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Box Office: Jordan Peele’s ‘Get Out’ Scares Up $1.8 Million on Thursday

1 hour ago

Jordan Peele’s horror-thriller “Get Out” has opened with an impressive $1.8 million at 2,240 sites in Thursday night preview screenings starting at 7 p.m.

Universal-Blumhouse’s thriller about a young African-American man’s visit to his white girlfriend’s estate is coming into the market amid strong critical support with a rare 100% “fresh” score on Rotten Tomatoes. “Get Out” expands to 2,773 North American theaters on Friday, where it’s expected to gross $18 million on its opening weekend and challenge the third weekend of “The Lego Batman Movie” for box office leadership.

The film, starring Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Catherine Keener and Bradley Whitford, is the feature directorial for Peele, best known for his Comedy Central series “Key & Peele.” The Fandango online ticket service reported that “Get Out” was accounting for a leading 32% of its sales Friday.

Get Out” should be highly profitable, given its modest $4.5 million price tag. Low-budget horror specialist »


- Dave McNary

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Martin Scorsese to Receive John Ford Award From Ireland’s President

2 hours ago

Martin Scorsese, whose upcoming mob movie “The Irishman” is the subject of a dispute regarding its international rights, will receive the John Ford Award from Michael D. Higgins, President of Ireland, at a special Irish Film and Television Academy event in Dublin on Saturday.

The ceremony will follow immediately after the director delivers a masterclass to Ifta members and other filmmakers. The masterclass will be moderated by director Brian Kirk (“Boardwalk Empire,” “Game of Thrones”), who is a member of the directors’ chapter of Ifta. Scorsese will offer insight into his work, technique and influences, accompanied by clips he has selected for the occasion.

In a statement, Scorsese said: “To me and to so many directors, John Ford is a towering figure and continues to be a profound inspiration. His films deftly convey his unique and acute sense of humanity; his deep understanding of people.

“When I first started watching his films, »


- Leo Barraclough

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Asghar Farhadi to Be Represented at Oscars by First Female Space Tourist and Former Nasa Scientist

4 hours ago

Rome – Two prominent Iranian Americans – engineer Anousheh Ansari, known as the first female space tourist, and Firouz Naderi, a former director of Solar Systems Exploration at Nasa – will represent Iranian auteur Asghar Farhadi and his film “The Salesman” at the upcoming Oscars ceremony, Farhadi’s publicist said Friday.

Farhadi, whose film is nominated for the foreign-language film Oscar, had announced several weeks ago that he would boycott the Oscars ceremony to protest President Trump’s travel ban, even if exceptions were made to allow him entry to the U.S.

The film’s French producer, Alexandre Mallet-Guy, said in an email two days ago that he had decided not to attend the ceremony in solidarity with the director, and that nobody from the film would attend. He also said Farhadi would not be doing interviews if the film won.

The decision to ask two prominent Iranian Americans with no ties »


- Nick Vivarelli

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Wide Management Boards ‘Negative Numbers’ (Exclusive)

8 hours ago

Marking its first international co-production, Loic Magneron’s Paris-based Wide Management has boarded the Georgian prison-rugby drama “Negative Numbers,” signing on to co-produce with Brett Walker and Miguel Govea of Tbilisi-based Alief LLC and David Isakadze at Tbilisi’s Magnet Studio.

Wide will also serve as the sales agent on “Negative Numbers.” When it is completed, Magneron aims to put it through Eye on Films (EoF), the festival and distribution-support program for first and second features, backed by the E.U.’s Media Mundus program.

The first feature from Georgian screenwriter-director Uta Beria, “Negative Numbers” is set in Georgia in the early years of the last decade, when an economic crisis pushed many of the country’s out-of-work young into petty crime, which saw them ending up in juvenile detention centers.

“Negative Numbers” is based on the true story of a juvenile detention center in Tbilisi where two ex-professional rugby »


- John Hopewell

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Berlin Film Review: ‘The Erlprince’

8 hours ago

A dazzling cinematic style becomes the dreamy, death-obsessed substance of a troubled teen’s mind in Polish helmer-writer Kuba Czekaj’s wild coming-of-age tale “The Erlprince.” While riffing on Goethe’s famous poem “The Erlking” to reflect the world in a mirror of fables, the drama reflects on, among other things, an approaching apocalypse and the possible existence of parallel worlds. Started before Czekaj’s even wilder Venice and SXSW entry “Baby Bump” (2015) but completed afterward, it, too, gives an unorthodox spin to archetypes and confirms the helmer as a talent to watch. Adventurous fest and small-screen programmers should take a look.

The Erlprince” centers on the turbulent adolescence of a 15-year-old science prodigy (Staszek Cywka) and his relationship with his controlling mother (Agnieszka Podsiadlik) and a man (Sebastian Łach) who appears halfway through the film and seems to be his father. (The characters are never addressed by their names »


- Alissa Simon

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Film Review: ‘Rock Dog’

10 hours ago

For a film in which a Tibetan mastiff with big musical dreams stalks a jaded feline rock star while honing his supernatural martial arts powers and dodging kidnapping attempts from a gang of lupine Mafiosi who run a pro wrestling business on the side, “Rock Dog” is surprisingly uneventful.

Based on a graphic novel by Chinese musician Zheng Jun, this animated Chinese-American co-production cribs freely from “Kung Fu Panda,” “Ratatouille,” “The Muppets,” and “Flashdance,” taking those influences and flattening them out into an easy-listening version of the classic rock star origin story. “Rock Dog” is entirely inoffensive, and its low-key pace and no-frills animation style might come as a bit of a relief in contrast to so many frenetic kids movie spectacles. But taking an ode to the power of musical rebellion and running it through the mill of committee-thinking winds up being no rock and roll fun.

The film »


- Andrew Barker

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Stx Weighing Legal Action Over Netflix Deal for Martin Scorsese’s ‘The Irishman’ (Exclusive)

14 hours ago

Martin Scorsese’s upcoming mob movie “The Irishman” looks to be running into trouble as distributor Stx is weighing legal action over Mexican producer Gaston Pavlovich’s pending deal with Netflix. Stx bought all non-u.S. distribution rights to the Robert De Niro-starring movie last year in a $50-million deal that was the talk of the Cannes Film Festival.

But Stx’s role in distributing the film was cast into doubt after Pavlovich and his Fabrica de Cine outfit tried to switch instead to a worldwide deal with Netflix. Meanwhile, “The Irishman” production budget is quickly ballooning to $125 million from its originally estimated cost of $100 million.

The studio released a terse statement through a spokesman.

“As a policy, Stx does not comment on rumors or matters related to litigation,” the statement reads.

News of Netflix closing in on a global distribution deal for “The Irishman” has set off alarm »


- Brent Lang and Nick Vivarelli

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Jackie Chan’s ‘Five Against a Bullet’ Draws Jeffrey Nachmanoff to Direct

14 hours ago

Jeffrey Nachmanoff has signed on to direct Jackie Chan’s upcoming action-thriller “Five Against a Bullet” for Sony.

The attachment of Nachmanoff — whose credits include Don Cheadle’s “Traitor” and Keanu Reeves’ “Replicas” — comes two months after Chan was attached to the project.

Lorenzo di Bonaventura is producing the project though his Di Bonventura Pictures for Sony along with Suretone Pictures, Jordan Schur through Mimran Schur Pictures and Chan through his Sparkle Roll production company.

Joe Carnahan came on to the project in 2014 to direct and re-write Alex Litvak’s script, set in a small Mexican town under attack by the drug cartel. The story centers on five the world-weary bodyguards who are signed on to protect a Mexican politician after his father is murdered by a cartel, ahead of an election.

Matt Corman and Chris Ord (“Covert Affairs”) are writing the latest draft under Nachmanoff’s supervision.

Bruce Willis »


- Dave McNary

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Most Memorable Oscar Dresses Ever (Photos)

15 hours ago

Millions will be tuning in Sunday to not only see who wins what, but who wore what.

The Academy Awards have been the backdrop for some of the most memorable fashion moments over the last nine decades, and judging by this awards season, the 89th Oscars won’t disappoint.

Who can forget Cher’s huge headdress, Bjork’s white swan, or Angelina Jolie’s bare leg?

Natalie Portman will be far along her pregnancy when she hits the red carpet at the Dolby Theater on Sunday. The “Jackie” actress was also pregnant when she won best actress for “Black Swan” in 2011.

Related

Oscar Nominated Actresses Make Bold and Varied Fashion Choices

Other stars to watch include best supporting actress nominee Nicole Kidman, who makes the best-dressed list year after year; Meryl Streep, who reportedly canceled her custom Karl Lagerfeld Chanel dress; and Janelle Monae, who has kept her signature black-and-white palette all awards season. »


- Lawrence Yee

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Illumination Taps Peter Schube as Chief Operating Officer

15 hours ago

Chris Meledandri’s Illumination Entertainment has appointed former Jim Henson Company exec Peter Schube to replace Natalie Fischer as chief operating officer.

Illumination — the production company behind “Minions,” “Sing,” “The Secret Life of Pets,” and the “Despicable Me” franchise — also announced Thursday that it’s appointed Scott Broock as exec VP of digital strategy and innovation, and Latifa Ouaou as executive producer.

Schube will work alongside Meledandri on business strategy and will oversee all core business operations, including finance, business development, and administrative functions. Schube was the president and chief operating officer at Henson before leaving last year.

Fischer helped devise the original business plan for 10-year-old Illumination with Meledandri and was its first COO. She’ll scale back her role at the company after its release of “Despicable Me 3” this summer, but will continue serving as a close strategic adviser to Meledandri and Illumination.

Broock was global virtual reality evangelist at YouTube, »


- Dave McNary

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Profits Drop 13% as IMAX China Suffers Box Office Headwinds

15 hours ago

In a year of highs and lows, IMAX China suffered a drop in profits, but booked a record number of orders for new screens.

The company, which is controlled by IMAX Corp. but has a separate Hong Kong Share listing, reported adjusted profits of $37.6 million. That was down 13% compared with 2015. Group revenues were up by 7% at $119 million, despite a 7% depreciation of the Chinese currency, compared with the U.S. dollar.

In a statement the company pointed to decreased box office and to an increase in the number of revenue sharing theaters it opened. These come with greater long term revenue than sites which are sold or leased, but higher initial costs.

At the end of 2016, IMAX China operated 407 commercial screens in the Greater China region, compared with 290 at the end of 2015.

Box office revenue at IMAX theaters slipped from $312 million in 2015 to $295 million in 2016. Per screen box office dropped from $1.34 million to $932,000. (In comparison, »


- Patrick Frater

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‘Three Dark Crowns’ Fantasy Novel to Get Movie Adaptation at Fox

16 hours ago

Fox is developing a feature film based on Kendare Blake’s bestselling fantasy novel “Three Dark Crowns,” with Shawn Levy’s 21 Laps producing.

The studio acquired feature rights to the four-volume series. The first book, published in September by HarperTeen Books, follows triplets who are all equal heirs to the crown and have magical powers — one can spark flames or storms, another can ingest the deadliest poisons, and the third can bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.

The second book, “One Dark Throne,” will be published in September.

Levy will produce with Dan Levine. Natalie Lehmann will oversee for 21 Laps, while Daria Cercek oversees for Fox.

21 Laps produced “Arrival,” which was nominated for eight Academy Awards, and the Netflix series “Stranger Things,” which won the top comedy series awards at the Producers Guild and SAG awards.

21 Laps’ credits also include the “Night at the Museum” franchise, »


- Dave McNary

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Film Review: ‘Bitter Harvest’

17 hours ago

TV spots for “Bitter Harvest” claim that the movie reveals “Russia’s darkest secret.” That’s a catchy pitch for a thoroughly over-baked and blatantly fictionalized 1930s-set costume drama arriving at a moment when anti-Russian sentiment has reached its highest point since the Cold War. The scandal in question is the Holodomor — which is not a secret at all, but rather a widely recognized atrocity through which millions of Ukrainians died of starvation as a direct consequence of Joseph Stalin’s policies.

Like last year’s Kirk Kerkorian-backed “The Promise,” which aimed to be the “Doctor Zhivago” or Armenian genocide epics, “Bitter Harvest” represents a form of ambitious generations-later vindication, for which artists of Ukrainian decent — writer-director George Mendeluk, co-writer Richard Bachynsky-Hoover and producer Ian Ihnatowycz — joined together to expose horrific crimes that went suppressed for so long. And while “Bitter Harvest” will undoubtedly serve to raise awareness, there »


- Peter Debruge

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Charlize Theron and Seth Rogen to Star in Comedy ‘Flarsky’

17 hours ago

Charlize Theron and Seth Rogen are starring in the comedy “Flarsky”with “50/50” director Jonathan Levine helming.

Rogen will play an unemployed journalist, battered by his own misfortune and self-destructive ways, who endeavors to pursue Theron’s character — who was his childhood crush and babysitter and now happens to be one of the most powerful and unattainable women on earth. The script is written by veteran comedy scribe Dan Sterling.

Rogen’s Point Grey Pictures, Theron’s Denver and Delilah Films and Good Universe are the production companies. An August start of production is planned.

Producers are Point Grey principals Rogen, Evan Goldberg and James Weaver alongside Denver & Delilah’s Theron, Beth Kono and A.J. Dix. Sterling will also executive produce alongside Good Universe’s Nathan Kahane and Joe Drake. Alex McAtee is overseeing for Point Grey and Erin Westerman for Good Universe.

Theron came on two days ago to produce »


- Dave McNary

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RealD Buys MasterImage Assets After Suing Company

17 hours ago

RealD has acquired the remaining assets of MasterImage, the technology company is successfully sued for patent infringement.

The 3D manufacturer acquired all of MasterImage’s intellectual property, technology, inventory, and accounts receivable. MasterImage suffered a series of legal setbacks culminating in a ban on imports of MasterImage’s 3D movie projection systems by the International Trade Commission.

“RealD remains committed to visual technology innovation and to protecting our intellectual property around the world,” RealD founder and CEO Michael V. Lewis said in a statement.

RealD is the largest purveyors of 3D systems in the world, responsible for more than 29,000 screens in 72 countries. The company did not provide any financial information related to the transaction.

Related storiesTravis Reid Named RealD Chief Operating OfficerWanda Cinema Line To Add 4,000 3D Screens From RealDRealD Wins Patent Infringement Lawsuit Against MasterImage 3D »


- Brent Lang

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Vivendi’s 2016 Results: Core Operating Profits Drop Due to Canal Plus Losses, Universal Music Provides Bright Spot

17 hours ago

Paris — Vivendi, the media conglom helmed by French billionaire Vincent Bollore, had a tough year in 2016.

Due to losses at Canal Plus’ channels in France, Vivendi’s core operating profits fell to 724 million Euros ($766 million), a 23 percent year-on drop. Its revenues, meanwhile, remained stable at $11.4 billion.

A bright spot in Vivendi’s 2016 finances was Universal Music Group’s (Umg), which proves once again to be vector of growth for the company. Universal Music saw its revenues go up 4.4 percent to $5,5 billion, bolstered by a 57.9 percent spike in subscriptions and streaming revenues. Vivendi cited the success of new albums by Drake, Rihanna, Ariana Grande, and the Rolling Stones. Universal Music Group’s income from operations totaled $727 million, a 10.7 percent year-on increase.

As anticipated, Canal Plus Group, which includes Canal Plus’s pay TV outfit and Studiocanal, the film and TV production and distribution banner, dropped 4.7 percent to $5.5 billion in 2015.

Canal Plus »


- Elsa Keslassy

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‘Captain Fantastic’s’ Matt Ross to Direct ‘Tomorrow and Tomorrow’ for TriStar

18 hours ago

After helming the Oscar-nominated “Captain Fantastic,” Matt Ross will direct an adaptation of Tom Sweterlitsch’s debut novel “Tomorrow and Tomorrow” for TriStar.

Mark Gordon will produce via The Mark Gordon Company along with Entertainment 360 and Lynette Howell Taylor.

Published in 2014, the novel is set in a near future world where humanity’s relationship with evolving virtual environments becomes isolating.

“‘Tomorrow and Tomorrow’ is prescient,” Ross said. “It posits a world not so dissimilar from today, a direction we are all clearly headed where technology has altered the ways in which we interact with each other and the world around us.”

He continued, “I hope to examine, following the book’s lead, the degree to which our lives are enhanced and deeply compromised by the technology that is already an inseparable part of our daily existence. Lynette and I couldn’t be more excited to collaborate with Hannah to translate »


- Justin Kroll

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Batman Spinoff ‘Nightwing’ in the Works With ‘Lego Batman’ Director

18 hours ago

Warner Bros. is developing a live-action “Nightwing” movie, based on the DC character, with “The Lego Batman Movie” director Chris McKay in negotiations to helm.

The Nightwing character first appeared in a 1963 DC comic book as an alias used by Superman in stories set in Kandor, a Kryptonian city that was preserved in a bottle. Nightwing was later re-imagined as a vigilante character, taken on by Dick Grayson when he left behind his Robin identity. Michael Cera voiced the Dick Grayson/Robin role in “Lego Batman.”

Bill Dubuque, who wrote “The Accountant,” is writing the “Nightwing” script. The project is part of Warner Bros.’ DC Extended Universe, which launched with 2013’s “Man of Steel,” followed by last year’s “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” and “Suicide Squad.” Upcoming films that have been dated include “Wonder Woman,” starring Gal Gadot and opening June 2; “Justice League,” opening Nov. 17; and “Aquaman,” starring Jason Momoa and opening Oct. »


- Dave McNary

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Writers Guild Sets Start Date for Contract Negotiations With Producers

18 hours ago

The Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers have set March 13 as the date for the start of negotiations on a successor deal to the master contract.

The talks will be held at AMPTP headquarters in Sherman Oaks. The current three-year contract expires on May 1.

The WGA is placing a premium on increasing coverage and compensation for writers in the digital arena, according to the union’s recent message to its 12,000 members. WGA leaders have also been stressing since last May that the guild deserves major increases in its deal.

“The $49 billion annual operating profit accumulated by the six major media companies with whom we will be negotiating is double what their profit numbers were only a decade ago,” a recent missive from the negotiating committee said. “Contrast that with the economic picture facing the members of our Guilds, whose average incomes in both »

- Dave McNary

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David Phillips, ‘The Basketball Diaries’ Cinematographer, Dies at 60

19 hours ago

Cinematographer David Phillips, who served as the Dp on Leonardo DiCaprio’s 1995 film “The Basketball Diaries,” died Feb. 4 of natural causes in New York City, his family announced. He was 60.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in English from Boston University, Phillips spent his early years working on music videos including New Kids on the Block’s “Step by Step” and Cyndi Lauper’s “I Drove All Night.” He also shot several music documentaries, such as “Midnight Oil: Black Rain Falls” and “Cyndi Lauper: 12 Deadly Cyns… and Then Some.”

Phillips is additionally credited with filming Mark Wahlberg’s popular 1993 workout video “Form… Focus… Fitness, the Marky Mark Workout.”

His first major film was also DiCaprio’s first lead role: “The Basketball Diaries.” The adaptation of Jim Carroll’s autobiographical memoir, directed by Scott Kalvert, also starred a young Wahlberg.

He worked on both the 1996 HBO series “The High Life »


- Dani Levy

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