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‘Team America: World Police’ Replaces ‘The Interview’ at Dallas Theater

44 minutes ago

Sony’s decision to cancel release of “The Interview” has prompted The Alamo Drafthouse to show 2004’s “Team America: World Police” on Dec. 27.

The Dallas-Fort Worth theater made the announcement on Twitter.

For The Record: We were still going to show #TheInterviewMovie…

— Alamo Drafthouse Dfw (@AlamoDFW) December 17, 2014

…but now we'll be showing Team America in it's place…for Free(Dom). Because America, F Yeah. http://t.co/7A7p6ApIIE pic.twitter.com/U3EEqQU1Px

— Alamo Drafthouse Dfw (@AlamoDFW) December 17, 2014

“Team America” was co-written by “South Park” creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone and Pam Brady and directed by Parker.

Using marionettes, the plot centered on an American paramilitary group stopping a terrorist plot by the late Kim Jong Il, the father of current North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

The Interview” revolves around Seth Rogen and James Franco’s characters assassinating Kim Jong Un.

On Wednesday, U.S. »


- Dave McNary

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Sony Hack: Studio Offers DGA, WGA Members Identity Theft Protection

1 hour ago

Sony Pictures Entertainment has offered identity theft protection to directors and writers who have worked for the studio and may have had their confidential information stolen and leaked.

Sony made the offer in messages sent Wednesday to members of the Directors Guild of America and the Writers Guild of America West.

The protection service is offered through AllClear ID — the same service that Sony offered its own employees in the wake of a massive leak including the personal data and Social Security Numbers of 3,803 employees.

“The DGA supports Sony in its efforts to combat any ill effects of the attack on DGA members,” the DGA said. “We do not know whether or whose personal information may have been compromised, but Sony is offering one year of identity protection at no charge to any present or former employee who requests it.”

The WGA West said that the victims of the leaked »


- Dave McNary

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‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ Tops Pre-Christmas Home Video Sales Charts

2 hours ago

‘Twas the week before Christmas, and Walt Disney Studios snatched the top spot on the national home video sales charts for the week ending Dec. 14 with “Guardians of the Galaxy,” the year’s biggest box office hit.

“Guardians,” which earned $332.5 million in U.S. theaters, easily debuted at No. 1 on both the Nielsen VideoScan First Alert chart – which tracks total disc sales, Blu-ray Disc and DVD combined – and Nielsen’s dedicated Blu-ray chart.

The film opened theatrically Aug. 1 and cost an estimated $170 million to make. Advance word was so good that Marvel Studios announced a sequel even before the film opened; it’s expected out in 2017.

Twentieth Century Fox’s “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” which debuted at No. 1 on both charts the previous week, slipped to No. 2, also on both charts, with total unit sales just 12.2% of the first-week tally for “Guardians.”

Walt Disney’s “Frozen” moved down a notch to No. »


- Thomas K. Arnold

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Well Go USA to Release Tsui Hark’s ‘Taking of Tiger Mountain’

2 hours ago

Hong Kong — Specialty distributor Well Go USA Entertainment will give Tsui Hark’s “The Taking of Tiger Mountain” a North American release on Jan. 2, 2015.

The adventure epic, shot in native 3D, is based on classic Chinese novel “Tracks in the Snowy Forest,” written by Qu Bo.

The film will be given a wide release in China on Dec. 24, with Well Go releasing in both the U.S. and Canada a week later.

It stars Tony Leung Kar-fai, Lin Gengxin and Zhang Hanyu, respectively as a bandit, a liberation army captain and an infiltrator.

The rights deal was negotiated by Doris Pfardrescher at Well Go, with Virginia Leung of Distribution Workshop on behalf of the filmmakers.

“We began 2014 with one of Tsui’s releases, ‘Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon,’ and we’re thrilled to end our year with this exciting theatrical announcement,” said Pfardrescher.

»


- Patrick Frater

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Film Review: ‘Seventh Son’

3 hours ago

Legend has is that the seventh son of a seventh son is born with certain special powers, which, in Joseph Delaney’s “Wardstone Chronicles” fantasy-lit series, include the ability to see supernatural beings and, potentially, to kill witches. But given the unusually long gestation period for Universal’s film adaptation, “Seventh Son” — which opens in the U.S. on Feb. 6, nearly a year later than originally planned — one shouldn’t be all that surprised to discover some pretty significant birth defects, among them a tired plot, some very unspecial effects, and a pair of grotesquely uneven performances from Jeff Bridges and Julianne Moore.

Considering that Universal was still licking its wounds from the pricey Keanu Reeves debacle “47 Ronin” (like this project, an extravagant vfx-driven tentpole from a Russian director ill suited for Hollywood) when “Seventh Son” was supposed to open last February, it makes sense that the distributor opted to »


- Peter Debruge

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Sony Has ‘No Further Release Plans’ for ‘The Interview’

3 hours ago

Sony has decided against releasing “The Interview” in any form — including VOD or DVD.

“Sony Pictures has no further release plans for the film,” a spokesman said Wednesday.

The studio issued the statement a few hours after pulling the planned Christmas Day release of “The Interview” in response to the hackers who threatened movie theaters and moviegoers if the comedy were released.

»


- Dave McNary

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Scott Foundas’ Top 10 Films of 2014

4 hours ago

It was a year of many tortured geniuses onscreen — Alan Turing, Stephen Hawking, J.M.W. Turner, Brian Wilson — and behind the scenes, where directors like Bong Joon-ho, James Gray and Paul Schrader fought producers and distributors over final cut, and the right to see their films properly released. Of course, the very idea of distribution has become nearly as diffuse in the digital era as that of film itself, a material on which few movies are still made and even fewer shown — unless you happen to be Paul Thomas Anderson, Quentin Tarantino or Christopher Nolan, who earned the ire of some theater owners when he demanded they reinstall 35mm projectors if they wanted to screen his “Interstellar” two days early. In light of the film’s $600 million worldwide gross (and counting), one can only say: poor them.

Speaking of “Interstellar,” if there was one undeniable constant at the movies in 2014, it was time, »


- Scott Foundas

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Hollywood Shocked, Disappointed About ‘The Interview’ Cancellation

5 hours ago

Sony pulled the Christmas Day release of “The Interview” on Wednesday after hackers levied threats to attack theaters showing the comedy, causing a slew of exhibitors to say they wouldn’t screen the movie.

The decision has already sparked a large variety of opinions, with many angry at the studio and exhibitors for pulling out of the film starring Seth Rogen and James Franco as a duo on a mission to assassinate North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. Industry figures including Judd Apatow, Rob Lowe, Jimmy Kimmel and more have taken to social media to weigh in, with several slamming Sony for the decision.

Read a list of tweets below, which will be updated as more come in:

Sad day for creative expression. #feareatsthesoul

Steve Carell (@SteveCarell) December 17, 2014

Saw @Sethrogen at JFK. Both of us have never seen or heard of anything like this. Hollywood has done Neville Chamberlain proud today. »


- Variety Staff

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Sony Cancels Theatrical Release for ‘The Interview’ on Christmas

6 hours ago

With theater chains defecting en masse, Sony Pictures Entertainment has pulled the planned Christmas release of “The Interview.”

In announcing the decision to cancel the holiday debut, Sony hit back at the hackers who threatened movie theaters and moviegoers and who have terrorized the studio and its employees for weeks.

“Those who attacked us stole our intellectual property, private emails, and sensitive and proprietary material, and sought to destroy our spirit and our morale – all apparently to thwart the release of a movie they did not like,” the statement reads.

“We are deeply saddened at this brazen effort to suppress the distribution of a movie, and in the process do damage to our company, our employees, and the American public,” it continues. “We stand by our filmmakers and their right to free expression and are extremely disappointed by this outcome.”

The comedy centers on a hapless television host who is »


- Brent Lang

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Directors & Their Troops: Christopher Nolan on the ‘Interstellar’ Team

6 hours ago

Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar” is state of the art, yet old-fashioned: He filmed in L.A. as much as possible, prefers physical sets to greenscreen and watches the rushes in 35mm. Audiences like the results: The film has passed $620 million so far at the global box office. Here, Nolan talked with Variety about his unique process with production designer Nathan Crowley, working with longtime collaborators, and the “weird” surprise he gave Hans Zimmer.

Production design, Nathan Crowley

“He’s one of my most closest and inspiring creative collaborators. Often when I’m finishing a script, before we have anybody on board, he’ll come on — and in my garage, we will start throwing ideas around, doing sketches, building models; we noodle around, just as a pure fun time. There are no mouths to feed at that point, there are no big departments needing to know what to build, how much »


- Tim Gray

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Steve Carell’s North Korea-Set Project Dropped by New Regency

6 hours ago

New Regency has ditched plans to produce a paranoid thriller starring Steve Carell that was to be set in North Korea.

The decision came after a group of hackers called the Guardians of Peace threatened to attack theaters showing “The Interview,” which centers on an assassination attempt against dictator Kim Jong-un. The country has denied involvement but praised the hackers.

New Regency is 20% owned by News Corp., parent of 20th Century Fox. The studio had indicated to New Regency that it would not release the project.

New Regency announced the project in October with plans for director Gore Verbinski to start shooting in March. The untitled film was the first in a multiyear deal between Verbinski’s Blind Wink and New Regency.

Steve Conrad (“The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”) was writing the screenplay.

News was first reported by Deadline.com.

»


- Dave McNary

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Peter Debruge’s Top 10 Films of 2014

6 hours ago

Tastes change. Not just those of the moviegoing public, who’ve gotten so wise to the sales pitches and story formulas that the town has had no choice but to adapt, propelling a self-aware superhero movie, “Guardians of the Galaxy,” above the likes of Cap and Spidey at the box office, and making sly, meta-minded directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller — responsible for ultra-blockbuster “The Lego Movie” and wink-wink sequel “22 Jump Street” — the hottest helming duo in town. But over time, critics’ tastes change, too.

In February, I relocated from Los Angeles to Paris, to take up my new post as Variety’s chief international film critic. As you can imagine, my diet underwent a radical upheaval — and I’m not talking about crepes and chocolate mousse, either. What I wasn’t prepared for was how swiftly my moviegoing palate might adapt to this new post.

I’d been raised on junk-food American fare, »


- Peter Debruge

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Justin Chang’s Top 10 Films of 2014

7 hours ago

Assembling a year-end top-10 list has always been a personal, even self-indulgent, ritual, a way of disguising a whimsical ranking of favorites as a carefully curated declaration of personal taste. At the risk of making things even more solipsistic than usual, let me begin by noting that the fraught relationship between artists and critics provided 2014 with one of its most compelling movie themes, with critics themselves — food critics, art critics, theater critics and, yes, film critics — figuring among the year’s most favored characters. And by favored, of course, I mean mocked, loathed and misunderstood at every turn.

In one of the most talked-about scenes in Alejandro G. Inarritu’s virtuoso backstage farce “Birdman,” a washed-up movie star named Riggan Thomson (Michael Keaton) comes face to face with a notoriously nasty New York Times theater critic, Tabitha Dickinson (Lindsay Duncan), who calmly informs him that she’s going to eviscerate his new Broadway play, »


- Justin Chang

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Sony Weighing Premium VOD Release for ‘The Interview’ (Exclusive)

7 hours ago

With most major U.S. theater chains opting to drop or delay “The Interview,” Sony Pictures Entertainment is weighing releasing the film on premium video-on-demand, according to an insider.

That would allow the studio to recoup some of the film’s $42 million budget and tens of millions in promotion and advertising expenditures. It would also enable the studio to experiment with the potential of VOD, something it has been hesitant to do at the risk of angering major exhibitors. Traditionally, films must wait 90 days before they are released on home entertainment platforms.

In the case of “The Interview,” the decision may have been made by the exhibitors themselves. The majority of the country’s ten largest circuits — a group that include AMC, Regal, Cinemark and Carmike — will not show the film when it debuts on Dec. 25th.

Sony still plans to make the film available to theaters on Christmas day »


- Brent Lang

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Legendary Options Andrew Pyper’s ‘The Damned’

8 hours ago

Legendary Pictures has optioned the film rights to Andrew Pyper’s upcoming novel “The Damned.”

Simon & Schuster will publish in February the book described as an elevated supernatural thriller in the vein of “The Sixth Sense” and “Jacob’s Ladder.”

Legendary’s Alex Hedlund and Tracy Stevens will oversee the adaptation of the project.

Pyper also has written “The Demonologist,” which Universal and Imagemovers are adapting.

UTA brokered the film deal on behalf of Anne McDermid & Associates and the Gernert Co.

Legendary’s upcoming films include cyberthriller “Blackhat,” “Seventh Son” and Guillermo del Toro’s “Crimson Peak.” It also is co-financing Universal’s “Jurassic World.”

»


- Marc Graser

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Major U.S. Theaters Drop ‘The Interview’ After Sony Hacker Threats

8 hours ago

Regal Cinemas, Cinemark, Cineplex, and AMC Entertainment will delay or drop “The Interview” after Sony Pictures Entertainment hackers posted a message threatening movie theaters and moviegoers who attend screenings of the satire.

They represent four of the five largest chains, and join Bow Tie Cinemas and Carmike in deciding not to show the picture. More theater circuits are expected to follow suit.

In addition, Southern Theatres, B&B Theatres, Wehrenberg Theatres and ArcLight Cinemas have opted to pass on the film. Michigan-based Mjr Digital Cinemas said it will likely not play the picture, although CEO Michael Mihalich said that could change if the security situation around the picture improves in coming days.

Sony Pictures still plans to make the film available, but has told theater chains it will support them if they choose not to show the picture.

“It’s much less of a big deal to pull the film »


- Brent Lang

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Watch: New Trailer for ‘Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’

8 hours ago

Fox Searchlight has released a second trailer for “The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,” two months ahead of its Feb. 26 opening in the U.K. and its March 6 launch in the U.S.

The trailer reveals Dev Patel’s character planning to expand the Best Exotic Hotel for the Elderly and the Beautiful while getting married.

The original “Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” was a surprise hit that grossed $135 million worldwide in 2012. The new project is the first sequel ever released by Fox Searchlight.

The trailer features several female cast members being deeply impressed by the first appearance of Richard Gere. John Madden has returned to direct the sequel from a script by Ol Parker. Returning cast includes Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy, Dev Patel, Celia Imrie, Ronald Pickup, Diana Hardcastle, Tena Desae and Lillete Dubey.

“I couldn’t resist the chance to come and visit the old crumbling ruins »


- Dave McNary

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Matthew Cooke, Susan Sarandon and Adrian Grenier Team on Docuseries

9 hours ago

Writer-Director Matthew Cooke has announced a partnership with producers Adrian Grenier and Bryn Mooser to produce a series of documentaries, “The Survivor’s Guide,” highlighting issues facing the U.S. criminal justice and corrections systems.

The first installment, “The Survivor’s Guide to Prison,” will be exec produced by Susan Sarandon and focused on Bruce Lisker, who spent 26 years in prison for a crime he did not commit.

His story is supported by a star-studded cast of academics, artists, musicians and actors who detail how to survive prison as an individual and as a nation, redefine the word “justice,” and look at completely different models of conflict resolution and “wellness creation” that have been proven to work.

“Cooke and I find common ground in creatively tackling complex social issues in ways that play like a summer blockbuster,” Grenier said. “This team wants to see journalism feel like entertainment and then move us into action. »


- Justin Kroll

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Sony Hack: Nato Says Theater Owners Must Decide Individually on ‘Interview’ Showings

9 hours ago

In the wake of a threatening message from the Sony Pictures Entertainment hackers, the National Association of Theatre Owners said that theaters are working with law enforcement agencies to tighten security procedures.

In its first public statement on the threats, the exhibition industry lobbying arm said that a criminal investigation into the cyber-security breach at Sony was progressing, but said its members would make their own calls about whether to release the film.

“We are encouraged that the authorities have made progress in their investigation, and we look forward to the time when the responsible criminals are apprehended,” the group’s statement reads. “Until that happens, individual cinema operators may decide to delay exhibition of the movie so that our guests may enjoy a safe holiday movie season experiencing the many other exciting films we have to offer.”

So far, Carmike Cinemas and Bow Tie Cinemas have opted not to screen “The Interview. »


- Brent Lang

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‘Inherent Vice': Paul Thomas Anderson on His Trip Through Thomas Pynchon’s L.A.

10 hours ago

“What are we talking about? I’m lost,” says Paul Thomas Anderson midway through a lunch interview, as he runs a hand quizzically through his unkempt brown hair. It’s a reminder that a conversation with Anderson can be akin to one of his own movies: a jam-packed jostle of characters, ideas, exuberant digressions and narrative curlicues that somehow align to form an inimitable whole. Still picking through his appetizer course, Anderson has already held forth on his love for Lena Dunham, “The Hunger Games,” his inability to read books that friends give him as gifts, and his habit of walking on the outer edges of his feet. But mostly, we are talking about “Inherent Vice,” Anderson’s seventh feature film — the first-ever authorized screen adaptation of a novel by National Book Award-winning author Thomas Pynchon.

The movie, bowing Dec. 12 in limited release, and opening wide Jan. 9, returns Anderson to »


- Scott Foundas

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