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Altice Secures Debt Refinancing for Sfr, Altice International Totaling $3.67 Billion

33 minutes ago

Paris– Patrick Drahi’s Netherlands-based Altice has refinanced a portion of the existing debt for its French telco group Sfr and Altice International credit pools, priced at 2.5 billion Euros ($2.7 million) and 863 million Euros ($930.5 million), respectively.

“With this latest refinancing transaction totaling 3.4 billion Euros ($3.67 billion), Altice Group has now refinanced about 30 billion Euros ($32.3 billion) of its debt in the past year,” said Dennis Okhuijsen, CFO of Altice Group.

Okhuijsen said this “refinancing activity clearly demonstrates Altice’s commitment to proactively manage its liabilities across every credit pool, significantly improving its maturity schedule as well as reducing interest costs.”

Thanks to the refinancing, Sfr, which Altice bought from Vivendi in 2014 and merged with its Numericable cable operation, will be able to extent its capital structure from 7.3 to 7.6 years. Meanwhile, the average maturity of Altice International’s capital structure has been extended from 6.7 to 7.0 years.

This refinancing activity again strengthens Altice’s cash »


- Elsa Keslassy

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China Co-Productions: Still in Search of a Winning Formula

2 hours ago

Film co-productions involving China have been going on now for years, but the search for a winning formula continues as partners try to overcome differences in culture, work style and financing, industry leaders in China say.

The difficulties surrounding co-productions were a running theme at last week’s FilMart market and conference in Hong Kong, Asia’s largest such gathering. At a seminar organized by the China Daily and sponsored by Variety, industry heavyweights said that surefire success in co-producing remains elusive even as the number of co-productions seems certain to expand.

The session pointed up several different definitions of co-production. There are those arranged under bilateral treaties, while some qualify according to Chinese rules. Still others may be of the unofficial kind, simply international joint ventures between private companies.

Amy Liu from data agency Ent Group said that the opening of the China market since the country joined the »


- Patrick Frater

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China Punishes More Than 300 Cinemas For Box Office Cheating

6 hours ago

Chinese film regulators have punished 326 cinemas for their part in box office fraud. They are the first to be punished under the Film Promotion Law which came into effect at the beginning of the month.

Punishments range from the forced closure of theaters for three months and fines of $145,000 (Rmb 1 million) for the 63 biggest cases, down to fines of $24,000 (RMB200,000.) The 90 theaters caught out in frauds of less than $12,000 (RMB100,000) were given written warnings.

News of the regulatory action was announced via state media on Wednesday. It did not specify the nature of the fraud.

Box office cheating was widespread in China with other cases hitting the headlines in 2014 and 2015. In some cases theaters have colluded with distributors in massive ticket buying operations that are intended to give the impression that a film is enjoying greater success than in reality. In other cases, theaters have stolen receipts.

And in still »

- Patrick Frater

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Ten Takeaways on Entertainment Marketing From Variety’s Massive Summit

8 hours ago

Marketing gurus from the film, television, and digital worlds were on hand for Variety‘s Massive Entertainment Marketing Summit on Wednesday at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills, sharing their experiences in getting the word out to consumers about their projects.

 Being a genius is “now sexy,” according to “Genius” producer Ron Howard, who was half of the keynote conversation at Massive, along with his Imagine Entertainment co-founder and fellow producer on the National Geographic show, Brian Grazer. According to Howard, as the platforms through which to tell stories multiply and become more specific, especially in the world of TV, so the stories become more linked to the platforms themselves. “I knew that the platform, Nat Geo, could actually inform this project and challenge me and the story in important ways,” Howard said “It’s an interesting thing in this moment, it’s the story linked to the platform, »


- Dave McNary and Will Thorne

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Jason Blum Revels in Micro-Budget Moviemaking for Horror Hits ‘Get Out,’ ‘Split’

8 hours ago

Fresh off smash hits “Split” and “Get Out,” producer Jason Blum admitted Wednesday that he loves making micro-budget movies instead of big-budget tentpoles.

“When you have a movie that doesn’t have to make $100 million, you can take chances in the marketing,” he said at the keynote address at Variety’s Massive Entertainment Marketing Summit at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills.

Blum was enthusiastic about Universal’s marketing capabilites, saying the work of making a movie is 50% percent done when you make a good movie and 100% done when it’s marketed right.

M. Night Shyamalan’s “Split,” starring James McAvoy and Jordan Peele’s “Get Out,” starring Daniel Kaluuya, were both made for under $10 million. They have each grossed $136 million domestically with plenty more yet to be banked by Universal. “Split” has also taken in another $120 million overseas.

Low-budget producer Jason Blum: "Your job is 50% done when »


- Dave McNary

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‘The Affair’s’ Julia Goldani Telles Joins Rachel Bloom in ‘Most Likely to Murder’

9 hours ago

Julia Goldani Telles has joined the cast of the Lionsgate dark comedy “Most Likely to Murder,” starring Rachel Bloom and Adam Pally.

Dan Gregor, who works as a writer and consulting producer with Bloom on her CW series “Crazy Ex Girlfriend,” will direct the film from a script he co-wrote with Doug Mand, his writing partner on “Crazy Ex Girlfriend” and “How I Met Your Mother.” Mand will also appear in the movie, which starts production in New York in March.

Pally will portray a man — once the most popular student in high school — who returns to his hometown 10 years after graduating to find that the girl he still likes is now dating the former high school outcast. When the outcast’s mother dies under mysterious circumstances, he tries to prove she was murdered.

Related

Actors on Actors: Billy Eichner and Rachel Bloom (Full Video)

Pally and Bloom will produce, »


- Justin Kroll

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Women in Film Elects Four New Members to Board of Directors

10 hours ago

Women in Film has elected four new members to its board of directors, the organization announced on Wednesday. Additionally, executives Hannah Minghella and Rena Ronson are rejoining the board, all alongside Cathy Schulman, who is entering her third term as board president.

The new board members are as follows:

Bela Bajaria, who was named vice president of content at Netflix in November 2016 after spending five years as president of Universal Television.

Terry Curtin, who became the head of global theatrical PR for DreamWorks Animation last March. She has also held key marketing and communications positions at several Hollywood entertainment companies, including Stx Entertainment and Disney.

Nisha Ganatra, who garnered a Golden Globe win for her work as director/producer of the Amazon series “Transparent.” Her other directing credits include “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” “Mr. Robot,” and “Girls.”

Laura W. Gordon, whose Encino, California-based accountancy corporation, “Gordon & Associates,” represents elite entertainers, professional athletes, »


- Sarah Ahern

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Cannes: New Films From Todd Haynes, Sofia Coppola Expected; Will Brad Pitt Return to the Croisette?

11 hours ago

Sofia Coppola’s “The Beguiled,” Todd Haynes’ “Wonderstruck,” Bong Joon-ho’s “Okja” with Jake Gyllenhaal, and John Cameron Mitchell’s “How to Talk to Girls at Parties” with Nicole Kidman and Elle Fanning are strongly tipped to world premiere as official selections of the 70th edition of Cannes Film Festival.

Although Netflix has acquired films from Cannes in the past (including 2016 Camera d’Or winner “Divines”), “Okja” could be the first project produced by the company to bow in Cannes. “Okja” also attracted the support of Brad Pitt’s Plan B as a producer. Korean stylist Joon-ho’s film “Mother” premiered in Cannes in 2009.

In terms of pedigree and timing, “The Beguiled” couldn’t be better situated. Coppola is a Cannes vet after premiering “The Bling Ring” in 2013 and “Marie Antoinette” in 2006, and Focus plans to release the Civil War-set film June 23 in the U.S. A re-adaptation of Thomas Cullen »


- Elsa Keslassy and Peter Debruge

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Rebel Wilson’s Romantic Comedy Draws Director Todd Strauss-Schulson

11 hours ago

Todd Strauss-Schulson will direct Rebel Wilson’s comedy “Isn’t It Romantic” for New Line.

Todd Garner, Grant Scharbo, and Gina Matthews are producing the film. Erin Cardillo wrote the original script with revisions by Dana Fox and Katie Silberman, and the latest draft by Paula Pell

The film follows a cynical woman who doesn’t believe in love and then wakes up to discover that her life has become a romantic comedy.

Wilson starred in both “Pitch Perfect” movies and is attached to the upcoming “Pitch Perfect 3.” Credits for the Australian actress include “Bridesmaids,” “How to Be Single,” “The Brothers Grimsby,” and “Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie.”

Garner produced both the “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” movies, along with “Into the Storm” and “Knight and Day.” Scharbo and Matthews were executive producers on several TV series, including “The Gates,” “Missing,” and “Rush.” Matthews was also a producer on the feature »


- Dave McNary

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Sony Developing Silver Sable and Black Cat Film With ‘Thor’ Scribe

11 hours ago

Following the news that a “Venom” pic is coming next year, Sony is now fast at work on another “Spider-Man”-related film, this time focused on female characters Silver Sable and Black Cat.

Sources confirm to Variety that “Thor: Ragnarok” scribe Chris Yost is penning the script. The previous draft was written by “Westworld” co-creator Lisa Joy.

Matt Tolmach and Amy Pascal are producing the project.

Related

Avengers: Infinity War’ Cast Will Include Spider-Man and Chris Pratt

In the comic books, Silver Sable is a mercenary who runs a company that hunts war criminals. Black Cat is burglar named Felicia Hardy, who briefly appeared in “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” played by Felicity Jones. While both characters exist in Marvel’s “Spider-Man” universe, the Yost-penned film will not be a crossover with the webslinger.

Sony is actively searching for a director for both this and the “Venom” spin-off. The studio recently »


- Justin Kroll

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Issa Rae Joins Bill Hader in Drama-Comedy ‘Empress of Serenity’

11 hours ago

Insecure” star Issa Rae is joining Bill Hader in the drama-comedy “Empress of Serenity,” directed by “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” author and screenwriter Jesse Andrews.

Good Universe is producing “Empress of Serenity,” centered on a lawyer who’s coerced into taking an ocean cruise in order to bond with his estranged father. Production is planned for August.

Producers are Stephen Chbosky along with Mr. Mudd’s Lianne Halfon, Russell Smith, and John Malkovich. The same group produced “The Perks of Being a Wallflower.”

Related

Issa Rae on HBO’s ‘Insecure’: ‘Started From YouTube, Now We Here’

Nathan Kahane and Joe Drake of Good Universe will executive produce alongside Mr. Mudd’s John Malkovich.

Hader plays a man whose elaborate plan to win back his ex-wife is upended when he is guilted into a month-long mega-cruise with his widowed father. Rae plays a reclusive kindred spirit in »


- Dave McNary

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Watch the ‘Love Actually’ Cast Reunite in New Teaser for Red Nose Day Special

11 hours ago

With the memories of Hugh Grant boogieing around Downing Street to the Girls Aloud cover of “Jump (for My Love)” still very clear in many fans’ minds, the cast of “Love Actually” gathered together in a trailer for their special Red Nose Day reunion titled, “Red Nose Day, Actually.”

The trailer begins with the original Brit rom-com’s soaring instrumental score, and features a group of the old cast, including Keira Knightley, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Bill Nighy, holding up a series of signs giving an idea of what to expect from their return and asking exactly which cast member has aged most gracefully.

The trailer recreates an iconic scene from the original in which Andrew Lincoln’s Mark declares his love for Knightley’s Juliet, despite her recent marriage to Mark’s best friend Peter (Ejiofor), only this time, the cast are asking the audience to “tune in to see… »


- Will Thorne

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‘Death Note’: Netflix Releases First Teaser for Live-Action Movie

12 hours ago

“The human whose name is written in this note shall die.”

In the first teaser trailer for Netflix’s live-action adaptation of the hit 2003 Japanese manga “Death Note,” high-school student Light Turner (Nat Wolff) is shown reading those words from the titular supernatural notebook. Once he writes down the name of the person he would like killed and envisions that person’s face in his mind, the task will be complete.

At the end of the trailer, the alarming voice of Ryuk (Willem Dafoe), the god of death known as the shinigami who drops the notebook, is heard asking a simple question to Turner: “Shall we begin?”

As things come to a head, Turner delves into a crusade against the criminals of the world, while simultaneously attempting to avoid getting caught by the international detective and genius known as L (Lakeith Stanfield).

Blair Witch” helmer Adam Wingard directs the latest adaptation of “Death Note, »


- Sarah Ahern

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Box Office: ‘Power Rangers’ No Match for ‘Beauty and the Beast’

12 hours ago

Lionsgate has big ambitions for “Power Rangers,” its reboot of the popular 1990’s television show about a group of teenage warriors. A year before the movie even hit theaters, Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer predicted that there could be as many as seven Mighty Morphin’ adventures, and producer Haim Saban recently said that the filmmakers have a “six story arc” all sketched out for the youthful heroes.

Now, all the movie has to do is be a hit, preferably of the blockbuster variety. This weekend, Lionsgate will find out if it picked the right slice of nostalgia to dust off. “Power Rangers” will open across 3,693 North American locations, where it is expected to pull in more than $30 million. That’s a respectable result, but given its $100 million budget and the millions spent on hawking and distributing the film, “Power Rangers” will have to be a big hit globally in order to justify more sequels. »


- Brent Lang

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African-Americans, Asian-Americans Went to More Movies in 2016 (Study)

13 hours ago

African-Americans and Asian-Americans showed up in force at the box office in 2016 as major movies showed greater diversity in their casting and subject matter, according to a new report by the Motion Picture Association of America.

The number of frequent African-American moviegoers nearly doubled to 5.6 million last year, while the number of regular Asian ticket-buyers jumped from 3.2 million to 3.9 million. The MPAA defines frequent moviegoers as people who attend the cinema once a month or more. Both groups were over-represented on a population basis. African-Americans made up 15% of frequent moviegoers, while comprising 12% of the U.S. population. Asians account for 8% of the population, but made up 11% of frequent moviegoers.

Related

Global Box Office Hits Record $38.6 Billion in 2016 Even as China Slows Down

In 2016, Asians over-represented the most of any group in terms of per capita ticket buying. They went to the movies an average of 6.1 times last year, up from »


- Brent Lang

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Czech That Film Festival Opens Friday in L.A.

15 hours ago

The sixth edition of the Czech That Film Festival opens Friday with Karlovy Vary fest winner “The Teacher” unspooling at Laemmle’s Monica Film Center. The screening will be preceded by a reception to kick off the 15-city traveling festival, which will visit New York; San Francisco; Seattle; Chicago; Washington, D.C.; Dallas and Austin, Texas; Little Rock, Ark.; Toronto; Denver; Portland, Ore.; Minneapolis; Salt Lake City; and Atlanta. The fest runs March 23-April 17.

Zuzana Maurery took the lead actress prize for “The Teacher” at Karlovy Vary last year.

A selection of critically acclaimed Czech films will unspool during the festival, including Milos Forman’s “Fireman’s Ball,” Ivan Passer’s “Intimate Lighting” and Filip Renc’s “Devil’s Mistress.” Also playing will be stop-motion animated feature “Little From the Fish Shop,” a retelling of the “Little Mermaid.”

The films will be accompanied by Czech talent including Passer, Renc and Radek Bajgar. »


- Shalini Dore

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‘Beauty and the Beast’ Sets Pre-Summer Record for a Tuesday

15 hours ago

Disney’s smash hit “Beauty and the Beast” is showing no signs of slowing down, setting a pre-summer record gross for a film playing on a Tuesday.

The live-action remake earned $17.9 million. That’s far above the previous North American record holder, “Furious 7,” at $13.3 million and last year’s “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” at $12.1 million. The number also topped the first Tuesdays of three other Disney blockbusters: “The Avengers,” “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” and “Captain America: Civil War. ”

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Beauty and the Beast’ Shows That Lgbtq Characters Are Good for Business (Guest Column)

Disney also noted that “Beauty and the Beast” has crossed $200 million at the domestic box office in five days, tying with four other titles in reaching that milestone in the same time — “Captain America: Civil War,” “The Dark Knight,” “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2,” and “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. »


- Dave McNary

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‘Captain Underpants’ Is Born in First Trailer for Movie Adaptation

15 hours ago

Ed Helms and Kevin Hart have unveiled the first trailer for the DreamWorks animated comedy “Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie.”

“He doesn’t have X-ray vision, he can’t even climb a tree — wearing a cape does not make him a superhero,” says Hart in introducing the trailer with Helms. “Yes it does!” protests Helms.

Based on the book series of the same name, “Captain Underpants” centers on a pair of elementary school pranksters who aggravate their principal to the point that he moves to separate them into separate classes, vowing, “I’m going to annihilate your friendship.”

But the duo then manage to hypnotize the principal into believing he’s a seriously stupid superhero: “When I snap my fingers, you will obey my every command. You are now the amazing Captain Underpants!”

At one point, Captain Underpants — voiced by Helms — takes on an inflated monster, evoking the comment from Hart, »


- Dave McNary

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Brie Larson to Play First Female U.S. Presidential Candidate Victoria Woodhull in Amazon Film

15 hours ago

Brie Larson will star as Victoria Woodhull, the first woman to run for president of the United States, in a film for Amazon Studios.

Larson will also produce “Victoria Woodhull.” Ben Kopit penned the script.

Lloyd Braun and Andrew Mittman will produce as well, while Anne Woodward exec produces and Whalerock’s John-Eric Capps co-produces.

Related

Brie Larson Defends Her Reaction to Casey Affleck’s Oscar Win

Woodhull ran for president in 1872, more then 40 years before women had the right to vote, and although she lost the presidency, she paved the way for women’s suffrage and women’s rights for years to come.

Amazon’s Julie Rapaport and Jules Claassen are overseeing the project with Capps.

Following her Oscar win for best actress in “Room,” Larson shot Ben Wheatley’s gangster pic “Free Fire,” which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival. She can currently be seen in theaters in “Kong: Skull Island, »


- Justin Kroll

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Michael Shannon Frontrunner to Play Cable in ‘Deadpool 2’

16 hours ago

Michael Shannon is the frontrunner to play Cable in “Deadpool 2.”

While no deal is yet in place, Shannon has been the top choice for about a week. Fox, the studio handling the film, had no comment on the news.

The debut date for Ryan Reynolds’ “Deadpool 2” is in a year’s time — March 2, 2018. “John Wick” director David Leitch came on board to direct “Deadpool 2” last fall after Tim Miller dropped out due to creative differences with Reynolds.

Related

‘Logan,’ ‘Deadpool’ and Why the World Is Ready for an R-Rated X-Men Film

The superhero sequel also recently cast “Atlanta” breakout Zazie Beetz as mutant mercenary Domino. Fox had announced at CinemaCon in April that Reynolds would be back, as well as Miller. “Deadpool” gave Fox its biggest hit of 2016 after opening on Valentine’s Day to $782.6 million worldwide, supplanting “The Matrix Reloaded” to become the highest-grossing R-rated film in history. »


- Dave McNary

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