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Thai Official Receives Hefty Jail Term For Bangkok Festival Corruption

1 hour ago

Juthamas Siriwan, the Thai official who took bribes from the U.S. organizers of the now-defunct Bangkok International Film Festival, has been sentenced to 50 years in jail for corruption.

Siriwan was found guilty by the National Anti-Corruption Commission on Friday under abnormal wealth charges. Her trial took place today at the Central Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases.

Her daughter Jittisopa was also found guilty and received a 44-year sentence. The pair are also required to repay the $1.81 million (THB62 million) that the court said they had taken in kickbacks from U.S. film makers Gerald Green (“Rescue Dawn”) and his wife Patricia.

Siriwan was governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand and financier of the festival. The Greens paid her in order to obtain and retain the festival management contract between 2003 and 2006.

In 2009, the Greens were found guilty in a Los Angeles court of breaching the U.S. »


- Patrick Frater

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CinemaCon: ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales’ Pleases Exhibitors

2 hours ago

Amid a myriad of slot machines at Caesars Palace, Disney’s showing of “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” on Tuesday left exhibitors in an upbeat mood for representing close to a sure thing.

“That’s the movie people have been waiting for,” said one. “I loved the special effects and the story felt fresh.”

Disney’s presentation of the screening, which at the end of the second day of CinemaCon, started 30 minutes late as Paramount’s earlier presentation ran longer than scheduled. Disney’s distribution chief Dave Hollis first gave a short recap of the studio’s record year of $7.6 billion worldwide, noted that “Beauty and the Beast” had eclipsed $700 million and offered  a relatively brief update of the upcoming slate.

No stars took the stage and Hollis did not engage in the typical CinemaCon hyperbole, though he did point out mater-of-factly that the four previous »


- Dave McNary

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Cinemacon: Disney Plays Hold ‘Em in Vegas, Announces ‘Wreck-It Ralph 2’ Details

4 hours ago

Las Vegas — Disney can be forgiven for phoning it in.

Fresh off a $7 billion year at the global box office, the studio raced through its upcoming releases at a sprinter’s pace during a 12 and a half minute presentation at Cinemacon on Tuesday. There was no footage from “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” or “Thor Ragnarok.” Nor did Disney use the gathering of theater owners to debut a preview for “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” the mere mention of which was enough to have the crowd at Caesar’s Palace whooping and clapping.

Most studios come to Cinemacon, the annual exhibition industry trade show unfolding this week in Las Vegas, armed with A-list actors, new trailers, and promotional art. Their presentations can stretch on for hours. Not so Disney, which likes to unveil that sort of thing at D23, its in-house fan event.

Despite the cursory effort, Disney distribution chief »


- Brent Lang

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CinemaCon: Anthony Hopkins, Mark Wahlberg Dominate ‘Transformers’ Footage

7 hours ago

Paramount opted to highlight its most successful franchise Tuesday at CimemaCon, concluding its presentation by offering a well-received 15-minute sneak peak at”Transformers: The Last Knight.”

Aside from the usual barrage of mechanized transformers — both good and bad — battling each other, the action-packed footage was dominated by Mark Wahlberg, Isabela Moner and newcomer Anthony Hopkins. To introduce the footage, the studio offered comment from Michael Bay, who is directing his final “Transformers.” A  lively Bay touted the film as being the first to be shot entirely in Imax 3D.

“The scale of the ‘Transformers’ is meant to be seen on the big screen,” Bay asserted.

Moner’s portrayal of a street kid who’s wise beyond her years included a tearful goodbye to one of the Bots who had been trying to protect her. And Hopkins was particularly well-liked by the crowd in the key role of Sir Edmund Burton, »


- Dave McNary

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‘Lipstick Under My Burkha’ to Open NY Indian Film Festival

7 hours ago

Hindi indie “Lipstick Under My Burkha,” which has been banned by the Indian film censor board, is continuing its march through film festivals around the country. After opening the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles, Alankrita Shrivastava’s women-centric movie will launch the New York Indian Film Festival on April 30 at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian followed by a fundraising gala.

Khushboo Ranka and Vinay Shukla’s “An Insignificant Man” will be the centerpiece of the festival on May 3, while Milind Dhaimade’s “You Are My Sunday” will close the fest May 7.

44 docs, features and shorts will unspool at the fest in not only Hindi and English but also Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Punjabi, Marathi, Bengali and Gujarati languages. The films come from four South Asian countries: India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangla Desh.

Other highlights of the festival include siblings Deepa and Dilip Mehta presenting »


- Shalini Dore

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Matt Damon Shrinks in ‘Downsizing’ Footage Presented at CinemaCon

8 hours ago

Downsizing” seems certain to go down as Alexander Payne’s most bizarre film.

The director of “The Descendants” and “Nebraska” specializes in small-scale portraits of Midwesterners. He chronicles their daily lives, peeling back the curtain to show, usually humorously, the quiet desperation that lies behind their stoic facade.

Downsizing” is something different entirely. It’s funny, to be sure, but it’s also Payne’s first foray into science-fiction. Think of it as “Honey I Shrunk the Kids” with a deeper social message. Payne brought 10 minutes of footage from the film to CinemaCon on Tuesday, flanked by star Matt Damon. It was screened as part of Paramount Pictures’ annual presentation of its film slate to theater owners.

Related

Paramount Marketing Chief: Jim Gianopulos Appointment ‘Marks a New Moment’

The Oscar-winning writer and director cut an incongruous figure — looking downright professorial in a sports coat and sweater. The dress code at »


- Brent Lang

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Elle Fanning’s Animated Film ‘Leap!’ Moves to Labor Day Weekend

9 hours ago

“Leap!” is making the jump to Labor Day weekend.

The release date for Elle Fanning’s animated film is moving from April 21 to Sept. 4, The Weinstein Company announced on Tuesday.

The movie also stars Nat Wolff, Maddie Ziegler, Carly Rae Jepsen, Kate McKinnon, and Mel Brooks, and features original music by Jepsen, Demi Lovato, and Sia.

TWC acquired U.S. rights to the film back in May of last year.

Related

The Weinstein Company Schedules ‘Mary Magdalene,’ ‘The Current War’ for Awards Season

“Leap!” follows 11-year-old orphan Felicie (voiced by Fanning) and her best friend, Victor (Wolff), who dream of moving to Paris to become a dancer and inventor, respectively. The two run away together, and quickly learn that talent alone is not enough to overcome the obstacles in their way.

“Leap!” is the latest TWC film produced in partnership with Nicolas Duval Adassovsky, Yann Zenou of Quad Productions, and Laurent Zeitoun of Main Journey, »


- Maane Khatchatourian

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Al Gore Presents New ‘An Inconvenient Sequel’ Trailer at CinemaCon

9 hours ago

Al Gore presented a new trailer for “An Inconvenient Sequel” during CinemaCon in Las Vegas on Tuesday, a decade after he promoted the original “An Inconvenient Truth.”

The former vice revealed presented the trailer during the Paramount presentation.

Reminiscent of the original, “An Inconvenient Sequel” depicted the dire consequences of a warming earth — from flooding in Miami and the Philippines, to the worst drought on record in Syria — bringing human suffering there that predated the ongoing civil war — to air pollution so bad in some parts of China that life expectancy has declined by six years.

Related

Sundance Film Review: ‘An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power’

The documentary, produced by Participant Media, kicked off this year’s Sundance Film Festival, where it was met with overwhelmingly positive reviews.

The trailer starts with then-candidate Donald Trump joking about global warming. Later in the trailer, a hopeful Gore says there are positive developments, »


- Dave McNary and Lawrence Yee

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Paramount Marketing Chief: Jim Gianopulos Appointment ‘Marks a New Moment’

9 hours ago

Paramount has been through a bruising leadership shakeup, but Megan Colligan, the studio’s distribution and marketing chief, said at CinemaCon on Tuesday that it was a new day for the studio.

Colligan said that the appointment of Jim Gianopulos as studio chairman “marks a new moment.” Gianopulos led Fox’s film business for 16 years, and is known for his command of the global entertainment business.

Related

Jim Gianopulos Named Paramount Chairman/CEO (Exclusive)

“We are thrilled to have him leading the ship and taking us into the future,” Colligan said.

Paramount’s corporate parent Viacom was consumed in a battle for control that pitted former chairman Philippe Dauman against Shari Redstone, the daughter of company founder Sumner Redstone. Dauman was forced out last summer. Brad Grey, Paramount’s head for 12 years, later followed him to the exit door. He was undone by a string of money losers such as “Ben-Hur” and “Zoolander 2. »


- Brent Lang

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‘I Am Not Your Negro’ Director’s Karl Marx Film Lands at The Orchard

10 hours ago

The Orchard has acquired all U.S. distribution rights to Raoul Peck’s historical drama “The Young Karl Marx” for a theatrical release in the fall.

Peck was nominated this year for an Academy Award for the documentary “I Am Not Your Negro.”

“The Young Karl Marx” premiered at this year’s Berlin Film Festival. Directed, produced, and co-written by Peck (with Pascal Bonitzer), the film stars August Diehl, Stefan Konarske, and Vicky Krieps. The producers are Nicolas Blanc, Remi Grellety, Robert Guediguian, and Peck.

“The Young Karl Marx” explores the origins of the international Socialist movement, the emergence of the Communist League, and its founding document, the Communist Manifesto, written by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.

Peck said, “A few years back, while the world was going through yet another financial crisis, I felt the need to go back to the basics: The analysis of the violent capitalist society we are still embedded in, »


- Dave McNary

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Film Review: Scarlett Johannson in ‘Ghost in the Shell’

11 hours ago

In “Ghost in the Shell,” the mind and soul of a brilliant original being are extracted, preserved, and rehoused in a sleek, expensively built, technologically advanced new body, enhancing her original abilities at some cost to her identity. That’s the premise, of course, of the cult manga created by Masamune Shirow in 1989, but it’s also an apt enough description of what has happened with director Rupert Sanders’ fast, flashy, frequently ravishing live-action transmutation.

Spectacularly honoring the spirit and aesthetic of Mamoru Oshii’s beloved animated adaptations without resorting wholly to slavish cosplay, this is smart, hard-lacquered entertainment that may just trump the original films for galloping storytelling momentum and sheer, coruscating visual excitement — even if a measure of their eerie, melancholic spirit hasn’t quite carried over to the immaculate new carapace. Box office returns should be muscular, minting what could be one of the more enticing franchises »


- Guy Lodge

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Michael Bay in Talks to Develop ‘Hunting El Chapo’ Film Adaptation at Sony

11 hours ago

Michael Bay is in talks to develop the film adaptation of “Hunting El Chapo” as Sony Pictures closes a deal for the rights to the book.

Written by Cole Merrell and Douglas Century, “Hunting El Chapo: The Thrilling Inside Story of the American Lawman Who Captures the World’s Most-Wanted Drug Lord” follows the manhunt for the Mexican drug cartel leader. Joaquín Archivaldo Guzmán Loera — aka “El Chapo” — evaded capture for more than a decade before being caught and finally extradited to the U.S. last year.

A deal hasn’t been completed yet, but sources tell Variety that negotiations are underway for Bay to come on board, though it’s unknown if he would direct or just produce the project.

The book will be published in October. 3 Arts’ Will Rowbotham and Richard Abate are producing. 3 Arts repped the book. »


- Justin Kroll

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Film Review: ‘A Woman, a Part’

12 hours ago

There’s a certain breed of life-size, bare-bones independent movie that consists of nothing more than ordinary people hanging out in plainly lit rooms talking to each other, and it’s a lot harder to bring off than it looks. If a filmmaker slides too far in the direction of threadbare naturalism, he or she can end up with a movie that’s rudderless. (A drama about boredom shouldn’t be boring, etc.) On the other hand, if a filmmaker tries to goose the minimalism with too much repartee, it can sound clanking and false, like a Cassavetes film that secretly yearned to be a sitcom. Occasionally, you see a low-budget indie drama that strikes the perfect balance — the best of the mumblecore films of 10 to 15 years ago, say, or what Kelly Reichardt brought off in the final third of “Certain Women.”

Elizabeth Subrin, the writer-director of “A Woman, a Part” (her first feature), hits that kind of balance. She has made a movie that unfolds organically, and seems no more driven by narrative concerns than a cat playing with a ball of yarn. Yet “A Woman, a Part” knows how to hold an audience, and it’s got a fresh, if commercially limited, subject: What happens when hipsters get old. »


- Owen Gleiberman

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CinemaCon: STX Touts Luc Besson’s Sci-Fier ‘Valerian’ as a Blockbuster

12 hours ago

Two-year-old Stx Entertainment is stepping up to the big league as it touts Luc Besson’s sci-fi epic “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” as a blockbuster.

“Valerian” was the centerpiece of Stx’s second-ever presentation Tuesday at CinemaCon with footage from a new trailer and in-person appearances by Besson and star Cara Delevingne, who portrays Laureline, with Stx Motion Picture Group Chairman Adam Fogelson. The movie opens July 21 against Warner Bros.Dunkirk,” directed by Christopher Nolan, and Universal’s comedy “Girls Trip.”

Stx agreed in January to market and distribute “Valerian” for EuropaCorp Films USA as part of a new, three-year agreement between the two studios — essentially taking the film over from Relativity Media’s bankruptcy and troubled attempts to regain its financial footing.

Related

Luc Besson, Lexus Co-Pilot Design on ‘Valerian’ Spacecraft

The trailer, which will be released Wednesday, launched with a desert chase scene with »


- Dave McNary

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Billy Zane, Alan Ritchson, Kyle Gallner, Shaun Toub Join ‘Ghosts of War’ (Exclusive)

12 hours ago

Kyle Gallner, Alan Ritchson, Billy Zane, and Shaun Toub have joined the cast of “Ghosts of War,” an upcoming psychological thriller. The film follows five American soldiers tasked with guarding a French chateau at the end of World War II. The home was previously occupied by Nazi commanders, and the soldiers soon find that there is a terrifying, supernatural force within its walls.

The actors join a cast that includes Brenton Thwaites (“Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales”), Theo Rossi (“Sons of Anarchy”), and Skylar Astin of the Pitch Perfect franchise. The five soldiers will be played by Thwaites, Rossi, Astin, Gallner, and Ritchson. Zane will play an undisclosed role. Toub’s character is called Mr. Helwig.

Eric Bress (“The Butterfly Effect”) writes and directs the film. Principal photography has commenced in Bulgaria. Miscellaneous Entertainment’s D. Todd Shepherd, Shelley Madison, and Joe Simpson are producing and »


- Brent Lang

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Mark Wahlberg, Peter Berg Plan to Make Action Movie ‘Mile 22’ a Trilogy

13 hours ago

In a surprise announcement at CinemaCon on Tuesday, Mark Wahlberg and Peter Berg declared they are moving ahead with “Mile 22” as an action franchise at Stx Entertainment.

Wahlberg described the project as “an intelligent, adult action film” and said he and Berg want to make the first film as the start of a trilogy. “I still don’t feel like I have the movie, the role, that defines me,” he added.

The duo, who were brought on stage by Stx Chairman Adam Fogelson but did not give details on how soon the project might go into production. Wahlberg noted that Fogelson had been key in getting him his first major comedy role in “Ted,” while Fogelson was running Universal.

Wahlberg and Berg have collaborated on “Lone Survivor,” “Deepwater Horizon” and “Patriots Day.” Berg directed and produced all three while Wahlberg was a producer on all three.

Wahlberg will be »


- Dave McNary

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‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’ Animated Film in the Works at STX

14 hours ago

Elton John, Andrew Lloyd Weber and Tim Rice are working on an animated version of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” for Stx. The announcement was made during CinemaCon 2017 on Tuesday.

more to come…

Related storiesMovie Theater Industry's Top Lobbyist Knocks Trump-Style Economic PoliciesCinemaCon: Fandango Adds More Than 1,000 New ScreensImax, Warner Bros. Making 'Justice League,' 'Aquaman' Virtual Reality Experiences »


- Dave McNary

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Robert Rodriguez to Direct ‘Ugly Dolls’ Animated Film for STX

14 hours ago

Robert Rodriguez has come on board to direct and produce the animated film “Ugly Dolls” for STX Entertainment.

The pic — the studio’s first animated release — hits theaters on May 10, 2019.

Stx made the announcement on Tuesday during its annual presentation at CinemaCon, the exhibition industry trade show in Las Vegas. Rodriguez appeared in taped footage showing the initial concept art.

The film, based on the children’s toy line Uglydoll, has been in the works since 2015 — when the company first announced that the movie would launch its family and animation division. The popular characters include Wage, Babo, Ice-Bat, and Wedgehead. David Horvath and Sun-Min Ki created Uglydoll in 2001.

Related

Robert Rodriguez in Talks to Direct ‘Escape From New York’ Remake

“We created Uglydoll on the premise that real beauty is found in the little twists and turns that make us who we are,” Horvath said back in 2015. “We could not »


- Maane Khatchatourian

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Oscilloscope Takes North American Rights to Berlinale Winner ‘Summer 1993’ (Exclusive)

15 hours ago

Oscilloscope Laboratories has acquired North American rights to Carla Simon’s “Summer 1993,” which won the best first feature prize at the Berlin Film Festival in February.

The Spanish film also took home the Grand Prix of the Generation Kplus section for young people’s cinema in Berlin. It recently screened at the Malaga Film Festival of Spanish-Language Cinema, where it won the Golden Biznaga for best Spanish film. Oscilloscope will release the film theatrically in late 2017.

“Six-year-old Frida looks on in silence as the last objects from her recently deceased mother’s apartment in Barcelona are placed in boxes. Although her aunt, uncle, and younger cousin Anna welcome her with open arms, it’s only very slowly that Frida begins to get used to her new home in the countryside,” according to a statement.

“Punctuated by moments of youthful exuberance and mature ruminations, this coming-of-age drama, set amongst summery hues, »


- Leo Barraclough

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Rooney Mara Is Haunted by Casey Affleck in ‘A Ghost Story’ Trailer (Watch)

16 hours ago

A24 has released a trailer for the sparse — and scare-free — Rooney Mara-Casey Affleck  supernatural drama “A Ghost Story,” four months before it opens on July 7.

The clip is a meditative exploration that shows a distraught Mara dealing with the tragedy of her deceased spouse, often manifested as a simple ghost in a bed sheet.

“When I was little we used to move all the time,” Mara says. “I would write these notes, and I would fold them really small and I would hide them.”

“What did they say?” Affleck asks.

“They were just things I wanted to remember so if I ever wanted to go back, there would be a piece of me waiting,” Mara responds.

The film, which premiered in January at the Sundance Film Festival, takes place almost entirely in a single house in Texas with a ghost wearing the bed sheet after Affleck’s character dies in a car accident. »


- Dave McNary

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