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Iff Panama: ‘1977, The Treaty: Son of Tiger and Mule’ Explores how Panama Took Over its Canal

1 hour ago

Buyers are circling around Annie Canavaggio’s upcoming Panama Canal docudrama “1977, The Treaty: Son of Tiger and Mule,” which will trace Panama’s contentious path towards recovering its sovereign rights to the Canal. Scoring best docu at the December round of Panama’s state fund awards, the docu will focus on the seven-year negotiations leading up the signing of the treaty by General Torrijos and President Carter, and its ratification afterwards.

Taking a page from Michael Winterbottom’s “The Road to Guantanamo,” Canavaggio aims to blur fact and fictional re-creation in her docudrama. “I hope to show more nuanced facets of the key players in this major event by combining reenactments with archival material,” said Canavaggio. “I want to show Torrijos as a human being, not just the hero he has been portrayed to be,” she said. “By merging my co-writer Vicente Ferraz’s investigative skills and my narrative flair, »


- Anna Marie de la Fuente

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Iff Panama: Central American Box-Office Grows by 8% in 2016

3 hours ago

Central America continued its sturdy box office growth in 2016, primarily driven by the opening of new multiplexes.

Total box office for the region in 2016 was $140.5 million – 8.3% higher than in 2015 and 46% higher than in 2012. New multiplexes generated $8.2 million in new revenues – 76% of the year’s total box office hike.

According to Luis Vargas, comScore’s managing director for Latin America, the fastest-growing market was Panama, with 16.2% box office growth and the slowest Nicaragua, with 4.4%.

U.S. blockbusters dominated the region’s box office. The top three titles were “Captain America: Civil War” – with 1.3 million admissions and $ 7.7 million box-office – followed by “Batman vs. Superman” and “Finding Dory.”  These three titles delivered over 10% of the region’s total box office.

IMAX films recorded lower box-office (-25.9%) and attendance (-29.4%) in 2016, with 29 titles released. By contrast, in 2015, IMAX films recorded 13.16% growth in box-office and 10.6% in attendance, driven by IMAX releases of “Furious 7,” “Avengers – Age of Ultron, »


- Martin Dale

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Alejandro Sanz, Javier Limon Link on Mediapro Entertainment Format ‘Son of Songs’(Exclusive)

5 hours ago

Madrid — Famed Spanish singer-songwriter Alejandro Sanz and Javier Limon, one of its most significant music producers, are teaming with “The Young Pope” producer Mediapro on an original primetime entertainment format, “Son of Songs.”

A music talent contest that celebrates the vast range of styles open to modern artists, “Son of Songs” will be produced by Mediapro, Gazul Producciones, which represents Sanz, and the Limon’s U.S.-based record production label, Casa Limon.

“Son of Songs” also marks one of the earliest formats to emerge from Mediapro as its drives into upscale TV production. Laura Fernandez Espeso, Mediapro intl. content director, and “Homeland” producer Ran Tellem, development director at Mediapro, will executive produce for Mediapro.

With Sanz also taking an executive producer credit, “Son of Songs’” format features eight young talents, drawn from different styles of music, who pay tribute to a guest star performing their greatest hits in different styles. »


- John Hopewell

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India’s Zee Flies ‘Beyond the Clouds’ With Iran’s Majid Majidi (Exclusive)

7 hours ago

Jaipur – Sambhar, a village in Rajasthan, located some 200 miles from New Delhi, is adjacent to India’s largest saline lake and produces some 10% of the country’s salt. It has some glamorous antecedents too having hosted prominent Bollywood productions like “Jodhaa Akbar,” “Delhi-6,” “P.K.,” and “Highway.”

For much of March 2017, Sambhar witnessed a film shoot rather different from Bollywood. Iranian auteur Majid Majidi, director of award-winning films such as “Children of Heaven,” “Baran,” and “Muhammad: The Messenger of God,” chose a house in the village to stand in for a residence in Mumbai, where his latest film “Beyond the Clouds” is set.

Majidi had been planning to make an India-set film some eight years ago. “There are many similarities between Iran and India in culture, language and clothes,” says Majidi. “Sometimes we even use the same words and slang as well.”

The director’s quest to make a film »


- Naman Ramachandran

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CinemaCon: Cheryl Boone Isaacs Receives Pioneer Award, Stresses Diversity

7 hours ago

Cheryl Boone Isaacs accepted the Pioneer of the Year Award at CinemaCon on Wednesday night and used her acceptance speech to stress the need for diversity in Hollywood.

“We’re all stronger, our art is more alive, our industry more innovative when we are awakened to fresh perspective,” she said in a speech at Caesars Palace. “I believe we all have a responsibility to open our industry to reflect the complete mosaic and diversity of our country and the world.”

Boone Isaacs, who is in her fourth and final year as president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, was honored by the Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation. She is the first African-American and third woman to hold the office of Academy president and has represented the public relations branch of the Academy as a Governor for 24 years.

Boone Isaacs oversees the Oscar ceremonies and has been »


- Dave McNary

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‘Sing,’ ‘Assassin’s Creed’ Take Top Two Spots on Disc Charts

9 hours ago

Two new theatrical releases powered their way into the two top spots on the national home video sales charts for the week ended March 26, bumping “Moana,” the musical fantasy from Walt Disney Pictures, to No. 3 after two weeks as the top-selling DVD and Blu-ray Disc.

Sing,” the computer-animated musical from Universal Pictures about a group of animals that enter a singing contest hosted by a koala seeking to save his theater, debuted at No. 1 on both the Npd VideoScan overall disc sales chart, which tracks combined DVD and Blu-ray Disc sales, and Npd’s dedicated Blu-ray Disc sales chart.

The film, which earned just under $270 million in U.S. theaters, features more than 60 songs from famous artists, along with an original song by Stevie Wonder and Ariana Grande, “Faith,” which was nominated for a Golden Globe award.

Debuting at a distant No. 2 was 20th Century Fox’s “Assassin’s Creed, »


- Thomas K. Arnold

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Film Review: ‘For Here or to Go?’

11 hours ago

 

The challenges faced by immigrants and the battle over healthcare lend renewed relevance to the premise of “For Here or to Go?” which bears a 2015 copyright date yet directly addresses these and other hot-button issues of the day. Brightly amiable while not particularly urgent, this handsomely made U.S. indie opens regionally March 31. Including both English and Hindi dialogue, the film will speak most effectively to apprehensive immigrants caught between uncertain Stateside status and cultural displacement.

It’s 2008, the recession has just hit, and, in the heart of Silicon Valley earnest young tech worker Vivek Pandit (Ali Fazal) has a problem. After seven years of hard work for a company to which he’s not emotionally invested, he’s about to land a plum position at a healthcare start-up by virtue of innovative software he’s written. Unfortunately, the would-be entrepreneur has neglected his immigration paperwork, and when the company »


- Eddie Cockrell

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CinemaCon: New Line Scares up ‘Annabelle: Creation’ as Sequel Title

11 hours ago

Warner Bros. used CinemaCon as a springboard to reveal the title for its “Annabelle” sequel — “Annabelle: Creation” — while underlining the massive success of its New Line horror brand.

The studio showed a promo Wednesday to show exhibitors the creepy trailers for “Annabelle: Creation,” directed David F. Sanberg and Stephen King’s “It,” directed by Andres Muschietti. The presentation included interviews with the directors along “The Conjuring” director James Wan — all who praised New Line for its willingness to explore horror stories outside the usual parameters of the genre, starting with “The Conjuring” in 2013.

The footage for “Annabelle: Creation” included a horrifying children’s tea party as a petrified, crucifix-holding Miranda Otto looks on as supernatural shaking ensues courtesy of the titular possessed doll. Then comes a loud spine crack from her posssessed daughter. The retitled film is staying on its Aug. 11 release date.

The “It” trailer, which debuted Wednesday, »


- Dave McNary

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CinemaCon: Christopher Nolan’s ‘Dunkirk’ Stuns Theater Owners With Epic War Drama

12 hours ago

Las Vegas — An impassioned Christopher Nolan introduced intense footage from his World War II epic “Dunkirk,” expressing his goal of taking moviegoers back to the massive 1940 evacuation.

“This is a story that needs to carry you through and make you feel you are there,” Nolan told exhibitors at Warner Bros.’ presentation on Wednesday afternoon at CinemaCon, the annual theater owner trade show taking place this week in Sin City.

Nolan shot “Dunkirk” from his own screenplay on a combination of Imax 65mm and 65mm large format film. “I wanted to tell the story in the most visceral way possible,” he added.

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‘Aquaman’ Concept Art Makes a Splash at CinemaCon

Dunkirk” will focus on the rescue through a quickly assembled British fleet of more than 800 boats, which saved more than 335,000 soldiers who had been cut off by the German Army. As the rescue was concluding, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill told Parliament, »


- Dave McNary

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‘Aquaman’ Concept Art Makes a Splash at CinemaCon

13 hours ago

Las Vegas — Jason Momoa told theater owners at CinemaCon that he was leaving on Wednesday evening to fly to Australia to begin production on “Aquaman.”

Consequently, the superhero film didn’t have a trailer to show exhibitors. That didn’t stop Momoa and director James Wan from debuting a video rich with production art that promised to take audiences to a dazzling underwater universe.

“I want the audience to experience Atlantis in the way that Aquaman experiences it as well,” said Wan, whose credits include “The Conjuring,” “Insidious,” and “Furious 7.”

The mockups that Wan showed were arresting. They included drawings of an elaborate dogfight pitting warriors riding sharks and octopus-like creatures. There were also deep sea dragons, glittering palaces, and an image of Aquaman, trident in hand, riding a hammerhead shark.

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Aquaman is an absolute bada–,” said Wan. »


- Brent Lang

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‘Van Wilder’ Stokes Legal Battle 15 Years After Release

13 hours ago

The producers who brought “Van Wilder” to the screen 15 years ago are now engaged in a legal fight over who owns the distribution rights to the film.

Myriad Pictures filed suit Wednesday in L.A. Superior Court, seeking a declaration that it will take full rights to the film on the 15th anniversary of its release on April 4.

According to the lawsuit, Myriad contends that its partner in the project, Tapestry Films, engaged in secret negotiations with the distributor, Lionsgate, to extend the distribution agreement beyond the 15-year term. Myriad asserts that under the agreement, Tapestry was receiving 80% of the proceeds to just 20% for Myriad, though Myriad put up the financing for the film.

“The participation split is extremely favorable to Tapestry,” the lawsuit argues.

According to Myriad, Tapestry sought to extend the agreement in order to maintain the favorable split. However, Myriad insists that the full distribution rights should »


- Gene Maddaus

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Democrats Launch Petition to Try to Save FCC’s Privacy Rules for Internet Providers

14 hours ago

President Donald Trump is expected to sign a measure that would roll back consumer protections on the privacy of their data, but Democrats are making a last-ditch appeal to urge him to veto the legislation.

Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.) and Rep. Mike Capuano (D-Mass.) launched a petition on Whitehouse.gov on Wednesday, a day after the House passed a resolution, in a 215-205 vote, that restricts the FCC from imposing the new privacy restrictions. The Senate passed the resolution last week.

“This bill has been rushed through both the House and Senate at breakneck speed with one clear goal — to get it signed into law before the American people know about it,” Doyle said in a statement.

Last year, under then-Chairman Tom Wheeler, the FCC passed new privacy rules that required internet providers to obtain subscribers’ consent before sharing data on such activity as browsing history and app usage. Broadband providers opposed the rules, »


- Ted Johnson

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Film Review: ‘Leap!’

14 hours ago

If your blush-pink daydreams of tutus, pirouettes and adoring spotlights were darkly dashed by the shattered psychological mindwarp of “Black Swan,” take heart: “Leap!” is here to generously restore them. An unabashed wish-fulfilment fantasy that sweetly checks off every conceivable follow-your-heart cliché, this elegantly animated French-Canadian production isn’t inventing any new narrative choreography with its slender tale of Félicie, a plucky, impoverished Brittany orphan who heads to Paris to realize her ambition of joining the ballet. But even if it never quite takes the risks implied by its exclamatory title — adopted for its upcoming U.S. release — “Leap!” follows the established steps with general grace and good humor. Sure to please children of a gentle, fanciful persuasion, Eric Summer and Eric Warin’s film may pleasantly surprise their minders with the painterly CG beauty of its Gallic backdrops; for all our heroine’s efforts, the City of Lights remains »


- Guy Lodge

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Christopher Nolan Rejects Early VOD Minutes After WB Exec Talks It Up at CinemaCon

14 hours ago

Las Vegas — Warner Bros. addressed the elephant in the room during its presentation to theater owners at CinemaCon, which made for an uneasy few minutes on Wednesday afternoon.

Moments after worldwide marketing and distribution president Sue Kroll made a pitch for shortening the amount of time between a film’s theatrical debut and its premiere on home entertainment platforms, director Christopher Nolan all but shunned the idea.

“The only platform I’m interested in talking about is theatrical exhibition,” Nolan quipped.

The Oscar-nominated filmmaker was there to introduce footage from “Dunkirk,” his upcoming World War II epic, which he said would be available on IMAX, 70mm, and 35mm screens at cineplexes.

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Kroll, who worked with Nolan on all three “Dark Knight” movies, had stressed just moments prior that any changes must be made in concert with the exhibition community. »


- Brent Lang

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Charlize Theron Reveals Arduous Workout Regimen for ‘Atomic Blonde’ at CinemaCon

15 hours ago

Charlize Theron dazzled exhibitors twice at CinemaCon on Wednesday: in the spy thriller “Atomic Blonde,” and as the villainess in “The Fate of the Furious.”

Footage from “Atomic Blonde” received two showings at the annual gathering of theater owners — first at Universal’s morning presentation and then again a few hours later as the conclusion to the Focus Features presentation. Focus is the specialty division of Universal.

Theron stars in and produces “Atomic Blonde,” formerly called “The Coldest City,” and set in Berlin in 1989 on the eve of the collapse of the Berlin Wall. She plays a spy from MI6 sent to take down an espionage ring.

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The 10 minutes of footage showed Theron taking down six different spies at close range in an apartment building staircase, with an array of judo throws, punches, stabbings, and shootings. After the footage concluded, »


- Dave McNary

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Film Review: ‘The Levelling’

17 hours ago

From the unglamorous muddiness of its contemporary English farmland setting, to the lyrical interludes as nocturnal animals swim in murky waters and woodland creatures quiver in damp hedgerows, Hope Dickson Leach’s feature directorial debut is startlingly assured. “The Levelling” is an intimate story, waterlogged with guilt, grief and blame, but it explores this dark spectrum with such unsentimental honesty that its tiny moments of uplift, when its repressed characters form tentative connections despite themselves, are magnified and moving. Unlike so many first-timers, Dickson Leach, who also wrote the script, never allows her reach to exceed her grasp: she sets boundary markers around the edges of her territory and doesn’t stray beyond them. Instead she gets her hands dirty, bedding down into these difficult, truculent characters and plunging us deep into the chilly loam of her mournful, atmospheric story.

It starts with an ending. Clover (“Game of Thrones” actor »


- Jessica Kiang

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‘Fate of the Furious’ Surprise Screening Revs Up Exhibitors at CinemaCon

17 hours ago

A previously unannounced CinemaCon screening of Universal’s “Fate of the Furious” left exhibitors feeling that the franchise has plenty of gas left in the tank — less than three weeks prior to the April 14 launch.

“There was so much action, which is great, more than even the last,” one said on departing the Wednesday morning screening at Caesars Palace. “It’s going to do very good business.”

The seven preceding “Fast and Furious” films have generated $3.9 billion in worldwide box office with the most recent, “Furious 7,” taking in a stunning $1.5 billion worldwide. The franchise has joined “Jurassic Park” as Universal’s most successful.

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Vin Diesel, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Kurt Russell, franchise newcomer Charlize Theron, and director F. Gary Gray were on hand to present the film, the eighth in the franchise and first to not star Paul Walker, »


- Dave McNary

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Box Office: Can ‘Boss Baby,’ ‘Ghost in the Shell’ Top ‘Beauty and the Beast’?

18 hours ago

Beauty and the Beast” shows no signs of slowing down.

The Disney smash has earned more than $700 million in its first three weeks of release, and it could top the domestic box office chart yet again with roughly $40 million. Whether “Beauty and the Beast” three-peats as the weekend winner depends on how many people turn out for “Boss Baby” or “The Ghost in the Shell,” two new wide releases scheduled to hit theaters.

Despite appealing to the same family audience as “Beauty and the Beast,” “Boss Baby” looks to be in the stronger position. The animated feature about a young boy struggling to adjust to life with his attention-grabbing baby brother is on track to debut to $30 million when it opens across 3,773 locations.

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DreamWorks Animation produced the picture, which is being distributed by Fox. The studio didn’t offer up a budget. »


- Brent Lang

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Poll: Which Summer Superhero Movie Are You Most Excited for?

19 hours ago

Summer popcorn movie season is fast approaching, and with that comes the inevitable: Superhero movies.

Both DC and Marvel have big films in the pipeline, ready to make their debuts in the summer months. Disney and Marvel will kick things off with a bang on May 5 with “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” the follow-up to the 2014 hit. James Gunn returns to direct, with stars including Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldana also returning.

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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ New Trailer Offers First Look at Kurt Russell’s Character

The following month, on June 2, DC will bring Princess Diana of Themyscira to the big screen with “Wonder Woman.” Gal Gadot, who made her debut as the superhero in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” stars in the highly anticipated movie directed by Patty Jenkins.

Also on June 2, but with a very different tone, 20th Century Fox will debut “Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie, »


- Variety Staff

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Vin Diesel Chokes Up While Paying Tribute to Paul Walker at CinemaCon

20 hours ago

Vin Diesel choked up while paying tribute to the late Paul Walker at CinemaCon on Wednesday.

He said that he decided to go forward with “The Fast and the Furious” franchise to make good on a promise Walker made that there would be an eighth chapter in the long-running series. That film, “The Fate of the Furious,” opens next month. Universal later surprised the audience by debuting the full movie.

“It was Paul Walker who promised eight,” Diesel said. “It played over and over again in my brain.”

Walker died in an automobile crash in 2013.

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‘Fate of the Furious’: ‘The Game Has Changed’ in New Trailer

“Part of Paul’s legacy lives through every frame that we shoot,” Diesel said. Diesel, who has called Walker his best friend, said the actor continues to live through the characters.

“You are reminded of this angel that was so integral to »


- Brent Lang

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