 20 British features with a combined production budget of more than $225 million. Among the U.K. films that it has distributed recently are Alan Rickman’s “A Little Chaos,” starring Kate Winslet, Steven Knight’s “Locke,” starring Tom Hardy, and James Kent’s “Testament of Youth, »


- Leo Barraclough

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Film Review: ‘A Royal Night Out’

6 hours ago

“Why have a ballroom with no balls?” trilled Princess Anna in Disney’s 2013 smash “Frozen,” voicing the social (and perhaps sexual) yearnings of any number of repressed, restless princesses in the fairy-tale universe — as well as, if the delightful “A Royal Night Out” is to be believed, the young Queen Elizabeth II herself. Imagining the alternately raucous and romantic exploits of the future English monarch and her sister Margaret as they are let loose upon London for one wild night of Victory in Europe celebrations, Julian Jarrold’s brightly performed exercise in speculative history scores as a frothier, more feminine bookend to “The King’s Speech” — though it’s no less engaging or accomplished. With public interest in British princessdom at a convenient high due to a certain new arrival, this glossy Lionsgate release (less coincidentally timed to capitalize on Ve Day’s 70th anniversary) should ride a dual wave of topicality to royal B. »


- Guy Lodge

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Martin Scorsese’s ‘Silence’ To Wrap In Taiwan

8 hours ago

Martin Scorsese is in the final few days of shooting “Silence,” his historical drama about faith and religion. Some 14 weeks of photography in Taipei will be completed May 15.

At a press event in Taipei on Monday, Scorsese spoke of the long journey to making the film, which is based on Shusaku Endo’s novel “Silence” about God’s silence in the face of human suffering. Scorsese had prepared a draft of the screenplay as early as 1992, but said that the origins were deeper still.

“The subject matter presented by Shusaku Endo was in my life since I was very, very young. I was very much involved in religion, I was raised in a strong Catholic family,” Scorsese said.

While the book is set in 17th century Japan, Scorsese located the production in Taiwan, following an introduction by Ang Lee. It was entirely shot in the territory with various locations in Taipei (Yangmingshan, »


- Patrick Frater

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China Box Office: ‘Furious 7’ Holds Off Chasing Pack

10 hours ago

“Fast & Furious 7” (aka “Furious 7”) extended its record performance at the top of the China box office. But in a market characterized by high octane performance it was one of five films that enjoyed strong scores, while other titles were left largely stalled.

Furious 7” took $45.6 million in its third full week of release, dropping only 38%, and pushing its cumulative total to $371 million after 22 days. If it is allowed to run its standard 28 days, the $400 million mark could be in reach.

Chinese-made romance “You Are My Sunshine,” in its first four days of official release earned a strong $35.7 million for a total score of $37.8 including previews. Chinese romance and youth drama “The Left Ear,” last week’s second-placed film, slipped to third, but increased its gross to $32.7 million, for a 10-day score of $64.4 million.

“Helios,” the Hong Kong actioner that closed the Beijing festival, could only manage fourth place in its opening weekend. »


- Patrick Frater

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Jennifer Aniston’s ‘Mean Moms’ Nabs ‘Horrible Bosses 2′ Director Sean Anders

11 hours ago

Horrible Bosses 2″ director Sean Anders will direct New Line’s long-stalled Jennifer Aniston comedy “Mean Moms.”

The project has been in development since 2010 with Adam Shankman, Jennifer Gibgot and Jill Messick producing for New Line. “Mean Moms” and Paramount’s 2004 comedy “Mean Girls” are both adapted from advice books for parents penned by Rosalind Wiseman.

Anders and writing partner John Morris have been writing the script for “Mean Moms,” which will focus on a happily married mother of two who moves from small-town America to the high-class suburbs and faces the cutthroat world of competitive parenting.

New Line had set “Mean Moms” for a May 8, 2015, release but delayed the film last year along with opting to forgo a $6.7 million production tax credit from the state of California. Instead, New Line announced at that point that it had come on board to co-finance MGM’s then-untitled Reese Witherspoon-Sofia Vergara comedy, »


- Dave McNary

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Nicki Minaj Joins ‘Barbershop 3′

12 hours ago

Rapper Nicki Minaj will co-star in New Line/MGM’s “Barbershop 3″ alongside Ice Cube and Cedric the Entertainer, Variety has learned.

Bob Teitel and George Tillman Jr. of State Street Pictures are the lead producers. Malcolm D. Lee, who directed the “Best Man” movies, is directing “Barbershop 3″ from a script by Kenya Barris and Tracy Oliver.

Minaj will play Draya, the sassy new hairdresser of the beauty shop portion of the barbershop. She made her first screen appearance last year in “The Other Woman,” portraying the assistant to Cameron Diaz’s character.

The original 2002 film, directed by Tim Story and set in Chicago, starred Ice Cube and Anthony Anderson. The 2004 sequel “Barbershop 2: Back in Business” featured the same cast, with Kevin Rodney Sullivan directing.

The two “Barbershop” films combined for about $140 million in worldwide box office. Regina Hall, Eve and Common are also starring in “Barbershop 3. »


- Dave McNary

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Juliette Binoche to Play Nobel Prize Winner Pearl S. Buck in Biopic (Exclusive)

12 hours ago

Juliette Binoche will star in “Pearl,” based on the life of Nobel Prize winner Pearl S. Buck along with Leehom Wang (“Forever Young”) and Jing Tian (“Great Wall”).

Roxanne Messina Captor is directing the “Pearl,” scheduled to start production in 2016 in Zhejiang Province, Shanghai and Prague. Vilmos Zsigmond has been attached as the cinematographer.

China Film Group is financing the film. Buck won the Pulitzer Prize in 1931 for her novel “The Good Earth,” about the struggle of Chinese farmers, and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1938, “for her rich and truly epic descriptions of peasant life in China and for her biographical masterpieces.”

Buck spent most of her life in China, first as a missionary and later as a novelist who started writing to support her mentally challenged daughter in a special school. The story will take place following the Nanking Incident in 1927, which launched the struggle known as the »


- Dave McNary

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Timothy Hutton Joins James Franco’s ‘The Long Home’ (Exclusive)

13 hours ago

Timothy Hutton has joined the cast of the James Franco-directed drama “The Long Home,” starring Josh Hutcherson.

Based on the novel by William Gay, “The Long Home” is set in the 1940s in rural Tennessee, where a young man (Hutcherson) goes to work building a honky-tonk for a charismatic and diabolical bootlegger, unaware that the man had murdered his father 10 years prior. He runs into further trouble when he falls for the young woman the bootlegger is grooming to be a prostitute.

Franco is also expected to star, and will produce alongside Rabbit Bandini’s Vince Jolivette and Jay Davis. Robert Halmi Jr. and Jim Reeve are exec producing.

No distributor is attached yet.

Hutton can still be seen on ABC’s “American Crime,” where he has received strong reviews playing the grieving father following the murder of his son. He is repped by Wme and Untitled Entertainment.

»


- Justin Kroll

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‘Avengers’ and the Age of CGI Overkill in Hollywood

13 hours ago

In the bad old days of “Whiz! Bam! Pow!” TV-and-movie superheroes — which yielded cut-rate, campy artifacts like those “Captain America” TV movies or Roger Corman’s unreleased version of “Fantastic Four” — a massive spectacle like “Avengers: Age of Ultron” seemed unimaginable. Yet the technology that has made such blockbusters feasible has, creatively, become a curse as well as a blessing.

Computer-generated imagery, or CGI, makes all things possible. While the 1978 “Superman” used the memorable slogan, “You will believe a man can fly,” that claim has never been truer than it is now.

The ability to mount enormous battles featuring multiple super-powered characters, however, has become its own trap. And while the results can be visually ­astounding, the movies regularly feel as lifeless and mechanized as the technology responsible for bringing those visions to fruition.

The why of it remains something of a mystery, but the outcome is frequently a hugely »


- Brian Lowry

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Carmike Quarterly Earnings and Revenues Rise to Beat Wall Street Projections

15 hours ago

First quarter earnings and attendance rose at Carmike Cinemas, as the country’s fourth largest theater chain was buoyed by movies such as “American Sniper” and “Fifty Shades of Grey.”

Thanks to those box office successes, revenue at the company climbed 16% to a record $184.3 million, up from $158.9 million in the prior-year period. Net income crawled back into positive terrain, hitting $391,000 — an improvement from the $3.1 million in red ink it posted in the year-ago quarter. Earnings for the period were two cents a share, and adjusted earnings were 12 cents.

The results topped Wall Street’s projections. Analysts expected Carmike Cinemas to post earnings of seven cents per share and revenue of $184 million for the quarter.

First-quarter admissions revenues grew approximately 5% on a per-screen basis, the Columbus, Georgia-based company said, while concessions spending per patron reached a new high of $4.72. Like many major exhibitors, Carmike is experimenting with expanding its food and beverage offerings, »


- Brent Lang

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‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ Poll: Over 50% Skipped Movie for Mayweather-Pacquiao Fight

16 hours ago

Avengers: Age of Ultron” dominated the box office this weekend, but in the record books, it will have to settle for runner-up status.

The superhero sequel scored a massive $191.3 million opening, but that fell short of projections that had it topping the first “Avengers'” record-breaking $207.4 million bow. Blame Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao, the boxers behind the so-called “fight of the century,” for dinging the film’s box office total.

The Saturday boxing match caused a number of potential moviegoers to steer clear of the mulitplexes and hit up pay-per-view, according to polling conducted by C4-r&D.

The market research firm surveyed 641 respondents and discovered that 52% of those who didn’t see a movie this weekend said it was because of the fight. Of those who opted to see boxing over a movie, 24% reported there wasn’t enough time to see both the Mayweather and Pacquiao smackdown and »


- Brent Lang

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‘John Wick’ Sequel: Keanu Reeves, Directors and Writer Set to Return

16 hours ago

Lionsgate has set Keanu Reeves to reprise his role in a sequel to “John Wick,” with David Leitch and Chad Stahelski returning to direct.

CEO Jon Feltheimer told Wall Street analysts in February that the sequel was in the works but provided no details. Thunder Road’s Basil Iwanyk is returning to produce, and Derek Kolstad will once again pen the script.

Lionsgate will be selling foreign markets for the sequel at Cannes next week. The original movie grossed $43 million domestically and $35 million internationally following its October launch.

John Wick” also starred Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen, Adrianne Palicki, Bridget Moynahan, Dean Winters, Ian McShane, John Leguizamo and Willem Dafoe. Reeves played a retired hitman seeking vengeance for the killing of his puppy, a gift from his late wife.

Jason Constantine and Eda Kowan at Lionsgate will oversee the sequel on behalf of the studio.

»


- Dave McNary

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Will Poulter to Play the Evil Clown in ‘It’ Remake (Exclusive)

17 hours ago

New Line and “True Detective” director Cary Fukunaga have found their “It.”

Sources tell Variety that Will Poulter (“We’re the Millers”) is in negotiations to play Pennywise, the evil monster who lured in children disguised as a clown, in the upcoming remake of Stephen King’s horror classic.

Fukunaga will direct “It,” which will be split into two feature films.

The original story followed a group of outcast kids who come together over summer break to take on the monster that’s haunting their town, battling their own personal monsters in the process.

King’s popular book was made into a TV miniseries in 1991 starring John Ritter and Tim Curry, who played the clown in terrifying fashion. A film adaptation was never undertaken given the size of the King novel, but Fukunaga has been very vocal recently that the latest script will stay true to the King story while »


- Justin Kroll

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Sela Ward Cast as President in ‘Independence Day 2′

17 hours ago

Sela Ward will play the president of the United States in Roland Emmerich’s “Independence Day 2.”

Vivica A. Fox, Jeff GoldblumLiam Hemsworth, Jessie Usher, Maika Monroe and Charlotte Gainsbourg have also been cast in the sequel, which 20th Century Fox has dated for June 24, 2016 — nearly 20 years after the original was released. Bill Pullman, who played President Thomas J. Whitmore in the original, is returning for the sequel.

James Woods and Nicholas Wright have written the script for “Independence Day 2,” which is in pre-production.

Ward was last seen in “CSI: NY” and “Gone Girl.”

»


- Dave McNary

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‘Star Wars': Adam Driver, Gwendoline Christie, Lupita Nyong’o’s ‘Force Awakens’ Characters Revealed

19 hours ago

What better way to celebrate May the Fourth (the unofficial “Star Wars” holiday) than with new images from “The Force Awakens”? As part of their June cover story, Vanity Fair has unveiled the first photo of Adam Driver’s villainous Kylo Ren, the black-clad bad guy seen wielding the controversial crossbar lightsaber in the first teaser for Episode VII.

Image by Annie Leibovitz for Vanity Fair.

In the new image, one of several by Annie Leibovitz for Vf, Driver’s character is described as commanding two snowtroopers loyal to the evil First Order on the frozen plains of their secret base. The First Order is the new name for what remains of the Empire following the Rebel Alliance’s destruction of the second Death Star and the defeat of Emperor Palpatine, while the rebels are now known as The Resistance.

Star Wars” mainstay Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca) also revealed the identity »


- Variety Staff

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Oscilloscope Buys Cannes Winner ‘The Wonders’ for U.S. (Exclusive)

19 hours ago

Oscilloscope Laboratories has acquired Alice Rohrwacher’s “The Wonders” — which won the Grand Prix last year at the Cannes Film Festival — and Daniel Wolfe’s Directors’ Fortnight entry “Catch Me Daddy.”

Oscilloscope plans to release both films later this year.

“The Wonders” is a drama centered around a family of beekeepers who are struggling to make ends meet on their farm deep in the Italian countryside when a reality TV show (featuring a host played by Monica Bellucci) arrives in town intent on showcasing the family. The film subsequently played at the New York Film Festival, the London Film Festival, AFI Fest and International Film Festival Rotterdam.

Catch Me Daddy,” a gritty British thriller, was directed by Daniel Wolfe and written and created with his brother Matthew. It follows a teenager from a ruthless criminal family as she flees home with her boyfriend, leading to her family hiring mercenary thugs »


- Dave McNary

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