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Cuba Gooding, Andrew Dice Clay Backing Pete Antico for SAG-aftra President

10 hours ago

Stuntman Pete Antico has gained endorsements for his candidacy for SAG-aftra president from Cuba Gooding Jr., Andrew Dice Clay, Mickey Rourke, Danny Aiello and Michael Madsen, Variety has learned exclusively.

Antico is one of five candidates seeking the post along with current president Gabrielle Carteris, national board member Esai Morales and independents Robert B. Martin, Jr. and Marilyn Monrovia. Ballot went out this week to about 144,000 members and must be returned by Aug. 24.

Nicky Whelan, Zoe Bell, Bruce Payne, Peter Dobson, Jeff Fahey have also endorsed Antico, who has campaigned against ratifiying the tentative agreement on a new master contract. for falling short  for stunt performers, background actors, dancers, singers, and voiceover artists. Antico has also been stressing safety issues in the wake of the July 12 death of stuntman John Bernecker on the set of “The Walking Dead,” and asserted that SAG-aftra has not paid enough attention to stunt issues.

SAG-aftra »


- Dave McNary

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Film Review: ‘I Dream in Another Language’

11 hours ago

At the outset of Mexican director Ernesto Contreras’ entrancing fourth feature, “I Dream in Another Language,” the fate of an indigenous language hangs in the balance: Only two living souls — once the closest of friends, now bitter rivals — still speak Zikril, which could easily die with them. Like certain species of rare butterflies, languages really do disappear, but the director (and his screenwriter brother, Carlos) pursue the metaphor further: In a world of globalization, endangered primitive languages represent different ways of seeing and understanding the world, perspectives that are lost when we fail to show sufficient curiosity in the generations and cultures that have come before.

In a perverse twist, this lovely, festival-anointed art film (which won the world dramatic competition’s audience award at Sundance) opens the same day as “The Emoji Movie,” and though each film depicts the death of communication in its own fashion, only one could be described as a poetic elegy to »


- Peter Debruge

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Pedro Correa Joins ‘S—heads’ With Tracy Morgan, Luke Wilson (Exclusive)

12 hours ago

Pedro Correa has been signed for the lead role in the dark comedy “The S—heads” opposite Tracy Morgan and Luke Wilson, Variety has learned exclusively.

Imperative Entertainment acquired the rights to project in March in a competitive bidding auction with Macon Blair attached to direct from his own script. Blair won the U.S. dramatic Grand Jury Prize win at Sundance in January for his directorial debut “I Don’t Feel At Home In This World Anymore.”

The film, which will be produced and financed by Imperative, will also be co-produced byRough House Productions. Alex Orr and Rough House’s Brandon James will produce alongside Imperative’s Jillian Apfelbaum. Imperative’s Dan Friedkin and Bradley Thomas will executive produce along with Rough House’s Danny McBride, Jody Hill and David Gordon Green, Orr’s Fake Wood Wallpaper, and Jeremy Saulnier and Blair’s Bonneville Films.

Production is expected to start in September. The road movie »


- Dave McNary

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Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer Sees Compensation Triple to $35.3 Million

13 hours ago

Lionsgate Chief Executive Office Jon Feltheimer received $35.3 million in compensation for the fiscal year ended March 31, more than triple the $10.9 million from the previous year.

The figure was disclosed as part of the company’s proxy statement filed Friday with the Securities and Exchange Commission for its annual meeting on Sept. 12 in Toronto.

Feltheimer’s package includes $1.5 million salary, $5.4 million in stock awards, $16.3 million in option awards, $12 million in non-equity incentives, and $149,158 in other compensation — including $28,503 in club membership dues and $116,178 for his personal use of company-leased planes.

Lionsgate announced in October that Feltheimer had agreed to a five-year extension of his contract through May 22, 2023 — two months before Lionsgate’s $4.4 billion acquisition of premium cabler Starz closed. Provisions of his extension deal provided for a $5 million bonus if Lionsgate met performance goals within three months of achieving 20% of $52.3 million in annual “run-rate” operational synergies that were anticipated.

Feltheimer’s compensation reflects the front-loading of his stock options »


- Dave McNary

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Lydia Hearst to Star in Movie Adaptation of Katie Piper’s Memoir ‘Beautiful’

14 hours ago

Lydia Hearst is set to star in the film “Beautiful” after optioning the movie rights to Katie Piper’s memoir of the same name, sources tell Variety.

Big Sur’s” Orian Williams is producing the film. No writer is attached at this time.

The true story follows Piper, a young and beautiful woman who was on her way to fulfilling her dream of becoming a model when a mysterious man she met on Facebook turned her life into a nightmare.

Gersh is currently packaging the property to shop to studios and financiers.

Piper’s documentary “Katie: My Beautiful Face” earned her a BAFTA nomination and was shown in 15 different countries around the world. She was the subject of an episode of “20/20” and has appeared on CNN.

Piper now runs her own charity, the Katie Piper Foundation, which is dedicated to raising awareness about the plight of burn victims and others with disfigurement injuries.

Heart »


- Justin Kroll

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Box Office: ‘Emoji Movie’ Goes to Battle With ‘Dunkirk,’ ‘Atomic Blonde’ for Top Spot

15 hours ago

Update, 4:40 p.m. — Christopher Nolan’s “Dunkirk” and animated comedy “The Emoji Movie” are in a battle for the top spot at the domestic box office with “Dunkirk” heading for about $28 million, estimates showed Friday.

Emoji” appeared headed for about $25 million. Charlize Theron’s “Atomic Blonde” is performing slightly under expectations and is forecasted to finish in the $18 million to $20 million range.

Should Warner Bros.’ “Dunkirk” prevail, it will be the first title to top back-to-back weekends since the studio’s “Wonder Woman” did so on June 9-11. But “The Emoji Movie” is showing decent drawing power with an opening day in the $9 million range, although the core demographic of children plus some rain in the Eastern United States makes predictions problematic.

Related

Box Office: ‘Atomic Blonde’ Explodes With $1.5 Million, Topping ‘Emoji Movie,’ on Thursday

Dunkirk” topped expectations during its opening weekend with $50.5 million and boosted that to $74.3 million as of Thursday. Even »


- Dave McNary

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Bryce Dallas Howard to Make Directorial Debut on ‘Sorta Like a Rock Star’ (Exclusive)

17 hours ago

Bryce Dallas Howard is attached to make her directing debut on an adaptation of the Matthew Quick novel “Sorta Like a Rock Star,” sources tell Variety.

Howard has directed a handful of short films as well as an M-80 music video starring Lily Collins but this would mark her full-length debut.

The film is currently in early development and without a distributor but sources say if the film moves forward she would direct. »


- Justin Kroll

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‘Lord of the Rings’ Spoke to 1960s College Kids — and to United Artists

18 hours ago

Happy birthday, Frodo. J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” debuted July 29, 1954; the next two books were published separately in the next 15 months. Tolkien’s popularity in the U.S. climbed significantly in 1965, when Ballantine printed a revised paperback edition.

When United Artists acquired film rights to “Rings” in 1969, Variety explained that the books’ success was fueled by students, adding that the trilogy “preceded marijuana and LSD in making the younger generation flip.” For years, “Rings” continued to fascinate but frustrate filmmakers. Among those who flirted with film adaptations were Walt Disney, John Boorman and the Beatles; Ralph Bakshi did a 1978 animated version. But a live-action version went nowhere until 1998, when Peter Jackson made a successful pitch to New Line’s Bob Shaye.

On Aug. 31, 1998, Variety announced that New Line would commit $130 million to perhaps the biggest gamble in the history of movies: Jackson would make three films simultaneously. If »


- Tim Gray

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12 Most Badass Action Heroines

18 hours ago

To celebrate this weekend’s opening of “Atomic Blonde,” in which Charlize Theron shoots first, and last, and seldom bothers to ask questions later, we’re paying tribute to other superwomen of the screen. Think of these as the Dirty Dozen of Badass Action Heroines.

Related storiesBox Office: 'Emoji Movie' Goes to Battle With 'Dunkirk,' 'Atomic Blonde' for Top SpotCharlize Theron Relates 'Atomic Blonde' to 'Wonder Woman': 'Girls Can Take Ownership in This Space'Jennifer Lawrence's 'Mother!' Moves Forward to September Release »


- Joe Leydon

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‘The Desert Bride’ Leads Feature Debuts Vying for Sanfic International Prize

18 hours ago

The Desert Bride,” starring the grande dame of Chilean cinema, Paulina Garcia, heads a stellar international competition lineup at Chile’s 13th Santiago Int’l Film Festival (Sanfic), which unspools Aug. 20-27, where first-time filmmakers of both fiction and docu features compete among more established filmmakers.

The directorial feature debut of filmmakers Valeria Pivato and Cecilia Atan, the Argentine-Chilean co-production had its world premiere at Cannes’ Un Certain Regard this year. Drama centers on the travails and life-changing experience of a long-time maid in Argentina who is forced on a journey across the desert towards new employment.

Also vying for the international competition prize is Venezuelan tyro Gustavo Rondon’s directorial debut “The Family,” which had its world debut in Cannes’ Critics Week. The father-son drama is one of many notable films emerging from Venezuela despite the political and economic crisis roiling the country.

Argentine producer-thesp Ivan Granovsky vies for the big prize with his directorial debut »


- Anna Marie de la Fuente

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Box Office: ‘Atomic Blonde’ Explodes With $1.5 Million, Topping ‘Emoji Movie,’ on Thursday

21 hours ago

Charlize Theron’s “Atomic Blonde” exploded with $1.5 million on Thursday night while Sony’s animated “The Emoji Movie” took in $900,000.

Focus Features and Sierra/Affinity’s spy thriller has been projected for an opening weekend in the low $20 million range from 3,304 sites. “Atomic Blonde,” which has a $30 million price tag, is set in 1989 Germany during the fall of the Berlin Wall. »


- Dave McNary

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Flint Water Crisis Documentary in the Works From ‘You’ve Been Trumped’ Filmmaker

22 hours ago

You've Been Trumped” filmmaker Anthony Baxter is planning a feature documentary on the three-year-old water crisis in Flint, Mich.

Baxter made the announcement Friday at the Traverse City Film Festival in Michigan, where he showed 20 minutes of footage. The project will be made through the Imaginary Forces company, which produced the Emmy-nominated documentary “Sonic Sea,” and Scotland-based Montrose Pictures.

The crisis stems from the drinking water source for the city of Flint being changed from treated water from Lake Huron to the Flint River. As a result, more than 100,000 residents were potentially exposed to high levels of lead in the drinking water.

Imaginary Forces co-founder Peter Frankfurt said, “This is an urgently needed documentary. Imaginary Forces is good at expressing complex ideas in simple and affecting ways. We want the world to connect with what happened and what’s still happening in Flint. Anthony is telling a powerful and important story and we are glad »

- Dave McNary

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Altice Group’s Second-Quarter Financial Results Bolstered by Its U.S. Unit

28 July 2017 3:46 AM, PDT

Paris – Altice Group saw its second-quarter core operating profit rise by 6.9% to 2.4 billion euros ($2.8 billion), bolstered by the growth of Altice USA, the unit that owns Cablevision and Suddenlink.

Patrick Drahi’s Netherlands-based telecom and cable group also saw its revenue surge 2.7% to 5.9 billion euros ($6.9 billion) during the second quarter.

Michel Combes, CEO of Altice, attributed the results to the company’s “vision of convergence” which he said consists of “extensive deployment of fiber and super-fast mobile broadband networks, innovations from Altice Labs, investment in content, and monetization of digital and TV advertising.”

The revenue of Altice USA, believed to be the fourth-biggest U.S. cable company, went up 5.8% to 2.1 billion euros ($2.4 billion), while its core operating profit skyrocketed 25.3% to 913 million euros ($1.06 billion).

“Altice USA continues to grow at an accelerated pace with further margin expansion as we continue to execute on our efficiency targets,” said Combes.

Altice USA raised $1.9 billion in an initial public offering in »

- Elsa Keslassy

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New Europe Picks Up Venice-Bound Iranian Drama ‘Disappearance’ (Exclusive)

28 July 2017 2:52 AM, PDT

Jan Naszewski’s Warsaw-based sales outlet New Europe Film Sales has signed a world sales deal for Ali Asgari’s Iranian drama “Disappearance,” recently selected for the Venice Film Festival’s Horizons competition.

Penned by Asgari together with his writing partner Farnoosh Samadi, “Disappearance” tells the story of “two young lovers, who, in the course of one cold night in Tehran, go from hospital to hospital in search of help. Soon they will have to face the tragic consequences of their youthful naivete,” according to a statement.

Disappearance” is the first feature-length film by Asgari, whose short films competed in Venice and Cannes. The project was developed in the Cannes Cinefondation Residence and received a grant from the Doha Film Institute. It was produced in Iran by Pouria Heidary Oureh, Ali Sadraei of Three Gardens Film.

Samadi and Asgari’s latest short “Gaze” will also compete in Locarno this year.

Naszewski, »


- Leo Barraclough

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San Sebastian: ‘El Autor,’ ‘Handia,’ ‘Life and Nothing More’ Make Competition Cut

28 July 2017 2:41 AM, PDT

Madrid — “Marrowbone,” the awaited directorial debut of Sergio G. Sanchez, screenwriter of “Jurassic World 2” director J.A. Bayona’s “The Orphanage” and “The Impossible,” will screen at this year’s San Sebastian Festival, the highest-profile film event in the Spanish-speaking world.

As will Florida-set “Life and Nothing More,” Spaniard Antonio Mendez Esparza’s follow-up to Cannes Critics’ Week winner “Aquí y Allá”; “Fe de Etarras,” Netflix’s second original movie in Spain, and Aitor Arregi and Jon Garaño’s anticipated “Handia,”  a flagship of new Basque cinema.

San Sebastián’s Perlas, a fest standouts section, closes with Fernando Leon de Aranoa’s “Loving Pablo,” announced yesterday as Venice-bound and a true-event tale of Pablo Escobar’s love affair with a TV presenter. Javier Bardem plays Escobar, Penelope Cruz his unlikely lover.

“Handia,” “Life and Nothing More” and “El Autor,” directed by Manuel Martin Cuenca (“Canibal”), vie in San Sebastian’s main competition for its top Golden Shell award »


- John Hopewell

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Film Review: ‘Love and Goodbye and Hawaii’ (‘Koi to Guddobai to Hawai’)

28 July 2017 1:53 AM, PDT

Breaking up is hard to do, and the heroine of the delightfully wry romantic comedy “Love and Goodbye and Hawaii” sure makes a song and (hula) dance about it. As light as a wafer but also as sweet and crisp, the sophomore feature by Japanese writer-director Shingo Matsumura takes the timeworn premise “Can ex-lovers still be friends?” and fills it up with a delectable sundae of character quirks, deadpan dialogue and gently heart-tugging wistfulness. This modest independent effort is gradually making its mark at fests — winning the Japan Cuts award at the Osaka Asian Film Festival and earning a competition slot in Shanghai, as well as making a U.S. bow.

Like so many Japanese films, the theme concerns overcoming communication barriers, but rather than focusing on how to express oneself, the lesson for the self-absorbed protagonists is how to listen to others even if they don’t like what they hear. Matsumura »


- Maggie Lee

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Film Review: ‘No Bed of Roses’ (‘Doob’)

28 July 2017 12:59 AM, PDT

Based on a celebrity scandal that shook conservative Bangladesh society, “No Bed of Roses” avoids every tabloid ingredient the story potentially holds. Through the director-protagonist’s divorce and the painful rift it causes to his family, the film ponders the big existential questions of why happiness never lasts and whether loneliness is a preexisting human condition. Directed with an assured and graceful touch that evokes the elegiac tone of a requiem, Mostofa Sarwar Farooki proves he’s a singular voice in Bangladeshi cinema. With Irrfan Khan delivering another sublime lead performance (while being billed as co-producer), the film should bloom at festivals and secure a limited release in India, despite some censorship issues back home. 

The fourth feature by Farooki is based on an affair of one of the country’s most prominent authors (who also directed films). It was considered a breach of propriety because his lover was his daughter’s classmate. The »


- Maggie Lee

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Wanda’s Qingdao Studio Could Be Part of Recent Selloff of Theme Parks and Hotels

28 July 2017 12:29 AM, PDT

In a dramatic twist to Dalian Wanda’s recent offloading of theme parks and hotels, questions swirled Friday over whether the company’s huge new studio complex in Qingdao is included in the $9.2 billion sale, which would make Wanda’s pullback in the entertainment arena even starker.

In a regulatory filing in Hong Kong, developer Sunac China listed the properties it is acquiring from Wanda in the recently announced deal. In Qingdao, aside from other parcels, the list includes, in English, Wanda’s “television industry park.” (In the Chinese-language filing, the words are “film and television park.”)

The Wall Street Journal quoted a Sunac spokeswoman as saying that this referred to Wanda Studios, the massive production facility Wanda is building in seaside Qingdao, including 30 sound stages, half of which are already up and running. “The Great Wall” and “Pacific Rim 2” were shot at the site, which sprawls over 400 acres, and other productions are underway.

However, »


- Henry Chu

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Film Review: ‘Tokyo Ghoul’

27 July 2017 6:21 PM, PDT

A nerdy college boy is transformed into a half-human, half-monster hybrid in “Tokyo Ghoul,” an uneven live-action adaptation of Sui Ishida’s hit manga about flesh-eating creatures running amok in an alternate contemporary Japan. Stylishly decorated and generating all-important sympathy for a character living precariously in two worlds, director Kentaro Hagiwara’s feature debut gets the drama right but is let down by visual effects that are sometimes unconvincing. Given the massive global popularity of the manga and its spinoff anime series, “Tokyo Ghoul” should get off to a flying start when it opens domestically on July 29, followed by an international rollout in August (which could help build interest for a U.S. release tentatively planned later this fall by Funimation).

Before entering the dark domain of creatures that are indistinguishable from humans — until it’s too late — the images are bright and the tone is bouncy. Ken Kaneki (Masataka Kubota) is a shy university student who »


- Richard Kuipers

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Sally Kirkland, Mel Novak to Star in Thriller ‘When It Rings’ (Exclusive)

27 July 2017 5:30 PM, PDT

Sally Kirkland and Mel Novak have joined the cast of independent thriller “When it Rings” opposite newcomer Gonzalo Martin, Variety has learned exclusively.

Shooting has started in Los Angeles. First-time feature directors Ty Haisten and David Rivers are directing from their own script. Sophia Monti, Mann Alfonso and Amy Ellenberger co-star. Producers are Tyrone Tann of Stauros Entertainment, Ellecina Eck, Haisten and Rivers.

Martin portrays a young man returning to his childhood home to get it ready for sale and uncovering an old toy phone he once used to “talk” to his dead sister, who drowned a decade ago in the backyard and made his mother too unstable to raise him. After the phone begins ringing, he must decide whether to answer it or get rid of the only connection to his dead sister. Kirkland stars as the neighbor-turned-caretaker for the unstable mother and Novak portrays the unwitting buyer of the home.

Kirkland »


- Dave McNary

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