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Noah Wyle’s Drama ‘Shot’ Lands at Paladin (Exclusive)
1 hour ago
“Shot” stars Wyle, Sharon Leal and newcomer Jorge Lendeborg, Jr., in his first leading role. It’s directed and produced by Jeremy Paul Kagan along with Dave O’Brien and Josh Siegel. The script is based on an original story by Kagan, written by Anneke Campbell and Will Lamborn.
Wyle plays a movie sound mixer suddenly felled by a random bullet accidentally fired by a teenager from a gun passed to him by his cousin, meant to protect him against gang bullies. Kagan’s camera follows Wyle’s character from street, to stretcher, to gurney, to examining table — and juxtaposes the medical crisis with the teen’s moral one. The two meet face to face at the end of the film.
Paladin president Mark Urman said, “’Shot’ deals with the urgent social issue of gun violence in a striking and original way. What makes it particularly effective is that it is devoid of polemics and rhetoric—no speeches are made. Rather, through action and character alone, the viewer is drawn into a situation that is emotionally moving and disturbing. Anyone concerned about the lack of sensible gun control in our society, will want to see this film, and will tell others to see it as well.”
Paladin’s marketing campaign will be coordinated audience-engagement activity with wide array of gun control advocacy groups, organizations, and activists, both national and regional. John Raatz, an associate producer who coordinated grass roots outreach on Paladin’s release of Tom Shadyac’s “I Am,” will again be spearheading this initiative.
“This has been a passion project for me,” Kagan said. “I wanted to make a film where we get intimately involved in what happens when someone gets shot. I want us to care about these people and I didn’t want us to turn away, like we get to do with most movie violence. This isn’t about ‘no guns,’ it is about responsible living. It’s about sanity and gun safety to prevent the staggering loss of lives.”
The project was unveiled at the American Film Market in 2014.
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- Dave McNary
Han Solo Firing: Will Ron Howard Share Directing Credit With Lord & Miller?
2 hours ago
If the Han Solo spinoff is the kind of blockbuster that most box office sages predict it will be, a lot of people will be taking credit for its success.
It’s not clear, however, who officially will get the nod for bringing the Star Wars smuggler’s early days to the big screen, particularly after the abrupt firing of Phil Lord and Chris Miller late in the shooting necessitated an 11th hour change of directors. On Thursday, Lucasfilm announced that Ron Howard will replace the duo, but how credit will be meted out is still being discussed.
The Directors Guild of America, which has the ultimate authority, has refused to comment on Lord and Miller’s surprise firings. Several sources said the credits issue is unlikely to be resolved for several months and that the union is taking a methodical approach to resolving how the different filmmakers’ contributions will be acknowledged.
Lord and Miller were dismissed due to creative differences in the fourth month of production after clashing with producer and Lucasfilm chief Kathleen Kennedy and co-writer/executive producer Lawrence Kasdan. Howard, who’s a DGA national board member, was announced as the replacement on Thursday morning. Production will resume on July 10 and the untitled movie is still due to be released on May 25, 2018.
It’s not the first time that directors have been dismissed while in production. Curtis Hanson, for example, had to step down as the director of “Chasing Mavericks” due to health issues. He ultimately shared a directing credit with Michael Apted, the filmmaker brought in to finish the project.
‘Star Wars’ Han Solo Spinoff: Lord & Miller Firing Is Latest in Long Line of Director Exits
However, the high profile nature of the Han Solo spinoff and the fact that production is relatively far along are complicating factors, making this uncharted territory for the DGA to navigate. Sources have told Variety that the current scenario is very rare and is unlikely to be settled soon since the movie requires re-shoots this summer and extensive work in post-production due to special effects.
Disney-Lucasfilm, Howard, Lord and Miller have also not commented on the issue of who will get the directing credit. Studio sources say they will defer to the guild’s rules.
The specific language in the DGA’s basic agreement with production companies spells out that in a situation with multiple directors, the production company will make a determination of who will be credited and then notify the directors. At that point, any of the notified directors can appeal to the DGA.
“The Guild may then determine the issue,” the provision says.
The provision also says that if DGA fails to reach a decision, the employer shall make the determination and that decision will be final. The language does not specify when a production company needs to make its notification of the directors other than prior to the release of the film.
The DGA’s rules also preclude replacing the director with someone else already employed on the movie. That prevented Disney-Lucasfilm from naming Lawrence Kasdan as the new director despite his extensive experience in the director’s chair. That rule dates back to the firing of Philip Kaufman from 1976’s “The Outlaw Josey Wales.” In that case, Clint Eastwood, the star of the film, took over behind-the-camera duties, inciting an uproar.
The DGA has a “one director” rule but that provision covers established directing teams such as Lord and Miller, who also received the directing credit on “The Lego Movie,” “21 Jump Street” and “22 Jump Street.”
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- Dave McNary
Michael Beach Joins Cast of Jason Momoa’s ‘Aquaman’
2 hours ago
Beach has been cast as Jesse Kane, part of a group of high-seas hijackers who has a fateful interaction with Aquaman. Beach guest-starred alongside Momoa on “Stargate: Atlantis” several years ago and acted in Wan’s “Insidious: Chapter 2.”
The cast also includes Amber Heard, Nicole Kidman, Willem Dafoe, Patrick Wilson, Ludi Lin, Dolph Lundgren, Temuera Morrison and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Black Manta. Peter Safran is producing. Deborah Snyder, Zack Snyder, Rob Cowan and DC Film’s Geoff Johns and Jon Berg are executive producing.
“Aquaman” is based on the DC Comics character who’s king of Atlantis, born half-human as Arthur Curry and half-Atlantean. He was first introduced in the early 1940s. Momoa made his debut as Aquaman last year in a cameo in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” and will reprise that role later this year in “Justice League.”
Beach recently starred in Lionsgate’s “Patriots Day.” TV credits include “Third Watch,” “ER,” “Sons of Anarchy” along with feature films “Waiting to Exhale,” “One False Move,” “True Romance,” “A Family Thing,” “Soul Food,” and Robert Altman’s “Short Cuts.”
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- Dave McNary
Actress Thandie Newton Turns to Producing for Animated-Live Action Documentary ‘Liyana’
2 hours ago
Actress Thandie Newton, who took home a supporting actress BAFTA for the Oscar-winning film “Crash” and was nominated for a Golden Globe for HBO’s “Westworld,” has taken on the role of executive producer with “Liyana,” a hybrid animation and live-action documentary from Emmy-nominated directors Aaron and Amanda Kopp. The doc premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival this week, where it won the award for best documentary.
The film is about a girl from Swaziland who tries to rescue her young twin brothers from kidnappers; it was inspired by the dark memories of orphaned Swazi children who tell the story to South African author Gcina Mhlophe, who also appears in the film.
Newton’s association with the project springs from her African roots; the British-born actress’s mother is from Zimbabwe. But assembling the story for the screen was challenging, and the final form came together during the editing.
“It’s a bit like cooking,” says Aaron Kopp. “The balance of different ingredients and timing are important, and in our case it involved lots of experimentation. Because we didn’t have examples of other films that were structured in this way, we had to discover as we went. We revised the edit over and over.”
Coombe, the Kopps say, stepped in as the voice of reason at key moments throughout the process. “It’s a film that’s not easily categorized,” explains Aaron Kopp. “It challenges people’s expectations of what a documentary should be, and we came to embrace this as a defining characteristic of the film.”
For Newton — a passionate supporter of stories from people who don’t have the resources to tell them and a longtime admirer of Mhlophe’s work — the project marks her first role behind the camera.
“There’s definitely a shift that’s happened in my life,” she tells Variety, “and it doesn’t feel like too much of a conscious decision. … I think it has a lot to do with being older and seeking to take the reins as opposed to just being corralled.”
Newton has two other scripts in the works and says she’s looking to develop more projects. She adds that over the past few years, she has begun hosting screenings and lending her celebrity to further the careers of others. For example, she helped Pakistani journalist-filmmaker and women’s rights activist Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy in her Oscar campaigns for “Saving Face” and “A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness.”
For Aaron Kopp, who grew up in Swaziland, this story was a natural fit. His wife and creative partner, Amanda, has known the children in the film since many were toddlers, and the filmmakers were eager to help Africans tell their own stories and express their voices. “From day one,” he says, “we stated that no matter how the film turned out, we wanted the process of creating it to be beneficial to the kids themselves.”
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- Valentina I. Valentini
L.A. Film Festival Prizes Go to ‘Becks,’ ‘Liyana,’ ‘The Night Guard’
3 hours ago
The L.A Film Festival has announced its prizes, with the U.S. fiction award gong to Elizabeth Rohrbaugh and Daniel Powell for “Becks,” while Diego Ros was awarded the World Fiction Award for “The Night Guard (El Vigilante),” and the Documentary Award went to Amanda Kopp and Aaron Kopp for “Liyana.”
Director Jennifer Cochis and Film Independent President Josh Welsh announced the winners Thursday at an awards reception. In addition, Cinematographers Christian Sorensen Hansen and Pete Ohs received the U.S. Fiction Cinematography Award for their work on “Everything Beautiful is Far Away.”
10 Films to Look Out for at the La Film Festival
Two L.A. Muse Awards were presented, one to a documentary film and one to a fiction film. The L.A. Muse Documentary Award was awarded to Mark Hayes for “Skid Row Marathon” and Savannah Bloch received the L.A. Muse Fiction Award for “And Then There Was Eve.”
The Nightfall Award went to Amanda Evans for “Serpent,” with the Award for Short Fiction going to “A Funeral for Lightning,” directed by Emily Kai Bock. Bradford Young’s film “Black America Again” received the Award for Short Documentary.
Several films also received audience awards, including “Skid Row Marathon” for documentary; “The Keeping Hours” for fiction; “Swim,” for short film; and “High & Mighty” for web series.
The previously announced winners of the Danny Elfman Project’s Rabbit and Rogue Competition saw their films screened at the festival; Elfman licensed his album “Rabbit and Rouge” for free online as a soundtrack to short filmmakers, with a screening at the festival as a prize for winners.
For the full list of special mentions and winners, visit Film Independent’s website.
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- Erin Nyren
Meryl Streep’s Best Movie Lines
3 hours ago
Over her storied career, Meryl Streep has racked up dozens of film credits going back to the ’70s, scored a record-breaking 20 Oscar nominations (along with three wins), and, of course, delivered golden line after golden line.
With the actress turning 68 on Thursday, Variety decided it was as good a time as any to look back at some of Streep’s best lines, from the funny to the sassy to the downright inspirational.
“How do I look?” — Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)
Following a divorce, and nasty custody battle complete with character assassination and conflicted emotion, Streep as Joanna Kramer seals her first Oscar win with a question — “How do I look?” — as she boards an elevator to see her son.
“The dingo took my baby!” – “Cry in the Dark” (1988)
Often misquoted as “A dingo ate my baby,” Streep’s exclamation after a wild dog snatches her infant from a tent, delivered in a flawless Australian accent, has become part of pop culture. Elaine made it a memorable put-down in a “Seinfeld” episode.
“I’m not a box. I don’t have sides. This is it. One side fits all.” — “Postcards From the Edge” (1990)
In “Postcards From the Edge,” Meryl Streep is Carrie Fisher’s muse, and embodies the late Hollywood royal in all her snarky, unpredictable, and out-of-control glory. With this line, Streep’s Suzanne Vale snaps back at her love interest Jack Faulkner (Dennis Quaid) to make sure he knows exactly where they stand.
“I am a righteous bitch, aren’t I?” — “Dancing at Lughnasa” (1998)
In the long history of Streep delivering flawlessly sassy lines, let no one forget her 1998 role in period film “Dancing at Lughnasa,” where she played Kate “Kit” Mundy. After her sister Aggie (Brid Brennan) declares, “Do you ever listen to yourself, Kate? You are such a damned righteous bitch,” Streep’s Kit can only delightfully agree.
“That is what we do. That is what people do. They stay alive for each other.” — “The Hours” (2002)
In one heartbreaking scene of “The Hours,” Streep, who plays New Yorker Clarissa Vaughan, has a candid conversation with the AIDs-striken Richard (Ed Harris), who asks her why he should even stay alive, if not for her.
“The assassin always dies, baby. It’s necessary for the national healing.” — “The Manchurian Candidate” (2004)
Meryl Streep played U.S. Senator Eleanor Prentiss Shaw, the manipulative mother of Liev Schreiber’s Raymond Shaw. She perfectly embodies the ruthless nature of her character when she delivers the difficult truth to her son.
Various — “Devil Wears Prada” (2006)
Where to even start with Streep’s endlessly quotable performance as Miranda Priestly? At the end, of course, with the line that the actress brilliantly tweaked during the table read from “Everybody wants to be me” to “Everybody wants to be us.” With this statement we realize how much Andy (Anne Hathaway) has changed (and, really, how much we all have). Some of Streep’s greatest lines stem from her impatient snark (“By all means, move at a glacial pace. You know how that thrills me.”) And she has a certain specialty in the way she delivers questions (“Why is no one ready?”; “Florals? For spring? Groundbreaking.”). But the line that defines Streep’s performance, is the two-word dismissal that becomes her refrain: “That’s all.”
“I have doubts… I have such doubts.” — “Doubt” (2008)
Meryl Streep allows the veneer of stern self-assurance in her character, Sister Aloysius Beauvier, to crack in a moment of emotional release. “I have doubts … I have such doubts,” she breaks down about her ability to expose Father Flynn (Philip Seymour Hoffman), and her faith in the church at large.
“If what I think is happening is happening … it better not be.” — “Fantastic Mr. Fox” (2009)
Meryl Streep is the matriarch in Wes Anderson’s endlessly quirky and quippy animated masterpiece — stern and even, and a foil for her rambunctious husband voiced by George Clooney. In this scene she calls out his tomfoolery: “If what I think is happening,” she says, and the camera closes in on her judgmental gaze. “… it better not be.”
“These damn things are as hot as a stiff c—!” – “Julie and Julia” (2009)
“We will stand on principle, or we will not stand at all.” — “The Iron Lady” (2011)
Streep’s performance as Margaret Thatcher earned her her most recent Oscar, and it’s easy to see why. When she tells Alexander Haig (Matthew Marsh) about why she will go to war with Argentina in an empassioned speech, it’s hard not to get chills.
“Is anybody supposed to smoke?” — “August: Osage County” (2013)
Streep played the delightfully sardonic Violet Weston in John Wells’ adaptation of Tracy Letts’ play. Her response to Ivy’s (Julianne Nicholson) quite obvious question is only one of many memorable lines from the drama (though not uttered by Streep, who can forget Julia Roberts’ “Eat the fish, bitch”?)
What’s your favorite Meryl Streep movie line? Let us know in the comments below!
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- Variety Staff
‘Stronger’: First Trailer Shows Jake Gyllenhaal as Boston Marathon Bombing Survivor
5 hours ago
Jake Gyllenhaal and Tatiana Maslany bring to life the struggles of Boston Marathon bombing survivor Jeff Bauman and his then-girlfriend Erin Hurley in the trailer for Roadside Attractions and Lionsgate’s “Stronger.”
Bauman was standing at the finish line to support Hurley in the race when two bombs detonated in the 2013 terrorist attack that killed three people and injured hundreds more. He lost his legs at the knee and went on to write a 2015 memoir of the same name describing his efforts to adjust to his new life.
The trailer depicts the couple’s relationship leading up to the bombing and how they struggled to remain together as Bauman faced despair after the injury and worked to cope with his newfound position as a symbol of American and Bostonian bravery.
The film is directed by David Gordon Green from a script written by Boston local John Pollono, and also stars Miranda Richardson as Bauman’s mother and Clancy Brown as his father. It is produced by Lionsgate’s Summit Entertainment label, Mandeville Films, Bold Films, and Nine Stories. It’s Gyllenhaal’s first production under his Nine Stories banner.
Lionsgate also produced “Patriots Day,” another Boston bombing film starring Mark Wahlberg. Although the film received generally positive reviews, some Boston critics took issue with its depiction of the tragedy and the fictional nature of Wahlberg’s character.
“Stronger” premieres Sept. 22.
Watch the trailer here or above.
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- Erin Nyren
Two Tyler Perry Movies Get 2018 Release Dates
6 hours ago
“She’s Living My Life” will hit theaters on March 30 and be written by Perry with Henson portraying a woman who is tired of standing by her devious husband, becoming enraged when it becomes clear she has been betrayed. Warner Bros.’ “Ready Player One,” directed by Steven Spielberg, is opening on that date, which is the start of Easter weekend.
“Family Funeral” will be released on Aug. 3 and star Perry with Cassi Davis and Patrice Lovely. The comedy will center on a joyous family reunion that becomes a nightmare as Madea and the crew travel to backwoods Georgia, where they find themselves unexpectedly planning a funeral that might unveil unsavory family secrets.
Lionsgate Sets ‘Tyler Perry’s Boo 2: A Madea Halloween’ for October
Lionsgate is launching the comedy sequel “Tyler Perry’s Boo 2: A Madea Halloween” on Oct. 20. Perry brought his signature Madea character back to life last year in his ninth “Madea” movie — “Tyler Perry’s Boo! A Madea Halloween.”
“A Madea Halloween” was a solid performer for Lionsgate with $73 million in domestic grosses.
Perry debuted the Madea character in 2005’s “Diary of a Mad Black Woman” in a version of his stage play. That film was directed by Darren Grant — the only time a film written by Perry was not directed by Perry himself.
Lionsgate has handled many other Perry films such as “Good Deeds,” “The Single Moms Club,” “For Colored Girls” and the two “Why Did I Get Married” films as part of a strategy to offer movies to the African-American sector. The studio saw success recently with Tupac Shakur biopic “All Eyez on Me,” which grossed $30 million domestically in its first five days.
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- Dave McNary
Michael Bay’s 13 Films Ranked From Worst to Best
6 hours ago
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- Joe Leydon
Raul Castillo Talks Working on Surreal ‘Limbo’ Short With Sam Elliott
7 hours ago
“Limbo,” adapted from an untitled Meathaus graphic novella by Marian Churchland by director Will Blank and Richard Koponas, tells the tale of a man stranded alone through the desert who encounters a mysterious dying dog.
“There’s no doubt that Marian Churchland’s voice drew me to ‘Limbo.’ Our director, Will Blank, very wisely, included the original source material when he first sent me the script and I felt that if we stayed loyal to Marian’s comic, then we would be in good hands,” says Castillo, who starred in HBO’s “Looking,” “Also, getting to act opposite an animatronic dog voiced by Sam Elliott was a huge plus.”
Director Blank says Elliott was his first choice to voice the dog, and mentioned it to producer Casey Fenton, who said “Why don’t we ask him?”
“I laughed and agreed it was worth a shot,” he explains. After first reaching out to Elliott’s voiceover agent and then having the project featured in IndieWire’s Project of the Day, they heard back. “We faxed Sam the comic and received an enthusiastic yes,” says Blank. “He really blew all of our minds an dit was a true joy to work with him.”
Elliott provided the voice of the mystical dying dog, which was created by creature designer Tim Martin. The design and construction of the fully functional animatronic dog puppet was a key aspect of the production. It was operated by three puppeteers.
Elliott is currently starring in “The Hero,” about an aging Western star facing his mortality and trying to reconnect with his estranged daughter.
Blank said Churchland’s novella resonated with him because he was going through some personal struggles at the time. “I related to the feeling of being untethered, full of regret and uncertain what to do next,” he says. “Against that emotional backdrop, the interaction between the man and a supernatural dog felt fresh and interesting; it was a catalyst I needed in my own life.”
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- Terry Flores
‘Wonder Woman’ Crosses $600 Million at Worldwide Box Office
7 hours ago
“Wonder Woman” continues to be a box office force.
In less than three weeks of wide release, “Wonder Woman” has earned $601.6 million. The breakdown, after Wednesday night’s totals were counted, now stand at $289.2 million domestic, and $312.4 million overseas.
This comes after “Wonder Woman” shattered expectations to earn $103.3 million in North America during its opening weekend. The movie has shown impressive holds since then, dropping only 43% during its second weekend, and a staggering 29.5% in its third frame.
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“Wonder Woman” is also the rare movie this summer that has been able to post a relatively equal split between U.S. and international earnings. Film such as “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales,” and the upcoming “Transformers: The Last Knight” are leaning heavily on the international box office, especially China.
It’s a big win for Warner Bros. and DC Comics which have pulled off a movie that has been received well by both audiences and critics. Director Patty Jenkins, too, has been a celebrated figure in Hollywood since the movie proved to be a hit. Variety recently revealed exclusively that Jenkins is already involved in drafting a script for the sequel. Gal Gadot and Chris Pine topline the film as Diana Prince (a.k.a. Wonder Woman) and Steve Trevor.
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- Seth Kelley
Ansel Elgort on ‘Baby Driver,’ Directing Ambitions and Life Under Trump
8 hours ago
Having played a swoon-worthy boyfriend in the hit weepie, “The Fault in Our Stars,” Ansel Elgort shows off his edgier side as a music-loving crook in “Baby Driver.” The heist thriller is the perfect antidote to all those bloated, brain-dead would-be summer blockbusters. Writer and director Edgar Wright has fashioned some of the greatest chase sequences in movie history, while putting together a killer soundtrack that boasts the likes of Beck, Barry White, and T. Rex. Elgort is at the center of it all, as a mysterious, ear bud-wearing speed demon.
“Baby Driver” debuts on June 28. In advance of its opening, Variety spoke with Elgort about stardom, his love of music, and why he’s become more politically involved.
What’s the key to understanding Baby?
I look at Baby as being innocent. He is younger than his years, deep down. There are a lot of shades to him. He loves music, he wants to vibe out to it, and he’s playful. In the heist crew he’s shielded and he tries to be a mystery. He’s a soft-spoken tough guy. He’s quiet and he keeps his sunglasses on and doesn’t say anything because he’s seen a lot of people be disposed of. Then, you have some moments where he’s alone and walking down the street and it’s like being in any city, it’s very anonymous. Well, it’s getting a little less anonymous for me now, but it still can be a very anonymous experience when you’re alone in this sea of strangers.
Are you able to go out in public without being mobbed by fans?
I do walk the streets of New York all the time. I don’t take cars in New York. I’m in the subway or I’m walking or maybe taking an Uber X. I’m not like with a driver guy or with a bodyguard. That sounds like a miserable lifestyle. When I’m walking around, I walk pretty fast, so people can’t catch me. Even if they do notice, it’s a flash. It’s: “who’s that?” And then I’m gone.
Why did you want to do the film?
I knew I had to do it. The script was incredible. Even on the page this movie really worked. Edgar wrote the movie around the music. It was given to me on an iPad and there was this special app where you could click a button at the top of every screen that made sure the music was synched with the scene you were reading.
The movie has some elaborate car chases. Did you do your own driving?
I did as much as I could and as much as they would let me do. I did a lot of stunt training. We did about 10 sessions with a stunt team from the movie, who were really great. In theory, I can do all the stunts from the movie. They only let me do a few because they don’t want me to harm our amazing leading actors.
Did Edgar Wright play the music he planned to use in a particular scene while he was shooting?
Always. That was very important. When you see the movie, you’ll see everything moves to the music. That’s not just in the edit. That’s done on the day. We did weeks of prep with a choreographer to plan out all the scenes where we move to the music. We were always moving to the beat.
You are also a musician. Do you prefer making music to acting?
There are moments on the set for an actor that are unbelievably incredible and remind me why this has been my passion since I was a kid, but there are also moments where you sit in a trailer for two hours and wait. Music has become a thing that I can stay creative with. Some people go in their trailer and they work out or watch movies or read. I make music in my trailer. I need to stay creative all the time. The last three days I’ve been in L.A. doing interviews all day, but then I go into the music studio and from 7 to 3 a.m. I’m making music. Then I wake up at 7 a.m. and I’ll do interviews. I would rather have a lack of sleep than a lack of creativity.
Would you ever appear in a musical?
I already have an idea for a movie where I’d be able to sing in it. Especially after working with Edgar, I’d like to write and direct as well.
How do you pick your films?
For me it’s three things when I look at a project. It’s script, character, director. Nothing else matters — the money doesn’t matter or the budget.
You were very outspoken after Donald Trump was elected. Has his presidency been as bad as you feared?
He’s a total mess. The biggest thing is him embarrassing us and cutting things that we need, cutting down social services. People need that stuff. That’s what makes us a good country. I’m not happy with his presidency, but hopefully this is a big eye-opener and we’ll be able to not allow this to happen again. At the same time, it seems as though we had a bunch of eye-openers and people never learned. I’m a little lost. Learning about humans and realizing that we continue to make the same mistakes over and over again. Maybe in the next 10 years we’ll have someone like Obama again and then after that it will go back to an idiot.
Have you gotten more politically involved?
I feel as though I need to do more, and I think everyone can do more. It’s hard when you have a life and things, but I would like to continue to help. Maybe I’ll subsidize the arts or the schools or things that the [Republican] party is cutting.
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- Brent Lang
Hollywood Blockbusters Drive China’s Box Office as Local Fare Stumbles
8 hours ago
Summer blockbuster season isn’t just an American phenomenon. In China, Hollywood movies are poised to earn about $580 million this month, continuing a dominant run in 2017 that’s likely to have wider implications for the Sino-u.S. relationship, including ongoing talks on import quotas and revenue share.
Since the Chinese New Year period, when local-language films did big business, turnstile traffic in the Middle Kingdom has all gone Hollywood’s way. In April and May, titles including “XXX: Return of Xander Cage” and “The Fate of the Furious” lifted Hollywood’s monthly box office share to more than 80%. June should see a repeat of that, thanks to “Wonder Woman,” “The Mummy,” “Alien: Covenant” and the soon-to-be-released “Transformers: The Last Knight.”
“The onslaught of the Hollywood tentpoles, plus an Indian juggernaut, has coincided with the weakest output of [Chinese] releases, many of which were the result of shoddy imitations without much merit to start with,” said Raymond Zhou, China’s leading critic and industry commentator at China Daily.
“The Hollywood blockbusters are not necessarily better in quality, judging from Chinese word of mouth, but the Chinese movies are decidedly weaker than usual. And there is little sign of improvement,” he added.
The lopsided performance of Hollywood and Chinese films poses a tricky problem for China’s industry overseers.
Through import quotas, blackout periods and bunched-up releases, Chinese regulators usually manage to limit foreign films to 40% of the box office while delivering 60% to domestic titles on an annual basis. But data from Chinese consultancy EntGroup shows that in the first five months of 2017, Hollywood powered to a 51% share, while qualifying Chinese titles tumbled to 43% — even though the 26 imported films were vastly outnumbered by 125 local ones.
Thus, Hollywood is fueling China’s box office growth and propping up its fast-expanding number of cinemas. If Chinese regulators tried to enforce the normal 60-40 ratio in favor of domestic titles, there would be cries of protest not just from studios across the Pacific but from exhibitors at home.
That’s where the current situation could affect trade negotiations between Washington and Beijing. The prevailing agreement on the film industry, with an annual import quota of 34 revenue-sharing films, has been in place for five years and is now under review.
The 34 figure is a minimum, not a maximum, and Chinese officials have often applied a degree of flexibility. Last year, to counter an unexpected downturn at the box office, they allowed in 40 revenue-sharing foreign films, plus additional Hollywood releases on a flat-fee basis.
Upping the import quota would therefore be an easy, relatively painless way for Chinese negotiators to let the U.S. side score some points while achieving their own aim of shoring up box office growth. “The government is hoping to keep the industry growing by encouraging more Hollywood movies,” said Zhao Li, senior analyst at EntGroup.
U.S. negotiators want changes in other areas as well: shorter blackout periods; longer advance notification of release dates; a bigger share of gross revenue for quota films, now pegged at 25%; and the ability of studios to choose their own distributors and run their own distribution operations in China.
The control-obsessed Chinese government is unlikely to give ground on distribution. And the U.S. dominance of the Chinese film market makes it less likely, not more, that Beijing will want to increase the size of its payouts to Hollywood.
One studio distribution executive, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the most likely areas of substantive change appear to be the blackouts and notice periods.
China’s Film Bureau, along with the state-owned distributor China Film Group, determine the release dates of revenue-sharing foreign films and typically give only four to six weeks’ notice. That sharply limits the ability to build a proper marketing campaign, which infuriates Hollywood.
China has also played fast and loose with blackout periods. Sometimes they can benefit Hollywood: Last year, with ticket sales slowing, officials shortened the six-week summer blackout and gave three Hollywood titles — “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows,” “The Legend of Tarzan” and “The Secret Life of Pets” — unusual August releases.
But the fluidity makes planning difficult. Upcoming films “Spider-Man: Homecoming” and “War for the Planet of the Apes” are believed to have been approved for release, but no dates have been confirmed as the Film Bureau waffles over how hard to apply the blackout this year, the distribution executive said.
One round of U.S.-China trade talks has been held, with little headway reported. The next is unlikely to happen before the Chinese Communist Party’s National Congress, which is tentatively scheduled for October. “The discussions could easily go on until next year. China has no advantage to be gained from hurrying the process,” the executive said.
Chinese filmmakers are using the fallow period to regroup and chart a new direction following their disappointing performance at the box office so far this year. Groups like Huayi Brothers Media, Bona Film Group and Dalian Wanda Group are looking at mega-budget spectaculars for their 2018 slates. “They are producing large tentpole movies, based on big IP, because they consider that the only way to compete with Hollywood,” said Zhao.
Exhibition giants such as Wanda still envisage the theatrical market doubling in five to seven years, making the Chinese market significantly bigger than the
North American market. If it takes Hollywood blockbuster muscle to achieve that, so be it.
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- Patrick Frater
Munich Festival Fosters Summer of Rebellion
8 hours ago
The spirit of rebellion will be in the air at the Munich Film Festival, which will be occupied by movies focusing on young people protesting against how their societies are run and seeking out a new utopia. The fest runs June 22-July 1.
One of the German films that reflects the theme of “creative resistance” is “The Long Summer of Theory,” says Christoph Groener, who programs the New German Cinema section. The film reflects the feeling among the young that “what is needed is to move from solipsistic thinking to practical doing.”
Irene von Alberti’s pic centers on three women whose apartment is threatened by property speculators. They decide to change their lives, and are “trying to think of new creative forms of living together” that incorporate a sense of “social solidarity.”
The movie “wants to create a new activism where the film itself might be just a starting point and wants to infuse audiences with the need to talk to each other and find ways to create a new society, a new utopia, in which we can thrive,” says Groener.
In Germany, many young filmmakers, faced with the difficulties of raising financing, are turning to low-budget moviemaking to deliver pics “that seem to be totally uncompromised in their creative approach,” Groener says. Many of these films have an improvisational approach that delivers something that is “new, radical and playful.” The films don’t rely on high-production values, but have the ability to be successful internationally, he says.
Other countries are also producing films that form part of “this new juicy cinema that wants to [inspire] a new political activism,” he says. One film that typifies this resistance ethos is Sofia Exarchou’s “Park,” which centers on young people squatting in the decaying Olympic Village in Athens, creating their own community outside of the conventions of Greek society.
Festival director Diana Iljine says a new generation of auteurs is emerging, whose approach is “fresh, not only in terms of the content, but also the aesthetics.” This filmmaking is “not always positive [in its outlook] — not every story ends in a good way — but it is full of hope, and [the filmmakers] have sought for a creative solution.”
The festival is in revolt itself: against simplistic notions of what life, and cinema, is like in countries perceived as posing a threat to the West, such as Iran, Russia and China.
Bernhard Karl, who programs the fest’s international films, says that in some countries “it’s often the case that [filmmakers] don’t have the chance to make political films,” but their movies instead “reflect the political situation in small, personal stories.”
These films offer a peek at the lives of ordinary folks in these countries. Xuebo Wang’s “Knife in the Clear Water” centers on a farmer from the Hui Muslim minority group in China who is obliged to slaughter his bull for a feast, but is unwilling to part with the beloved animal. Mehdi Fard Ghaderi’s “Immortality” gives a snap-shot of life in Iran. The film, which follows six families on a train journey, depicts a microcosm of Iranian society.
Munich Festival Highlights
Claire Denis’ “Let the Sunshine In,” starring Juliette Binoche, opens the fest. The film tells the story of an artist in Paris looking for love and personal fulfillment. “To open with a Claire Denis and Juliette Binoche film is a dream for a festival person like me,” Iljine says.
Sofia Coppola may only be in her mid-40s, but Munich is honoring her with a career retrospective. She won an original screenplay Oscar for “Lost in Translation,” a Venice Golden Lion for “Somewhere,” and the director prize at Cannes with “The Beguiled.”
“There are not many women out there who are as good, as famous, as much of a fashion icon, and coming from such an interesting a background as she does,” Iljine says. “She’s a star and [her films] marked a new way of filmmaking.”
Bryan Cranston, who nabbed four Emmys for “Breaking Bad,” took a Tony for “All the Way” and was Oscar- nommed for “Trumbo,” will receive Munich’s CineMerit Award, which recognizes his “outstanding contributions to the film arts.” He will also present his latest film, “Wakefield.”
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- Leo Barraclough
Jennifer Lopez to Star in and Produce Romantic Comedy ‘Second Act’
8 hours ago
STXfilms touted the movie as being in the vein of “Working Girl” and “Maid in Manhattan.” Lopez will portray a big box store employee who reinvents her life and her lifestyle, which gets her the chance to prove to Madison Avenue that street smarts are as valuable as a college degree.
“There are so many things I love about this project and script,” said Lopez. “People try to put women to sleep at a certain age. ‘Second Act’ is a story that empowers the every woman to do more, to be more, and not limit their dreams. I am thrilled to partner with Stx as they continue to create and empower the female audience.”
Jennifer Lopez’s NBC Series ‘World of Dance’ Marks Game-Changing Moment for Dance Industry
The project was developed by Stx with Lopez from an idea conceived by Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas and Justin Zackham. The two wrote the script for “Second Act,” which will be produced by Lopez, Goldsmith-Thomas, Zackham and Benny Medina.
“When Jennifer, Elaine and Justin came to us with this idea, we loved it right away,” said Fogelson. “The premise of reinventing yourself and creating a career and life-defining second act is hugely relatable and aspirational. Jennifer’s talents as a film and television actress, producer and recording artist are legendary. She is a true global superstar and and we think she is perfect for this role.”
Lopez starred in several successful romantic comedies and dramas between 2001 and 2005, including “The Wedding Planner,” “Maid in Manhattan,” “Shall We Dance,” and “Monster in Law.” Other key credits include “Out of Sight,” “The Cell,” and “Anaconda.” She starred opposite Ryan Guzman in 2015’s erotic thriller “The Boy Next Door.”
Stx noted in the announcement that its next six releases feature women in leading roles — “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets,” “Molly’s Game,” “Gringo,” “A Bad Moms Christmas” and “The Happytime Murders.”
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- Dave McNary
Ian McKellen Says It’s ‘Un-American’ for Trump Not to Protect Gay Rights
8 hours ago
During an interview at the Variety Studio in Cannes Lions, the actor Ian McKellen had harsh words for President Donald Trump if he fails to follow through — as seems to be the case — on a campaign promise to protect the rights of the Lgbt community.
Asked about the administration’s attempts to roll back gay and transgender protections, McKellen said, “If what you’re saying is true, it’s appalling and quite unnecessary and very un-American. The gay rights movement began in America. It began in San Francisco, it began in Stonewall, the city where Donald Trump was born and thrived.”
The White House has refused to acknowledge June as Pride Month. In March, Trump quietly rolled back an Obama-era rule, Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order. Many argue that the move leaves female and Lgbt employees of federal contractors venerable to discrimination.
McKellen, the most recent openly gay actor to be nominated for an Oscar, admitted he’s not sure what Trump believes. “I can’t follow Mr. Trump,” McKellen said. “I don’t always understand what he says and when I do, I have to admit later that I got it wrong because he changed his mind or changed his mind about what he said. He’s a very bad communicator, at least to me. Get more straightforward, Donald. And then we can take you seriously.”
McKellen arrived at the annual advertising conference in the South of France with an initiative, co-sponsored by the European branding company the Brooklyn Brothers and TV production house Brown Eyed Boy, to solicit short films that re-imagine iconic characters as gay (winners will be broadcast on Facebook).
The actor known for playing Magneto in the “X-Men” franchise spoke about the lack of gay characters in major Hollywood tentpoles. “I wouldn’t say the films coming out of the mainstream are quite as related to what’s going on in the real world as I would like them to be,” McKellen told Variety. “One indication of that is Lgbt people don’t really get quite a big enough say. If you’re one of those initials yourself, you do notice that actually these movies are not about me at all.”
Hollywood has yet to greenlight a comic-book movie anchored by a gay superhero. “Frankly looking at the images of some of these superheroes it’s a surprise to me they aren’t gay,” joked McKellen.
He expressed disappointment that his costume for Magneto isn’t quite as flamboyant as it was in the comics. “I wasn’t allowed to wear that outfit,” McKellen said. “I don’t look like Magneto in the comics — always shot from the crotch level.”
McKellen had a suggestion for rebooting the James Bond franchise with a gay 007. “I do have an idea,” McKellen said. “I think Ian Fleming, who wrote the original books, knew all about [it]. I’m not sure subsequent actors have quite understood the joke, which is the same as Superman. James Bond is a wimp! He’s a silly Englishman that wants his martinis stirred. He changes his underwear, like Superman, and he can save the world. They all play it the same — he’s heroic all the way through. No, he’s not.”
“If you play James Bond as an outwardly camp, silly gay man that no one took seriously and then he turned out as many gay men are underneath their clothes — buff and strong and as hetero as any hetero — we might have a more truthful story than the one that has been told,” McKellen said.
Would he want to play this new Bond? “I’m not volunteering,” he said. “I’m insisting. No, I’m too old to play it. I can be on the periphery of this new version.”
With all the recent talk of diversity at the Oscars, one statistic still goes unnoticed. There hasn’t been an openly gay actor nominated for an Oscar in 15 years — since McKellen was recognized for his work in “Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” as the wizard Gandalf.
“It’s hard isn’t it?” McKellen said. “It’s probably because there are few remaining very talented actors who aren’t quite out of the closet in the way one would like for them to be for their own health and good. I don’t think there’s anything sinister about it. I was only the second openly gay man to receive a knighthood. Records are being broken day by day.”
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- Ramin Setoodeh
Playback: Edgar Wright on ‘Baby Driver,’ Music and Walking Away From ‘Ant-Man’
9 hours ago
Welcome to “Playback,” a Variety podcast bringing you exclusive conversations with the talents behind many of today’s hottest films.
With movies like “Shaun of the Dead,” “Hot Fuzz,” and his latest, “Baby Driver,” filmmaker Edgar Wright has forged his own path through the modern cinema landscape with his own original voice. That’s no easy task. Along the way, like any artist, he has stumbled, whether learning the value of an abundance of coverage on his first film, “A Fistful of Fingers,” or making the heartbreaking decision to walk on “Ant-Man” due to creative differences with Marvel.
Unsurprisingly, and even with dedicated production partners, maintaining that original voice has been a challenge throughout. But Wright finds inspiration in others who have managed it with aplomb.
Listen to this week’s episode of “Playback” below. New episodes air every Thursday.
Click here for more episodes of “Playback.”
“I think I’ve been really inspired by other directors who sort of double down on their own style or persistence of vision,” Wright says. “I felt that way about Quentin Tarantino or Wes Anderson. ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ was [Anderson’s] eighth film and his biggest hit. If you looked at the title and synopsis alone, it’s seemingly the most esoteric and idiosyncratic, but it’s a massive worldwide hit.”
Following early successes, Wright hit a couple speed bumps. He first turned his eye toward “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World,” a Universal Pictures collaboration that disappointed at the box office. Along the way he was developing “Ant-Man,” a bit of a dream project. But eventually he had to step away from that.
“The most diplomatic answer is I wanted to make a Marvel movie but I don’t think they really wanted to make an Edgar Wright movie,” Wright says. “I was the writer-director on it and then they wanted to do a draft without me, and having written all my other movies, that’s a tough thing to move forward. Suddenly becoming a director for hire on it, you’re sort of less emotionally invested and you start to wonder why you’re there, really.”
He expected the success of something like “Ant-Man” might help propel him toward making his true dream project, “Baby Driver,” a reality. Yet he was still able to get the audacious musical/car chase actioner done at a major studio, and happily, keep his devoted crew (who departed “Ant-Man” in solidarity) employed. And like many of Wright’s creative pursuits, it all began with a song.
“I think that’s where me and the main character in ‘Baby Driver’ are the same, is that we’re completely motivated by music,” he says. “This is a universal thing, that people use music as an escape or motivation or inspiration. I have to drive to music. I have to walk to music. I have to work out to music. I have to clean the house to music. And I have to give a shout-out to Kirsten Lane, our clearance person, who managed to clear 35 tracks for this movie.”
For more, including stories about sneaking into Pinewood Studios to edit his first feature and what the press tour for “Scott Pilgrim” taught him, listen to the latest episode of “Playback” via the streaming link above.
Subscribe to “Playback” at iTunes.
- Kristopher Tapley
‘Transformers: The Last Knight’ Crumbles With Franchise-Low Opening Day
10 hours ago
Paramount and Hasbro’s “Transformers: The Last Knight” has generated a moderate $15.7 million in first-day business Wednesday in North America, signaling a launch in the $65 million range for the first five days.
The domestic launch at 4,069 sites of the fifth Transformers film came in somewhat below studio forecasts, which had been about $70 million for the Wednesday-Sunday period. With a production cost of $217 million, “Transformers: The Last Knight” is a high-stakes bet that’s dependent on its overseas performance to wind up with a profit.
Its opening-day number is also below that of any other movie in the modern franchise. The 2007 original grossed $36.6 million when it opened on a Tuesday. 2009’s “Revenge of the Fallen” earned $62 million on a Wednesday, and 2011’s “Dark of the Moon” — also launched on a Wednesday — brought in $37.7 million. “Age of Extinction,” the most recent installment before “Last Knight” opened on a Friday to $41.9 million.
“The Last Knight” opens in its 42 foreign territories this weekend, including China, the U.K., Russia, Australia, Germany, Italy, South Korea and Hong Kong. That’s about 80% of the international footprint for the film.
Film Review: ‘Transformers: The Last Knight’
The sci-fi tentpole starring Mark Wahlberg and directed by Michael Bay, generated a decent B+ Cinema Score from first-day moviegoers, who were 57% male and 43% female. A total of 29% of the audience was under 18 and gave the film an A. The film is rated PG-13.
The Wednesday number included $5.5 million in Tuesday night previews at about 3,000 locations. The preview number of $5.5 million is a match for the Thursday night previews from May 26 on Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.”
Aside from Wahlberg, “The Last Knight” cast also includes Stanley Tucci reprising his role from “Age of Extinction,” alongside Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, and John Turturro from the first three movies. Newcomers include Isabela Moner, who portrays a street kid who’s wise beyond her years, and Anthony Hopkins is in the key role of Sir Edmund Burton, an astronomer and historian who lives with several Transformers on an estate in the British countryside.
Hopkins and Wahlberg are in a race to prevent the destruction of the world by uncovering the secrets of the past and the origins of the Transformers.
The weekend is seeing adding to the summer slump with the season down 4.7% to $1.54 billion to date as of June 20, according to comScore. Year-to-date box office is up 4.7% to $5.29 billion.
“The expected performance of ‘Transformers 5’ will unlikely be able to reverse this June gloom,” said Paul Dergarabdiean, senior media analyst at comScore. “However, if this season has taught us anything, it’s that fortunes can rise and fall faster in this marketplace than perhaps any other in recent memory and any long-term prognostications about where this summer will wind up come Labor Day should definitely be written in pencil.”
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- Dave McNary
‘Jurassic World’ Sequel Gets Official Title, Poster
10 hours ago
The sequel to “Jurassic World” got an official title on Thursday morning — one year ahead of its expected release.
The new poster for the upcoming film, subtitled “Fallen Kingdom,” includes a tag line for the film: “Life finds a way.”
Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard will reprise their roles from the last movie. Jeff Goldblum — who appeared in 1993’s “Jurassic Park” and in 1997’s “The Lost World: Jurassic Park” — joins the sequel. The rest of the cast includes B. D. Wong, Toby Jones, Rafe Spall, Justice Smith, Daniella Pineda, Ted Levine, Geraldine Chaplin, and James Cromwell.
Bayona shared a first-look photo of “Fallen Kingdom” in March. The image shows a mysterious young girl in a natural history museum with her back turned to the camera.
“Jurassic World” grossed $1.67 billion worldwide, the fourth-highest-earning movie in history. Vice president of production Sara Scott is overseeing production for the sequel on behalf of the studio.
“Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” is scheduled to hit theaters in exactly one year on June 22, 2018.
See the poster below:
In one year, life finds a way. pic.twitter.com/32Cu62xn1Y
— Jurassic World (@JurassicWorld) June 22, 2017 »
- Seth Kelley
Oscars: 13 Deserving Contenders From 2017 So Far
11 hours ago
As we rapidly approach 2017’s midway point, there are already a number of films that deserve to be remembered by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences when Oscar ballots go out at the end of the year. Academy voters notoriously have short memories, though it’s hardly their fault alone; studios are so obsessed with back-loading the year with prestige product that in the rush, earlier gems are often forgotten.
So we’re here to help. Perhaps members will take a moment to bear these contenders in mind before the awards season glut finally hits.
Note: This list spotlights films theatrically released to the paying public. There have been festival standouts that won’t hit theaters until the coming months, and a number would bear mentioning. Dustin Hoffman, Ben Stiller and Adam Sandler are all fantastic in Noah Baumbach’s “The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected),” for example. And David Lowery’s vision for “A Ghost Story” makes for one of the greatest motion pictures of the year. But we’ll stick to what will hit theaters as of June 30 for this piece’s purposes.
Best Picture: “The Big Sick”
Don’t dismiss it just because it’s the funniest movie of the year so far, it’s also the most heartfelt and intelligent. Willing to mix big issues with big laughs, the tone is held together perfectly by director Michael Showalter, the outstanding cast and an excellent script. (Jr)
Netflix’s Cannes entry is a whole lot of movie, and a whole lot of vision. Director Bong Joon Ho dazzles with his deft kinetic touch while also pulling an impressive performance out of young lead Seo-Hyun Ahn to anchor the zany satire. But as ever, Bong proves a master of balancing tonal shifts, ultimately crafting a moving piece of work. (KT)
The role of an aging star who never realized his greatness fits Elliott like a glove. It’s also a reminder of how underutilized he has been on the big screen. (Jr)
Hawkins is always excellent and reliable, but she outdoes herself portraying Canadian painter Maud Lewis. Crippled by arthritis, married to a rough fisherman (a great Ethan Hawke), Hawkins allows Maud’s joy to shine through. (Jr)
Let’s be honest; take away the superhero element and this would be an Oscar slam-dunk. Stewart’s portrayal of Charles Xavier in waning health with a broken mind will break your heart. (Jr)
Jordan Peele’s impressive directorial debut deserves a shout-out in virtually every category, but hopefully no one snoozes on Betty Gabriel’s unsettling work as a housekeeper trapped in “the sunken place.” She etches that inner turmoil across her face with such aplomb you simply cannot look away. (KT)
Best Screenplay: “Shimmer Lake”
Technically ineligible for Oscars as it didn’t receive a theatrical run, that doesn’t stop this twisty thriller from earning our consideration. What sounds like a gimmick — a crime drama told backwards — proves absolutely essential to telling a fascinating story. (Jr)
Best Cinematography: “Kong: Skull Island”
Jordan Vogt-Roberts’ simian sequel was a bit of a tonal omelette, but one element that gave it an unexpected level of iconography was Larry Fong’s striking photography. Sunburnt vistas and heat-rippled frames sometimes call back to “Apocalypse Now,” but more often they give the film its own intriguing visual identity. (KT)
Best Costume Design: “Wonder Woman”
Speaking of iconography, one of the eye-popping elements of Patty Jenkins’ landmark superhero entry is the iconic image actress Gal Gadot strikes as the eponymous Amazon. But beyond Diana Prince’s well-known threads, there’s a whole array of dazzling outfits on the screen, from the battle gear of Themyscira to 1920s fashion and World War I attire. (KT)
Best Film Editing: “LA92”
Lest we forget, National Geographic’s Emmy-contending L.A riots documentary is also eligible for Oscar consideration this year. Last year “O.J.: Made in America” garnered some attention for its handling of tons of material, and hopefully reminded voters that documentary editing ought to be recognized. Reams of footage were assembled from countless sources to drive this particular version of the story, which was also covered elegantly by director John Ridley in “Let It Fall: Los Angeles 1982-1992.” (KT)
Best Production Design: “Beauty and the Beast”
It’s a tall order to match the stunning animation of the original film, but the “Beauty and the Beast” team pulled it off. Every ornate touch, from the Beast’s castle to the world of Belle’s village, was a visual feast. (Jr)
Best Sound Editing: “Baby Driver”
Being something of a musical-slash-actioner, Edgar Wright’s latest owes everything to its soundtrack. But more than that, the precision with which sound is layered and cut to enhance the various tracks scattered throughout gives the film an innervating sense of propulsion. When there’s no sound, you’re desperate for it to scream back. (KT)
Best Visual Effects: “Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2
It’s a pity we can’t throw “War for the Planet of the Apes” (July 14) in here, but more on that in due time. Marvel’s latest installment of the “Guardians” franchise doubles down on rendered environments. When you have a character who at times serves as the actual location (I guess you have to see the film to understand), the sky is the limit on VFX. (KT)
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- Kristopher Tapley and Jenelle Riley
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