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Justin Timberlake and Jonathan Demme Join Forces for Concert Film

16 hours ago

Pop prince Justin Timberlake has teamed up with director Jonathan Demme for a film about Timberlake’s 20/20 Experience World Tour.

According to a report by Entertainment Weekly, Demme shot Timberlake’s final stop on the 134-date tour on Jan. 2 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

“It’s very emotional, very exciting,” Demme told EW. “It’s a space age music film!”

He added, “There’s tremendous dancing in this piece. (Timberlake has) got an extraordinary band called the Tennessee Kids. Huge horn section, two lead guitars, two drummers, eight dancers, four exquisite background singers. And we caught them on their last performance.”

Timberlake, whom Demme calls “a funky Fred Astaire,” has had his share of film experience, appearing in such films as “The Social Network,” “Inside Llewyn Davis,” “Friends With Benefits” and “Runner Runner,” among others. Timberlake’s “20/20 Experience” double album dropped in two parts in 2013. David Fincher »

- Marianne Zumberge

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Mill Valley Film Festival to Debut Two Films

21 hours ago

The California Film Institute has announced that the 38th Mill Valley Film Festival will host the world premiere of “A Light Beneath Their Feet” and the U.S. premiere of “Angelica.”

The films will both debut on Saturday, Oct. 10, at the CineArts Sequoia in Mill Valley, Calif., and will be followed by a live on-stage conversation.

A Light Beneath Their Feet” is a coming of age drama about a college-bound girl dealing with the stresses of her waning high school days and struggling with the decision of attending her dream college or one close to home so that she can care for her bipolar mother. Taryn Manning and Madison Davenport star, with Valerie Weiss helming.

Angelica” is a Victorian-set supernatural story based on the novel by Arthur Phillips about a young mother who, after the difficult birth of her child, begins to see nightmarish visions threatening her and her child. »

- Jacob Bryant

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Box Office: ‘Straight Outta Compton,’ Faith-Based ‘War Room’ in Close Race

29 August 2015 7:56 AM, PDT

N.W.A biopic “Straight Outta Compton” is experiencing unexpected competition at the box office with Christian drama “War Room” pulling in a nearly identical sum from Friday showings.

“Compton” pulled in $3.8 million in Friday grosses, on track for $12 million for the weekend. This means the music drama should hit a total haul of $133 million by the end of the weekend.

Directed by F. Gary Gray and starring O’Shea Jackson Jr., the Universal-Legendary release is playing across 3,142 screens. It was made on a budget of $29 million.

Nearly on par with “Compton” is faith-based “War Room,” surprising many with its stealthy box office infiltration. The Christian drama pulled in $3.9 million on Friday across 1,135 screens, on pace for a $10 million weekend haul. Released through Sony’s TriStar label, “War Room” follows a couple who solve their marriage troubles with prayer. The pic stars T.C. Stallings, Priscilla Shirer and Karen Abercrombie.

Behind »

- Marianne Zumberge

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Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler’s ‘The House’ Casts Ryan Simpkins

28 August 2015 6:18 PM, PDT

Ryan Simpkins is joining Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler in the New Line comedy “The House,” in which she’ll play their teenage daughter.

Ferrell and Poehler will portray parents who lose the money intended to pay for their daughter’s college tuition and open an underground casino out of desperation. “Neighbors” writer Andrew J. Cohen is directing from a script he co-wrote with Brendan O’Brien.

The project marks Cohen’s feature directorial debut; he previously directed short films and “Funny or Die” sketches.

Good Universe is producing with Ferrell and Adam McKay through their Gary Sanchez banner. Jessica Elbaum and Chris Henchy are executive producing.

Simpkins, 17, has been seen in “Pride and Glory,” “Revolutionary Road” and “A Single Man.” She’s repped by Wme, Thruline and Ziffren Brittenham.

The news was first reported by Deadline Hollywood.


- Dave McNary

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Armie Hammer Joins Tom Ford’s ‘Nocturnal Animals’

28 August 2015 3:14 PM, PDT

Armie Hammer is in talks to join the ensemble of Tom Ford’s next pic “Nocturnal Animals,” starring Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal.

Michael Shannon and Aaron Taylor-Johnson are also on board to star, with Ford writing, producing and directing.

Focus Features is handling worldwide distribution after winning a bidding war this past May at the Cannes Film Festival.

The film is an adaptation of Austin Wright’s 1993 novel “Tony And Susan.” The first of the two-part story follows a woman (Adams) who receives a book manuscript from her ex-husband, whom she left 20 years earlier, asking for her opinion. The second part revolves around a man (Gyllenhaal) whose family vacation turns violent.

Hammer will play Adams’ husband in the pic. Production is set to start this fall on the pic, which Robert Salerno will also produce.

Hammer was most recently seen in Warner Bros. action pic “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” alongside Henry Cavill. »

- Justin Kroll

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Steve Carell to Replace Bruce Willis in Woody Allen’s Next Film

28 August 2015 2:38 PM, PDT

Following the report Bruce Willis was forced to leave the production of Woody Allen’s next pic, Allen has moved quickly to find his replacement as sources tell Variety that Steve Carell will replace Willis in the pic.

Carell joins Blake Lively, Parker Posey, Kristen Stewart, Jesse Eisenberg, Jeannie Berlin, Corey Stoll, Ken Stott, Anna Camp, Stephen Kunken, Sari Lennick and Paul Schneider in the cast, with Allen writing and directing.

The film is currently untitled and without distribution. As has been the case with several of Allen’s past films, Sony Classics is the front-runner to land the pic.

As always, plot details are under wraps, and the shoot is currently under way. Though an early report said Willis was forced to leave because of his commitment to “Misery” on Broadway, there remains some confusion surrounding his exit since the actor did appear on set before leaving the production. »

- Justin Kroll

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Director Alex Gibney Compares Steve Jobs to James Brown

28 August 2015 2:19 PM, PDT

Four years after his death, the fascination with Steve Jobs continues, this time through the lens of Academy Award-winning director Alex Gibney in his latest documentary for Magnolia Pictures, “Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine.”

“He was a little bit like James Brown in the sense that he was a great performer, but also a pretty good band leader,” Gibney said Thursday at an intimate screening of the film at New York’s Crosby Street Hotel. “He understood that he had to have a lot of talented people around him who really designed and engineered the products. That wasn’t Steve’s thing. Steve’s thing was to sell the products and also tell great stories about them. I think over time we imagine that he was the grand inventor. He wasn’t that at all.”

“There’s a darker side to Steve Jobs that we can’t forget about. »

- Alexa Harrison

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Box Office: Zac Efron Getting Outplayed by ‘Compton,’ Faith-Based ‘War Room’

28 August 2015 1:31 PM, PDT

Zac Efron’s DJ drama “We Are Your Friends” is tanking at the U.S. box office, according to early Friday estimates.

The film has few friends heading into the weekend, where it will likely finish with a dismal $2.6 million. Projections were as high as $10 million a few days ago.

“Straight Outta Compton” is staying at the top of this weekend with about $13 million, while faith-based “War Room” is showing traction in second at nearly $10 million.

Owen Wilson’s thriller is also performing slightly below expectations and will take in about $8 million over the next three days.

Universal-Legendary’s “Straight Outta Compton,” a biopic about the iconic rap group N.W.A is showing decent legs heading into its third frame, and should lead the Friday box office with about $4 million. It will wind up the weekend with more than $133 million after 17 days — a stellar result, given its moderate $29 million production cost. »

- Dave McNary

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Diane Nelson Expands Role to Warner Bros. Consumer Products as Brad Globe Steps Down

28 August 2015 1:23 PM, PDT

DC Entertainment president Diane Nelson has added oversight of Warner Bros. Consumer Products to her to current responsibilities, with Brad Globe planning to step down from the presidency of the consumer products arm.

Friday’s announcement said Nelson would remain in the post of president and chief content officer of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.

Globe has served as president of Warner Bros. Consumer Products since 2005. He will work with Nelson in the coming months before leaving and Nelson will name a successor to Globe in 2016.

“With more and more of our consumer products business being directly driven by DC characters and storylines, a closer alignment of the divisions makes a lot of sense for us,” said studio chairman and CEO Kevin Tsujihara. “Diane’s background, which includes a great balance of business, creative and marketing, will help us bring fans exciting news ways to enjoy all of Warner Bros.’ great entertainment properties through wide-reaching, »

- Dave McNary

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Bryce Dallas Howard Joins Matthew McConaughey’s ‘Gold’

28 August 2015 12:41 PM, PDT

Bryce Dallas Howard has joined the cast of Matthew McConaughey’s mining drama “Gold,” currently shooting in New Mexico.

She will portray the longtime girlfriend of McConaughey’s character, with her loyalty tested as the hunt for gold pushes their relationship to its breaking point. Edgar Ramirez, Corey Stoll, Toby Kebbell, Bruce Greenwood and Stacy Keach are also starring.

McConaughey plays a luckless modern-day prospector who teams up with an equally luckless geologist (Ramirez) to find gold deep in the uncharted jungle of Indonesia.

Stephen Gaghan (“Syriana”) is directing. Producers are Teddy Schwarzman (“The Imitation Game”) for Black Bear Pictures and Michael Nozik (“Syriana”) for HWY61.

Patrick Massett and John Zinman wrote the script and are serving as producers along with McConaughey. Executive producers are Paul Haggis, Ben Stillman and Richard Middleton.

Howard stars alongside Chris Pratt in “Jurassic World” and will next be seen in Disney’s “Pete’s Dragon” opposite Robert Redford. »

- Dave McNary

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‘Suicide Squad’: David Ayer Tweets Cast and Crew Photo on Final Day of Production

28 August 2015 12:28 PM, PDT

Warner Bros.’ “Suicide Squad” ended principal photography on Friday, and director David Ayer commemorated the event by posting a photo of the cast and crew on Twitter.

It's a wrap folks! #SuicideSquad #WarnerBros #DCcomics pic.twitter.com/1Rkvd9t3JX

David Ayer (@DavidAyerMovies) August 28, 2015

Stars Scott Eastwood, Cara Delevingne and Will Smith can be seen in the front row of the crowd. Many of the cast members appear in the photo in full costume and makeup, including Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, who plays Killer Croc in the pic and can be seen in his full getup on the far left.

The chairs in the bottom left corner of the photo are labeled with code name “Bravo 14” instead of “Suicide Squad,” used to keep the shoot under wraps.

Suicide Squad” also stars Jared Leto, Jai Courtney, Joel Kinnaman and Viola Davis. Smith stars as Deadshot alongside Robbie’s Harley Quinn, Leto’s »

- Justin Kroll

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‘Minions’ Hits $1 Billion at Worldwide Box Office

28 August 2015 11:27 AM, PDT

Universal-Illumination Entertainment’s “Minions” has crossed the $1 billion milestone at the worldwide box office — another indication of a dominant year for the studio.

It’s the third milestone of the week for Universal, which set a record for top domestic year on Aug. 26 with $2.113 billion and for top international year on Aug. 24 with $3.78 billion.

The animated comedy has grosses of $682 million internationally and $321.9 million in North America, making Minions” the third-highest-grossing animated film of all time after “Frozen” and “Toy Story 3.” It’s the 23rd film to gross $1 billion worldwide.

Universal noted that the milestone also marks the first time any studio has had three films cross $1 billion at the worldwide box office in a single year. “Furious 7” has grossed $1.512 billion and “Jurassic World” has grossed $1.628 billion — and it’s still in theaters.

With “Minions,” Illumination’s five releases — including “Despicable Me,” “Hop,” “Dr. SeussThe Lorax” and »

- Dave McNary

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Pretty Pictures Acquires All Rights to Cannes Classics’ ‘Ingrid Bergman’ Docu (Exclusive)

28 August 2015 10:40 AM, PDT

After picking up French rights to Stig Björkman’s “Ingrid Bergman, In Her Own Words” ahead of its Cannes Classics premiere, Paris-based Pretty Pictures has now acquired international sales rights for multiple territories.

Aiming to broaden its scope beyond French distribution, James Velaise’s Pretty Pictures acquired all rights to the documentary for the U.S., Canada, U.K., Ireland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Holland and Belgium from Scandinavian sales company TrustNordisk.

“It is vital that in today’s changing world of French distribution that one broadens ones horizons and looks to other territories,” pointed out Velaise. The exec noted, however, that the idea behind the acquisition wasn’t to start “acting as sales agent but seeing how (they) can best nurture the film in these territories so that the film really gets noticed, as it thoroughly deserves to be.”

As announced yesterday, Rialto Pictures has just nabbed North American theatrical »

- Elsa Keslassy

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Chris Messina to Co-Star With Ben Affleck in ‘Live By Night’

28 August 2015 10:30 AM, PDT

Chris Messina is in negotiations to co-star opposite Ben Affleck in Warner Bros.’ crime drama “Live By Night.”

Elle Fanning, Sienna Miller and Zoe Saldana are also in negotiations to star, with Affleck also toplining and producing along with Jennifer Todd through their Pearl Street banner, as well as Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson Killoran through their Appian Way banner.

Based on the Dennis Lehane novel, the Prohibition-set drama examines the world of organized crime. Messina will play Affleck’s best friend and partner in crime in the film.

Like Fanning, Miller and Saldana, Messina has been eyed to star for some time, but delays in production due to Affleck’s commitments to “Gone Girl” and “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” forced the studio to hold off on handing out other offers. Sources say that as cameras are expected to start rolling in November, more offers are expected to be handed out. »

- Justin Kroll

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Jeremy Sisto: ‘Break Point’ Presents ‘White Trash Version of Tennis’

28 August 2015 10:28 AM, PDT

The idea for “Break Point” came after star Jeremy Sisto and writer Gene Hong noticed there were no tennis movies from a blue collar perspective, while they were playing, what else, tennis.

“It was an idea that Gene and I had playing out on the court,” Sisto said at Broad Green’s special screening Thursday at the Tcl Chinese Theatre. “There hasn’t been one about tennis — the white trash version of tennis. We tried to bring it down to the ground where people can relate to it even if they don’t know the sport.”

Sisto plays man-child Jimmy Price, whose crassness and reveling in making people uncomfortable pushes all his doubles partners away, forcing him to team up with his estranged brother Darren, played by David Walton, to make a run at a high-profile tennis tournament.

While none of the cast claimed to be bad at the sport in real life, »

- Jacob Bryant

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Writer-Director Agnieszka Holland on Early Work in ‘Pictures of Life’

28 August 2015 10:00 AM, PDT

In her long and celebrated career, Polish writer-director Agnieszka Holland has written films for legendary helmers such as Andrzej Wajda and Krzysztof Kieslowski, and garnered Oscar and Emmy nominations for films like “Europa, Europa” as well as series such as “Treme.” This year, Holland earned raves for directing episodes of “House of Cards.” But it was her work on the Polish omnibus film “Pictures of Life” in 1976 that brought her first mention in Variety.

Your section in “Pictures of Life” is one of nine short films. Was it a big step in your career?

In 1976 Andrzej Wajda was the most talented director working in Poland, and he became head of a creative group that he called “X.” After 1970, there was a liberalization, so he had a large degree of freedom of development, but (the shorts) still had to pass through official censorship and communist party censorship. Most of Wajda’s »

- Steven Gaydos

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Oscars: Swiss Select ‘Iraqi Odyssey’ as Foreign Language Entry

28 August 2015 9:49 AM, PDT

Switzerland’s Federal Office of Culture (Ofc) has confirmed 3D documentary “Iraqi Odyssey” as the country’s official foreign-language Oscar entry.

The film tells the story of director Samir’s globalized middle-class Iraqi family, who live in New Zealand, Russia, France, the UK and Buffalo, New York. Samir himself was born in Baghdad but grew up in Switzerland.

The selection of the film at the Swiss Oscar entry was announced in the city of Delemont, which will support the promotion of “Iraqi Odyssey” in Los Angeles. A statement from the Ofc called the film “a unique insight into a country marked by war and caricatured by stereotypes in the media”.

Iraqi Odyssey”, which is a co-production between Switzerland, Germany and UAE, received its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2014. Autlook Filmsales is handling worldwide sales.

The five films nominated for the foreign-language film Oscar will be revealed on Jan. »

- Robert Mitchell

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Drama Series Days Set to Return to European Film Market

28 August 2015 8:58 AM, PDT

The European Film Market will host a second iteration of its Drama Series Days initiative in 2016, following its launch in Berlin in February this year. The sophomore edition will once again be hosted by the Efm, the industry platform of the Berlin International Film Festival, with its Berlinale Co-Production Market division, and is set to take place Feb. 15 and 16 next year.

The 2016 Drama Series Days will introduce high-quality documentary series as part of its program of screenings and events, which will cater to the interest of documentary industry delegates at the Efm’s Meet the Docs platform.

The first edition in 2015 included a panel program, market screenings and networking events and was met with enthusiasm by both film and television delegates in Berlin. The 2016 edition will follow a similar format offering further opportunities to strengthen connections within the rapidly developing network of the European and international television industries, in cooperation »

- Robert Mitchell

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Box Office: Zac Efron Trounced by Faith-Based Film ‘War Room’ on Thursday

28 August 2015 8:24 AM, PDT

Zac Efron’s “We Are Your Friends” was pummeled by the faith-based film “War Room” on Thursday night.

Sony’s Christian drama launched with $600,000 at 1,017 locations at Thursday preview screenings, while Warner Bros.’ DJ movie generated a mild $175,000.

We Are Your Friends” expands to 2,333 locations on Friday. It’s expected to take in about $9 million this weekend, while “War Room” has been forecast for a launch in the $5 million range. “War Room,” which is going out through Sony’s TriStar label, has been the leader in advance sales in recent days.

However, Universal’s “Straight Outta Compton” is set to top the box office for the third consecutive weekend with roughly $15 million.

The Weinstein Co.’s political thriller “No Escape,” which opened Wednesday with $1.2 million at 3,007 theaters and adds 343 locations Friday, should also gross about $9 million for the Friday-Sunday period.

We Are Your Friends” is firmly pegged at younger women, »

- Dave McNary

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‘Borderlands’ Videogame Movie in Works at Lionsgate

28 August 2015 7:45 AM, PDT

Lionsgate is developing a tentpole movie based on the videogame “Borderlands,” with producers Avi and Ari Arad.

“Borderlands,” launched in 2009, is a role-playing first-person shooter videogame created and developed by Gearbox Software and published by Take-Two Interactive Software’s 2K label. More than 26 million copies of the game have been shipped worldwide, including 8 million during Take-Two’s 2015 fiscal year, which ended March 31.

The game is set on the frontier of a sci-fi universe — the planet of Pandora — which has been abandoned by a mega-corporation prior to the game events.

Avi Arad and his son Ari Arad have been involved in the creation of the film franchises for Iron Man, Spider Man, The Amazing Spider Man, X-Men, Ghost Rider and Blade.

Lionsgate made a major push last year into videogames when it named Nerdist Industries CEO Peter Levin as president of interactive ventures and games.

“Part of our strategy in entering »

- Dave McNary

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