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Amy Schumer Responds to Open Letter About ‘Trainwreck’ Shooting

44 minutes ago

Amy Schumer has responded to an open letter about the fatal shooting that occurred during a screening of “Trainwreck” in Lafayette, La. in late July. Her tweeted response indicates that she might address gun violence in her future work.

The letter — a plea for Schumer to become a vocal anti-gun violence advocate — was posted to Medium.com by Sarah Clements, who mentions in the essay that her mother survived the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

“As a woman, a daughter and sister, a national figure, and a role model, you have a real stake in gun violence happening all around you,” the essay reads. Clements goes on to urge Schumer to get involved. “Demand change. Be a voice for our generation and for women — two groups who make up most of the victims of the gun violence in our country.”

Schumer tweeted a simple response to the call to action, »

- Marianne Zumberge

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‘Zoolander 2′ Trailer Leaks Online

3 hours ago

A trailer for “Zoolander 2″ has leaked online ahead of the sequel’s 2016 release.

The unauthorized video begins with a voiceover from a Stephen Hawking soundalike and a journey through the cosmos before arriving in the brain of Derek Zoolander, which is full of hairdryers, orange mocha Frappucinos, incorrect math equations (3 + 4 = 34) and words like “eugoogly.”

“If God exists, then why did he make ugly people?” Ben Stiller asks in the clip, pondering one of Zoolander’s most troubling philosophical quandaries.

Stiller is back as the dim male model. Owen Wilson, Will Ferrell and Christine Taylor all reprise their roles from the 2001 original. Stiller directed from a script he wrote with Justin Theroux.

Stiller and Wilson partook in some gonzo publicity when they walked the Valentino runway at Paris Fashion Week as Zoolander and Hansel.

The much-anticipated comedy will include a host of cameos from the likes of Kristen Wiig, Billy Zane, »

- Marianne Zumberge

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Writers Guild to Represent Salon Media Staff

5 hours ago

Digital media outlet Salon Media has agreed to recognize the Writers Guild of America East as the collective bargaining representative of its editorial staff.

The company and the guild have agreed to launch negotiations on a contract promptly, the WGA East said Saturday. Twenty-six of Salon’s employees are repped by the WGA.

The recognition comes a month after the Salon staff voted unanimously to unionize.

“The men and women who write, edit, and produce stories for Salon.com have gained a voice on the job, and the intelligence and unity they have brought to the project is an inspiration,” said WGA East Executive Director Lowell Peterson in a statement.

“For 20 years Salon has been a bastion of progressive thought and action, and we are very pleased that Salon management has reaffirmed its commitment to take the high road, to recognize and respect its employees’ right to organize,” he added. »

- Dave McNary

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Channing Tatum Closes ‘Gambit’ Deal

5 hours ago

Channing Tatum has closed a deal to star in “Gambit” for 20th Century Fox, a source close to project confirmed.

News of Tatum’s official involvement in the “X-Men” spinoff lays to rest the rumors that the project was falling apart.

Tatum has been tied to the superhero pic for some time as producer and star. He even appeared at Fox’s Comic-Con panel with the cast of “X-Men.” Details on the extent of Tatum’s involvement in future “X-Men” projects are still under wraps.

Gambit” is slated for an October 2016 release.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes” helmer Rupert Wyatt will direct a script by Josh Zetumer, who drew from a treatment written by “Gambit” co-creator Chris Claremont.

In addition to Tatum, Reid Carolin, Lauren Shuler Donner and Simon Kinberg will produce.

Tatum is repped by UTA.

The news was first reported by The Hollywood Reporter.


- Marianne Zumberge

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Box Office: ‘Mission: Impossible 5′ Notches Series-High Opening Day, Eyes $52 Million Weekend

7 hours ago

Tom Cruise actioner “Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation” generated $20 million at the Friday box office, marking the biggest opening day in the “Mission: Impossible” franchise.

The Paramount/Skydance release is on track to pull in about $52 million for the weekend in its 3,956 locations, according to studio estimates. The fifth installment in the series, written and directed by Chris Mcquarrie, finds Cruise facing off against a squad of special agents known as the Syndicate. Simon Pegg, Jeremy Renner and Rebecca Ferguson also star.

“This is the rare sequel that leaves its franchise feeling not exhausted but surprisingly resurgent at 19 years and counting,” Variety‘s review says of the pic. Cruise has already announced plans for a sixth film.

Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol,” the previous pic in the series, pulled in $209 million in the U.S. and $485 million internationally. The first four “Mission: Impossible” films have totaled more than $2 billion in worldwide grosses. »

- Marianne Zumberge

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Film Review: ‘The Crossing II’

14 hours ago

Like passengers who overpaid for tickets to escape war-ravaged Shanghai on the Taiwan-bound liner Taiping in 1949, only to end up on a sinking ship, audiences get a pretty lousy deal with John Woo’s “The Crossing II,” an inert follow-up that doesn’t deliver enough visual or emotional payoff in its overdue yet short-lived shipwreck climax. Released eight months after the first film opened in December, the pic features no intriguing new turns and has nothing meaningful to say, indisputably proving that the production would have been better off trimmed and presented as one film. Considering how “The Crossing” tanked at the box office worldwide, it’s unrealistic to expect a huge B.O. turnaround here, though an older demographic may still give it a chance.

Originally written by Wang Hui-ling (“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” “Lust, Caution”) and later doctored by Su Chao-pin, Chen Ching-hui and Woo (all credited »

- Maggie Lee

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Academy Announces 2015 Student Academy Award Finalists

23 hours ago

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences revealed its 2015 Student Academy Awards finalists Friday. The awards were established in 1972 to support and encourage excellence in filmmaking at the collegiate level. Past winners include John Lasseter, Pete Docter and Robert Zemeckis.

The Academy will announce the winners at a ceremony Sept. 17.

The finalists by category:


Daniel Drummond, “Chiaroscuro,” Chapman University

M. Louis Gordon, “Girl in the Chair,” Nyu Tisch School of the Arts

ChiHyun Lee, “Zoe,” School of Visual Arts

Balbinka Korzeniowska, “Awaken,” UCLA

David Karp, “Disconnected,” Cornell University


Jack Anderson, “Wire Cutters,” Chapman University

Lynn Tomlinson, “The Ballad of Holland Island House,” Towson University

Alyce Tzue, “Soar,” Academy of Art University

Nicholas Manfredi, Elizabeth Ku-Herrero, “Taking the Plunge,” The School of Visual Arts

Seth Boyden, “An Object At Rest,” California Institute of the Arts

Tom Teller, “Hum,” Chapman University

Jenna Hamzawi, “Ram’s Horn,” Brigham Young University


Emily Kassie, »

- Reece Ristau

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Hollywood Unions Promised $8 Million of Relativity Funds

23 hours ago

A federal judge has approved $8 million in residual payments from bankrupt Relativity Media to the Hollywood unions for screenwriters, directors and actors.

U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Michael Wiles approved a request Friday by the studio attorneys to earmark the $8 million in its future funds to the unions. The residuals and funds for “participation agreements” are part of a total of $28 million owed to performers and producers, according to a filing from Relativity’s newly designated chief restructuring officer, Brian Kushner.

Relativity’s ability to maintain ties to the creative community is contingent on it fulfilling those financial obligations, its lawyers stressed during the hearing. Relativity was in the Manhattan court on Friday to secure a $45 million loan to allow it to continue operating while it goes through the bankruptcy process. Wiles agreed to a smaller $9.5 million cash infusion to sustain operations until a hearing on Aug. 14, when a bankruptcy »

- Dave McNary

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Bankrupt Relativity Has to Settle for Modest $9.5 Million Loan

31 July 2015 3:00 PM, PDT

Relativity Media’s efforts to secure a $45 million loan to allow it to continue operating while it goes through the bankruptcy process hit a snag on Friday.

Instead, the studio will have to settle for a smaller $9.5 million cash infusion that it hopes can allow it to keep the lights on until a hearing on August 14. At that point a bankruptcy court judge will decide whether to grant the company access to the full amount of funding it seeks.

In the interim, the company will be allowed to use $4 million of the bridge funding on so-called critical vendors related to ongoing television and film production.

It could have been worse. It initially appeared as though negotiations on the financing had reached an impasse after Judge Michael Wiles rejected the initial proposal for a debtor-in-possession (D.I.P.) loan, arguing that the auction process it required as part of its agreement »

- Brent Lang

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Ken Howard Blasts SAG-aftra Election Opponents

31 July 2015 2:56 PM, PDT

SAG-aftra president Ken Howard has issued a blistering attack on opponent Patricia Richardson and her Membership First allies, asserting that the faction’s record is one of failure.

Howard issued the broadside in an email to the 160,000 members of the performers union on Friday — a day after Richardson had blasted Howard and his allies for incompetence at the bargaining table, lavish spending and secrecy. Neither missive mentioned the presidential opponent by name.

“This election is critical to your future as a performer and as a union member,” he said. “There are those who want to lead our union who are making lots of empty promises… promises squarely at odds with the divisive positions they have taken for years. Worse, they want you to believe their hollow rhetoric is the same as actual results.”

About 140,000 ballots went out last week to dues-current members of SAG-aftra, with results due to be tabulated on Aug. »

- Dave McNary

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Joel Edgerton, Jason Bateman Celebrate Stx Entertainment’s First Premiere of ‘The Gift’

31 July 2015 1:41 PM, PDT

Studio newcomer Stx Entertainment premiered its first feature film, Joel Edgerton’s directorial debut “The Gift,” at L.A. Live on Thursday. In the film, which was also penned by the Aussie actor, an old grudge compels a high school loner to seek vengeance on a former classmate.

The takeaway: Bullying the smaller kid in school can come back to haunt you, so it’s best to be nice to them — (cough, cough) that means you, major Hollywood studios.

“It’s not that we necessarily wanted a film like ‘The Gift’ to be the first. It’s that the first great opportunity we had was ‘The Gift,'” assured Adam Fogelson, Stx motion picture group chairman.

Variety’s Scott Foundas described the film in his review as “a coolly unsettling thriller that begins as an unironic homage to late-’80s/early-’90s yuppies-in-peril dramas like ‘Fatal Attraction’ and ‘The Hand That Rocks the Cradle. »

- Mannie Holmes

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Film Review: ‘A Lego Brickumentary’

31 July 2015 1:39 PM, PDT

Mere months after “The Lego Movie” demonstrated that audiences’ affection for the Danish construction toy could generate international bigscreen interest of blockbuster proportions, Oscar-blessed short-film helmers Daniel Junge and Kief Davidson unveiled “Beyond the Brick” at the Tribeca Film Festival. At the time, the feature-length docu felt like little more than a glorified DVD extra, so shamelessly rapturous toward the brand that it may as well have been commissioned by the Lego Co. itself. By waiting more than a year to release it, however, Radius has given the tightly assembled, all-ages-appropriate film — theater-bound under its former subtitle, “A Lego Brickumentary” — a chance to entertain on its own merits.

Although loaded with details sure to thrill those who’ve just received their first Lego set (with an estimated 86 Lego bricks for every person on earth, odds are good that most kids will come in contact with the toy at some point »

- Peter Debruge

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Box Office: Tom Cruise’s ‘Mission: Impossible’ Flying to $50 Million Weekend

31 July 2015 1:29 PM, PDT

Tom Cruise has been welcomed back to the nation’s multiplexes, with “Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation” heading for a U.S. opening weekend that could top $50 million, according to early estimates Friday.

That could be four times as much as that for the rebooted “Vacation,” which is underperforming with a projected Friday-Sunday total of $12.5 million and a disappointing five-day cume ar0und $19 million.

Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation” is dominating Friday business, with a first-day total of at least $20 million at 3,956 locations. That figure includes $4 million from Thursday-night preview showings.

Paramount’s fifth entry in the “Mission: Impossible” franchise has launched amid a marketing campaign with Cruise — one of the best promoters in the business — hitting the circuit to discuss the film and its eye-popping stunts, such as his clinging to the side of an Airbus A400 plane during takeoff.

The studio has been cautious in its guidance for the action-adventure, »

- Dave McNary

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How Lucy Ricardo Gave Birth to ‘Mission: Impossible’

31 July 2015 1:15 PM, PDT

If it weren’t for Lucy and Ricky Ricardo, Tom Cruise would not be saving the free world in “Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation,” which opens July 31.

In 1950 Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz formed Desilu Prods., and the huge success of “I Love Lucy” turned Desilu into a powerhouse that created many more TV series and owned two studio lots. Many successful years later, Variety ran a story on Aug 17, 1966, saying Desilu had firmed a lucrative deal with CBS for a fifth season of “The Lucy Show” and was debuting two one-hour series in the fall: “Star Trek” on NBC and “Mission: Impossible” on CBS.

That’s a pretty good slate for one year.

The series “Mission: Impossible,” under creator-producer-writer Bruce Geller, ran from 1966-73, but it was much slower to transfer to the bigscreen than its stablemate (the first “Star Trek” movie debuted in 1979). The film “Mission: Impossible,” which marked Cruise’s producing debut, »

- Tim Gray

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Cate Blanchett-Robert Redford Rathergate Drama ‘Truth’ Set for Oct. 16 Release

31 July 2015 12:58 PM, PDT

Sony Pictures Classics is giving an Oct. 16 awards-season release to the Cate Blanchett-Robert Redford drama “Truth,” centered on the Dan Rather scandal.

It will launch in New York and Los Angeles with a nationwide expansion to follow. James Vanderbilt’s directorial debut also stars Topher Grace, Elisabeth Moss and Dennis Quaid.

The film is based on the Mary Mapes book “Truth and Duty,” and Blanchett plays Mapes, a CBS News journalist and Rather’s producer.

“Truth” follows Mapes and Rather as they uncover allegations that George W. Bush may have been Awol from the U.S. National Guard for over a year during the Vietnam War. Four documents were presented as authentic in a “60 Minutes” broadcast aired by CBS on Sept. 8, 2004, less than two months before the 2004 election, but it was later determined that CBS had failed to authenticate the documents.

The ensuing scandal ruined Rather’s career »

- Dave McNary

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Gary Oldman, Britt Robertson, Carla Gugino Join Stx’s Sci-Fi Love Story

31 July 2015 12:14 PM, PDT

Gary Oldman, Carla Gugino and Britt Robertson have joined Asa Butterfield in Stx Entertainment’s untitled intergalactic love story.

Peter Chelsom will direct the pic. Allan Loeb penned the script, which is based on a short story he wrote with Richard Lewis and Stewart Schill. Lewis will also produce the film.

Butterfield’s character is the first human born on Mars. He’s raised in an experimental colony on the red planet after his astronaut mother dies during childbirth. Gardner begins an online romance with a girl living in Colorado (Robertson) 16 years later, and decides to travel across the universe, even with Earth’s gravity threatening his very existence, to find her.

Butterfield can be seen next in Fox’s “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children,” while Oldman last starred in “Child 44″ opposite Tom Hardy. Carla Gugino most recently appeared on the Fox drama “Wayward Pines” and the »

- Justin Kroll

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Lionsgate Ramping Up ‘Naruto’ Movie with Michael Gracey

31 July 2015 12:09 PM, PDT

Lionsgate has signed Michael Gracey to direct an adaptation of the popular Japanese manga series “Naruto.”

The studio is in negotiations for the film rights to the “Naruto” series written and illustrated by Masashi Kishimoto, first published in 1997. The manga, which has sold more than 200 million copies in print, follows adolescent ninja Naruto Uzumaki, who dreams of becoming the village ninja, the community’s protector and leader.

Avi Arad and his son Ari Arad are producing through Arad Productions. Erik Feig, Geoff Shaveitz and Kelly O’Malley will oversee for the studio.

Naruto” has generated an anime series in Japan that premiered in 2002 and lasted 220 episodes, while the “Naruto: Shippuden” sequel has been airing since 2007. In addition to the anime series, Studio Pierrot has developed 10 movies.

Gracey is a former visual effects specialist who has moved into directing. He’s been attached to several studio projects that are in »

- Dave McNary

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‘Rogue Nation’: 5 Reasons It’s the Best ‘Mission: Impossible’

31 July 2015 11:43 AM, PDT

Just when Tom Cruise had been written off as an action star, he makes a triumphant comeback — at age 53 — with “Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation.” The summer’s most entertaining popcorn movie not only eclipses “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” “Jurassic World” and “Mad Max: Fury Road” with its action sequences, it also brings to mind Cruise’s prime days (“Top Gun,” “Jerry Maguire,” etc.) on the Hollywood A-list.

Here are five reasons “Mission: Impossible 5” is the strongest film in Paramount’s 19-year-old spy franchise.

(1)It’s sleeker than any James Bond movie you can remember.

The first “Mission: Impossible,” which opened nearly two decades ago in 1996, was a standard bigscreen reboot of a TV show. But the franchise received a jolt in 2006 with J.J. Abrams’ “Mission Impossible 3,” which interwove the heart-pumping twists of “Alias” (season one) into a theatrical recipe that could give Daniel Craig as 007 a run for his money. »

- Ramin Setoodeh

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Relativity Media ‘Hopelessly Insolvent’ as It Heads Into Bankruptcy Hearing

31 July 2015 11:09 AM, PDT

The senior lenders who control the fate of newly bankrupt Relativity Media will push hard Friday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for a quick auction of the failed entertainment concern founded by entrepreneur Ryan Kavanaugh.

Those parties — which include Anchorage Capital Group, Luxor Capital Group, Falcon Investment Advisors and Colbeck Capital — have also put forward a “stalking horse” purchase offer to set a minimum bid for a Relativity sale that they hope will be completed by early October.

The “first day” proposals on behalf of Relativity make clear that the key decisions on the company’s future are now in the hands of the senior lenders and their newly designated chief restructuring officer, Brian Kushner, said bankruptcy experts. CEO Kavanaugh remains in charge of day-to-day operations, for the time being.

Senior lenders are owed $361 million and stand in the best position of recouping some of their outlay, ahead of hundreds »

- James Rainey

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Robert Rodriguez Recalls His Entree to Hollywood With Student Film ‘El Mariachi’

31 July 2015 10:00 AM, PDT

Robert Rodriguez stirred up attention with his student film “El Mariachi,” which he made for a whopping $7,000. It landed him a two-year deal with Columbia Pictures, and a write-up on Variety’s front page on April 23, 1992. The next year, the film won the audience prize at Sundance, and blazed a trail for independent, low-budget filmmaking, which has since become a staple of the industry. Rodriguez’s “From Dusk Till Dawn” series starts its second season Aug. 25 on the filmmaker’s El Rey channel.

What do you remember about signing that deal?

I was being courted by a number of studios at the time. I ended up choosing Columbia because they were the first to sort of reach out to me, and fly me out and meet with them. I was actually in L.A. when that article hit. Still being in college, and being on the front page of Variety »

- Seth Kelley

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