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Lionsgate Signs Chinese Streaming Deal with iQiyi

20 minutes ago

Lionsgate has signed a deal to distribute many of its high-profile films on iQiyi, China’s largest streaming platform.

The deal covers both subscription and transactional VOD for Lionsgate titles including: “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2”; “Allegiant,” the next film in the Divergent franchise; “Now You See Me 2”; action film “Deepwater Horizon”; ‘Sicario”; the teen thriller “Nerve”; “The Shack,” starring Sam Worthington and Octavia Spencer; and the Emma Stone musical “Lala Land.”

iQiyi, controlled by Baidu, runs video platforms that have more than 500 million unique users. Under the deal, it will have an exclusive Svod and Tvod window for the Lionsgate titles and make a major promotional commitment on their platform for those movies.

“We’re thrilled to partner with iQiyi, a major game changer and one of the largest and fastest-growing digital platforms in China,” said Lionsgate Executive VP of International Sales Wendy Reeds. “They will provide a »

- Dave McNary

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Watch: Lily James Slays Undead in ‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies’ Trailer

38 minutes ago

Elizabeth Bennet has been a role model for young women for generations, and Lily James’ portrayal of the heroine in “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” will give little girls a brand-new Lizzie to look up to: a fearsome zombie slayer.

Based on Seth Grahame-Smith’s novel that fuses the Jane Austen classic with the zombie apocalypse, the Lionsgate release will see what happens when the undead invade Regency-era England.

“To succeed in polite society, a young woman must be many things: kind, well-read and accomplished,” James narrates in the first U.K. trailer for the film. “But to survive in the world as we know it, she’ll need other qualities.”

The clip then takes a turn, featuring the Bennet sisters engaging in “Kill Bill”-style combat. Lena Headey, Matt Smith, Sam Riley, Douglas Booth, Jack Huston and Charles Dance also star.

Burr Steers directs from a script he wrote with David O. Russell. »

- Marianne Zumberge

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Brad Grey Re-Ups at Paramount to 2020 (Exclusive)

59 minutes ago

Paramount Pictures’ parent company Viacom Inc. has quietly extended the contract of the studio’s Chairman and CEO Brad Grey for five more years until early 2020, according to insiders.

Grey, who has been in charge of Paramount for a decade, has vowed to step up production and improve the performance of the studio, which has lagged behind its rivals in market share over the last three years as it has slashed costs and reduced the amount of movies it releases to save money.

Paramount has released the fewest number of titles among the six major studios with only 10 so far this year — and no films at all during the second quarter — and currently ranks fifth in domestic box office with $563 million, trailing Universal, Disney, Warner Bros. and Fox.

Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation” is its top performer at $194 million.

Grey, 57, has said he wants to bolster the Paramount slate by increasing »

- Dave McNary

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International Star You Should Know: German Actress Veronica Ferres

1 hour ago

Veronica Ferres, one of the biggest stars in Germany who has toplined hit TV series, minis and movies for almost three decades, crossed into English-language productions with 2014’s “Hector and the Search for Happiness.” This year, the 50-year-old thesp will see the release of Uli Edel’s horror-thriller “Pay the Ghost,” in which she co-stars with Nicolas Cage; and Werner Herzog’s thriller “Salt and Fire,” with Michael Shannon and Gael Garcia Bernal.

Building Blocks: With her shingle Construction Film, Ferres has been a producer on “Hector,” “Salt and Fire” and the company’s next film, “Devil,” directed by Dennis Gansel. She liked working with Shannon so much on “Salt and Fire” that he’s co-starring in “Devil,” too.

Be Prepared: “Salt and Fire,” set in South America, was a challenging production. “We were shooting for six weeks in Bolivia at 13,000 feet,” she says. Ferres spent six weeks preparing at a camp in Europe, »

- Shalini Dore

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Brie Larson Eyed for Lead in Lionsgate’s ‘Glass Castle’

2 hours ago

After her critically acclaimed turn in A24’s “Room,” Brie Larson is slowly becoming one of the more popular talents in town and now Lionsgate is hoping she chooses their film as her next project.

Sources tell Variety Larson is in early talks to star in the studio’s adaptation of “Glass Castle.”

The role was intended for Jennifer Lawrence at one point, but when the film could not find its male lead, Lawrence left the project, forcing Lionsgate to look elsewhere.

Lionsgate had no comment.

If Larson does choose to do the film, it would reunite her with her helmer Destin Cretton, who directed the critically acclaimed drama “Short Term 12,” a film where Larson first earned early awards consideration for her perf.

The pic is based on the Jeannette Walls memoir about a young girl who comes of age in a dysfunctional family of nonconformist nomads. Walls’ eccentric »

- Justin Kroll

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‘Expendables 4’ Secures China Pre-Sale (Exclusive)

2 hours ago

Upcoming Nu Image / Millennium movies “Expendables 4” and “Security” are headed for China. That follows deals with Steven Paul’s Sp International Pictures on behalf of Ssxh Beijing and Max Screen Film Distribution.

The deals cover equity investments in both films and provide Chinese distribution rights. Both movies may use China as a location for some scenes, though it is not expected that there will be enough Chinese elements for them to be considered as full co-productions.

Action thriller, “Security” is now beginning production in Bulgaria at Nu Image studios. It will star Antonio Banderas (“The Mask of Zorro,” “Desperado”) and Ben Kingsley (“Gandhi,” “Schindler’s List”) under the direction of Alain Desrochers (“Nitro”). The budget is pegged at $15m.

“Expendables 4” will shoot in 2016 and be delivered in 2017. Neither director nor cast have yet been announced, though the picture is expected to have maintain its all-action star formula. It is to »

- Patrick Frater

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Watch: First Trailer for George Clooney’s ‘Hail, Caesar!’

2 hours ago

George Clooney is the biggest (bumbling) star in the world in the first trailer for “Hail, Caesar!

Clooney reunites with writer-directors Joel and Ethan Coen for the 1950s-set comedy about Hollywood’s Golden Age.

The A-list ensemble cast includes Josh Brolin, Scarlett Johansson, Channing Tatum, Tilda Swinton, Ralph Fiennes, Jonah Hill, Frances McDormand and Christopher Lambert. Johansson plays a mermaid while Tatum is a sailor in films within the film.

The pic follows Brolin, a studio fixer who has to find a way to rescue his kidnapped star (Clooney) in the middle of production on the biggest release of the year.

The comedy is produced by the Coen brothers under their Mike Zoss Productions banner alongside Working Title FilmsEric Fellner and Tim Bevan.

The film from Universal Pictures hits theaters on Feb. 5.


- Maane Khatchatourian

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Alejandro G. Inarritu Tapped as Speaker for Produced By Conference

3 hours ago

The Producers Guild of America has tapped “Birdman” producer-director Alejandro G. Inarritu as a featured speaker at its Oct. 24 Produced By conference at the Time Warner Center in New York City.

Inarritu and his producing team — Mary Parent, Steve Golin and Brad Weston — will appear as part of “Producers’ Masterclass: An Adventurous Partnership With Alejandro G. Inarritu.” They will discuss their upcoming film “The Revenant,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio.

The PGA had previously announced Tina Fey as a speaker for the event, which covers film, television and digital media. The Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment in New York City is a sponsor.

Other speakers include Effie Brown, Bruce Cohen, Barbara Hall, John Hoffman, Navid Khonsari, Michelle King,Robert King, Michael London, Gary Lucchesi, Tom McCarthy, Lori McCreary, Lydia Dean Pilcher, Peter Saraf, Darren Star and Christine Vachon.


- Dave McNary

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Waintrop, Kaplan, Georges Sign On for Los Cabos Industry Jury Service

3 hours ago

Cannes – Cannes Directors’ Fortnight artistic director Edouard Weintrop, Dennis Lim, Lincoln Center Film Society head of programming, and Emilie Georges, Memento Films Intl. general director, will serve on the jury of Cabos in Progress, at the 4th Los Cabos Intl. Film Festival, which will run Nov. 11-14 at the Mexican resort.

A pix-in-post competition, Cabos in Progress will feature six Mexican titles. The winner will receive a $10,000 cash prize. Four titles will be chosen to feature in the Cannes Marché du Film’s inaugural 2016 Los Cabos Goes To Cannes, running during the Cannes Festival.

Fox Plus, a premium pay TV package, will also offer $30,000 to air one participating productions in Latin America.

Cristian Conti, a top exec at Dynamo, Colombia’s leading film-tv production-financing-services house, will be joined on the Cabos Discovery jury by Anick Poirier, head of Seville Intl, the indie sales division of Entertainment One Films Intl., and David Kaplan, »

- John Hopewell

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Box Office: ‘Pan’ Flies Off With $650,000 on Thursday Night

3 hours ago

Warner Bros.’ fantasy “Pan” has opened with a modest $650,000 at Thursday night previews in the U.S.

Expectations have been tempered recently for the $150 million origin story about the boy who refused to grow up. Forecasts have been in the $21 million range for this Columbus Day weekend across 3,515 locations.

Pan” stars Hugh Jackman, Rooney Mara and Garrett Hedlund, and is directed by Joe Wright of “Atonement.” Reviews have been negative with a 26% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

The Martian” generated $2.5 million in Thursday night shows a week ago on its way to a $54.3 million opening weekend for Fox. Ridley Scott’s “The Martian” should finish first in its second frame with about $30 million — enough to push the Matt Damon space adventure past the $100 million mark.

Sony’s third weekend of “Hotel Transylvania 2” will also perform well, bringing in roughly $18 million.

Sony’s expansion of “The Walk” should gross about $5 million to $7 million at 2,509 locations. »

- Dave McNary

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‘The Martian’ Slammed Over ‘White-Washing’ Asian-American Roles

15 hours ago

The Media Action Network For Asian-Americans has criticized director Ridley Scott over “white-washing” Asian-American roles in “The Martian.”

The watchdog group, in a statement issued Thursday, said the ethnicities of key characters in the movie are significantly less Asian than their characters in the 2014 novel by Andy Weir.

Scott’s reps did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“This feel-good movie, which has attracted Oscar buzz, shouldn’t get any awards for casting,” said Manaa founding president Guy Aoki.

Manaa noted that Weir describes Nasa’s director of Mars operations Dr. Venkat Kapoor as an Asian-Indian character who identifies religiously as being “a Hindu.” The group pointed out that in Scott’s film, his name is changed to Vincent Kapoor, and he’s played by British black actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, who says his father was “a Hindu” but that his mother was “Baptist.”

Manaa also noted that Mindy Park, »

- Dave McNary

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Over 70 New Sales Companies Heading to Afm

16 hours ago

The American Film Market has attracted more than 70 new exhibiting companies for the upcoming event, with 22 new companies from the booming Asian market.

The new sellers come from 18 countries including Armenia, China, Hungary, Japan, Malta, Malaysia and Ukraine. Seven of the new sellers are from China. Last year’s total number of Afm sellers was 396.

The eight-day Afm in Santa Monica will open Nov. 4 for its 36th year. The market is one of the top events for independent sales activity along with the Berlin, Cannes and Toronto film festivals.

Last year’s Afm drew 8,000 participants from more than 80 countries with 700 screenings.

The new U.S. companies include Adler and Associates Entertainment, Arrow Productions, Boat Angel Family Films, Bridgestone Multimedia Group and Gaslight Productions.

Other new companies include Contents Panda of South Korea, Cornerstone Films of the United Kingdom, Devilworks of Malta, Gsm of German, Ori Animation of China, Studio 100 Film of Germany, »

- Dave McNary

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Samara Weaving Lands Lead in McG’s ‘Babysitter’ (Exclusive)

17 hours ago

Newcomer Samara Weaving has landed the lead role in McG’s next pic “The Babysitter” at New Line, sources tell Variety.

McG is directing from a spec script by Brian Duffield which New Line won in a bidding war this summer.

The film follows a 12-year-old boy and his babysitter on a night when things take an unexpected turn for the worst. McG was originally set to produce, but decided to take on directing as well to realize his vision for the script.

Wonderland is co-financing through a partnership with Zack Schiller of Boies/Schiller Film Group. Schiller will serve as executive producer along with James McGough.

McG and Mary Viola will also produce. Duffield will exec produce along with Wonderland’s newly promoted vice president Steven Bello, who brought the project to the company.

Richard Brener, Walter Hamada and Dave Neustadter will oversee.

The part marks Weaving’s first lead role, »

- Justin Kroll

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Shirley Temple Family Gives $5 Million to Academy Museum

19 hours ago

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has received a gift valued at more than $5 million from the family of the late Shirley Temple Black. As a result, the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures has named its educational center The Shirley Temple Education Studio.

The studio will provide hands-on workshops in moviemaking techniques, as well as inspire creativity and critical thinking. A core feature will be its teen  initiative, serving students from diverse backgrounds in the greater Los Angeles area.

In addition to financial support, the Temple gift included unique objects from the Hollywood career of the child star, including the miniature Oscar presented to her at the 1934 Academy Awards; the tap shoes and portable wooden practice-steps given to her by dancer Bill “Bojangles” Robinson for their stair dance routine in 1934’s “The Little Colonel”; and her first set-chair from Fox Studios.

Kerry Brougher is the Academy Museum director. The »

- Tim Gray

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Ethan Hawke’s Chet Baker Biopic ‘Born to Be Blue’ Sold to IFC

19 hours ago

IFC Films has bought U.S. rights to Robert Budreau’s Chet Baker biopic “Born to Be Blue,” starring Ethan Hawke, Carmen Ejogo and Callum Keith Rennie.

The film premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in the “Special Presentations” section.

The movie was produced by Jennifer Jonas, Leonard Farlinger, Jake Seal and Budreau, and executive produced by William G. Santor, Adam Moryto, Mark Slone, Gurpeet Chandhoke, Stefan Jacobs, Patrick Roy, Christina Kubacki, Terry Bird, John Hills and Andrew Chang-Sang.

Hawke was a jazz icon in the 1950s who became equally famous for his drug addiction. The film mixes historical fact and fiction as it re-imagines Baker’s attempt at a comeback.

“Upending the conventions of the musical rise-and-fall formula while still offering a relatively straightforward three-act narrative, the film is anchored by an Ethan Hawke performance that ranks among the best of his career,” Variety‘s Andrew Barker wrote in his review. »

- Dave McNary

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Henry Cavill, Luke Evans Join Nicholas Hoult War Drama ‘Sand Castle’

20 hours ago

Henry Cavill and Luke Evans will co-star with Nicholas Hoult in the war drama “Sand Castle.”

The film will be directed by Fernando Coimbra, who helmed several episodes of Netflix’s “Narcos,” with Chris Roessner penning the script.

Mark Gordon will produce through his Mark Gordon Company banner along with Justin Nappi through his company Treehouse Pictures and Ben Pugh of 42. Brian Kavanaugh-Jones will exec produce.

Treehouse Pictures is fully financing the film, which Gordon has shepherded from its inception.

The movie is based on Roessner’s experience as a machine gunner in Iraq’s Sunni Triangle. The story centers on Matt Ocre (Hoult), who is part of a mission to repair a broken water system in the dangerous and unstable Iraqi village of Baqubah. While the people of Baghdad welcome the Americans as saviors, the villagers resist their presence and Matt and his unit must try to convince the »

- Justin Kroll

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20th Century Fox Founder’s Daughter, Darrylin Zanuck de Pineda, Dies at 84

20 hours ago

Darrylin Zanuck de Pineda, clothing designer, surfer and philanthropist, died on Aug. 10. She was 84.

De Pineda was the first-born child of producer and 20th Century Fox studio founder Darryl F. Zanuck and silent screen actress Virginia Fox Zanuck. Her late brother, Richard D. Zanuck, followed their father’s footsteps and became an Oscar-winning producer for his work in “Driving Miss Daisy” and “Jaws.”

The heiress’ childhood consisted of playing with her father’s studio talent, like child star Shirley Temple, and receiving figure skating lessons from Olympic champion and actress Sonja Henie.

De Pineda later became a surfing enthusiast and dated Tommy Zahn, a legendary California surfer during the 1950s and ’60s. Joe Quigg, co-founder of the modern longboard, created the thinnest and lightest surfboard for de Pineda’s 5-foot frame and named the 25-pound board “The Darrylin.” It eventually became the prototype for the popular Malibu board.

During her »

- Mannie Holmes

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Oscars: Modern Gadgetry and Dusted-Off Technology Highlight Cinematography Race

20 hours ago

It seems like we say it every year, but the Oscar race for best cinematography is as heated as it has ever been this season.

Most eyes, certainly, are on Emmanuel Lubezki. The reigning champ joined a very exclusive group of back-to-back winners in the category upon claiming the prize for “Birdman” last year (He also won for “Gravity”). With Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s best picture follow-up “The Revenant,” Lubezki shot on brand new Arri Alexa 65 cameras, even freezing a few of them in Alberta, Canada, while using only natural light. The stitching technique that was employed to make “Birdman” appear as one unbroken take was used in a number of sequences as well. No one has even seen the film and you’d be forgiven for thinking it the frontrunner sight unseen.

But three-time Oscar winner Robert Richardson had his own box of toys to play with on Quentin Tarantino’s “The Hateful Eight. »

- Kristopher Tapley

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George Miller to Receive Environmental Media’s Lifetime Award

20 hours ago

George Miller will be given the Environmental Media Assn. Lifetime Achievement Award Oct. 24.

From the first “Mad Max” in 1979 through this year’s “Mad Max: Fury Road,” Miller’s films often contain messages of eco-concerns. He will be presented the award by Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, who appears in “Fury Road,” which Miller directed, wrote and produced.

He joins the previously announced honorees: Don Henley (Ema Missions in Music Honoree), Gwyneth Paltrow (Ema Green Parent Award), Kristin Davis (Ema Wildlife Conservation  Award), Van Jones (Ema/Greenbiz Global Innovator Award), and Zem & James Joaquin (Ema Corporate Responsibility Award).

The event will take place at the Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank. Paltrow, Davis and the Joaquins are being saluted for their ongoing commitment in raising awareness of environmental issues and inspiring people to take action. Jones is receiving the organization’s inaugural Ema GreenBiz Global Innovator Award for his leadership, leading the efforts of »

- Tim Gray

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John Williams Tapped for 44th AFI Life Achievement Award

21 hours ago

John Williams has been named as the 44th recipient of the AFI Life Achievement Award, the first composer to receive the honor.

Williams will be honored at a gala tribute on June 9, 2016, in Los Angeles. The event will return for its fourth year with Turner Broadcasting in late June 2016, followed by an encore presentation on its sister network, Turner Classic Movies.

John Williams has written the soundtrack to our lives,” said Sir Howard Stringer, chairman of the AFI board of trustees in a statement. “Note by note, through chord and chorus, his genius for marrying music with movies has elevated the art form to symphonic levels and inspired generations of audiences to be enriched by the magic of the movies.  AFI is proud to present him with its 44th Life Achievement Award.”

Born and raised in New York, Williams moved to Los Angeles in 1948. He went on to write music »

- Tim Gray

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