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Mahershala Ali to Star in, Executive Produce Crime Thriller ‘Burn’

18 hours ago

Academy Award-winner Mahershala Ali is starring in and executive producing a crime thriller movie based on A.J. Wolfe’s upcoming book “Burn.”

Anonymous Content has acquired the movie rights with Anonymous Content’s Nicole Clemens and Kevin Cotter producing the project. Fredrick Kotto, a former detective who has become a screenwriter, has been hired to write the adaptation and will executive produce along with Ali and Artillery Creative’s Tom Carter.

The book is a contemporary crime thriller and love story set in the ultra-violent world of organized crime. It follows a Northern California detective who destroyed a cartel while keeping his undercover life secret from his family. Paradigm is handling the publishing rights. »


- Dave McNary

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Josh Hartnett, Margarita Levieva Starring in Thriller ‘Inherit the Viper’

18 hours ago

Josh Hartnett and Margarita Levieva will star in Barry Films’ crime thriller “Inherit the Viper,” which explores the prescription drug epidemic in West Virginia.

Anthony Jerjen is directing from Andrew Crabtree’s original script.  The project is produced by Michel Merkt (“Elle,” “Toni Erdmann”) and Benito Mueller (“The Whistleblower”) and executive produced by Wolfgang Mueller for Barry Films.

Hartnett and Levieva will portray siblings as they try to escape the spiral of violence that has held them captive since their father’s passing. Their characters deal with a region left behind by the economy, in which selling drugs has become their way of survival and a business that’s very hard to quit.

“’Inherit the Viper’ is a visceral story of a family fighting to escape its destiny,” said Merkt. “I am thrilled to be able to tell it on this third collaboration with the incredibly talented director Anthony Jerjen, whose career »


- Dave McNary

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Box Office: ‘Justice League’ Heading for Disappointing $95 Million Opening

20 hours ago

Warner Bros.-DC’s “Justice League” is heading for a disappointing opening weekend of about $95 million at 4,051 North American locations, early estimates showed on Friday.

The first Friday estimates for “Justice League” are well under the studio’s recent guidance, which had been in the $110 million range. Should it come in at the top of current estimates, “Justice League” might finish the weekend in the same range as “The Fate of the Furious” — which launched in April to $98.7 million as the seventh-largest opening of the year.

The six films that have cracked the $100 million opening mark this year are Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” at $174.8 million, Disney-Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” at $146.5 million, Warner-New Line’s “It” at $123.4 million, Disney-Marvel’s “Thor: Ragnarok” at $122.7 million, Sony-Marvel’s “Spider-Man: Homecoming” at $117 million, and Warner-dc’s “Wonder Woman” at $103.3 million. A total of 48 titles have topped $100 million in North America in their debut frames.

“[link »


- Dave McNary

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Noah Baumbach Casts Adam Driver, Scarlett Johansson, Laura Dern in Next Film

21 hours ago

As his current film “The Meyerowitz Stories” readies for an awards season push, Noah Baumbach has lined up an all-star cast for his next movie.

Sources tell Variety that the auteur has tapped Adam Driver, Laura Dern, and Scarlett Johansson to star in his next film. Merritt Wever and Azhy Robertson are also on board.

Plot details are unknown at this time, but Baumbach is preparing to write and direct the film. Netflix, who is handling the distribution of “The Meyerowitz Stories,” is handling financing and distribution of this movie as well. »


- Justin Kroll

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Box Office: ‘Justice League’ Stalls with $94 Million Opening Weekend

1 hour ago

Warner Bros.-D.C.’s “Justice League” is headed for an underwhelming opening weekend, coming in below early predictions with an estimated $94 million at 4,051 North American locations during its opening weekend.

The number marks a nearly 15% drop from early reports, which had pegged “Justice League’s” opening weekend in the $110 million range. With an estimated budget of around $300 million, “Justice League” poses high stakes for Warner Bros. The movie is the fifth installment of its DC Extended Universe, aimed at duplicating the success of Disney-Marvel’s interconnected franchises.

Gal Gadot stars as Wonder Woman along with Ben Affleck as Batman, Henry Cavill as Superman, Jason Momoa as Aquaman, Ezra Miller as the Flash, and Ray Fisher as Cyborg. Amy Adams, Amber Heard, Jeremy Irons, J.K. Simmons, and Willem Dafoe also appear. Zack Snyder began shooting “Justice League” in April of 2016, from a script by Chris Terrio. Joss Whedon — director of Disney-Marvel’s two “Avengers” movies — assumed directing »


- Erin Nyren

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Film Review: ’12th and Clairmount’

15 hours ago

It’s always fascinating to encounter a documentary about a historical event after you’ve seen the meticulously staged Hollywood version. Your hunger to take in the subject is probably ramped up a notch or two — but beyond that, there’s now an added point of interest, since a good documentary will shed powerful light on a question that lurks behind any piece of dramatized history. Namely: How accurate is it? “12th and Clairmount,” an illuminating and innovatively crafted account of the 1967 Detroit riot, is a documentary that viewers will be eager to compare and contrast with Kathryn Bigelow’s “Detroit” (timed, like this film, to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the uprising). That’s likely to give it that much more of a specialty niche.

Not that the movie wouldn’t be absorbing on its own. Brian Kaufman, who directed and edited it, takes a disarmingly personalized approach, mixing newsreels »


- Owen Gleiberman

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Film News Roundup: Palm Springs Festival Honors Sam Rockwell for ‘Three Billboards’

16 hours ago

In today’s film news roundup, Sam Rockwell is honored for “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” New Regency buys a hijacking story, and Paramount hires a screenwriter for “Gasp.”

Festival News

The 29th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival will present Sam Rockwell with the spotlight award – actor for his performance in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.”

The festival’s awards gala, hosted by Mary Hart, will be held Jan. 2 at the Palm Springs Convention Center.

Past recipients of the spotlight award include Amy Adams, Jessica Chastain, Bryan Cranston, Andrew Garfield, Helen Hunt, Rooney Mara, Julia Roberts, and J.K. Simmons. All recipients received Academy Award nominations in the year they were honored, with Simmons receiving the Oscar for best supporting actor.

Rockwell plays a short-tempered police officer in “Three Billboards” opposite Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, Abbie Cornish, and Lucas Hedges. He has never been nominated for an Academy Award.

Project Launch

New Regency has acquired Michelle Ashford’s screenplay »


- Dave McNary

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Weinstein Co. Feeling Pressure to Find a Buyer (Exclusive)

17 hours ago

The Weinstein Co. is reviving its attempts to sell itself or the bulk of its film and television assets, Variety has learned. But the clock is ticking. The company was on the verge of bankruptcy last week, but after selling domestic distribution rights to “Paddington 2” in a $28 million deal with Warner Bros. it has bought itself some time. With the money, it now has enough cash to meet its payroll obligations, but it doesn’t have as much of a financial cushion as it would seem. That’s because The Weinstein Co. only receives a percentage of the money. Canal Plus, the film’s producer, picks up $20 million, while the Weinstein Co. gets the remaining $8 million.

The indie studio has been hit hard by a sexual harassment scandal involving co-founder Harvey Weinstein. It has already borrowed hundreds of millions against its film and TV library and now is grappling with the fact that its brand has become »


- Brent Lang, Cynthia Littleton and Gene Maddaus

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‘Terminator’ Writing Team Adds Billy Ray to Put Final Polish on Script

17 hours ago

After assembling a writer’s room earlier this year to tackle the latest installment in the “Terminator” franchise, Tim Miller and James Cameron have brought on Billy Ray to join the team and give the final touches to the latest draft.

Cameron and Miller’s writer’s room included David Goyer, Justin Rhodes, and Josh Friedman. Ray is now coming on to polish the script that is based on a story conceived by Cameron, Miller, and Skydance founder David Ellison.

Linda Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger are returning to the franchise with Skydance and Cameron producing the project. Plot details are being kept under wraps, although Cameron has said that the film will be a direct sequel to “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” since he played no part in the recent installments.

The pic is set to bow on July 26, 2019.

Known for his prestige dramas like “Captain Phillips” and “State of Play,” Ray is responsible »


- Justin Kroll and Brent Lang

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Batman Actors Ranked From Worst to Best

18 hours ago

Holy listicle, Batfans! With the release of “Justice League” this weekend at theaters and drive-ins everywhere, we’re once again invited to measure the Batmanliness of Ben Affleck against his predecessors as the Caped Crusader. And while many aficionados insist that Kevin Conroy, the vocal-talent star of several animated TV series and made-for-video films, is the all-time best Batman, we opted to limit our survey to actors in live-action movies.

Related storiesBox Office: 'Justice League' Heading for Disappointing $95 Million OpeningBox Office: 'Justice League' Takes Flight Worldwide, Opens With $16.4 Million on First Day in ChinaBen Affleck on Harvey Weinstein: 'I Knew He Was Sleazy' »


- Joe Leydon

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Le Gentil Garcon Brings Classic Hollywood to Hermes for the Holidays

19 hours ago

French artist Le Gentil Garcon has designed Hermes’ holiday window installations at its 690 and 691 Madison Avenue boutiques in New York City. His installations were unveiled on Thursday and will continue to be on display through Feb. 2.

In the latest edition of the annual tradition by the fashion house, Le Gentil Garcon has designed a universe of cinema with window installations inspired by “object sense,” the theme for this year’s display.

The artist has transformed the primary focal window into a “classic movie-house where passersby will encounter a randomized selection of stylized black-and-white film clips” that Le Gentil Garcon crafted by hand. The artwork invites people to journey though the different films projected with products enlivened by humor and wit.

Both the Maison and men’s store, which face one other across Madison Avenue, display three-dimensional renditions of classic movie posters in their windows. Each window portrays a particular genre of cinema — romance, horror, mystery, »


- Taryn Nobil

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Netflix Acquires Animated Feature From ‘Despicable Me’ Co-Creator

21 hours ago

Netflix has acquired exclusive global rights to the animated pic “Klaus,” the directorial debut for Sergio Pablos, who wrote the story and is the co-creator of “Despicable Me.”

The all-star voice cast includes Jason Schwartzman, Rashida Jones, J.K. Simmons, and Joan Cusack.

The film is a Christmas family comedy that tells the story of a desperate postman who inadvertently brings about the genesis of Santa Claus. The screenplay is written by Pablos, Zach Lewis, and Jim Mahoney, based on an original story by Pablos.

“How is it possible there’s no story about the origin of Santa Claus?,” Pablos said. “He’s one of the most well-known and loved characters in the world! We felt this was a story that needed to be told and that there was no better way than with animation.”

Tanguy Olivier, Gustavo Ferrada, and Marisa Roman are serving as producers. The film is co-produced by Pablos’ animation studio Spa Studios and Atresmedia »


- Justin Kroll

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Box Office: ‘Justice League’ Takes Flight Worldwide, Opens With $16.4 Million on First Day in China

22 hours ago

Justice League” has grossed $16.4 million at 21,000 screens in China on its first day Friday, including $1.3 million in midnight sneak previews.

Warner Bros.’ superhero tentpole took in 65% of the top five films in China. The first day number is on par with Disney-Marvel’s “Thor: Ragnarok” and the second-biggest opening day for a Warners title after “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.”

Justice League” also earned $27.3 million on Wednesday and Thursday at 23,000 international sites in its first two days at the overseas box office, including $18 million on Thursday. The studio said the film was performing well in Asia with $6.3 million and in Latin America with $3.5 million, outgrossing “Wonder Woman” and “Thor: Ragnarok” in a majority of markets

Australia debuted Thursday with $1.3 million on 729 screens, commanding 67% of the top five films — the biggest opening day for a Warners film in 2017 and on par with “Thor: Ragnarok.” Russia also launched Thursday with $1.3 million from 2,625 screens, with a 63% box »


- Dave McNary

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Google Spotlight Stories Releases Vr Short ‘Sonaria’ With Steam, Viveport, Mobile App

22 hours ago

The Vr short “Sonaria,” a colorful and lyrical journey of two ever-changing creatures through different environments, is being released wide Friday via Steam and Viveport as well as on mobile for Android and iOS on the Google Spotlight Stories app.

The immersive short is one of the latest projects in Google Spotlight Stories’ growing and ever-more ambitious mobile and Vr canon. Released earlier this year on Steam and Viveport was the Jorge R. Gutierrez-directed short “Son of Jaguar,” which is going out even wider Friday on the Google Spotlight Stories app and for Daydream headsets. It will also be available on YouTube Kids.

The idea for “Sonaria” was conceived by Scot Stafford, creative director of music and sound for all the Google Spotlight Stories projects. Stafford co-directed the short with L.A.-based animation studio Chromosphere.

“It started off as an experiment in sound, which is something that in Vr takes on some additional importance than it »


- Terry Flores

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Viola Davis, Malcolm D. Lee and Universal Team on ‘I Almost Forgot About You’

22 hours ago

In a competitive situation, Universal Pictures has optioned the rights to Terry McMillan’s bestselling novel “I Almost Forgot About You” with Viola Davis attached to star.

Girls Trip” helmer Malcolm D. Lee is on board to direct and produce along with Davis, who will produce with her husband Julius Tennon via their JuVee Productions banner. The Jackal Group’s Gail Berman and Joe Earley are also producing.

Ron Bass will adapt with McMillan. The two previously collaborated on the films “How Stella Got Her Groove Back” and “Waiting to Exhale.”

The story follows Georgia Young, a twice-divorced, successful optometrist whose life looks great on paper, but she finds herself feeling bored and restless and decides it’s time to change lanes. As a result, she finds herself on a wild journey of self-discovery, reuniting with old lovers, and getting a brand new lease on life.

The book is a New York Times bestseller published by Crown »


- Justin Kroll

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Ben Affleck on Harvey Weinstein: ‘I Knew He Was Sleazy’

23 hours ago

Ben Affleck sat down Friday morning with Savannah Guthrie on the “Today” show, where he discussed the sexual misconduct scandal surrounding Harvey Weinstein, who was instrumental in launching his career.

Affleck, who is making the rounds to promote “Justice League,” told Guthrie, “I knew [Weinstein] was sleazy and kind of a bully, but unfortunately, that wasn’t that uncommon.” He explained that, as a 24-year-old newcomer to Hollywood who “had never made a movie,” he did not understand how the business worked and what behavior was deemed acceptable. Affleck shared his first Academy Award win with Matt Damon for their “Good Will Hunting” screenplay.

In addition to his breakout film “Good Will Hunting,” Affleck collaborated with Weinstein on several other movies, including “Shakespeare in Love,” which starred his former girlfriend Gwyneth Paltrow — one of the many women who have accused Weinstein of sexual harassment.

He answered questions regarding the same subject during an appearance on “The Late Show” [link »


- Taryn Nobil

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Fabrice du Welz to Direct ‘Adoration’ With ‘Happy End’ Breakout Star (Exclusive)

23 hours ago

Acclaimed Belgian director Fabrice du Welz is set to direct “Adoration,” the third part of a trilogy that includes “The Ordeal,” which played at Cannes’ Critics’ Week, and “Alleluia,” which played at Directors’ Fortnight.

“Adoration” is being produced by Vincent Tavier at Brussels-based Panique! and Manuel Chiche at Paris-based The Jokers. Memento Films International has acquired international sales to the film. The Jokers will handle distribution in France.

Like “The Ordeal” and “Alleluia,” “Adoration” will explore the boundaries of a maddening, destructive love, this time between two children. It follows 12-year-old Paul, who falls in love with Gloria, a schizophrenic teenager in the mental institution where his mother works. Paul decides to help Gloria escape after she commits a crime, and together they embark on a trip that reveals the extent of Gloria’s dangerous madness and Paul’s devotion to her.

Tavier, who wrote the script with du Welz, said “Adoration »


- Elsa Keslassy

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‘Dragon Tattoo’ Sequel Taps ‘The Square’ Star Claes Bang as Villain (Exclusive)

23 hours ago

Claes Bang, who broke out in the critically acclaimed Cannes Palme d’Or winner “The Square,” has landed a role as one of the antagonists in “The Girl in the Spider’s Web,” the sequel to the smash hit “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.”

Claire Foy is set to star as Lisbeth Salander and “Blade Runner 2049’s” Sylvia Hoeks is on board as Salander’s twin sister. The new installment of Sony Pictures’ Millennium franchise will commence production in January in Berlin and Stockholm. The film hits theaters on Oct. 19, 2018.

The studio had no comment on the casting.

The movie will be directed by Fede Alvarez, who helmed 2016’s surprise hit “Don’t Breathe” for Sony. »


- Justin Kroll

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Box Office: ‘Justice League’ Soars to $13 Million on Thursday Night

17 November 2017 7:22 AM, PST

Warner Bros.-DC’s “Justice League” has opened with a solid, but not spectacular $13 million at around 3,700 North American locations on Thursday night.

The number for “Justice League” is the fifth-biggest Thursday preview of 2017, following “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” and “Thor: Ragnarok.” “Justice League” tied “It’s” Thursday preview gross. The figure is also $2 million more than “Wonder Woman’s” Thursday night number in June.

Justice League” expands to 4,051 domestic sites on Friday. It has remained on track for an opening weekend of $110 million since late October. »


- Dave McNary

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MoviePass Cuts Prices, Offers $6.95 a Month Plan for Unlimited Movies

17 November 2017 7:08 AM, PST

Updated: MoviePass is offering a limited-time subscription that will allow users to pay $6.95 a month to watch a movie a day for a year. The service typically costs $9.95 a month, but the new deal comes with a catch. Users have to commit to a 12-month subscription.

“We did a soft launch yesterday,” MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe told Variety. “We’re discovering there’s much more interest and demand than we ever imagined. We keep hearing from customers that they want an annual plan or they wanted some way to give MoviePass as a gift.”

MoviePass is trying to become the Netflix of cinema-going, but right now it seems to be more focused on building a customer base than turning a profit. The company pays theaters the full price for a ticket, so it is in essence subsidizing its users’ movie-going and losing money each time they check out a film. The average »

- Brent Lang

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