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Why Directors Are This Summer’s Biggest Stars

34 minutes ago

While movie stars continue to fade at the box office, directors are having their day in the sun. “Dunkirk’s” $50 million opening weekend is just the latest indication that the spotlight may be shifting from actors to filmmakers, even for blockbusters and summer popcorn fare.

Star-driven films like Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler’s “The House,” Scarlett Johansson’s “Rough Night,” Tom Cruise’s “The Mummy,” Johnny Depp’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales,” and Charlie Hunnam’s “King Arthur” all failed to deliver audiences to movie theaters. The directors were the focus of the buzz on Jordan Peele’s “Get Out” earlier this year, and more recently for Edgar Wright’s “Baby Driver” and Christopher Nolan’s “Dunkirk.” Even comic book tentpoles and sequels like “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” directed by Jon Watts, and Patty Jenkins’ “Wonder Woman” succeeded with lesser-known leads taking on properties with troubled pasts, thanks »


- Justin Kroll

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WGA West Members Facing Higher Health Care Costs

34 minutes ago

Members of the Writers Guild of America West will face higher health costs next year, the guild’s leaders have told members.

The missive was sent Monday to the 9,000 members of the WGA by president Howard Rodman, VP David A. Goodman, secretary-treasurer Aaron Mendelsohn, and executive director David Young.

The changes are due to concessions that the guild made in its negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers in order to shore up its health plan, which had been running at a deficit. The two sides reached a deal less than an hour before the contract expired on May 1.

Related

David A. Goodman Running Unopposed for WGA West Presidency

“Our Mba deal includes both contribution increases from our employers and an agreement by the Guild to cut costs,” the missive said. “Basically, the companies agreed to increase contributions by $30 million annually and we agreed to make cuts that yield $7 million in savings annually. Now »


- Dave McNary

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J.R.R. Tolkien Biopic Draws Finnish Director Dome Karukoski

1 hour ago

Finnish director Dome Karukoski will helm a biopic on J.R.R. Tolkien.

Fox Searchlight and Chernin Entertainment have been developing the project since 2013. Tolkien’s epic novels — set in Middle Earth — served as the basis for the film trilogies “The Lord of The Rings” and “The Hobbit.”

The movie’s script by David Gleeson and Stephen Beresford focuses on the author as he finds friendship, love, and artistic inspiration among a fellow group of outcasts at school prior to the outbreak of World War I in 1914. He served in the British armed forces from 1916 to 1920, then wrote the two novels while working at Pembroke College. Tolkien died in 1973.

“The Hobbit” was first published in 1937. Tolkien then wrote “The Lord of the Rings” between 1937 and 1949 as what was initially intended to be a sequel, but the story became much larger — and one of the best-selling novels of all time with more than 150 million copies sold.

Karukoski »


- Dave McNary

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John Hawkes, Jon Bernthal Join Shia Labeouf in ‘The Peanut Butter Falcon’

2 hours ago

John Hawkes, Jon Bernthal, Thomas Haden Church, and Yelawolf have joined Shia Labeouf and newcomer Zachary Gottsagen in the adventure-drama “The Peanut Butter Falcon.”

Dakota Johnson and Bruce Dern were cast in the film last month. Gottsagen, who is the inspiration for the film, will play the principal character of Zak in the movie, which will be directed by Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz from their own script.

The pic made headlines earlier this month when Labeouf was arrested for public drunkenness, obstruction, and disorderly conduct while filming in Savannah, Ga.

The story follows Zak, a young man with Down syndrome, who runs away from the nursing home where he lives to pursue a career as a professional wrestler and attend the Saltwater Redneck wrestling school. Through circumstances beyond their control, a small-time outlaw also on the run (Labeouf) becomes Zak’s unlikely coach and ally.

Armory FilmsTim Zajaros and Christopher Lemole will produce and finance »


- Dave McNary

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James Bond 25 Gets 2019 Release Date

2 hours ago

James Bond will be back in action in 2019, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Eon Productions said Monday.

The 25th film about the legendary super spy will hit theaters on Nov. 8, 2019. There’s no word yet on whether or not Daniel Craig will be asking for his martinis shaken, not stirred. The companies said that additional details regarding the film’s distribution, including international release dates, its cast and director, will be announced at a later date. However, some insiders believe that there is a good chance Craig will return for at least one more outing as 007.

Bond won’t have the premiere date all to his bespoke-suited lonesome. Disney will be releasing an untitled fairy tale movie on the same date.

MGM and Eon also are looking for a studio to handle the marketing and the distribution of the film. Warner Bros., Fox, »


- Brent Lang

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‘Thor: Ragnarok’ Leads Social Media Buzz Thanks to Comic-Con

3 hours ago

Disney-Marvel’s “Thor: Ragnarok” dominated social media buzz with an impressive 264,000 new conversations last week, according to media-measurement firm ComScore and its PreAct service.

Marvel released a new full trailer featuring both Thor and Hulk at the Marvel showcase at San Diego Comic-Con on July 22. “Thor: Ragnarok” is scheduled for release on Nov. 3.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople” helmer Taika Waititi directed the third standalone Thor movie, which seems to be quirkier and more offbeat than the first two, and is already drawing comparisons to “Guardians of the Galaxy.” “Ragnarok” stars Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Tom Hiddleton, Idris Elba, Cate Blanchett, Tessa Thompson, Jeff Goldblum, Karl Urban, and Anthony Hopkins.

Warner Bros. upcoming tentpole “Justice League” also performed impressively last week with 215,000 new conversations in the wake of the studio debuting a trailer and new posters with a cast panel at Comic-Con on July 22.

The 4-minute preview of the fifth film in the DC Comics Extended Universe focused »


- Dave McNary

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Universal Hits $4 Billion in 2017 Worldwide Box Office, Led by ‘Fate of the Furious’

4 hours ago

Universal Pictures has crossed the $4 billion milestone in worldwide box office for the second time in the studio’s 105-year history, led by “Despicable Me 3” and “The Fate of the Furious.”

Universal noted Monday that it’s the first studio to hit this milestone in 2017. It’s taken in $1.265 billion domestically and $2.791 billion internationally so far this year.

The Fate of the Furious” set the mark in April for the biggest global opening of all time ($542 million) and the biggest international opening ever ($443.2 million). The film has gone on to gross more than $1.239 billion worldwide and is only the sixth film in history to cross $1 billion at the international box office. At $392 million, “Fate of the Furious” is the highest grossing foreign film of all time in China.

Related

Girls Trip’ Director Malcolm D. Lee Signs First-Look Production Deal With Universal

Illumination’s “Despicable Me 3” has grossed more than $732.5 million globally. The »


- Dave McNary

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‘Justice League,’ ‘Walking Dead’ Among Most Tweeted Topics at Comic-Con

4 hours ago

As a mecca for fans of franchises ranging from Marvel to “Star Trek,” it’s no surprise that San Diego Comic-Con’s output of teasers, panels, and meet and greets would foster an explosion of tweets. Topping this year’s outpouring of excitement with the most tweets were properties that revealed new trailers or are supported by obsessive fandoms.

Marvel’s pantheon of offerings was pushed out by DC’s “Justice League” as the most-tweeted about movie, followed by “Thor: Ragnarok,” “Black Panther,” “Avengers: Infinity War,” and “Kingsman.” Warner Bros. released an Sdcc-exclusive “Justice League” trailer, which may have prompted the tweets.

Related

New ‘Black Panther’ Footage Gets Standing Ovation at Comic-Con

As for television, MTV’s “Teen Wolf,” with its massive following, beat out The CW’s “Supernatural,” “Arrow,” ABC’s “Once Upon A Time,” and AMC’s “The Walking Dead” as the most-tweeted show. The series’s main star, Dylan O’Brien, »


- Erin Nyren

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CCH Pounder to Return for ‘Avatar’ Sequels

5 hours ago

CCH Pounder will reprise her role as the spiritual leader Moat in the four upcoming “Avatar” sequels.

Pounder currently portrays Dr. Loretta Wade on the CBS series “NCIS: New Orleans.” She’s also appeared in the TV shows “Sons of Anarchy,” “ER,” “The Shield,” and “Warehouse 13.” Aside from “Avatar,” her films include “Orphan,” “Postcards From the Edge,” “Prizzi’s Honor,” “Face/Off,” and “Mortal Instruments: City of Bones.”

The four “Avatar” sequels will hit theaters starting on Dec. 18, 2020, for “Avatar 2.” “Avatar 3” will open on Dec. 17, 2021, followed by a three-year break for “Avatar 4,” set for Dec. 20, 2024. “Avatar 5” will then debut on Dec. 19, 2025.

Cameron announced at CinemaCon in 2016 that he would make four “Avatar” sequels, promising that the films would start hitting theaters in 2018. The creator of the original “Avatar” — the 2009 fantasy epic that remains the all-time worldwide box office champion with $2.8 billion — said at the time that his vision for the story had »


- Dave McNary

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‘Justice League’ Extensive Reshoots Causing Headaches for Star Schedules (Exclusive)

5 hours ago

Warner Bros. and DC are spending big money to ensure that “Justice League” builds on the creative success of “Wonder Woman” instead of serving up a “Suicide Squad”-style disappointment.

The studio, which had no comment on the scheduling trouble, is spending approximately $25 million on extensive reshoots that have dragged on for roughly two months in London and Los Angeles, according to multiple insiders. Like “The Avengers,” “Justice League” centers on a group of superheroes who band together to save the world. The ensemble nature of the comic book movie, and the fact that its cast includes several of the most in-demand actors working in Hollywood today, is creating scheduling headaches that have prolonged the shooting.

It’s standard for big Hollywood movies to schedule a few weeks of pick-up work, but the cost and time allotted to the work on “Justice League” is raising some eyebrows. Reshoots, or additional photography, to »


- Justin Kroll and Brent Lang

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Film Review: Steven Soderbergh’s ‘Logan Lucky’

6 hours ago

Steven Soderbergh’s “Logan Lucky” is a high-spirited, low-down blast. It’s a let’s-rob-the-racetrack heist comedy set in that all-American place that even rednecks would have no problem calling redneck country: the land of Nascar and child beauty pageants, spangly long fingernails and roadside biker-bar brawls, and — these days being what they are — chronic unemployment and spiritual stagnation. (Hey, nothing’s perfect.) The script, by Rebecca Blunt (it’s her first, and it’s a beauty), exploits the Southern gift for turning something as basic as a series of freeway directions into a tall tale. And Soderbergh, directing his first feature in four years (his last one was the superb HBO Liberace biopic “Behind the Candelabra”), plays, with an invisible wink, off the natural-born comedy of mile-wide drawls that veer from the charmingly folksy into a kind of good-ol’-boy theater (lying about your alibi, it turns out, is even more effective when you do it »


- Owen Gleiberman

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‘Detroit’: Annapurna’s Pulse-Pounding Debut Release Aims for Oscar Gold

6 hours ago

With films like Kathryn Bigelow’s “Zero Dark Thirty,” Spike Jonze’s “Her” and David O. Russell’s “American Hustle,” producer and Hollywood patron Megan Ellison has navigated the Oscar circuit with aplomb. She would no doubt like to come out swinging with a sure-fire contender in her first distribution event under the Annapurna banner. Does she have one in Bigelow’s latest film, “Detroit?”

Let’s begin by making one thing abundantly clear: Regarding this and any future assessment of a film’s prospects with the motion picture Academy, it’s worth keeping in mind that around 20 percent of the group has joined in just the last four years, thanks to an ongoing inflation of annual new membership invites. It’s quite alright to say “I don’t know what an Oscar movie is anymore,” though few who trade in this work will have the guts to do so. Sureness »


- Kristopher Tapley

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‘Captain Marvel’ Among Big-Budget Films to Receive California Production Tax Credit

6 hours ago

Three big-budget films — “Captain Marvel,” “Island Plaza,” and “Midway” — have been selected to receive the California production tax credit for filming in the state.

The trio of movies was unveiled on Monday as part of the latest round of tax credits, which allocates nearly $68 million to eight independent and studio projects. A total of 92 projects applied for tax credits for the third fiscal year of California’s expanded Program 2.0.

Captain Marvel” has been set for a conditional $20.8 million. Brie Larson stars in the superhero tentpole, which hits theaters on March 8, 2019.

Related

Captain Marvel’ Will Be Set in the ‘90s With Skrulls as Villains

Paramount’s “Island Plaza” received the top allocation of $21.5 million and Roland Emmerich’s World War II actioner “Midway” has been given $13.9 million.

Marvel Studios co-president Louis D’Esposito said, “Our headquarters and postproduction facilities are in California, so it’s very exciting to be able to film ‘Captain Marvel’ here in our home »


- Dave McNary

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Sarah Paulson to Star in M. Night Shyamalan’s Thriller ‘Glass’

7 hours ago

Sarah Paulson has joined M. Night Shyamalan’s thriller “Glass” opposite James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, Bruce Willis, and Samuel L. Jackson.

Glass” is a sequel to Shyamalan’s films “Split” and “Unbreakablethriller,” in which Willis starred as David Dunn, a security guard who discovers he has superhuman powers that allow him to see the crimes people have committed by touching them.

Jason Blum, Marc Bienstock, Ashwin Rajan, and Shyamalan are producing “Glass” for Universal. The film hits theaters on Jan. 18, 2019.

Shyamalan announced the news on Twitter, writing: “Incredibly fortunate to round out our iconic cast of actors on #Glass. @MsSarahPaulson will be joining us.”

Incredibly fortunate to round out our iconic cast of actors on #Glass… @MsSarahPaulson will be joining us. #powerhouse

M. Night Shyamalan (@MNightShyamalan) July 24, 2017

Paulson has starred in Ryan Murphy’s hit FX anthology series “American Horror Story” since 2011, playing different characters in each of the show’s seasons. She »


- Dave McNary

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Chelsea Handler to Host HFPA Grants Banquet

7 hours ago

Chelsea Handler will serve as host for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s annual grants banquet, set for August 2 at the Beverly Wilshire hotel.

Presenters for the evening, which awards more than $2.6 million in funds to a range of non-profits, will include Ava DuVernay, Bob Odenkirk, Kumail Nanjiani, Mark Hamill, Patrick Stewart, Elizabeth Moss, Chrissy Metz, Robert Pattinson and Stan Lee.

Tony Award nominee Keala Settle will perform at the dinner.

For 25 years, the HFPA has been making charitable contributions to entertainment-related organizations with the proceeds from television rights to the Golden Globes. The organization has provided more than 1,500 scholarships and helped restore more than 90 historic films.

Grants have gone to universities including UCLA and Nyu, organizations such as AFI and Sundance, film preservationists  such as the Film Foundation, and projects including the Latin American Cinemateca of Los Angeles, the Echo Park Film Center and the Last Remaining Seats.

“We are delighted to welcome Chelsea Handler as »


- Variety Staff

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‘Moonlight’ Director Barry Jenkins Set as SXSW Keynote Speaker

7 hours ago

Moonlight” director Barry Jenkins has been selected as a keynote speaker at South by Southwest Conference and Festivals.

Jenkins’ feature film debut, “Medicine for Melancholy,” had its world premiere at SXSW in 2008. He won the Academy Award for best adapted screenplay with Tarell Alvin McCraney for “Moonlight,” which also won best picture at this year’s Oscars and Golden Globes (drama). His upcoming projects include adaptations of “If Beale Street Could Talk” and “The Underground Railroad.”

“We are overjoyed to invite Barry Jenkins back to SXSW as a Film Keynote, having presented the world premiere of his first feature, ‘Medicine for Melancholy,’ in 2008,” said Janet Pierson, director of film. “‘Moonlight’ is a magnificent piece of work, transcendent, and made on his own terms. We couldn’t be happier for his success and to have this remarkable artist with such a generous soul return to SXSW.”

The event is set for March 9 to March 18 in Austin.

SXSW »


- Dave McNary

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EuropaCorp’s Stock Value Drops in Wake of ‘Valerian’s’ Poor Opening Weekend

8 hours ago

The disastrous opening weekend in the U.S. of Luc Besson’s “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” has left EuropaCorp with a hangover, as the Paris-based company saw its stock value drop by 8.31% by the close of trading on Monday.

EuropaCorp’s stock price fell to 3.53 euros ($4.11) in the wake of “Valerian’s” performance at the U.S. box office over the weekend.

Believed to be the most expensive independent movie of all time with a budget of $180 million, “Valerian” grossed just $17 million from 3,553 theaters and landed in fifth place, behind “War for the Planet of the Apes,” “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” “Girls Trip” and Christopher Nolan’s World War II movie “Dunkirk,” which surpassed expectations and received glowing reviews.

“Valerian,” based on a French comic book series, stars Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne as a pair of futuristic, time-traveling crime fighters. Rihanna also stars.

Tim Westcott, senior analyst at London-based Ihs, pointed »


- Elsa Keslassy

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‘Despicable Me 3’ Tops Japanese Box Office

8 hours ago

Tokyo – “Despicable Me 3” opened atop the Japanese box office over the weekend, earning $5.4 million on 478,000 admissions.

The performance was nearly 10% better than the previous installment of the franchise, which made a total of $47 million in Japan in 2015. Distributed by Toho-Towa, “Despicable Me 3” bowed on 376 screens last Friday, scored a three-day total of $6.8 million on 605,748 admissions, and is expected to finish with a record for the series.

Holding on to the No. 2 spot in its second weekend was period comedy-fantasy “Gintama.” Distributed by Warner Japan, the film recorded $3 million on 239,000 admissions, raising its cumulative total to $15.3 million.

Disney’s latest “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” installment remained in third place with $3.2 million on 232,000 admissions, boosting its cumulative total to $43.3 million.

Related stories'Dunkirk' Leads Global Box Office With $105.9 Million DebutChina Box Office: 'Wu Kong' Dominates as Hollywood Blackout Begins'War for the Planet of the Apes' Wages $102.5 Million Global Opening »


- Mark Schilling

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T.J. Miller, James Corden Tout ‘The Emoji Movie’s’ ‘Feminist Agenda’

8 hours ago

Though there’s no company more exclusive than the “frequently used” section of emojis on a smartphone, the stars gathered on the blue carpet for the world premiere of “The Emoji Movie” on Sunday afternoon gave them a run for their money.

T.J. Miller, who voices Gene, a “meh” emoji, was decked out in a yellow suit covered in emojis to channel his character. He was joined by co-stars James CordenMaya Rudolph, Anna Faris, Christina Aguilera, Sir Patrick Stewart, and Jake T. Austin at the Regency Village Theatre in Westwood, Los Angeles.

All emojis in the digital city of Textopolis only have one facial expression, except for Gene, who has multiple emotions. Miller boasted the animated film’s progressive message. His character sets out with his friends on an adventure through smartphone apps to help him fit in with his singularly emotional peers.

Related

T.J. Miller Parasails Into Cannes to Debut ‘Emoji Movie’ Trailer

“It’s »


- Rebecca Rubin

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Rossy de Palma Joins Oscar Martinez on Rodrigo Bellott’s ‘I Miss You’ (Exclusive)

9 hours ago

Madrid — Spanish star and Almodovar icon Rossy de Palma is making her U.S. film debut in “Tu Me Manques” (I Miss You), directed by Rodrigo Bellott (“Perfidy”), which shoots this summer in New York and Bolivia.

Breaking out with “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown” in an association with Almodovar which runs through multiple movies and Goya nominations for “Kika” (1993) and “The Flower of My Secret” (1995) to her role as a straight-talking maid in last year’s “Julieta,” De Palma’s asymmetric features has won her fame and elevation to fashion muse for designers Jean-Paul Gautier and Thierry Mugler, a status part secured by her role in Robert Altman’s 1994 “Pret-a-Porter.” De Palma served on the main competition jury of the 2015 Cannes Festival.  In France, De Palma will be seen later this year in Amanda Sthers’ “Madame.”

In her first U.S.-shot movie, “I Miss You,” De »


- John Hopewell

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