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Kevin Spacey Praises the Power of Storytelling at MPTF’s Reel Stories, Real Lives

4 hours ago

Despite Hollywood’s cutthroat reputation, the industry’s penchant for helping one another was a common refrain at the 4th annual Reel Stories, Real Lives event at Milk studios Hollywood on Saturday, benefitting the Motion Picture & Television Fund.

Kevin Spacey was the man of the hour, receiving a special tribute for his enduring support of the Fund. But the rest of the evening entailed a series of stories about people the Fund has helped, written by top industry writers including Jason Fuchs, Bill Dubuque and Beau Willimon, and read by familiar faces like Lizzy Caplan, Tony Goldwyn and John Stamos, who joked that since the “Full House” Netflix reboot is officially happening, he and Spacey should combine shows to create “Full House of Cards.”

In addition to being a longtime supporter of the hospital and the Fund’s work to provide homes for members of the industry who need help, »


- Seth Kelley

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‘Furious 7′ Becomes 3rd Film to Top $1 Billion at International Box Office

7 hours ago

Furious 7″ continues to race past box office records.

The hugely popular sequel crossed the $1 billion mark at the international box office, becoming only the third film to pull off that track. It’s in some pretty rarefied company in that regard, joining “Avatar” and “Titanic.” With a global haul of $1.3 billion, “Furious 7″ is now the fifth highest-grossing film in history.

Furious 7,” which is the last film in the series to feature actor Paul Walker, is also the highest-grossing film in China. Its $323 million gross in the People’s Republic exceeds “Transformers: Age of Extinction’s” record-breaking $319 million bounty.

Domestically, “Furious 7″ became the first film since “The Hunger Games” in 2012 to top box office charts for four weeks in a row, picking up a leading $18.3 million and driving its Stateside total to $320 million.

The 2013 death of Walker in a car crash forced Universal to suspend production, but »


- Brent Lang

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Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta Reunite for ‘Goodfellas’ Anniversary at Tribeca Film Festival Closing

8 hours ago

The 2015 Tribeca Film Festival closed Saturday night with a 25th anniversary gala screening of Martin Scorsese’s “Goodfellas,” held within the gold-spun rococo of the Upper West Side’s Beacon Theater. The screening was followed by a panel with stars Paul Sorvino, Ray Liotta, Lorraine Bracco, “Wiseguy” journalist and writer Nicholas Pileggi, and (inevitably) Tribeca co-founder Robert De Niro, moderated by “The Daily Show’s” Jon Stewart. (The comedian sometimes slipped into a slightly Pesci-esque accent, conceding that if anybody from the production met him right around the time “Goodfellas” came out, he would have been annoying as hell.)

De Niro and Tribeca’s other co-founder Jane Rosenthal introduced the film, with the movie icon offering that this year’s 14th iteration of the festival marked “13 more than we intended, and tomorrow we start work on the 15th.” He then went on to read a email from Joe Pesci (the »


- Steve Macfarlane

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Film Industry Reacts to Nepal Earthquake Tragedy

9 hours ago

The huge loss of life caused by the earthquake in Nepal has sparked an outpouring of sympathy from the film industry.

The film community in India, which is geographically and culturally closest to Nepal, was quick to react. Many took to Twitter to express their hopes and fears.

“Praying for the people of Nepal who must have been affected by this terrible earthquake – very worrying images on the news,” said Soha Ali Khan. “My prayers are with the people whose lives have been disrupted by the massive #earthquake,” said Madhuri Dixit.

Many Bollywood names felt tremors from the 7.9 degree quake, which struck on Saturday morning local time.

“Freaky! Felt the tremors of an earthquake here in Delhi. The whole room shook. My experience of a first earthquake. Hopefully the last one,” said Arjun Rampal. Others felt it in Agra, Gurgaon and Chandigarh.

Shah Rukh Khan, India’s biggest star, gave »


- Patrick Frater

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‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ Opens to Massive $201.2 Million at Foreign Box Office

9 hours ago

Avengers: Age of Ultron” debuted to a massive $201.2 million across 44 territories this weekend.

Disney and Marvel’s super team adventure was the highest-grossing film in everywhere it opened, and has now rolled out in 55% of the international marketplace, including such major locales as France, Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom, Russia, Korea and Australia.

Going into the weekend, Disney was projecting a foreign debut of between $160 million to $175 million.

“The bar was high, but this is a sign of unbelievable momentum in the marketplace,” said Dave Hollis, Disney’s distribution chief. “It all goes back to the strength of the brand and the incredible work the Marvel team does in telling stories in such a consistent way and creating these worlds.”

The hotly anticipated superhero sequel opens next week in the U.S., where it is expected to earn north of $200 million and could top the first “Avengers” film’s record-breaking $207.4 million bow. »


- Brent Lang

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Box Office: ‘Furious 7′ Races Past ‘Age of Adaline’

9 hours ago

Nothing, it seems, and certainly not Blake Lively, can get “Furious 7″ to slam on the brakes.

The mega-grossing sequel took the top spot at the weekend box office with $18.3 million, becoming the first film to come in first for four consecutive weekends since “The Hunger Games” in March of 2012. “Furious 7″ is one of only 29 films to pull off the feat. Its winning streak will almost certainly draw to a close next weekend when “Avengers: Age of Ultron” enjoys what most analysts project will be an opening of more than $200 million. Domestically, “Furious 7″ has earned $320.5 million.

Although it could not elbow “Furious 7″ from its perch atop the box office chart, Lively’s fantasy romance “Age of Adaline” scored a respectable $13.4 million from 2,991 locations. The Lionsgate/Lakeshore release had been projected to pull in $12 million and cost $30 million to produce. The two partners split the costs and any profits evenly between themselves. »


- Brent Lang

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Tribeca Film Review: ‘Virgin Mountain’

18 hours ago

Fusi, the hero of Icelandic director Dagur Kari’s fourth feature, is, to quote the cliche, a mountain of a man. Indeed, he is the virgin mountain of the title: Fat, 43 and still living with his mother, he incarnates the sad-sack sweet guy for which Ernest Borgnine’s Marty could serve as the prototype. Working in small, skillfully nuanced, always surprising increments, Kari, enabled by Gunnar Jonsson’s extraordinary performance, charts a moving, totally believable flowering of untapped potential as Fusi falls in love. Winner of the top prize and an acting award at Tribeca, “Virgin Mountain” could shine in arthouse play.

Fusi (Gunnar Jonsson) has created a safe, unchanging, extremely limited world for himself. Working as a baggage handler at the airport, he returns home to re-create the battle of El Alamein on his work table with the help of his only friend, Rolf (Arnar Jonsson). Nothing disturbs the »


- Ronnie Scheib

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‘King Jack,’ ‘TransFatty Lives’ Win Audience Awards at 2015 Tribeca Festival

23 hours ago

Narrative feature “King Jack” and documentary “TransFatty Lives” picked up the top audience awards at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival. Jason Sudeikis and Alison Brie comedy “Sleeping With Other People” and doc “Song of Lahore” were named runners-up for the honors, recipients of which were named at the wrap party of the festival April 25.

Writer-director Felix Thompson’s “King Jack” centers on a single, pivotal weekend in the life of a bullied 15-year-old in a rural town. Patrick O’Brien’s “TransFatty Lives,” meanwhile, documents the life of O’Brien — also known as the deejay and meme-maker TransFatty — after he’s diagnosed with Als and given two to five years to live. Filmmakers took home $25,000 apiece as well as an original artwork.

Sundance alumnus “Sleeping with Other People,” written and directed by Leslye Headland (“Bachelorette”), follows two sexual predators (Sudeikis and Brie) who swear to keep their relationship platonic. The comedy »


- Gordon Cox

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Political TV Takes the Spotlight at Garden Brunch

25 April 2015 2:26 PM, PDT

Washington — The showbiz presence for White House Correspondents Assn. weekend is less visible this year — in favor of stars who have some connection to D.C.

The reasons for this have varied. The novelty of hobnobbing with members of President Obama’s administration has worn off, and the event has become enough of a crush of people that some have decided to take a pass.

Not so, though, for Michael Kelly, who plays Doug Stamper on “House of Cards.”

“Talking to the most interesting people in the world, it’s great,” he said, after posing for yet another selfie before heading in to the Garden Brunch, one of the longer-lasting traditions of the weekend.

“I am so grateful,” he said, when asked if he’s getting tired of the selfie requests. “It’s an opportunity to meet and talk to people that you don’t normally get to talk to. »


- Ted Johnson

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‘Super Troopers 2′ Raises $4.4 Million Total in Fundraising Campaign

25 April 2015 9:27 AM, PDT

The Broken Lizard comedy troupe has waged the second most successful crowdfunding campaign for a movie, taking in $4.4 million in 30 days to raise production funds for “Super Troopers 2.”

The Indiegogo campaign, funded by over 50,000 contributors, ended at midnight Friday with 77% of the $5.7 million record for crowdfunding for a film, set in by the “Veronica Mars” movie on Kickstarter in 2013. It raised 42% more than the $3.1 million for Zach Braff’s “Wish I Was Here,” which had been the second-largest crowdfunding effort until earlier this month when the Alan Tudyk-Nathan Fillion project “Con Man” raised $3.16 million.

The “Super Troopers” met the initial goal of $2 million in 26 hours, assuring that the sequel will go into production this summer, 14 years after the original “Super Troopers” was released. Fox Searchlight had agreed to release the sequel if the $2 million goal was met.

Perks offered as incentives that were sold on the first »


- Dave McNary

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‘Furious 7′ Cruises to Fourth Straight Victory at Box Office

25 April 2015 8:46 AM, PDT

Universal’s “Furious 7″ is racing toward its fourth straight victory at the U.S. box office with an estimated $16.5 million weekend.

The Vin Diesel-Paul Walker blockbuster, directed by James Wan, recently became the fastest movie to hit $1 billion in ticket sales. On Thursday, it passed the $300 million mark domestically.

In second place, Sony’s “Paul Blart 2″ should earn over $13.5 million after grossing $3.8 million on Friday.

Lionsgate’s “The Age of Adaline,” starring Blake Lively, took home $5 million Friday for nearly $12 million on its opening weekend. The romance fantasy is playing in 2,991 locations.

Logging in for the second time, Universal’s cyber-thriller “Unfriended” is looking at an estimated $5.8 million from 2,775 theaters. The Jason Blumhouse-produced feature has grossed nearly $25 million on a $1 million budget.

A24’s “Ex Machina” is performing solidly in its U.S. expansion. The Oscar Isaac sci-fier earned over $1.5 million on Friday for roughly $4.5 million this weekend. »


- Variety Staff

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Jackie Chan Opens Udine Festival

25 April 2015 3:22 AM, PDT

Jackie Chan breezed into Udine, the town in northeastern Italy that hosts the Far East Film Festival, on Friday. It is the first time in its 17 year history that the specialist festival has welcomed East Asia’s most consistent movie star.

Chan, who only 24 hours earlier had handed out prizes at the closing ceremony of the Beijing festival, came in by private jet. That is an A-list extravagance that Udine has rarely seen before.

But Chan is an expert at working crowds and consistently gives good value. In the afternoon he held a press and fans event for his recent hit “Dragon Blade,” before attending the standing room only opening ceremony.

Chan was full of good cheer, apologized for having refused all the previous invitations to the festival and then regaled the audience with tales of shooting for three months in the Gobi Desert. He teased director Daniel Lee that »


- Patrick Frater

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Colcoa and Variety Fete French Talent in Los Angeles

24 April 2015 7:35 PM, PDT

Colcoa, the City of Light, City of Angels festival, joined forces with Variety to celebrate the French film industry, including one of its leading filmmakers, the Oscar-winning helmer Michel Hazanavicius.

The cocktail party, which took place on Thursday evening at the Directors Guild of America in Los Angeles, gathered Hazanavicius, Pierre Niney (“An Ideal Man”), Yann Gozlan (“An Ideal Man”), Anne Fontaine (“Gemma Bovery”), Sabrina Van Tassel (“Silenced Walls”) and Shirel Amitay (“Atlit”). High-profile figures such as Pascal Rogard from Sacd (the society of authors, composers, directors), Mathieu Bejot from the promo org TV France International and Florence Gastaud from Arp (the guild of authors, directors and producers) also made the trip from Paris.

Spearheaded by its artistic director Francois Truffart, Colcoa hosted the Variety-sponsored cocktail party before the premiere of “The Search” (pictured above) — the latest film from Hazanavicius that competed at Cannes last year and stars Berenice Bejo »


- Elsa Keslassy

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First Look: Jared Leto as the Joker in ‘Suicide Squad’

24 April 2015 5:50 PM, PDT

After teasing Jared Leto’s look in Warner Bros. upcoming DC pic “Suicide Squad” for the last two weeks, director David Ayer has now released the first official photo of the Oscar winner in full Joker makeup.

The Suicide Squad wishes you a Happy Anniversary Mr. J! #Joker75 #SuicideSquad @WarnerBrosEnt @DCComics pic.twitter.com/LZXz0x947Q

David Ayer (@DavidAyerMovies) April 25, 2015

The photo promises another dark and wild version of the popular comicbook villain.

Suicide Squad,” co-starring Will Smith and Margot Robbie, is currently shooting in Toronto. Story centers on a of supervillains hired for a mission by the government that if accomplished would give them a clean slate. The problem: The mission is likely to kill them all.

It opens nationwide August 2016.

»


- Justin Kroll

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Richard Corliss Remembered: A Great Critic of the Movies, and of Criticism Itself

24 April 2015 5:28 PM, PDT

We film critics have an often infuriating tendency to write as much about ourselves, and the state of our profession, as we do about the movies. This is hardly a new phenomenon, of course, but it may be more prevalent than ever before: Whether we’re seeking out pockets of online validation or trying to provoke those with whom we violently disagree (or both), the rise of social media has made it all too easy to engage directly with our ideological allies and adversaries alike. At the same time, the continual thinning of our professional ranks has fueled endless arguments and think-pieces about whether the Internet has succeeded in decimating or diversifying the field.

All of which makes it particularly important to remember Richard Corliss — not just because the veteran Time critic hailed from that honorable, not-yet-bygone tradition of wordsmiths who composed sharp, beautifully considered reviews for the printed page, »


- Justin Chang

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Christian Bale Tears Acl, Delaying Fox’s Travis McGee Movie

24 April 2015 5:13 PM, PDT

20th Century Fox has delayed production on its Travis McGee pic “The Deep Blue Goodby” after learning star Christian Bale suffered a knee injury at his home in Los Angeles.

Production was set to start this summer but given the severity of Bale’s injury (sources say he tore his Acl, which requires a couple months to fully recover from), Fox is halting production until its star is healthy.

The delay also involved director James Mangold’s commitment to the next installment in Fox’s “Wolverine” franchise starring Hugh Jackman, which he was expected to shoot following “The Deep Blue Good-by.” Mangold will now focus on shooting “Wolverine 3″ with the intent of returning to the Travis McGee movie after wrapping Marvel’s superhero sequel.

Bale, 41, is currently filming “The Big Short” alongside Ryan Gosling and Brad Pitt, but the Oscar-winning actor had to forgo shooting “Deep Blue” because of the physical nature of his role. »


- Justin Kroll

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James Franco’s ‘Adderall Diaries’ Acquired by A24 for U.S. Distribution

24 April 2015 4:35 PM, PDT

A24 has acquired U.S. rights to James Franco’s “The Adderall Diaries” following its premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival.

The seven-figure deal is part of A24’s alliance with DirecTV, under which the satcaster will be able to show the film prior to its theatrical release.

Based on the 2009 Stephen Elliott memoir of the same name, the film also stars Ed Harris, Amber Heard, Cynthia Nixon and Christian Slater. Franco plays Elliott, who begins following the story of a man standing trial for the murder of his wife and decides to write a book about it. He also becomes romantically involved with a reporter covering the trial.

Pamela Romanowsky directed. The film is co-produced by Rabbit Bandini Productions’ Franco and Vince Jolivette, and Windowseat Films producers Jim Reach and Joseph McKelheer.

Wme Global and CAA handled the sale.

The acquisition was first reported by Deadline.com.

»


- Dave McNary

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Adrien Brody’s Thriller ‘Backtrack’ Sells to Saban Films

24 April 2015 2:59 PM, PDT

Saban Films is in final negotiations for the U.S. rights to the Adrien Brody thriller “Backtrack,” following its premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival.

It’s the second Tribeca title picked up by Saban, which is paying seven figures. The year-old distributor acquired North American rights to the Simon Pegg-Lake Bell romantic comedy “Man Up” earlier this week.

Backtrack” also stars Sam Neill and Robin McLeavy; Michael Petroni directed from his own script. It follows a troubled psychotherapist, played by Brody, who is suffering from nightmares and eerie visions that lead him back to his remote hometown, where he is consumed with the need to solve a decades-old mystery.

Backtrack” is produced by Jamie Hilton, Antonia Barnard and Petroni. Executive producers include Compton Ross, Phil Hunt and David Evans. The film was financed by Screen Australia with Head Gear Films and Metrol Technology in association with Screen Nsw and Deluxe Australia. »


- Dave McNary

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Hot Docs Festival Taps Into Virtual Reality

24 April 2015 2:05 PM, PDT

The 22nd annual Hot Docs festival, which kicked off April 23,  is tapping into the reignited interest and recent developments in virtual reality.

Hot Docs’ new DocX strand includes a free exhibit of four Canadian shorts using 3D stereoscopic video, Oculus Rift Technology and Samsung Gear Vr headsets: the Mongolia-set “Herders” and “Strangers With Patrick Watson” from Montreal Vr content-creators Felix & Paul Studios, and “Polar Sea 360°” (the newest component of a Canada-Germany co-production on climate change) and concert experience “Songs of Freedom” from Thomas Wallner’s shingle Deep 360.

“We’ve been tracking a lot of the new work happening in the Vr space, and despite increased media attention, it hasn’t had much public exhibition, at least not in Toronto,” says Hot Docs executive director Brett Hendrie. Feedback from DocX auds will be a bonus for filmmakers approaching the challenge of creating narrative experience and character engagement in the Vr world. »


- Jennie Punter

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Pierre Niney Starrer ‘A Perfect Man’ Sells to Key Markets

24 April 2015 2:05 PM, PDT

Paris — Snd has inked a flurry of sales on Yann Gozlan’s “A Perfect Man” (“Un Homme Ideal”), the French Riviera-set thriller toplining rising French star Pierre Niney.

A Perfect Man,” which is premiering at Colcoa, the City of Light City of Angels film festival, was picked up by Lusomundo (Portugal), A Contracorriente (Spain), Canada (A-z Films), Seed (South Korea), Scandinavia (Studio S) and Russia (Channel One).

The thriller is now in advanced negotiations for Japan, Benelux and airlines, according to Charlotte Boucon, international sales topper at Snd.

Produced by Wy Productions and 2425 Films, “A Perfect Man” stars Niney as an aspiring writer whose love for a woman and limitless ambition drive him toward a deadly path. While at Colcoa in Los Angeles, Gozlan — who wrote the script with Guillaume Lemans (“Point Blank”) in collaboration with Gregoire Vigneron (“I Do”) — said his main reference for the script was Patricia Highsmith, »


- Elsa Keslassy

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